Weary Convert

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SleeplessInSE
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Weary Convert

Post by SleeplessInSE » 14 Nov 2016, 23:16

Hi, I registered my account a while ago, and this is my first post. It is nice to have a forum where I can find support. I have been a member of the LDS Church since I converted in 2013. I am now the executive secretary at a YSA ward/branch and this calling has made me more and more weary and cynical each day.

I guess my faith crisis is both doctrinal and cultural. I am a relatively intellectually curious individual, I enjoy study and researching deep into the church history and doctrines, and the more I read, the more I doubt. Then there is the culture aspect of the church. I have heard so much bizarre and outrageous stuff in my weekly meetings over the past a year or so. Just recently, couple leaders in my unit proposed to convert nonmembers by deliberately befriend or try to get in a romantic relationship with them, and if the nonmembers express they have no interest in the LDS church, the supposed "friends" or "Boyfriends/Girlfriends" should immediately dump them and seek new targets.
There is also the hostile dating culture against women who want to pursue anything higher than a Bachelor's degree, or in the cases of STEM and business majors, a Bachelor's would be too much for many individuals. I am a guy who finds girls with career and intellectual ambitions attractive, so this culture angers me.

I can list many more problems in the church culture, modesty, victim shaming, etc. In the end, I struggle to hold onto the good things about the church, but with each passing day, I find those little rays of light dimer and dimer each day. Hopefully, I can find support in this wonderful community.

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DarkJedi
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Re: Weary Convert

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Nov 2016, 05:03

Welcome to the forum. You are in a safe place, please dont hesitate to post your concerns. I agree that the examples you gave regarding your ward are distressing and I understand why you (and very likely others your age) are troubled by them and why you are having difficulty seeing the good in the church. Other than sharing your own points of view in council meetings and loving your neighbors, there's probably not much you can do because it seems to be a cultural thing in your ward. The YSA branch in my stake does not do these sorts of things. It took me a long time, many years in fact, to recognize that most of the things people do in the church have little to do with the church itself. We often say things like "the church did this" or "the ward did that" but in reality it is people doing those things, not the much more nebulous church.

There are lots of different points of view here. I hope that someone here can help you find the peace you seek.
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."

My Introduction

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SilentDawning
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Re: Weary Convert

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Nov 2016, 08:22

Interesting findings in your leadership meetings. Normally these YSA Wards have a seasoned Bishop and counselors -- who I would suspect would not support the notion of duping non-members into taking discussions through romantic inertia. Did this discussion happen in a Bishopric meeting or in a meeting with other YSA's only?

If it happened with the seasoned men in the Bishopric, I believe you, although it sounds unusual and unexpected. Younger people, research shows, are more machiavellian than older people, so it seems like this romantic missionary work scheme would come from someone in a younger generation, if theory applies well to this situation.

Nonetheless, you will find stuff that you don't agree with at different times through your life in the church. Sometimes there are periods when it is relatively calm and things chug along. But there have been spikes every 5-7 years in my experience where I get hit with stuff that bothers me.

I take comfort in the fact that many churches have their own problems when it comes to things like this. I watched the movie Spotlight with Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton and others about their uncovering the abuse of boys and girls in the Catholic church. It was interesting to see that all churches seem to have their problems at varying levels.

Feel free to post issue by issue here, or however works for you. So we can give focused perspectives and sometimes advice to help you....

SD
"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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nibbler
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Re: Weary Convert

Post by nibbler » 15 Nov 2016, 08:28

I was in a YSA ward for a year. Fun times. Fun, crazy times. Enjoy them while they last. ;)
DarkJedi wrote:We often say things like "the church did this" or "the ward did that" but in reality it is people doing those things, not the much more nebulous church.
Yeah, it sounds like someone came up with the date to convert idea as an ill thought out method to do missionary work. Missionary work is such a big part of church culture, the suggestion was probably someone trying to be creative by offering up a new/different idea because everyone has already heard all the traditional ideas and those ideas didn't yield the results people wanted to see. I don't think they sat down and gave much thought to the implications of their idea and I'd be willing to bet that there were other people in the room that felt the exact same way you did.
“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.”
― Patrick Rothfuss


“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

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SilentDawning
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Re: Weary Convert

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Nov 2016, 09:01

nibbler wrote:I was in a YSA ward for a year. Fun times. Fun, crazy times. Enjoy them while they last. ;)
DarkJedi wrote:We often say things like "the church did this" or "the ward did that" but in reality it is people doing those things, not the much more nebulous church.
...while I agree that at times the behavior is a result of individual choice and perspective, too often, we write off systemic problems as the problem of people. Not so on many counts. I am a proponent of carefully sorting the problem at hand into a person bucket or a church bucket.

It sounds to me like the romantic hook approach in the YSA Ward's missionary program is in this case, a person problem. But let us not forget certain systemic problems that are perpetuated over the pulpit, in our manuals, in our reporting systems, and our culture. Those things are squarely in the church-problem camp. And to blame all things on people is what I call a "license to kill" for the church. There are times when the right things to do for a church that claims to have the truth is to admit there has been an error. Like they did with the priesthood ban. I have seen more of that in recent years, but not enough to right the repetitive wrongs I have seen...

The phrase "the church is perfect but the people aren't is a falsehood". I don't think you were saying that totally, but many say it I have replaced that with "The church isn't perfect and neither are the people".
"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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nibbler
Posts: 3136
Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Weary Convert

Post by nibbler » 15 Nov 2016, 09:08

Good point.
“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.”
― Patrick Rothfuss


“No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true.”
― Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ann
Posts: 2549
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Weary Convert

Post by Ann » 16 Nov 2016, 10:32

Hi, Sleepless - I'm glad you're here, and hope we can help.
SleeplessInSE wrote:
There is also the hostile dating culture against women who want to pursue anything higher than a Bachelor's degree, or in the cases of STEM and business majors, a Bachelor's would be too much for many individuals. I am a guy who finds girls with career and intellectual ambitions attractive, so this culture angers me.
University study isn't for everyone, male or female. But as a mother of college-age girls, I assure you they're looking for partners who encourage them. Someone, maybe not everyone, is going to be thrilled with your attitude. Go ahead and make it known. Plus, many girls haven't grown up with ambitions of their own; they need a nudge from the people around them if they haven't gotten it yet in their families, wards, etc.
I can list many more problems in the church culture, modesty, victim shaming, etc. In the end, I struggle to hold onto the good things about the church, but with each passing day, I find those little rays of light dimer and dimer each day. Hopefully, I can find support in this wonderful community.
I don't know what kind of online community there is for LDS people your age, but, absolutely,you are not alone. My kids love the church, but they struggle. One of them just told me about a ward council meeting that had devolved into a pretty blatant and inappropriate gossip session. She came home angry, but all I could tell her is that she needs to kindly speak her mind, say what she's thinking. "I'm not comfortable discussing someone's personal life like this...[or something like that]." She said, "Say that in front of the whole ward council?!?" I said, "Yes...carefully, but people need to speak up. And when you do, you almost always find out that you weren't alone in your thinking." And maybe there'll be a way next time for her to contribute more constructively to the conversation before it gets out of hand.

Good luck.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

SleeplessInSE
Posts: 7
Joined: 06 Oct 2016, 10:47
Location: U.S.A

Re: Weary Convert

Post by SleeplessInSE » 17 Nov 2016, 08:14

I would like to thank you all for your welcome and thoughtful replies. The people who came up with the Honeypot scheme were members of the Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidencies, and their scheme was immediately rejected.

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DarkJedi
Posts: 5285
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Weary Convert

Post by DarkJedi » 17 Nov 2016, 09:10

SleeplessInSE wrote:I would like to thank you all for your welcome and thoughtful replies. The people who came up with the Honeypot scheme were members of the Elders Quorum and Relief Society presidencies, and their scheme was immediately rejected.
Well at least it was rejected! Thank God for councils!
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."

My Introduction

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dande48
Posts: 379
Joined: 24 Jan 2016, 16:35

Re: Weary Convert

Post by dande48 » 17 Nov 2016, 14:36

Hi Sleepless, and welcome!

Here are my two cents: First, the LDS membership is full of people who are willing to do the wrong things for the right reasons; "Ends justify the means", and all that. That's where a lot of problems seep in. I can't say there is much in church history that would bother me, if the Church was upfront about it. And to their credit, they are becoming more and more. But still there is a mentality that if it "inspires to do good", and helps to "feel the Spirit", then a little exaggeration here and a little omission here are in everyone's best interest. As a fellow intellectual, I'm sure you realize how hard it is to be objective, especially when it's closely linked with our identity.

With flirting to convert, it's funny... In the YSA wards I was once apart of, different leaders strongly encouraged and discouraged to go on dates to the temple. The reason why? "Beacause the Spirit is so strong there." The encouragement was, that it would help solidify your relationship around Christ. The discouragement was that it is easy to confuse the feelings of the Spirit with sexual attraction. Sexual attraction can be at such a root in our core, that we will easily find ourselves acting in a way that we wouldn't dare otherwise. Ergo, flirt to convert. It works! But is it ethical? Does it produce lasting change and real conversion? But church leaders will testify that it works, so it must be good.

Second, many of us try to make our secular beliefs measure up with our religious beliefs. There are certain quotes from early church leaders, that if we were to use ourselves, we would get defamed for blasphamy, and probably excommunicated. There is even a strong misconception that everything the General Authorities say over the pulpit at conference is scripture; a quick analysis will show how incorrect this is. Much of what is officially "Church Doctrine" is very limited, and people will often philosophize and interpret to suit their own beliefs.

But these two aspects of the Church, all come down to the weakness and shortcoming of human nature. You will find this everywhere; too often in ourselves. With religion, we are all trying to find our place in the universe, and our relationship with God. We struggle, and stumble. We make incorrect assumptions. But the hope is that when new information presents itself, we will adjust our beliefs and our actions, and be better for it.
"Sir, it's quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable." - C-3PO

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