General Priesthood Meeting and General Women’s Meeting to Be Held Once Per Year

General Conference Consolidation
In a move to simplify the approach to General Conference, Priesthood and Women's meetings will alternate slots every six months.

Remember when temple recommend interviews were changed to every two years from the previous annual renewal?

File today’s news under whatever category that is, but today the Mormon Newsroom announced that the General Priesthood and General Women’s Meetings of General Conference will each be held once per year. This is sure to be a big deal for some, or considered a sensible but minor adjustment for others. Read on to learn more.

This is considered serious enough that a letter from the First presidency is to be read over the pulpit at wards and branches across the world:

…beginning in April 2018, the general women’s session will no longer be held on the Saturday preceding the other sessions of general conference. Rather, the general priesthood and general women’s sessions will each be held annually, with the general priesthood session being in April and the general women’s session being in October.

Regarding when, the letter also says that these meetings will occupy the third evening session time slot on Saturday. (In other words, the existing time slot of the current and ever-shortening Priesthood session.) This move will consolidate the semi-annual conference back to just one weekend, and, perhaps more importantly, will be a very visual reminder of the fact that the Women’s Session is considered an official session of General Conference, a procedural detail many still carelessly forget. In only the past few years have we had a broader Women’s Meeting held semiannually. Previously, General Relief Society Meeting was held over one conference weekend and General Young Women’s Meeting was held over the other.

Again, the Newsroom explains that, “consolidating general conference sessions into one weekend furthers Church efforts ‘of reducing and simplifying the work of the Church and the demands made upon leaders and members,” citing the letter from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. We also have to wonder whether this reduces the financial and travel burden on some individuals, especially with the recent advent of the General Women’s Board.

In truth, it is kind of a big deal in the way we will experience General Conference. But it’s less of a newsmaker regarding any doctrine or policy within the Church. In the narrative arc of the Restoration we seem to be in a weird era of flux, so it’s important to contextualize some of the bigger adjustments that come down from the top, but overtime the more we get used to seeing these changes in response to the growing needs of the church and demands of leadership, the better.

For This Week in Mormons, however, it will be nearly catastrophic to the Tie Tracker (™), reducing the subjects and observable data by a dramatic percentage in October. By some estimates (ours), there will be 20% fewer ties to track. We can only assume this was an unintended consequence, and shall sally forth in our reportage of the ties regardless, just under more strained circumstances, or as some might say, duress. If only scarves were as ubiquitous an accessory as ties in the realm of #PulpitFashion.

Comments around the interwebs varied, but here are some great ones. First, from a basketball-loving male:

We finally get a shot to be free for our NCAA final four game and they give it to the WOMEN!

This next comment sees dark days ahead for Utah County’s service industry:

That sound you hear is the wailing and gnashing of teeth from all the Utah County restaurant owners realizing that two of their biggest business nights just got cut.

No word yet from Deseret Book on how this will effect Ladies’ Night Out, or whether or not we’ll see the Church’s flagship retail arm transform into a mancave of righteous capitalism every October.

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