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An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 09:36
by DarkJedi
I unabashedly have been loving home church and doing the sacrament at home with just my wife and me. It has been at least as "special" as doing it at church, arguably more so. At our stake council Zoom meeting this week several members, including the SP, bore witness of how nice they have found this experience (mixed in with how inspired the whole home church thing was to begin with and how much some people miss the socialization, neither sentiment shared by me).

Couple that with an anecdotal observation here. Even though most of us are home most of the time of late, the forum has been pretty quiet. There have been few of the usual "complaints" and struggles with Sunday meetings and there have been few new members. Your thoughts: is it possible home church is really liked so much and relieves the strain so many of us feel on Sundays that folks like us (and maybe based on the above testimonies regular believing types as well) are fairing better?

FWIW, I did add my witness in stake council, including the idea (stated very diplomatically of course) that I have benefited from taking the time to study what and how I want on Sunday. Sans the sermons and lessons, Sundays have become more uplifting in general for me than attending church - and it truly is wonderful.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 09:54
by mom3
My 6 year old nephew said in the opening prayer he gave for his family's first Sunday at Home. "I like home church. I don't want to go back again." - His dad is in the Bishopric. His mom teaches early morning seminary. He's cute, outgoing - and hates regular Sunday church. My sister shared it in a family group chat. I wrote back, "I am on his team."

Next my Bishop sent out a weekly letter. Our Bishopric takes turns sending out uplifting letters and messages. And they aren't preachy or pushy, which I appreciate. His opening line was basically what a great time it is to not have so many meetings and things to go to. And how great it is to be home with his family. Then he shared some little story about family appreciation.

And finally, talking to my mom the other day, she is sleeping better because life is less stressful. She specifically mentioned Sundays, and not having to deal with the pushy Relief Society President.

So yeah, when God's in charge, things are sweeter. :?

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 11:19
by nibbler
Church has been closed six Sundays now. It doesn't seem like it's been that long. Granted, a day now feels like a week and a week feels like a month, but reflecting on how it's been about 45 days since I've been inside a church building... it doesn't seem like it's been that long.

Disclaimer: don't take the following statements as nibbler saying that your life gets better when you don't go to church... or do, whatever floats your boat. :P

This is going to sound strange but in the last month or so I've had the feeling that I once called "the spirit" return. The last time I felt this way was long before the burnout years that preceded the faith crisis years.

I've given it a little thought as to why this might be. I think it's because I was forcing things before. I always felt like I needed to take a break from church meetings for a season but I never overcame the momentum to take that break. I think attending despite not having a personal reason to attend, attending when I truly needed a break, and doing it for an extended period of time only allowed a toehold for some resentment to creep in.

I feel like the time away has given me some much needed space to heal. There's the phrase, "You can't heal in the same environment that hurt you." For whatever reason I couldn't commit to taking a break before and needed a little help. The quarantine freed me from lots of baggage. There were some unhealthy expectations I placed on myself and I'll admit that a part of what kept me going was trying to meet expectations of others. All of those expectations went away overnight. Letting go of all the expectations was healing.

Home church? I'll watch a stream if one is available but other than that I'm not going to do much of anything. That's how I do my day of rest - no weird meeting to plan, no awkward singing solos for the family, no worries over who is authorized to do what. I'll rest.

Scripture says that god rested on the seventh day, it doesn't say god rested from his labor so he could dedicate a day of labor to the next god up the chain. God rested. Period. I don't know why/when man decided that a day of rest meant going down a massive checklist of stuff for a church.

I've found the break healing. So much so that when church eventually starts back up I wonder whether I'll feel like being more engaged than I was before the quarantine.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 11:59
by nibbler
In an effort to break up a long post and because these are random thoughts:

I feel like the distance from the Mormon normal has done something else... the time off has made it even easier to see things as an outsider.

The missionaries have tried their best to stay busy through all this (poor guys). They did an online discussion with our family and asked me several questions along the way. Most of the questions they asked me were about things that no longer interest me. Questions that are almost impossible to answer because it would require a mountain of nuance, but also questions I don't feel like I need to answer anymore.

How can I get more PH power?
  • I'm comfortable with my current power levels.
  • More power than I already have? Not unless the knob goes up to 11.
  • What would I even do with more power? Shoot lightning bolts from my fingertips?
  • Does great power come with great church responsibilities? If so, I'd rather answer the question of how to have less PH power.
Switching gears.

The break from the norm has been nice, but there are people determined to make sure everyone is getting their weekly dose of Mormon culture:
  • The guy we have to report our weekly home church attendance numbers to. I kid you not, this is a thing. Luckily my wife answers because if I did I'd also report the number of steps we took on the sabbath.
  • The guy trying to round people up to clean a building that's been empty for 45 days, then throwing shade when not enough people show up to clean... during a pandemic... to clean a building that will continue to lay dormant for weeks to come.
Mormons gonna Morm... but the distance has helped me recognize it as an aspect of the culture that will just be, not something to be bothered by an hopefully not something to engage in myself.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 13:02
by AmyJ
We don't do home church and family members barely notice the difference between Saturday and Sunday these days.

I sorta miss the routines and social connections - it's not the same by text message or email. Our branch president hosts a weekly 15-20 minute devotional, but that's as far as it goes. My friend, VT Companion (and 2nd counselor in the R.S. Presidency) alternate weeks of picking up school lunches for our children, but we say hi and wave to each other at best. There was a video from our Sunday School teacher, but I bypassed it.

I struggled with Easter more this year - it's hard to see the miracles around Easter you are not sure you believe in Jesus Christ - let alone the Atonement. Finally, about 4 days after Easter, I was able to stop feeling guilty about my non-testimony of Jesus Christ and celebrate that Easter and Spring are about Hope - the possibility of new growth, and light bleaching out the depression of winter. This concept of Hope is more immediate for me in that we had 1 glorious spring day, 3 regular spring days to savor while stuck in the gloom of thunderstorm season here in the Midwest.

I don't know when church will open back up, and I don't think that I will be one of the first families back. I need to keep my husband safe from this bug because he is already struggling with so much physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 19:53
by mom3
We don't do home church and family members barely notice the difference between Saturday and Sunday these days.
Us, too. Only we can't tell the difference between any of the seven days of the week.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 20:04
by nibbler
I hear that an area authority over Utah has put the kibosh on local church meetings held via technology in "his" area. Ordinarily I'd shake a finger in his direction but I kinda want to see if he can somehow expand his little ban to cover general conference as well. :twisted:

Seriously though. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men...


I've been there, I've left there, I've come back around afterwards, I've departed again. It's a tough road, but I'm glad I've walked and am walking it.

I feel there's a literal Christ and a symbolic Christ. It's funny... in the past I would have said that a literal Christ had much more "power." Now? Maybe the symbolic Christ has just as much power as the literal Christ ever did, probably even more.
AmyJ wrote:
23 Apr 2020, 13:02
I don't know when church will open back up, and I don't think that I will be one of the first families back.
Hopefully we won't be one of the first families back either. Lots of folk eager to get back together and that eagerness might cause people to let their guards down, especially when it comes to staying at home if there's any question over health. The obligations to attend will return and those obligations often override public safety, even when it's unintentional.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 23 Apr 2020, 20:10
by mom3
I don't know when church will open back up, and I don't think that I will be one of the first families back.
Me, neither. I have a neighbor who had Stage 4 cancer who insisted on attending church. No matter how much I begged her not, she still went. I assume she felt she'd made a pact with God and needed to keep it. But church was already an infestation site. How many meetings did unhealthy drag themselves and their kids to church so that we could all "feel the spirit".

So ban lift or not, I am not running back with any speed.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 24 Apr 2020, 08:50
by DarkJedi
I'm not sure I'll be one of the first ones through the door either. However, DW is ready to get back to her Primary calling and will likely go back as soon as allowed. I could see the reopening of church being sort of regionally based, maybe being by area. After all there are some areas relatively unaffected while others were hit very hard. If I lived in NYC I would be very reticent to return unless I was sure I was immune. I can also see the church waiting until it's all clear and everybody return at once - but I'm not sure the harbingers of doom will ever ring the "all clear" bell (at least not in 2020). Unlike the economy, home church seems to be sustainable for a while, although I do feel for those who find meaning in the sacrament but are unable to partake because of lack of priesthood.

I also wonder if liking home church really was an unintended consequence. If, as some believe, the whole home centered church is actually inspired maybe it wasn't just in preparation for COVID 19. If it was just for this, then in a GC in the near future are we going to hear "It served it's purpose, now let's get back to the old way?" I doubt that - maybe this is the kick in the pants needed to get us to do what the Lord really wants.

Re: An unintended "consequence" of home church?

Posted: 24 Apr 2020, 08:51
by Minyan Man
Don't you wonder what it must be like to be a FT Missionary now?
Stuck in a small apartment with a companion you may not get along with?
What will the homecoming sacrament talk be?

Our ward is encouraging members to have a virtual lesson with the Missionaries.
This has to be a disappointment for some of them.