SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - For the first time a woman could give a prayer at this Spring's General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports no one knows that it's ever happened before.
Latter-day Saint Church spokesman Scott Trotter would neither confirm or deny whether women will pray in the Conference this April.
A small Facebook group called "Let Women Pray in General Conference" is claiming credit for the change, according to Analisa Estrada who is one of the organizers.
"It started when one of the organizer's 4-year-old daughters asked, 'When is it the girl's turn to pray?' and that kind of sparked an investigation. Why have women never prayed in General Conference?" said Analisa Estrada who helped form the Facebook group.
She say the Facebook page generated 1,600 letters from Latter-day Saints. The letters were written to ask if a woman could pray in General Conference.
The letters were mailed to 6 Church Authorities including Apostle Jeffrey R. Holland, Relief Society President Linda K. Burton and Young Women General President Elaine S. Dalton.
Church spokesman Scott Trotter is responding to this story with this statement, "Decisions on speakers and prayers at General Conference were made late last year. Customarily, details of the conference programs are not announced until General Conference," said Latter-day Saint Church spokesman Scott Trotter.
Below is a statement posted on the Facebook page:
While women hold important positions within the church, a woman has never given the opening or closing prayer at General Conference. We ask that women be invited to pray in General Conference, as a symbol of equality within our church.
Here is a description of our upcoming event:
All Enlisted invites you to join us in letter-writing, appealing to the leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to invite a woman to pray in the April 2013 General Conference.
In the history of the Church, faithful members have presented ideas and concerns to Church leaders and asked them to pray about it. Without these faithful members taking their concerns to their leaders, the Relief Society, the Primary program, the Welfare system, Seminary programs, Family Home Evening and the Word of Wisdom wouldn't be in place. Similar to our faithful ancestors, we are here with a real, heartfelt concern, and we pray that our church leaders will consider our plea.
In 1978, the First Presidency made an official statement allowing women to pray in Sacrament Meeting. In the statement, President Kimball said, “there is no scriptural prohibition against sisters offering prayers”, and it is “permissible for sisters to offer prayers in any meetings they attend.”
Since 1984, women have been regularly asked to speak in General Conference. We applaud that change, and now ask for President Kimball’s words to be reconsidered and more broadly applied. In 2013, we hope to see a woman offer a prayer in General Conference. We appeal to the leadership of our Church to show their support for greater gender equality by recognizing the ability and worthiness of LDS women to represent their church in prayer.