I do recognize that “Council” is not a verb; my title is a play on the word “counsel.”

Not long ago I attended a Stake Council meeting. It was my first and I will likely not be invited back, but it was quite fascinating to me. I was there representing the Young Women organization, and the two other women present represented the Relief Society and Primary. They whispered back and forth to each other but said almost nothing to the Council. I did.

This post, however is not about that disparity.

One of the items on the agenda that day was a proposal for dividing up assignments for Stake Conferences in a new way. Apparently, in the past, the assignments for setting up, taking down chairs, ushering, clean-up, etc. were given to units in the stake and were largely unfullifiled. So the proposal was to instead divide up these reasponsibilities amoung the various stake auxiliaries. That sounded fine to me: what they had been doing wasn’t working, so why not try something new? We were given a sheet that showed what each of the auxiliaries would be assigned to do for the next stake conference and told that the duties would rotate each time. Cool. Very egalitarian.

The YW and the RS just happened to be assigned clean up for the Saturday and Sunday sessions respectively, which is, of course, the dirtiest job. There was an extended discussion on the concern about women having to haul heavy trash bags through the dark to the back of the parking lot to the dumpster late on Saturday night. Of course, this made me laugh, because we, the YW presidency already do that after each and every Super Saturday, and no one fights us for the honor on a monthly basis. I assured the council that we were quite capable and would take our turn. We were assured that we would never have to set up or take down chairs–again, something we do on a monthly basis. But the YM president–who totally lets us have the honor of that job nearly every month, even when it is their turn–assured the council that his duty of taking the chairs down after the Sunday meeting would be fine because everyone pitches in and does it anyway. True, I never leave Stake Conference without putting away the chairs my family sat on.

But there is one assignment that will only rotate amoung a select few auxiliary organizations: ushering. It will always be done by men. While they fretted for 15 minutes in this meeting about women having physically demanding jobs, there was no thought to include women in ushering, a physically easy responsibility. I, a weakling kind of a woman, can totally pin on the usher tag, stand by a door, say hello, and point out where the bathrooms are or where an empty seat might be. But instead, I’ll be searching for garbage and pulling it out to the dumpster while the ushers will hand in their pins and go out for ice cream. Have fun.

Am I missing something? Is ushering actually harder than I think it is? More importantly, do you need the Priesthood to do it?