According to the research done by a Chad Emmett, who teaches geography at BYU, Elder Holland is the first leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to have ever addressed the issue.
While everyone was talking about the refugee and religious persecution aspects of his talk (both of which are very important and current issues), very few media outlets talked about his mentioning of female genital mutilation.
Elder Holland stated in his address
“Instances of female genital mutilation, removable [sic] of bodily appendages, and honor killings persist during times of peace…God knows of [the women’s] suffering and weeps with them.”
It is a notable event when an apostle addresses any topic but especially when they are the first. It is a practice that is performed in many areas of the world, primarily in Africa.
Why is this an issue?
FGM leads to lifelong pain and problems with sexual health and childbirth. Depending on the environment and type of the procedure, FGM can lead to serious health issues such as infection, illness and death. As a result, bleeding is severe, and infection can affect all or part of the genitals or reproductive organs.
UNICEF estimates that the total number of women living today who have been subjected to FGM in Africa ranges between 100 and 130 million. This means that approximately 2 million girls are mutilated every year. Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, and the Sudan account for 75 percent of all cases. In Djibouti and Somalia, 98 per cent of girls are mutilated . Due to emigration, FGM is now being practiced in areas of Asia, Europe, and the United States.