Sunday, December 30, 2012

Hometeaching. And how things have changed.

So, I'm officially part of the most liberal hometeaching companionship in Shelley, and possibly all of Eastern Idaho (or at least north of Pocatello).

I suspected as much when I found out my hometeaching companion works for the Idaho Falls Arts Council, and when he continued to show up to church with a non-conformist color of shirt (non-conformist in Idaho, at least).  But he's confirmed it.

Now, if I can only get out of primary so I can attend some of more ridiculous classes that sometimes happen in our ridiculously conservative small town, if only to support him and his wife.  Like today, where the subject in joint PH/RS was "how is today different than 90 years ago."  His wife answered "women can vote."  Apparently many in the class grumbled about that answer (most likely because it was a positive answer and they just wanted to spew negative ones).  Me?  I would have asked, right out of the gate, "Are you asking how are things better or how are things worse?"  Because honestly, there's a lot of both.  My second question would have been "why 90 years instead of 80?"  I'm glad I wasn't a young man during World War I, the Great Depression, or World War II.  Or for any of the other wars with a draft.  And a number like 90 is, quite frankly, cherry-picking.  In fact, according to Wikipedia, for the U.S. the 1920's, 1950's, and 1990's were the three decades with the most economic prosperity in the U.S. in the last 100 years.

Had I responded with actual answers, to combat the wave of negative answers (all except "women can vote" were negative), I would have discussed the plummeting of childhood diseases and death rates.  Or I could have talked about how horrible conditions were in Germany.  My great-grandfather (effectively my fifth grandparent, as I was one of the oldest great-grandchildren and he lived a long life, with a healthy mind until the end) was serving a mission in Germany in 1923, 90 years ago.  Let's just say the end of WWI had not left Germany in a very good state, and things were entirely miserable.  Far worse than the Great Depression here.  Had things been half-decent there, it's unlikely Hitler would've been able to gain the popularity to rise to power.

Or I could have mentioned all kinds of other things.

In any case, it's good to have an ally (with his wife, two). 

Friday, December 14, 2012


So, there's apparently a movement to get LDS women to wear pants (dress pants) to church on Sunday.  This Sunday.  And for men to wear something purple (such as a tie).


I've heard all kinds of reasons for it, from supporters and detractors.  The most extreme being that it shows slack-wearing women want to be just like men, hold the priesthood, etc.

The most mild being that women are tired of being frowned on for showing up in dress slacks, and sometimes even told that nice dress pants are inappropriate.

And the conversation gets lost, as people incorrectly assume one or the other, and incorrectly assume that everyone behind the movement supports the extreme, or everyone against the movement opposes the mild.

It's true.  A few women are apparently doing it because of the extreme.  And plenty of people are doing it because the cultural norm of no pants is just stupid.  (For the record, so is the cultural norm of only white shirts, a norm which I plan on "protesting," like I've done a few times in the past two or three months, on Sunday).

And those many, many men and women who aren't doing it because of the extreme, but believe the pants are just a symbol--they're asking for the right to have a woman give a prayer in General Conference, for women to be in Sunday School Presidencies (unlike just a few years ago, they can't even be the secretary any more) and other entirely non-doctrinal changes in rights and responsibilities.  None of which require that women hold the priesthood.

And of course I'm sure there will be many women wearing pants and many men wearing purple who are doing so for reasons entirely unrelated to this whole drama.

So don't assume you know people's reasons for wearing slacks, purple, or a colored shirt.  Because if you do there's a good chance you're assuming too much.  And we always know what happens when you assume...