New bishopric member seeks advice

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
NWwisdomseeker
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by NWwisdomseeker » 21 Apr 2010, 21:57

Ray Degraw wrote:Don't be "just" the rep for the intellectual members or the heterodox. You need to help break down the divisions, not reinforce them. Be their "voice" in councils, but focus on everyone.
Thank you so much for pointing this out. It is very important for me to read this and to remember it. There is a tendency to unintentionally reinforce labels and divisions in the effort to insure that certain people get their needs met or receive special attention. But the bishopric is called to serve the whole ward, and lots of people need lots of different kinds of help. Ultimately, building a greater amount of respect and tolerance and love among all ward members should be the goal.

MWallace57
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by MWallace57 » 22 Apr 2010, 00:05

Personally, I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ contains many plain and precious truths that are of an eternal nature. Truth doesn't change, but our knowledge, awareness and understanding of it does.

We are all in slightly different places as far as our knowledge, understanding and acceptance of truth go. Over the years, I have seen some Latterday Saints who were a little ahead of the curve. They may have studied harder, been more diligent, embraced a broader ideology, traveled more etc. Some of these individuals have developed positive attributes such as leadership skills. Many were amongst the first to question Church policies such as not allowing black males to hold the Priesthood.

Unfortunately, I see so many of these individuals disenfranchised, rejected and even excommunicated by the Church. I have become very defensive and I just keep my mouth shut all of the time (except on this forum where many of my posts are deleted by monitors). I am trained as a Scientist and I worked in Biosafety
Safety Level 3 with the most dangerous viruses in Utah. Sometimes, I think my training helped me to "see the entire iceberg, not just the tip" as I had to recognize coming epidemics when only a few strains were isolated. This skill has slowly evolved over about 30 years that I have worked in the field.

I wish the Church would listen to me. They don't. They never do. There are so many things I wish I could tell them, if only they were open enough to listen. I worked for the Utah State Department of Health and isolated infections from Returned Missionaries. I often wished that I could help them, reason with them.

I confess that I have given up. I stopped attending Church about 1 1/2 year ago. I don't feel welcome at all. I am always told I am wrong about infectious disease and immunization trends, yet I attending every single Epidemiology meeting at Utah State Department of Health for years and isolated, and identified TB and other infections from Returned Missionaries.

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Rix
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by Rix » 22 Apr 2010, 07:05

NWwisdomseeker wrote:... and two is to try to figure out how to retain people in the participating community who leaven the community with interesting perspectives and a willingness to pitch in. I guess there is a little bit of self-interest going on there -- I want my church experience to be better, and it is better when the type of people who are leaving remain involved.
I LOVE this, and hope there are more like you to do just this. We ARE a community, a culture of sincere and compassionate people; hopefully there can be a segment in the church that thinks a bit outside the box. Homogenizing everybody is boring!

Welcome to the forum, btw!

:D
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

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Heber13
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by Heber13 » 22 Apr 2010, 07:25

NWwisdomseeker wrote:I want my church experience to be better, and it is better when the type of people who are leaving remain involved.
That is the best response! I truly do think it makes the church better to approach it like you intend to...and see it as a positive. It may introduce some issues or cause people to stretch themselves to accept new ideas...but that is what helps everyone in the community, in my opinion.

God bless you and I pray he sustains you in your calling. Thanks so much for coming to this board and sharing.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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cwald
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by cwald » 23 Apr 2010, 17:07

I have a close friend in Utah who got disfellowedshiped from the church a year ago. We discuss spirituality quite often over the phone. He told me the only thing he wants from his Bishopric is for them to stop by his door some day and just tell him that they know Jesus is the Christ. he doesn't need or want anything else from them. They have not done that. They stop by his door often, to "admonish" him to do this and do that. Perhaps when you visit them, you should let them know how you feel about the savior, and just leave church out of it --- after all, you are "representative of the savior" and you just happen to be using the mormon church to distribute the gospel message.

Interesting enough - my friend thinks it's very IRONIC that I'm (the most vocal questioning and skeptical member he's ever met) is the only mormon who has ever stopped by or called him up, and been able to say simple that Jesus is who he says is. (Of course i have the advantage of knowing what he wants to hear. :D ) A lot of this other stuff we (church leaders) worry about really just doesn't matter so much. This week I've reread the books of Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Numbers - and it just amazes me how much "my" church has come to resemble the biblical Israelites.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Curt Sunshine
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by Curt Sunshine » 23 Apr 2010, 19:18

cwald, fwiw, your friend has some deep-seated issues that he has to come to grips with if he's hanging onto that complaint.

He has to know that they believe Jesus is the Christ, and he has to have heard it said thousands of times in his life - and he has to know they were sincere when they said it. He's picked the one thing that he is almost guarnteed not to hear at his doorstep - not because they don't believe it, but because it's so obvious they believe it and he knows they believe it that it's totally unfathomable to them that they need to say it directly to him in lieu of anything else.

Please share that with him at some point IF you feel inspired to do so - but not if you don't. Some things need to be left to us to come to realize on our own - and this might be one of those things, since he probably will come up with some other unfathomable need if he is forced to let go of this one before he is ready to do so.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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bridget_night
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by bridget_night » 23 Apr 2010, 19:41

NWwisdomseeker wrote:Hi,

In thinking though this, I have concluded the following: a) I'm very willing to reach out and make the appointment and visit these people; b) I would like to state to them up front that we have no intention of trying to talk them into anything. In fact, I would like to state that my intention is to listen to what they have to say and why they are considering leaving, identify if any of the concerns they have are things we can address either by clarification or by trying improve a situation within the ward, and assure them that we will respect their intentions and that we will always have open arms and a willingness to support them and help them in any way. I'd also like to use these visits to see if there might be either improvements we could make in the programs we run, or alternative ways to help people feel a part of the ward without making them feel guilty if they don't want to attend the temple, or can't stand to be in a fast and testimony meeting, or can't claim that they "know" something, or have difficulty with the historicity, the exceptionalism, etc.

So the question I'd like to pose to this group is: what do you wish for in your local leadership? If you were in my ward, and the bishop and I showed up at your house, how would you want that to go?

Thanks!

Boy, I wish I had someone like you in my new ward! Ever since Boyd K. Packer said that the greatest threat to the church are intellectuals, feminists, and homosexuals, there are alot of members who now feel alienated from the church. If you read my thread on "Need Advice' you know that I was very offended by my new bishop because he made me feel that me and my family were not wanted in his ward because we struggle with our testimonies and have doubts and questions. I have not heard from anyone from the church since I told the bishop we had gotten help elsewhere to unload our Uhaul since his offer to help was so conditional. He did say he had gotten my letter, but has not called to talk about it or to apologize. I think it is good for bishoprics to call and find out what offended people or why they are leaving in the manner you just discribed. I think it makes a big difference when some one really cares and really listens. Let us know how it goes.

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cwald
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by cwald » 23 Apr 2010, 22:38

Ray Degraw wrote:cwald, fwiw, your friend has some deep-seated issues that he has to come to grips with if he's hanging onto that complaint.

He has to know that they believe Jesus is the Christ, and he has to have heard it said thousands of times in his life - and he has to know they were sincere when they said it. He's picked the one thing that he is almost guarnteed not to hear at his doorstep - not because they don't believe it, but because it's so obvious they believe it and he knows they believe it that it's totally unfathomable to them that they need to say it directly to him in lieu of anything else.

Please share that with him at some point IF you feel inspired to do so - but not if you don't. Some things need to be left to us to come to realize on our own - and this might be one of those things, since he probably will come up with some other unfathomable need if he is forced to let go of this one before he is ready to do so.

RAY - What planet are you from? ;) I don't know, maybe I;m from a different planet. Where did you grow up and where do you attend church - that's where I want to go. I just cannot relate to you, and your experiences in this church - i just don't get it how you could push this guys experience and feeling aside so haphazardly. This guy is spiritual and HAS BEEN WRONGED by the church. It happens. Are you telling me you have NEVER been in a ward where the mormon leadership was all about the "church" and forgot about what the gospel was all about. I envy you. Perhaps I'm too "angry" for this website?
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Curt Sunshine
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by Curt Sunshine » 24 Apr 2010, 05:44

Maybe not too angry, cwald. Probably just reading things into my comments that aren't there.

Fwiw, your questions don't fit my experience at all - and they don't fit what I have written. Please try to understand what I actually have said, and how your reactions are to a stereotype - not to me.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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Cadence
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Re: New bishopric member seeks advice

Post by Cadence » 24 Apr 2010, 07:03

If you came to my house I would ask you to provide some answers on an intellectual basis. Without falling back on scripture study and prayer can you give me some definitive answers to questions I have.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

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