Only one woman spoke at last weekend’s General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which has sparked a lively discussion online.
Rosemary Card is a 27-year-old small-business owner who lives in Salt Lake City. She's also Mormon. Or as she says, very Mormon.
“I’m all in. I’m in the deep end of the Mormonism pool," Card says.
Card served a full-time mission and even worked for the church producing videos for a few years. Also, her self-run business sells white dresses to Mormon women to wear in the temple. She mentions all of this at the top of a Facebook post she wrote Tuesday night.
The bulk of the post focused on the fact that there was only one female speaker at this month's General Conference (excluding the General Women's and Priesthood sessions) in contrast to the 26 male speakers. She goes on to express a hope that this can change in the future.
She then spent the next six hours responding to comments.
“I was up till 2 a.m. and I literally just sat at my computer," Card says. She even skipped dinner.
As of right now the post has over 600 likes and just as many comments/replies, including her own. Card tries to respond to each person at least once since the point of the post was to create conversation.
Most of the responses has been positive but there are some vocal critics. Some commenters accuse Card of second guessing the inspiration of church leaders, which she assures them is not the case.
She includes quotes from Mormon leaders, including Elder Russell M. Nelson, one of the apostles for the church. Nelson was addressing Mormon women in a talk called "A Plea to My Sisters."
“We, your brethren, need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices," Nelson said.
Card takes that statement at face value and she sees General Conference as the perfect opportunity for those voices to be heard. She also believes that the lack of female speakers has much more to do with tradition than doctrine.
In her post, Card references a change that came in 2013 when women were invited to pray at General Conference for the first time.
“Praying in conference was a tradition, a tradition that changed," card writes. "As far as I understand having a predominantly male lineup for conference is a tradition, a tradition that can change for the betterment of everyone.”
In years past there have typically been two female speakers per conference. So while cutting that number down to one isn't too drastic of a change Card says it feels like a major loss.
"We can do a little bit better than that," Card says.
For some of her readers, that attitude sounds like an attack on their core beliefs, but for many others it’s a glimmer of hope and a step in the right direction.