If general auxiliary presidencies can't go to all wards and stakes, then the presidencies hope ward and stake leaders will come to them. In increasing numbers, leaders from around the Church are visiting workshops and open houses sponsored by the general Church auxiliaries during the two-weeks prior to general conference.
The workshops and open houses each spring and fall become a time when Church leaders can rub shoulders with local leaders. In this less formal, less structured setting, Church leaders are able to hear concerns and offer more specific counsel.
For the first time, in as many years as anyone can remember, the newly organized Young Men general presidency sponsored an open house for ward and stake Young Men leaders. Speaking to a filled Conference Center Theater, President Charles Dahlquist of the Young Men general presidency gave a rousing address encouraging leaders to "be so consumed with the work of strengthening our youth that not one goes astray."
He recounted a conversation with Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve. "President, do you know what your task is?" he asked.
"I replied that I thought I did," said President Dahlquist.
"Your job is to ensure that every deacon is prepared and worthy to be ordained an elder and serve a mission. It's that simple," Elder Perry said.
Also new this year was a two-evening open house and workshop sponsored by the Sunday School general presidency. The Young Men and Sunday School auxiliaries were re-organized last general conference with local lay leaders instead of General Authorities.
The Young Men open house was sponsored over three evenings. Ward and stake leaders milled around the Conference Center Theater foyer prior to the open house to study displays that offered direction and ideas for meaningful Scouting and Young Men activities.
Susan W. Tanner, Young Women general president, gave an equally stirring address to Young Women leaders who filled the chapel in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building for eight sessions held over a two-week period.
Focusing her delivery on a question raised by President Gordon B. Hinckley, who "asked us how we can put fire in the hearts of our people," Sister Tanner offered six points of counsel to help young women deepen their testimony of the Restoration.
Messages from the presidents of the Primary, Young Women and Relief Society auxiliaries will be posted on www.lds.org.