#hearLDSwomen: When President Nelson Blew Off the Reporter’s Question About Women in a Press Conference, I Cried All Day

After President Nelson became prophet, he was asked at a Q and A Press Conference, “what about the women?” he said, “we love them.” He didn’t answer the question. Instead, he and President Eyring talked about how their wives raised wonderful sons who later became bishops. So basically, it’s our job to raise boys to be lifted up in status. I don’t think so.
– Sarah Bridges.


AND he publicly reduced the Cornell-award-winning journalist who asked it (the brilliant Peggy Fletcher Stack) to her “proper role” as daughter and mother of “good missionaries” and then FORGOT HER QUESTION because it was so unimportant to him, publicly laughed about forgetting her question, further reducing her to the role of a cute little girl who has asked the grown-ups something precocious but absurd, THEN when after a long non-answer about how they cannot have racial and nationally representative leadership because the church is big (hmmmmm, Catholicism seems to do fairly well at this?) and when Stack pushed back and again asked “What about women?” gave us this masterpiece of patriarchal erasure: “I love ’em. I have a special place in my heart about the women.”

THE women. The mass entity that are THE women, as opposed to THE church.

I cried harder that day than I had in a long time. And that, given the state of things these days, is saying something.
– OM


I cried all day too after that interview.
– MR


I had the same reaction.
– AG


Every time I read the Family: A Proclamation to the World, I feel marginalized. I feel restricted. I feel patronized. And I remember a crucial fact: no women were involved in the development, writing, and “revelation” of it. Gender roles and expectations defined by older men without ANY input from women of any age makes me feel so forgotten, so unimportant, so degraded. And the irony of it all is that they announced the Family Proclamation in General Women’s Session to show that women are a crucial part of the church. You know how that makes me feel? It makes me feel like we’re only important when it comes to pumping out kids and making sure that both men and children keep on the straight and narrow. The Proclamation makes me feel as if women are only the “other” compared to men, but are expected to hold the brunt of the load when it comes to spirituality and maturity. So, although it’s not one specific time or experience, that document that is now an integral part of CES lesson plans and BYU religious curriculum has made me feel smaller than I ever thought possible — just for being a woman.
– MB


Pro Tip: Male leaders in the church often talk about women by who they are in their relationships to men: wife, sister, daughter, mother. Even in the temple, women are treated as extensions of their husbands, not individuals in their own right. Be cognizant of this attitude in your dealings with women. Treat women like people.

Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)


  1. I was so upset with the pres conference, that I wrote down their answers. Here’s the answer on women:

    PRES. NELSON: “I love em. I have a special place in my heart about the women. I’m the father of nine beautiful daughters. And I often wondered how am I so lucky to get girls and where are all the missionary boys, we finally did get one and the poor boy didn’t even know who his real mother was for the first couple of years. But now, with the more seasoning and maturity of time passing by, I now understand because they had a superb mother those girls. And now those girls are mothers of their own flocks teaching the things that my wife taught them. And now, yeah, all my girls are now grandmothers. They have strong children, strong in faith strong in capacity and they emulate the work of their wonderful mother and their grandmother.

    We have women on our councils, we have women administering ordinances in the temple, we have women presidents of the auxiliaries and their counselors. We depend on their voices and I think I said something about that in a conference talk a little while ago. A plea to my sisters to take their place. We need their voices, we need their input, and we love their participation with us.”

    What place? Do they really want our voices or input? Maybe if we don’t “talk too much” as Elder Ballard suggested?

    • “WE (the real church members) need THEIR (the women) input and participation with US (the real people again).”

      Even when they’re TRYING to sound like they value women equally, their words give them away immediately. And they can’t even hear themselves, because the properness and righteousness of those two fundamentally separate categories, The Church and The Women, is so clear to them they cannot fathom anyone questioning it.

      Women make (and train) Real Members (boys) and, less important but still acknowledged via praising Important Members’ daughters, new member-makers (girls). That’s their entire, eternal, fundamental function. They have literally no other purpose. And the idea that they would is so foreign that the men in charge cannot even pretend to believe it.

  2. PRESIDENT EYRING: “We need their influence. I keep getting praised by how wonderful my children are, and I know who did that. And it depends on what you, I think, matters most, but there is no question in my mind if you think of the notion of the place of women they are the source of most of the strength we see. I have four sons. They’ve all been bishops. And I’ll tell you why. It was their mother. And I uh, I just, I think that the idea of position or the idea of recognition, I can see how that would be of concern to people, that they don’t see the women getting that recognition, but in terms of influence, the Lord has already given them I think, no greater influence exists in the kingdom than the women of the church. I say that in the absence of my wife, who I wish was here so she could hear me say that I think most of the good things that I’ve done and my family have done are because of her.”

    PRESIDENT NELSON: “In the D&C there’s that verse that says before the foundation of the world , women were created to bear and care for the sons and daughters of God, and in doing so, they glorify God.”

    (Here’s the verse: D&C 132:63 But if one or either of the ten virgins, after she is espoused, shall be with another man, she has committed adultery, and shall be destroyed; for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment, and to fulfil the promise which was given by my Father before the foundation of the world, and for their exaltation in the eternal worlds, that they may bear the souls of men; for herein is the work of my Father continued, that he may be glorified.)

    • The fact that any man in this century would believe that this verse is ever appropriate to quote in any situation, let alone as supposed praise for women and/or justification for the continued oppression of women in the church, says all we ever needed to know, really.

    • That whole section just has got to go. I am not a prize to be given to a man. I did not come to earth just to bear more children. I have great value in myself without my baby-bearing abilities, without being attached to a man. The church is going to continue to lose so many young women over this horrible way that we are viewed by the men in power.

      • Autumn, you either believe they (the scriptures, the prophet, apostles, and the church doctrine) are inspired from God to, or you do not. This is in fact an all or nothing church. It is all right and correct at the head (making allowances for human error after leaving God’s mouth), or it is ALL a lie. There is no “well that section has got to go.” If one is a lie, then they all are, and visa versa. Best wishes on sorting out where you stand and what you believe. It’s not an easy task.

        • Job less, that is a pretty unnuanced, black and white way of looking at a very complex issue, especially when it comes to origins of scripture and prophetic fallibility. You’ll have better luck engaging here if you recognize the many shades of grey that surround the origins and truthfulness of D&C 132.

      • That’s not to say don’t question it. Do question it, take your time. Do seek for inspiration for understanding it, even do prompt the brethren to seek more counsel for the church on the matter, but yeah, it’s all or nothing.

  3. President Eyring, bless his heart. But he doesn’t get it. He thinks the discontent is about “the idea of position or the idea of recognition”.

  4. I wonder if all of you are asked: “what about men?”, you could be able to say: “we love them”.
    That is a simple strong answer, but obviously the questions wasnt being honest, so you were expecting other reply.

    Member of the Church my whole life. Never ever i have felt inferior than men. I have worked in leadership callings and even one time, my voice was over 4 stake presidents.
    It wasnt because i cried out how good i was, it was through revelation.

    I love the Church, i love my leaders and i support my priesthood. Believing that Christ is the Head of the Church makes it so simple to believe that everyhting is working as it should be. So, do better for your spiritual health… look for a testimony and humbly sustain your prophets.

    If you actually believe that things are not being handled well… repent. This isnt your church, It is His. And if you believe that you are receiving revelation for the Church… surely it isnt from the Holy Ghost, and surely, the only way to achieve that could be by creating your own organization… which you are free to do it. That’s how Agency works… you get to choose your own ways.

    • I don’t go to church anymore, but I still think that Pesident Nelson has done more to change hurtful practices for women than any other president I can think of. I’m very impressed by his willingness to bring change to the Church when so many other leaders act like it’s impossible.

    • Thanks, Sariah for reading and for sharing your story. It sounds like you have had some great experiences in the church that we would love to hear more about.
      Your comment is in violation of our comment policy, especially point #4, “4. Try to stick with your personal experiences, ideas, and interpretations. This is not the place to question another’s personal righteousness, to call people to repentance, or to disrespectfully refute people’s personal religious beliefs.”

      If you choose to comment further, please remember to speak from your own experience and avoid calling others to repentance or judging the state of their personal righteousness.

  5. It’s indeed a complex issue, but then the whole universe is complex. As we all evolve and become more inclusionary in every way, things will indeed change. Most of what I see is cultural bias for sure, but also cultural traditions. What happened in the past is happening in the present and will indeed happen into the future. The church leadership will always make unfortunate mistakes. God and Christ will not though. Hitch your wagon to God and with men, be patient. At the end of the day, either God winces and weeps when men make mistakes, but he abides our poor use of agency anyway, OR, there is no God and this is all just random mathematics finally hitting their sums. Men and women are equal. But the world is treacherous because man has missed the truth about women.

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