I remember when they added “I Am a Child of God” to the hymn book. I felt like I had already graduated from Primary, and suddenly I was back again, as if I were Adam Sandler being sent back to first grade. For some, I’m sure the addition was nostalgic. The song is not a personal favorite of mine (too sing-songy for my taste). But since people like it, I suppose it does no harm having it in the hymnal.
However, there’s a new retrograde movement in the church that I am decidedly against. In the last few weeks I’ve experienced first hand and heard online from others that there is a trend of reviewing the FSOY pamphlet and standards with the adults and explaining that it applies to them as well. What’s behind this? Here are some possible theories:
- Elevating FSOY to Scripture. We’ve already seen wards using the Proclamation on the Family as scripture or claiming that it is scripture, despite it being made clear from the editing of Pres. Packer’s talk in General Conference that it is not. If FSOY becomes scripture, what’s next? The White Bible? The CHI?
- Got Milk? This sounds like another focus on basics in a church that’s so focused on basics that we’re often accused of providing only milk, never meat.
- We Love Rules. We are so enamoured of rules that we really just wanted to provide a few more, even if they aren’t age appropriate (which hasn’t stopped the modesty police either) or situationally appropriate. Now, who was it that loved rules so much? Oh yeah. The Pharisees.
- Out of Ideas. This sounds a lot to me like the correlation committee has truly scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with teaching materials. Here’s an idea I’ve pitched before. How about we just move to a two-hour block and quit straining so hard to come up with something to talk about for three hours?
I think my favourite comment on this topic is the claim that the FSOY pamphlet contains “timeless standards.” Clearly, the 1965 version of the pamphlet was incredibly timeless as these snippets will demonstrate:
- “Few girls or women ever look well in a backless or strapless dresses. Such styles often make the figure look ungainly and large, or they show the bony structures of the body.” (Like those ungainly hags Angelina Jolie and Katherine Heigl).
- “When at home working in the yard, hiking, traveling in the mountains, camping, or participating in active sports, girls or women may appropriately wear slacks.” (The word “slacks” sounds like someone’s double-knit pants rubbing together as they walk. *shudder*)
- “Pants for young women are not desirable attire for shopping, at school, in the library, in cafeterias or restaurants.” (peopleofwalmart.com is evidence of that!)
- “Young men should always dress appropriately for the place and the occasion. For special school or church dances, they should wear a suit with dress shirt and tie, but never tennis shoes or “T” shirts. Sports jackets or dressy sweaters are appropriate apparel for the more casual dances.” (I defy any man to open his closet right now and find a dressy sweater. If you found one, was it next to your clip on bow ties? Do you also play the accordian?)
- “Girls should always try to look feminine in their dress. They should not dress like boys or try to give a masculine appearance. Dress often determines their actions.” (What actions will be determined? Will they pee standing up? Chew tobacco? Impregnate a cheerleader?)
- “A “real lady” does not go out in public, to the market, or to shops with her hair in curlers.” (I would like to know why “real lady” is in quotes. It reminds me of this Chris Farley sketch.)
- On dancing standards: “The dance should not be a grotesque contortion of the body such as shoulder or hip shaking or excessive body jerking.” (I’m speechless.)
- “Members of the church should be good dancers . . . ” (I’m actually surprised that being a good dancer is a requirement for church membership. I’ve been to enough church dances to know that it’s not routinely enforced) ” . . .and not contortionists.” (Cirque de Soleil performers will be disappointed that to hear they are not welcome.)
- “Extreme body movement should be avoided, and emphasis should be placed more on styling and clever footwork.” (Whew! Riverdance is in! Actually, the only “clever footwork” I’ve ever seen at a church dance was break dancing. Mostly I’ve just seen the two-step side-to-side shuffle.)
I’ve only culled some of the best tidbits from this blast from the past, but it begs the question, what will today’s FSOY look like in 45 years? It’s hard to say. Obviously, I’m a product of my own time, so the 1965 pre-sexual revolution pamphlet is hilarious. It’s hard to be objective. Plus, since I graduated high school in 1986, we didn’t use a FSOY pamphlet when I was a teen.
- Are FSOY standards helpful and necessary in leading and parenting teens?
- Are the FSOY standards equally appropriate for adults as for teens?
- What from the current pamphlet do you think will sound ridiculous in the future? Is there some of it that sounds ridiculous now?