Last Sunday, and Last night.

by Starfoxy
Last Sunday we had a talk in sacrament meeting about the Priesthood. The talk was rather informative and rather good as far as these things go. Though I’m always baffled how someone can first say that administering Priesthood ordinances is a sacred privilege and blessing, then go on to claim that the blessings of the Priesthood are available to all so those who don’t hold the Priesthood aren’t missing out on anything.
After that in Gospel Essentials we had a lesson on roles and responsibilities in the family. The teacher did a good job and I don’t envy his position. There was a lot of talk from others in the class about hardwiring, and evolution and unsubstantiated science. There was also a great deal of discussion on how presiding doesn’t mean that the father is in charge, but it means that the father is in charge. While reading that paragraph from the Proclamation on the Family, we read and discussed in detail every sentence except the ‘equal partners’ sentence. We only read that one at all because I raised my hand after the teacher had started to move on. It felt like I had my hand up every other minute, even though I still let a lot of things go unsaid. My husband said he could tell how agitated I was, but assured me later that I didn’t sound crazy.
Last night it was my turn to attend the ward mission meeting. As I entered the church building the other ward was finishing up a ward party. A woman was giving instructions to some young men in the foyer, and I heard two lines of their conversation. She said “Well, I’m an adult, and you are children, so you need to listen to what I’m telling you.” To which the young man replied, “Well, I hold the Priesthood, and you don’t. So beat that!” At which point all the young men cheered.
The room where we had the meeting had a chalkboard in it, which some girls had been doodling on. There were hearts, and puppies and other similar things. There was also written an assortment of names followed by ” + Edward” and encircled by hearts. I puzzled for a moment, then remembered the Twilight novels. I found myself wondering if those girls had discussed with their friends and family how much of Edward’s behavior in the book would be worrisome at best if it happened in a real life relationship. It was possible, but somehow I didn’t think it was likely.
I was pulled out of that train of thought by a shift in the meeting. The missionaries asked if we knew of any less active or inactive people in the ward that might benefit from talking with the missionaries. In the silence that followed I considered turning myself in.

Starfoxy

Starfoxy is a fulltime caretaker for her two children.

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24 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Oh boy. That’s a tough Sunday. I too would have agitated by a discussion of the proc that didn’t repeatedly go back to that ‘equal partners who help one another out with these responsibilities’ idea. Come to think of it, I probably would have been agitated by any discussion of the proc, period.

    I’m particularly bothered by that episode in the foyer between the young men and the woman. Good grief, is that how young men think of the priesthood? That it’s a one-up on women and gives them the right to not listen to them? I think their teachers need to do some remedial lessons on the priesthood with them.

  2. Julie M. Smith says:

    I think you need to speak with the bishop of those YM.

  3. NG says:

    It’s Sundays like that that I have to tell myself, “If you left, then there’d be one less person to bring some common sense to what’s taught here each Sunday.”

  4. Matthew Chapman says:

    Have those young men heard:

    “We have heard of men who have said to their wives, ‘I hold the priesthood and you’ve got to do what I say.’ Such a man should be tried for his membership.”

    President Spencer W. Kimball said that. When he was the Prophet of the Church.
    In General Conference.

    (There are a couple of bishops I have heard of who need to hear that, too.)

  5. CMR says:

    Your Sunday expresses the majority of the frustrations that I have with the church.

    As for the young men– yes their bishop needs to talk to them and yes they need to hear SWK’s quote, but it seems to me that this kind of behavior would be prevented if we didn’t view the priesthood as a “right” for every male as soon as they turn 12. What if we didn’t view advancing in the priesthood as another coming of age passage right and waited until (at least) 17 or 18 to confer the priesthood? What if there were no age requirements, but priesthood ordination was viewed more like the endowment for single sisters? The young men must prove their maturity and spiritual growth first.

  6. Angie says:

    Yikes. That would be a good time to proclaim “amen” to their priesthood!

  7. jddaughter says:

    I have Sundays like that all the time. Thank you for writing it all down.

  8. cchrissyy says:

    you’re giving me a headache. ugh.

  9. mb says:

    I agree that the young men were totally off course. That’s obvious. Unfortunately the woman speaking to them was as well. Ageism is as much a sin as sexism, IMO. Both are expressions of unrighteous dominion.

  10. Two of Three says:

    NG- I have thought that many times!

  11. Kaylana says:

    That it is a very horrible Sunday. I usually avoid those Sundays by not attending! When I do go I get so angry at what’s said and then when I don’t it’s just so much more peaceful…

  12. Brenda says:

    Any ideas or object lessons for the lesson on the creation?

  13. Eleanor J. says:

    I’ve learned that YM’s brains fall out when they turn 12! Nonetheless, they’re taught by their fathers and male teachers – so one has to wonder. This type of behavior goes for adult males who hold the priesthood. My daughter who teaches Gospel Doctrine was told by a “crazy” so called priesthood holder (who didn’t agree with what she had said), that he holds the priesthood and therefore has more power than her, and besides she’s just a relief society sister who knows nothing – unfortunately for him he spoke to the wrong person. If I were his bishop I would have ripped up his temple recommend!

  14. Jessawhy says:

    Starfoxy,
    I’m sorry that you had to deal with this. That must have been really frustrating. Sometimes on Sunday I have to block out the immensity of the patriarchal problem, or it gets to be too much.

    I just got back from D.C. last night where spent Sunday at church with a friend. I was pleasantly surprised with much of the ward, except for a man in SS who spoke with “authority” to correct the notion that we should go into our communities to love our neighbors. He warned us to be “careful” so that we are not affected by their poor choices. (what?!?) It was really his tone that was most troubling, and it turns out he has GA family, which means he’s pretty much royalty in the ward.

    But in my home ward that I missed yesterday, they had a Boy Scouts presentation after Sacrament meeting (they wouldn’t let anyone leave) and they read a letter asking for donations, handed out donation slips, and made people hand them back in as they exited the chapel. My husband told me to be glad that I missed it.

    To his credit, he made a joke in Priesthood about it, “What if I want to write two, $5000 checks to BS? How do I do that?” I think his approach really put people at ease with the discomfort they felt from the mandatory donation approach.

  15. mb says:

    Ack. I have a dedicated, thoughtful scout leader living in my house who loves his boys and also gets handed the Friends of Scouting job for our congregation’s scouts when it is initiated by our local scout council each year. The description of the post sacrament meeting Friends of Scouting request would appall him if not turn his stomach. Definitely outside the realm of appropriate. Good grief.

  16. Andrea says:

    BYU Story:

    I was at a dance where someone wanted the lights on. Very awkward. I turned the lights off. This guy turned the lights back on. I stepped up to turn them off. He then got right in my face to block my move — a few inches from my face.

    Me: “Who are you?!”
    Him: “I’m somebody very important!”
    Me w/quizzical look: “You are somebody very….
    Him: “I HOLD THE PRIESTHOOD!”

  17. Andrea says:

    Sorry. Hit the wrong button. I wasn’t done with my story.

    Me with astonished look: “What?!”
    Him: “I am upholding my covenants.”
    Me: “You have a covenant not to dance in the dark?!”
    Silence…
    Me: “Do you know where your groin is?” I was thinking about how nice it would be to lift up my knee and ram it into him. He backed away and left.

    Geesh! Found out he was getting his masters degree in marriage and family counseling. Hahahaha. Unbelievable.

    He later came up and apologized for the contention, to which I replied, “Yea, contention usually comes along with being an asshole.”

  18. Andrea says:

    Just a little philosophical follow-up. What in the world are we teaching these boys to make them feel like holding the priesthood is some kind of trump card they can pull out anytime. Not good, not good. Btw, this guy was shaking at the end of the conversation. I’m sure he thought he was shaking with righteous indignation, but I believe he was shaking because I scared the piss out of him –simply by confronting him. Pathetic.

  19. Caroline says:

    Andrea,
    Oh, wow. That’s a disturbing story. Let’s hope that’s not an indication of how most normal Mormon males view themselves in relation to women. And nicely done sticking up for yourself. 🙂 For all my radical ideas, when it comes to face to face confrontation, I’m a bit of a coward.

  20. Kelly Ann says:

    I’d turn myself in.

    Thanks Starfoxy for sharing these stories although it really breaks my heart to know that so many things put me off and I (and so many others) struggle to feel comfortable in the church. It takes a lot of energy to stay.

    But I am slowly telling people what bothers me (in hopefully helpful, positive ways) and it has been liberating although it comes with the pressure not to be a hypocrit as sometimes culture still can catch me without thinking.

  21. Kelly Ann says:

    Granted I’d like to think I’d never slip in the ways mentioned here…

  22. Sandee Spencer says:

    Sorry to hear about your Sunday and among other things the lack of respect shown by the young men in the foyer but I’m surprised no one else pointed out that perhaps the woman was being disrespectful to the young people as well. I can’t gather her tone from your explanation but generally when we are using the “I’m an adult and your a child card” it is because we haven’t asked for help with an adequate dose of humility, patient explanation of the need and gratitude–. It is also easy to slip into barking out orders without being mindful of what others are doing… often a bit of patience will get us much more willing helpers.

    Adult or not, priesthood holder or not we could be a lot more kind, respectful, grateful and mindful of one another.

  23. gina says:

    Andrea, PRICELESS! I tend to seethe on the inside instead of face things head on. Your response to hime made me LOL and issue a vehement “you go girl!” 🙂

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