Resource Category: Gender
On Saturday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints replaced its men-only session at its General Conference with a women’s session for the first time. (Previously, men had their own meetings at every twice-yearly conference, and women met annually on a different weekend.) The president of the church, 94-year-old Russell Nelson, used the historic session to issue Mormon women a challenge: to “fast” from social media for 10 days.
Nelson presented the “fast” as an invitation—less a command than a nudge to reset priorities. “What do you notice after taking a break from perspectives of the world that have been wounding your spirit?” he asked, describing the way social media tends to “bring negative and impure thoughts to your mind.” But for some women, the suggestion couldn’t have seemed like a worse, or more tone-deaf, moment. “I don’t know why my prophet felt this was a good time for women in the church to step back,” said Michelle Quist, a Republican candidate for city council in Salt Lake County, Utah. “I know our national dialogue has been caustic … but there’s still a national conversation going on. If we’re not in it, then we can’t influence the conversation for good.” Even if Quist doesn’t curtail her own social media use as a candidate, she said, she estimates she will lose about 20 percent of her audience in the crucial last few weeks before the election.