A welcome change, and one long overdue.
Sisters have been holding leadership callings in the Temple Square Mission for
years (granted it is an all sisters mission). It's a wonderful way to
include all missionaries in the mission goals and evaluation processes. How
A small step forward, but it would be so easy to do more. Being district leader,
zone leader, or assistant to the president is not a priesthood office. So
sisters could fulfill those roles just as well. That would bring equality in the
framework. With so many sisters entering into the field, a mission president
could have an elder and a sister as assistant. And a sister zone leader giving
direction to a group of elders and sisters would give a significant message to
I don't think having a sister and an elder as assistants is such a good
idea. That could lead to problems.
They're not AP's. They prostelyte as normal missionaries but are
assigned to watch out for the sisters. Think of it as co-Relief Society
@Wilf55 - not exactly accurate. Interviewing for and approving for baptism is a
priesthood key, delegated by mission president but only to Elders. Sisters do
not have that. So being in those leadership positions is a priesthood thing,
which sisters cannot do. But this is good for the sisters and will help keep
them happy and taken care of, because we all know how the Elders would rather
not, and shouldn't attend to them emotionally or physically.
Thunder struck, I agree that presently "interviewing for and approving for
baptism is a priesthood key", but many problems could be avoided if that
aspect was entrusted to the priesthood leaders of the local ward of branch. We
would have much fewer retention problems afterwards.
Wilf,I don't think the retention problems are due to district
leaders conducting the baptismal interview. If members want to interact with
new members, including a friendly interview with the new local leader, there is
nothing stopping them.
From my own perspective as a returned sister missionary maybe this will stop
some of the drama with sisters because they are not going to have that cute
elder's shoulder to cry on.
This is a very exciting development. I wonder though if they might appoint
assistants to the mission presidents wife as well. The idea of having an elder
and sister assitant to the mission president might in theory be workable, but
the creation of what would be viewed at as a male and female in the same
situation of the mission president and his wife would just create all sorts of
problems. I wonder how many training sisters the missions will have
and about how many sisters will be under each training sister. However my guess
is it will varry a lot from mission to mission depending on number of sisters
and geographical size of the mission among other factors.
Sister Trainers and increased sister focus by Mission President's wives
will magnify sister missionary effectiveness and help Elders appreciate the
power and influence of women as they serve together on Mission Councils. Will
accelerate Elders and Sisters acquiring the principles taught in
"Strengthening the Family and the Church through the Priesthood"
training currently undertaken in our families and at Church.
Claudio, one of the continuing complaints from local priesthood leaders in many
countries concerns the insufficient preparation and not-readiness of potential
converts. In their eagerness to baptize, some missionaries will baptize
investigators still smoking their "last cigarette" on their way to the
font. They will baptize people who speak another language and hardly understood
the lessons. District leaders are extremely lenient to approve of baptisms
because of the numbers pressure and their own success. Half of the converts they
"clear" for baptism are gone within a year (some within a week) because
these people were not ready for commitments they did not understand well. So
yes, retention problems are, for a large part, due to district leaders
conducting the baptismal interview.
Wilf,I know all about that concern. I spoke out against it
consistently during my own mission. The problem is more in the way the mission
counts success. Young teenagers don't want to feel like failures,
especially after getting the easy A in high school. They feel anything less
than that is unacceptable. The mission presidents and Church leaders should
find ways to change this. It's a complicated problem that involved the
whole system. It isn't easily reduced to blaming it on a district leader.
BTW, I don't see how having a sister missionary doing this
instead would alleviate the problem. In my experience, they were just as
willing to skirt the line (no pun intended) in order to get investigators
baptized, if not more so than the elders.
This is amazing. I got chicken bumps on my arms. This is a huge change on the
leadership dynamics in the missions, any current or former leader in a Mission
knows. I'm really happy about the new role of the President's wife.
On my mission the sister missionary I taught plus her companion at the time
TAUGHT the elders at specific meetings. THey were very loving, effective
missionaries. Nothing to get a little fire under the rear ends of elders that
putting a few sister missionaries around them.To those who feel this
is "tokenism", men can't go through the temple without holding the
priesthood, but women can. Men are being oppressed! EVERY male should be able
to go through the temple, this isn't fair. (No, I don't really feel
that way).I am a woman, and like what opportunities I have and
don't sit and worry about what I'm not given, and the men are. That
is the same as coveting and envy if you ask me. Regardless, whatever
opportunities are given I applaud. Women are much more efficient than men in so
many aspects, this will do nothing but good.
Those suggesting that sister missionaries should be Zone Leaders or Assistants
to the President aren't clearly understanding the priesthood
responsibilities involved in these two positions. Those leaders are involved in
interviewing, baptizing, giving priesthood blessings, etc. These newly-created
leadership positions are a perfect way to have the sisters train and care for
each other taking away that specific responsibility from the Elders.
I'm glad to see this happening. My brother-in-law is presiding over a
mission now and my little sister will be excited about these developments...they
are welcoming many new sister missionaries. As for the timing...just right...as
for thre appropriateness...just right! I sustain our leaders and trust in the
Lord's judgment...almost as much as I trust in the judgment of desnews
Now if only they could come up with a title for the mission president's
wife other than...mission president's wife.I do, however,
applaud these changes giving sister missionaries a more active role in the
leadership of the mission.
@GemmaB:First Lady of the blankety blank mission? Hahaha
I agree with Claudio! It is about time that sisters are included and given
leadership responsibilities over each other in the mission. I'm not a
feminist applauding "equal opportunity." Don't get me wrong.
It's just that there are things that are difficult for a young woman to
discuss with a young man. And, there are things a young man would just not
understand about a young woman. (see it often in marriages). Sisters have a
lot to contribute to each other and this is a great move forward to ensuring the
needs of the sisters are being met. It's wonderful!
I'm not about to say that sisters should hold the priesthood and do
everything that the men are doing, etc, simply because I'm not the
prophet.However, why is it so hard for the church to give sisters
leadership roles over men? Are we afraid that they will climb over our heads
someday?And what kind of name is sisters training leaders? Whaa? Try
harder. I can assure you that district leaders and zone leaders are not
the mission Presidents wife, has always been called the mission mother. Having
lived in Lithuania, in the mission field, I cheer to hear of seeing sister
leadership in the missionfield. I also see the need for Branch or Ward
interviews to welcome new members, and secure greater comminication in the vital
role of member fellowshipping.
One of the facts about sister missionaries is that they can be older sisters,
including some who are widows or divorced, which is not the case for male
missionaries. There will be a number of these mature sisters who can provide
their wisdom and insight to the younger sister missionaries. And building a
network of sister missionaries with their own communication line to the wife of
the mission president can help sisters get special help and encouragement that a
district leader, zone leader or even the mission president could not give as
well. The fact is that the younger generation of sister
missionaries is going to increase the number of adult women in the church with a
sense of accomplishment, heightened faith, and tested ability, who will be an
asset in any congregation they belong to. We will have better female teachers
and leaders and member missionaries. And they will accomplish even more in
education, careers and community service.
Kathy,You burst a favorite bubble. I thought that I was cute yet no
sister missionary cried on my shoulder.
I have see some suggest calling the mission president's wife the
"mission matriarch", in fact I have done that. She is also at times
called the "mission mom". I have also known people who refered to the
time when they presided over the mission as being "mission presidents"
in the plural, suggesting both the husband and wife is president.Personally though I think the best term is "mission presidentess", and
think I will start using the term.
I had a mission companion who had smoked his last cigarette far less than the
reccomended wait time before being baptized, but he was a faithful and diligent
member. On the other hand I have known people who had exceeded all the
reccomended wiat times and still feel away.There may be some cases
where missionaries are too lenient in interviews, but there are also cases where
adding stumbling blocks to conversion kills a growing faithfulness to the gospel
needlessly. There are many reasons that people leave the church.
To lay the blame on the missionaries makes no sense at all. Finding people to
introduce to the Church is members responsibility, fellowshipping is members
responsibility. Entering the church is a priesthood function, and the keys are
held by the mission president and he can only delegate these keys to his direct
subordinates. That does not include bishops. Some missionaries may make
mistakes in interviews, but it is far too easy to blame others instead of
accepting that we ourselves need to do more to reach out and lift others.
Actually from what I have seen recently I get the impression that at least in my
ward the bishop regularly does welcome interviews with new converts. This is
slightly more likely with men than women, but I get the impression the bishop
regularly does it with both.
The Mission President is ordained to receive the Priesthood keys of the Mission.
The Bishop does hold the keys for the ward of the new convert too. If assigned,
mission leaders do not have to hold the keys for Baptism interviews.The President's Assistants, the Mission Elders, and the Sister
Missionaries are all "Set-Apart" by the laying on of hands under the
direction of the Melchizedek Priesthood. They all work and magnify the
Priesthood.That leaves the Mission President's Wife. I hope she
is not "Set-Apart" as the Mission President's Wife. They are both