A couple of months ago a sister missionary stood up at the podium during F&T meeting. She explained that she had only been in our ward a short time (a month maybe?), because she had actually been called to be a temple square missionary in SLC. Apparently they have a new program of sending the sisters out into the field for a short time so that they will understand what goes on on the other end with all of those visitors who later receive missionary visits. I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that this young woman was heading to do temple square work. It is widely perceived to be the case that the sisters selected to work temple square show a strong tendency to be (a) pretty and (b) mulitcultural, and she was both pretty and Asian. This leads to some questions/comments I have about this practice:
1. Is it really true that you’ve got to be physically attractive to be called to work temple square? Is it possible that the widely perceived beauty of these sisters is just a fluke, or that the temple square mission is really representative of the entire worldwide universe of sisters vis-a-vis physical beauty? I’m presuming not, but I’d love to see arguments in the comments below making the case.
2. One can occasionally point to a counterexample, to a sister who is not strikingly beautiful called to that mission. Fluke, or an intentional practice designed to preserve plausible deniability that only pretty sisters are targeted for that service?
3. So how are these sisters chosen? Is there a committee of silver-haired white men, wearing shite shirts, crimson ties and conservative suits, sitting around a conference table in the Church Office Building poring over the pictures of young women in their early twenties judging and debating their respective prettiness quotients? (Feel free to rate such a procedure from 0 to 10 on the creepiness scale.)
4. Coming at it from the other direction, is it really a bad thing to funnel the prettiest sisters to temple square? You’ve probably seen those John Stossel reports for 20/20 where they show the difference in reaction between beautiful women stuck with car trouble on the road (lots of cars stopping and helping) versus less striking women (cars whizz by, no help to be had). Is the Church justified in simply bowing to this reality that the beauty of the sisters conducting temple square tours will make a material difference in the reactions of visitors to the Church itself?
What are your thoughts and perspectives on this practice?