January 2013 Visiting Teaching Message: Missionary Work

We’ve all seen the recent, almost wild eruption of missionary applications that resulted from the change in missionary age. This; combined with the 2013 Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) curriculum makes no surprise that the opening 2013 Visiting Teaching message is of missionary content, includes a quote by the (presumably) female-favourite Dieter Uchtdorf and uses only the D&C in the scripture section. Not a subtle introduction to the year.

I daresay most of us have already heard stories of women between the ages of 19 and 21 who are now engaged in the missionary application process. The thing is, unless we are visiting teaching someone in the age bracket who is eager to serve a mission, this really just feels like a predictable snoozy message.

So- how do we liven it up? Well, how about this quote that I have seen on a few facebook status updates:

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Memory Capsules: The Robes I Have Worn and the Parts I Have Played

1) When I was a child, my siblings and I would act out the nativity story on Christmas Eve, as per one of our family’s traditions. My youngest brother always played the babe, Jesus; my brother Joseph always played the betrothed Joseph; my oldest sister always claimed the prized (and perhaps lone) female role of Mary. Another fair haired sister generally played the angel, leaving me and the remaining sister as shepherds. We wore headdresses in the form of bath towels and robes in the form of sheets, and braided our respective long, dark hair in front of our faces as beards. (If I had a picture, I promise I would share.) I don’t recall resenting this repeated casting too much (though I did dream of being Mary), because if you have to be a shepherd, there was no one better to be a shepherd with. Still, I do recall noticing that there weren’t that many parts for girls.

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Another Endowment of the Change in Missionary Age Policy?

This last Sunday, we had combined Relief Society and Priesthood opening exercises owing to the Young Women needing rehearsal space for a fireside planned for that evening. Forgotten announcements of the switch resulted in a slow but eventual gathering. In the temporarily combined room, the seating arrangement resulted in a change in the average seating patterns, which in turn resulted in people sitting and chatting with people whom they might not routinely sit with. This was not uncomfortable for me; I rather like a good mix up- besides- it was just for opening exercises.

In this, I began to notice something interesting. It seems to me that “average” church meeting small talk is along the line of “how are you/your family doing?” But in this meeting, and in other interactions I have had in the last few weeks with church members, the small and big talk is focused on the recently announced change in missionary age.

In nearly every conversation, the reaction is one of happy excitement; 18 year old males who had thought they had a year to prepare are suddenly, yet happily questioning if they should go sooner. Further, it seems to me that a very large number of women between the ages of 19 and 20 have already spoken to their bishops and are in the process of submitting their papers (I personally know of 3).

Interestingly, in this combined meeting moment, a member of the Stake Presidency pointed out an observation of his that seemed to almost border on a concern. This was that males still had to be ordained as Elders before they could serve; hence, they would need to be sustained in Stake Conference. I do not know why this seemed to concern him (perhaps a Stake admin issue that could be challenging?), but I could not help but consider the implications in relation to age. Based on a male’s birth date, high school graduation date and stake conference scheduling, it is possible that he could very well still be 19 years old the soonest he is eligible to serve a mission.

If this is the case, and a young man was anxious to serve a mission, is there an equality argument for males to forgo Melchizedek priesthood ordination in order to be as readily eligible to serve as un-ordianed women?

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Gospel Doctrine Lesson #25: They Taught with Power and Authority of God

It is not common for the Exponent to offer Gospel Doctrine Lesson Plans. Nonetheless, this lesson includes a nod of scripture towards the Lamanite woman, Abish. Abish is traditionally interpreted as an interesting example of a secretly devote Christian who witnessed conversion through Ammon, yet still fails to gain enough recognition to be mentioned in some (not all) other online Gospel Doctrine lesson plans. Because Abish and her example are important in my life, I prefer to analyze this section of scripture and focus the lesson through the lens of this examination.


The story of Ammon was a favourite of mine when I was a child. It fascinated me, and I would spend hours pouring through the story of his mission in Book of Mormon picture books reading the child-friendly text and soaking in the vibrant drawings of his mission. This was because Ammon’s story (and the drawings included in the children’s version) depict three women: the daughter that the king offers to Ammon to marry, the Queen and Abish. The three females in a single Book of Mormon story made that section of scripture (and the associated artwork) the most relevant story to me as a child. Now, having read the “real” Book of Mormon, I feel drawn to this section of scripture specifically because of this same female representation, particularly of Abish.

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Confessions of a Relief Society President: How the Sister Missionaries Drove Me Crazy

Confessions of a Relief Society President: How the Sister Missionaries Drove Me Crazy

Today’s guest post comes to us from Claire, as part of the Doves & Serpents and The Exponent Blogger Swap.

Turning 30 means you have SOME life experience.  And therefore, if you live in the ‘mission field,’ you have met the first (and sometimes only) requirement that puts you on the short list for Relief Society President.

And so I found myself the Relief Society President in a large urban ward far, far away from church headquarters.  A few things I didn’t know when I accepted the calling- 1, most of my time would be acting as a social worker, 2, things would be so hectic upon occasion that I would actually forget to assign someone to teach the lesson and would have to fake it myself, and 3, there were two unofficial members of the RS board that would rotate regularly and over which I would have very little influence or control…. the Sister Missionaries.

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