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October 17, 2013

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Annie

Lovely insights, Neylan. As a developmental scholar, I appreciate the thoughts you articulate here, about meeting your daughter's curiosity where she is and being mindful of the underlying messages we communicate as we deliver the answers. And, let's face it, what a curious moment for a child--whose mind is so primed to sort and categorize and make theories of her own to explain the world--to notice that some people get to do things and others don't! Especially when she notices that she's a member of the excluded bunch. I think we can (both institutionally and in families and conversations) do a better job in honoring the questions that arise. What if your daughter had never asked? What if she came up with some other explanation that put her on a less healthy spiritual trajectory?

Your post reminded me of the time I heard my oldest daughter, now 20, sing in the next room when she was about 4 (sung to the tune of the primary song she had just learned, Follow the Prophet): "If you want to be a prophet, you have to be a boy. I don't know why but you have to be a bo-yy."

Through the years I have felt the wobble of the tightrope act in providing answers to my children that uplift and highlight--yes!--"the expansive and unifying aspects of our practices" while also honoring the questions that really do need resolving (or at least addressing) as they develop spiritually and intellectually. This principle you mention--where we are all serving each other in interactions that build communities in relationship with God--continues to be the best one I can articulate.

As my kids get older, we've also discussed the principle of being a wise servant (D&C 58:26, Alma 32) and going ahead and finding ways to serve and bless without necessarily being compelled to do so through roles or assignment, which continues to strengthen that tri-relationship with self, God and others. We also discuss (on most questions, not just on gender roles): that our leaders are human, the importance of cultivating the Spirit and following your own promptings, and that following Christ's example of love and forgiveness trumps everything else. Of course, these are things I continually have to re-learn myself.

Rachel Hamrick

Wonderful thoughts, as always. This gives me something more concrete to use with those kinds of awkward on the spot questions. I say 'awkward' because I'm the one feeling awkward for not quite knowing how to strike the right balance when my girls have asked similar questions. And I want to strike the right balance, so I usually say something like, "that's a really good question, let me think about how to answer it", but then I usually forget to get back to them or I don't feel like I know how to answer their questions adequately and now I've probably damaged them for life, haha. So thanks for this perspective. I like it a lot! The triangular relationship you've articulated is beautiful.

Paul Bohman

Reposted from a Facebook conversation about this post:

Your response shows some thoughtful reflection. I wouldn't say it answers the question though.

Interestingly, Doctrine and Covenants 20 specifies that priests are to administer the sacrament, and that teachers and deacons are not to do so. These days, that's interpreted to mean that priests oversee it and bless it. The responsibility of passing it out has been delegated to deacons, but the duties of deacons for sacrament aren't specified in the scriptures. Given the absence of scriptural information on the point of who is to distribute the sacrament, it's not inconceivable that women could be included in that process. And, in fact, as the article points out, women sort of are a part of that process already, at least once the tray leaves the deacon's hands. But there isn't any scriptural language forbidding women from passing the sacrament, under the authority of the priests.

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