Senior couples push

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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startpoor
Posts: 193
Joined: 22 Nov 2013, 13:43

Senior couples push

Post by startpoor » 20 Jun 2015, 23:50

I'm just really upset and need to get this off my chest. My mom has worked tirelessly to get her business off the ground. She's put years into doing something she's very proud of, and has of late been positioning herself to a more comfortable spot, where she can finally breathe a little, and visit kids and grandkids. But today for the first time ever, I heard her mention bringing up a mission. I've noticed a push lately at stake conferences about this. About how hard it is to get couples to serve but what an immense blessing it is. You get to come out of retirement, leave your family behind so you can do some paperwork or tour guiding or such. Before she told me this she said she had been feeling negatively about the church, but then listened to a GC talk, explaining that if you don't pray everyday and read everyday yada yada satan will give you negative thoughts about the church. How you have to fight for your testimony and avoid the great and spacious bldg. she blames herself for being too busy to give herself more over to the church. I guess now that could end up meaning leaving her business completely, selling the house and starting over again when they get back. They have so much control over her. She told me multiple times about the guilt she feels for not being a better member and for letting her business get in the way. It's all about guilt. There is not inner drive to serve. This is a woman who just wants to spend time with her grandkids.
It doesn't help that she blames herself for my faithlessness. She feels that if she didn't spend so much time with her business on Sundays I might not have lost my testimony. When the reality is that her life and how she raised me and my siblings is one of the top reasons I have for putting any stock in the church at all. Luckily for now this is not happening just yet. Like I said, just needed to vent.


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Ann
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Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Senior couples push

Post by Ann » 21 Jun 2015, 00:18

startpoor wrote:She told me multiple times about the guilt she feels for not being a better member and for letting her business get in the way. It's all about guilt. There is not inner drive to serve. This is a woman who just wants to spend time with her grandkids.
Have to admit that a mission doesn't seem like her thing. And if she just feels guilted into it....
It doesn't help that she blames herself for my faithlessness. She feels that if she didn't spend so much time with her business on Sundays I might not have lost my testimony. When the reality is that her life and how she raised me and my siblings is one of the top reasons I have for putting any stock in the church at all. Luckily for now this is not happening just yet. Like I said, just needed to vent.
You may have already told her this, but if you haven't (and if there really is a lot of guilt at play here), maybe you telling her this would be "validating" for her and help her make a more clear-headed decision.

And here's the hard one, I guess: Could you be supportive if she decides to go? Good luck with your mom. She sounds like quite a woman.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

amateurparent
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Re: Senior couples push

Post by amateurparent » 21 Jun 2015, 08:23

Serving a mission isn't for everyone. Something many don't think about; people serve for different reasons. Some serve to serve others, others serve to escape a situation at home.

Maybe as your mom is looking at achieving success, she doesn't know how to emotionally handle that success. She might unconsciously be looking for a way to sabotage her own business success. Maybe she feels pressured. Maybe she really feels called.

Part of being an adult is the ability to make our own life decisions. Sometimes, it is hard to watch.

My in-laws did 4 missions together. After my FIL died, my MIL has done 2 by herself and is getting ready to put paperwork in for a 3rd. She talks about the blessings. Then she starts talking a little deeper. She feels needed on a mission. She can live cheaper on a mission than a home. We know her as someone who has frequently created situational conflict. She had handled that by moving. In the first 50 years of marriage, they moved 26 times. Some of those moves were career moves, many were not.

Because of the missions, she doesn't have a relationship with her grandchildren, but she has a "righteous and God approved" reason for it. It works for her.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Senior couples push

Post by DarkJedi » 21 Jun 2015, 11:03

To me this works the same as one of my kids going on a mission (I have one out now and one preparing) - if it's what they want to do, I support them. It's not like their joining a motor cycle gang (although I would still love them if they did).
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."

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mom3
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Re: Senior couples push

Post by mom3 » 21 Jun 2015, 12:57

On so many levels, I hear you. As a church there is so much pressure to do/be so many things, and if a stake or the general church gets a bug going, it can really feel like arm twisting. For singles it's get married, for married couples it's have families and raise them right, so on and so on. None of us want to be unGodly, she is experiencing that here and now. I feel for both of you.

You wrote -
When the reality is that her life and how she raised me and my siblings is one of the top reasons I have for putting any stock in the church at all.
Have you told her that? Maybe she needs to hear it multiple times. If she keeps hearing one message, help her hear another. Write her notes, share those precious gifts she gave you, share with her why you stay (especially if it's connected with her.)

As to the mission thing directly. My inlaws served one, largely because they felt pressured to. Everyone in their family had, so they didn't want to be out of step. It wasn't lousy nor great. But I did notice, they only went on one. It lasted 18 months - then they got back to life.

My parents were split on the idea. Mom was a no, Dad was a yes. The compromise; they have a full time temple assignment/mission. They also still have ward callings and so on.

For Senior Misssions - the ball is in their court. They can bring in all the caveats they need. Stateside only, visitor center guide, Geneology mission, temple mission, even staying in their local area and serving.

She has options, they don't spell those out, but maybe if she realized she had fulfilled her mission with you - and that she can discuss options there might be some peace.

I understand your frustration. I have plenty of my own in other areas.
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Senior couples push

Post by Curt Sunshine » 21 Jun 2015, 17:32

Missions are very personal decisions, especially for adults.

Not every adult or couple can or should go - but there is SO much good they can do, and there is an enormous social need in the world for experienced adults in so many areas.

Ultimately, she has to make this decision for herself. Teat her like you want her to treat you - with respect, understanding and support - no matter what she decides.
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.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Senior couples push

Post by SilentDawning » 21 Jun 2015, 19:05

Reminds me of a talk Elder Holland gave some time ago. He was pushing for Seniors to go on missions, and mentioned on how the church was going to subsidize living expenses. He followed up with the statement "And I think that's PRETTY NICE!". I was flabbergasted at that. It was egocentric for the church. As a church, we do a great job of making statements that imply the church is doing the volunteers a favor providing work for them to do , at their own expense! And then reframe subsidization of their living expenses as a favor!

While many members are OK with that interpretation, I'm not. We already know that the church will pay mission presidents to fairly well to lead missionaries, yet the missionaries (like myself 30 years ago) must crawl over broken glass to get there financially -- particularly a convert like myself who joined at about 20 years of age. What an incredibly low value they place on my labor....and the lives of others, which leads to guilt, feelings of not being good enough, etcetera, when we decide not to sell everything and dedicate our lives, nearly full-time, to the church.
"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."

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Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Senior couples push

Post by Minyan Man » 21 Jun 2015, 20:55

I think this pressure for Seniors to go on Missions must vary by location, Stakes, States, etc.
In the Mid West, I never hear anyone advocating for Senior Adults to serve missions.
We do get letters & calls from the Temple Presidency to come & serve at the temple.
At the present time, we can't do that because of health issues. Plus, it's a 3 hour round trip.
At the present time, I don't hesitate saying no. We hope to be able to do it in the future.

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