After a one-year pause, BYU Women’s Conference is back.
BYU Women’s Conference announced on its website and Facebook page Thursday, Sept. 15, that its 2023 event will be held May 3-5. One of the largest gatherings of Latter-day Saint women in the world, the 2023 conference will be held in person, on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Jennefer Johnson, the program administrator for BYU Women’s Conference, told the Church News that her team is thrilled with the response on social media. “We are so excited with the response from the sisters, realizing that they’re excited to return to campus and come back to women’s conference,” she said.
“We want them to know that our focus will still be on building testimonies of the gospel and keeping our focus on our Savior and the love that Heavenly Father has for his daughters. That’s always been our North Star, our guiding principle at this conference, and it will continue to be. ...
“We love gathering together, building friendships and strengthening our family relationships. We’re excited.”
BYU Women’s Conference has been bringing women together since 1976. The conference draws more than 12,000 attendees and 150 presenters each year, according to its website. Since its beginning, more than 1,000,000 services projects have been completed.
The conference took a one-year pause in 2022. The Dec. 3, 2021, announcement came as variants of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to threaten large public gatherings. Due to the pandemic, BYU Women’s Conference in spring 2020 and 2021 were held virtually rather than in person.
Johnson said there will be some new components to the 2023 event, including adding a Wednesday evening to make the event three days instead of two.
“Stay tuned. We’re going to be planning and letting the sisters know how they can help us prepare for 2023,” she said.
Traditionally co-sponsored by the Relief Society organization, BYU Women’s Conference is now a BYU program coordinated by Continuing Education, like BYU Education Week.
2021 BYU Women’s Conference
At the conclusion of the conference, Elder Ronald A. Rasband of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles encouraged women to “hold on to the promises you have received and the promises and covenants you have made.”
“May you know of your profound influence and may you devotedly serve your Father in Heaven,” he said.
Other speakers included members of the Relief Society, Primary, Young Women, Young Men and Sunday School general presidencies. It was the first time members of all five organizations spoke at BYU Women’s Conference. A special service broadcast and Sister to Sister event were also held.
How to deal with unfulfilled expectations was one of many topics addressed during the Sister to Sister event, which featured Sister Sharon Eubank, first counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; Sister Michelle Craig, first counselor in the Young Women general presidency; and Sister Susan H. Porter, newly called first counselor in the Primary general presidency.
The 2021 conference offered seven complimentary sessions, in addition to a paid digital package with an additional 35 sessions in English, five given in Spanish and five translated into Spanish.
2020 BYU Women’s Conference
With a total of six presentations, the virtual conference held May 1, 2020, was a highly condensed version of what is normally offered by the annual two-day conference. But the messages of strength and hope were nevertheless impactful to the thousands who participated online.
While physically gathering on BYU’s campus was not an option due to the pandemic, the 2020 theme “Gather All Safely in Christ” was all too appropriate. The virtual event was free to the public.
Speakers and participants in the event included Relief Society General President Jean B. Bingham; Sister Eubank; Sister Reyna I. Aburto, second counselor in the Relief Society general presidency; Sister Rebecca L. Craven, second counselor in the Young Women general presidency; and Sister Lisa L. Harkness, first counselor in the Primary general presidency.
President Bingham and Sister Eubank taught about what gathering Israel looks like during COVID-19.
“This ‘now’ is filled with great challenges as well as great opportunities” but it is also an “unprecedented time of great opportunities for personal growth,” President Bingham said. “We are being reminded of those things of lasting value on which to focus our energy. We are learning to share the message of the gospel through technology as well as personal connections. We are increasing our understanding of the value of temples. All these efforts are part of the gathering.”
Sister Aburto, Sister Craven and Sister Harkness participated in a prerecorded Sister to Sister event. Gathered together via video from four separate locations, the Church leaders addressed topics such as how individuals are making use of their time in isolation during the coronavirus, mental and emotional health, motherhood, comparison and judgement, Church callings and understanding priesthood power.