Guest post by Elyssa
When I was a young 19 year old in college (at BYUI), I was called as a Sunday School teacher. I love teaching so much. It’s probably my favorite thing in the world. My entire childhood and adolescence, I can actually only remember seeing female Sunday School teachers. So it didn’t seem odd or strange to me in any way. There was another girl who met with the Bishop that night. We lived in the same complex, so we walked home together. I was too excited about my new calling to keep it in, so I told her how stoked I was. She looked at me with shock in her eyes. I questioned her about it and she told me “I was called as a Sunday School teacher too. I can’t believe they’d call two girls, and I’m super nervous.”
I literally had no idea what she was talking about. When I asked for further clarification, she made it clear that she thought it was strange that with all of these return missionaries, they would call two younger girls to be Sunday School teachers and that she was really intimidated to be teaching the gospel to returned missionaries. I remember exactly where we were on our walk home when she said these things to me. I was BLOWN AWAY. I didn’t understand how such a strong, independent, knowledgeable, gospel centered woman could come to this conclusion about herself, and perhaps even more falsely the near worshiping of someone simply because they have served a mission (after some thought, it struck me that perhaps she has never had a return missionary brother…that can crush that idea fast.)
I served in that calling for a few semesters and loved it. (And I think they loved me too…) I now have that calling again in a ward at BYU. My Bishop was asking me the other day why I love teaching Sunday School so much. I told him that I do it for empowerment. I love teaching, do not misunderstand, and I love to do that in every venue I can. However for me it has become something more personal. I HATE it when girls are intimidated because a boy has served a mission. I HATE it when a girl (or a male for that matter) thinks her personal study and spiritual growth are somehow less than a mission. I want everyone to be able to have one female Sunday School teacher they loved. I want them to see a girl who has never served a mission, has never had nay desire to do so, and has always held herself personally responsible for her personal growth. If everyone (male and female alike) has at least one of these somewhere in their memory bank, then maybe it will do something for empowerment of those who think they don’t have a voice because they didn’t serve a mission.