Checklist members

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Ebowalker
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Joined: 03 Aug 2015, 05:37

Checklist members

Post by Ebowalker » 07 May 2017, 08:38

I introduced myself quite a while back so short story: we are a part member family in the east whose daughter married in the Temple and we were deliberately cut out of everything thanks to a controlling MIL. After trying to get us to finance a ridiculous over the top elaborate wedding reception that highlighting their cultural heritage (not ours), we decided not to attend and no one cared whether we came or not.

These are all card carrying temple-bragging LDS.

It's been almost 2 years and we are slowly gaining some of our daughter back. They spent last Christmas with us. I suspect she just didn't want to spend it with them. After I bought a new bed and fixed up a room, they announced they were staying at a hotel an hour away instead. I said nothing because I don't want to lose her again but it hurt deeply. We are very simple people and no fancy house and feel she is ashamed of us. I've been told the ILs are very well off, but of course, cheap.

A couple of weeks ago my d and her dh moved away from their ILs (they were living in their basement apartment) and I got the feeling the shine has rubbed off the ILs. My daughter needed a dining room table so we bought her a nice one and she liked it. We also have a 5th wheel trailer that they used last year (just parked on our land) and we recently bought a travel trailer that they are welcome to use too. We are the type where we support our kids in anything they need, which seems to be in contrast to a lot of LDS who let their kids fend for themselves. Like it's a badge of honour to struggle without a table! Ha! That's not hardship, hardship is the bank foreclosing on your home.

Ever since that wedding I have struggled in the Church. I see members so different now. I call them checklist members, so busy checking off their church list of duties they forget to do things because it's the right thing to do. I'm far from the Utah church, but I can't stand the PR machine that I feel is taking over this Church. And social issues that members spew in the name of the church will make me rabid with anger at their intolerance.

I can only frame this within my last 4 years which have been some of the worst in my life. I was medically released by the military a year ago and suffer physical and mental difficulties as a result. Mainly, I have lost any trust in any organization including the Church. I believe most people within an org are corrupt and self-serving and I believe LDS are no different. As a part member family, of course we are not in the inner circle at church and my 2 older sons received no encouragement to attend activities. I have tried for years to get my older Autistic son involved and actually begged PH members to involve him, but nothing.

I remember seeing a signed photo from my daughters wedding and written on it was "welcome to the club". That really stung, I thought, really? It's a an exclusive club? Who are these people following????

I have a hard time going to church. I have tinnitus and hyperacusis from a training explosion so any loud sudden noise is extremely painful to me. Like a toddler screeching. But mostly, my mental filter is set to negative and i only seem to come away with negative messages. Why aren't people more encouraging and uplifting at Church?

Ok enough of a rant. I still believe in the basics, but feel the Church has lost focus on the simple mission and message of Jesus Christ. I think I need a trip to Palmyra which always resets my compass to the bare basics of the Church I belong to. The rest is all fluff.

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Checklist members

Post by Ray DeGraw » 07 May 2017, 08:52

Individual experiences shape so much of our perspectives. I am sorry to hear yours have been so bad. The fact that not everyone is like the people you describe doesn't help in the pain of the moment.

Going back to the basics always is a good idea. Welcome. I hope we can help in some way.
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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mom3
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Re: Checklist members

Post by mom3 » 07 May 2017, 09:27

Thank you for sharing. What a ride. I don't feel qualified to give much advice here. I wish you Godspeed in getting to Palmyra or even just a walk in the park to reset your internal dials.

As to in-laws and out-laws - it can get crazy whether your a member, a believer, or none of the above. I am watching a nephew get married and it is ironic to watch. When my brother married his wife my mom and the bride to be's family were polar opposites on how the reception and such should be. Today my sister in law is now in my mother's place, all these long years later, and the shoe feels really different when it's on a new foot. I hope in time the hurts will mend. I am glad your daughter came home to you. Even if it is only a first step.

Small side note - checklist members exist in other churches, too. Sometimes more abundantly than in ours.

Welcome - I hope we can be a small spot of healing.
"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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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: Checklist members

Post by SilentDawning » 07 May 2017, 15:35

Ebowalker wrote:
07 May 2017, 08:38
I introduced myself quite a while back so short story: we are a part member family in the east whose daughter married in the Temple and we were deliberately cut out of everything thanks to a controlling MIL. After trying to get us to finance a ridiculous over the top elaborate wedding reception that highlighting their cultural heritage (not ours), we decided not to attend and no one cared whether we came or not.

These are all card carrying temple-bragging LDS.

It's been almost 2 years and we are slowly gaining some of our daughter back. They spent last Christmas with us. I suspect she just didn't want to spend it with them. After I bought a new bed and fixed up a room, they announced they were staying at a hotel an hour away instead. I said nothing because I don't want to lose her again but it hurt deeply. We are very simple people and no fancy house and feel she is ashamed of us. I've been told the ILs are very well off, but of course, cheap.

A couple of weeks ago my d and her dh moved away from their ILs (they were living in their basement apartment) and I got the feeling the shine has rubbed off the ILs. My daughter needed a dining room table so we bought her a nice one and she liked it. We also have a 5th wheel trailer that they used last year (just parked on our land) and we recently bought a travel trailer that they are welcome to use too. We are the type where we support our kids in anything they need, which seems to be in contrast to a lot of LDS who let their kids fend for themselves. Like it's a badge of honour to struggle without a table! Ha! That's not hardship, hardship is the bank foreclosing on your home.

Ever since that wedding I have struggled in the Church. I see members so different now. I call them checklist members, so busy checking off their church list of duties they forget to do things because it's the right thing to do. I'm far from the Utah church, but I can't stand the PR machine that I feel is taking over this Church. And social issues that members spew in the name of the church will make me rabid with anger at their intolerance.

I can only frame this within my last 4 years which have been some of the worst in my life. I was medically released by the military a year ago and suffer physical and mental difficulties as a result. Mainly, I have lost any trust in any organization including the Church. I believe most people within an org are corrupt and self-serving and I believe LDS are no different. As a part member family, of course we are not in the inner circle at church and my 2 older sons received no encouragement to attend activities. I have tried for years to get my older Autistic son involved and actually begged PH members to involve him, but nothing.

I remember seeing a signed photo from my daughters wedding and written on it was "welcome to the club". That really stung, I thought, really? It's a an exclusive club? Who are these people following????

I have a hard time going to church. I have tinnitus and hyperacusis from a training explosion so any loud sudden noise is extremely painful to me. Like a toddler screeching. But mostly, my mental filter is set to negative and i only seem to come away with negative messages. Why aren't people more encouraging and uplifting at Church?

Ok enough of a rant. I still believe in the basics, but feel the Church has lost focus on the simple mission and message of Jesus Christ. I think I need a trip to Palmyra which always resets my compass to the bare basics of the Church I belong to. The rest is all fluff.
First, I am very impressed how you've been selfless with your daughter and her hubby in spite of the weak treatment you have received from them. Keep that up, as kindness prevails, and I do think that NOT letting the church or its values come between you and family is vitally important. After all, church relationships come and go, but family are part of our biology forever. And given my experience in the church, the church can't be relied upon to be there for you in times of need, while family seems to feel more of an obligation than the church ever has, in my life.

Second, the part in bold above...are my feelings roughly. I don't see all organizations as corrupt, but I do see them as HIGHLY EGOCENTRIC when it comes to the organization's needs versus the needs of individuals. Our church is just as bad as any other organization. In my experience, actually worse than my employer and worse than any non-profit I have served in as a volunteer.

My advice is to seek happiness outside of the church. If you do not receive love and acceptance at the church, then find other places to get it. Make your goal happiness, not the LDS version of salvation, not checking boxes -- doing what truly makes you happy.

Welcome again to the forum...
"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

Ebowalker
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Joined: 03 Aug 2015, 05:37

Re: Checklist members

Post by Ebowalker » 07 May 2017, 17:55

Thank you everyone, feels good to have a safe place to say this.
I just read an answer on another thread about emphasizing all the beautiful things about this Church... there are a lot. I am lucky to have one member family not far from me who are really non judgemental and very supportive. I struggle with depression and I just finished a year of art school that almost killed me but I really don't go out much. Today i never left my room, i just couldn't face people at Church and I have no reason to think that way.

Thank you again everyone. Much appreciated.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Checklist members

Post by DarkJedi » 07 May 2017, 19:18

You said you live in the east. Did you have the multistake broadcast conference today? It was a good day to skip, you didn't miss much.

What you call checklist members I call modern Pharisees. No insult to the real Pharisees intended, but the show fits. Some wards can be very overwhelming in that respect. I'm sorry you are in such a place. It is nice that your daughter is coming around though.

I sincerely hope you can find some peace.
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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nibbler
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Re: Checklist members

Post by nibbler » 08 May 2017, 04:56

The word "checklist" reminded me of a personality test I took in college. I was enrolled in a project course where people worked in teams. The instructor wanted to help everyone learn about different personality types, how they interact with one another, and the strengths and weaknesses of each type.

There's the Myers-Briggs personality test but the M-B test has 16 outcomes and the instructor wanted to keep things simple. They administered a personality test called "True Colors" which has four outcomes, easy to remember colors.

In the True Colors test, the color gold is associated with list making, efficiency, thoroughness, following procedure, accountability, etc. The strengths of this particular color are well suited to "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;" Some of the weaknesses of this particular color are bossiness, judgmentalism, a tendency to control, etc. Get this, the needs of a person with a gold personality type are:
  • To be useful
  • To bring stability to society
  • To have a structured environment
  • To make and keep commitments
I should take a moment to point out how in the True Colors model there's no "bad guy" color or "good guy" color, each color has its strengths and weaknesses. I bring up the gold personality type because I think it's easy to see how people with this particular personality type would rise to leadership callings in the church.

I think that's why we see some of the behaviors we see in some checklist members. They have a personality type that wants to establish order because to them god is order. It may come in handy when administering in an organization but it may be a liability when it comes to knowing what to do with the woman taken in adultery.

I've often said that I'd love to separate the more administrative callings from the ministry/spiritually minded callings, make them two separate things, but in our church the callings are one and the same. Certain personality types that are better suited for dictating the affairs of an organization are tasked with helping people progress spiritually... and a checklist is what they know. It's what worked for them.
The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. - Sydney J. Harris

Roy
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Re: Checklist members

Post by Roy » 08 May 2017, 14:23

For myself, it has been helpful to realize differences between what the church teaches and what certain members believe or do with those teachings.

Do not misunderstand. I do believe that there are certain LDS doctrines that tend to make LDS people more clannish, inward looking, arrogant, and box checking. I do not believe the church actually teaches to do those things but people are people. They do what they do and they tend to latch onto the things that help them to justify doing the things that come naturally to them.

Let me give you a personal example. My own in laws are somewhat extreme Mormons. They do not drink caffeine or play with face cards. They believe that birth control is a sin. Every communication that they have with my children seem to involve some church element. When they sent my son birthday money they quizzed him on how much to pay in tithing.

Anyway, It has been helpful for me to realize that they are not even following what the church teaches. It is like they are stuck in some corrupted form of 1970's LDS theology.

Also, I believe that their worldview is very limited, very black and white. The ultimate form of love and concern from their perspective is to work to help others to see things JUST .... LIKE .... THEY .... DO. This to an outsider seems like very shallow or conditional love but to them it is genuine. They believe that they are acting for the greater good.

Once again, I do not believe that this comes from the LDS church per se. I feel that it comes from insecurity and a fear of uncertainty. The LDS church is just what they use to make sense of a confusing world. If the LDS church did not exist then people would find something else.

I really do find it helpful to "forgive them for they know not what they do."

It also helps for me to realize that I have my own quirks and "blind spots" and am in need of just as much charity and compassion as the next guy. I need to be careful that in noticing the Mormon Pharisees I do not turn myself into an anti-Mormon Pharisee.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Checklist members

Post by hawkgrrrl » 08 May 2017, 15:56

I've been thinking about the humanness of the church organization quite a bit. I read an interesting book called Connected a few years ago, and it talked about how most societies are 150 people because that's the number of people you can realistically know and assess (Dunbar's number). It's a number that pops up over and over and happens to coincide pretty well with ward sizes. Within social groups of that size, there are 4 types of people:
- cooperators
- loners
- free riders
- punishers

The punishers are the ones who want to be sure that the free riders aren't getting away with anything. They can be the checklist types sometimes. They want to be seen as cooperators, but really they are border police, attacking those on the fringes.

Well, it's one way of looking at things anyway.

As for the inlaws thing, we noticed early in our marriage that in my family, we were seen as the least orthoprax (of those that went to church anyway), but in my husband's family we were seen as the most orthoprax. It was kind of confusing at times, but I can simply say that my inlaws were just the most loving, accepting people who really enjoyed each other's company. My FIL died and we moved away, so we're not all as close as before, but it was a real contrast. Love and acceptance wins out over time.

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