Scriptural References in LDS General Conference Talks by BIPOC & Women Speakers
We collected all scriptural references cited in talks given by BIPOC and women speakers during The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' semi-annual General Conferences and we want you to use them! Learn more about why this matters and check out our database.
The purpose of this project is to provide resources in helping members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in their personal study and callings to champion the diverse voices within our community. Anecdotally and from scholarly research, we know that representation matters in all sectors of life and society. When people see themselves represented in the Gospel, their faith is more fully magnified. People from groups that have historically held decision-making power can also learn and increase their faith from a diverse set of experiences, particularly from marginalized communities.
Members rarely hear from women and people of color at General Conference compared to the predominantly white, Western, male general leadership. Although members do not have direct power to increase representation in general Church leadership and in the General Conference program, the aim of this project is for members to have easier access incorporating diverse voices in their own spheres of influence: personal study, lessons, and talks, especially in conjunction with the Come Follow Me curriculum.
This site contains two databases of all scripture references cited in General Conference talks by 1) women speakers and 2) non-white and/or non-Western speakers. Speakers included in these databases are drawn from the General Conference page of the LDS Church’s official website as of April 2022. These databases will be updated regularly with subsequent General Conferences.
The use of these resources is not the end-all-be-all solution to rooting out prejudice from our personal attitudes and our institutions. These databases are merely one tool in the toolbox to help diversify the voices of the Gospel and increase representation in our studies, lessons, and talks.
Although the Church’s policies and stances have evolved over time, this project is not intended to adjudicate any one speaker’s set of talks. We ask that you prayerfully consider all talks here and generally with power and positionality in mind. Positionality generally refers to how differences in social position and power shape identities and access in society. Specifically, dictionary.com defines positionality as:
“Positionality is the social and political context that creates your identity in terms of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability status. Positionality also describes how your identity influences, and potentially biases, your understanding of and outlook on the world.”
To further clarify, consider as an example the teaching of a family history lesson. Although family history work offers blessings to all people, a white member will not have the same challenges and barriers that a Black American member may potentially face when working to trace their lineage—especially if their ancestors were enslaved people, and when facing the generational trauma from slavery and the Church’s racial temple/priesthood ban that disconnected families. Therefore, given their position and experiences, a white member may not teach family history work as effectively as a Black member for Black, indigenous, and other members of color. To provide a more inclusive environment in Church services, members should reflect on their own position, and the positions of Church leaders, that may have led to biases and assumptions that are harmful to marginalized members.
BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and is used as a shorthand term for our purposes; however, because this term is specific to the US, it may be an insufficient descriptor given our international membership as a multi-racial, multi-ethnic, and multicultural church.
Author’s Information: Rachel Fisher, a white, cisgender, heterosexual woman and practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.