Monday, December 12, 2011

Who should count?

Can we stop calling the Relief Society “the largest women’s organization in the world”? It strikes me as a bit of a dishonest label, actually—i mean, just because you happen to be female, have been baptized into the Mormon church at some point, and have survived to your eighteenth birthday (or gotten married, whichever comes first), well, that makes you a part of the Relief Society.

Sorry, folks, that’s not an organization, that’s a convenient label for a group of people. If women actually consciously chose whether to be affiliated with the Relief Society,* like used to be the case, well, then i could see that being a meaningful claim. But how many of the women whose “membership” in the Relief Society supposedly makes it such a large organization are actually involved in it? If someone’s so far outside of it as many of those women are, why in the world do we count them?

* Which was one of Joseph Smith’s quite emphatic bars to entry into the Relief Society. (Actually living according to gospel principles was another, and i’ll note in passing that that’s not a part of the requirements nowadays, either.)

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