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Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 11:08
by Deepthinker
I sent an anonymous email to an Area Authority I know about the issues I'm having with doubt and received a reply that he would like to meet confidentially this weekend. He said he is willing to talk to me about some principles that might help me, but that he was not eager to send them to me in an email.

I do trust that he will keep things confidential, but I'm uncertain how to respond. A big part of me wants to meet with him, yet there is another part that is not quite ready to open this up yet and I fear the path it could lead towards.

The fact that he has offered some of his personal time to me really touched me.

Any advice on what I should do?

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 11:35
by DarkJedi
First off, you did contact him albeit anonymously. What were you expecting? I don't know you and I don't know the area authority seventy. I have read many of the posts you have made, and know a little of how you think. I also believe that general and area authorities are good people trying to do what's right (for the most part). Were I in his position, having received an anonymous email I probably wouldn't respond in writing, either. For all I'd know you might be an anti-Mormon just looking to trip me up and publish what I wrote everywhere with your anti-Mormon twist on it. Likewise, if I did believe you were a sincere member reaching out and looking for help, I think I'd want to sit down with you face to face and have a discussion - no emailing or online chatting or whatever can be a substitute for face-to-face communication in which we can both see each others' expressions and body language.

I'd meet him if I were you. If it starts to go badly you can always leave.

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 12:09
by hawkgrrrl
Hard to say how it will go. My only advice is to think through what you want from this meeting before you go in and state that objective up front. Be honest with yourself and with him about your expectations. Otherwise, you will probably be disappointed (you may anyway).

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 12:14
by Deepthinker
DarkJedi wrote:First off, you did contact him albeit anonymously. What were you expecting? I don't know you and I don't know the area authority seventy. I have read many of the posts you have made, and know a little of how you think. I also believe that general and area authorities are good people trying to do what's right (for the most part). Were I in his position, having received an anonymous email I probably wouldn't respond in writing, either. For all I'd know you might be an anti-Mormon just looking to trip me up and publish what I wrote everywhere with your anti-Mormon twist on it. Likewise, if I did believe you were a sincere member reaching out and looking for help, I think I'd want to sit down with you face to face and have a discussion - no emailing or online chatting or whatever can be a substitute for face-to-face communication in which we can both see each others' expressions and body language.

I'd meet him if I were you. If it starts to go badly you can always leave.
Thanks DJ. Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect. I wasn't sure I would even get a response and I didn't think he would have the time to even meet with me. I completely understand why he does want to meet in person. I have never been able to find the right time to approach things with my Dad and I think I do need some face-to-face communication. Right now I'm leaning towards emailing him back and telling him I will meet with him.

By the way, I did tell him that I know him in real life and that he knows me. Although, someone could make that up in an email to him. I hope my sincerity came across in my email.

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 12:18
by Deepthinker
hawkgrrrl wrote:Hard to say how it will go. My only advice is to think through what you want from this meeting before you go in and state that objective up front. Be honest with yourself and with him about your expectations. Otherwise, you will probably be disappointed (you may anyway).
Thanks, some great advice.

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 12:39
by Forgotten_Charity
Based on my experience with non historic but personality and emotional issues. It has been like pre-psychotherapy client centered model. Rather instead of being nondirective, reflecting back what the you say, and encouraging change from within. It was the exact opposite. Sometimes listening but with a already formed opinion on how to handle and what to say before hearing anything. My advice is be prepared and usually strongly extrovert pushing May come into play. Be prepared to listen, lots rather then being heard. It may not happen like that, but growing up those personality types were the ones that advanced so it makes sense that it would go that way.

If your an extrovert type person great. If your more a introvert then it could be very hard. have some practice with handling authorize type personality and have plans on how to react peacefully to a situation that could go either way. Unplanned and unprepared, if it goes south you need a peaceful escape route just in case. If you are unprepared you may react quickly to a negative situation that escalate worse if you don't have a peaceful escape route if it does start to go south.

Hopefully it won't be approached like a parent small
Child relationship and everything will work out great but it never hurts to have a positive escape plan.

P.S. Just to add it has been over a decade since the meeting and it wasn't about history. So take that into account.

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 12:54
by nibbler
I've heard of people with similar issues that have had one on one chats with AAs and GAs. They ended up being surprised by just how much the leader listened and showed them love.

Certainly be prepared for anything. Just my attempt at balancing the scales. ;)

I like hawkgrrrl's advice. The only reason I wouldn't go is because I can't come up with any objectives. Seriously, I don't think there's a question I haven't already answered for myself or a question that I felt like I didn't already know what the response would be. If I were to have an objective I'd definitely seize on the opportunity.

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 16:03
by SilentDawning
I give him credit for writing you back and wanting to meet with you. Kudos to the GA!

HOwever, I would personally not meet with him personally, although I might consider some limited correspondence via email.

My reasons are thus:

1. You will likely get unsatisfying TBM answers.
2. You run the strong risk of a referral to your SP or Bishop, even if he assures confidentiality. The chain of command is very strong in the church.
3. YOu want to leave your options open in case something happens and you want full integration with the church again.

That is my advice. I do appreciate the fact that he cares though. And he's probably a busy, high achieving person.

Good luck.

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 18:31
by Curt Sunshine
I would meet with him, but it would be without any expectations whatsoever about specific results. Any negative would be accepted, while any positive would be a nice surprise.

I also would NOT make it about any particular issue. I really don't see closure occurring with regard to any specific topic. Rather, I would make it about the overall concept of supporting members who see things differently than the majority and not making those members feel like they have to leave the Church if they have a different view.

I am glad to hear about the response. This sort of opportunity is important and ought not be ignored.

I hope it goes well. If not, we are here to commiserate :D - or to say, "I told you so." :silent: :lol:

Re: Meet with An Area Authority?

Posted: 07 May 2014, 18:49
by Ann
I have no idea what you wrote to him about, but I hope you meet and look forward to hearing about it. He sounds sincere and trustworthy. It sounds like he won't be anxious to get into specific issues since he offered to talk about helpful "principles." I would love the chance to let my guard down and talk with a real human being about my faith.