Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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SilentDawning
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Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by SilentDawning » 12 May 2010, 21:57

I was asked to take on a calling a while ago. It was a hefty calling time-wise at the Ward level, and it was while I was going to school, had a full-time and part-time job, plus young children at home. The Ward was extremely challenging with a lot of needy people. Also, there was a general lack of commitment except from people who were already serving in leadership positions.

There were a lot of negative experiences, unfortunately. Many stemmed from indifferent/sloppy behavior from the Bishop and the Stake Presidency members -such as agreeing to release me, giving me the handshake, and then keeping me in the calling for four more months when I'd already mentally checked out of the calling after the handshake. And some from very rebellious behavior from Church members at large.

Right now, I feel like it'll be a long time before I'm willing to be a priesthood leader again. I'd like to feel positive about the Church leadership again, and have made covenants in the temple to speak well of them. But right now, if they asked me to do anything that involved a call from the Stake, or a time consuming calling from the Ward, I'd probably refuse, partly because I believe I'd never get released if my circumstances made the calling difficult to execute.

How can I get to feeling positive about them again so I willingly take a calling again when offered to me? And even more importantly, how can I get my enthusiasm back about serving in demanding callings in the Church? I have no desire right now, given my last experience as a priesthood leader.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Heber13
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by Heber13 » 12 May 2010, 22:28

That's a tough one...how to get a desire for a calling... :? ..especially after your last experience.

I would say that perhaps you can work on how you look at callings and service.

If you are driven to please the priesthood leaders above you and trying to meet what you think their expectations are...that isn't fulfilling, IMO.

I think if you can look at accepting any calling with the attitude you can do only what you can without running faster than you have strength, then your leaders need to know you will draw boundaries on what you will or will not do away from your family. And look at doing those things in the callings that show love to other individuals without getting caught up in all the "shoulds" or "should nots" that go along with callings. Work on building strength so whatever calling you are called to, you are in control to do it the way you think is right for you, your family, to God, and to the people you are serving.

I think that is the beauty of staying LDS...working in the church is the sandbox where we work out our salvation and develop character and show love to others. You can only do so much with your time...so do what you think is best. Or take a break and say no to a calling if you need to. Stay in control.
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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bridget_night
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by bridget_night » 13 May 2010, 03:20

I heard a saying in Relief Society once that goes like this, "The reason God gave us too much to do is so we would be forced to prioritize". Sometimes, the church is such an oxymoron to me. On one hand, it talks about the 'family' being the most important thing ("No other success can compensate for failure in the home"). On the other hand, the church can keep you so busy with callings that you have little time for your family.

When my husband was in medical school, he was called to be the Elder's quroum president. People would call him day and night for things. We had 3 kids at the time and I worked a part-time job. I felt like a married single and overwhelmed because I hardly ever got to see my husband. Going to medical school was hard enough because he had to study all the time. Two of our kids were teens and getting into trouble. It was a horrible time and I was really depressed, sexually frustrated, and lonely. We were on the verge of a divorce. My oldest son who was 13 at the time wrote a letter to the bishop telling him he better release his dad as Elder's quorum pres. because it was too much and causing his parents to get a divorce. He got released immeadiately. Most of my anger was actually at my husband because he could not see the needs of his children or wife. He has always had difficulties dealing with emotional problems and doing callings was easier than dealing with family problems for him. Some members and leaders look at church callings as putting 'God' first and family should be second. Others use callings to escape being home and family problems like my husband did.

Bishops and leaders are not mind readers and do not know your family situation. I understand the concept of sacrifice (like early members left on missions and their wives and children alone for a few years to fend for themselves) in order to build up the church. I know God can compensate and bless in many sacrificial situations. This is why I think the key is getting our own personal revelation when accepting a calling. Unfortuantely, some bishops and leaders, get a little full of themselves and do unrighteous dominion. Example: My previous bishops wife was telling me about a situation she and her husband had with one bishop. The bishop called this wife to a position where she would have to use her hands alot. She had very crippling arthritis in her hands. She showed the bishop her knarlled fingers and how painful it was for her to use them. This bishop told her that he still felt inspired to give her this calling and for her and her husband to pray about it. They did and felt it was not the right thing. So her husband went to this bishop and told him their answer. The bishop got so full of himself and told this husband that his answer was from the devil and he as a bishop was inspired. Well, that made the husband mad and he told him that as the priesthold leader of his home he had the right to personal relevation for his wife and family and that he was insulting.

On a positive note, I have also seen stake leaders tell us that sometimes their callings need to be 14th on the list of things to do and their families should come first.

My main point though is that each of us need to get our own answers about callings from God directly. You are the only one who can know what you and your family can handle. I know this is not always an easy thing to get clarity on. In my past ward, one of the counselors in the bishopric was a medical doctor with 8 kids (ranging from babies to teens). I would often run into this man's wife at the YMCA and catch her crying. When I hugged her and asked her about it, she would say that she never got to see her husband hardly and that raising all those kids by herself was just too much sometimes. So, why in the heck do they call these men into these positions (sitting on the stand) while their wives are struggling with the kids in the pews? Other times, families feel real blest from their callings. It's such an individual thing that only you can know what's right for you and your family. Good luck to you on this.

Bridget

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SilentDawning
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by SilentDawning » 13 May 2010, 06:27

Thanks for both of those answers above. They make sense to me, even though they conflict with the "never say no to a calling" culture that sometimes permeates Wards and Stakes. I'm not sure I agree with it anymore, favoring your own responses above.

One thing concerning me is that due to the fall in house prices, a lot of really good families are moving out of our Ward now, leaving gaping holes in the Ward leadership -- lots of them -- in almost every single quorum and auxiliary. And there aren't many people to take on those callings. I'm sure I'm going to get tapped to take on something more substantial than my Rest & Relaxation calling as a Sunday School teacher (it's important, but not taxing in any way, almost like retirement given what I've experienced in the past) as a result in the coming months.

After my last calling, I'm starting to believe that if you don't protect your family's interests, or your own well-being, no one else will do it for you. As you say, you have to prioritize. -- and when you do put forward great sacrifice for long periods of time in a taxing calling, you can't look forward to the day when you're released with heartfelt thanks. This doesn't always come from priesthood leaders who are busy and struggling themselves.

I personally like the time I have to spend all day on Saturday with my kids, to pursue a hobby, and to be relieved of the frustrations of priesthood leadership for a while.

Also, do you think it will be appropriate when the leaders try to call me to another position of responsibility at some point, to share my frustrations with how I was released (or, WASN'T released) and its impact on my desire to serve going forward? Also expressing hope the time will come when I would like to have a position of responsbility again in the future, if asked? Or would this be considered apostate and dismissed?

You said above that you have to tell your leaders what's going on in your mind as they aren't mind-readers, and I see this as one way of helping them see the impact of their inaction on people's willingness to serve in the future.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by Curt Sunshine » 13 May 2010, 09:35

As long as it's shared meekly and lovingly and not in an emotional, confrontational way it can be wonderful. (That doens't mean tears can't be shed, btw. Sometimes, men, especially, need to see the real tears to understand.)
"After my last calling, I'm starting to believe that if you don't protect your family's interests, or your own well-being, no one else will do it for you."
Sometimes, even then they won't - because they just might not understand.

They won't, generally speaking, unless they know what your interests are. I would say something very simple, like,
"We teach that no success can compensate for failure in the home - and that famliy is our first priority - that the Church exists to strengthen and support the famliy. I just can't accept this calling right now and feel good about what it will do to me and my family (or, "I need to share with you the effect on me and my family from the way I had to approach this calling")."
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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Heber13
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by Heber13 » 13 May 2010, 09:52

SilentDawning wrote:After my last calling, I'm starting to believe that if you don't protect your family's interests, or your own well-being, no one else will do it for you. As you say, you have to prioritize. -- and when you do put forward great sacrifice for long periods of time in a taxing calling, you can't look forward to the day when you're released with heartfelt thanks. This doesn't always come from priesthood leaders who are busy and struggling themselves.
It sounds to me like your ward is stretched, and so they will ask for as much as you can give...because the need is there. Putting forward your hand to volunteer to serve when needed can be a great way to keep your family connected to the community of saints, but must be done wisely...like I said, the church will ask for ask much as you can give, and then some.

I have also learned over time that many times that is hard to say no when asked, and the leaders get frustrated because they don't know how to do it all without help...but it passes and the church rolls forward. The church won't collapse because you say no a couple times. It will move on just fine.

I just feel very strongly about this lately, I think the brethren are trying to simplify our lives, not complicate them. They are stressing the critical nature of fathers being in the home and putting family first. They will ask for service without knowing how much is too much...and you will have to tell them where that boundary is.

Elder Hale touched on it last conference again...
The greatest missionary work we will ever do will be in our homes. Our homes, quorums, and classes are part of the mission field. Our children and grandchildren are our most important investigators.

The greatest family history work that we will do will be within our own homes.
It is the spiritual preparation of our children in the rising generation that will, through their obedience, ensure the eternal preservation and perpetuation of our families for the coming generations.

The greatest rescue, the greatest activation will be in our homes. If someone in your family is wandering in strange paths, you are a rescuer, engaged in the greatest rescue effort the Church has ever known. I testify from personal experience: There is no failure except in giving up. It is never too early or too late to begin. Do not worry about what has happened in the past. Pick up the phone. Write a note. Make a visit. Extend the invitation to come home. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Your child is Heavenly Father’s child. You are about His work. He has promised to gather His children, and He is with you.

The greatest faith we have will be within our homes as we remain strong in the trials and tribulations of parenthood. To a small group of mothers, President Monson recently said, “Sometimes we are too quick to judge the effect of our successes and failures.” May I add, don’t look at today’s trials as eternal. Heavenly Father does His work in the long term. “There is much which lieth in futurity,” the Prophet Joseph Smith said. “Therefore, . . . let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (D&C 123:15, 17).

On this Easter Sunday I would hope that we would have the opportunity of bearing our testimonies that we know that God lives and that Jesus is the Christ. I would hope that we would bear our testimonies so that our children will know where our hearts are and that we love them. The greatest love and the greatest teachings should be in our homes.
I think you can safely tell your priesthood leaders, when you are needed at home, you are following the advice of the brethren.
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."

nightwalden
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by nightwalden » 13 May 2010, 12:57

SilentDawning wrote: How can I get to feeling positive about them again so I willingly take a calling again when offered to me? And even more importantly, how can I get my enthusiasm back about serving in demanding callings in the Church? I have no desire right now, given my last experience as a priesthood leader.
I think for the most part it will just take some time. I have found that the desire to serve ebbs and flows. I once made an appointment with my bishop to tell him that I wanted to be released. He beat me to the punch however, the first words out of his mouth when we sat down were that he wanted to extend a release to me. It still took another month though. I've had several months go by without a calling and found that I missed making a regular contribution. Now, I feel like I would enjoy a calling with even more responsibility because I have desires to serve others. But I still have my limits on what I'm willing to do.

I think that it would be good to tell your local leaders the next time that they extend a calling to you that you were really disappointed with how you were treated in your last calling. You don't seem angry about it, you seem disappointed. And I think that you can express that so that the after effects are positive. For me, I always find that real forgiveness is a lot easier after I express myself.

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Cadence
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by Cadence » 13 May 2010, 16:28

Nobody likes busy work, and unfortunately allot of callings are just that. We want to attach great significance to every calling but in reality it just is not so. Mostly things would be OK if we stripped every ward of half the callings and made them go away. So many things could be consolidated and streamlined, and we could distribute the load better.

I have found that the best thing to do is only accept calling that you feel you can do and make a contribution. Accepting a calling that is beyond you will cause you anxiety and depression. You will not be able to live up to your own expectations for yourself. I have a number of people working for me. I would never ask someone with one skill set to automatically do someone elses job, especially when they told me they were not up to it. It is a false notion that God is always going to make it work out. God expects you to work it out and that may mean saying no.
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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cwald
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by cwald » 13 May 2010, 22:50

I currently have "many' callings. I'm willing to do them because I honestly believe that I'm needed, and if i don't do the work, it probably won't get done. I might be in a unique situation, but I am worried about losing our branch, and I know how much the church means to my wife, and I think it has been a pretty good thing for my kids to have at this time. So I take the callings - HOWEVER, I've told the BP and SP that "they know what they are getting" and I'm "serving on my terms". Here are some things that have helped me - they may not work for everyone. One thing I have learned from this site is that one of my strategies to remain LDS is that I have to "prove to myself" that I don't have to do ANYTHING the church asks (some on this site would call this teenage rebellion :D ) . Anyway, here goes: I never sit on the stand, for any reason - I sit with my family. MY FAMILY is really the only thing that is keeping me going to church, so why would I not "experience" church with them? Just my opinion. I don't wear white shirts or suits, occasionally I wear sandals, I wear a beard - and have no intention of shaving. I wear a cross (protection from vampires :D ), I don't follow the CHI if it doesn't make sense to me, I don't do PPIs unless I feel there is a reason for it - I don't do it just because the SP says I should or that is what the CHI says Im suppose to do, I don't attend Sunday morning meetings unless I have an agenda, I don't teach or give talks on certain gospel topics (Temples, WofW, Joseph Smith, Authority). If someone who is responsible for teaching a lesson doesn't show up - doesn't meet their responsibility - we cancel that meeting and go home (I'm not going to stress myself or someone else out over it to come up with an impromptu lesson). We do not follow the traditional three hour block (don't have enough "capable" adults to get the work done), Some weeks we may only have a 45 minute sacrament meeting, sometimes we go 30 minute SS and 30 minutes PM/RS/Primary meetings - whatever it takes - but we don't sit around looking at each other jsut because the church says we have to meet for three hours every sunday. I make sure the BP and SP know that even though I currently hold a TR - I have no intention of using it. The BP also knows that my answers to the TR questions and the way I see the questions are "probably" are not the way they would interpret the questions. I don't attend stake meetings, I home teach when i feel there is a need and I genuinely love the people (dont really care about the numbers or the reports - sometimes I don't even do the reports if I don't have time), If work gets to much for me and I'm having late nights, I have no problem canceling early morning seminary. If I don't have time during the week to spend time with the kids - I dont feel guilty missing church and spending the day picnicking with fam....etc. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Basically, I'm doing this whole church thing on my terms. I believe that "serving in the church" has value, but I have had to really adapt it to make it work for me. I cannot do it like I was taught and raised - I won't do it like I was taught and raised. I will not be able to "stay" if I am expected to. I have just had to accept the fact that I am NOT a TBM - yet I can still have some small part in the church - if the church wants me. And I will be honest - my BP has actually been pretty good about it. He needs my help, and I do have "some" desire to stick around, so it has worked out for the most part so far.
  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

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SilentDawning
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Re: Need Help Feeling Positive About Local Leaders

Post by SilentDawning » 14 May 2010, 06:52

Wow cwald -- that's a pretty long list of terms. I don't necessarily disagree, although as a priesthood leader I'd be a bit frustrated with some of the things you you are willing or not willing to to do. But I guess that would be my frustration to deal with and not yours.

I'm not sure I can go that far in my quest for getting my desires to serve in a hefty calling back again though.

But I too have fallen into wearing a blue shirt because it makes me feel like an individual and because I see no point to the white shirt franchise. I also don't attend Stake meetings unless the topic is something I expect to benefit me given in advance. I used to send my assistants to stake leadership meetings and ask for a summary. This was due to heavy work commitments. Usually they would come back and say "The Stake President wants us to create a culture of unity in our quorum" or some other one liner that was the point of the meeting.

And that was the most they got out of it. It wasn't worth the hour and a half drive across town and the two hours of meetings for that one message -- which I got handily from my assistants. I too only go to the temple occasionally, although I have a temple recommend, partly because I find aspects of the ceremony physically uncomfortable. These things make being a member more palatable to me.

One thing I learned, too, that when being a priesthood leader, there are times when you have to respectfully assert yourself to the people you report to. They don't always ask for reasonable or even practical things. I think I may keep that one in my list of things to implement when I eventually return to priesthood leadership again.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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