Well, there went that plan.

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Rumin8
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Well, there went that plan.

Post by Rumin8 » 17 May 2018, 16:03

I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice, or if I just need an opportunity to vent a little bit. Probably both. :|

I've had a marvelous last 18 months or so. My church "boundaries" were optimal. I was released from a teaching calling without immediately being called to something else. I dodged a primary call, and slow-played accepting an EQ teaching position until I was rescued by the great 2018 merging of the quorums. I mentioned elsewhere that I was called in several months ago for what was essentially a social visit with our new bishop. I kept things very vague and general (to the extent that I could). It seemed to go well. This was followed a few weeks ago by a request to have one of the stake presidency members and the bishop meet with our family during ward conference week. I dodged that by being busy with family events.

You'll notice that I've been using the word "dodge" a lot. I haven't come to terms with directly saying "no" because my wife wouldn't understand (yet) and because I've not wanted to announce my non-conformist attitude and beliefs overtly.

Everything came to a screeching halt last night. I had an in-home visit where a significant call was extended. A call that would have me in frequent and regular contact with the bishop and private ward matters. All things that I have strenuously tried to avoid. Given that I have not reached the "just say no" moment and with my wife at my side, I was helpless to do anything but accept the position. Prior to this event, I was preparing to have another discussion with my wife where I would disclose that I was not planning to renew my TR, and that I would be taking a much more passive approach to church. It may be vain and self-centered, but I feel that this call was extended at this particular time, in this manner, for the purposes of postponing or redirecting my reckoning. I've always felt that the higher you go, the worse the fall. When I do now get around to reworking my boundaries, will it be that much worse for me and my family that I do so either during or shortly after a high-profile calling? I don't want my church experience to be forced to a conclusion by a disciplinary action.

How can I, with the doubts I have and the lack of compliance with church attendance and the WoW (as it is currently interpreted by the church) faithfully serve in this position? How can I say "no" without outing myself at the ward and stake level? Understanding that no two situations are the same, how have others performed in these types of "ward council level" positions with your personal integrity intact and an absence of hypocrisy? Do I now need to subvert my new-found freedom and boundaries for the sake of this new role? For the first time in decades I was reasonably happy with my place in the church. How do I forge ahead now?
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

Roy
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Roy » 17 May 2018, 16:34

I would contact the bishop right away to let him know that you are having panic attacks and are really sorry but just cannot fulfill that calling. If you can do so before it is announced there may be minimal negative consequences.

In my home we have a rule never to agree to anything the same day that it is presented. This mostly applies to sales people but also to church callings. If the opportunity will not be available tomorrow then unfortunately I will have to pass.

For church callings we spiritualize it somewhat by saying that we never agree to anything affecting our family without the opportunity to counsel together as husband and wife, to pray about it together, and to sleep on it to come to a unified decision. This will give you a chance to reflect on how such a calling will affect you and your family. I make a point to contact the bishop or bishopric member the very next day with our answer.

I cannot imagine anyone openly questioning your family's stated preference to counsel and pray about it.
"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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Off the Rameumptom
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Off the Rameumptom » 17 May 2018, 19:09

That is a tough situation! I don't blame you for wanting to vent.

As far as the WoW stuff and the "newfound freedom", I found this article comforting in the sense of knowing we have plenty of rule-bending comrades out there. Interestingly, the vast majority of non-comforming Mormons are outside of Utah, which I believe has mostly to do with the social aspect of getting together for either coffee or tea for breakfast, or a drink at the end of the day. https://rationalfaiths.com/temple-recom ... mormonism/
"Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time." --Viktor E. Frankl

“Just because we don't understand doesn't mean that the explanation doesn't exist.”
― Madeleine L'Engle

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dande48
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by dande48 » 17 May 2018, 19:34

I had something similar happen, a few years back. I was personally asked and interviewed by a member of the SP, to serve in the EQP. My wife already knew the jist of how I felt, but I still felt so much pressure,I accepted it. That night I wrote an email, turning it down, giving only minimal details why.

Roy's suggestion hit the nail on the head. Never make such a big decision without taking the time to think things over. I would turn it down, and I don't any excuse beats "I prayed, and don't feel right about it."
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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SilentDawning
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by SilentDawning » 18 May 2018, 04:18

Rumin8 wrote:
17 May 2018, 16:03
You'll notice that I've been using the word "dodge" a lot. I haven't come to terms with directly saying "no" because my wife wouldn't understand (yet) and because I've not wanted to announce my non-conformist attitude and beliefs overtly.

This is the problem -- you used an avoidance strategy to get what you want. Avoiding generally doesn't work for long -- people overcome it.

The answer to the other questions you posed about how to be in the church but not OF the church at the same time, in my view, is like this:

1. Always provide some kind of basic affirmation for the church -- like saying you can't deny the spiritual experiences you have had in the church. My faith isn't nearly what it was when I was TBM, but I can still say I don't deny the spiritual experiences and their meaning I should be involved. I believe there is a net positive in the youth area, and I believe in supporting my wife and family in it.

This puts doubt and apostasy out of the conversation. It leaves you on a strong footing with the leader for what you will say next. What can you say that is affirming about the church? Answer that question, and make that your opening statement when cornered.

2. Have non-testimony related reasons for not being able to serve. Mine was in showing a long history of abuse in the church from leaders and members (not sexual or physical, but interpersonal). They were extreme, believe me. And I indicated that my objective is to be happy, quoting the BoM and JS that indicated that happiness is the goal of our existence. Church was not making me happy, and led to a depression diagnosis and pneumonia. The church experience was clearly not making me happy, so I went after service in the community. Indicated I was putting in as many hours as I did as HPGL but found myself much more fulfilled and happy. Indicated how my decades of church leadership meant nothing in my work when I applied for a management position, and my career needed a boost. So I have to dedicate my time to leadership pursuits in the larger business community.

What are your non-testimony reasons for not serving heavily in the church? Dig for them.

3. Now that you have accepted the calling, it's tough. I would do one of two things:

a) If you haven't been set apart yet, set a private meeting with the person who called you and reverse the decision, indicate you spoke hastily when you accepted it, and do your speel. Get out of it and set the boundaries again.

b) stay with it for a year or a year and a half, do what I can without selling my soul, rely on counselors to teach lessons, if any, I don't want to teach. Struggle along for a while. After a reasonable time, come back here for strategies to get out of the calling and set new boundaries again.

The key here is not to avoid, but to set boundaries with non-testimony-related reasons for those boundaries.

That has been my approach and so far, it has worked. Funny, although I am prime meat for leadership, no one ever comes after me for callings anymore. At first I thought they were indifferent, but I realize now that someone has probably talked with whom I shared my "story". So they don't have any curiosity and have decided to just leave me alone. That has been true for years now.
"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

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Rumin8
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Rumin8 » 18 May 2018, 10:24

Roy wrote:
17 May 2018, 16:34
In my home we have a rule never to agree to anything the same day that it is presented. This mostly applies to sales people but also to church callings. If the opportunity will not be available tomorrow then unfortunately I will have to pass.

For church callings we spiritualize it somewhat by saying that we never agree to anything affecting our family without the opportunity to counsel together as husband and wife, to pray about it together, and to sleep on it to come to a unified decision. This will give you a chance to reflect on how such a calling will affect you and your family. I make a point to contact the bishop or bishopric member the very next day with our answer.
This is a great strategy. I'm going to adopt it going forward. Thanks!
dande48 wrote:
17 May 2018, 19:34
I had something similar happen, a few years back. I was personally asked and interviewed by a member of the SP, to serve in the EQP. My wife already knew the jist of how I felt, but I still felt so much pressure,I accepted it. That night I wrote an email, turning it down, giving only minimal details why.

Roy's suggestion hit the nail on the head. Never make such a big decision without taking the time to think things over. I would turn it down, and I don't any excuse beats "I prayed, and don't feel right about it."
I think that if I knew that my wife was fully supportive of where I am in my faith evolution, I would be comfortable turning it down. As it is, when I suggest that I don't want a call, she always mentions it could be worse. I am not comfortable with full disclosure yet. I'm sharing in dribs and drabs, out of fear, as well as out of a desire not to rock the boat too suddenly.
Off the Rameumptom wrote:
17 May 2018, 19:09
As far as the WoW stuff and the "newfound freedom", I found this article comforting in the sense of knowing we have plenty of rule-bending comrades out there. Interestingly, the vast majority of non-comforming Mormons are outside of Utah, which I believe has mostly to do with the social aspect of getting together for either coffee or tea for breakfast, or a drink at the end of the day. https://rationalfaiths.com/temple-recom ... mormonism/
Thank you for sharing that article. I have a great story of attending a business reception out of state not that long ago. I had obtained some hors d'oeuvres and a drink and started a conversation with a guy I hadn't met before. He had a similar beverage. As we were talking he asked where I was from. When I told him I was from Utah, he asked if I was LDS. I looked at my drink, and told him I was, but not a very good one. He sheepishly looked at his glass and said he was LDS as well. :wtf: What are the chances???? We shared wry look and had a great discussion about business as well as what it meant to be LDS. I am lucky to have a small circle of like-minded LDS friends. Some in the my ward, some not. We bend the rules together, very moderately, from time to time. All have their TR. We never really have discussed how we rationalize what we do. We just "do."
SilentDawning wrote:
18 May 2018, 04:18
This is the problem -- you used an avoidance strategy to get what you want. Avoiding generally doesn't work for long -- people overcome it.
Yes. I recognize this, now. Excellent point. At some level, I have to be willing to both actively and pro-actively be willing to say "no." I've been conditioned to say "yes" so much, it's very hard to say "no."
SilentDawning wrote:
18 May 2018, 04:18
b) stay with it for a year or a year and a half, do what I can without selling my soul, rely on counselors to teach lessons, if any, I don't want to teach. Struggle along for a while. After a reasonable time, come back here for strategies to get out of the calling and set new boundaries again.
This will be my path, I think. I do travel quite a bit, and at some point I may be able to use that as a justified reason to step down, and reset my boundaries. But until then, I think I'll need to go with the flow. Who knows, maybe it will not be as horrible as I'm anticipating. At least that's what I'm banking on.

Thank you all for your ideas and empathy. If nothing else, the empathy itself is astonishingly helpful.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

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Sheldon
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Sheldon » 18 May 2018, 14:18

Take the calling and then do good by speaking your mind in bishopric and ward council meeting. The Bishop will either take your advice or grow tired of you and relase you.

Items you can speak to:
1. When they are talking about trying to reactivate somebody, remind them that the person might have deep seeded reasons for not wanting to come to church, and no amount of feel good visits is going to change that. Quote Uchtdorf from his GC talk, “it’s not that simple”
2. Make sure correlation council does not turn into a gossip session about a family.
3. Bring up the church essays from LDS.org as often as you can insert them into conversations in meetings.
4. Tell them that temple worship is not universally loved by the members, and that some find no enlightenment by going. Give those people their space.
5. Don’t be a “yes man” in meeting with the bishop. If you don’t agree, tell him, and explain why
6. Remind the Bishop that the youth interviews can be “two deep”, and suggest that a parent or guardian be in every interview for “his protection”

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 18 May 2018, 16:42

I am not saying you need to stay in the calling, but if they call you, and you accept, they get you - not someone they assume you are.

Of course, I am not suggesting going full on doubter in the calling, but it can be a wonderful thing to have different views in councils. That actually is how it is supposed to be.

I have served in councils of various kinds for a long time, and I currently attend Bishopric Meeting and Ward Council. I often am a voice for a different perspective, and it has led to some excellent conversations.

Ultimately, this is your call - but it is possible and even helpful to be an unorthodox voice innlradership meetings.
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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Rumin8
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Rumin8 » 19 May 2018, 14:44

Thank you Sheldon. Great thoughts to implement. I’ll make a note of these.

Also thanks for your thoughts as well Curt. I’ve reached a form of peace now, and realizing that I can and will be me (if perhaps a bit toned down) maybe I can do some good for others, and for myself.

Often I wish everything in the Church didn’t have to be so hard for me. My square peg gets bruised trying to fit the round holes. What helps so much is the realization that there are other shapes out there, if not exactly like mine, then like enough to share a common struggle with our collective fit. Perhaps I’m better with these challenges.
"Moderation in all things, especially moderation." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Be excellent to each other." - Abraham Lincoln to Bill & Ted

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Well, there went that plan.

Post by Curt Sunshine » 19 May 2018, 15:11

Don't try to fit into the round holes. Make square ones within or around the round ones. :D

I know that is easier said than done, but it is doable.
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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