Positive Signs at Church

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Heber13
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Positive Signs at Church

Post by Heber13 » 30 May 2017, 11:18

I've had a few wonderful interactions with people at church recently. I can't write them all, some are too specific...but I wanted to start this thread about the things we are seeing that show that people at church really "get it" sometimes...even if there are plenty of examples of times when they don't.

Similar to the tones in Pres Uchtdorf's talks about not judging others, and including everyone at church even if there are differences, my family has been talking to me about how it feels people at church are less hung up on if a person wears garments all the time (for example), whereas it used to be something people pointed out (awkwardly). It seems families with divorce or singles in the ward are included in Mother's Day talks and openly addressed as being sensitive to different situations we all face in life, and that the youth who grow up in different homes do not need to feel bad about it.

I wonder if it is our neck of the woods, or if others are sensing a more tolerant tone at church, even while we continue to teach church standards...it feels like we are trying as a church to not do it with a "holier than thou" tone.

The thing that was very touching to me last week was a message I received from my sister. Her husband is not a member. He is a great man, a great husband and father, and a great brother to me. When I went through trials, he was one of the first to be by my side and support me. I love him and see the wonderful person he is...and so it doesn't worry me my sister is married to him because being a non-member just isn't a factor in how I see him. His life story is an interesting one...parents fled Iran, as a youth he feared his life and was even jailed in Iran. He was able to get out and lives in California now and is a great contributing member of society...honest and hard-working and values the freedoms we have in the U.S. He is muslim. He has struggled with how President Trump makes him feel unsafe, with travel ban talks that were very insensitive to muslims in America. It has upset me because it has impacted him and his family.

He is a great guy. And my sister said the ward there has reached out to him, inviting him to come to church and making him feel they see him as a friend...not a muslim, not a non-member.

This past Sunday, he received a calling. :smile: My sister was in tears as she shared with me and my family the news that they asked him to help out in the teacher's quorum in their ward, to attend on Sundays and help with activities during the week, and activities like High Adventure and campouts and the like. He was really excited and humbled they asked him, and how they asked him was loving.

He told the bishopric counselor extending the calling to him ...
"you know I'm not a member, right?"

And the counselor said..
."Well, we'd love for that to change, haha. But...that's not a problem that you are not a member. These young men are at a critical age and the bishop feels you could really have a positive impact and be a good influence for them."
This is one of many experiences recently I've had that help me be grateful to God that I have stayed LDS and had faith that good people will do good things. There are good people in leadership positions.

Now...there are mistakes that people also make...but I see hope in the church...hope that whatever things I don't like or feel the church may be doing wrong...can be worked out either by me learning there is more to it than I thought and I should stay humble...or actually...there are some good shifts in the way the church tries to be Christ-like and loving and stay true to their mission. Perhaps some backlash in society helps the church see they need to stay true to the gospel principles above all else.

More people are aware of essays and controversial topics. More people are aware of real challenges families face and have family members fall away from church, but are still good people they love and respect. More people talk about complex situations rather than simplistic black and white answers.

The ship turns slowly...but there is hope. I don't sense we are headed towards the iceberg as a church.

Do any of you also see examples of this at church? Do you hear lessons or hear comments by people that show people are trying to live the gospel and follow the savior's example of love and growth? I'd like others' perspective on the signs we are seeing at church.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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SilentDawning
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Re: Positive Signs at Church

Post by SilentDawning » 30 May 2017, 11:53

I had a conversation with my BP about why I'm not taking on high commitment callings right now. He went through my history, which I'd written down in a short 5 minute read for him. I framed it as burned out and not happy and focused on other service opportunities -- but no expression of doubt.

He told me he saw me as a leader and really wants me in leadership in the Ward. That was very affirming to someone like myself who has felt like an outsider after I quite a HPGL calling years ago. He also asked my wife afterwards if he's giving me enough space, which I thought was a positive step.

Also, in the teachers council, I am seeing people with sincere desires to teach better take the advice in that forum. That has been very positive and has led to real change in some of the classes.

There is one brother who is totally loyal to me, and goes out of his way to make me feel welcome.
"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

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Positive Signs at Church

Post by Ray DeGraw » 31 May 2017, 00:35

Our Bishop is a black-and-white thinker (by his own admission), but he listens and tries to understand people who aren't. He also has focused on making our Sacrament Meetings truly worship services, and they have been the most consistently spiritual meetings I have experienced in my life.
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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nibbler
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Re: Positive Signs at Church

Post by nibbler » 31 May 2017, 04:29

I caught myself thinking: self, when something positive happens do you attribute it to the heroics of an individual and when something negative happens do you attribute it to the "church" as a whole?

I'm trying to get to that place where I look past my attributions and accept things at face value.

There have been lots of positive things at church.

Some time ago a talk during SM touched on being worthy. Nothing negative, the subject just came up in the talk. At the end of SM the BP got up to add a few words after the final speaker. He talked about how we shouldn't view ourselves as being too unworthy or beyond redemption. Personally I would have taken it a bit further than he took it ( ;) ) but it was a nice gesture and I feel the comment likely helped someone that was feeling down. I tried to imagine hearing his comment in my orthodox/scrupulosity days. I would have appreciated it.

I've had the blessing of having several BPs that took the approach of loving a person until there was no longer room for sin in their life. I got to work closely with one such BP and I got to see how that approach blessed people. I'm certainly of the attitude that the approach works better than a punish to correct model.
I hereby place an order for one cheese pizza. -nibbler

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SilentDawning
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Re: Positive Signs at Church

Post by SilentDawning » 31 May 2017, 08:22

Ray DeGraw wrote:
31 May 2017, 00:35
Our Bishop is a black-and-white thinker (by his own admission), but he listens and tries to understand people who aren't. He also has focused on making our Sacrament Meetings truly worship services, and they have been the most consistently spiritual meetings I have experienced in my life.
My BP acknowledged our SP is a black and white thinker. I thought that was cool that he could recognize it in other people, which suggests my BP may not be a black and white thinker himself. That might be why he's so positive about me in the Ward. When other leaders have been negative and judgmental...hooray for technicolor thinking!
"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

Ray DeGraw
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Re: Positive Signs at Church

Post by Ray DeGraw » 04 Jun 2017, 20:31

A man wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with a large tattoo visible past one of the sleeves bore his testimony today. It was simple, heartfelt, and wonderful.

Nobody in our ward batted an eye or said anything negative.
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: Positive Signs at Church

Post by mom3 » 05 Jun 2017, 14:40

    Sat by a woman yesterday who had her two children's baptismal certificates next her. On her bare calf was a gorgeous tattoo. She didn't hide it. I loved it.
    Yesterdays RS Lesson was Elder Hollands most recent talk from GC. It was a good lesson, but the teacher was skipping my favorite key part about who all is included in the choir, so I raised my hand and shared it. Afterward three people thanked me.
      During same lesson the teacher admitted that her husband wants to raise his hand in Priesthood and correct the church history mistakes he hears but he is afraid. The lady next to me whispered, my husband the same way.
        Then my single adult daughter phoned yesterday. She has moved back to a family ward. She was just called to be in the wards RS Presidency. The Presidency consists of the President whose husband is an atheist. My daughter, a child of fallen parents ;), the secretary is 40+ single, living with her mom, and pursuing a career. (Her mom has health issues). The only "standard RS woman" is the other counselor. I call this Presidency a mega step.
        "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

        Roy
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        Re: Positive Signs at Church

        Post by Roy » 06 Jun 2017, 09:57

        mom3 wrote:
        05 Jun 2017, 14:40
        Then my single adult daughter phoned yesterday. She has moved back to a family ward. She was just called to be in the wards RS Presidency. The Presidency consists of the President whose husband is an atheist. My daughter, a child of fallen parents , the secretary is 40+ single, living with her mom, and pursuing a career. (Her mom has health issues). The only "standard RS woman" is the other counselor. I call this Presidency a mega step.
        Wow! That is great!

        A few years back DW served on an RS presidency. On the subject of providing childcare for RS activities she was told that "the husbands need to step up and watch their own kids so the wives can attend." This frustrated me because it did not seem to consider the single moms or those with non-supportive spouses. I love that this new RS presidency that you speak of will better represent these different groups.
        "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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        SilentDawning
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        Re: Positive Signs at Church

        Post by SilentDawning » 06 Jun 2017, 10:13

        Roy wrote:
        06 Jun 2017, 09:57
        A few years back DW served on an RS presidency. On the subject of providing childcare for RS activities she was told that "the husbands need to step up and watch their own kids so the wives can attend." This frustrated me because it did not seem to consider the single moms or those with non-supportive spouses. I love that this new RS presidency that you speak of will better represent these different groups.
        Also, it doesn't allow for the fact that each family dynamic is different. Part of the problem with painting everyone with the same brush.
        "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

        AmyJ
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        Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

        Re: Positive Signs at Church

        Post by AmyJ » 11 Aug 2017, 10:27

        In our branch, I have brought my 2 children to several R.S. branch activities. I asked the R.S. president beforehand, and she has always been gracious but surprised I asked. My DH is a stay-at-home dad with chronic health problems, so sometimes Saturday afternoon R.S. activities would mean I would not get as much time with my children (7.5 and 11 months old), and her compassion towards them and myself has been one of my "tender mercies".

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