I thought I would teach Gospel Doctrine, when suddenly...

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Beefster
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I thought I would teach Gospel Doctrine, when suddenly...

Post by Beefster » 08 Oct 2017, 16:35

I was called to be a ward missionary + Gospel Principles teacher. It's a calling I would have wanted a year ago (If I weren't in Utah at that time), but in light of my recent disillusionment with churchy things (which looking back, stretched farther than the last 2 months), it seems more complicated.

I feel like the calling came from God and it's a little kick to get me back on track where God wants me. That's not the issue. I just don't exactly see how I'm supposed to fulfill the calling without pretending that everything is hunky dory. Teaching the fundamentals without going into my personal nuances might be hard on some lessons, though my lack of certain inhibitions I hope will make the Law of Chastity lesson awesome. I wish it were as simple as going back to stage 3 faith, but it isn't. I'm hoping I can use my current state of faith as an instrument in the Lord's hands and move forward. I hope I don't have to keep pretending I'm a stage 3 member.

Maybe I could start up a faith crisis support group and model it somewhat after ARP?
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

DancingCarrot
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Joined: 23 May 2014, 18:24

Re: I thought I would teach Gospel Doctrine, when suddenly...

Post by DancingCarrot » 08 Oct 2017, 17:02

If you have a calling that you feel personally prepped and excited for, that's great news! I myself am a teacher in the ward, and I love it. Nowadays I view the lessons as challenges to view the doctrine/teaching in a new light, both for me and the class members. FWIW, in the Virtue lesson, I completely nixed the first story of the couple who "imploded" their lives by having pre-marital sex. That's a damaging idea to promulgate, in my mind, so I just skipped it. I've taught every lesson as authentically as I can, and class members have come to me after class and commented on how much they've liked my lessons.

I would say trust your conscience, but don't vent your issues. It's not necessary for you to pretend to be someone your not, but being a teacher does come with certain responsibilities - building faith, hope, and commitment among those responsibilities. It already sounds like you want to help others, and that's the best place you can start from.
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live. -Dumbledore

Roll away your stone, I'll roll away mine. Together we can see what we will find. -Mumford & Sons

longbottom
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Joined: 25 Sep 2017, 12:50

Re: I thought I would teach Gospel Doctrine, when suddenly...

Post by longbottom » 09 Oct 2017, 07:52

Beefster wrote:
08 Oct 2017, 16:35
I was called to be a ward missionary + Gospel Principles teacher. It's a calling I would have wanted a year ago (If I weren't in Utah at that time), but in light of my recent disillusionment with churchy things (which looking back, stretched farther than the last 2 months), it seems more complicated.

I feel like the calling came from God and it's a little kick to get me back on track where God wants me. That's not the issue. I just don't exactly see how I'm supposed to fulfill the calling without pretending that everything is hunky dory. Teaching the fundamentals without going into my personal nuances might be hard on some lessons, though my lack of certain inhibitions I hope will make the Law of Chastity lesson awesome. I wish it were as simple as going back to stage 3 faith, but it isn't. I'm hoping I can use my current state of faith as an instrument in the Lord's hands and move forward. I hope I don't have to keep pretending I'm a stage 3 member.

Maybe I could start up a faith crisis support group and model it somewhat after ARP?
I just have to say, Beefster, that I have a tremendous amount of respect for you. You are open and honest about your life in a very refreshing way. I too am a ward missionary/gospel principles teacher. A little more about me: (and I need to preface that these comments are not in any way intended to make me seem more than what I am: a fellow idiot in this world of idiots). But, I am considered by many in my ward as one of those "spiritual giants". When I teach and bear my testimony, people cry. The last guy baptized in our ward credits my GP lessons as the main reason he was converted to the church. My bishop and SP love me and I am constantly reminded "what an asset I am".

I also am a NOM and have serious issues with the way the church is run, its history, and with things that more resemble "They teach as doctrine the commandments of men" or worse, "They teach as doctrine church culture". However, I also have a testimony that everything in the church is exactly how God intends and needs it to be to fulfill His purposes. And I see it as an even higher "calling", based on my personal relationship with God, to help TBM's see more a "Gospel" perspective than a "church" one. Not sure if that makes much sense.

Bottom line: in my opinion I am using the talents God gave me to help the people in His true church become more like Him. I am most definitely viewed as a non-traditional Mormon among my peers, but there is nothing in my behavior or words that would suggest that I am anything but 100% in. Because I am. I even shared in testimony meeting about my C of F, and rejoiced that I emerged "more enlightened" about God. Tears from many, and that's only because I am 100% honest with myself when I am speaking, and people feel the spirit when people are honest, even if it makes some others squirm. The omission of certain topics or viewpoints that could be problematic for me in no way changes the truths that I am speaking from my heart.
DancingCarrot wrote:
08 Oct 2017, 17:02
Nowadays I view the lessons as challenges to view the doctrine/teaching in a new light, both for me and the class members.
This. And, Beefster, I see a lot of me in you. The most unhelpful advice EVER, but also the most common, is "Just hang in there". But seriously, JUST HANG IN THERE. And, I know you stress a lot about the effect your decisions will or may have on your mom. My TBM wife was devastated when both of our girls decided not to attend church, and I was right there with her at the time. When one of them turned 18 she got a tattoo. But by then there was a year or more of inactivity for my daughter, and by then we both had realized that us loving her for WHO SHE IS was far more important than anything else. She was shocked by our reactions: my wife cried because the tattoo was so beautiful (and meaningful for us), and I made sure she knew that I didn't care at all if she had a tattoo: I just hugged her. Now, at 20, she is talking about coming back to church, but still has some hangups. I told her not to worry about that part!

So don't worry too much about your mom. It is a very, very important part of her growth to learn to understand your journey. It is critical for her and for your relationship in the future (which will be richer and deeper than before). She loves you way too much, that's all, which you know already.

Oh, and you CAN successfully teach stage 3 people but be in stage 4 yourself. As you wisely manage it, it can actually help you to get into stage 5 as you realize that you are really helping people become more intelligent stage 3 people. Care is required though. And it ain't easy, especially when you're deep in stage 4.

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DarkJedi
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Re: I thought I would teach Gospel Doctrine, when suddenly...

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Oct 2017, 11:06

DancingCarrot wrote:
08 Oct 2017, 17:02
FWIW, in the Virtue lesson, I completely nixed the first story of the couple who "imploded" their lives by having pre-marital sex. That's a damaging idea to promulgate, in my mind, so I just skipped it. I've taught every lesson as authentically as I can, and class members have come to me after class and commented on how much they've liked my lessons.
Hahaha, this struck a funny bone with me. We had the same lesson yesterday and also skipped that part, but it's why we ended up skipping it that's funny. One of our less techie guys was teaching and at the beginning of the lesson he asked if someone could pull up a video of a building imploding on Youtube. great plan, until we told him we couldn't because Youtube is clocked at church. I hadn't realized what he was up to yet because I hadn't looked at the lesson (I was busy looking at something else as usual). Then when I realized what he was trying to do I chuckled. I think he had gotten befuddled enough that he just skipped it. We did end up having a decent lesson, though. A more liberal guy in the ward steered the modesty part away from "girls need to dress a certain way" and pointed out there is unequal consideration (or instruction) regarding boys. And a more conservative guy pointed out that virtue in ancient Greece meant strength (no, it wasn't Curt but I was surprised this guy knew that).

Back on topic, teaching can be what you make it. A year or two ago I wouldn't have accepted a teaching calling but I might now depending on the calling or age group (I'd actually prefer Gospel Doctrine). You actually might be surprised what you can get away with saying in most wards.

Oh, and the faith crisis support group idea will most likely nixed as that idea seems to be frowned upon by most leaders (including the top leadership).
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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Beefster
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Re: I thought I would teach Gospel Doctrine, when suddenly...

Post by Beefster » 09 Oct 2017, 17:49

The interesting thing about this whole situation is that the last time I had I faith crisis, I got through it by going on a mission. Now I'm at another faith crisis and I'm going to get through it by being a ward missionary. Perhaps I can be the missionaries' two ton hammer for addressing concerns/objections with the church. :D Missionaries are pretty much taught to respond to all objections by bearing testimony, and sometimes that isn't enough.
Boys are governed by rules. Men are governed by principles.

Sometimes our journeys take us to unexpected places. That is a truly beautiful thing.

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