10 March 2011

Walking on Clouds

For those that don't know, I met with a General Authority (GA) yesterday. He is a friend's uncle, and I got the hook-up. I know that I'm lucky to have a friend with an uncle who is a GA, because this is not a normal occurrence for most Church members.

Thank you, dear friend. You totally made my day...make that life!

The meeting was more than I could have hoped for. We talked about how it's hard to be a single adult in the Church.

I'm not talking in-college-single-adult. I'm talking career-holding-single-adult over the age of about 25. Up until then, singleness is tolerated fairly well. At my age, it's looked on with pity, uncertainty, and even disdain. (Not by all, but all three have been directed towards me in one way or another.)

People like me are given advice:
  • Well, if you just did ..... I bet you'd find a guy.
  • You know I bet it's because guy's find you ..... so if you were less ..... I bet you'd find a guy.
  • You can be a mom too, we're meant to be nurturers and you can nurture without being married and having your own kids!
Thanks, but none of this is good advice and to all of you, I call your bullshit. Thanks, but none of this is actually helpful to anyone who is single. It makes us secretly hate you. Clearly, you're married and oh-so-incredibly-happy and that makes you an expert on getting married and being happy even if I'm not married! Neither of those is true.

Anyway, I digress. The Elder I met with, told me that he agrees that the plight of the singles isn't great. That the Church once upon a time had a council who's sole purpose in being was to make sure our needs were being addressed and taken care of. This council hasn't existed in about over 30 years. He'd like to see it reinstated. I would too.

We talked about how I feel it's harder to be female and single in the Church. (I'm not trying to minimize the plight of the single men, I promise.) You see, there's a difference in what the young men are taught and what the young women are taught. Go ahead, do a quick comparison. I'll wait.....

See? We are taught, as young women when we are most impressionable, that we are only meant to marry and have babies and be great home makers. There are a few lessons on choosing vocations, getting educations, being independent...but we all know that we won't need those lessons. We're to be wives! mothers! and we'll rock at it.

Until it doesn't happen.

I pointed out this discrepancy to the Elder, and he said "that scope is much too narrow! I agree with you."

He wants me to talk to the Relief Society General President about my current situation. (And others like me.) He wants me to talk to the Priesthood leader who leads the council over the Primary, Young Men, Young Women, Relief Society, Elder's Quorum about possibly changing the curriculum to be more inclusive...without diminishing our divine roles.

He's asked me to sit down and figure out what I would have liked to have been taught, now with hindsight in my favor. And present that to those who can make a difference.

I can't even tell you what this feels like. Some emotions: nervous, happy, scared, ecstatic, joy, terror, freedom, validation, vindication..........

I feel like God is smiling down on me. Like He is opening up a path to me that I couldn't have dreamed of walking down. It's as if He is saying, "look, this is why you've done all you've done and why things were the way they were. I needed you to do this."

But most of all. I feel like my grandma is proud of me.

I miss you Grandma. This is for you.

4 comments:

bradcarmack said...

Wow, that is GREAT! I can tell how meaningful this is for you.

I'm glad he manifested understanding and great concern about this issue and the welfare of those in your position. I have noted some of the unfortunate effects of the pro-natalist, woman-are-to-be-mothers emphasis in church culture and teachings (http://bradcarmack.blogspot.com/2010/04/reflections-of-mormon-feminist-role-of.html and http://bradcarmack.blogspot.com/2010/08/sunstone-symposium-reflecting-on.html). This includes the unnecessary stigma and stereotypical responses to you evidenced by the three advice pieces you articulate.

I agree as to your assessments of YM v. YW teachings.

I'm quite glad about the prospects of making curriculum proposals. I needn't tell you that you are likely to encounter resistance to any change as well as opposition to de-emphasizing the role of motherhood (though I feel there are a number of justified reasons for doing so, e.g. the relative importance of emphasizing our childship to God and extra-filial duties to Him). I add my view that the current scope is overly narrow. I have some opinions on why that might be the case, but that is likely another discussion.

"He's asked me to sit down and figure out what I would have liked to have been taught, now with hindsight in my favor. And present that to those who can make a difference.

I can't even tell you what this feels like. Some emotions: nervous, happy, scared, ecstatic, joy, terror, freedom, validation, vindication..........

I feel like God is smiling down on me. Like He is opening up a path to me that I couldn't have dreamed of walking down. It's as if He is saying, "look, this is why you've done all you've done and why things were the way they were. I needed you to do this."

But most of all. I feel like my grandma is proud of me.

I miss you Grandma. This is for you."
Awesome awesome awesome!

Karen Ella said...

WWWOOOOWWWWW. Good gravy, woman?!!? Sheesh. What an opportunity. I think I'd be nervous that I would let my negative, vindictive self take hold...I guess, I'd beware of that. You know, the evil "girly" side of us that wants to see everyone else suffer like we are sometimes made to feel that we have suffered (Satan's doing). Whew...pray. Pray a lot that you can say what He wants you to, in order to make it right for OH SO MANY of us in your same situation.

PS. I'm proud of you too! :)

Xan said...

@bradcarmack:

For me, I don't need a de-emphasis entirely. There are so much better ways to teach it.

Eve - choosing to be the mother of all living and joining with Adam to work with God to bring God's children to earth so that they can be as God some day. And we as women, join her in her willingness to sacrifice for His work here. Because without us, His work would not go on.

Esther - married to the King, willing to stand up to him and say "hey, this isn't right. We need to fix this." And his willingness to listen to her and fix things. Shows how marriages could be partnerships and the woman's opinion is needed and important to keep us on the right path to God.

I could go on.

The point is: teach motherhood and family relationships with scripture and doctrine. Teach girls to be strong and independent and healthy roles.

So I'm hoping, that framed in this way, it'll make it easier for them to swallow and make practical changes.

Taren said...

i want an update on this please.