Sister missionaries wearing pants. It’s a sign, people. We’re another step closer to the Second Coming, End of Days, Great Apocalypse, Rapture or whatever it is we aren’t supposed to know when it will happen.
Note: After 2,000-plus years of waiting, I think we can safely say that “soon” doesn’t really enter into it.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Pants. According to a recent announcement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormon sister missionaries are now allowed to wear them in utter defiance of millennia of counsel.
Another note: Uh-huh. I said “Mormon.” I worked too long and too hard at getting used to being one just to try on something else for the sake of style.
The first person I ever heard complain about women being forced to wear skirts, dresses or frocks was my wife.
We weren’t married yet. In fact, she didn’t even like me. We were both members of the Tacuarembo District in the LDS Uruguay-Paraguay Mission in 1973.
Hermana Jones was not shy about denouncing whatever idiocy was behind the logic that obliged sister missionaries to wear skirts while riding bikes, traipsing about in the mud, and leaping ditches in order to elude dogs.
I was sympathetic to Hermana Jones’ complaints — not because it was unfair that elders were allowed to serve in more functional attire, but rather because I would have volunteered do all of that in a kilt just for the shock value.
A written request for permission to don such apparel in a gesture of solidarity with the sisters came back from the mission president with the suggestion that I attend to my regular duties as an elder. In pants.
I was lucky to have been born in the time I was. Twenty years earlier, I would have been going door to door, or riding a bike, in a fedora. Elders back then were required to dress like Jack Webb on “Dragnet.”
I’m not sure when fedoras were no longer required, but it was probably about 20 years after they’d long since gone out of fashion.
It’s been 45 years since I found out that the Lord wanted sister missionaries to endure such impracticality in his service. And now that he’s changed his mind, it’s too late. My wife wears pants to a whole other church.
My own dress code violations are small by comparison. One day I stopped wearing the “strongly encouraged” tie to church. I searched my heart (which is rather small and made entirely of carbon) and decided that Heavenly Father didn’t care about neckties as long as they weren’t used to strangle someone.
Other people might care, but that wasn’t my (or God’s) problem. It was theirs. And they’d either get over it or they wouldn’t.
Pants on female missionaries is one thing. The big question is how long will it take before Mormon women are allowed to wear pants to church? I don’t know. The church doesn’t consult with me on such matters.
Best I can figure, it’s either another 45 years (2063) since my wife first complained about it, or shortly before the Second Coming. In any case, don’t hold your breath.
Robert Kirby is The Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.