Beloved Daughters

So many changes these days at church!  How is it going where you are? After a long gig teaching gospel doctrine, and a 6 month hiatus, I’ve been asked to serve in the young women’s group, or is it an auxillary, or what is it now? By the way, the traditional names of “beehive”, “miamaid”, and “laurel” are now history.  In our ward those seem to have been replaced with “young young women” and “old young women”? Pretty sure that “deacon”, “teacher”, and “priest” are alive and well.  

It has been 20 years since I last served in the young women’s … organization.  My personal relationship with the gospel has changed a lot in the last 20 years.  I want to be a positive person in these young women’s lives. I remember my own young women leaders with fondness, as people that I felt really cared about me.  While going through difficult family issues as a teen, the encouragement and validation that my leaders gave me were very significant to me.

As so many Exponent readers and writers have been young women much more recently than myself, or have young women in their families right now, I really would appreciate some advice.

What do you see as most important to young women right now?  I want to be authentic about my own views, which have become much more nuanced as I have aged. I am much less orthodox in my beliefs.  I find great value in the gospel as I understand it, but the Church, well, I have issues with it. I am especially sensitive to the systemic, pervasive patriarchy, which is apparent everywhere in our structure and language. Although the YW theme now says “daughters of heavenly parents…”, which I applaud, that doesn’t quite address all of my concerns.

How can I best help the girls that I now have stewardship for, with honesty and integrity and love?

Ideas, please?

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6 Responses

  1. ND says:

    If you can help them understand and believe that they can achieve and be all they want, you’d be having a wonderful influence in them, I’d say. Many young women (in general, but particularly in the church) are too constricted by ideas of womanhood that take away their freedom.

  2. Miriam says:

    I can tell you’re well on your way by not falling into the orthodoxy trap. Good for you. My advise: point them to Christ for redemption and salvation, and teach them how to have a direct, personal, living and breathing relationship with diety. No organization/leader/bishop/stake president/area authority seventy/general authority/prophet should stand in as middleman. Teach them that the arm of flesh is always fallible, so a direct line is best–no exceptions. Teach them it’s okay to say no. Don’t pressure them to fit into the “culture.” Don’t just teach them they should get personal revelation–teach them HOW. Most of all, and most importantly, love them all. Even those that are hard to love. Good luck! You’ll be great!

    • jessica says:

      I would say the opposite – don’t teach them to rely on “personal revelation”. Waiting for god to provide them with direction is going to be a long disappointing ride. Learn to make choices for yourself – not based on priesthood leaders or god – just your own personal best judgement.

      • Miriam says:

        Sounds like our personal truths are quite opposite. I believe in a higher power–asking, seeking and knocking. It is a very proactive approach with lots of my own agency and creation involved. It sounds like perhaps you don’t? (Which is perfectly fine, but just trying to understand.) I’m totally okay to agree to disagree.

  3. Ellen says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and feedback. I want to help them value themselves and each other. I think personal revelation is important, but that it comes in many different ways. Making decisions for themselves and learning about the consequences of those decisions can be a way that our paths can be revealed to us. I will do my best to help them know that there is nothing they can do that will make their heavenly parent or me “unlove” them.

  4. Guinevere says:

    Teach them to recognize small moments of peace and joy, and to start to collect what brings those feelings. Teach them to build supportive relationships with one another. Teach them how to find mentors. Teach them how to advocate for themselves and others. Teach them how to distill principles from stories and symbolism and data sets. Always show them that they are absolutely worthy of love, and that divine love is always there for them.

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