Mormon women leader speaks at European Parliament conference

Mormon women leader speaks at European Parliament conference

News Release

The general president of the women’s organisation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spoke at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, 9 November 2017.  Sister Jean B. Bingham addressed an audience of scholars and dignitaries at the “Women in Faith: A Freedom of religion or belief perspective” conference. The event was hosted by Anna Záborská, member of the European Parliament, in partnership with the European Union Office of the Church.

 

“Instead of governments compelling what women do, how to do it, and when to do it, we must make sure their human rights—including their right to the religious beliefs of their choice—are respected,” said Sister Bingham, head of the Church’s Relief Society. She was accompanied by Sister Sharon Eubank, first counsellor to Sister Bingham in the Relief Society general presidency and director of LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church.

                          

In many countries around the world, people are persecuted for their religious convictions or beliefs. Where this happens, women and girls are often target of indiscriminate violence or forms of punishment. In her speech, Sister Bingham discussed the value of womanhood in society, the contribution of women for the common good and invited the audience to look for ways to build up women around them.

She said: “Empowering women should be a priority for all, because they are a potent force for creating a society where peace, religious freedom, and human rights can truly thrive.”

The other keynote speaker was Dr. Ján Figel’, Special Envoy for the Promotion of Freedom of Religion or Belief outside the European Union. The opening speeches were followed by a panel of international experts: Dr. Nazila Ghanea, Oxford University and member of the Panel of Experts on Freedom of religion or belief of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; Gillian Kitley, head of the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect; Sandra Jolley, vice chairwoman, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom; and Amador Sanchez Rico, deputy head of Division on Human Rights of the European External Action Service.

This event opened a series of three roundtable discussions to be held in December, January and February.  These smaller events, hosted by the European Union Office of the Church, will further elaborate on the key issues emerged from today’s conference.

Of the event Mrs. Záborská said “It’s an honour for me to host such a conference with such an item. It’s also some kind of a manifestation of my religion.” 

Following the Women in Faith event, Sister Bingham and Sister Eubank attended a lunch with the other panelists and invited guests. At the end of the week, Sister Bingham will speak at a gathering of Latter-day Saints women from the Brussels and Antwerp stakes.

On the Church’s participation to this event, Sister Eubank said, “Because we’re all children under the same God, we’re connected to each other, we’re brothers and sisters and so your progress, even if you belong to another faith, is completely vital to my progress because we’re interconnected in that way.”

The Relief Society is for women ages 18 and over whose purpose is to provide support for the temporal and spiritual needs of all women in the Church, as well as others who are in need. The Relief Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the largest women’s organisations in the world.

To read the transcript of Sister Bingham's speech, click here

 

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