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Public Policy Blog #1: Visit, Bless, Crush

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No, these entries will not be about public policy. Rather, my public policy class is not interesting enough to sustain my attention. Therefore, I will post an entry every Wednesday that was composed entirely in class (for the record, I also played a game of Oregon Trail, two games of hearts, and took outstanding notes).

Is there a worse fate than this? I, a marginal member of the Church, decided to serve my home teachees. I not only made a home teaching visit, but mediated a dispute between two of my home teachees, one of whom is dating a third home teachee, the other of whom initially intended to date the third home teachee. Basically, their relationship hit the skids, one of them moved out, and they couldn't decide how to handle the last nine months of their lease. I'm still working on this, but it seems to be close to solved.

But, wouldn't you know it, the home teachee that originally came to me with the problem has a crush. Of course, it's not directed at the Elder's Quorum President, or a member of the activities committee, or even the bishop. No. It's her home teacher. Me. Megaprops to our RS President for giving me the inside dish, although I already suspected that this was going on. If you're nice to and pay attention to a girl that isn't swarmed by suitors, even if that attention is strictly in a priesthood role, you can expect this sort of thing.

And, wouldn't you know it, we just got our home teaching redone, so I can't even use that as an excuse to get out of it. I'm basically just hoping she never brings it up. The worst thing is that, in my judgment, she's about one bad thing away from a complete breakdown. So, I figure that if she tries anything, I'll just use the "I'm going on a mission and so I can't date anyone" line. The mission is in a pretty distant future (likely a couple years), but it's the most humane thing I can think of.

But that's just an unfortunate story. My concern is with the whole idea of home teaching in a singles ward. I know that it's essential to have a go-to guy or guys for the priesthood and service in YSA homes, especially for the women. I think home teaching is a great program in general. But, you know, sending well dressed men to the homes of single women to be the knight in shining armor might not be the best way to keep the "professional" aspect of the priesthood separate from the "personal" nature of dating. Maybe that's intentional. Maybe we're trying to present men at their best to save women from a lack of the priesthood and a life of spinsterhood. More likely, I think it's a case of a program that isn't designed for YSAs that's just being implemented anyway.

This is more than just an inconvenience, at least for me. I'll be honest. The likelihood of less-than-attractive women becoming attracted to me makes me a lot less excited about home teaching. Presuming Mike ever blogs here again, he's got a great story from when we were companions. Before anyone gets mad, this isn't about who's pretty and who isn't. It's about the fact that, in a singles ward, home teaching is the equivalent of forced flirtation. I don't mind that as much with people that I'm attracted to, but it's even weirder then and is not only inappropriate, but could potentially lead to a strange relationship between people.

My point is simply this: use of the priesthood is a powerful emotional tool. It's not something to be taken lightly in any case. It certainly can't be dismissed as a procedural act, no different than filling out a form. Lonely, (potentially) horny people are susceptible to misintepreting these emotions as something else. Even if it's just a crush unrelated to the priesthood or a priesthood role, the calling of a home teacher requires responsiveness. We're encouraged to develop friendships with our home teachees, to really get to know them. Is that how you'd treat someone with a crush on you that you don't want to date? Of course not.

Yes, you can go to the EQP or the bishop and get the assignment changed, presuming that reasonable people occupy those positions. But somebody's got to home teach them. And, with some girls, it doesn't really matter who that somebody is.

What then, brothers and sisters, must we do?

P.S. I focus on women being attracted to men since that's happened to me a couple times. It's also possible that men might be attracted to the people that they teach, which is every bit as significant a problem for many of the reasons described above.

2 Responses to “Public Policy Blog #1: Visit, Bless, Crush”

  1. Blogger D-Train 

    I also want to make it clear that by "forced flirtation", I do not mean that you have to flirt with your home teachees, but I do mean that you have to do things that the lonely/desperate are likely to interpret as flirtatious.

  2. Blogger Mike 

    "P.S. I focus on women being attracted to men since that's happened to me a couple times. It's also possible that men might be attracted to the people that they teach, which is every bit as significant a problem for many of the reasons described above."

    DJ Lance Mellow

    D-Train have you ever had to go home teaching with this guy? Looks like I may get to real often here soon.
    Which does, however, save one of the girls he home teaches from a regular venue for forced attention from Mellow.

    I do have home teaching stories- however whether I ever blog about them (or at all) is in fact still up in the air.

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