OK, you are the Bishop. The Relief Society has decided to have a book club as one if the enrichment groups. Your ward has a normal distribution of both conservative and liberal Church members. What restrictions do you put on the books to be read?
This perspective occurred to me when I read the following on the Douglass Diaries mommy blog (warning, site plays music automatically):
So, one of the new enrichment groups in our ward is a book club.
We haven’t really even met yet, we’re just now reading the reading the first book, and I’m already thinking about bailing.
This is not the fault of the woman who’s in charge of it–having been in her same position in the church a few years ago I’m amazed she even got permission for the book club to be a church-sanctioned activity. That’s quite a feat. But, the trade off is that the Bishop has to approve all book choices (which is completely understandable). To make “appropriate” book selection a little easier, the other rule is that the book has to be one that Deseret Book sellsâ€¦
I understand why this bishop has set some rules. Even when members have good intentions in making their selections, differences of opinion can lead to someone becoming offended or to a selection that some think is bad and others think is reasonable. Merely wanting to preserve good feelings among ward members could lead to some restrictions.
For what its worth, I do agree with the Bishop approving the books selected. That should be an easy, quick way to avoid problems without getting in the way. But, of course, no one will be surprised when I say that the Deseret Book restriction is silly and “inappropriate” (to use the term so many Church members use to talk about things they don’t like), since Deseret Book’s role shouldn’t be to set the standard, and doing this only perpetuates Deseret Book’s power in the LDS market.
That’s how I think this kind of thing should be handled. What do you think? Is a Bishop’s approval a good idea? What other restrictions, if any, should be used?