I live in an area where there aren’t many Hispanic LDS members. I go to a Spanish branch and I’m the Young Womens class president. I really hate it. The leaders don’t listen to our suggestions and for Mutual we are always doing crafts and that’s it. We don’t go out or try to change things up a bit. I personally feel like if you are a leader it’s your responsibility to be keeping tabs on the girl’s goals and their progress and what they’re thinking and none of them do any of that. They just go on Sundays and have a last minute mutual. I’m getting sick of this because Young Women is what’s keeping these girls from doing drugs & going into gangs yet they’re being led away from it because there’s nothing happening. I’ve talked to the leaders and they get mad or they just shut off when I tell them and I’ve talked with the branch president and he doesn’t do anything about it. Please help me I don’t just want to give up on the girls but I’m sick and tired of everything.
I’m glad your branch has you, and that you haven’t given up. You’re dedicated, determined, and concerned about the girls in your class. You have the makings of a real leader. The question is how to be a YW Class “leader” when you don’t seem to have any real power.
It’s a fact of life that the Church is an all-volunteer organization. Most ward and branch leaders are trying hard to do their best. Some aren’t. And some are distracted and exhausted by the demands of life, work, and family. Still, you and your class deserve to be heard. You deserve teachers and leaders who listen to you and try to understand your needs.
If your YW leaders and Branch President haven’t been able to hear you, think of one adult in your branch whom you feel you can trust—-it can be anyone over 19: a primary teacher, a missionary assigned to your ward, anyone. Share your concerns about the YW program, and if you have concerns about particular girls and their needs, share those too. You deserve to have an ally and a listening ear, and maybe this adult will be able to help you represent your concerns more effectively to your branch leadership. (If you have particularly pressing concerns about the health or safety of a particular young woman, don’t stop with Mormons: find someone in the community-—a teacher, perhaps—-who can hear you.)
If no one in your branch gets a clue, well, M.R., you may have to be the leader you’ve been waiting for. Sometimes we have to be our own mentors and role models; I’ve found this is especially true for women. We have to learn things that no one in our daily lives seems to be able to teach us. As YW class president, you have the right to receive and act on inspiration on behalf of your class. You can act with spiritual authority as a leader. So do it! Get a class list and go through all the names. Call or text each girl individually to express your friendship and support. Try to get to know each girl on the list. If you live close enough or have transportation, visit everybody. Try to get to know their needs. Ask what kind of activities they’d like to do at church, or what kind of topics they’d like to hear addressed on Sundays. When you’ve done this important work, share what you’ve learned with your leaders. And if they still don’t hear you, offer to plan a lesson on your own, or an activity on your own. If they won’t let you, hold the activity at your own house or apartment on your own independent night.
Hermana, our religion was founded by a 14 year-old boy who didn’t find the answers he needed at church and asked God directly. If you ask, I’m pretty sure God will send you someone to help. And maybe that someone is you. After all, the future of Mormonism is in the hands of bright, courageous young Latinas like you. You are Mormonism’s future majority. And even though we may not live in your branch there are a number of us out here who want to do whatever we can to support you as you step up and represent.
AMG readers, former YW leaders especially: what words of support and advice do you have for M.R.?
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