Taryn’s thought provoking post on RS over at BCC has reminded me of a concept that I’ve held for a while. It is based on the Hisenburg Uncertainty Priciple which I only claim to understand on a hand wavy level. In fact, while doing some reading in preparation for my post I found that my understanding is the “Common incorrect explanation” listed on the rather detailed article found on Wikipedia. Luckily for us we are large enough for this to not be a problem in our everyday lives, as we are not sub-atomic particles.

However I have observed that a modified version of this scientific principle does apply on our scale, specifically in Elders Quorum, and I have named it the Elders Quorum Uncertainty Principle. The idea here is that women are unable to accurately observe or participate in Elders Quorum. They can show up, but their mere presence changes EQ into something else. So what is being observed is no longer EQ. This generally occurs when a new member of the Elders Quorum Presidency is set apart. This usually leads to a testimony meeting by the incoming and outgoing presidency, which is a bit alien to EQ anyhow, so I don’t expect that these observers believe that they are observing your typical EQ.

Sometimes however a woman will simply attend EQ. In these cases though the normal (un)prepared lesson will be given there will be a distinctly different quality to the lesson and the participation. Quorum members are more restrained with their comments, there are fewer jokes, the meeting just isn’t the same. I’m not saying it is worse or better, in fact I think it can go either way on that front. But the observer might think that she has just witnessed EQ and in fact she has not. Her observations have changed it into something else.

I understand from my wife that men show up in Relief Society ALL THE TIME! I had no idea. It would be interesting to know if there is a similar effect in RS, and if the participants think that this has a negative or positive effect on RS. I have very little evidence myself. In college I once went to the bathroom in a dorm that had unisex bathrooms. When I entered it was empty and I went about my business. A group of women entered and began having a loud conversation that was rather shocking to me. Other women came and went. When my presence became known their conversation changed drastically. Other than that I have very little insight into female only interactions.

I’m not saying this to suggest that women should or shouldn’t show up in EQ. Just that the interactions of the EQ become different when they do.