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Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 05:27
by AmyJ
My mom and I are very close even though we live about 6 hours away from each other. We talk on the phone at least 1x a week for 35 minutes or so. She knows about all my challenges in general, and is acquainted with my faith transition. She is also in the Relief Society Presidency of her ward. She asked me a sincere question yesterday that I am asking y'all for feedback for her...

"What lesson topics/activities/principles can we as a presidency facilitate in our ward to include more people like you on the outskirts [she was referencing my working outside the home, dealing with an additional needs non-traditional family, rocky patch of faith journey]"

We spent a good 30 minutes talking about various topics, talks, and such. I am also going to put together a list of talks (Okazaki, Utchdorf, Holland, Wirthlin, ect) for her - basically our top 40 list here :D

I will be looking through the past threads as well. But I wanted to give y'all a chance to provide more useful resources :smile:

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 06:28
by Minyan Man
My first reaction is: Trials
- How are they defined?
- What are they?
- How do we deal with them?
- Can you talk about them?
- What can the church do to help you individually to get through them?

It would have to be a non-judgemental environment. (difficult to do at church)
I believe this topic is why many of us joined this forum.
Personally this was my final outlet.

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 08:07
by dande48
I would love to have an environment in Church, were people can disagree, and still be ok. Uchtdorf's talk last GC, where he disagreed with Solomon in Ecclesiastes was GREAT, not because I fully agreed with him, but because he could fully disagree with another religious authority. I think it would be awesome if they brought in a statement from a source without the Church's "stamp of approval", and discuss whether or not it is "true" or "useful". Something where even the most adherent members could feel comfortable either agreeing or disagreeing with the source, without feeling like their salvation is in jeopardy.

Saint Augustine of Hippo is a good source, since we adhere to his canonization of the New Testament, but disagree with his teachings on "original sin". He has many quotes focused around the idea that the Kingdom of God can only be found in the next life; in this life there is only the kingdom of men, which will never be just. Can God's kingdom be built upon this earth, in it's current state?

Just an example. What turns me off the most, in my "faith transition", is how we tend to argue over points of doctrine as though they are necessary to salvation. I relish open discussion, free of condemnation.

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 08:19
by LookingHard
I think a good one to talk about would be You Belong It is a talk a high counselor gave. It tells in a loving way not to react to someone not believing something by telling/signalling "You MUST BELIEVE!!!"

Also reiterate Uchtdorf's talk on Come Join with us mentioning that we shouldn't assume that just because someone left that they are lazy, sinful, etc.

I don't know if you can tell her you asked friends, but do pass on that at least one of your online friends REALLY appreciates that she is open to understand us a bit. Many might be able to stay associated with the church, but the actions and intolerance of the members don't allow that in many (most) cases.

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 12:27
by Holy Cow
My advice to her would be to think of lessons that are completely outside the box. Our bishop does a great job of doing things that are completely out of the ordinary, and it has really helped me re-engage at church, simply because it isn't as boring. He's done things like having two guys in the ward (one works for the FBI, the other is a cop) talk about what to do in an active shooter situation. This week we're leaving the church building during the 2nd and 3rd hours and taking a field trip to the temple grounds (about 45 minutes away), where we'll have a short devotional and musical number, and then going back home. A few weeks ago, he had a past member of the Stake Presidency come talk to us about things that people do as members to push people away. He talked about how there are Principles (that never change and are the foundation of the gospel), and then there are Practices, Policies, and Preferences. And it's typically the way that we focus on those last three things that pushes people out of the church, and then we blame them for getting offended. It was a fantastic lesson that everybody here would have loved! Our bishop also had a nurse and doctor visit the ward to talk about marijuana (I'm in a State where recreational marijuana is legal), and they talked about both the PROS and the cons, instead of it just being a completely one-sided conversation. It's a very progressive ward, and most of that is due to the influence of the bishop. Anything your mother can do to try new things and experiment with things that are outside of the manual will keep things fresh and excited, and will help people want to stay.

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 13:55
by Roy
My recommendation would be to follow in the foot-steps of Chieko Okazaki!
“Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations. Be wise during intensive seasons of your life. Cherish your agency, and don’t give it away casually. Don’t compare yourself to others — nearly always this will make you despondent. Don’t accept somebody else’s interpretation of how you should be spending your time. Make the best decision you can and then evaluate it to see how it works.”
“Be spiritually independent enough that your relationship with the Savior doesn't depend on your circumstances or on what other people say and do. Have the spiritual independence to be a Mormon--the best Mormon you can--in your own way. Not the bishop's way. Not the Relief Society president's way. Your way.”
“Well, my dear sisters, the gospel is the good news that can free us from guilt. We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane. It's our faith that he experienced everything- absolutely everything. Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief. We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family. But we don't experience pain in generalities. We experience it individually. That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer- how it was for your mother, how it still is for you. He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election. He knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid. He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia. He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau. He experienced Napalm in Vietnam. He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

Let me go further. There is nothing you have experienced as a woman that he does not also know and recognize. On a profound level, he understands the hunger to hold your baby that sustains you through pregnancy. He understands both the physical pain of giving birth and the immense joy. He knows about PMS and cramps and menopause. He understands about rape and infertility and abortion. His last recorded words to his disciples were, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20) He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down syndrome. He knows your mother-rage when a trusted babysitter sexually abuses your two-year-old, when someone gives your thirteen-year-old drugs, when someone seduces your seventeen-year-old. He knows the pain you live with when you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors, when you hear that your former husband and his new wife were sealed in the temple last week, when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years. He knows all that. He's been there. He's been lower than all that. He's not waiting for us to be perfect. Perfect people don't need a Savior. He came to save his people in their imperfections. He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes. He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked. He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.
“Now, I ask this question of all of us and lay this burden upon us: What circumstances are at work right now in our wards, silently separating one sister here and another sister there from the sisterhood of the Relief Society, marginalizing them, making them invisible? And what can we do about it? . . . For example, LDS women are participating in the labor force in ever-increasing numbers. These women need Relief Society. They need the strength of sisterhood. They need to be understood. They need support with their families. They don’t need to be told that they’re selfish or unrighteous because they’re working. They need to be told they are loved.”

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 19:50
by Always Thinking
I really like a lot of the suggestions here. I was remembering something that I really enjoyed while I was struggling in my faith crisis. I remember feeling very alone and like I couldn't tell anyone about my questions because I didn't want anyone else to go through what I was going through. Anyways, there was a relief society lesson that I really appreciated. I don't remember what the lesson was on, but I do remember them handing out papers and pencils and telling us to anonymously write down something we had a question about, they would draw a question out of the hat, and the class would try to answer it. They never got to my question because they had such a short amount of time. I don't remember if they had any good answers or not, but I remember the feeling I got as they asked the questions. It was a feeling of "I'm not alone, there are others with questions who also silently struggle with things related to the church." It was at least a good start to creating a more open environment for questions. I think if that was a thing they did often (say, answering one question a week that had been put into an anonymous box) that it would have slowly created an environment of questions being okay and having a place to potentially have a question at least be out in the open and have some people try to answer it as best they can. I really appreciate anything open and 'real' at church, because often there is a lot of fluff, and not a lot of being realistic about things.

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Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 17 Oct 2018, 22:07
by mom3
I am a huge Chieko fan. I would encourage listening to her talks as well as reading them. Her style and delivery added to the message. She often brought examples like quilts, jars of fruit, etc.

We also need to hear from other LDS women. My friend taught the lesson last week as a sub. She was so frustrated because the talk was the one directed to the Priesthood last conference when they eliminated EQ and HP. She whispered to me, "Why can't we have talks by women about women."

From all of us - thank her and you. It's a huge, valuable gift that she would try to do this.

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 21 Oct 2018, 08:41
by SilentDawning
AmyJ wrote:
17 Oct 2018, 05:27
My mom and I are very close even though we live about 6 hours away from each other. These people are the panel for a panel discussion.

We talk on the phone at least 1x a week for 35 minutes or so. She knows about all my challenges in general, and is acquainted with my faith transition. She is also in the Relief Society Presidency of her ward. She asked me a sincere question yesterday that I am asking y'all for feedback for her...

"What lesson topics/activities/principles can we as a presidency facilitate in our ward to include more people like you on the outskirts [she was referencing my working outside the home, dealing with an additional needs non-traditional family, rocky patch of faith journey]"

We spent a good 30 minutes talking about various topics, talks, and such. I am also going to put together a list of talks (Okazaki, Utchdorf, Holland, Wirthlin, ect) for her - basically our top 40 list here :D

I will be looking through the past threads as well. But I wanted to give y'all a chance to provide more useful resources :smile:
I would encourage her to bring in a panel of 2-4 people who are on the fringes. Then, act as an interviewer where she asks questions that help the class understand the perspective of someone on the fringes. I"m sure there are GA talks out there that have a few weasel words qualifying the idea that women should work within the home (such as 'not all can work at home due to economic circumstances'). But if they can get some strong people up there like Hawkgrrl when she was in her career to share their perspectives, that would be highly valuable. Don't be afraid to pull from other Wards in the stake as well, with the Bishop's permission. Here are some questions.

1. What made you to decide to have a career?
2. How do you balance career and family?
3. How do you manage all the household chores that have to be done as a family, while working X hours a week?
4. How does working outside of the home encourage you to feel, spiritually? (Make sure the panel knows these are FRIENDLY questions, not judgmental ones).

It's a judgment call whether you would open the questions up to the class. Some might be bitingly judgmental. It depends on the landscape of the class, really.

Re: Help (In a Good Way)

Posted: 22 Oct 2018, 18:09
by Curt Sunshine
I wrote the following post on my personal blog almost exactly 5 years ago. It is general advice, so it applies to your question, as well.

https://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/201 ... stake.html