Young Women Theme Letter

YW LogoI admit that reciting the Young Women Theme every week with my counselors and my girls is not my favorite part about the Young Women Program. It never has been, at any time. I also find it extremely odd that the Young Men have no parallel theme, and that their eight objectives are specifically not to be recited each Sunday: “Young men should not recite these objectives in their meetings or activities” (See 8.1.2, Purposes of the Aaronic PriesthoodHandbook 2: Administering the Church). How did they get out of that?

But if we have to say this Mormon-style catechism with the Young Women, I would at least appreciate being consistent in our teachings about Heavenly Parents. The empty white space (or pink space, I guess ) and its opposite message about Divine Nature and Individual Worth lie in stark contrast with the message the printed letters state. So I wrote a letter, a very nice honest letter, and I invite you to do the same if you feel as I do.

I also wrote a similar message to my area authority (after speaking with my bishop and stake president too, who said that I should not change it on my own), and I was heartened by his response: he will pass the word to the YW General Presidency if he can, although he does not often interact with them, and he will keep this concern in his heart.

I faithfully choose to engage in the good work of speaking up, with integrity and virtue according to my divine nature and individual worth, so that I may be accountable for correct knowledge I have been given. (No where would I have learned a thing like that?)

Terra Tabernacle

 

Young Women General Office
76 North Main
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-1702
(Also sent to: youngwomen@ldschurch.org)

Dear President Oscarson, President McConkie, and President Marriott,

My name is ______________ and I am the Young Women’s President in the ____________ Ward. I have been blessed by the Church throughout my life–only three of those blessings being the mission I served in ________, and my current calling in a very multicultural ward. I am grateful for the service you too give the Church. Thank you. I am sure that it is not easy.

I write to ask you if you would consider bringing up a precious matter in the Young Women General Presidency. There is a subtle but powerfully damaging message that we are sending the Young Women through the Young Women Theme. As you well know, it states, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us, and we love Him.” However, in practically every General Conference we talk about “Heavenly Parents”–and there are many excellent statements by General Authorities and the Auxiliary Leaders about Heavenly Mother’s involvement in our lives and in the Plan of Salvation (Paulsen and Pulido’s BYU Studies article “A Mother There: A Survey of Historical Teachings about Mother in Heaven” is utterly astonishing, and shows that “sacred silence” is a cultural myth).

The damaging message is this: we understand that we have Heavenly Parents, but because Heavenly Mother is then excluded from the Young Women Theme, then a) She must not actually be that important, and b) She must not love Her daughters like Heavenly Father does. My Young Women (and I and my counselors) can infer from this that as females, our place in the heavens is not that important, and that we are ancillary to the Plan of Salvation if She is. I have no doubt that these are untrue messages, but those are the messages that are being communicated each week as my Young Women stand and repeat the Theme.

The Young Women Theme was changed in 2005 and again in 2008–it changes as the need arises–and we humbly ask for this change: That we daughters be able to stand and say, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Parents, who love us, and we love them.” It may not seem like a big deal, but I assure you, it makes an enormous difference in how women view their own value in this life and in the eternities. We do not want an Absent Mother any longer.

Gratefully,

____________

(contact information)

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14 Responses

  1. jesse says:

    This idea resonates strongly with me.

  2. liz johnson says:

    I love this. Please, please, please let us know if you get a response.

  3. Melody says:

    A powerful message, beautifully written! I’m looking forward to hearing about any response you receive. Thanks for being willing to share this with us.

    Side note: I’ve expressed this before on several occasions and I imagine I’ll keep saying it, because I keep feeling it — This is an exciting time to be alive and to be a member of the LDS church. Our patriarchal foundation, with its inherent flaws, is being examined more closely by everyone. It feels very much like a collaborative architectural-structural re-design project, whose blue-prints are engraved on our hearts. And many of us – members and general leadership alike – are considering a new [old/ancient/original] and better design. I believe that our children, grandchildren and great-grand children will be the recipients of a lot of hard work on our part. Your letter is an example of this hard work. God bless you for making a concrete effort to move the work forward.

  4. Emily U says:

    Thank you for writing this. I hope by the time my daughter is in Young Women’s they will have made this change.

  5. CG says:

    Well Done! Long overdue and much needed! Thank you!

  6. Deborah says:

    I recited it that way in my head as a YW in the 1990s. This seems like such a simple but profound revision.

  7. Jenny says:

    I got a response to my email yesterday. It made it past the initial screening and they said they would past it on to the yw presidency.

  8. Gina says:

    Have you had any further progress?

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