"So What are YOU Doing to Help Women in the Church?"
Mike had been telling me about his ward clerk duties, how he needed to train a new membership clerk and how he’d be gone for a couple hours this evening to do so. Being ward clerk has turned out to be a pretty time-consuming calling. Not only is he gone from 8 AM to 3 or 4 PM on Sundays, but he has daily emails and tasks he needs to carry out.
Wanting to help him, but also irritated by the fact that women are not clerks, I suggested to Mike that he appoint me his assistant clerk. Mike quickly told me that he doesn’t have the power to appoint anyone. Clerk callings from the stake. So I agreeably suggested that he then talk to the bishop about it who could talk to the SP. Mike’s basic response was a laughing “No way.”
After some initial grumblings about the utter ridiculousness of women not being allowed to be clerks, I turned to Mike and said, “So what are you doing to help women in the Church, Mike? The only way things are going to get better for us is if men like you push the envelope a little.” Mike successfully dodged by saying that it’s wise to pick your battles.
Perhaps. But I really do think some battles need to be picked, if women are to ever have more expansive opportunities to serve and lead. Maybe suggesting the appointment of a woman as some kind of clerk isn’t worth it, but my question to Mike reverberated in my mind for the next few minutes. What was I doing to help women in the Church?
As we continued our ride to Soup Plantation, I became resolved to harrass someone with power into doing something good for women in our ward in the next couple of months.
Inspiration struck. March is women’s history month. We should have a sacrament meeting devoted to women’s history in the scriptures and/or early church.
I proposed my plan to Mike. After a few minutes of discussion (he didn’t know that March was women’s history month) he agreed that the women’s history sacrament meeting was a good idea, and that he would pitch it to the bishopric over email later that night. Mike asked me for suggestions of good women speakers on this subject, and I happily threw out some names.
I left this conversation with mixed feelings. I was excited and pleased that my husband took one of my suggestions seriously, and that there is a good chance that we might get a women’s history sacrament meeting next month. But I feel disempowered and depressed that I have to make my suggestions through my husband, and then wait for my male leaders’ approval, to get something like this to happen. I know very well that if I directly emailed my bishop about this, it would not have nearly the same weight as Mike suggesting it.
I can’t help but imagine a world where I, or my righteous female colleagues, could be in those bishopric meetings, making suggestions like this to a bishopric composed of both men and women. The very image is so poignant to me that as I sit here typing, tears are coming to my eyes.
But enough of that. To return to my titular question, I would love to hear some of your ideas of viable, reasonable things ordinary members can do to make life better for women in the Church.