Poll: The Quaint Tradition of Sacrament Talk Gender Order
In Caroline’s post, Empowering Women on the Ward Level, she made several practical suggestions that bishops could implement in their own wards to promote gender equity within the parameters of current church policies. One of these suggestions was to alternate the gender of the final speaker at Sacrament meeting.
My current ward almost always begins Sacrament meeting with a youth speaker, places a female speaker in the middle of the agenda, and finishes the meeting with a male speaker. This consistent pattern implies a spiritual hierarchy to me: inexperienced youth first, moderately accomplished women next, and glorious priesthood bearers as the grand finale. Moreover, the man and woman are frequently a married couple and the first speaker of the two (the woman) is asked to spend part of her speaking time “introducing the family,” which means the man gets more time to actually expound doctrine, further contributing to this apparent hierarchy.
I do not know where this tradition comes from. (Do any of you? Please share in the comments.) However, I hope my ward is unique in its continued adherence to this inequitable tradition. Let’s find out…