YSA Changes

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Arrakeen
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YSA Changes

Post by Arrakeen »

The church seems to have released some new directives for YSA:

https://www.thechurchnews.com/members/2 ... ing-places
An emphasis on young single adults serving in all YSA callings except stake president and bishop is one of the several newly adjusted guidelines cited in a notice titled “Strengthening Young Single Adults.”

Other adjustments include the purpose for and participation in stake YSA committees and “gathering places.”
Young single adults are to lead as members of the stake presidency, high council, elders quorum presidency and stake and ward Relief Society presidencies (see General Handbook 14.0 and 14.4.4).

Currently, in many YSA stakes and wards, married individuals and couples have been called to help fill leadership and advisory positions, such as members of stake presidencies, high councils, stake Relief Society presidencies and bishoprics, as well as stake and ward clerks, stake and ward missionaries and advisers.

“Except for stake presidents and bishops, all married members called to YSA positions should be considered for release,” the notice states.
Each non-YSA stake is to organize a YSA committee made up of a few young single adults from each ward, with a young single adult man and woman called to lead the committee. The two committee leaders also serve on the stake council. 
This seems like a small step in the right direction, coming just a little closer to actually treating YSA members like adults.
Also according to the notice, stake leaders are authorized to use stake budget funds to support YSA efforts, including establishing a “gathering place” (see General Handbook 14.4.1).

Gathering places are where young single adults can be involved in such activities as:

Gospel learning, including institute.
Self-reliance courses, educational opportunities and support groups.
Service and activities.
Sharing the gospel and community outreach.
Temple and family history work.
Other Church programs.
Gathering places sound like they would be great if the focus was on social activities, but I don't know that many YSAs will be too enthusiastic about these very church-focused activities, especially since institute kind of already had that covered.
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DarkJedi
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by DarkJedi »

I agree these are steps in the right direction and long overdue. For far too long YSA have been treated like second class citizens or children in both YSA and "regular" wards.

The gathering place concept also sounds good, but I agree - I believe social/fun activities are more important and more appealing than another version of other religious instruction programs. I think the leadership understands the church is bleeding young people and that does not bode well for the future. However, I don't think they understand why, and I don't believe the solution is more indoctrination. I'm no expert, but it doesn't take one to see the problem isn't that young people don't know or understand church teachings. The problem is they do know and disagree. This is not the only reason people leave, but it is one reason and more of the same is not the solution.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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Watcher
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by Watcher »

A story from my youth. As a young man my bishop was a survivor of WWII. He was a tank commander that fought across Africa and then across Italy. Over 90% of those he started with had been killed in combat. When the war concluded his tank was in great need of repair. On a rainy day in Italy, he was working on his tank that was broken down – trying to get it going again. His cloths were worn and tattered and had not been washed for over a month. He was dirty and had not bathed for over a week. They had just received word that the war was over in Europe that morning. It was just after noon when a relatively clean Jeep came down a dirt road and stopped near when he was working. A young washed private got out of the Jeep in clean and pressed fatigues. The lad was careful to jump from one clump of grass to another to avoid getting his spit shined boots muddy.

When the lad approached my bishop, he handed him orders to leave immediately to return home and be released from the military. My bishop expressed to me that he was concerned that the private had no idea what it had been like for my bishop in his military service. And yet they served in the same war. Both would on their return home be considered much the same. Yet one would have endured much more than the other.

It is my impression that we all face difficulties – sometimes the difficulties we face are different from what others face and often we face difficulties at different points of time. I am inclined to think that those with more recent difficulties tend to believe others do not understand their difficulties – which can be true. But we are advised not to judge others in a condemning manner regardless of how long or how recent we faced our difficulties.

Let us love one another – not as the natural man loves exclusively those that love them but as G-d loves – because we are good. Because I know I should always love others – what concerns me the most is when I have difficulty loving others – not so much as when others seem to me, to have difficulty loving me
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DarkJedi
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by DarkJedi »

Great story Watcher, but relevance to the topic? Let's try to stay on topic, if you have something to say about something else please comment on an appropriate thread or start a new thread.

Despite my misgivings and what might be considered less-than-stellar comments about these changes they are an important departure from past practice, and important not just to young singles but all singles and perhaps all members if the group (gathering place) thing were to be expanded (I believe groups have been discouraged in the past).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction
Roy
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by Roy »

I think that different generations have different struggles and this has always been the case. I also agree that there is some animosity between the two groups (Boomer vs. Millennial) that tends to point fingers at each other rather than acknowledge differences as not necessarily good or bad.

I am in my 40s now. I just missed the cut-off to be considered a millennial. I am also a moderate and bridgebuilder by nature. I see much to respect and admire in both generations (my children are classified as Gen Z and therefore not millennials).

I am conflicted about the direction to not have adult leadership. In my local ward, I feel that the YM program has gone down hill from the loss of a YM president and Scouting program. Theoretically, the YM are supposed to lead. However, in practice this means that several of the weekly Wednesday night activities are replaced with "planning meetings" and the boys are regularly shamed for the lack of fun activities. "If you want something to do something fun, you need to take charge."

Yes, there are differences between 12-15 year old boys and 18+. However, I worry about removing more seasoned support staff. Other churches might have PAID Youth Pastors or Young Adult Group Leaders in order to oversee these programs.

As always, some stakes might have an abundance of motivated YSA that will do very well stepping into leadership roles. I fear that some other stakes will see their programs wither on the vine with there not being enough YSA and the YSA being to busy with other pursuits. In this latter scenario, if the YSA participation dwindles and the activities are lackluster there is even less reason to attend and more YSA can opt out.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
Roy
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by Roy »

I do really like the idea of a gathering place.

I know that I spent a good amount of time in my university institute building and saw it as a safe and welcoming space where I could belong.

It will be interesting to see how different stakes work to make "gathering places" a reality. I recommend food. ;)
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
Arrakeen
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by Arrakeen »

Roy wrote: 05 Dec 2022, 10:33
I am conflicted about the direction to not have adult leadership.
A little nitpicky here, but in the case of YSA the YSA being called as leaders are “adult leadership”. It’s common for older members to group YSA members in with the youth instead of with the adults, and it can be quite frustrating as a YSA.

In YSA wards it has often felt like having chaperones for single people. Why do young single adults, but not young married adults, need to be watched over by older leaders? The church often seems to treat a married 18 year old as more of an adult than someone 10 years older, but single.

In my experience a lot of YSA activities feel infantilizing. Playing children’s games, having the weekly lecture on the law of chastity, and being reminded that our true purpose in life is to get married and have kids.

I agree there is a risk of YSA wards not having enough engaged members to run things, but perhaps that is merely another indication that what the church has been doing for YSAs up to this point hasn’t worked.
Roy
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by Roy »

Yes, you have a good point. I did not mean to say that YSA were not adults.

However, the slip may have revealed an assumption of mine. I do think that I include YSA with the "youth" of the church. I think that I do so more as a demographic label and not as an attempt to infantilize. Still, your point is well taken.

I suppose another way to express my point is that I fear that the church is dedicating less resources to YSA. I hope that I am wrong and that the gathering places will be amazing.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
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SilentDawning
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by SilentDawning »

When I was a YSA, I was severely tormented by the sexual urges we all feel. But for me it seemed they were particularly strong.

They were so strong it was actually painful at times. One risk of a YSA serving in a high-profile position is the impact on their church membership if they get involved in some kind of sexual infraction. I once dated a woman from Wales, and her father was a Stake President. She told me her father had to disfellowship a YSA who was serving on the high council and was involved in some kind of sexual activity. This was due to the position the YSA held.

For that reason, taken with my sore temptation to transgress, I would probably never accept a position of high responsibility as a YSA.

But it's good that YSA's have the option of serving in such positions. But I do think the risk to YSA membership given the power of sexual urges needs to be considered when offering them positions of responsibility. I think they need to know the implications of sexual sin in accepting high-profile positions before they do so.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

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Roy
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Re: YSA Changes

Post by Roy »

SilentDawning wrote: 12 Dec 2022, 11:45 For that reason, taken with my sore temptation to transgress, I would probably never accept a position of high responsibility as a YSA.
I have heard anecdotally that the attitude is similar for divorced persons - that they need a more watchful eye because they are not in a relationship where their sexual needs are being met.
SilentDawning wrote: 12 Dec 2022, 11:45 When I was a YSA, I was severely tormented by the sexual urges we all feel. But for me it seemed they were particularly strong.


I remember wondering where the line was between normal sexual interest and perversion. I think that my upbringing in the church led me to believe that unchaste thoughts were from Satan.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
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