1. I’ve read Sister Dalton’s talk, “A Return to Virtue.” Here ’tis, for anyone else who hasn’t read it. You should. It’s good.
2. I know the definition of virtue. It has several meanings, including–but not limited to!–chastity.
2a. I realize that “virtue” as a synonym for “chastity” has been around for a long time and that the LDS church didn’t just make it up.
2b. Obviously, “virtue” does not only mean “chastity,” or Jesus sensing the virtue had gone out of him when the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of his garment would be, in a word, creepy.
3. I know that young men are also told to be chaste. At least that’s what I hear. Technically, I’m not invited to their secret priesthood meetings.
4. The above was a joke. I know the priesthood meetings aren’t really secret, and I’d be perfectly welcome at them if I were a man.
5. I like chastity. Chastity = Good. (Also, = Virtue!) I’m completely, totally, fully in favor of teaching it to young women, as the General YW Presidency has recently (with the addition of the value “Virtue”) encouraged us. I’m totally against de-emphasizing it. That would be crazy!
6. I assume that when the Church goes to the trouble of altering a program–requiring all kinds of inconvenient changes to manuals, signs, rules & regulations, and general mode of doing things–there must be a compelling reason. If the compelling reason isn’t immediately apparent to me, I start searching for that compelling reason.
6a. I don’t search for that compelling reason within the confines of my own brain (or, for that matter, within the confines of any other part of my anatomy you might have suspected my last post was pulled out of). I study the material the church has offered.
6b. Have you read the press release that I went to all the trouble of linking to?
7. The explicitly-stated motivation behind adding “Virtue” to the list of YW values was to help young women to become temple-worthy.
7a. The explicit delineation of what “Virtue” was meant to entail included “chastity” and the undefined-and-therefore-open-to-interpretation “high moral standards.”
7a1. “High moral standards” would seem, to my mind, to include “chastity.” Why specifically mention chastity and only specifically chastity–i.e., make no specific mention of any other specific “virtue”–if chastity were not a particular and primary concern?
7a2. Aside from garden-variety inactivity, what do you think is most likely to prevent a young woman with a testimony from being “temple-worthy”? Smoking? Illegally downloading music from the internet? Publishing a controversial article in Dialogue? Embezzlement of tithing funds? ….?
7b. If chastity is important enough to be the ONLY specific “virtue” (small “v”) mentioned in the explanation of what “Virtue” (big “v”) is all about, can we not assume that a desire to re-emphasize chastity is a major component behind making this particular change in the YW program?
7b1. Is it so hard to believe that in this day and age the church might need to re-emphasize chastity?
7b2. Given the specific need to re-emphasize chastity, why can’t we just go ahead and say “chastity”?
8. I’m not finished yet!
No, for real, I’m not finished. I’m supposed to be making a salad for a funeral today (that sounds weird, but I think you know what I mean), but here I am on the interwebs instead–why? Because I care.
I’ve been giving this a great deal of thought, ever since the Virtue was first announced, but particularly the last few hours since I’ve been awake. I’m coming at this from a practical standpoint. I have strong feelings about using words appropriately. But frankly, I’m just curious how a young woman striving to earn her YW Recognition Award is supposed to differentiate Virtue from any of the other seven values. I’ve been in Young Women as a young woman, and I’ve served in Young Women as a leader, and I realize that “value experiences” often overlap. But why add a whole new value requiring additional value experiences unless there’s something peculiar and/or unique to this new value? If Virtue is just a big smorgasboard of goodness and not specifically chastity-oriented, how does a value experience for Virtue differ from a value experience for, say, Integrity? Or Good Works? Or Choice and Accountability? I assume that the church didn’t make these changes because they thought the young women were slackers and needed more busy work to earn their medallions. There’s got to be a purpose. So help me understand.
Here is the Personal Progress manual. I don’t know how to link to a particular page in a PDF file or if it’s even possible, and I don’t care because I should really be making a salad right now. The updated version including Virtue isn’t online yet, unfortunately, but Integrity starts on page 54.
I will have the moral courage
to make my actions consistent
with my knowledge of right and wrong.
Read the required and suggested value experiences. Which of them, if any, is inappropriate for Virtue, if we are to use Virtue’s broadest definition? I’m very curious to see what they come up with in the new guidebook for Virtue, but as I said, that information is as yet unavailable. (At least it’s unavailable to those of us with inferior Googling skillz.) I welcome, with open arms, any clarifying information that anyone else may have.