Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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DBMormon
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Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by DBMormon » 20 Oct 2014, 09:57

I joined the church at age 17. From my baptism I have served in the following callings consecutively without any break in bewtween
Assistant WML, 2nd C in EQ, 1st C In EQ, 1st C in EQ, 1st C EQ, 2nd C in Young Mens, EQ President, 2nd C in Bishopric, Bishop, WML, and now 2nd C in Sunday School. I am 36 years old and have never been without a calling in a presidency or WML since my first calling.

I had my faith crisis while serving as a Bishop. At the Almost 5 year point, I asked my SP to release me.... Trying to lead with Faith and carry the weight of the Ward was overwhelming.... I was burnt out. A week after my release my Bishop called me as WML and after a year as WML I again asked to be released as I was burnt out..... I mean picking myself off the floor and wanting to cry burn out.... I was immediately called as 2nd C in the Sunday School Presidency (which because of our ward dymanics will be an easy calling) and I love the SS President (he was one of my councelors when I was Bishop and he is complicated and nuanced in some ways and so the pressure would/will be miniscule.

My Bishopric approached me again this Sunday (Only been called to the SS for about 1 month) and wanted to extend to me a 2nd calling as Primary Activity Leader.

I had already explained that I am open to other callings but that 1.) I would be selective and 2.) should not involve primary or younger youth as I am not a patient teacher of young ones.

I asked for 24 hours to ponder and respond. I considered the calling and while I am not a fan of turning callings down, I am simply in a place where I am taking more control of what capacities I am used in and sent this as my reply.
Dear Bishopric,
In my first 16 years in the Church I would of said yes in a heartbeat. I would have had fun and enjoyed such a calling. I am just not in that place right now. As I have said, I need to be very selective about callings in the near future. I have been burnt out for some time and need to be selective in how I am involved for a while. know that I love and appreciate each of you. I am complicated right now and apologize for that.

To give you a feel of what I am dealing with, if interested you can read this beginning on page 5 or 6 where it says
Beyond Stage Three: The Dark Night of the Soul
http://www.thebattleofarmageddon.com/st ... _faith.pdf

It describes my roller coaster pretty well

Thank you for your understanding. Again it is not that I would say no to every calling. I said yes quickly to serving with Bro. So&so. I also would likely say yes to others as well but I will for the near future be selective on how I commit myself.
I share this so that each of you know that I too am a Middle Way Mormon and while I am striving to "lead with faith" I run into the same issues many of you do. I think about, struggle, and get frustrated with the same things. While I come down ultimately in a different place than many of you I also hope you know that this is hard for me too.
your friend
Bill Reel

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DarkJedi
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by DarkJedi » 20 Oct 2014, 10:34

Thanks for sharing, Bill. I have actually always seen you as one of us, part of our exclusive club. I realize that sometimes we have to put on facades, I do it too, and I recognize that you are more visible online than I am. People at church, other than knowing I was less active and have had questions/uncertainties, don't see me as anything other than an active member and believer - and I prefer it that way. It is hard, but I think it's the best way to make a go of it.

Burnout is real, and I think it sometimes leads people down the path we have trodden.
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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NewLight
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by NewLight » 20 Oct 2014, 11:47

Hi Bill,

I have thought of you as a kindred spirit and am truly amazed at all you do. I'm glad to hear that you are able to take control and tell people you need to limit your involvement for now. Like DJ said, burnout is real - you do need to take care of yourself and be there for your family.

Too often in the church we burden people down with callings and then pile on guilt when they don't magnify them the way we think they should. It's wrong to do, but unfortunately part of the LDS culture.

Hang in there and know we are behind you.

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mom3
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by mom3 » 20 Oct 2014, 12:04

bill - I can barely type through my medication haze, but I want you to know I offered a prayer for you. I lean on your work so much. Thank you for reminding me that you are walking the same road we are. Please take a break from what ever you need to.
"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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DBMormon
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by DBMormon » 20 Oct 2014, 14:57

mom3 wrote:bill - I can barely type through my medication haze, but I want you to know I offered a prayer for you. I lean on your work so much. Thank you for reminding me that you are walking the same road we are. Please take a break from what ever you need to.
All of you.... thank you each for your kind words. This last response struck me. Thank you for your prayers. I am pulled a lot of directions. I felt your prayers as I read this. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by Curt Sunshine » 20 Oct 2014, 15:35

My philosophy is that I will do what I can do without hurting myself or my family. If the family really is the fundamental unit in the Church, as we say it is, I figure that approach is the most consistent with that belief.

God bless you.
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

Minyan Man
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by Minyan Man » 20 Oct 2014, 15:53

Bill, I'm curious. With all of your leadership experience in the Church, do you notice a correlation in inactivity with the increase
in the hours required by members serving within the church? I hope this question is clear.

So much is required as you serve. When you do a decent job & you're willing to serve, more is expected & you move through the various organizations & calls. It sounds like a vicious circle.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by SilentDawning » 20 Oct 2014, 16:08

I am the Grand Sheba of Burnout in the church. Welcome to my shrine!

I read over the Dark Night of My Soul -- I found the stages you presented helpful. Which stage are you in? I related particularly to this stage:
The fifth stage I call the journey outward. At this stage, we go back into the world and do the
kinds of things we did in the success stage, but with different, more selfless motives. People will
often change ministries at this stage and become willing to go smaller, humbler, and riskier.
They are now living God’s purpose rather than that of an institution or others.
As I said to you in a private message, I think this phase can take you outside of religion, into service that not only allows you to live God's purpose, but that also allows you to pursue your own character development. That's where I am right now. I don't consider it selfish -- perhaps a blend of Maslow and one of the other theories where service to mankind is not only service for its own sake, it's a green house of self-actualization.

I would like to add, that this refocusing of efforts into new arenas can be very refreshing and spawn spiritual renewal. I find I am working every bit as hard as I did as a Bishopric member, Stake Executive Secretary or High Priest Group leader. So, it wasn't necessarily the hard work that threw me into burnout when I held those callings -- it was the monotony, the sameness, the constant trying to change other people -- that many of those callings demanded of me.

I like how you asserted yourself to the Bishop, in a kind way. I have been doing the same thing. I did so with a primary pianist calling and I believe it was absolutely the right thing to say "no".
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- 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."

My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1576

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DBMormon
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by DBMormon » 20 Oct 2014, 17:42

Mike wrote:Bill, I'm curious. With all of your leadership experience in the Church, do you notice a correlation in inactivity with the increase
in the hours required by members serving within the church? I hope this question is clear.

So much is required as you serve. When you do a decent job & you're willing to serve, more is expected & you move through the various organizations & calls. It sounds like a vicious circle.
Yes the better mormon you are, the more work and responsibility you will be given. I do not though, see a coorelation between inactivity and workload. I do though see a correlation between faith crisis and drawing lines in the sand in regards to over sacrificing yourself to the Church

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DBMormon
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Re: Burnt Out and how we handle the Church

Post by DBMormon » 20 Oct 2014, 17:45

SilentDawning wrote:I am the Grand Sheba of Burnout in the church. Welcome to my shrine!

I read over the Dark Night of My Soul -- I found the stages you presented helpful. Which stage are you in? I related particularly to this stage:
The fifth stage I call the journey outward. At this stage, we go back into the world and do the
kinds of things we did in the success stage, but with different, more selfless motives. People will
often change ministries at this stage and become willing to go smaller, humbler, and riskier.
They are now living God’s purpose rather than that of an institution or others.
As I said to you in a private message, I think this phase can take you outside of religion, into service that not only allows you to live God's purpose, but that also allows you to pursue your own character development. That's where I am right now. I don't consider it selfish -- perhaps a blend of Maslow and one of the other theories where service to mankind is not only service for its own sake, it's a green house of self-actualization.

I would like to add, that this refocusing of efforts into new arenas can be very refreshing and spawn spiritual renewal. I find I am working every bit as hard as I did as a Bishopric member, Stake Executive Secretary or High Priest Group leader. So, it wasn't necessarily the hard work that threw me into burnout when I held those callings -- it was the monotony, the sameness, the constant trying to change other people -- that many of those callings demanded of me.

I like how you asserted yourself to the Bishop, in a kind way. I have been doing the same thing. I did so with a primary pianist calling and I believe it was absolutely the right thing to say "no".
I find many traits of 4 and 5 to be relative to my position. Some of 4 is behind me and some of 5 sounds foreign to me still and I grasp intellectually what I need to get to, I don't emotionally grasp how to get there

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