SALT LAKE CITY – Three women, all high-ranking officials in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were appointed by top church officials to leading church councils that, until now, have been exclusively male in membership.
The church announced Tuesday that the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, the church’s governing body, appointed Bonnie L. Oscarson, Linda K. Burton and Rosemary M. Wixom to serve on the three separate executive councils.
Burton, president of the Relief Society, the church’s organization for women, has been appointed to serve on the Priesthood and Family Executive Council.
Oscarson, president of the church’s Young Women organization, has been appointed to the church’s Missionary Executive Council.
Wixom, president of the church’s Primary program that sees to the teaching of children, was appointed to the Temple and Family History Executive Council.
Oscarson posted on social media about her new appointment Tuesday:
I still vividly remember President Thomas S. Monson announcing the lowered missionary age for young women (from 21 to 19). Today I witnessed another significant moment – I received an invitation to participate as a member of the Missionary Executive Council. I am honored. This is one of three key councils of the Church, each led by members of the Twelve…
What a great time to be a woman in the Church where our voices are needed and valued more than ever. I am grateful for the opportunity to add my perspective and experience to this council as we work together to spread the message of the restored Gospel.
Dallin H. Oaks, a member of the church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, also commented on the appointments via Facebook:
I was very pleased to read Sister Bonnie Oscarson’s Facebook post about the new assignments of our women officers to the three general priesthood councils. We need their wisdom and participation! It is sensible that their assignments line up with their current responsibilities.
The LDS Church’s governance has traditionally been overseen by men since the church’s inception in 1830 under Joseph Smith.
In recent years, there has been a push from various groups within the church for more recognition and equality for female members. Some claim church policies in this regard are behind the times and need to be reformed.
In 2013, one group of feminists calling for equality within the faith called on women to wear pants to church instead of dresses as a way to spread awareness. Another group, Ordain Women, has called on church leaders to ordain women to the traditionally male-only priesthood within the church.
When it was announced that a woman would be offering one of the prayers during the church’s semiannual general conference for the first time in October 2013, it made national headlines.
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