One of our commenters had some things to say that I’m not competent to comment on other to say that they were interesting and that the comments are really the start of a conversation that I would love to hear more about from people who know more than I do.
If I had the background or knowledge I’d have titled this something like “what could we do about …”
Without more, here is the comment (shared with permission). I invite your thoughts and feedback.
@chadwick and @bigsky, those are both really great reasons that explain *why* eliminating YM presidencies was such a disaster. It’s not just a bandwidth issue but a structural and hierarchy issue between both the YW Pres and bishopric and the YM advisors and bishopric. So interesting. An organizational and ownership nightmare. We have a really excellent ward, deep leadership bench in our ward (like, half the YM advisors are former mission presidents) and the program is still shambles. And I was super frustrated in the YW presidency trying to figure out who I was supposed to work with too.
BigSky, your comment made me think of another “disaster” – one lurking under the surface, hidden, so a great disaster movie! The problem of ADULTS. In the church we seem to have this idea that our lives are make it or break it as teenagers. And yes, the teen years can be predictive of church activity as young adults and young adulthood historically as been when we’ve seen activity drop off. And yes, teens can do some dumb stuff that has lifelong implications. They are important years.
But you’ve hit on something so important. Guess what. Being a teenager feels hard. But being an adult is so freaking hard too. And I’ve heard adult after adult say that parenting adult children is harder than parenting teenaged children ever was. And that problems just get more and more complicated and stakes get higher and higher. But we as a church seem to utterly ignore adulthood. We ignore it as a developmental stage. We act as thought once you’ve served your mission and married in the temple, poof, you’re done! You’re fully grown and developed and all that’s left to do is “endure to the end” and raise a bunch of kids to go do the exact same thing you did.
But it turns out that being an adult is hard, that we don’t stop changing or having problems, that a lot of mental illness and physical and emotional problems just get worse not better as we get older, etc. But I feel like we focus SO much on children and youth at Church to the detriment of adults and so perhaps one lurking disaster is “adults.”
And even when being an adult isn’t super hard, guess what? Many healthy adults grow out of “for the strength of the youth”. Pretending that it’s a useful set of “principles” (except it’s rules not principles) for a 40 yr old woman is insulting and stupid and vapid and spiritually stunted. Pretending that general conference talks are engaging for the millionth time is useless. We don’t offer any mature spiritual models for mature faith stages at all, and curious and inquiring minds will eventually go elsewhere for spiritual sustenance.
So for all those teens leaving (who we are failing anyway) I know a whole boatload of middle aged women checking out and guess what happens to their kids?
So yes we should totally do a disaster movie where everyone was so focused on the teens (but doing all the wrong things) that they didn’t realize that the REAL problem was the mothers (who were bored, angry, and underutilized in a sexist church) until it was too late and all the mothers had left, along with all the people of color and feminist men and proLGBT folks and then all that was left was a church full of old white conservative men. And then they turned into zombies and ate each other.
Please share your thoughts and comments.