The mother of our ward

My children are getting ready for Father’s Day, and this involves practicing that primary song about fathers of the home, the ward, and us all. So tonight we had an interesting dinner-table conversation, about whether the same structure applies to mothers. We have a mother of our home, and we have a mother of us all. Is there a such thing as the mother of the ward?

I’m not sure. If there’s a mother of our ward, the most obvious candidate is the Relief Society president. She’s the leader of the woman’s organization, the corrdinator of visiting teaching, and so forth. But the in other ways, the Relief Society president seems a lot less motherly than the Bishop fatherly. She is not as involved in ward members’ church lives in a structural capacity. Is she sufficiently involved to be the mother of the ward?

The other candidates are even less promising. Is the mother of the ward actually the Bishop’s wife? This seems doubtful — if the Relief Society president’s structural role is limited, the Bishop’s wife’s role qua Bishop’s wife is non-existent. What about the Primary president? In some ways, this is attractive — the Primary president is Bishop-like in her involvement with the Primary. However, the limited scope of her authority suggests that she is not the ward mother, either.

Other possibilities exist, but I’m not sure about them. Perhaps the “mother of the ward” is a polygamous role, with Relief Society president and Primary president (and possibly others) each sharing some of the duty. (Scary thought! Run away!) Or perhaps the mother of the ward will remain shrouded in secrecy and conjecture and hushed tones, similar to the status of Mother in Heaven.

Do any of these solutions make sense? (Am I missing some possiblities?) Or is it that the song is just necessarily unbalanced — 3 verses for Father’s Day, but only 2 verses if it were ever to be adapted for Mother’s Day?

14 comments for “The mother of our ward

  1. Mark IV
    June 12, 2006 at 12:12 am

    But the in other ways, the Relief Society president seems a lot less motherly than the Bishop fatherly. She is not as involved in ward members’ church lives in a structural capacity. Is she sufficiently involved to be the mother of the ward?

    I’m not sure about that, Kaimi. I don’t know what you mean by structural capacity, but my experience has been that RS presidents are very heavily involved in people’s lives. It isn’t uncommon for the RS presdent to know about problems like serious illness, unemployment, and wayward teenagers before the bishop even has a clue.

  2. June 12, 2006 at 8:33 am

    I think the RS president is the clear choice here.

    I think your polygamous thought is very interesting. Perhaps RSP as wife of the ward and Primary President as nuturing mother.

  3. June 12, 2006 at 9:37 am

    My vote goes to Relief Society President, although I understand that someone who has not been in a RS Presidency might not realize the scope of their work.

    Alternatively, one of the wards I was in as a child had a sister I must confess I only knew as “the gum lady” who gave gum to little kids after church. Maybe she was more like the aunt of the ward.

  4. Doc
    June 12, 2006 at 9:56 am

    I lived in one ward where the relief society president and Bishop were spouses, it was often referred to as the ——— family dynasty.

  5. Dan Richards
    June 12, 2006 at 10:20 am

    If not the Relief Society President, how about the compassionate service consellor? She’s the one who makes sure nobody goes hungry and has her finger on the proverbial pulse of the ward.

  6. June 12, 2006 at 11:05 am

    Hm… okay: so I think the idea that there’s a mother of us all is not a slam-dunk… that all of us have a mother in heaven is a given, but that we all share the same mother is a little iffy.

    As for the question at hand, I think the mother of a ward is ( more often than not ) the Bishop’s wife… who often, quietly, involves herself in her husband’s work.

    Just a thought.

  7. Lamonte
    June 12, 2006 at 1:51 pm

    Kaimi wrote “Other candidates are even less promising. Is the mother of the ward actually the Bishop’s wife? This seems doubtful — if the Relief Society president’s structural role is limited, the Bishop’s wife’s role qua Bishop’s wife is non-existent.”

    You are joking arent’t you? No the Bishop’s wife doesn’t “mother” the children and other ward members like a real mother but she performs one great motherly function. When the father of the home gets beat down by demands of his job it is very often, most often, the mother who listens to him and helps to keep his spirits high. When the Bishop comes home from a long evening of interviews, frustrated by the challenges of helping his ward members work out their problems, it is the Bishop’s wife, more than anyone else who, who helps get him back on his feet, ready for another day of serving the ward. She doesn’t pry into personal issues – he can’t divulge confidential information – and she doesn’t complain about the long hours at home alone with the children. In her role as the Bishop’s wife, she makes as many sacrifices and serves as many people as anyone in the ward. Doesn’t that deserve the title “Mother?”

  8. It's Not Me
    June 12, 2006 at 6:23 pm

    RS pres should be the mother of the ward. Ours, however, does not qualify. I won’t give too many details, but we had a tragedy recently and all the help people in the ward wanted to give was “bottlenecked” with the RS pres. She knew of our situation, and knew of offers to help, but she was too busy to do any coordinating. By the time the bottleneck opened up, we no longer needed the help.

  9. dsilversmith
    June 12, 2006 at 11:29 pm

    If we are to have a Father and a Mother what about The Grandfather of the ward? the younger brother and sister of the ward? the Uncle of the ward? What about the old Bishop? Is he the Uncle of the ward?

  10. Mark Butler
    June 13, 2006 at 3:13 pm

    [Off topic]
    Kaimi, You appear to have misquoted to recent Church press release in the Notes From All Over section. you are missing three critical words: “in these issues”.
    Or did the release change after the fact?

  11. June 13, 2006 at 6:51 pm

    As the smart-aleck second cousin once removed of the ward, I second the nomination of the RS president as mother of the ward.

    We had a RS president in my old ward who was an older single lady, never married. She was one of the best RS presidents ever. Once I gave her a hand-dyed silk scarf for Mother’s Day, and when she pointed out that she wasn’t technically a mother, I told her she was the mother of our ward. She was very touched.

  12. June 13, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    If the RS president is the mother of the ward, then the Queen Bee of the ward as ‘mother-in’law’.

  13. gst
    June 13, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    The mother of my ward is Shaft.

  14. J.A.T.
    June 13, 2006 at 11:50 pm

    Here’s another nomination- the Bishop’s first counselor!
    Although my own mother nominates the ward janitor, as she insists that mothers are perceived as someone who cleans up after you ; )

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