Invisible and Overqualified

“Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies” is a statement often used in Mormondom to give us hope that our volunteer workforce will be able to fulfill callings if they rely on the Lord. It’s a fine sentiment, one that should be humbling and aspirational all at once. But what about when a calling requires specific qualifications, such as a certification or degree, to be able to perform that role? Well, in those cases we are a bit more specific in whom we call. I noticed decades ago that our stake had called someone to the role of financial auditor who had no financial acumen, despite the fact that there were women in the stake who were CPAs and had the right qualifications; however, it was deemed a “priesthood” calling for some mysterious reason, so these women were not considered, essentially invisible to those extending the callings. That was decades ago, though, and we’ve entered a new era of gender inclusiveness, right?

Perhaps not.

A recent search of missionary assignments on yielded this result:

There is apparently a “High Need” for senior missionary couples who can provide legal support in various global assignments. When the search for opportunities for Sisters is done, though, no such opportunities exist:

So either “legal counsel” is deemed a “priesthood responsibility” for some mysterious reason, or whoever is responsible for these assignments can’t fathom that a woman could possess these qualifications and has automatically excluded them from consideration, even though a “high need” exists. This is a huge missed opportunity given how many single LDS sisters (and married ones) have achieved higher education and would love to serve in capacities that utilize their full range of skills.

I remember an incident that happened when I was on my mission almost thirty years ago. My companion and I had flown in from another island for our mission conference, and we had been assigned to stay overnight in the mission office to catch our morning flight. It was strange to be in the mission office at night when it was vacant, and I walked around, looking at the conference room and the board of assignments, thinking about how much I would enjoy being a mission president, making decisions, addressing problems, handling transfers, helping missionaries deal with relationship issues, organizing this important work. Almost as quickly as the thought occurred to me, I had the realization that no matter where my talents and skills and interests lay, I would never be able to be considered for such an assignment because I was a woman. I felt a wave of disappointment wash over me.

I’ve had a long, successful business career since that quiet moment in a darkened mission office. I’ve found a lot of personal fulfillment as I’ve utilized and developed my natural talents for organization, leadership, decision-making, and problem-solving.

I was recently perusing a corporate training document I did that summarized a global women’s conference, including information on gender intelligence for my staff, mostly market heads running large departments of hundreds of employees across the Asia Pacific/Oceania region. We had talked through many of the issues that made it difficult for women to feel valued and get promoted, an issue that my company saw as a competitive disadvantage. A term that was new to me at that time describes very well the feeling that these incidents create for me as a woman:

Grunch: a sudden realization of one’s minority status.

It’s hard to think of women as a minority when there are more women than men in the church, and yet, in decision-making bodies and leadership, we are clearly a minority. The recent organizational changes that put more weight on decision-making in the more gender-equal ward council meeting are a step in the right direction at including women and using their natural talents in more situations.

It’s time to see callings that require specific educational qualifications be open to women as well as men. It’s long overdue, but easily remedied. We have a lot of women in our ranks who are qualified, even overqualified, yet completely invisible.



  1. Putting in my monthly or so note that similarly, there is no reason why women should not be allowed to officially witness. And actually I think some of the reticence to allow women into callings described here stems from an unconscious distrust of their abilities because if they can’t even officially witness…

  2. EmJen–that seems possible to me, but not especially likely. The compartmentalization of priesthood ordinances and professional functioning runs pretty deep, I think.

  3. This is an interesting post. In particular, I find it interesting that this was posted within the week of the passing of Barbara Bush.

  4. Not a Cougar says:

    The whole “an unrelated man and woman can never be trusted to be left alone” thing is a huge roadblock to calling women into such functions. It’s not an attitude I share, but it runs deep in Church leadership at all levels.

  5. Agreed, Not a Cougar, which is why it is surprising to me that it took so long for the church to allow (and still not require) a second person for priesthood interviews for children and women. I think there must also be some (unconscious?) distrust of women’s expertise that fuels this nonsense.

    I wonder if women can or have ever been called to be technology specialists, facilities managers, or employment specialists?

  6. EmJen is right. It is just illogical that we don’t let women officially witness ordinances.
    I would add that we have many women and men who are overqualified and/or invisible because we are not allowed to volunteer where our abilities could be used in specific callings. We are also limited because the discussions and assignments happen among a very few people and input from stakeholders is not welcome.

  7. Heptaparaparshinokh says:

    Marian: I’ve seen some women called to be employment specialists and at least one a technology specialist, but all were in stakes in wealthy, highly educated, politically liberal metro areas.

    To answer the question in the OP: the kind of people who go to work full-time for the Church generally cannot conceive of a woman being highly professionally qualified. You are generally talking about some of the most hidebound Pharisees imaginable.

  8. jaxjensen says:

    My wife has been the employment specialist before Marian.

    I’ve had no idea that women couldn’t be “legal counsel” … I wonder if they allow a couple to fill that position if it is the woman with the legal background instead of the man. Anyone know?

  9. jaxjensen says:

    Heptaparaparshinokh… my wife was the employment specialist in the poor, rural, “redneck”, conservative Ozarks.

  10. Anon for this one says:

    I’ve seen sisters serve as technology specialists and employment specialists. I’ve heard of sisters even serving as financial clerks, but I don’t have any firsthand knowledge of it, and not in the United States.

    But, for about fifteen glorious seconds last week, in our unit, a sister was suggested and considered as Elders Quorum President. The agreement was that she would be great, but that it wouldn’t be approved.

  11. In our stake which is not politically liberal, nor particularly wealthy or highly educated (though we have a very broad spectrum), we had for years a very effective woman stake employment specialist. At the stake and ward level this sort of thing is a function of stake and ward leadership attitudes. At the missionary level, especially with respect to the need for legal counsel (for which I have been unofficially invited and am not yet interested) it is a function of SLC bureacracy or leadership. I think they haven’t yet been able to imagine calling a qualified single sister to a legal counsel mission and assigning her a non-lawyer companion who could at least fill valuable office support staff functions. It seems a silly oversight with counterproductive results. After all, wives of men called as legal counsel missionaries are not expected to be lawyers. There are also single women (I’m thinking of one in our stake) with high professional qualifications in computer/technical systems who could serve in those functions quite as well as or even better than one of the men who has been called as an area technical specialist with his wife who has no expertise at all in that area.

  12. A topic near and dear to my heart. The other group of women who would benefit from this is single sisters. Let’s honor the skills they have by letting them fill those positions. I sat in a community meeting yesterday. Next to me was an LDS Stake President. Next to him a mature Female Pastor of a prominent congregation. I was really tempted to lean over to the SP and whisper isn’t she (Female Pastor) cool. But I resisted. I do plan to bring it up later.

  13. When I was called a few years back as ward mission leader, the bishop and I both agreed that a particular sister in our ward, who had considerable executive and leadership experience, would actually be the best choice. However, the bishop restated the directive that WML was a priesthood calling, and she could not be called to that position. She was called as a ward missionary, at the same time that I was called as WML, and I gave her as much autonomy and opportunity to lead as I could under the circumstances. It would have been much easier had she been called a ward mission leader, especially as most of the missionaries assigned to our ward during my tenure wee sister missionaries, which also limited my ability to have meetings with them alone, go on missionary visits with them, etc, unless I had someone else with me. Nothing I did in that calling struck me as gender limited, but the directions from the handbook were clear.

    I have long wondered about why women could not serve as ward clerks, assistant clerks, ward mission leaders, Sunday School Presidents, and other callings where they could easily serve, but were restricted from doing so. Under Elder Holland’s address from general conference a year or so back, if they were called by Priesthood authority, they would serve by using that delegated authority. As he said, “What else could it be?”

  14. Angela C says:

    Kevinf: that talk was actually Oaks, not Holland.

    I’ve been ward employment specialist in a Utah ward.

  15. Re: Elder Oaks’s “what other authority could it be?” comment, I’m not sure that it’s right to say that a woman’s authority is authority held by the priesthood holder that called her and then delegated to her. I think, rather, that anyone in the church, man or woman, that is called by priesthood channels to a calling in the church receives priesthood authority directly from God to perform that calling when they are set apart by the laying on of hands.

    In other words, she is exercising authority that God give her himself when she is set apart, not a portion of God’s authority given to a priesthood holder and then delegated to her.

    Basically, it’s the difference between thinking (1) that holders of priesthood keys hold all the authority associated with every calling for which they have stewardship and “lend” it to people under their stewardship and thinking (2) that holders of priesthood keys only hold the authority to unlock the door.

    Maybe that’s too subtle a subtle difference, but to me priesthood keys make a lot more sense this way.

    /end threadjack

  16. Good observation about the Church missing an opportunity here by overlooking capable sisters to address pressing needs.

    In my previous stake, a number of senior missionary couples have served in foreign language missions where the husbands once served when they were 19. The husbands know the language but the sisters don’t. While the husbands were excited, in most cases I observed, it was clear the women were very reluctant and even overwhelmed. The sisters went out because of duty, probably resigning themselves to “Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies”. I suppose I should just appreciate the sacrifice and courage of these women, but, boy, I sure regard their husbands as selfish clods.

    Now, having got that off my chest, does anyone know of senior missionary couples who’ve served in the Sister’s previous mission?

  17. Thanks for the comments on technology and employment specialists! Good to hear that women’s skills in these areas are utilized.

  18. This is a bit more in support of JKC’s aside.

    Nowhere in Elder Oaks’s April 2014 talk does he refer to “delegation” of the priesthood in connection with women’s callings. Instead, he explains the authority for men’s and women’s callings in identical terms. He quotes Joseph Fielding Smith:

    While the sisters have not been given the Priesthood, it has not been conferred upon them, that does not mean that the Lord has not given unto them authority. … A person may have authority given to him, or a sister to her, to do certain things in the Church that are binding and absolutely necessary for our salvation, such as the work that our sisters do in the House of the Lord. They have authority given unto them to do some great and wonderful things, sacred unto the Lord, and binding just as thoroughly as are the blessings that are given by the men who hold the Priesthood.

    Elder Oaks also says, “I testify of the authority of the priesthood, which functions throughout all of the offices and activities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” He is not teaching that the priesthood authority of a man is delegated to a woman in her calling. Instead, all callings operate inherently by virtue of priesthood authority; some callings also require ordination to the priesthood.

  19. President Nelson’s past plea for the women of the church to take their place cannot be realized until he and other leaders makes that possible.

    I loved Sister Oscarson’s last general conference talk and feel it is the most important message of the entire conference. Listened to it again today. Sad to see her go.

  20. The reason women are not called to be clerks, SS pres, etc is that they would have to be alone in a room with a member of the Bishopric (clerks counting money), in a meeting with male counselors, and possibly have authority to tell a male what to do. We can’t have any of that in the church!

  21. Little Sister says:

    A interesting caveat is that there is no option whatsoever on for “Single Man” – only for “Couple” or “Senior Sister.” Under the “Senior Sister,” your options are very limited, and apparently assume you would never have, for example, a law degree. But we’re really assuming that you can’t serve at all being single – male or female. Of course, this disproportionately affects women because so many more women than men are single adults.

    In the leaked tapes of the 12’s meetings, they discussed single adults in the Church. And they rightly concluded that the best way to keep our single saints is to give them something to do. Huzzah! So let’s do that! We have so much need and so much unused talent!

    jaxjensen – You can be the lawyer wife in a legal a couple mission! I’d love to do that myself! See here: Apparently it’s still rare and new because they do a special call out: “Since 1999, more than 60 couples have served as AALC, with 24 couples serving currently, including Sister Eileen Crane, the first retired sister LDS lawyer, and her non-attorney spouse Russ.”

  22. Little Sister says:

    Correction – It looks like there are options for single men, it’s just not one of the options for the Legal mission.

  23. Papa johnson says:

    Angela C
    It feels like you are trying to foment discontent and doubt. Why?

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    I think sisters as employment specialists is actually fairly common. The Church’s employment center in Naperville, IL had two women at the helm (one my aunt, another a woman who used to be in my ward). I’m glad there have been female IT specialists, though I personally haven’t seen one. And I’ve never seen a female facilities manager.

  25. Angela C says:

    Papa Johnson: “It feels like you are trying to foment discontent and doubt. Why?” Not sure why it would feel that way to you. Because you find gender equality threatening?

  26. wreddyornot says:

    Papa Johnson, it feels as if you like basking in a continuing iniquity of inequality. Why?

  27. We have had female ward employment specialists around here. They are much rarer than the males and even less well represented than the ratio of working adults would indicate. If you take out all of the school teachers and low level healthcare workers, then the male to female ratio among the employed adults would be roughly equal to the ratio of ward employment specialists in this area over the past 10 years. Most of the LDS women around here who are 40-60 years old and do not have young children at home are employed and work at least 20 hours/week. Most are in lower level positions, because of the significant gap in their career while raising young children.
    Also, 1 of the 2 most prominent full-time church employees around here is a woman. She gets a lot fewer complaints than the male facilities rep from her fellow saints. It may be the nature of the job though. This is a fairly conservative area, but we are not very close to Utah. Our local leaders would have no problem calling women to any high level service position that they could contribute in.

  28. LatamGirl says:

    Years ago I was the Sunday School secretary in a large DC-area singles’ ward. That was one of my favorite callings. A few years later, in a different large DC-area singles’ ward, at least one of the members of the bishopric had a single sister as his “secretary.” She would set up appointments for people to meet with that particular counselor. The ward was so big that the counselors did a lot of the one-on-one interviewing for calling type meetings, and she ran that schedule like a tight ship.

    I have heard that with the new manual, the position of SS secretary must go to a priesthood holder. Not sure why.

  29. Papa johnson says:

    Angela C
    The LDS church is a theocracy not a democracy. One time I was assigned to a meeting that the Relief Society sisters had. We acted as security just in case some unsavory character came through the doors. I sat in the back and listen to what the Relief Society sisters were doing and I realized it’s just simply something that I was not a part of that and that I’m not meant to have that. Sisterhood or womanhood. Equality does not mean sameness.

  30. Obviously outrageous, missed opportunity, costly. And more.

    But . . .
    No surprise.
    And there’s an obvious channel problem. The numbers are small, of qualified women lawyers of senior missionary age. That’s my peer group. And so long as I don’t have to name names I can observe that a majority of those I know would not choose to serve a mission, in part for the second class problem that the OP points out.

    The obvious answer to the channel problem is to get started. I suspect that’s a bigger change than just adding a category in the mission list.

  31. The last time I visited my grandfather (who is getting on in age), he chided me because I hadn’t shaved in weeks. In his mind, to get ahead at work, you need to needed to be clean shaven. I told him that I was fine and mentioned that my boss had a beard and my boss’s boss had a beard. I then pointed out that my boss’s boss’s boss, a very senior executive, did not have a beard because SHE had trouble growing facial hair. He just shook his head in silence. I’m not sure whether he was more offended that the world has embraced facial hair or that women are very senior executives. (I didn’t tell him that she was an African American. His heart is relatively healthy, but I’m not sure how much it could take.)

    I related this because President Nelson and a few of the senior Q12 are older than my grandfather. I don’t see the church changing while attitudes like this have seniority.

  32. With regards to the question raised in the comments, at least back when I wrote this blog post (might have changed since) technology specialist was a male-only calling.

    I remember when I was a full-time missionary, I talked to a senior missionary who was literally waiting on the hall while her husband served. They had hoped to serve a family history mission together but instead, they (he) was called to a “leadership” mission, in which he served in a stake presidency in a new stake, and she did nothing at all (women aren’t allowed in stake presidency meetings). I felt so bad that she had quit her job and left her family to serve a mission, only to end up waiting around in the foyer while her husband served, her services not wanted. It really changed my perception about whether I would want to serve a mission as an older adult.

  33. Kristine says:

    Papa Johnson, that analogy might work if the Relief Society were a separate and autonomous organization. It is not.

  34. Papa johnson says:

    I understand that people have concerns are genuine to them or others but I would very much caution against being a stumbling block to yourself or to others.

  35. Papa johnson says:

    That are

  36. Angela C,

    Great post!

    Papa Johnson, my experience has been that the saints who advocate silence among those with concerns can also lead us to stumble.

    I’ve never been so discouraged in church as when I’ve watched another brother or sister attempt to silence the sincere concerns of another. I’m not saying every venue is appropriate for every concern, but many of us come to BCC to reassure ourselves that we are not alone in our questions and that there is a place for us in the LDS community, that having real concerns about issues like gender equity in the church is not only okay—it is productive. If you don’t feel that way, that’s all right. But please don’t let your disagreement become a stumbling block to your sister’s (or brother’s) feeling like she belongs to the LDS family, concerns and all. This is part of the reason I (and many like me) come to BCC.

  37. wreddyornot says:

    I want to make certain that I distinguish myself from Brother Johnson and call for equity for women in the Theocracy we’re talking about.

    We are taught that Theo in the cracy alluded to by Brother Johnson constitutes an equal pairing, are we not? Theo, we are taught, is a man and a woman, joined together in complete equality. Yet a certain follower, it appears, shows a reluctance to the doctrine that “all are alike unto” Theo, by observing that “. . . it’s just simply something that I was not a part of . . . and . . . I’m not meant to have that . . . Equality does not mean sameness . . .” and showing that he doesn’t realize that “all are alike unto” Theo, which does mean being the same in how they are treated and loved: with complete equality. All men should have empathy and understanding for women and treat them the same as themselves. And vice versa. Women, however, are not treated equally in the Church as of now. Even though they are often more than overqualified, they remain overlooked and often invisible. They have not been and are not treated fairly and only will be when men like Brother Johnson and those who lead the Church and who hold the priesthood humble themselves enough to be more like Theo (willing to give each other full and equal pairing), allowing them to have every blessing and responsibility that they themselves have.

  38. April, just another thought- It is not that the wife could not do anything. On the other hand she was free to do whatever she wanted compared to her husband who had certain responsibilities. I would rather be the wife serving wherever she saw the need. I know a General Authority who served in Africa. His wife had no responsibilities but she saw a need and filled it. She obtained several keyboards and taught the saints how to play the hymns. At one time Sister Oaks made or had helpers make testimony gloves for the children. She taught and handed out the testimony gloves as she traveled around the world with Elder Oaks as he filled his assignments. Everyone can contribute something and I would rather have the choice of seeing a need on my own and filling it.

  39. Kristine says:

    Great, John! If that’s what you’d like, then I’m sure you’ll want to advocate for women to be allowed to have more of the odious authority and assignments you don’t want!

  40. John, it’s great that you’d rather have a choice of seeing a need on your own and filing it. And you know why you have that choice? Because you’re a man. You’ve totally got the opportunity to volunteer to go on a legal mission. If you’re not an attorney, you can go to law school for three years, pass the bar, and then volunteer to serve a legal mission.

    You know who (apparently) can’t? Qualified women who have gone to law school, passed the bar, and had successful careers as attorneys. They don’t get the choice that you have. And that’s a problem.

  41. Wow! I have heard everything now. Why would you wish to be an financial auditor. I was a stake financial auditor for 8 years. It was so boring and miserable. I worked all day in accounting and afterwards I got to do boring audits. I finally asked to be released when called into high priests group leadership.

  42. Personally, I don’t have any particular desire to be a kindergarten teacher. Oddly enough, I wouldn’t think it was ok if women were barred from being kindergarten teachers.

  43. LatamGirl says:

    What the heck is a testimony glove and why is making them important and useful?

  44. Aussie Mormon says:
  45. Kevin Barney says:

    I had never heard of a testimony glove, either. That’s pretty wack…

  46. Not even sure where to start but I’ll start here. Elder Renlund’s wife is an attorney so, maybe that will open some closed minds. I’m pretty sure she’s worked with many men one-on-one to get where she was until he was called to the Q12 when she had to quit her job.

    Kenzo: exactly! How many women with pre-schoolers/little kids are called to the Nursery or to Primary? Or school teachers called to Primary, because, surely, none of those women are tired of kids after a whole week with them?

    Testimony glove was one of the weirdest things even done. And a waste of time.

    This is for the CPA who asked why women would want to be Stake Auditors:
    When women ask for PH ordination, we’re told we get to have babies and the poor men don’t.
    Why would you want to experience years of menstruation, cramps, swollen breasts, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and everything that comes after it?

  47. “Why would you want to experience years of menstruation, cramps, swollen breasts, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and everything that comes after it?”

    Martine, fyi, there are plenty of people who would trade almost anything for that list. Comparing how awful something is doesn’t work for any argument, just as it doesn’t for Skywarps “why would you want this horrible job?”

  48. My point is being missed. The wife can do whatever she damn well pleases to do. What a great mission! If she wants to help with legal affairs she probably can, if she has the skills to help with audits they will probably put her to work. I agree with Skywarp- who would want to? And she has the choice to do nothing which is a choice her husband is not allowed. Freedom to choose for ourselves; life and missions don’t get better than that!

  49. I should be shocked that some
    people see hints of apostasy in the suggestion that a woman with a JD might use her skills and training to serve the Church, but alas I’m not. God forbid we should all become one body, comprised of members with diverse gifts. Sure, equality isn’t sameness. I’m not a lawyer, for instance, so thank God that some women and men are!

  50. No one has yet made a connection between this post and the recent Kirton McConkie post?

  51. Marcella says:

    John who said: “My point is being missed. The wife can do whatever she damn well pleases to do. What a great mission! ”

    No she can’t. She can’t stay home and keep the job that fulfilled her. She can’t attend that Stake meeting and add her wisdom to the group. She can’t step in just anywhere she sees a need because there are procedures and processes in place and way too many toes to step on. Just as I or anyone else can’t just walk into our wards and start doing a job/calling we’d be really good at. We can’t even ask to do a particular job/calling because then we’d be aspiring to something and that, I’m sure you well know, is very wrong. She’s not sitting in the hall because she’s lazy or unimaginative, she’s sitting there because her hands are tied.

  52. Actually the wife holds all the cards. If she says “No” then the husband is not called.

  53. And I am not here judging the “Testimony Glove” as a good or bad thing. Sister Oaks was in a position to choose what she wanted to do and chose the testimony glove. She was in a position to choose, that’s the point.

  54. John, holding all the cards is not what is going on. We are talking about an opportunity to serve within an organization that isn’t letting her, even though she is qualified and would love to serve. That’s not hiding all the cards. Move on already.

  55. “holding all the cards,” clearly. We get it, you value choice. You don’t have a monopoly on that sentiment and your way of seeing it isn’t the only way. You are missing the entire point.

  56. I agree with the OP that it’s a missed opportunity not to use the professional skills of both men and woman willing to serve. But the comment criticizing the policy of not wanting non-related men and woman to serve next to each other alone seems a little strange considering the #metoo movement that is currently happening.

  57. John, for what it’s worth, I think a lot of us get what you are trying to say. But you’ve got to understand that not everyone would thrive in that sister’s situation. If I left my home, family, friends, and career, and then was given nothing to do but wait in the hall for my husband I would feel lost. I’m an introvert and would struggle to “fill any need” because I would have no idea who I would offend by trying to do so. I think a lot of brothers and sisters feel this way, because it is widely understood that being given a calling is a really important part of member retention. Some of us need to be given a job to do or we just feel lost in the shuffle.

  58. Also, Steve, I think you have entirely missed the point of the Me Too movement. The movement is about preventing sexual assault and holding abusers accountable. It is not a movement to keep men and women from being in the same room together. I work in the field a lot and that requires me to be alone with unrelated men, sometimes on long drives and in remote locations. I should never have to sacrifice my safety or dignity in order to work in my chosen field. That is what Me Too is about.

  59. “The wife can do whatever she damn well pleases….” said no one with authority in the Church ever.

    Ardis – Bingo!

  60. Ardis’ point about the Kirton Mcconkie post is interesting. They are the church’s chosen laws firm and by any measure are utterly terrible on gender equality and diversity. Far worse than other Utah firms which are worse than firms outside of Utah.

    But there’s hope in that Elder Renlund’s wife is a lawyer, Elder Cook has talked about his experiences working with women lawyers, and Elder Oaks is very pro equal opportunity and pay.

  61. Why would you wish to be an financial auditor.

    I expect that not many feel called to the work, but imagine if a woman did—why on earth would you turn her away in favour of a reluctant man who grudgingly phones it in?

  62. A few years ago, a woman in my ward who is a physician’s assistant got called to serve a medical mission in Africa with her husband. When I congratulated her on the call, she wryly told me that the Church had extended the medical missionary calling to her husband, even though she was the one with the medical training. I would love to know how their mission went.

  63. St. Louis area facilities manager is a woman (since about 2012). She has been a great improvement over her male predecessor, who utterly neglected my branch building.

  64. There is a subgroup if women for whom he Financial Auditor calling could be a real blessing: women either the appropriate credentials who are taking time off of work or only working part time due to the church’s call for mother’s to devote themselves to raising their children. A calling that uses her professional skills could be beneficial in keeping her skills and experience.

  65. My wife is in the Stake Primary Presidency and going to meetings all the time. I am glad that she attends the meetings while i am at home with the kids.

  66. John, A wife can’t do whatever she pleases. Here is my story. I was in a ward where there were so few pianists that I was a pianist for many years. I was in agony because I wanted to use my other talents to do the things that I was only watching people do from my piano bench. I watched struggling choristers and primary presidencies give sharing time, etc. When I was eventually called to be Sac. Mtg. Chorister I did have some freedom to volunteer to substitute. I was a great substitute in many primary classes, or as pianist or chorister, youth Sunday school, etc. I enjoyed these ways that I contributed, but it was NOTHING compared to being Primary President, being in charge of a whole auxiliary, supervising 45 adults and having them do things the way I thought primary should be run, attending Ward Council and helping make decisions for the ward, I was in charge of the primary program, and having complete charge of one activity per year. I had counselors who respected my authority. I had a bishopric who asked for my advice and expected it to be useful.
    While I am glad I made myself useful during the Sac. Meeting Chorister years, there is a difference.
    I am no longer the Primary President. I am spending these months since then contributing in different ways. But while I think my Sunday school comments are amazing and wonderful, I think my comments have less of an impact than if I was teaching Gospel Doctrine rather than just commenting. Do I mind having a break from the huge Primary President calling? Not at all. But I guarantee even if I want to, I can’t force my way in to Ward Council, I can only offer to substitute teach, not take over a class, and I can’t be in charge of the Halloween Party unless I am authorized to do so. Authority matters.

  67. Stephen M (Ethesis) says:

    It is interesting though that the attorneys I’ve met locally being paid to work for the church were female.

    My takeaway was that the men are the only ones they hope to get for free.

  68. James Stone says:

    Please. One does not have to be a CPA or have any financial experience to be a stake financial auditor. (See In fact there isn’t a single calling in the church where formal education of one kind or another is a requirement. Though some callings are specifically priesthood callings (such as stake financial auditor), the only real requirement is that the person be worthy and willing to serve and be willing to learn.

    I live in a conservative Utah County Ward. We have a female employment specialist and have for years. This might be groundbreaking in the author’s ward but not in ours.

    Finally, does anyone bother to research if women can actually be serve as legal counsel before writing blog posts? A quick Google search produced this link that showed retired female attorneys serving the church as Associate Legal Counsel all over the world. (See Amazing what a little bit of research can come up with. But, hey, when you have to whine about the patriarchy to make yourself feel better, why bother getting your facts straight.

  69. wreddyornot says:

    ” . . . whine about the patriarchy to make yourself feel better . . .” Observing patriarchal noncompliance with God’s commandments to love God with all one’s got and to love one another in like manner, as is done somewhat in the original posting and some of the subsequent comments, is hardly whining. At least it’s not to my way of thinking. It’s simply trying to help patriarchy follow the commandments to love, which the Lord indicated summed up all the commandments. All are alike to God: there needs be equality and fairness. The virtues of humility and of love always win out over notions of power and superiority. We have a long way to go to all be treated alike and loved.

  70. Cleophas says:

    Three points:
    (1) I believe that WML will soon be available for women due to (a) the number of sisters serving makes it more “appropriate” to have corrolation meeting with a female WML (b) the huge pool of returned sister missionaries to draw from and (c) the death of PEC means all WML business will be presented and discussed in Ward Council rather than PEC, and sisters already attend WC.

    (2) As already noted, Elder Renlund’s wife is a career attorney, and his views may be instrumental in ending this.

    (3) Correct that single senior sisters can serve, but senior men cannot. So, a single sister with a JD could possible serve, but is overlooked. A man with a JD could serve only if his wife is living and willing. So many unecessary barriers!

  71. Angela C says:

    James Stone: “We have a female employment specialist and have for years. This might be groundbreaking in the author’s ward but not in ours.” I literally said in the comments that I have personally served as Ward Employment specialist. Those staffing local callings are not the same as those who are determining what missionary service opportunities are available. This isn’t a hard thing to fix. Drawing attention to it isn’t “whining.” The church often makes corrections to stupid mistakes like this one.

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