Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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Mrs. SuperChicken
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Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Mrs. SuperChicken » 15 Nov 2017, 11:07

I am so heartbroken. This is long winded and will likely hurt my anonymity. It seems that the saying the church is true but the people aren’t just doesn’t cover some things especially when they happen over and over again and to your children. We are an active family that held visible callings until a few years ago with a leadership change, now things are very different I don’t understand why.

I have a lovely teen aged daughter who loves the gospel and Jesus Christ. She has been treated very poorly but our ward for many years. To the point we have worked out with the primary that she is the assistant music director instead of going to Young Womens. The bullying and exclusion continues in the program not just to her but to a couple of other girls who don’t fit the leaders and girls ideal. Those traits for my daughter would include things like liking to read, enjoying anime, being very intelligent and good at school, and being very talented in music. And the most damaging thing of all being she has friends that are not church members, which isn’t that shocking as we don’t live in the west.

Just as a very tame example all of the girls over the age of 14 met together to make matching outfits for the stake dance last Saturday except for two who were not invited. They then all drove together to a Young Women leaders house and got rides to the dance. My daughter had no interest in going as it is really miserable because of how she is treated at dances like being told the wrong location by leaders, or the other youth from our ward saying awful things to her, and the friends from school she used to bring. The other left out young woman’s mom and the young woman had been asking for a ride for more than a week, but there was no room for her to get a ride, and it wasn’t official rides anyway just friends as it was explained to DD and the other left out one by another Young woman in my hearing.

On to why I just don’t know what to do. DD has an amazing classical voice. She is really talented and often sings at other churches. It has been a major part of the issues in Young Women’s as the other girls seem very upset and competitive about this often telling her she sounds terrible and the leaders doing things like excluding her from the Girls Camp choir.

In the spring she worked on and was going to sing in sacrament meeting a hymn out of the book. She was told the week before that there was a scheduling mishap and the choir was going to sing. The Choir meets at my house, no one knew we were singing, we had nothing prepared and it was suggested by everyone but the director that was just let DD sing as she was ready. Well the bishop was called and we were told the Stake President was coming the therefore she couldn’t sing. :?: She was pretty upset, but decided to sing it a few weeks later. She has not sung in church since then.

Fast forward to October. The ward music person asked if she would sing in SM a few weeks before Christmas. DD said yes and the first week of October chose “Mary Did You Know”. We asked if that would work and were told by the Music person yes that was great. DD found a wonderful arrangement, ordered music, found an accompanist, and has practiced it for I am sure over 15 hours over the last 5 weeks including with her voice instructor. It is so beautiful it gives me chills and I get to hear her sing all the time.

I got a text today that the Bishopric has decided that the song is too secular and she will not be able to sing it. I have heard some pretty secular songs from out pulpit before, it is not like we only sing hymns for special music. I am not sure what is too secular about a song that is entirely about Christ, his miracles, and that he came to save us. DD feels like they do not want her to sing, just like last time. I agree with her they don’t want her to sing. The Bishopric has members in it that also have daughters, this has been a major problem before. I am so angry and hurt. I think we put up with a lot and DD puts up with the most. I know this looks like milk stripping, but it is really more than that.

I sent an email to the Bishop that just asked to talk about the singing, but I don’t even know what to say if he will even meet with me as he is notorious for scheduling and canceling appointments over and over with people he doesn’t want to talk to.

Roy
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Roy » 15 Nov 2017, 12:51

I do not have much time at the moment. I just wanted to let you know right away that I am sorry. In primary my own DD was being bullied (in the queen bee manipulative way of "you cannot be my friend if you are her friend."). We talked to the mother of the instigator several times to no avail. The daughter did come over once after church to apologize and the behavior subsided for a while - only to grow and resurface again later.

We ended up changing wards in large part as a way to get away from the problem. (We told everyone that the change was because of my work schedule and then we ended up buying a home in the new ward boundaries to make it official.)

Now we end up volunteering our services to the programs where our children are involved. We get to help ensure that the program is well planned and ran AND we get to supervise youth interaction and mediate if things get out of hand.

I know that this has been a long running problem for you and I do not pretend to have the answers - just sharing what we did, results may vary.
"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

nibbler
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by nibbler » 15 Nov 2017, 13:53

I'm sorry you're having those bad experiences. :(

FWIW I've heard the song Mary Did You Know sung many times during sacrament meeting.

I can't give good advice. Out of all the players in your story I probably have the most in common with your daughter.

How do you think your BP would react if you talked to him about your feelings, some of the things you shared in your post? About the time your DD has spent practicing?

Joni
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Joni » 15 Nov 2017, 14:34

Ugh, that really is awful. Hugs to you and your daughter.

I can definitely empathize - my nearly 15 year old (who is beautiful, funny, and talented) is treated as a pariah in the YW. Sometimes it's nothing more than a local leader going on a power trip. But the damage is long lasting. I wonder if SLC realizes how many messages these girls are receiving that tell them the Church is simply not a place that they belong. This is why they are losing the young at an astonishing rate. Not because their parents didn't keep the Sabbath.

I hope your daughter can find somewhere to showcase her talent. Sounds like your ward has shown that they don't deserve it.

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Mrs. SuperChicken
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Mrs. SuperChicken » 16 Nov 2017, 10:34

Thank you so much for the responses it is so nice to hear some encouraging words.

Roy and Joni, it is good to know that my family is not the only one

nibbler
How do you think your BP would react if you talked to him about your feelings, some of the things you shared in your post? About the time your DD has spent practicing?
I have thought about this a lot. The Bishop still has not responded to me, but it has only been a day and 1/2. I called the Music chair who is the one that told me DD couldn't sing and asked more about what happened and why I am only hearing she can't do it now. She said the objection was raised now because the counselor in charge didn't even know who had been asked or that anything had been planned. Though I mentioned it to the Bishop that she was singing a while ago. She said it was not about DD just the song. I really do not believe that at all, but I am trying to go with it.

She said they played a you tube video of the song and thought it too "contemporary" which after talking to her means too rock. Though when I pressed she did say she has no idea what arrangement DD is singing. She also seemed to have no idea that anything has happened before or know that DD is not participating in the youth program.

When I tried to tell her very briefly why DD was hurt last time she really objected and said she didn't want to know, even though she was involved in it. She told me she had no idea anything had happened she just got told the schedule changed. I pressed and said maybe if she had known things would have been handled differently. She did say she should have just come and talked to me about it and gotten more information.

Here is a little rant
How can we as a church "Family" (I really hate that term) expect to know how to best serve and minister to each other when we refuse to communicate? How does sticking our heads in the sand help us understand what each other need. This would have never happened if someone would have TALKED to me weeks ago. I am not just talking about this situation. I have tried so many times to discuss things with people. I get no where. All I seem to hear from the priesthood leadership of the ward is "I am inspired". :!: I am told in lessons and by the ward leadership don't ask questions don't disagree just obey. Why can't we have a discussion. I don't see myself as unreasonable, but I don't want to hear the equivalent of because I said so. I can't be ok with that anymore. How does that move anyone forward, it just causes resentment.

So, I have found someone to play the piano for her last minute and sent a text to the member of the Bishopric that the Music chair told me is in charge and asked if he would come and listen to the song at Mutual tonight. I will try to tell him, and let DD tell him how hurt she is by this, and that it is really not about the song. It is about her not feeling wanted over and over again. She turned down other opportunities to sing so she could spend the time on this song for our ward. If he says no then that is that, I have no control over what he decides. I guess I would have tried, and maybe that will help teach DD that she is worthy of someone at least trying.

Roy
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Roy » 16 Nov 2017, 11:17

It sounds to me like the Music Chair really is not the decision maker in this regard. I completely support people taking initiative in their calling but once a church leader has given direction or even just given a personal preference, many members are very reluctant to push that boundary. I believe the talking to the Bishop would be the more effective.
Mrs. SuperChicken wrote:
15 Nov 2017, 11:07
And the most damaging thing of all being she has friends that are not church members, which isn’t that shocking as we don’t live in the west.
...[snip]...She is really talented and often sings at other churches.
In our own family the other thing that we did was to diversify our social support network. We participate in several other Christian churches and community programs. My DD is having her birthday party next month. She listed the friends she wishes to invite. The list included 2 Muslims, 1 Hindu, 1 JW, 3 Mormons, a Pentecostal, and several others that I have no idea of religious affiliation. I believe the LDS church can be a wonderful community and a great resource. It can be like a tool in our toolbox. I also believe that DW and I should determine when and where and for what purpose to use or apply said tool. I do not want to get into a situation where it is the only tool we have or that we sign some sort of binding contract to only use that tool. "The [Church] was made for man, and not man for the [Church]."
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 16 Nov 2017, 15:14

Those traits for my daughter would include things like liking to read, enjoying anime, being very intelligent and good at school, and being very talented in music.


Wow. Every one of these characteristics would be celebrated in most LDS units. I know everyone in our ward would contribute to moving costs to have another musically-talented member. It sounds like extreme jealousy to me.

I can't offer any advice other than considering changing wards, if there is another unit near enough for you to attend.
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: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by mom3 » 16 Nov 2017, 17:32

I am the biggest Momma Bear I know. And it's not at church only. It's everywhere. Right now my daughter works at a great job with an a** of a boss. My daughter is 24. And I still get hackles for her. Church hit some tough bumps, too. It's likely why she is inactive now.

However - as I Momma Bear, I take on the obligation of stepping back. Otherwise I would tear everyone limb from limb.

You mention others love her music. If it were me, I would quit throwing Mormonism a bone, and let her sing everywhere else. Post it on facebook, brag about it to everyone. Sign her up for solo's at local choir events, etc. Record her version of this song, blast it all over the place. Be nice, be supportive, set up a Christmas recital if need be. Honor her. Walk past the church people with your head held high.

For years my friend and I were always asked to write and prepare various LDS programs. Songs and narration were our thing. We did firesides, Sacrament Meetings, Holidays, Relief Society Meetings. We were program De Jour in our area. We used Mary Did You Know, half a dozen times. Including Sacrament Meeting. With a guitarist no less. It was gorgeous.

However, our skills were axed when a new SP was put in. His book of Mormonism was really small. Even choir numbers had to be from the hymn book. He even released a ward organist for adding bell chimes to an Easter Hymn one year. The man was a miser on a million fronts. Music was just one of them. It stung so bad. He ripped into our final program and brought my friend and I to tears. After that we "retired" and likely were "retired" from those opportunities. The problem was his.

We were two married adults we had places to go and get support. As a teenager it would have wrecked me.

The ball is now in your court. Take Roy's advice. Diversify. We did. Our kids went to Seventh Day Adventist school. Performed in their Christmas and Easter Programs. They took their music talents to an Evangelical led theater group. They sang, danced, and prayed with others. They participated in public recitals and we invited friends and family to it.

Move on. Try not to fester a grudge, because things change. Church leaders change. Keep a door to future possibilities open. My friend and I are using our talents again in different ways. No reason to let some crabby old man win.
"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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Mrs. SuperChicken
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by Mrs. SuperChicken » 20 Nov 2017, 08:04

Update:

The bishop asked to talk to us on Sunday, as he had gotten several phone calls from people about this, which is interesting as I didn't talk to very many people. He explained his need and assignment to follow the rules in the hand book. I don't think any rules would be broken by letting her sing. He said too many different things like "I need to protect the ordinance of the sacrament" and "I always feel the spirit when she sings" "That song is a great Christmas Song". He expressed surprise that we were hurt, even though I have talked with him about the other stuff before. He got upset when I said he had not let her sing before and told me it never happened. That at least made my husband upset. He offered for her to sing at the Ward Christmas Party. She was asked to do an instrumental thing for that earlier with some other youth and she turned it down as the Ward Christmas party is more like a 2 hour talent show and so competitive. It is usually a pretty awful time with a bunch of controlling stressed out people yelling at you to stop talking and listen while their 10 year old piano students play Christmas carols on the piano and your children beg to go home. Complaining aside she doesn't think she would be able to get through the song now. Another member of the ward invited her to sing with a group of youth singing at the Ward Christmas party, but she said the kids didn't want her before (they were pretty vocal about it in seminary), so why would they want her now. The bishop "committed" my husband to meet with him and try and work it out, whatever that means. He didn't ask me and I stopped him when he tried to ask DD as he said that to her more than a year ago when she went to him about the bullying and he never followed up, or even noticed when she stopped coming. I pointed that out and he said he was so overwhelmed he just couldn't handle everything and there were so many much more important things he needed to spend his time on. I felt really bad for him.

I agree he is overwhelmed, our whole ward is. There are too many rules, too many expectations, too many "perfect" programs, too much micro-managing and controlling of everything, and no time left for either the gospel or the people. I really believe the Bishop is a good person that is really trying his best, as are most of the other people in our ward(there are a few that are not good people). I don't want to go and complain, and say things aren't working anymore, it doesn't change anything, it hurts the people that get blamed, and doesn't make me feel better. I can't change or fix it, I have been trying so hard for the last couple of years: To stay, to excuse the awful behavior, to tell myself this is what God wants to happen, that I need to learn something, making excuses to my children, finding alternatives to the YW program, teaching lessons at home to combat all the judgmental and false doctrine taught in the youth and primary programs, trying to serve more, talking with leaders, pleading with God. All I want to do now is give up. Where is the point where staying hurts more than leaving? It is time to mourn, let go, and move on. That seems to be the only thing I can do with church anymore.

I love the idea that I can put new tools in the toolbox. Another church's youth group is a great idea, if I can get her to go. She is taught that sitting at lunch with a non-member is a slippery slope, so going to another church's activity might take some getting used to. The kids and I could attend another ward, DH says he is staying as attending another ward is unrighteous and people will talk badly about us. I have talked to a few other people that I know are having problems here, they said the SP is unlikely to transfer our records. We have been discussing moving for several years as well, but DH is very much against it for school and financial reasons. This is the first time he has gone with me to talk to anyone at church about things not going well, so maybe there is a little hope there, and sorry to be so depressing.

amateurparent
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Re: Why? Do you have to hurt my Children too.

Post by amateurparent » 20 Nov 2017, 11:41

She is taught that sitting at lunch with a non-member is a slippery slope,
Just WOW.

Totally off of topic .. but ..

LDS members account for 1-2% of our local population. That includes members that no one has seen in 20 years. Active members are probably more like 0.5%. Many Christian locals consider LDS cultists ... so my kids had better be very inclusive and welcoming.
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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