On my mission to Brazil, I noticed the wards were a little more egalitarian in the way they have handled missionary preparation, being more conscious in preparing the young women than in the United States. The phrase “every youth should serve a mission” kept coming up. I was confused why they thought that, until we sang We’ll Bring the World His Truth. Apparently the phrase I was hearing was the Portuguese translation of “Let each who’s worthy go forth and share”. I am not advocating the we should push every youth to serve a mission, but I was impressed how a small change in translation could make such a big difference in the culture.
It started me thinking of the different ways we are affected by word choices in our hymns. If you look at the back of the hymnbook, where you can find women and men’s arrangements, you will find that almost every hymn written for men includes something about preaching the gospel. You will not find any hymn written for women talking about preaching the gospel.
To be fair, there are several gender neutral hymns talking about missionary work. As missionaries, we went through all the songs about missionary work, even if that meant having the sisters sing about how great the Elders of Israel were. The choice between gender-neutral and male-only songs about missionary work still favors males.
Perhaps we could add this verse to the end of As Sisters in Zion:
This would give the young women a powerful song that would encourage them to go forth and as Sister missionaries and preach the gospel with power.