What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

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SilentDawning
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What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by SilentDawning » 07 Jun 2017, 19:49

Here is a thread that DJ started in an introduction thread, Ray suggested we post it as a new thread here.
DarkJedi wrote:
07 Jun 2017, 12:50
I don't want to give away my identity but my faith crisis came at the end of being Bishop. I don't think it was because of any specific doctrine or history. It was because I was burnt out and my family was burnt out. I tried very hard to balance Church versus family but the Church ALWAYS won. There was always someone needing assistance, counseling, help etc. I would try my best to balance things but it took its toll on myself and my wife. I can honestly say that my blood boils when I hear about having a "meeting". I have been a part of so many meetings that were absolutely pointless and could have been taken care of with a text or email.
I've been thinking about this for the past few days, and reflecting on something our SP said recently about not having to do everything. He wasn't just talking about the ward picnic, he did indicate there were other things we could not do by choice to lighten our loads and have less stress.

With that, and recognizing that you and others here are former bishops and there are also bishop's counselors and former counselors (including me) on the forum, what would you eliminate if you could? That is, if you were told you could eliminate any "duties" of the bishop or other ward programs, which ones would go? Which ones do you think are absolute must do?
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by SilentDawning » 07 Jun 2017, 20:02

I would separate the Ward welfare role from the Bishop's adminstrative role. There would be a Ward or Stake Welfare specialist that handles the people who need assistance.

I'd keep Ward welfare committee meeting so people were up to date on how to help families in need, when possible, with this specialist attending..

I'd get rid of PEC now that Ward council is there.

I'd scrap home teaching and maybe visiting teaching, and replace it with a more effective program. I've described such a program on StayLDS.

I'd get rid of Saturday night Stake Conference, and Saturday evening priesthood meetings.

I'd turn the third hour of church into a meeting where the quorums plan or do their work. Priesthood opening exercises gets eaten up with business stuff anyway, why not dedicate the last hour to the work of the quorum if you want to. If there is nothing to discuss, then have a lesson.

I'd make a rule that Wards that don't have a minimum ratio of priesthood leaders to members are off limits for Stake callings. Only when the Ward exceeds that ratio can the Stake dip into the Ward for their leadership callings. And part of the equation is an asssessment of whether each quorum or auxiliary has a full, or near full, functioning presidency. That, for me means at a minimum, one high functioning president/leader and one high functioning counselor or assistant.

I'd also make Stake leaders for planning their own activities. No more of this assigning a Ward to put on a Stake Youth Activity. They are stretched as it is at the Ward level -- let the Stake handle the planning and execution of their own activities.

I'd get rid of Bishop's Councils and work through the High Counselors and PPI's with the SP.

I'd also expand LDS Social Services and limit the Bishop's counselling role on matters such as marriage problems, family problems, etcetera. BP's aren't qualified for this, so relieve them of the duty and give the members good quality counseling when they need it.

I'd even consider separating the Bishop's role as the receiver of confessions. I'd have someone else responsible for that.

Bishops have enough to do administering and running the Ward.
"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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SamBee
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by SamBee » 08 Jun 2017, 03:17

I think temple prep could be worked into other contexts.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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dande48
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by dande48 » 08 Jun 2017, 06:49

-General Conference would be changed to 11 hours of Uchtdorf, 40 minutes of Holland, and 20 minutes of President Monson (because of his health).

-I would remove any secrecy for what the tithing money is used for, as well as involve everyone in the process. "We brought in $('.tithing'), we have $('.welfare') requested in our ward, and the rest needs to be divided up amonst our units, and any left over being sent to the Church Headquarters." If you pay tithing, you get a say on how it is used.

-I fully support DS's suggestion to divide up some of Bishop's responsibilities between a welfare specialist, and a professional counsellor. I would approve of tithing being used to pay for those positions, on a "per-diem" basis. Also, hire a Janitor! Make it a full-time, stake-wide position.

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DarkJedi
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by DarkJedi » 08 Jun 2017, 08:13

My original intent with the question is what can we do at the local level to lessen the load on ourselves and others, seeing as how burnout and stress seem to be major influences on individuals in high demand callings. In the OP I referenced only bishops and counselors, but I should include RSP, YMP, YWP, EQP and others whose callings demand time and effort beyond average. No offense intended but discussions like financial disclosure are more appropriate for another thread.
I would separate the Ward welfare role from the Bishop's administrative role. There would be a Ward or Stake Welfare specialist that handles the people who need assistance.
Not a bad idea. A calling like this (and some stakes would probably need more than one, perhaps regionally divided) could also even out the differences in the wards/bishops that are more stingy with the funds and those that are more giving.
I'd keep Ward welfare committee meeting so people were up to date on how to help families in need, when possible, with this specialist attending.


I don't think any of the wards in my stake hold a separate welfare meeting anymore, welfare is part of regular ward councils. Also, actual welfare needs (food, cash assistance) are rarely discussed in those meetings because they are the bishop's domain and considered to be at least somewhat confidential. At least that's the way it is here. There could be a separate meeting, I suppose, but then we're adding meetings instead of having fewer.
I'd get rid of PEC now that Ward council is there.
Agreed. Again, wards in my area have decreased PEC frequency and increased WC frequency. I don't see a reason for wards to have them at all anymore, although they do appear necessary on the stake level where they are high council meetings.
I'd scrap home teaching and maybe visiting teaching, and replace it with a more effective program. I've described such a program on StayLDS.
I do think part of the problem with home teaching is that we're stuck in a tradition or legacy model. I'd be in favor of a major overhaul, and perhaps only regularly visiting those families/individuals most in need. I'd be in favor of making this a formal calling where that's the whole job of individuals or couples (perhaps associated with a welfare role). Short of that, I think individuals can decide for themselves that they will only visit each family assigned once a quarter or once every six months or something along that line, perhaps again paying more attention to those more in need and less to those less in need (or who haven't been to church in 30 years and don't want you there anyway).
I'd get rid of Saturday night Stake Conference, and Saturday evening priesthood meetings.
Didn't they try something like this back in the 90s? As I recall it was replaced with a welfare type meeting for what were then ward welfare committee members. Again as I recall, the idea was wholly disliked by the general membership. It seems people like the Saturday meeting. From my own point of view I also like the Saturday "adult" session. I prefer it to the much larger and less intimate Sunday session, especially when there is an authority present. FWIW in our stake it's more of a late afternoon meeting, preceded by leadership meeting early afternoon. My wife and I use it as an excuse to go out to dinner afterwards, and we don't have to drive home in the dark (and worry about those pesky deer). On the other hand, we are talking about individually lessening the load so you could choose not to go to Saturday meetings.
I'd turn the third hour of church into a meeting where the quorums plan or do their work. Priesthood opening exercises gets eaten up with business stuff anyway, why not dedicate the last hour to the work of the quorum if you want to. If there is nothing to discuss, then have a lesson.
Short of a two hour block, I'd vote for this but I don't think it's generally at the discretion of the ward or stake to do so. Individuals can skip the meeting.
I'd make a rule that Wards that don't have a minimum ratio of priesthood leaders to members are off limits for Stake callings. Only when the Ward exceeds that ratio can the Stake dip into the Ward for their leadership callings. And part of the equation is an assessment of whether each quorum or auxiliary has a full, or near full, functioning presidency. That, for me means at a minimum, one high functioning president/leader and one high functioning counselor or assistant.
The downside of this would be that some stake callings really do offer leadership training and experience and if nothing else give those who travel to other wards/branches a view that might be a little different from their own colloquial experience. In our stake callings from the smaller unites are minimized while larger units are drawn from heavily (8 of the 12 HCs are from two wards, for instance).
I'd also make Stake leaders for planning their own activities. No more of this assigning a Ward to put on a Stake Youth Activity. They are stretched as it is at the Ward level -- let the Stake handle the planning and execution of their own activities.
It is this way in our stake and has been for many years. Most activities are planned and executed by the high council, or in the case of youth activities the stake YM/YW presidencies (sometimes with assistance of the HC).
I'd get rid of Bishop's Councils and work through the High Counselors and PPI's with the SP.
I'm all in favor of fewer meetings. In our stake this meeting is quarterly. It also seems to be the place where the SP keeps the bishops on the same page and addresses issues he sees (i.e. bishops doing things they shouldn't). He usually tells us what he plans to address there and asks for other input about things that we see as we travel.
I'd also expand LDS Social Services and limit the Bishop's counseling role on matters such as marriage problems, family problems, etcetera. BP's aren't qualified for this, so relieve them of the duty and give the members good quality counseling when they need it.


No argument from me here. Outside the Corridor it presents some logistical issues and in our area I couldn't see it as more than a part time position with travel required.
I'd even consider separating the Bishop's role as the receiver of confessions. I'd have someone else responsible for that.
Except that this one has some scripture behind it. I don't see that happening, nor do I see bishops necessarily wanting to give it up.
Also, hire a Janitor! Make it a full-time, stake-wide position.
I'm opposed to the "every member a janitor" program and always have been. Our building is nowhere near what it once was. I might even term the restrooms as disgusting at times. I recall when they were scaling back the full time janitor program and had janitors assigned to multiple buildings. That was acceptable to me, but in my area it wouldn't work as a stake wide position. In my stake the farthest east, west, and north buildings are each an hour away from the stake center (meaning the east and west are two hours from each other and are also each about an hour from the north), and the closest building is 20 minutes from the stake center (and is closest by far). It would be hard for a single janitor to spend an adequate amount of time (more than a half day a week) in each building. Again, you can choose not to participate, I don't do "my part."
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."

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DarkJedi
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by DarkJedi » 08 Jun 2017, 08:20

To keep this more in the original intent of the first post, maybe the question should be more "For those who serve or have served in time consuming callings, what would you put on a back burner to lessen your load and stress level?" This can include individual choices about things like home teaching, attending boring meetings where the same things discussed in other meetings are discussed, etc. Also, I'll note that my SPs comments did indicate that delegation (like to counselors) was part of what could be done, but he did leave it open with expressing the idea that we don't have to do everything. An example in my own ward might be that we have 4 active young men and a full YMP including a secretary. Do we really need more than a president and perhaps an instructor?
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

Roy
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by Roy » 08 Jun 2017, 11:56

If I were primary president I would cancel the primary sacrament program.

Have you heard the phrase "teach towards the test"? I think the primary program creates an environment where we spend months "teaching/preparing towards the primary program."

I would much rather spend my time trying to create a learning environment where the kids could enjoy learning.

I do not mind doing primary presentations/skits at the ward Christmas party etc. because the format would be open to more creativity and more fun and less .... reverence.

FYI, as a kid I hated primary program rehearsals and I observe these same tendencies in my own kids.
"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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SamBee
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by SamBee » 08 Jun 2017, 12:57

I think it was a bad idea to get rid of the janitors.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

unsure
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by unsure » 08 Jun 2017, 13:16

Ward Council can go in my opinion. Let's bring 10-15 people together for an hour/hour and a half where only 2 or 3 of those people really need to discuss anything which doesn't matter to 90% of the people there. Everything else said have been taken care of in a text or 30 second phone call to the individual(s) who it needs to be relayed to. Most meetings are just ridiculously inefficient which only makes things worse when you are already expected to do so much.

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DarkJedi
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Re: What Programs would you Keep? Which would you remove?

Post by DarkJedi » 08 Jun 2017, 13:58

I agree, Roy, eliminating that Primary program would save a good chunk of work in several areas and would give Primary presidents, music people, and teachers more autonomy to actually teach the gospel. It has also been my observation that children seem to dislike the practice and the presentation itself, especially older children. In very small unites (like mine) doing the whole thing as outlined is a chore because everything is heaped on a few kids (and their parents and teachers). I wonder if a bishop could get away with not doing it?
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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