The Church released a statement today saying that it will continue to be a chartering organization for the BSA. This came as a little bit of a surprise given the huffy tone of the Church’s “we’re re-evaluating our relationship” statement of less than a month ago.
What’s interesting is what’s consistent across the two statements: the equation of “youth” in the Church with boys only. From the earlier statement:
As a global organization with members in 170 countries, the Church has long been evaluating the limitations that fully one-half of its youth face where Scouting is not available.
And from today’s statement:
With equal concern for the substantial number of youth who live outside the United States and Canada, the Church will continue to evaluate and refine program options that better meet its global needs.
A lot of people commented that last month’s statement read like a first draft, written in frustration, that somehow slipped through and saw the light of day. Today’s statement does sound more measured. It’s disappointing, then, that even after having calmed down and re-considered things, the writers still don’t imagine that the Church’s youth include girls.
In the “Entertainment and Media” section, the For the Strength of Youth booklet advises:
Do not attend, view, or participate in anything that is vulgar, immoral, violent, or pornographic in any way [p. 11; all page references are to the PDF version].
I saw this bit of FtSoY quoted recently in a discussion somewhere on the Bloggernacle (sorry–I don’t recall where), and it struck me as being overly absolute. In any way? For violence in particular, doesn’t this rule out all kinds of sports and virtually all movies? Isn’t this a little unrealistic?
Running into this statement got me to wondering about whether this type of absolute phrasing was common, or if this was just an isolated example. To find out, I read through the rest of the FtSoY booklet. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how few similar statements I found, but I did find several others that I think have the same problem. In this post, I’ll quote the statements from FtSoY that I think are a problem, and then explain what I think is wrong with them.
(As told by Norman the Mormon, hat tip to Shel Silverstein)
Mild Molly Mormon, quoth her first cousin Norman,
Grew up as good Church members do.
She was always in meetings, exchanging hail greetings
Preparing for ol’ BYU.
And while in her youth, the Church teachings, forsooth,
Played sweetly upon her young heartstrings, their truth
Suffused with real beauty and goodness, indeed,
Met her soul’s greatest longing and spiritual need.
But our church is much more than just Jesus and verity,
King Benjamin’s sermon, Mormon’s faith, hope, and charity.
“And that is where Mild Molly’s problems they started
As you will soon see,” Norman sniffed, heavy-hearted. Continue reading
In the story of the Emperor’s new clothes, the Emperor is fooled by some charlatans into paying a lot of money for some invisible clothes. As he parades through the town in his underwear, the cowed crowds lining the street applaud and praise his marvelous new clothes. It is not until a boy yells out, “The Emperor has no clothes!”, that everyone finally acknowledges this truth.
I was reminded of this story when my wife, a Young Womens’ leader, related her latest Sunday experience. In the new youth curriculum, the June lessons are about the Priesthood. So, this week the Young Women’s president asked a couple of male leaders to come talk to all the girls about the Priesthood. Continue reading
My wife’s life changed forever on a hot summer evening when she was 12 years old. Up until then she had lived a fairly sheltered life in a predominantly Mormon community in a cookie-cutter suburb in the Mountain West. This was a typical suburb–sprinklers greening up the lawns, bicycles in the driveway, the occasional cat or stray dog–no other wildlife to speak of.
On this evening, behind closed doors in his office at the ward building, the mild-mannered, middle-aged, soon-to-be excommunciated-for-adultery bishop, asked innocent little Lilian if she practiced bestiality. Continue reading
During my early years in Young Women’s, I was not given many leadership opportunities. I don’t remember if I ever served as a councilor to a class president, but I do remember that I wasn’t called to be a class president until I was in Laurels. This caused some anxiety for me, a shy and awkward girl who was really trying to do the right thing. Why hadn’t I ever been called, when other girls had? Had I done something wrong? When I was called to be the Laurel’s class president, I really saw myself as a role model to the younger girls and tried hard to make them feel welcome and safe in Young Women’s. I was able to focus on them, instead of my own shyness and awkwardness. One of the best experiences I had was serving as a youth leader at girl’s camp. It was my sixth year attending camp and the leaders put me and the other 6th year completely in charge of the 3rd year girls. During camp, we planned all their activities and taught them everyday. I slept next to my group of girls in our cabin and could see that they really looked up to me. I felt proud of the responsibility I was given and while I didn’t consider myself and adult, I saw myself moving toward a more adult role. Continue reading
Kaimi recently posted on T&S about Brides Among the Beehives, with reference to Joseph Smith’s marriage to a 14-year-old. A few commenters have pointed out that 14-year-olds are not in fact Beehives, but rather Mia Maids. Though I have nothing to say at the moment about Joseph Smith’s polygamous marriages, this discussion has led me to ponder the fact that we refer to our Young Women as Beehives, Mia Maids, and Laurels. As a YW, I found the names rather silly (particularly “Mia Maid”), and I can’t say my opinion has changed much in the years since then. Of course, part of the fun of being a Mormon is having all these quirky terms. Nonetheless, I’m wondering whether anyone has any good suggestions for alternate names. What would you call the different groups of Young Women? Or do you like the labels we have?