The Mormon church for the first time is appointing women to three high-level church councils previously reserved only for men.

Scholars and Latter-day Saint feminists say the move marks a small, but noteworthy step in an ongoing push to increase visibility and prominence of women in the faith.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the appointments Tuesday evening. The three named to the councils that set church policy are presidents of key women's groups.

Linda K. Burton leads the religion's Relief Society, the largest organization for women. Rosemary Wixom is the president of the General Primary, the branch dedicated to teaching children. Bonnie L. Oscarson leads the Young Women's organization.