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March 28, 2016


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Rebecca H Stay

Wonderful meeting. Wonderful response.
I was at the November conference and met you there. Who knew how prophetic your talk would be? I am now in Frankfurt Germany where my husband and I are coordinating all the Church emergency response aid to refugees in Europe. It was just an electric moment as I heard President Burton encourage the women to walk across the street and befriend a neighbor: everyone wants to be on the front lines in Calais or Lesvos, yet the child next door is just as important. For six weeks, I have been compiling a list of LOCAL agencies to recommend to members: now we can see why we were prompted to make the list. We are expecting a tidal wave of response by the women of the Church in Europe. The women will act.


This was something I found most frustrating while serving as the compassionate service leader of my ward in California. The very limited vision for what the Relief Society is able to provide as "relief." It was invariably limited to primarily immediate ward members in need of meals and service. Important, yes, but we are capable of so much more. I pushed for service projects that would benefit the broader community. When I suggested sending a congratulations/welcome to the neighborhood card to a Catholic church that was built within ward boundaries, I was told no-- that was the purview of the stake's but to my knowledge nothing was done and no request was made of the stake. Frustrating to be asked to reach out and do more "interfaith" things from general authorities and then not be able to do that under local leaders.


This is good change in the Church and I commend the First Presidency and the General Women's Auxiliary leaders for this wonderful initiative. It would have been well underway by the time your speech occurred in November, so it is not plausible that your speech was "prophetic" as the commenter Rebecca indicated. Most would sincerely doubt that this was put together in the four months following your USU speech, Neylan. It does get my hackles up when I see people being declared as "prophetic" and taking indirect credit for the "I Was a Stranger Initiative."

Shame on Peggy Fletcher Stack for her SLTrib article for purposefully making it appear as though you prophesied this.


Julie, I completely understand your frustration with the use of the word "prophetic" in this circumstance, but I took Rebecca's use of the word to suggest a fortuitous circumstance in which discussion preceded an event. Small "p" if you will. I certainly didn't see it as assigning me any particular spiritual powers, and I agree that would be foolish. Peggy Stack in her article doesn't anywhere use the word "prophetic"; she simply says I was "delighted" and other celebratory things, so I do not agree with you that she spun anything to make my response anything more than it was: a celebration. One thing I do think has been missing in the responses to my paper is the realization that nothing I proposed in my paper was a "new vision" - it was, in fact, just the reimagining of an old vision, of the way things used to be. I in no way take credit for the idea of having RS take a more active administrative role in welfare; that idea is as old as the Relief Society itself. And I tried to emphasize that, but apparently I failed in that regard, or else readers feel the idea is new to them and assign me as the source of that new idea since I'm the first place they heard it.

Charlene Sisson

Well said Neylan. What a wonderful time for Relief Society. Thanks for being such a knowledgeable and encouraging voice.

Dale Moore

When I followed the "comment feed" link, I went to a page of html script.

" As holders of not only priesthood power but also priesthood keys, men currently fulfill the mission of the Church by administering saving ordinances." Men receive priesthood authority thru ordination, but receive priesthood power thru righteous living. We perform ordinances thru priesthood authority and hopefully we have priesthood power to accompany us our performance. Thus women as well have priesthood authority and power, but not keys. Sharon Eubank, Valerie Hudson and Elder Oaks have all addressed that idea to varying degrees.

Thank you for your wonderful and thoughtful reminder of when RS = welfare.

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