Monday, October 13, 2014

Conrad Carter
Gender and Politics
Gender roles in Sunday School
Participation in the religious practices has many forms. In most mainstream religions today congregations are asked if not required to participate in church activities. Whether its through teaching classes, teaching or supporting sermons, dedicating time to support of build up the church and it members, there are hundreds of ways that people participate within their religious organizations. This is especially true of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Members are constantly invited to participate in nearly all aspects of the church services. This paper will focus mainly on the participation of females and males during the Sunday school portion of Sabbath day worship. During this hour men and women come together and participate in a lesson given by a single person. Through out the lesson those in attendance will be asked to participate or comment on the lesson. Although this participation is not required it is strongly encouraged and expected in every lesson. I will be looking at the participation of females and males, most of which are around the age of 22-30. I will compare the number males that participate to the number of females that participate. This will be conducted in a married student ward, or a congregation that is composed of recently married students. Most of the members attend BYU with a few attending UVU. Although some of these students are from outside of the United States the majority of them have lived in America for most of their lives.
I hypothesis that participation will be dominated by the males participants because of the patriarchal order of the church. Male participants will participate much more because they have been taught to be leaders not just in the home but in society and church settings as well.
This participation may be swayed by several factors. The first factor to take into consideration is that nearly all male participants have served missions for the LDS Church. While around three fourths of female participants have served missions for the LDS Church. This could make male participants more eager to speak up or participate in the lesson. Although I don't believe that the ratio of females to males who served missions will have huge implications on participation. Another factor to take into consideration is the topic of discussion. If the topic is not well known then the representation of participation may not be accurate. On the other hand if the topics is really well known to some but not others then this may also affect the outcome of the data collected. Another possible issue could be the confidence of those participating. Past experience may have lead to their lack of participation. For example if a member was offended by the person teaching the lesson they may no longer want to participate. There could also be cases where some people might just be shy. I am assuming that most of these situations will occur equally among both females and males and will in turn not have any really affect on the overall outcome. Some might argue that there is a problem with this type of test because it is tested on a small group of people who are in similar situations. I would argue that this is the ideal setting because the group being studied is quite similar and there will almost always be one female to one male in the class.
This data was collected over the space of 3 Sundays. There were around 50 participants in the class each Sunday. It is important to note that the teacher of the class was male and that this may have in fact altered the outcome. The first Sunday 9 females participated and 11 males. The second Sunday there were 9 females who participated and 10 males. The third Sunday there were 10 females that participated and 8 males. Based on the results my hypotheses wasn’t correct in this situation. There doesn't seem to be any real statistical difference showing that male participation will increase over female participation due to the patriarchal order of the church or due to the male dominate culture in the church. At least not as significant as I previously thought. Although there could be more statistical evidence if the data was taken over a longer span of time. It might also help if the study was conducted on multiple wards and in off campus settings.
In this setting were there were newly wed couples there were many times when both husband and wife would provide an answer to one question. Participation wasn’t exactly equal but once again it was a lot closer than what I had expected.

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