Special assignment by the SP

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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DarkJedi
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Special assignment by the SP

Post by DarkJedi » 21 May 2014, 04:47

OK, as you may know I was recently called to the high council, and you may also know that the SP is aware that I have questions and doubts but is not necessarily aware of their depth. I have not been treated differently than any other high councilor as far as I can tell. I am assigned to advise a ward with a new bishopric, I have an assigned auxiliary, and I have a responsibility for emergency preparedness or some such nonsense. Looking at the list, that's like every other high councilor (some don't have wards/branches because there are more of us than there are units).

But I have an additional assignment not on the list. I am paraphrasing, but it was worded like this: as I travel around the stake I am supposed to offer my unique perspective about inactivity, questioning and doubting, and The Rescue to the general membership, the ward and branch leaders, and to individual members as appropriate. I have to say, that is daunting.

I know I can't stand at the pulpit and say what I'd like to say, and I'm OK with that. My real concerns are encountering those questioning/doubting members (and I know I will - the SP already told me about one he encountered last week) and what to say, and what to say to the more orthodox leaders who neither understand nor want to understand the questioner/doubter/inactive member. Help?
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

nibbler
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Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by nibbler » 21 May 2014, 05:07

I think you might already know what to say to the questioning/doubting member. Just listen.

There's no real forum for the questioner/doubter in the church so they've probably gone a long time without ever being able to talk to someone. Maybe if they do talk to someone the listener immediately goes into fix mode so the meeting isn't productive for them. So again, just listen.

The leaders are a different story. Unless they are present while you meet with people you may not need to worry about it. If they are present they might try to take over by going into the aforementioned fix mode. That's a tough situation, the best you can do is to try to take the lead and be an example. If they aren't present in your meetings with the questioners/doubters/inactive members, like you are reporting to them on your meetings, I'd just urge them to be patient. Realize that each individual is unique and must be approached uniquely, god knows them and is interfacing with them at their unique level, and that things will progress on god's timetable.

Edit: You might be surprised what you can get away with in a talk. ;) I'm in a small unit so I get to give a lot of talks, maybe 5 or 6 a year. One time I took a calculated risk and included some allegories where I was very openly talking about my faith crisis. The overall message was to make sure that love and service always prevail despite our circumstances. Only one person approached me afterwards about one of the allegories I used. Rather than answer the question they asked I just acknowledged the merit of their question and I was a bit surprised when they answered their own question for themselves but in a more orthodox way. That was one of my goals when preparing the talk, to be able to both speak to the more orthodox crowd and remain true to myself at the same time.

It was a rarity for me. Unfortunately I'll have to move before I can give it again. :lol:

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On Own Now
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by On Own Now » 21 May 2014, 05:34

Take a page from StayLDS and ask them to focus on what the "questioner/doubter/inactive member" DOES believe rather than what they don't. Then encourage the leaders to accept into our congregations those who have even the most basic beliefs in God/Good if they want to be here with us.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

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kinglamoni
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by kinglamoni » 21 May 2014, 07:26

I have read your posts on this site. I think your going to do great.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by DarkJedi » 21 May 2014, 09:29

Good point, Nibbler. That's all I wanted, someone to listen and not judge. I don't foresee that I would be meeting with these members in the presence of anyone else, I see them as more spontaneous or perhaps as a prompting (If I'm open to such things at that time). I do worry, though, that in the process someone might go back to their bishop and say something like "Brother Jedi said I don't have to believe in the Book of Mormon to get a temple recommend" when I probably really said "I've never been asked if I believe in the Book of Mormon." I don't know about the whole talk thing though - I'm looking forward to it, and I am working on saying what I want to say without saying but I don't know how much I can get away with.

Thanks for throwing my own advice back at me OON. :oops: I don't always practice what I preach, maybe I should start doing better at that!

And thanks for the vote of confidence, kinglamoni.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

science_saint
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Joined: 28 Feb 2014, 13:00

Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by science_saint » 21 May 2014, 10:06

DarkJedi - I know this is super-duper naive/idealistic of me, but I see this as an awesome opportunity. You know there are tons of youth, YSA and "educated, married men" who seem to bear the brunt of faith crises (yes there are others, but the overwhelming majority are not married women). A single, calm, reflective voice for "taking it slow" and "waiting a bit" can can away the sting of the faith crisis and help the individual to cope.

Now for the really naive view - this SP has given you permission to keep actively doubting members in the Church. If the proportion of actively doubting/actually seeking truth members in any area increases at all, it can only be a boon to "reformation". I'm not saying we should change the Church or force the Church's hand. More specifically, the only way the Church can change over time is if the "vessels" for revelation are not of the same mind as the current generation. Some people had to die off in order to adjust the policy toward polygyny, and the same is true of the priesthood ban.

I'm not saying you're some great reformer, blah, blah, but you're in a position to help. That's all. Good luck!

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 May 2014, 11:58

I have a friend who is on the High Council in Seattle, and one of his responsibilities is outreach to the LGBT community. Send me a private message. I will share his name and give him a heads up if you want to talk with him about advice.
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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Sheldon
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by Sheldon » 22 May 2014, 08:50

When the people you talk with realize that someone in leadership (you) has the same doubts and issues that they have, that will be huge! When you tell them it is OK to have doubts and stay in the church, as you have done, you will have done your job.

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mom3
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by mom3 » 22 May 2014, 11:57

That is a dream assignment that I would love. You will do great. I kept wondering why you were called to the High Council, I wondered if they wanted you just for tech support kind of stuff.

This is cool. I can't wait to here your experiences.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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DarkJedi
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Re: Special assignment by the SP

Post by DarkJedi » 22 May 2014, 12:14

mom3 wrote:That is a dream assignment that I would love. You will do great. I kept wondering why you were called to the High Council, I wondered if they wanted you just for tech support kind of stuff.

This is cool. I can't wait to here your experiences.
I wondered about the tech support thing, too, especially when it came time for sustaining. I knew there was an opening on the HC because the SP had been on the HC. When they did the sustaining, though, there was another high councilor released and another sustained along with me. The released high councilor was the tech guy. However, when I got my assignments there was not tech there.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

My Introduction

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