Q: What’s sillier than a 34-year-old “senior minister”¹?
A: A 20-year-old Mormon “elder.”
There are many incongruities and inconsistencies and downright ludicrosities in Mormon doctrine. Some of them are part & parcel of a system flawed at its core (and by its core personality, Joseph Smith, Jr.). Some LDS stuff is simply countercultural (funny how LDS is an anagram of LSD). Other issues are incomprehensible but run deep.
Not a few incongruities are baffling on a shallow level, and this “elder” thing is one of them. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why college-aged young men have tags on their white shirts that say “elder.” It’s a simple matter of proofreading. Whoever engraves those tags is surely dropping cards into the suggestion box: “Umm, Mr. Mormon President, ought’nt we change the term ‘elder’?”
Thus ends this shallow blogpost.
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¹ The relatively recently introduced adjective “senior” in titles for staff ministers/pastors/clergypeople may be rooted, I would speculate, in the human desire for hierarchy and status. If titles must be given, I prefer “lead” to “senior” as a descriptor. After all, it’s normal for a 38-year old with churchy gifts and talents to lead in terms of teaching, administration, pastoring/shepherding. It is odd, however, to call him “senior pastor” when he’s in a brand-new job . . . or when has only been there two years, and the majority of the adult members are older than he is!