Boys and Girls and God

Here's a side-by-side comparison of the LDS Faith in God handbook for boys and for girls.  I've marked stuff that appears in the boy manual in blue and the girl manual in red.  The boy manual had some typos that I didn't include.  I'm a little torn: if women can't have the priesthood, is it nicer to make a separate manual so you don't have to see the differences, or does that cause a bigger rift between the genders?  I can see it go either way; on the one hand separation allows each gender to be strengthened as much as possible...there's something to be said for forgetting about issues until they essentially disappear.  On the other hand, separation perpetuates the problem of inequality; if we have to deal with it, it might get fixed faster.

Entertain young children with songs or games you have learned or made yourself. Show that you know how to care for and protect/nurture a young child.  Saw that one comin'.

Learn how to budget and save money. Discuss why it is important to faithfully pay our tithing and how Heavenly Father blesses us when we do (see 3 Nephi 24:10–11). Pay your tithing and begin saving for a mission/an education.  I'm glad it's not a hope chest for the girls.  In all seriousness, though, this seems a little unfair to the guys.  Were we not moving away from the mentality that every man must serve a mission?

“The Priesthood of Aaron … is an appendage to the greater, or the Melchizedek Priesthood, and has power in administering outward ordinances.”/“Stand ye in holy places, and be not moved, until the day of the Lord come.”

Complete the following activities while you are 11 years old. They will help you prepare to receive the Aaronic Priesthood and become a righteous young man/to become a righteous young woman and to participate in the Young Women Personal Progress program.  Calling first, little gents.

Learn about the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood (see D&C 13,D&C 107:20, and Joseph Smith—History 1:68–73).

After studying the thirteenth article of faith, make a list of things that are uplifting and virtuous. Discuss with a parent or leader how you can seek after these things.  Is this just filling in the blank page where the Priesthood stuff goes or is it saying something about differing expectations for the virtue of females?

Read D&C 20:57–60 and Aaronic Priesthood: Fulfilling Our Duty to God [Deacon], page 7. Discuss with a parent or leader the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood and what it means to do your duty to God.

Talk with the Beehive class presidency or a member of the Young Women presidency about the purpose and importance of the Young Women program.

Talk with the deacons quorum presidency about the role of the deacons quorum. Write in your journal how you can serve the Lord as a member of a deacons quorum/you stand for truth and righteousness.  'Cause guys just stand for the Man.

Read D&C 88:77–80, 118 and D&C 130:19. Discuss with a parent or Primary leader how important a good education is and how it can help strengthen you as a priesthood holder in your home and family and in the Church.  Men are strengthened by education.  Women strengthen their families.  Hmm...

Children who complete the requirements in the guidebook can earn the Faith in God Award.   Whatever.

In countries where Scouting is part of the Church program, boys work on Faith in God along with Cub Scouting. Many of the Cub Scout activities can fulfill requirements for the Faith in God Award. Completion of all activities in this guidebook marked with a Œ qualifies a boy for the Scouting Religious Square Knot patch.  This makes some sense.  I mean, I still wish that girls did the scouting stuff, but whatever.

Parents may help their sons and daughters complete the activities in the guidebooks/this guidebook, especially where it is difficult for children to gather for Primary activity days.  Guys can do everything.  Girls can only be girls.

Each year, the bishopric meets with all 11-year-old boys and their parents to help them understand the importance of the priesthood and strengthen their commitment to prepare to receive it. Members of the Primary presidency also attend the meeting.  
We do?  Good to know.


Petra said...

This is really fascinating. I'm especially intrigued by the differences with respect to even learning about the priesthood--do you remember that old BCC post by Natalie about how she was never really taught much about the priesthood works because she was a woman and wouldn't have to use it? Even now I feel like my knowledge of general church administration and rules is less than Mike's simply because he had to be taught all this stuff as a teenager and I didn't. I guess this is saying, are we just further disadvantaging girls when we don't even make them read about the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood?

ajbc said...

I think so. A twelve year old boy probably knows more than I do about the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood, let alone its duties.

I vote for actual education about the priesthood for women and education about RS and women's history for the men-folk.

amber_mtmc said...

I really like your comparison and the notes you have taken. I am going to have to think on this a little bit more...

One rhetorical question I have (meaning it is for the Big Guys, aka the Brethren), why don't girls have an interview? Isn't moving into puberty just as important for girls as for boys?

ajbc said...

Amber, I like your point about girls having interviews. I remember having annual ones in YW, but not quite like the boys. Again, for girls it was all about worthiness and little discussion about change/transitions or responsibilities.

Petra, thanks for cross-posting this at ZD.

Rachael said...

agreed with all ya'll.

and i get irritated by the whole mission/education/marriage goal that seems to be the end result of the YW/YM program, especially because for women it is MARRIAGE, then maybe education, and rarely ever a mission; and men it's MISSION, then education and marriage. Aren't all 3 important to every member of the church, regardless of gender? Why are we not all encouraged to explore our options regarding all 3?

As a youth, I remember there being a distinct undertone when discussing girls who serve missions. Basically that they are for the girls who can't hook a husband and maybe aren't going to school or can't find a job. A last resort at the age of 21. I certainly don't feel that way now, but I am sad that I grew up with that feeling and therefore never seriously thought about a mission until after I was married.