Recommend takers at the temple have to be men?!?
EDIT: I don't mean this to indicate that this is what I am most appalled by. This is just something that I wasn't aware of. After all these years in and out of the church, I still learn things about the church that surprise me. (And that surprises me!)
I went through the temple for the first time in the mid-80s, before going on my mission. At that time they had a man and a woman at the recommend desk and either one of them would look at your recommend and if it was all up to date, let you inside.
After my mission, and graduating from school, I moved to DC. I took quite a long break from the temple, but after the 1990 changes, I decided to go back and check it out, and I started going again fairly regularly. For a while at that point, they still had the same man/woman pair at the recommend desk, checking recommends.
Then one weekend a friend of mine and I went to do a session. There was a bit of a scrum at the recommend desk when we went in and the male temple worker was occupied, but the female worker was just standing there. So we walked up to the desk to where the woman was standing and pulled out our recommends to show her.
She was your typical temple worker, white-haired lady probably in her late 70s or so, hair up in a big bun on top of her head and little rimless bifocals perched on the end of her nose. She just looked like one of those hyper sweet little old mormon ladies. She gave us a smile when we walked up to her until she saw us holding out our recommends for her to check.
I can't even describe the look she got on her face when she saw our recommends. She pinched her lips shut and her mouth started working like she was either going to start crying or screaming, and couldn't quite decide which. She finally gestured brusquely at the male worker and more or less barked out "You have to show those to him. I can't do that anymore."
My friend and I were both stunned. I said, "What? Why not?" The woman was obviously struggling to be coherent. "I don't know. I guess we aren't competent
to check recommends anymore." I sort of dropped my voice and said, "well, when did that happen? What did they say when they changed it?" She moved in closer and just started in. That woman was EN. RAGED.
Basically, she said it was now considered "a priesthood function." She said she'd been working at the temple for years and had always done recommend checks at the desk - they all did it. "But all of a sudden I'm too stupid or something to be able to check and see if a recommend's current." She kept going on in that vein and I was interjecting little questions- I was truly flummoxed (not quite pissed off yet) at what the possible rationale would be.
The guy who was there with her - somewhat ironically, it was a black guy - was listening now and grinning nervously and going "Now, now, Sister," and trying to avoid eye contact. He seemed to be embarrassed by it, but was trying to just be jocular and smooth it all over. He checked our recommends and tried to get us to move along, "Well, welcome to the temple today, Sisters! Have a wonderful day!" (All but saying, move along, women!)
At this point, I was starting to get pissed too. "How is that a priesthood function?" "That's a good question!" "What, is there ANYTHING we're considered competent to do?" "Apparently there isn't!"
We were kind of starting to wind each other up and my friend grabbed me and pulled me inside. She's an ex-mo these days (in fact, she left long before I did) but at the time she basically did her best to shut me down and shut me up, and "why do you always get so ANGRY about this kind of stuff? It's not that big a deal."
I don't know what their rationale was or is or if they even bothered to come up with one, knowing that everyone would just roll over for whatever they said. But they didn't used to have that distinction on the recommend desk. I clearly remember it otherwise and I clearly remember when they changed it. It wasn't too long after that when they even dispensed with the facade of having a woman at the desk to "help answer questions" or whatever the hell they had kept women up there for, and then it was just all men-all the time.