Nineteen (Part II)


A post of thoughts about the General Conference announcement, including quotes from news articles, blog posts, Facebook comment threads, etc. My commentary is in italics.


"This changes the narrative for young Mormon women in pretty fundamental ways. It uncouples church service from the expectation of marriage and motherhood and teaches young women they should take responsibility for knowing their faith." - Joanna Brooks (via)

Yes! If I had known a mission was on my horizon at age 19, I would've taken seminary--and my spiritual development in general--more seriously when I was a teenager. 

"[The change symbolizes] equal opportunity to gain both cultural and spiritual educations, serve in our external communities, and put those experiences ahead of a rush to marriage." - Neylan McBaine (founder of this)

I'm envious of Brock's cultural experiences on his mission to Peru (especially when he talks about serving in the jungle). Obviously that's not the point of a mission, but let's be real--that "cultural education" is transformative and shapes missionaries' lives in concrete ways. I also like how Neylan brings up equal opportunity in spiritual educations. Brock studied the scriptures ALL day, EVERY day, for two solid years. I'll always be jealous of that. 

"I’m delighted with the potential that this has created for Young Women to be thinking about another option to bridge the gap between adolescence and womanhood. One that feels relevant and meaningful. This will hopefully wash over into the new youth curriculum, nudge out the emphasis on marriage, and push those domestic conversations into Relief Society where they belong . . . It signals an interest in the young women of the church, who up until now have been largely neglected in comparison to the boys. It doesn't ask them to lag behind the boys by two years, it doesn't tell them that they are less useful, and it pays attention to them as more than simply brides and breeders, and only missionaries by default." - Gina Colvin (via)

"My favorite thing about this change (okay, my favorite thing changes like every 30 seconds for this): more girls going on missions means more girls who can receive their endowments more than two weeks before they get married - which means they'll be better prepared for making such huge decisions...and they might even be able to see a temple wedding before getting married. Amazing." - Laura Taylor

Absolutely. My temple sealing would've been more meaningful had I not received my endowments just days prior. I grasped the magnitude of the decision, but everything was so new and confusing.

The following excerpt is from a recent post on Joanna Brooks' Ask Mormon Girl. It resonates deeply with me. 
Let’s say you grew up a serious young Mormon girl.  When you were three or four years old, you learned to stand at and speak from the pulpit.  By the time you had turned twelve, you marked your scriptures front to back, and you learned all the doctrine.  And when you prayed, you felt alive, you felt important.  You realized God was far more important than any of the other tin-can prizes or Prom Queen tinsel your girlhood held for you.  Your faith gave you a sense of purpose.  A sense that you too could go into the woods like Joseph Smith and get answers. A sense that you too could build up Zion. 
You turn eighteen, and you watch the boys you grew up get ready to get in the game.  And you are just like them.  Full of righteous foolishness and hopeful energy—believing you can make a difference in this world. If you can figure out what your purpose is.  Because you know in your soul you were made for faith.  From the time you were four years old, you knew how to talk from a pulpit.  From the time you were twelve, you had your scriptures marked from front to back.  And now you are the Mormon girl who carries her scriptures to class at BYU.  And fasts on weekdays.  And prays just because you like the way it feels. Because this is what makes you feel alive—loving God. This is what matters. 
Coach, put me in–somewhere, anywhere. 
Not yet.  And maybe you should think about getting married. 
I recognize the sadness you feel—it’s a hunger you may have never known how to even name:  the profound hunger to be useful.  Mormonism is a pragmatic faith tradition, and there is no higher honor than being useful to the work. Sweet is the work.  And some Mormon women, we go our whole lives and never feel that we've really been useful in all the ways we could have been—might, mind, strength, and all that.  The hunger, it runs deep. 
Because yes, we make some pretty darn dedicated mothers.  Just like Mormon men make for some pretty darn dedicated fathers.  But deep inside many of us are still the girls who have been taking our turn at the pulpit since we were four.  And we are still the girls who have their scriptures marked back to front.  And we are still the girls who love God first and best.  And we just want to get out and do the work.  Because we feel in our bones that this is what we were made for.

This is  what we're made for. I'm glad people have noticed.


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