Sunday, November 18, 2018

“A delicate thing…to act in an organized capacity”

I was reading one of the neat talks in the new book At the Pulpit which is a compilation of different talks Latter-day Saint women have given in meetings throughout history. I ran across something that Eliza R. Snow said back in 1869. She said:

It is a delicate thing for us sisters to act in an organized capacity. Our brethren are accustomed to move in organized bodies—we are not, and we need a great deal of the Spirit and wisdom of God to direct us. Although we should meet with difficulties, let us never be discouraged, but move forward in the path of duty, and through the blessing of God and the encouragement of our brethren, we shall surmount every obstacle. (“Let Us Cultivate Ourselves”)

It is hard to imagine a day in the church when the brothers were more accustomed to act in an organized capacity than the sisters. But over time, with practice, through a variety of projects, that ability has come to the sisters as well, and each successive generation has learned from those that came before how to organize and work together in unity.

Why would Eliza R. Snow have called it “a delicate thing” to act in an organized capacity? Perhaps she saw so many ways that things could go wrong. People might step on each others’ toes, people might drop the ball, or try to take over, or criticize the one in charge or cause any number of problems.  She saw delicacy was needed to avoid those errors, errors which could turn potentially turn people off from continuing to organize.

I’m thankful to be part of the Relief Society and for the way it organizes to serve others.


Rozy Lass said...

I like and agree with your analysis. Perhaps, also, she saw that men were out in the "world" more doing business, dealing with a variety of people, while women were more accustomed to being at home and dealing only with family. Every time I read the "Little House" books I'm amazed at how timid Laura and her sisters were. But their father was the one to go to town to do the shopping and interacting with others. He went much more often than the mother. The mother was a true "stay at home" mom. When Laura did get a job in town she moved her chair back from the window so she wouldn't be on display. Contrast that with the publicity hounds of today and perhaps we can understand the "delicate" thing to organize others and be in the limelight. We have come a long way, but I'm not sure all of it has been good (at least in the world).

Michaela Stephens said...

Good point.
And then there is classic English literature in which girls were brought "out" into society in mid or late teens. I suppose that was supposed to be their beginning of being capable of being in the limelight without embarrassing themselves and their family.