Don't forget any of that!
This post has some of my thoughts about what's wrong with Young Women and Relief Society. There. I said it. DON'T HATE ME!!!!
As I said, I have a testimony and I believe the programs of the church are inspired. But I have always seen a kind of flaw in the church programs for female members. I realize there are people out there who cry foul at everything that even suggests gender discrimination. I am not one of those people. I have been the beneficiary of many blessings because of Young Women and Relief Society. But I do see room for improvement. Here are my thoughts.
I grew up with 5 brothers. I was always jealous, or at least discouraged, by the constant recognition my brothers received in cub and boy scouts while I got nothing. I mean we both got experience. We both made crafts and sang songs and played games. But the boys had monthly pack meetings with pins and badges. They had day camps and camp outs.
Of course I went to Girl's Camp each year. I earned my Young Womanhood Recognition. I gained a testimony through participating in youth activities. I really did have a wonderful time.
During my teenage years my mom was called as Relief Society President. She taught me to love Relief Society. But as I watched my brothers go Home Teaching I wondered why I wasn't being given the same training as a Visiting Teacher. I still wonder this.
|YW Values Magnet|
Then they turn 18 and...nothing. (76 hits at Deseret Book, most of them novels or manuals!) Oh, sure, Relief Society has a Declaration but I don't know it. We have a seal
but we don't talk about it.
Our motto "Charity Never Faileth" is the only thing we really carry around with us. We sing "As Sisters In Zion" ad nauseum because it reminds us of our purpose and we have nothing else to sing.
We don't have necklaces or journals. No bracelets or lip balm to remind us of who we are. After some creative searching I found a couple of rings at CTR Ring Shop. We don't have Relief Society Camp and our activities and conferences can be kind of...stuffy. Don't get me wrong, Relief Society is a haven and an inspiration for me. I have personally grown more than I ever imagined because of Relief Society. But for a young, single woman, fresh out of the "fun and hip" Young Women's program Relief Society is seriously a drag!
It takes a lot of maturity and patience to find your place at the grown-up table. It might come as a crash-course as you are suddenly Visiting Teacher to a mother with screaming kids or a an elderly sister who needs help. That young woman is likely ill-equipped to handle the sudden demand to serve. So she might shirk her duties and go off looking to be filled as she was in Young Women instead of filling up those in real need. If she is determined she will press through the awkward years and sooner or later arrive at the point of belonging among the other women. If she isn't so determined she will very likely walk away and might not return.
This is a serious problem. But what can be done?
I find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
I delight in service and good works.
I love life and learning.
I stand for truth and righteousness.
I sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
I rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand my divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.
I means more when you say "I" doesn't it? It is easy to make excuses but the truth is we are all aprt of the paln. It isn't just the Releif Society Presidnecy who needs to reach out to other sisters. We are "united in our devotion to Jesus Christ." In serving one another we serve him. Never, NEVER forget that!
Sister Julie B. Beck has some wonderful insights into this subject in this training video for new Relief Society sisters.