I have been a member of the church for over 50 years and these rude questions have been going on for just as long (probably longer). It is time to quit pasting the phony smiles on our faces and trying to be "nice" to these numbskulls. How about an honest answer? "That's a really personal issue for me---not something I wish to discuss right now." As for the pregnancy question: "I am not pregnant. You really need to be more careful about your assumptions."
The intrusive questions about when you are planning on starting a family should be met with a stare of disbelief, followed by, "I'm really amazed you would ask such a personal question!"
The reason these questions persist is that there are too many of us who have no backbones.
There are pros and cons to the insensitive questions.If 2 different ladies hadn't asked, in effect, "Did you say you were expecting?" I wouldn't have thought to get a pregnancy test when I was expecting my 4th child.After a subsequent pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I felt more sorry for the ward sister who asked "Did you lose weight?" than for my own sorrow.
Have you heard the one where the young single adult girl so weary of older folks elbowing her at weddings saying "Maybe you'll be next" that she started doing it to them at funerals. We need to trust others to prayerfully and wisely choose their own goals and timetables.
The last message young ladies should be getting is to hurry into a mission. I think the counsel is still pretty clear that it is the priesthood obligation to do this. Women should be hurrying into marriages.
One more comment about young men who are not serving missions. I have found people commonly ask (and it's well-meaning, I'm sure) "When does Tom turn 19?" If the young man is not serving, that is a more awkward question to answer than one might assume. A better and more loving question would be "What is Tom up to these days?" When people ask that, they show love and concern for my son as a person, not just checking up to see if he has his papers in.
Wish that the words free agency would not be used for nothing is free.
And another response for girls could be is: I havn't decided which mission to do yet. have children or serve a mission.
Man did you hit the nail on the head! I thought you were pretty generous in your assumptions about people's intentions. I don't know, maybe most are out of good intentions, but what comes out of some members' mouth just sends me to the floor. Like when a member in our ward had to have both legs amputated due to a rare disease, and someone said, "Well, if you'd just had more faith". REALLY. Our daughter dealt with infertility for 9 years and she came home in tears many times because of insensitive statements like those you shared. With Jesus as our ideal, we all need to strive to be supportive, and loving, and we need to THINK before we speak. I am as guilty as many others in sometimes opening my mouth before my brain is fully engaged- and for that I apologize. Your article has reminded me to do better.
Well said! While it's exciting many young women are choosing to serve missions, they are not under the obligation of priesthood responsibility to do so. We should be careful not to give the impression that those who serve missions are more righteous than those who don't.
Thanks for addressing this important subject. Girls are feeling undue pressure to put their papers in quickly if they are 19. That is not what the prophet indicated, it is to be a matter of prayer and counseling with your parents, bishop and the Lord. I served a mission at 21 and happy to say that I was not pressured into it, and could not have served with a full heart if I had been. We all need to be more sensitive in our questions to our fellow ward members and saints about any aspects of their lives. We don't always know what issues they are dealing with. When a young woman does get that distinct answer to serve, thrust in your sickle with all your might! It truly is a marvelous work and a wonder!
"...yet the pressure is suddenly on to join the tidal wave of applicants."Suddenly? Are you kidding? When I was approaching the magic age of 21, I was bombarded with that question. And after I turned 21, I got the "Why not?" question. This is just a problem that got moved two years down. The rest of the article, on how to deal with these questions, is fine, but let's not pretend this is something that just began.I'm more concerned with the boys that opt to serve at the "regular" age of 19, and all the "Why aren't you going now?" questions that's going to bring upon them, than the 19-year-old girls. Remember, President Monson said that those who feel they are ready at 18 can go. There will be quite a few, I imagine, that will stick to the status quo age.
I was so thrilled to hear about the changes in missionary age and the renaissance that sister missionaries would be experiencing from here on out that I almost didn't consider the less-desirable effects the policy change would have. I served in 2004-2005 after the "Raise The Bar" policy was instituted, but still under the "only the ugly/crazy girls go on missions" mindset, so it was a unique time. I'll be sure to encourage and cheer on my fellow sisters no matter what their paths may be. And NO, I am NOT pregnant, but thanks for asking!
The same thing can be said for senior citizens. For a while there if you asked me when my husband and I were going to serve a mission I would have burst into tears. There is nothing we would like more -- but it is not feasibly possible at the moment for reasons that are nobody's business but our own. Thanks for this article!!!
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