Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

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QuestionAbound
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Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by QuestionAbound » 06 May 2017, 11:26

Back story:

We recently moved from a shrinking ward to a growing ward (different stake). Our current ward has an incredible youth program and scouting program. It's well-known for the youth. We have some great kids in this ward. New primary is incredible. Simply incredible. It's not a large ward, but it's stable.

Right before our move, our new stake split a different ward. The new ward formed by the split is struggling (why they split seems to be a mystery to everyone). The new ward is super small...I'm talking 3 combined primary classes total kind of small.



Well, it turns out that 3 years after the split of the other ward, the stake wants to pull members from my current ward and have them attend the struggling ward. Our ward will now be split and I'm part of the break-off section.

Our new ward assignment will be a longer drive for us (no way I'm toting all of the kids to seminary that far way at that hour of the morning). Aside from the drive, I'm sad for my kids who have made such good friends in our current ward. My #2 son is doing so well here. We have callings that are perfect for us for now. Things are okay.

And I'm just ... I don't know. I am not at all interested in attending a struggling unit. It really comes down to my kids going to church to see friends.

I cannot (cannot) figure out why our stake splits wards when they get to running at a full staff. I so dislike the politics of church leadership sometimes and I am struggling with following this change.

I mean, the kids in my area will now be attending church and seminary with kids who don't even attend their same schools. What sense does that make?


Now, here's my question:
There is a ward building super close to us, but in our old stake. This ward is large and well-organized.
My husband said that he would have no problem requesting that we transfer our records to the new ward/different stake, but...
how successful would we be?
And, if we were denied permission, that would be damaging, so...

yeah.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by DarkJedi » 06 May 2017, 12:05

The success of your request depends at least in part on leadership roulette. Church policy is that the first presidency needs to approve such changes (talk about overkill) but I'm not sure most are actually aware of that. In my own stake if asked outright my SP would say you need to attend the ward in which you geographically reside. At the same time not being directly asked he tends to look the other way. There are several members in our stake who attend wards other than their geographic ward and fully participate (callings, TR, etc.). It should be noted our stake and wards are geographically large, which does figure into the situation. My ward, for instance, encompasses all or part of six school districts/high schools. (My ward doe currently have a single early morning seminary, but we have had multiple seminaries in the past to accommodate travel and we also currently have students involved in online seminary.)

Do you have any read on how open your local bishops and SP are to going to a ward without actually living there?
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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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dande48
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by dande48 » 06 May 2017, 12:28

It sounds like an example of "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". The leadership is making the changes in hopes of strengthening the weak by bringing in support from the strong. Heaven knows, they need it. It just stings, when the sacrifice is yours and without your consent.

I would honestly avoid bringing it up to the leadership, as much as possible. They might be cool with it, but it is likely to turn into a power struggle. I would show your support by still attending Church with your assigned ward on Sundays, but I would take the initiative on everything else. "Do. Don't ask." Act like it's your call to make.

I think you will have exceptional success if you ask your original ward's seminary teacher to allow your children to attend seminary in with your old ward. Explain that the drive would really cause difficulty, and your children might not make it otherwise (they do like to sleep in until the last minute). If the seminary teacher has a concern, can bring it to your bishop, but in all likelyhood they'll just go along with it.

With scouting and mutual, you can always just "show up". If anyone questions it, blame your kids. "______ just really misses their old friends, and is having a hard time fitting in the with the group. They just feel so lonely. I hope you don't mind if we join you." No one will question you. If they do, turn your perfectly reasonable explaination into a sob story. As long as you don't explicitly oppose the Stake President's decision, you'll have your way.
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mom3
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by mom3 » 06 May 2017, 14:41

Leadership roulette will play into it. But I have been in enough wards to see that it isn't totally unusual for people to stay. I think dande's idea of sticking close to mutual etc is a good one. If leadership complains use the kids as the excuse. I would also keep your heart open and give the new ward a chance. Sometimes it turns out better than you thought. Take your time. There is no rush. Everything will be right where it is for the next few months.

Good luck.
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Curt Sunshine
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 May 2017, 09:05

Sometimes, we ask too many questions - and we ask for permission too often.

Family being first is bedrock Mormon orthodoxy. Pray about it. If you don't feel strongly to change, stay in your current ward. If anyone challenges you about it, tell them you prayed about and feel like you need to stay for your kids, even if that means you can't have callings. Be gentle but firm, thank them for their concern, and smile when you respond.
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Cnsl1
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by Cnsl1 » 07 May 2017, 12:45

I think it's easy to claim personal revelation and/or family hardship, but harder to pull off without repercussions. While I've never been in the situation, I've seen it a few times. Based on my experience, the church takes a pretty hard stance on attending your home ward. And, obviously, if everyone could pick and choose a ward, it could get chaotic and unstructured. They also feel that ward boundaries are established through some sort of revelation, and that doing what you're supposed to do, attending your home ward will bring blessings despite any hardships. This has been my experience.

Still, wards do not literally turn people away or make people leave. Everyone is supposedly welcome. So, you and your family can show up and attend any ward you want and participate like everyone else with the following caveats. First, since your records won't be in that ward, no one in family can have a calling in that ward. Kids can't be called into presidencies of their groups. Second, you will likely be denied temple recommends because attending ward leaders can't interview you and actual ward leaders will say you don't attend your meetings. They can force you to attend ward to keep your TR.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by SilentDawning » 07 May 2017, 15:10

QuestionAbound wrote:
06 May 2017, 11:26
Back story:

We recently moved from a shrinking ward to a growing ward (different stake). Our current ward has an incredible youth program and scouting program. It's well-known for the youth. We have some great kids in this ward. New primary is incredible. Simply incredible. It's not a large ward, but it's stable.

Right before our move, our new stake split a different ward. The new ward formed by the split is struggling (why they split seems to be a mystery to everyone). The new ward is super small...I'm talking 3 combined primary classes total kind of small.



Well, it turns out that 3 years after the split of the other ward, the stake wants to pull members from my current ward and have them attend the struggling ward. Our ward will now be split and I'm part of the break-off section.

Our new ward assignment will be a longer drive for us (no way I'm toting all of the kids to seminary that far way at that hour of the morning). Aside from the drive, I'm sad for my kids who have made such good friends in our current ward. My #2 son is doing so well here. We have callings that are perfect for us for now. Things are okay.

And I'm just ... I don't know. I am not at all interested in attending a struggling unit. It really comes down to my kids going to church to see friends.

I cannot (cannot) figure out why our stake splits wards when they get to running at a full staff. I so dislike the politics of church leadership sometimes and I am struggling with following this change.

I mean, the kids in my area will now be attending church and seminary with kids who don't even attend their same schools. What sense does that make?


Now, here's my question:
There is a ward building super close to us, but in our old stake. This ward is large and well-organized.
My husband said that he would have no problem requesting that we transfer our records to the new ward/different stake, but...
how successful would we be?
And, if we were denied permission, that would be damaging, so...

yeah.
My belief is that it has to do with real estate optimization. When a Ward gets too big, it means there is a shortage of classrooms etcetera. Rather than build a new building, they split the Ward and stagger meeting times. The impact on the experience of the members is secondary to optimizing real estate. Now, in your case, this may not apply as there were stake boundary changes in question, but real estate optimization may have been a consideration.

We also had a SP who kept splitting and splitting to the point the local leaders were all drained and upset about it. I went in as a Stake YM President and heard the brunt of it. Those wards wanted none of our programs, advice, or input, and just claimed they were too strapped for people to do anything.

How successful would it be? A snowball in the Florida summer would have a greater chance of surviving than your request based on your reasons. And the fact that it's in a different stake, your old Ward, requires First President approval, I was once told. So, good luck.

We ran into a similar situation years ago and just went to the Ward that was best for our family. We frustrated the H out of the local leaders in the new Ward, but they did accept our daughter. The leaders in our old Ward were too inexperienced to care or notice.

It proved to be the absolute best thing for my daughter, and we still feel the positive effects from it today. But it was uncomfortable for us. And there were some stupid members who would not include our daughter in pictures or other things because she "was not a member of the Ward". But overall, she was accepted.

No easy answer on this one. Look on the bright side -- if you go to the old Ward, they can't give you a calling. So, it can be a good place for rest and relaxation. I also found it amusing that after years of suffering various kinds of angst due to local leaders abusing power, they couldn't get any work out of me due to having to live up to their own rules.
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Roy
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by Roy » 08 May 2017, 10:14

Hi QA,

I had a similar experience. DD was being isolated, excluded, and verbally taunted at church. When we decided to go to a different ward we told everybody it was because of my work schedule. We did this because the family of the Queen Bee girl that was instigating the bullying was part of a very well established and high profile family and we just did not see any advantage to any drama.

Anyway my experience is here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2976&hilit=ward+boundaries

The summary was that the SP instructed that the official answer was to attend where assigned - the unofficial answer was that accommodations could be made on a case by case (or family by family) basis. Somewhat "don't ask - don't tell"

We were renting at the time and 6 months later moved into the desired ward.
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nibbler
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Re: Splitting Wards - Don't wanna go

Post by nibbler » 08 May 2017, 10:24

Is there any chance that your children's friends will end up in the same ward as your children? If my kids friends ended up in the same ward I was assigned I'd bite the bullet and attend the other ward. If the friends ended up in a different ward I'd try to resist... but I'd find out first.
Of course I don’t want to get knocked down. But the single and sole solution to that fear is to not go anywhere where I can be knocked down. And is that not already being knocked down?
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