Last month I was “fired” as Ward Clerk and moved to be Young Menâ€™s President. Our Ward is Small, and so we combine Teachers and Deacons. We have 6 active youth who run the gambit in family settings.
Recently an apparent issue has come up where rumor has it that someone in my ward came up to one of my young men and chastised him for having black nail polish on while blessing the sacrament. (Heâ€™s Goth, or Monster Metal, or whatever it is called these days. ). Rumor has it that the boy was pretty angry about these comments. I don’t know what his reaction really is, but I can imagine. I don’t even really know which Young Man it was (I have two Goth kids, could be either one)
Now these are good guys. One always wears a suit to church and purposefully puts his â€œdown to his wasteâ€ hair back in a pony tail. He blesses the sacrament nearly every week, and while he has no plans to serve a mission, attends mutual every week, and faithfully helps his grandfather home teach and serve half the widows in our ward. (By help, I mean he takes them the sacrament every week and takes some of them dinner almost every night.) The other is working with me every week towards achieving his eagle scout, despite great personal obstables he has come accross. Both have committed to me to work on their Duty to God awards and Both are 80% done or better.
More importantly, I have worked with these kids for years as a Sunday School Teacher, and I have a personal spiritual witness of their vital worth to God. Before I said these were good guys. Let me not understate this. These are AWESOME young men.
These are really smart kids, going through normal patterns that really smart kids go through, rebelling against the norms of society because let’s face it, the norms of society really suck for teenagers. Sure some could argue that “Goth” culture (or whatever it is) is just another norm of society (a trap as it were so that even those rebelling from the norms would fall into a consumer friendly market that is easy to produce product for). But the real thing is, I don’t want these Young Men to confuse praxis as applied by some members as the Gospel for the Way that brings happiness in this life and the next.
Being a teenager is hard enough. You’ve got the “circus in your pants” problem, the relationships problem, the accountability problem, the “church rules now apply to you” problem. I mean, what isn’t a problem or challenge at that age?
It reminds me of another young man I know who was once given crap by someone for having painted Toe nails while doing a baptism. He had a crazy Dennis Rodman fetish and apparantly Painted Nails were part of that Fetish. That guy later went on a mission to Indiana and baptised me.
My first instinct is to paint my nails black, but I donâ€™t want to exacerbate the problem by openly being a jerk to someone who was a jerk, and it’s only a rumor at this point, so who knows. And besides, wearing nail polish bothers me. My second thought was to have a mini lesson on hedges, based sort of on Geoffâ€™s recent post. Or maybe a mini lesson on stupid people and the church, or even a mini lesson on social conformity and cultural misunderstanding across generations.
anyway /end rant.