not in Primary anymore

the home-teachee attractiveness paradox

by Hannah Wheelwright

My perception is currently limited since I attend a BYU YSA ward. But from talking with many other female students in YSA wards across the country, I have heard the same refrain:

“I feel like only the attractive girls actually get home-taught. If they don’t find you attractive, the home-teachers either ignore you completely or talk to you for two minutes at church and count that as the monthly visit.”

This is not to say that every single man in a singles ward does this. However, I am curious to hear other people’s experiences: if you are female, have you ever felt that your hometeachers’ dedication to hometeaching you was somewhat variant on your attractiveness? If you are male, were you swayed by your hometeachee’s attractiveness? If the answers are yes, should this change, and how?

18 Responses to “the home-teachee attractiveness paradox”

  1. austin

    I always liked (and still like) doing home teaching, and I also, as a personal matter, would never date someone I home taught (while I was teaching them), so it never played a part in who I visited. I know it does happen, though, sadly.

  2. SPE

    Yep. My home teacher only came over because he wanted to get a chance to hit on my gorgeous roommate. Oh, BYU, how glad am I to be free of your clutches…

  3. Asriel

    I don’t know that I’ve been swayed, particularly, by my home teachee’s attractiveness, but I definitely consider it, and I know that it is easier to remember to home teach people that I’m attracted to. I don’t see this as too terribly surprising or problematic in and of itself–you’re always going to have extra motivation to spend more time with people you are attracted to. Perhaps the young men participating in selective home teaching simply wouldn’t be doing any home teaching if it weren’t for having a church-provided excuse to visit the home teachees that they find attractive. Maybe this is too hands-off, but I honestly think the best approach to this situation is to continue to promote the true purpose of home teaching, and allow the home teachers to apply that message as best as they will.

    I would add another question to the ones you posed, Hannah. Are there any individuals in these YSA groups who feel like they are getting unwanted attention from their home teacher, but feel obligated to accept the attention since it represents his efforts to fulfill his calling?

    • elizarsnow

      Yes! I had a home teacher who I was not interested in who kept trying to ask me out. I’d politely defer every time he suggested a date. One time he caught me at a ward activity, he was with a couple of his guy friends, and came up to me and said, “for our home teaching this month, I’d really like to take you out for dinner.” I started my standard, “Well, that’s kind to offer, but it really won’t be necessary,” when his friends piped up and said, “wow! I really wish my home teacher would take me to dinner!” I didn’t have the heart to turn him down in front of his buddies. Still, I felt like it was kind of sneaky.

    • Alee

      I think there are negative retopciens to religious posts because some readers feel like they’re being lectured or sales-pitched a religion. But your post did neither of those things. It was a personal testament to a big component of you. And for that, I say well done. I grew up Catholic and still am. I’m having to figure out how I will someday show my children the religion. There are a few aspects where I think the church is narrow-minded. But I like that about who I am that I love my church but still can use it to determine my right path. As I sort things out though, I don’t particularly want to blog about it. It’s not something I always want the entire world (or my rare reader) to see. But I do think it’s a pretty frequent occurrence (to question) in today’s day and age. I think it brings me closer to my faith..-= Jessika s last blog .. =-.

  4. Annette

    I always thought home teaching was a little strange in a single’s ward. Men have to teach men AND women, while us women only taught other women. It just felt a little off. Now that I am out of a single’s ward, it is a little different since I feel like I serve family units in visiting teaching and my husband does the same with his home teaching.

    • Asriel

      I’m curious: do you ever invite the husbands of the women that you visit teach to participate in the monthly visits? And the kids? There is more to visiting teaching ministering than just the monthly visits, of course, but I just have this image in my mind of the family gathering on a Sunday afternoon to the call of, “the visiting teachers are here!”

      • Kristin

        As someone that has been visited multiple times by my visiting teachers and their children, trust me, it’s a royal pain in the neck. Trying to keep a 14 month old occupied in my non-baby-friendly house is pure hell. So much so that I asked for visiting teachers that didn’t have kids, and then none at all. Honestly, it’s a huge hassle for everyone involved if they are “doing it” just to say they “did it”.

  5. Jordan White

    I would assume that would be true. Just because a guy is LDS doesn’t mean anything when it comes to honor and virtue. I was a member for three months when I step foot at BYU-Idaho and was horrified by the vast majority of young men I met and their “values”. Point is, they are guys, even the Return Missionaries weren’t that much better, worse in most cases. I know I have heard many talk about who had the “hottest” girls to teach. Something that irritated me at first since I thought LDS were suppose to hold themselves to a higher standard. Now I realize that just since someone may say they are LDS doesn’t make them a better person, but it’s from how they live.

    Personally, I never understood why Home-teaching is so great, at least for college. I have still never been home taught, and while I do my duty, it doesn’t seem like it is any help. If you are at a church school, I think you get enough spiritual things without the need of Home Teachers. Not to mention most go to their FHE brothers or sisters for help, or at least that is what I have noticed.

  6. elizarsnow

    I have a guy friend who’s had at least five or six (that I know of) of the girls he’s home taught in singles wards over the years come out of nowhere to tell them that they had feelings for him. He’s one of those guys who always does his home teaching, and goes the extra mile with it, to become friends with the people he visits. This post is making me wonder if so many women are accustomed to having home teachers only come regularly if they’re interested in the girl, so a girl assumes regular home teacher attention means something more than it is. Interesting!

  7. Nettie

    Good looking girls always get more attention in everything. It hurts to be sure. Those of us with the big thighs and the acne get stabbed in the heart a lot. I have realized that this might be part of our HUMAN CULTURE but not God’s. It does hurt but 19-23 year old young men are just that. Young and imperfect. God loves all of his daughters and as he teaches in the scriptures, “our afflictions will be consecrated for our gain.” In high school, my friend was the hottest girl in school, head cheerleader and more and every guy wanted her. When she visited me in NYC, men in my ward that NEVER talked to me, suddenly did so they could meet her. Turns out 15 years later we are both just as happy. I have a really cool husband, I live in San Francisco in a great house, I have really cool children and of course my ups and downs like everyone. She isn’t any happier because all of the guys wanted her in high school and college. Again, as Lehi taught Jacob, our afflictions will be consecrated for our gain. Young Men don’t have it all figured out just as old men and women don’t either. The Savior and God love the “less hot”. Humans value money, fame, power, education, position, looks, style. That is OUR CULTURE, not God’s so don’t be discouraged by this. Turn to the scriptures, the Savior and pour out your soul to God. Disappointments of this time will be gone soon enough. Of course it hurts but this won’t define your eternity.

  8. Fernando

    I think that this may be the case in some instances, but not a general rule. Did I succumb to such nefarious tasks? Yes and no…I did enjoy home teaching attractive women; however, I still maintained 100% home teaching nearly every year I was at BYU. Why? I think there are many individuals who suffer from self-esteem issues and I thought it would be helpful to be genuine friends to all, even those who rank lower on the attractiveness scale. Having family members and other friends that don’t fit the stereotypical norm of attractiveness may have also made me a little bit more sensitive towards these individuals. Everybody needs a friend and a boost every now and then — irrespective of the fact that one might or might not be attractive. Home teaching and visiting teacher are about taking care of those who we’ve been asked to watch over.

    Lastly, I would counter that some men may feel a little embarrassed or shy home teaching the “beautiful girl” in the ward. It can be intimidating approaching somebody who is much more attractive than you.

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