the pace of change

For those of you who aren't LDS or otherwise haven't heard, this Saturday the church president a policy change: men can now serve missions starting at age 18 (used to be 19), and women can now serve missions starting at 19 (used to be 21).

Everyone's buzzing about it.  Young women are super stoked about the possibilities, some older women are excited but a little bitter that the change was only made recently.  I'm personally excited to see the next generations of girls, possibly even my own daughters, grow up thinking that a mission is a serious possibility, not just something to be done if you don't get married in college and don't know what to do with your life.  (I'm not saying that was the actual reason for most women missionaries, but it was a common perception.)

I think this is a great step toward equalizing men and women in the church.  While it isn't perfect equal (women can still only serve 18 months as opposed to men's 24, and there's still the 18/19 discrepancy), it's a much, much better policy.

It's got me think about the pace of change, though.  At the press conference after the announcement, when asked why weren't the ages set to be equal for men and women, Elder Holland responded "one miracle at a time." N pointed out the quote from Winterbuzz on FMH, that sums up the skeptical view pretty well (which I share):
While I am happy that this change makes so many people happy, I can’t help but wonder that if this is the most we can expect from modern day prophets in the way of revelation, that’s sort of depressing, isn’t it? We must be so spiritually hungry that even the smallest shift in policy seems heaven sent.
Each generation experiences the church's policies and politics differently.  My parents experienced the policy change that African descendants could receive the priesthood, but also the anti-ERA push.  The next generation, like Joanna Brooks, experienced the September Six in the heat of their coming into real adulthood.  My generation experienced Prop 8 in that same heat, and now we have this policy change to add to the list of experiences.

Just looking at the list, it seems like we're focusing on smaller and smaller changes or policies.  This makes sense, because--never mind, I'm not going to go into detail on the parallels between policy changes and simulated annealing.  You can make them yourself, if you care enough.

Anyway, I hope to see more equalizing progress.  That's all.

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