Monday, March 25, 2013

All those in favor, please signify…

I’ve been thinking lately about the asymmetries in the ways girls and boys are treated in the way things are currently structured within Mormonism, and here’s a subtle but (i think) important one: Active teen Mormon boys get more public approval of religious rites of passage than active teen Mormon girls do. Consider:

When a boy turns twelve, he gets presented before his congregation for being ordained as a deacon, and gets the affirmation of having everybody there affirm his worthiness.* When a girl turns twelve, she gets…well, bubkes. If she’s got a reasonably progressive bishop, she gets called up in front of the congregation and congratulated, but no affirmative vote by the congregation.

Age fourteen, same thing. Age sixteen, repeat it. And at age eighteen or nineteen, yet again. Every time, the boy gets positive affirmation, while the girl gets something rather less.

I’m not sure how this could be fixed, but i don’t think this is something rooted in doctrine so much as a “that’s the way we do stuff” sort of thing. I don’t know that the solution would be to have a sustaining vote for the girls at various ages (i mean, i don’t know what would be voted on, to begin with), but there’s got to be something. Thoughts?

* Yeah, i know, it’s possible that somebody in the congregation objects—but that’s rare enough that we can ignore it for the purpose of discussion, i think.


Wendy Morkel said...

Okay, so this a little bit tangential, but I think one great way for the Church to do away with an incongruity between its male and female youth is to sever its connection with the BSA and just have activity days and personal progress programs for boys. In my opinion, the programs for girls are superior: they're less overscheduled, more driven by the girls' individual interests, and more focused on spirituality. Plus there are fewer pointless hoops to jump through and no overpriced uniforms and awards to buy. Also, then we aren't financially supporting an organization with such a highly paid CEO.

Anyway, I see your point with regard to public sustaining to priesthood office for the boys, but I don't know what to do about that either.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

Fact is deacon, teacher, and priest are offices in the Priesthood and like elder and high priest they must be presented as such. Beehive, MIA Maid, and Laurel are not offices, they are just what we call the classes. Since there is no ordination for the girls like there is for the boys, there is no need for sustaining.

David B said...

@Heather the Mama Duk: Oh, i know why we do sustainings for the boys and not the girls (as things are currently set up). And like i wrote in the original, i don’t know that adding sustainings for the girls (however that might be done, and i don’t have any idea what they would be for) is the answer. But the asymmetry in having repeated formal approvals of our boys growing up but no formal approvals of our girls is somewhere between unbalanced and problematic, depending on your point of view.

mommaanddaddy said...

It takes an amazing leader to recognize and honor boys AND girls, whether it's something in church or out, in sports, theater, music, science, whatever. When we had Bishop Ron Goode (with his having only 7 years in the church to lean on), he was able to do this, so, using thought and consideration, it can be done.

Heather the Mama Duk said...

At ward conference, do we sustain the presidencies of the young women groups? I forget if it's just informational or sustaining. I think it's an actual sustaining. Regardless, I remember getting a little thrill when I was a youth the one time I was Laurel President at the time of Ward Conference so my name was read (we had a LOT of girls my age so none of us got to be in the presidencies for long).

And I agree with Wendy 100% about severing ties with BSA. The girls' Personal Progress really is way better and I have issues with the costs associated with BSA (and their overpaid CEO) myself. I actually refused to register my 11 year for Boy Scouts this year. Shocked a few people.