Longtime lurker...really need some advice

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On Own Now
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Joined: 18 Jan 2012, 12:45

Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by On Own Now » 25 Feb 2016, 10:10

kate5,

Welcome to the light. I'm glad you have found this site helpful in your lurker phase. I'm more glad that you are here, contributing, and I look forward to hearing more from you.

I want to offer a few thoughts, but as always, I caveat this with the admission that each of us is very different and what has worked for me might be quite different for you.

First, I want to address suicidal thoughts. Don't mess with that. If you ever feel that way, immediately figure out how to see a counselor. It sounds like you might live in a smallish town in the Mormon Corridor, so I know that may be a challenge, but if you need to drive a few hours to get to a place with more access, please do that. Suicide is the worst possible solution. It leaves shattered lives in its wake. Children of people who commit suicide are much much more likely to do the same. Take it off the table and never look back, please.

Of course, suicidal thoughts often accompany depression, and whether you have those thoughts or not, you should consider seeing a counselor about depression. Faith Crisis can and does lead to depression. I know for me, when I suffered from terrible depression, some of the major factors were feeling hypocritical and feeling that there was no way out or forward. From your intro, I would guess that you can relate to those feelings. I found a counselor that worked for me and he made a huge difference for me. I never thought I would smile again, but I got through it and can tell you that you can get past it, too. Sometimes, it's hard for me even to acknowledge just how depressed I was, because life is so wonderful now.

On the topic of your relationship with your spouse. I always advise people to be careful not to turn angst about the Church into an attack on their spouse. Let me use a bit on an analogy. I have a particular brand of car manufacturer that I love. I prefer them over all others, hands down. I have become loyal and my loyalty has resulted in a kind of bond between my truck and me. A few years ago, it began to be reported in the media that quality had really slipped with this manufacturer. Parts were failing. Customers were frustrated. People started bad-mouthing the maker. I have to admit that I felt something akin to offense. "How could people say those things? They are obviously wrong. They aren't loyal customers like I am." It was a bit surreal. I actually had a sort of emotional response to the rejection of that brand by people I didn't even know. So, just be careful that your frustrations about the Church don't display themselves as accusations against your husband's chosen faith.

Faith is such an individual thing. I know really intelligent, wonderful, kind, thoughtful people who are all-in with the Church. They don't have ANY of the traits that we often ascribe to the Church's darker undercurrent... not ANY. I think it is very helpful to remember that if an individual's faith works for them, then there is no reason to call it into question (for them). My wife is a believer, and I wouldn't change anything about her. As I often say here, I always keep in mind that I'm the one who has changed, so it's up to me to make sure that our new multi-faith relationship works for us.

So, one thing I want you to think about. I've come to a place over the years where I want and am able to define myself by what I am, not to be defined by what I am not. Spiritually, I am what I am. I believe what I believe. My particular faith is unique to me, but it would work no matter what Christian Church I chose to attend. I happen to StayLDS, but my spiritual brand wouldn't be very different if I were Catholic or Baptist. Are there sometimes conflicts? Oh yes. The new policy is a great example. However, I am not responsible for that policy, I don't conform to it, I don't support it, so I am OK still being LDS and simply try to soften hearts where I am, and I hold true to my own beliefs. I do try to counter the policy, but my spirituality is not the fight against the policy... it's something much more positive and forward-moving than that. The LDS Church offers a framework within which I can practice my faith. So, find out what your faith is. Come to a place of spiritual agreement with God or Godliness or whatever you hold as your anchor, and let the spiritual confirmation rest in your heart. Then you are free to bend your interactions with the Church, the scriptures, the organizations, the culture to fit your spirituality.
"Let us therefore no longer pass judgment on one another, but resolve instead never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of another." --Romans 14:13

kate5
Posts: 77
Joined: 21 Feb 2016, 22:49

Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by kate5 » 25 Feb 2016, 12:27

On Own Now....Thank you for the great advice. It was very stupid of me to play around when I was having those suicidal thoughts, I now realize. I think everyone has scary thoughts for time to time but that was happening on a very consistent basis and I should have gotten help. I'm glad I made it out okay. That's why I was so concerned when I started to slide back that way a little bit a couple of weeks ago. I won't let myself go there again.

I also know I have at times been unfair to my husband. I want him to respect my views but some how I think I'm allowed to disrespect his and that's not right. In fact I know that this church has helped play a part in the great person he is today so why would I want to change that?

I really appreciate that last point because I sometimes I feel that since I don't fit the mold of LDS that maybe I shouldn't practice my faith there. But some days I know that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else and I need to just worship the best I can where I'm at. It's like Heber said church isn't a yellow brick road with pansies and unicorns so if I'm looking for that, I'm probably not going to find it anywhere. (Although I do love listening to Joel Osteen. He is about as close to that as you can get. Plus, I could just get my spiritual fulfillment by sitting on the couch every Sunday :smile:.) If I want to learn and grow I have to be challenged and right now I feel like this church is where I should be.

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Holy Cow
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Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by Holy Cow » 25 Feb 2016, 15:09

Kate5,
Welcome to the site. It's full of great people, and really is what has kept me from turning completely away from the church. There's a lot of great advice from the people here. It's good to have somewhere to come where things don't have to be black & white.
It's a shame that people sometimes get pigeon-holed in the calling arena. My wife plays the piano, and she has held various musical callings for the past 15 years. She would love to have a calling that didn't have anything to do with music, but that's always the calling she's given and she's never requested anything else. Having served in two different bishoprics prior to my faith crisis, I learned that most callings have a lot more to do with what's available and who the bishopric feels would accept the calling. Your bishopric may just see that you've served in YW for a while, so they assume that you enjoy it or do a good job with it. I've found that it can be very helpful to be upfront with a bishop, and simply explain that there's a difference between being willing, and being able. You're willing to serve, but right now you may just not be able to serve in this particular calling, but to give you a call if he needs help in ______ (primary, cub scouts, RS, or whatever else you feel you would enjoy right now). Oftentimes, bishops are more than happy to put somebody into a position where that person will be happy, but they don't know where you want to be if you don't ask. You may be willing to keep your calling right now, but are you ABLE?
If you decide to stick with your calling, then you're in a great position to influence the future of those YW. You sound like the kind of leader who doesn't preach from a soapbox, and that's the kind of leader most youth really respect. It's a pretty common on this site to hear people (myself included) wishing that we had been taught differently when we were growing up. You can teach those girls to avoid the black/white thinking that most of us hate. Teach them to be tolerant, loving, and real.
But, what you are willing to do, and able to do, is only a decision that you can make. :smile:
My introduction: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=6139

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SilentDawning
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Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by SilentDawning » 25 Feb 2016, 17:10

My advice is as follows:

1. First talk to your husband to understand whether he perceives your exodus from the calling as a threat to his reputation in the community. He may not think so, or support you given how you feel about the calling. Problem solved.

2. If he doesn't have a problem with it, then go to the next step and ask to be released. Your personal happiness and mental health is more important than being conscripted into a calling for which you have little passion. You can provide as little or as much information to your Bishop as you please. Just have your short phrases prepared for when he tries to convince you to stay in the calling. Feel free to offer to do something in its place if you want, but if not, that is OK too. Take Roy's advice and give vague hope that you will eventually follow the Mormon textbook behaviors in the future. Don't share contrarion ideas or burn any bridges.

3. I would consider some planned vacation on Sundays for a few weeks in case you are expected to serve in the calling while they take their sweet time finding a replacement. I have no idea why leaders fail to release a person when they are "done". They seem to think they need to have someone in place before they can do that, and all that does is annoy some of us. Time away means you don't have to keep serving when you are "done". I do like giving them some time (a couple weeks) to get a new person in place, but that is a personal choice.

By planned vacation, I mean visiting family in another city, or being in a different Ward for those few weeks or something so you don't have to continue doing the calling.

Hope that helps. Remember, happiness is the object and design of our whole existence, and callings/church service falls into that category. As STeve JOBS said "If you are doing things you abhor too much, then it's time to make changes", I see leaving callings for which you have no passion part of that suite of activities you need to leave behind you. I hope you replace them with other service opportunities for which you find joy.
"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

kate5
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Joined: 21 Feb 2016, 22:49

Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by kate5 » 25 Feb 2016, 19:17

Holy Cow...Thank you! You're right, willing and able are two different things. Some days I'm not even willing. Some days I feel like I can gut my way through it. And sometimes I feel able. It depends on which day you ask me. :smile: I am trying to be the type of leader that can encourage the girls instead of lecturing them. I just want them to feel comfortable going to YW and not judged. It's kind of crazy but I would love to be in nursery. I am so much more comfortable around little kids than teenagers, which makes it even crazier that I have hardly ever been in primary and have been mainly in YW. I wish they could just have a sign up sheet for callings!

Silent Dawning...Thanks for keeping me from being too melodramatic about the whole community thing. My husband has offered to go to the bishop and ask for me to be released if I want. I'm sure he wouldn't do that if it would be detrimental to his job. When I think rationally about it, it seems kind of silly that it would affect it anyway. It is really hard because I want to be happy but I don't want to run away from something hard, either. My mental state will be the deciding factor and I'm going to evaluate that on a week by week basis. I refuse to go down the same road as before. I actually will be visiting and having kids come home soon and I will make sure I take time off for that whether I ask to be released or not. Missing a Sunday or Wednesday activity every once in a while can do wonders for my emotional health.

amateurparent
Posts: 953
Joined: 19 Jan 2014, 20:43

Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by amateurparent » 25 Feb 2016, 20:29

Kate5:

Welcome!

About YW, seriously think about being released. YW was my last church calling. I did ask to be released and it felt really wonderful.

Or .. maybe have a few other people called. Have a Sunday teacher called and someone else to manage the Wednesday night activities for your class of girls. Keep the calling, but just delegate as much as you possibly can.

Pray about you, your life, and what is right for you. Go from there. It isn't selfishness, it is self preservation.
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.

kate5
Posts: 77
Joined: 21 Feb 2016, 22:49

Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by kate5 » 26 Feb 2016, 18:01

Thank you amateur parent,

I am really thinking hard about it. I just found out that they are giving us $750 budget for the whole year with 20 girls. In my previous ward it was over $2000. That means I would have to spend a bunch of my own money if I wanted to do any decent activities. I spent well over $1000 of my own money when I was president. I don't want to do that again. I'm really tired of the whole thing. Blah.

amateurparent
Posts: 953
Joined: 19 Jan 2014, 20:43

Re: Longtime lurker...really need some advice

Post by amateurparent » 26 Feb 2016, 18:33

Yeah .. All those damn journals add up!

By the time my oldest daughter was through YW, she had an entire shelf of journals. It caused me to take up the cause of "no gifting of journals for YW".

Kinda like adult women and candles. It is the generic gift women give to other women when they really don't know someone.
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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