World Leadership Training Open Thread:on Family and Gender

February 9, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 2:59 pm   Category: Life

Just wanted to throw this up to get anyone’s thoughts that went to the World Leadership training today.

If you didn’t go, it’s playing every three hours on church satellite today.

Elder Holland Conducted
Elder Packer gave an Opening Address
There was a Round Table discussion by Elder Holland, Elder Oaks, and Sister Beck, Sister Tanner, and Sister Lant (I think)
Then President Monson addressed us.

Not everyone is meant to have a big family, but we should not discourage members from having big families, but help those who have big families. Other nations are much better than the US in having extended families. Husbands and Wives should be equal partners and communicate openly. Women leaders should be consulted in Church Leadership. Men preside, Women Facilitate Men Presiding. Church activities should support the family, rather than the church programs expecting to be supported by families. It’s ok to not have a perfect family or not to have a traditional family. Homemaking is not housekeeping or making bread. (At one point during the broadcast, my wife looked at me and said they must read Julie Smith)

If anyone else went, we were there with the kids, so were occupied, but it sounded like Packer said something like there was life before Adam and Eve. My wife and I wished for Church Tivo…

Let me know what you were interested in or what stood out to you.


  1. So what was the gender part? Anything about singles or gays?

    Comment by Michael — February 9, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  2. There was a long discussion about “pattern” and repeated acknowledgment that while the church leadership understands that families come in all sizes and shapes, they still teach the ideal.

    Sister Beck talked about women who were abandoned by their husband but didn’t give up on the plan. I also loved her talk about being in a large family and having to sing Love At Home every week.

    Many, many comments about not judging others.

    Sister Tanner was quite articulate about the realities of family life. She quoted Milton about the “thousand daily decencies” that we perform for one another in families.

    Many echoes of Elder Ballard’s O BE WISE talk, as well as Elder Oaks’ own talk last conference about keeping priorities in order and not overscheduling.

    Many comments to traditions in other countries. Apparently it is being translated into 80+ languages.

    Comment by Naismith — February 9, 2008 @ 4:40 pm

  3. Naismith- I thought it was cool that Sister Tanner said that she felt Families were better now in america than when she was a kid because of better equality. Thanks for reminding me about how cool that was.

    Michael- They talked a little about gender differences, but focused on gender equality more.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 9, 2008 @ 5:04 pm

  4. “(At one point during the broadcast, my wife looked at me and said they must read Julie Smith)”

    Ha! (Actually, I read them.)

    Comment by Julie M. Smith — February 9, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  5. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if one or more of them had read Julie Smith or talked to somebody who has.

    Comment by Last Lemming — February 9, 2008 @ 7:00 pm

  6. I thought the “panel discussion” format was somewhat disorganized and difficult to follow.

    One particular emphasis from Elder Oaks was the focus on generally correct principles. The context of the discussion was principles expressed or implied in the Proclamation on the Family.

    Recognition that things have changed — in particular, Elder Holland confessed that his sons, as fathers, have changed diapers much more than he ever did.

    Comment by Jim Cobabe — February 9, 2008 @ 7:11 pm

  7. Does anyone know if this will be available through online or printed media at some point?

    Comment by SilverRain — February 9, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  8. SilverRain, the church published the last one in the Ensign, albeit a few months later… Not sure how long it took to get it online.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 9, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

  9. Archives on the church website will be available beginning Tuesday, February 12, 2008 (see the last page of the PDF of the broadcast announcement).

    Comment by Tim Malone — February 9, 2008 @ 9:10 pm

  10. I really liked the roundtable. I wonder if Beck’s comments (and some of the others) can be seen as an elaboration of Beck’s General Conference talk.

    I certainly learned more about what it means to “desire to bear children.” This righteous desire, if never granted in mortality, will at least be weighed at the judgment, according to Beck and Oaks. Beck also made an interesting comment in the roundtable about housing shortages being an example where it may seem impossible to have more children. But she went to say that if couple will have faith, even when there does not seem to be money for more children, miracles will happen.

    Beck’s comments about the busyness of callings on Sunday that can distract us from covenants on the Sabbath helped me to understand her talk better. So did the comments by Holland and Oaks about finding joy and delight in the Sabbath.

    It also seemed like there was some criticism in the roundtable about Beck’s previous use of the word homemaker. The roundtable participants said both mothers and fathers are homemakers, and this responsibility can never be delegated, but housekeeping can easily be delegated to or shared with the children.

    I liked how Beck elaborated on the significance of creating a climate in the home (when it comes to fostering eternal growth) and not becoming caught up in achievement-based measures of success.

    I wonder if Lant was modifying or elaborating on Beck’s comment that “mothers who know are leaders” when she noted that mothers have to facilitate the presiding that fathers are supposed to do.

    The comments on teaching in the home really dovetailed with Beck’s talk. Holland said we need to establish righteous patterns in the home, and to not take basics like scriptures, FHE, and prayers for granted. Tanner explained that family members can bind themselves to each other during mealtime conversations. Tanner also shared a story about attending a funeral where it was said that the man had always learned the gospel at home first and at church second–which sounded very much like the story in Beck’s talk.

    Doing less was an interesting subtheme in the roundtable, perhaps echoing Beck’s talk. Holland quoted Maxwell to the effect that magnifying a calling can sometimes mean doing less, but doing it better.

    The choice of people was interesting for the roundtable. I believe Holland grew up in a part-member family. Oaks grew up in a single-parent home. Beck is the child of a general authority. Tanner grew up on a farm. Lant has spent most of her life working outside of the home as an educator. I really felt like the brethren were trying to be sensitive to the variety of situations that church members live in these days.

    Comment by Sterling — February 9, 2008 @ 9:11 pm

  11. But what about Boyd K Packer and life before Adam and Eve???

    Comment by pepektheassassin — February 9, 2008 @ 9:19 pm

  12. I don’t remember anything about that.

    Comment by Sterling — February 9, 2008 @ 9:42 pm

  13. I liked the part where they mentioned that the desire to have a family is given to us by Heavenly Father and is a righteous desire. I know they were talking in the context of single adult sisters, but that goes for us single adult guys too. It would have been nice to hear some kind of acknowledgment that there are single adult (heterosexual) males that won’t ever have the opportunity to have a family, no matter how much they desire to have one. But I know they can’t go into all the different individual circumstances…

    When they said that we should look to the Lord for help with our individual circumstances it sounded like, “We teach to the ideal, for your individual problems, pray to the Lord for help.” Which I agree with, no matter how hard it is to live with that.

    Comment by John — February 9, 2008 @ 11:36 pm

  14. While talking about not waiting to have a family for financial reasons and the role of faith in doing so, President Beck said “we don’t pay tithing with money.”

    I got my hopes up, but then Elder Oaks rejoined by reminding us that as General Authorities and Officers of the church, they were talking about general principles. Apparently tithing will still be accepted in the local currency, especially when accompanied by faith.

    President Lant’s comments on not “settling” was a bit jarring given the repeated allowances for individual adaptions of the pattern and in stark contrast to her later position on not judging unfairly or in ignorance. I mean, if even she can come unglued because people around her think she makes raising a family look easy when it’s actually not, what does she imagine goes through the minds of inactive/non-member spouses when they hear counsel to their active partners about not settling?

    I also appreciated Elder Holland’s call to do everything possible to reclaim the joy of the Sabbath. Preach on, brother.

    Comment by Peter LLC — February 10, 2008 @ 1:07 am

  15. I’ve just got back from the satellite transmission of the training session at my stake centre. Here are my notes taken on my Palm Pilot, unedited but hopefully of some use:

    Worldwide Leadership Meeting
    Building Up a Righteous Prosperity
    February 10, 2008

    The brethren are very aware of differing circumstances of members worldwide.

    Parable of the Home Made Shirt:
    Mother would copy an expensive shirt, but wanted a pattern. Patterns do not duplicate errors. We talk about the pattern, the ideal. We speak of our Father in Heaven’s pattern for us. General officers of the church teach the ideal, but realise the pattern does not always fit. The Lord has given us a pattern in all things.

    Boyd K. Packer

    Two Ideas from the First Vision:
    1. God is our Father – we are part of His family
    2. God is concerned about His family

    Satan began his attack in the days of Adam and Eve by attacking the family.

    Proclamations are significant and revelatory, scripture like.

    We follow the standard God has given.

    Emphasis in The Family: A Proclamation to the World is that family is man and woman, and gender is an essential part of our eternal identity.

    The world wants to change this. We will not, we cannot. We have this position because it is God’s pattern.

    By divine design fathers preside, but as equal partners to cry out family responsibilities.

    The family is the fundamental unit of the church. The church is to support the family, not families to support the church.

    We all have access to the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

    Jeffrey R. Holland, Dallan H. Oaks, Julie B. Beck, Susan B. Tanner, Cheryl C. Lant Roundtable

    The family is central to the Creator’s Plan.
    Be guided by this rather than popular culture or political correctness.
    Three way commitment; man, woman and the Lord.
    Some women are alone, but press forward faithfully – they don’t abandon the Plan, but stick to it.
    The Eternal Family Unit is what the Plan is about.
    Nothing makes any difference in the next life, except our families.
    Leave, cleave, and be one.
    Look first to each other.
    A help meet for man – be equally yoked,
    Selfishness is the biggest problem in relationships.
    Don’t wait for your soul-mate. Look for someone compatible, but perfection not possible.
    Love is what you go through together.
    If we do God’s will he will bless us.
    Sacrifice for the gospel is joyful.
    It’s always been fearful in the world, so don’t be afraid to get married, etc.
    Division of labour in a marriage is different today than previously, but this individually worked out.
    Address my own flaws before correcting spouse.
    Culture should be LDS regardless of the national culture,
    It is not who’s right, but what’s right.
    Proclamation is almost scriptural.
    Command to Adam and Eve has never been rescinded. Requires sacrifice and faith.
    Don’t be judgemental.
    Issue of faith.
    Many places have housing shortages, unemployment, etc, but not having money is no reason to not have children. The way will be opened up. It does not mean to walk recklessly. Walking by faith means take the Lord at His word and go do it.
    Many ideas in the world work against the Plan.
    Some have the challenge of not having children and desire them.
    For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts.
    Rearing of children – rear them with intent to save them.
    The family comes first.
    To everything there is a time and a season, a purpose. Make time for FHE, scripture study, prayer, etc.
    Establish the pattern and follow it.
    Don’t take things lightly. Children carry on patterns.
    Families can pull together.
    When we gather for a meal, converse. Bind yourselves together in conversations together.
    Lesson one: learn to love one another.
    We tend to judge without knowing the circumstances. Don’t judge – love.
    Fathers take the leadership in initiating gospel activities in the home.
    Fathers preside, but mothers facilitate.
    Temples are a great strength to our families.
    Other helpers, grandparents, uncles and aunts, cousins, etc.
    Grateful for others that have had a good influence in the lives of children.
    Influence of extended families in single parent families. Ward family can help as well.
    Some LDS criticise those having children.
    Discrepancy between the ideal and the reality. We need the mantle of the calling to have children.
    Needs differ so time difference is necessary i.e. disabled child will require more time.
    Keys of power to act. Also agency, but don’t beat yourself up when wrong choices are made.
    Power of the Atonement to overcome all obstacles.
    Just love one another. Fathers love the mother and this will be the best lesson to the children.
    Get priorities right. Do what will make the biggest difference. The best thing to spend on your children is time.
    Get children to work together with the parents.
    Families are different, but principles of love and service are the same,
    Help one another, follow the principle, but adapt to circumstances.
    Emotional homelessness can lead to other problems, addictions.
    Homemaking is to make a gospel environment. Home is a place of safety. Homemaking is not housekeeping and cannot be delegated. Even the church cannot assume these roles.
    Family Filter. Have activities because we need them, not because it is a tradition or following a set program. The tradition will follow as the need is established.
    How can the ward council support the family.
    Sometimes to magnify your calling you need to do less and allow others to participate.
    Protect the church by protecting the family.
    Unity of service and families.
    Reclaim the joy of the Sabbath with our families.
    Lighten the burden on families.
    Prepare for the Sabbath.
    Avoid taking the world’s models as our guide.
    Do not be yoked with the world.
    Cling to the doctrine.

    President Monson
    Nothing can take the place of the family. Following the principles discussed in this training will protect the family.
    There’s no place like home.
    1. Establish a pattern of prayer
    2. Make homes libraries of learning
    3. Enjoy a legacy of love
    Make our home sanctuaries.

    Comment by The Bish — February 10, 2008 @ 5:16 am

  16. Thanks, everyone. I wish I could have attended, but reading it later will be almost as good.

    Comment by SilverRain — February 10, 2008 @ 6:27 am

  17. My impression is that the majority of the meeting was explaining, adding to, and supporting Sis. Beck’s conference talk. So many things they said and talked about seemed to be a response to the backlash she received – that they’re aware of it but that the principles she taught were true ones. I think they tried to smooth some of the ruffled feathers by talking about ideals vs. reality, and explaining homemaking vs housekeeping, but that overall they stuck by the principles she taught. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think it was just a continuation of a sort of “retrenchment” theme. The general authorities are worried about our movement towards “the world’s” values and are trying to warn against it.

    Comment by jab — February 10, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  18. Did anybody find it IRONIC that this meeting removed the parents from the children for 2.5+ hours (including travel time) to discuss how important it is to have family time together?

    Here is the short version for anyone who missed it: “Spend more time with/teaching your family”

    Comment by ed42 — February 10, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

  19. ed42- Nope. I think it is necassary, not ironic.

    Comment by Matt W. — February 10, 2008 @ 4:06 pm

  20. I wonder if I attended the same meeting as people in my ward. My daughter was taught in Young Women’s today that at the Leadership Meeting women were taught to
    “give up their dreams and education” to have a family and support their husband’s education and career. I heard, “Love each other more. Share more. Become more Christlike. Simply. Don’t judge. Pray for inspiration.” I’m curious about how messages get misinterpreted less than 24 hours later. Sorry for the threadjack.

    Comment by waiting — February 10, 2008 @ 4:23 pm

  21. I really CANNOT BELIEVE that you people missed the two most important parts! They both came from Julie B. Beck. I am her newest, biggest fan.

    First, she said that we should “mellow out” in our families. These training sessions are as important as the Proclamation, so I hope we can look forward to a few years or regular talks on the topic of mellowing out.

    Second, she said that a two minute period of family scripture study is sufficient, and might even be optimal, depending on the ages of the children. I have found that two minutes is best up until around the time they leave for college or the MTC.

    Comment by Mark IV — February 10, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  22. Mark IV
    I totally agree!
    LOL !!!

    We had ward conference today, and we got to sustain Thomas S Monson as the president for the first time. That felt kind of weird and poignant. In the third hour we had a combined PH/RS meeting where we discussed the training meeting yesterday.
    Interesting, to say the least…

    Comment by Julie K — February 10, 2008 @ 6:12 pm

  23. My impression is that the majority of the meeting was explaining, adding to, and supporting Sis. Beck’s conference talk.

    I don’t think this was what was happening. This to me just showed how completely on target Sister Beck’s talks were. These are things that have been taught for years now. Obviously, we need to hear it all often.

    I loved the meeting.

    Comment by m&m — February 10, 2008 @ 7:18 pm

  24. Yes we too sustained President Monson during our Ward Conference today. It was nice.

    Comment by JonW — February 10, 2008 @ 11:09 pm

  25. Message of the meeting aside, is there any out there besides me that is more than slightly put off by the “roundtable” discussion that wasn’t really a discussion at all, but a series of pre-prepared statements stitched together to look like people were actually talking about the same subject simultaneously? The post-taping editing was altogether too evident, highlighting that there was a concerted effort by the producers to make sure only approved messages were communicated. It looked like the “panelists” were reading from notes or cue cards half the time. And when the discussion actually turned slightly impromptu, a cut in the taping always brought it back. It reminded me of when FEMA held their now-infamous faux “press conference” a few months back during the wildfires in Southern California, where vice director Harvey E. Johnson fielded questions about the FEMA response to the disaster from FEMA employees posing as reporters.

    Many of the messages contained in this leadership training meeting were greatly needed, particularly about how general authorities speak in generalities that will have varying specific application in the lives of the membership of the Church through prayerful consideration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. In my opinion, its just sad that the potency of those messages are diluted through the scripted, stilted dialogue of a talk masquerading as a discussion.

    Comment by SteveS — February 11, 2008 @ 10:40 am

  26. Steve, I was able to follow and stay awake due to the format; so I found it great. I’m sorry if it annoyed you.

    Comment by Kent — February 11, 2008 @ 10:47 am

  27. Steve, I personally am glad to know that the participants in the round table discussion did think out carefully what they were going to say and how they responded to various ideas. I want assurance that what they are teaching and expressing is in accordance with the Gospel and the inspired teachings of the prophets. The last thing I want is for someone in a leadership position to say something that is contrary to the doctrines of the Church. I want to learn “correct” principles. My life will not become better or closer to the Savior’s example if I hear opinions from the general leadership that are contrary to the Savior’s teachings. So, I hope they do “rehearse” “review” “follow a script” or whatever it takes to make the presentation as accurate as correct as possible.

    Comment by Ron — February 11, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

  28. SteveS, I came home after the meeting and told my wife how much I liked the roundtable discussion format. While it started out a little stiff, it loosened up a lot as there got to be a more unscripted exchange of ideas.

    I particularly liked Elder Holland’s aside that people of the church ought to take note of the respectful way that men and women were able to interact on the panel and that it ought to be a pattern for every ward council meeting.

    I think the editing you noticed was just trimming any awkward transitions between topics to try to cut the time down. I wonder if the roundtable discussion was longer than they intended it to be.

    Comment by Bradley Ross — February 11, 2008 @ 8:23 pm