In March of 2013, I began to create a history of women speaking in General Conference here, though that effort was only a start. Recently, At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women, edited by JI’s own Jenny Reeder with Kate Holbrook offers an almost exhaustive appendix??Latter-day Saint Women Speakers in General Conference.? Charlotte Hansen Terry?s extensive labors produced the appendix. My colleague John Thomas offered one correction to that appendix which did not make the imprint (or the online version as of yet): In October 1902 Mrs. Lucy Smith spoke in the outdoor overflow meeting as recorded here.
Between 1994 and 2016, two women spoke in sessions intended for all at every LDS General Conference. However, beginning in October 2014 the newly minted ?general women?s session? began to be counted as a session of General Conference. Though the change was somewhat unclear during conference weekend, the change was later confirmed. (See here and here.) Beginning in April 2015 the online layout of General Conference talks changed with the general women’s session placed first–reflecting its now proper chronological order. The five subsequent conferences included five female speakers?two in the general sessions intended for all as they had before and three in the general women?s session. Not including this last conference, 187 women have spoken in sessions of General Conference.
Last weekend, three women spoke at the general women?s session–the opening session of the 187th Annual General Conference–as has been the pattern since 2014. However, this weekend as the conference continued only one woman spoke in a regular session–Primary General President Joy D. Jones on Sunday morning.
In the last paragraph of the 2013 post, I wrote:
Though almost twenty years is plenty of time to establish a pattern, within a church that subscribes to the possibility of change it could just as easily be time for another shift. Perhaps a prophet will yet say, ?We shall now call on some [more] of our sisters.?
As Latter-day Saints expanded how we define conference sessions, we are now hearing from more of our sisters in sessions of Conference than ever before. Yet, not in sessions intended for all in April 2017. Perhaps this is one more reminder that history never progresses in a strictly linear fashion. Fits and starts, two steps forward, and one step back are all standard to the flow of history.
I am hopeful a prophet will yet again say, ?We shall now call on some [more] of our sisters.? In the meantime, I’m going to continue reading At the Pulpit and work on better knowing what 191 women have had to say in General Conference so far.
 The women’s general session was previously listed last as it was before being included as a General Conference session.
 Heber J. Grant, Conference Report, 5 October 1929, 84. My insertion.