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Then and Now: Talking to Young Women About Possible Missionary Service

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 04, 2009

The church currently uses three manuals for the Young Women Sunday lessons. Each manual contains a unit labeled “Being Involved in Missionary Work” with either two or three lessons. The titles of those lessons, along with their objectives, are as follows:

Young Women Manual 1

Lesson 20: Reach Out to Others

Each young woman will extend friendship to young women of her own age and encourage them to take part in Church activities and meetings

Lesson 21: A Righteous Example Influences Others

Each young woman will set a righteous example for others

Young Women Manual 2

Lesson 19: Preparing to Teach Others

Each young woman will prepare herself to share the gospel with others

Lesson 20: Sharing the Gospel

Each young woman will commit herself to fulfill the commandment to share the gospel with others

Lesson 21: Sustaining Missionaries through Letters

Each young woman will learn ways to encourage and support young men and young women in the mission field

Young Women Manual 3

Lesson 20: Understanding a Missionary’s Responsibilities

Each young woman will understand a missionary’s responsibilities

Lesson 21: Learning to Share the Gospel

Each young woman will understand her responsibility to share the gospel and gain confidence in doing missionary work

Lesson 2:21 acknowledges that young women as well as young men may be missionaries. Lesson 3:20 discusses the missionary’s daily schedule and the universal missionary rules, providing the girls with some idea of what is expected of a missionary; however, the purpose of the lesson seems to be not that Young Women may soon be following those rules as missionaries, but rather that if they know what rules young elders must follow, then Young Women will not cross behavioral boundaries in their contacts with the elders.

Otherwise, missionary work is presented as something teens do among their peers in the routine activities of school, social life, and church activity. There is nothing in the current lessons to discourage Young Women from future full-time mission service, but neither is there anything to encourage those plans. The focus is on here and now; missions are not presented as an option for discussion.

Contrast this attitude toward women’s missionary service with that from 1925:

“Are You Preparing for a Mission?”

When President Young organized the Retrenchment Association, which was the beginning of the Y.L.M.I.A., he said, among other things, “there is need for the young daughters of Israel to get a living testimony of the truth. Young men obtain this while on missions, but this way is not opened to the girls.”

If President Young were here today, we are sure he would voice the same earnest desire that the “young daughters of Israel” shall obtain “a living testimony of the truth,” and doubtless one reason he would give is that they need this testimony in order to bear it to the people in the mission field. For today, the privilege is open to our young women also carry abroad the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Such a calling, at once a privilege and a grave responsibility, is worthy of the most thoughtful, earnest preparation. Our girls who sense its importance will give to it their best efforts. They will value it as among the greatest of blessings; their entire lives will be a preparation for it. The faith that has come to them through their early training will be cherished and nourished through prayer, through study, through activity in the Church, that they may be spiritually prepared should the call for missionary service reach them.

“We Stand for Divine guidance through individual and family prayer –” [the M.I.A. slogan] what young girl can afford to be without this safeguard? It will keep her spirit pure, her heart buoyant with faith and hope and happiness; her whole being susceptible to spiritual influences. Success is more than half secured to the missionary girl who has formed and kept the daily habit of sincere praying.

The Church works setting forth the Gospel plan as revealed to the Latter-day Saints, are within easy access of all of our Mutual girls. Those who are looking forward to a call to the mission field will study this divine plan and become informed on the doctrines of the Church. It should not be necessary to spend six months of precious time in the field in getting a first knowledge of the Scriptures; all this should be done and could be done before leaving home. The first principles of the Gospel at least should be thoroughly understood and passages pertaining to them should be in possession of the young missionary. We recall one sister who came into the mission field who was better versed in the Scriptures than most of the elders and she was able to say that she had not had to learn one new passage; she had mastered them all at home in the M.I.A. and the Sunday School.

The prospective missionary will also prepare herself by actively working in the church. The inspiration obtained through prayer and the knowledge gained from books become vitalized as they are transmuted into action. Not to many does a testimony of the divinity of the latter-day work come suddenly – through one prayer or the reading of one book – but through long years of service. “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine” was the formula Jesus gave for obtaining a testimony.

At a session held with the Presidents of Missions it was learned that only a few, comparatively, of our sisters who enter the mission fields understand the work of the auxiliary associations and can begin at once to assist in the organizations in the various branches. We believe that our girls need only to have this called to their attention to overcome it. Careful observation, conversations with presiding officers, a study of handbooks and outlines, and some practice in teaching or rendering other assistance in these organizations will qualify them to give at once intelligent service along these lines when they arrive in the mission.

Will you as Mutual Improvement girls consider these matters and make yourselves in every way possible worthy fellow missionaries of your brothers? There is a place for many of you in the mission field; we have full confidence that you will measure up to your high calling and be prepared.

Young Woman’s Journal, April 1925, 238-239.

If you support the option of full-time mission service for young women as I do, it will be easy to be critical of the modern church, I think, for omitting serious consideration and discussion of that option. I’ll be interested in seeing whether we can go beyond that easy criticism, though, and suggest ways in which parents and youth leaders can incorporate the possibility of full-time service into normal gospel discussions, without lessons dedicated to such service.



  1. Interesting post. Our bishop has requested the YW Presidency to emphasize the idea of missions to the Young Women in the ward. Three out of the four presidency members have served missions, so it was not a difficult request.

    Comment by Researcher — August 4, 2009 @ 7:11 am

  2. Answering the question about what our approach is:

    I have a 12yo daughter who has talked about serving a mission for 2-3 years now, but our current YW presidency, as constituted, does not seem to display any interest in talking about missionary work (except, “marry a returned missionary”).

    Our ward’s missionary program, however, involves spending one FHE a month teaching from “Preach My Gospel”. So we spend a lot of time in FHE (not just once a month, but 2-3 FHE a month).

    My wife is currently serving as a ward missionary (she is also a RM), so we talk about it a lot. There is also a sister in the ward who just received her call.

    So think the “big” answer is: You’ve got to do it at home. Ward efforts will reflect ward leadership experiences with sisters serving.

    Comment by queuno — August 4, 2009 @ 7:45 am

  3. however, the purpose of the lesson seems to be not that Young Women may soon be following those rules as missionaries, but rather that if they know what rules young elders must follow, then Young Women will not cross behavioral boundaries in their contacts with the elders.

    This may be useful in areas with smaller youth programs, or where the missionaries are integrated into the ward social structure, but in our area of North Texas, where the number of wards far exceeds the number of available companionships, actually having contact with the full-time missionaries is rare unless they are teaching someone in your house or you are a ward missionary. It’s safe to say that the young women have very little contact with full-time missionaries. Again – my comment applies only to certain areas of the North American church…

    Comment by queuno — August 4, 2009 @ 7:47 am

  4. What makes it easy for us is that my Wife served a mission and was a phenomenal missionary and had a great experience (in Italy!) and I served a mission and had a great experience (but not in Italy!) so serving a mission is an easy conversation to have in our house. My wife, as it were, I think wanted to serve due to her grandfather and parents perpetually talking about their conversion experience and due to taking a missionary prep class at BYU. Lastly, my wife served a “mini mission” where she lived with sister missionaries for a week or so. I’m not sure those sorts of things are still allowed, but my wife to this day corresponds with one of those sisters. In other words, I think it is all about having viable female role models.

    Comment by Matt W. — August 4, 2009 @ 8:16 am

  5. This era appeared to be quite bullish on the prospects of sister missionaries. In 1915, the First Presidency issued a call “for lady missionaries of maturity”:

    We are greatly in need of lady missionaries…and would be pleased to receive from you the names of sisters who are physically and financially able to perform missions, and whom you can recommend.

    Care should be exercised in selecting lady missionaries. They should be good, steady, representative women, not too young, with a good education and knowledge of the Gospel, and who have had experience in the auxiliary organizations of the Church. (Messages, 4:335)

    The First Presidency made a shorter but similar plea in 1922. During World War II, however, women came to represent as high as 48 percent of all missionaries. Church leaders then sought to curtail their missionary activity (with the exception of those skilled as stenographers, teachers and wives of men beyond draft age who could accompany husbands in field).

    Comment by J. Stapley — August 4, 2009 @ 8:44 am

  6. Interesting comment J. Stapley. Did that “discouragement” end after the war? My mother began her mission in 1947–I wonder (and I’ll ask her this weekend) what hurdles, if any, she had to jump in order to serve.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 4, 2009 @ 9:10 am

  7. After the war there was an effort to get men serving again. For anyone interested in this topic generally, I heartily recommend Tally S. Payne, “‘Our Wise and Prudent Women’: Twentieth-Century Trends in Female Missionary Service,” in New Scholarship on Latter-day Saint Women in the Twentieth Century, edited by Carol Cornwall Madsen and Cherry B. Silver (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History, 2005), 125-140. I believe it is still available through BYU Studies.

    Comment by J. Stapley — August 4, 2009 @ 9:17 am

  8. Thanks. As to the men, I have heard (from my father, who was in the class of men to whom this counsel was directed) that men who had served in the military were told that they need not consider themselves under obligation to take another two or more years to serve missions. Anybody ever seen that counsel in writing?

    Comment by Mark B. — August 4, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  9. Interesting post. It’s gotten me thinking hard about this issue.

    We have an interesting situation with our three daughters. Both my wife and my mother-in-law served as full-time missionaries (as did two of my sisters-in-law), so there is definitely precedent for female missionary service in the family. However, it’s frankly not a topic of conversation very much: my wife had such a difficult time with the mentality in her mission to “baptize at all costs” that she walked away with a very bitter taste in her mouth. She rarely discusses her missionary experience, and then usually only amongst adults, and most often in very conflicted terms.

    You ask for ways in which parents and youth leaders can incorporate the possibility of full-time service into normal gospel discussions? Hmm. In our case, I think the truth is that we will have to be careful that we are not downplaying missionary service. But you’re right that it’s not always evident, that it takes a little imagination and creativity, because female missionaries are not part of the official discussion.

    Thanks again for this post. Still pondering what to do, how to do it…

    Comment by Hunter — August 4, 2009 @ 9:53 am

  10. First of all, I think our manuals are outdated and in need of a major overhaul. Having said this, however, I also believe strongly that different counsel comes to women in different times.

    Perhaps the directives in the 1920’s were an effort to get women more serious about studying the gospel, to truly make them equals with their male counterparts in terms of study, etc. The realities of their lives and the culture they lived in gave them ample opportunities to learn homemaking skills. Our girls, on the other hand, have to go to YW to learn these skills (along with others) because their lives are so different than their great-grandmothers’. Our young women are encourage to get all the education you can! be perfect mothers! attend four years seminary! take a ‘Tute class every semester! want to stay home! love what you study! etc. etc. There are already such an array of voices and choices that an emphasis on serving missions would probably throw some girls into major confusion.

    We have missionaries in our ward every week (currently sisters, but the women never last more than about a year), and when the missionaries are elders I get so frustrated by the forward behavior of some of our YW toward them–behavior that practically seems encouraged by their mothers! A refresher course about the missionary rules so that missionaries (particularly elders) are treated accordingly is not out of line.

    When I was serving my mission in the late 90’s, a letter was issued from the FP about sister missionaries. It was funny to see people’s perceptions about it–some said, “Is it true, sisters can no longer serve?” to “It is so great to finally see the Church really pushing sisters to serve.” Same letter, which basically maintained the status quo–sisters who were 21 had the option of going if they chose, but their bishops should not push them into it. I don’t recall that the letter said anything about marriage.

    I think an even greater discussion here could involve the question of men and their perception of women who serve. I could write a whole book on those misconceptions! Maybe our girls don’t serve because they see a missions and marriage as a false dichotomy–an either/or situation.

    Sorry for the length; I’ve taught young women for many of the years since I’ve been back and this topic is very dear to my heart.

    Comment by ScienceTeacherMommy — August 4, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  11. One question: who was the intended audience of the Young Women’s Journal? If the audience consisted of a large number of women over 17, could that be one reason for the difference in approach between the Journal article and the YW lessons from the current manual?

    But that doesn’t explain where the 18-21 year old women of the church today would get any teaching or encouragement to serve missions.

    Comment by Mark B. — August 4, 2009 @ 2:56 pm

  12. Mark, the target audience included Beehive Girls (then 14-15) and up to young married women. The Journal isn’t divided into departments so it’s hard to know exactly which age this was aimed at.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 4, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

  13. Let’s invite Biv (Bored in Vernal) to comment. They have 7 daughters and a son (or 6+2, I forget), and the 3 oldest, all daughters, have gone on missions. One of the three is still out, having a blast in Taiwan.

    Both BiV and her husband, Dr. B, served missions, and were converts.

    Comment by Bookslinger — August 4, 2009 @ 4:37 pm

  14. I’m a return missionary and have some strong opinions about encouraging young women to serve. While serving in the YW, I would counsel YW to be “open” to the possibility of serving a mission.

    I was really honest with the girls about my decision to serve a mission. Honestly I DID NOT want to go. Six months before my 21st birthay, I KNEW that Heavenly Father wanted me on a mission. He would not leave me alone until I made the decision to serve. I was heartbroken because I did not want to be a “sister missionary”, but I obeyed the prompting to go. My mission has shaped my life in so many ways. I’m grateful for the chance I had to serve and be taught so many incredible lessons about how the spirit works in my life.

    My personal experience is you will KNOW if Heavenly Father would like you to serve a mission. Having served with a number of companions, the best companions I had were the sisters that KNEW Heavenly Father wanted them on a mission. Those without this conviction struggled.

    Comment by Mel — August 4, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

  15. Thanks for the invitation, Bookslinger, and Ardis, I’m so glad to see that you support the option of full-time mission service for women. I served a mission in Canada Montreal. I feel a bit conflicted about my mission, too; but on the whole I feel it was an unparalleled experience which left me much better prepared for church service and for marriage.

    Dr. B. has encouraged missionary service from the day our kids are born (yes, 7 daughters and 1 son), he speaks of the day “when” (not if) they will serve their missions, there is much discussion of girls on missions in our homes during prayers and FHE. In Church meetings we often hear words to the effect that young women need not serve, or that they should “support” the YM, upon which Dr. B. loudly snorts, or frowns, or shows his disapproval in some way :), and I usually roll my eyes.

    So far my 3 oldest daughters have served, the third is out now, and the fourth is preparing, and all of the rest have expressed interest in serving missions. My son is mostly worried that he will be the only one not to serve a foreign mission!

    So, from my experience, the home environment has a lot to do with a woman’s desire to serve. I wish the wards would be more supportive of this, and not relegate the girls’ preparation to baking cookies and sending letters, but instead to more gospel preparation, scriptural knowledge, culture and language skills, etc.

    Comment by Bored in Vernal — August 4, 2009 @ 4:54 pm

  16. I’m not sure what we did in our family, as my only daughter decided after two years of college to serve a mission, and was assigned to South America. in particular, she came back a much more assertive and fearless adult than when she left. She’s married now with one 3 year old daughter of her own, teaches Spanish part time at a junior high, and part time at the community college, while pursuing and achieving her masters degree and becoming a National Board Certified Teacher, which is a major accomplishment.

    Since neither my wife or I had served missions, she only had an older brother as an example. However, I know we always discussed missionary service as a possibility for her, but always left it up to her to decide. I don’t think she got much encouragement (nor discouragement, either) at church. In reality, it was pretty much a creation of her own.

    Comment by kevinf — August 4, 2009 @ 4:56 pm

  17. BiV and Dr. B are my heroes for how they have raised their girls.

    I remember in the late 90’s when the FP letter came out stating that women should not feel obligated to serve and should not be pressured to serve. I served in the early 90’s and I remember in my teens/early 20’s (in Utah) that there were a lot of people who felt that all or most women should serve. I had many male friends who would even state that they only wanted to marry a returned missionary. Most of my close female friends went, I had planned for years to go and left right after I turned 21. I think it was this trend that may have prompted the letter.

    My personal feeling is, I hope all of my children serve, including my 3 girls. I encourage them and would be disappointed if they choose not to serve (hopefully I would be able to successfully hide it!). I would prefer to see the church be much more encouraging to women to serve. If not “every worthy young woman should serve”, then “every young woman should prayerfully consider serving” a full-time mission. I can accept that for some women, the answer might be “no”, at least in theory. :)

    I just think missions are wonderful, missionaries are wonderful, and returned missionaries have had opportunities to develop qualities such as spiritual independence, maturity, leadership, and service. I think when I look around in any ward I’ve been in, these qualities are especially noticeable in male and female returned missionaries.

    Comment by E — August 4, 2009 @ 6:33 pm

  18. This has become a much richer discussion than I had any idea could develop here — thank you, all, and I hope it gives some parents and YW leaders ideas.

    Hunter’s #9 and some hints in other comments remind me (as if I could forget) that my own mission was, um, tough, and I know other missionaries who had equally rocky times, or even worse. It would be a relief, even after all these years, to talk about that with others who really understand, but I just don’t know how to do that in the open environment of a blog — I think it would quickly degenerate to something I wouldn’t want to sponsor, especially if the word spread to certain quarters that we were dishing the secret dirt on missions. Still, as hard as it can be, as unqualified as some leaders are, I would still want every young woman who felt a call in that direction to have the opportunity to serve a mission, to know how to prepare herself, to know that she was wanted and valued, to understand that missionary service is a valid option for a bright, capable, spiritually and socially mature young woman.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — August 4, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  19. Pure anecdata:

    I have observed that the trend seems to be that the majority of sister missionaries are sent overseas, and the majority of elders are kept domestic.

    (Just a very unscientific review of consulting with relatives in various states. Probably something like 25% of elders are going overseas and 50-60% of sisters are going overseas.)

    I have been told that my North Texas mission has *1* set of sisters in the entire mission.

    Comment by queuno — August 5, 2009 @ 12:40 am

  20. Our mission has a set of older (50-ish) sister missionaries serving in the office. They go to a lot of the Single Adults firesides. Haven’t seen them at the dances yet. One is from the next state over, only about 200 miles away.

    Aren’t the temple square missionaries all sisters?

    We had one temple square sister missionary serving in Indianapolis. I learned that they send them out in the field for “normal” proselyting during part of their temple square mission. That missionary was from China and speaks Mandarin. When she was serving in the ward next to ours, but before I knew she was there, our ward elders (full time missionaries) and I ate at an Asisn restaurant, and the manager who was chinese accepted a BoM and we put her in touch with the Chinese sister, which got the lady from the restaurant started in taking the discussions.

    Comment by Bookslinge — August 5, 2009 @ 8:50 am

  21. I’ve been back from my mission about 5 years now. I served in the southern U.S. Sisters made up about 15% of my mission, though it fluctuated from 10-20% while I was there. My mission was challenging, but I grew a lot from it. Honestly, it’s what I credit with turning me into a feminist. (Prior to my mission, I had never seen sexism, so I didn’t think feminism was necessary.) If I have children, I’ll give the same counsel to my daughters as to my sons. I’ll tell them to pray about it, ask God what He wants them to do, and then do it. I’ll support the decision to go and the decision not to go.

    When I was in YW, the idea of serving a mission was on the table, but not really commented on. I only remember one YW leader who served a mission. Of the girls in my class, I’m the only one who went on a mission. The rest married young (18-21), and I’m still single (at 27). I’ve found that being a returned missionary was a liability in dating when I was younger (23-25), but it’s becoming less so.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — August 5, 2009 @ 10:16 am

  22. “Maybe our girls don’t serve because they see a missions and marriage as a false dichotomy–an either/or situation.” The fact that marriage would be discussed and or encouraged among teenage girls makes me extremely queasy. Having been a teenage girl, I know how silly and romantic and empty-headed they can be and downright boy crazy. Encouraging that nonsense is not going to help them make good choices they can live with for life.

    Getting more young women to prepare for missions makes a ton of sense to me. My parents were converts to the church. Of their 7 children, 4 served missions (3 girls, 1 boy), and 3 did not. Those that did not serve have all experienced serious marital difficulties (divorce, infidelity, etc.) and have all been in and out of the church over the years. I know a mission is not a guarantee against divorce, but it has been a clear defense for marriage in our family (whether it was better spouse selection or better skills at dealing with relationship issues).

    I also find it ironic that there are YW who would not consider marrying a non-RM who themselves would never consider serving a mission. That seems hypocritical to me.

    Thanks Ardis, for this fascinating post!

    Comment by hawkgrrrl — August 5, 2009 @ 11:45 am

  23. Love the post. I agree with one of the comment-ers that the current manuals are out of date. That is one of the reason’s I think the church produces the Resource Guide for the manuals.

    Regarding YW and missions, I think the person had it right when they said “every young woman should prayerfully consider serving”. I think that is the right way to handle it. I know a number of girls that did serve, a number that got married, and a few that didn’t serve. All of us prayed about our path in life and went as we directed. For me, that was finishing school instead of serving.

    I do agree though that we should be mentioning serving missions more in YW. Thanks for the discussion, it kicked me in the tail to talk about missions more with my YW.

    Comment by Mariann — August 5, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  24. In our family, we aim to prepare our daughter just like we would prepare our sons. If she doesn’t end up serving, it wouldn’t have been for lack of exposure or preparation.

    Keri – I’m curious as to how it was an impediment to dating. I can see where some troglodytes might have had an issue with a sister RMs, but an impediment? Explain.

    Comment by queuno — August 5, 2009 @ 10:34 pm

  25. queuno, maybe I was just surrounded by troglodytes. I knew several guys who would avoid me like the plague when they found out I had served a mission. It was like night and day. I had the following conversation on numerous occasions:
    Some random guy at a fireside would chat me up, trying to get a date. After we had been talking for a while, he would tell a mission story. Then he would make some derogatory remark about sister missionaries or would say that he would never date a returned missionary. Then I would tell him that I had served a mission, and he would make a great escape.

    I honestly have no idea what the deal is. Obviously, I was interesting enough to merit male attention before it was discovered that I served a mission, so I’m left to conclude that it was the mission that’s the turnoff. As I’ve gotten older, the percentage of single women my age who are RMs has increased, so the effect is declining. (Maybe the troglodytes have gone off and married the non-RMs by now.)

    I hope that as more women serve missions, the dating effect will be lessened.

    Comment by Keri Brooks — August 6, 2009 @ 9:42 am

  26. I didn’t experience what Keri is describing, but if there is cultural pressure to marry young rather than going on a mission, that means that only the ones who feel a personal calling to go, or those with no marriage prospects will go. That’s a true shame. Some RMs might object to marrying someone who is strong in her own right (personal calling to go) rather than some cute young thing who has seen nothing and knows nothing that he can play hero, lord and master to. If so, that’s reprehensible.

    Comment by hawkgrrrl — August 6, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  27. When I was at BYU in the late 80s/early 90s, I did see a little bit of a trend for sisters to go on missions “because all my friends are” or “because people will think I’m not spiritual if I don’t go.” I’m sure those weren’t their only reasons for going, but they were definitely strong factors. (I wasn’t planning on a mission, but had an experience much like Mel related, so I did go, and it changed my life in ways I needed.) When I heard the announcement about sisters not being obligated to serve missions, I assumed it was to address this trend and make sure sisters were serving for the right reasons.

    Right now our ward has 7 missionaries out and 3 of them are sisters. But when I was serving in YW I didn’t hear much about missions. So the girls must be getting encouragement from other places.

    My husband and I have encouraged all our children, boy or girl, to prepare as if they’re going to serve missions. Even if they don’t, the preparation itself will do them good. I liked the suggestions in the Young Woman’s Journal above, especially this: “The prospective missionary will also prepare herself by actively working in the church. The inspiration obtained through prayer and the knowledge gained from books become vitalized as they are transmuted into action.” Also the suggestion to observe the various auxiliaries and how they function — I would never have thought of that, but it’s a useful piece of advice!

    Comment by Tamary — August 6, 2009 @ 8:53 pm

  28. Then he would make some derogatory remark about sister missionaries or would say that he would never date a returned missionary.


    My second Sunday back at BYU post-mission, living in Heritage Halls (where the men are about 33% RM and 67% freshman, and almost all women are under 20), I had been asked to give a talk on preparing for a mission (to target the YM). [This was a very marriage-minded ward and girls were there to get married, in the opinion of the bishopric.] Suffice it to say that any RM in this ward was considered prime-target, Grade-A steak.

    I thought that was a bit limited, so I expanded it to cover missionary preparation for all genders. I talked about how there had been many great sister missionaries on my mission. I talked about my dear friend who had just entered the MTC (she’s actually now my wife). I talked about how there are people that *only* sisters can reach. I talked about how the sister I’d known who’d served missions were spiritual giants, in my eyes.

    And I closed by alluding to the oft-repeated refrain how girls were encouraged to marry returned missionaries, and how I would still recommend that advice, but then I offered my twist, that in my humble opinion, I could find no reason why I should not look for a returned sister missionary to marry.

    My roommates told me that several faces fell, and that the bishop hadn’t very happy.

    Comment by queuno — August 6, 2009 @ 9:00 pm

  29. (to target the YM)

    I mean, “(to target the freshman men.)” Kind of the same thing.

    Comment by queuno — August 6, 2009 @ 9:01 pm

  30. Yes, Temple Square missionaries are all sisters, including the zone leaders and district leaders. That was one of the things that stuck with me after reading a profile of them in Ensign a couple of years ago.

    Comment by jeans — August 10, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  31. Thanks for this article. I’m beginning a study of YW manuals, mostly to see how they approached teaching itself, rather than any specific topic, but I found this post very interesting.
    I had my own experiences with whether or not to serve a mission, which may or may not be interesting, but I do think there are several points to consider:
    1. Sister missionaries are famous for either being the best missionaries in the mission or the worst. Apparently, a mediocre, well-meaning sister missionary is the exception, not the rule. Why do you think this is? What about our teaching results in only these 2 groups serving?
    2. How do we keep a lesson from turning into a discussion on “girls are just as important”? – I dislike that attitude because it assumes men have a high standing and we should move perceptions of women so that they become exactly equivalent, rather than recognizing we are completely different yet equal. What about women missionaries is unique? Is serving a mission fulfilling what sis. Beck calls the female “half” of the work of the kingdom?
    Much to think about.

    Comment by Karen — September 28, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

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