Sunday, October 16, 2011


A recent New York Times article profiles Mitt Romney's LDS leadership side in Boston. He was a bishop and stake president there, and, as is to be expected, people had both positive and negative things to say about his time spent volunteering for the church in leadership positions. Overall the article is more positive than negative, and it's clearly written (or edited) by someone very familiar with the church.

One of the quotes in the article that caught my eye was this (from Sister Dushku, who I believe is currently the Relief Society President of the stake, and whose daughter all Joss Whedon fans should know).

“Mitt is the type who liked to be called Bishop Romney or President Romney."

While I'm fine with calling bishops and stake presidents by their title, I'm not sure how I'd feel being in their position and being called by a title. (Just one of many reasons I hope I'm never bishop or stake president...)

I currently teach 11-year-old boys, but in my last ward I was in a leadership position, and was occasionally called "President." I was okay if the stake presidency called me "president," but I strongly disliked it when members of my ward did. It seemed to create a false barrier between me and them. I wanted to be friends with those in the ward, and calling me "president" may have lent me some undeserved authority but it did not help my goal of becoming closer to those I was responsible for.

And notice how the scriptures always refer to spiritual leaders by their first name, generally without any kind of title...


Jenni said...

I like "Brother Joseph" (for cases where some formality seems warranted).
I agree on "President" feeling awkward, at least, I think I do...but the title is never used for women, not even those who are presidents. Have you ever noticed in general conference that there are Elder (apostles), Bishop (whoever it is) with a few President (whoever)...but it is always "Sister Beck" even though she is the general RS president. What's with that? The church has such an egalitarian gospel, it frustrates me that we have such sexist habits.

Tim said...

The LDS newsroom refers to her as President Beck.

Also, I'm pretty sure those in the Sunday School presidency, etc. are referred to regularly as "brother" and not "president."

I agree that there should be more women speaking and having leadership roles at the higher levels (and possibly lower levels as well). As long as they drop the primary voice.

I'd also like to see fewer attorneys and businessmen and more people from other walks of life. Diversity of thought is important, and I'm worried some of that diversity is getting lost. The First Presidency is pretty diverse, but the rest of them aren't as much.

Katrina said...

I am SO glad sisters are referred to as simply "sister"! I would feel very uncomfortable being called by a title and want most to just feel that intimate connection of sisterhood with all the women of the Church. We are all the same in God's eyes anyway.