The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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mom3
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The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by mom3 » 10 Feb 2019, 21:37

We are 7 weeks into the new Sunday Program. It and I are not working.

Before I list my struggles -
  • I have loved my ward for years. The same members attend.
  • I have a really chill Bishop and Bishopric
  • I am not an introvert
  • I make considerate comments
However - Something has changed. And it's big. I can't even put a full finger on it. But IT and I are disconnecting. I am hearing more ...
  • Judgement of others
  • Comments on inactives
  • Gender hints or comments
  • We're number 1
In times past (Just 2 months ago) I felt totally fine commenting or making gentle statements. Now I don't. Maybe it's because so many of us are crammed into a new building? Maybe it's because the church materials are setting up this space for Judgment? Maybe it's because we are herding from one, one hour meeting to the next? There is no linger, chatting, stretching time.

I had much different expectations of the new program. It's going to be a bumpy ride for this girl.
"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

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SamBee
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by SamBee » 10 Feb 2019, 22:17

To be fair that sounds like a local problem. I have heard these complaints about the church for years. I felt last year's 3rd hour program didn't work well FWIW.
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: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by dande48 » 10 Feb 2019, 22:27

I feel for you, Mom.

This list,
mom3 wrote:
10 Feb 2019, 21:37
Judgement of others
Comments on inactives
Gender hints or comments
We're number 1
Seems pretty typical, although I'm sure the new system makes the original problem worse. It's more or less bad habits carrying over from past systems.

With it being a new program, have you taken the chance to address your concerns with your bishop? Because it's new for pretty much everybody, and now would be a great chance to steer things into a more positive direction. We're still in the "looking for inspiration" phase, but will quickly move to the "got inspiration and God wants it this way" phase like we always do.

Personally, I think the "hour class" is too long. I figure, we should be giving out twenty minute classes, and then turn our focus to socializing and/or sunday service. Doing is worth more than talking, and doing good is far better than most of what we talk about in class. I guess that's a big gripe I have with the way things have been done. We think "doing good" is baring our testimonies on how wonderful Church is, being a missionary, and trying to convert everyone we can. But what about building good relationships? What about actually helping those in need?
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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DarkJedi
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Feb 2019, 05:53

I can't say that I'm seeing those kind of changes where I live, Mom. The only real complaint I have is being discussed in another thread, and that's that SS is too big. No skin off my nose, I'm not a fan of SS anyway and I don't miss participating because I wasn't participating before. PH has only changed for the better, every other week and no council or presidency message. In fact yesterday one of the old stalwarts who is more of a free thinker came in a few minutes late and sat beside and whispered "I might need to sit with the team today" (in reference to those of us who are willing to speak up). Turns out we did Uchtdorf's talk and while the teacher was more of a lecturer and on the dry side there was nothing to speak up about (I almost jumped in when somebody made a comment about watching football but it skimmed by so fast there wasn't the chance or real need apparently).

I did feel like I was in a bit of a time warp yesterday. SM seemed way longer than an hour and so did PH. I managed to occupy myself with my tablet and phone.

My ward has generally been fairly good at not judging or commenting on inactives, etc., and nothing has changed. Last week we did the reconciliation talk in PH (hence my old friend's feeling like he needed to sit with the team) and there was some very good conversation about offense not generally being the sole or even main reason for inactivity (led by another guy, my old friend, and me). The other guy kicked it off pretty well with saying he didn't like the story and why - it put all the onus on the member and none on the bishop who was clearly wrong. I think we made headway.

I am sorry that your ward has reacted differently, and hope yours is the exception rather than the rule.
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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nibbler
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by nibbler » 11 Feb 2019, 05:56

dande48 wrote:
10 Feb 2019, 22:27
I feel for you, Mom.

This list,
mom3 wrote:
10 Feb 2019, 21:37
Judgement of others
Comments on inactives
Gender hints or comments
We're number 1
Seems pretty typical, although I'm sure the new system makes the original problem worse. It's more or less bad habits carrying over from past systems.
Something I haven't been very good at is determining whether there has been an increase in these sorts of things as time has gone on or if those things have always been there but now I'm more sensitive to it.

God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever:

Up until recently not a whole lot about the church experience had changed in the last three decades. The changes that come to mind were small temples, lowering of the missionary age, and they redefined the 70s quorums a few times. Nothing that really had an impacted on the Sunday to Sunday experience. In fact it felt like we were coasting on past effort for the last decade or more. Just keep keeping on.
  • We were using 20 year old manuals in SS.
  • Teachings of Presidents - conference talks from the past prophets, all deceased.
  • We had a two year period where Teachings of Presidents was replaced with study in the Gospel Principles manual, that was published in the 1970s. I guess gospel principles don't change, but sheesh, put a fresh coat of paint on it.
That was our curriculum for 20 years. 20.

Now we're in the middle of a "shock and awe" campaign for change. Some people might be grumpy because they don't like the change. Some may be hyped up because they've been starving for change for decades and now they're being thrown some red meat. I think the latter may fuel the we're number one stuff. We finally have an unleashed prophet that has been taking their vitamin pills. Now we're going to show the world... whatever it is we're going to show the world, I don't know, but we're gonna show the world.

(cont.)
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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nibbler
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by nibbler » 11 Feb 2019, 05:57

Worldly influences:

1) The church hasn't changed much in the last quarter decade (maybe more). Meanwhile the world has changed significantly. The information age alone. In my opinion the church is still reacting to that event, trying to play catch up.

2) Push back. Despite our best efforts ( :angel: ) we don't live in a vacuum. Judgmental comments, comments about "doubters" or inactives, comments about gender issues. They could all be push back to perceived threats or even push back to comments made by people outside the church that have been judgmental towards people inside the church. The judgmental comments we hear at church could be reactionary, comments made out of frustration because church is the one place they can retreat to where they can get that validation of their beliefs.

3) We hear the criticism now. The church isn't isolated like a Wasatch Sasquatch anymore. The information age made it harder for us to avoid the criticisms. This one is sort of a combination of 1) and 2), people are pushing back on the criticisms that they now cannot avoid hearing.

4) Now nearly every member knows someone that has left the church. Not left the church by passively letting their practice slip, but actively making a decision to leave the church. I think lots of orthodox members have become defensive about that. I think this one has had a profound effect and when we plug people like that into our formulas for how we believe the universe operates we have to come up with ways that they must have been deficient. :(

Sorry, I don't think my comments are particularly helpful. Just my attempts at coming up with a formula to explain things. In the spiritual realm and the realm of human nature you can pretty much toss formulas out the window. There's no predicting.

I will mourn with those that mourn though. For at least the last five years I've felt like our lessons at church have contained too many elements of what you describe. There's always good and bad elements to any lesson but sometimes the scales tip too far in the negative direction and that has been my struggle. What's negative to me, the we're number one and judging others stuff, is often presented as something positive at church and standing against those things is seen as negative. It's wearing.
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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nibbler
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by nibbler » 11 Feb 2019, 06:46

Oh, one last thing, then I'll :silent:

My The New Sunday Stuff and Me

We're on the sixth Sunday this year, twelve hours of church behind us. In my ward three of those hours, 25% of our total time together thusfar, has been focused on leaning on people to do the home church stuff.

I was worried about this happening because we tend to do this in our area. Hyper-focus on the latest thing until we (at least me) get absolutely sick of hearing about it. Home church, ministering, hastening the work, the covenant path.

It's made it hard to be enthusiastic about attending church on Sunday, knowing that I'm going to get the, "Do your home church!" lecture... again. It doesn't feed me spiritually... when I go to church and it's just lessons focused on getting me to participate in the latest program. There's got to be more to church than telling me I should be doing more church... so I can show up to be told I should be doing more church.

Sorry for the hijack. I know what it feels like to be "tidal waved." I drowned in one some years back.
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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dande48
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by dande48 » 11 Feb 2019, 07:31

nibbler wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 06:46
It's made it hard to be enthusiastic about attending church on Sunday, knowing that I'm going to get the, "Do your home church!" lecture... again.
I love the concept of "home church". While my "home church" is very different from the idea many members have in their head, it gives me the opportunity to define it how I want. Hang out with family, watch shows, play games, eat good food, spend time with friends... most of what church should be, IMHO.
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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nibbler
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by nibbler » 11 Feb 2019, 08:29

I like the idea of home church too, just not as formalized as it is presented at church.

I struggle to communicate. All our talk of home church is really just the same problem I'm having in general with our meetings but with a home church skin over the top of it.

Take the subject of genealogy, just to divorce from the subject of home church. IMO it's a program the church offers. If genealogy is your thing then you're in heaven. If genealogy is not your thing you'll find that the mission becomes to make genealogy your thing.

Show up to church with your family search login and we will go over how to search for people and how to prepare their names for the temple. Give me your family search login so I can help you find names. When is a good day for me to come over to your house to help you with genealogy?

Now imagine if over half of the church experience was like this. Getting people to do genealogy work. If you're really into into it, you don't need to spend 50% of your time talking about how important and awesome it is, you're already convinced. If your not into it and likely won't be, you don't need to spend 50% of your time talking about how important and awesome it is, it's mostly a waste of time. Either way, we're going to be spending 50% of the time talking about how important and awesome it is.

[insert nibbler's sermon about how we are the body of Christ but the head wants everyone to be every body part instead of existing in their niche]

And I'm finding most of the church-church experience is like that. Hammering subjects to death. The feet really enjoy it when the subject shifts to feet. The hands have to suck it up and pretend to be feet or pretend to enjoy talking about feet.

Just the way it is, but once you tell yourself, "I'm a hand and I'm not interested in being a foot or even pretending to be a foot." you have to answer the question: Now what am I going to do with 50% of the time we spend at church for the next 6 months while we muscle through all this foot stuff? At least the other 50% is spent on... being an ear.

It's a program. There's an expectation. Church is often all about how well we're doing in meeting those expectations. It just gets harder when you're not interested in a program and harder still when you allow yourself to not be interested in a program.
Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder.
— Laurence J. Peter

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dande48
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Re: The New Sunday Stuff and Me

Post by dande48 » 11 Feb 2019, 13:01

nibbler wrote:
11 Feb 2019, 08:29
It's a program. There's an expectation. Church is often all about how well we're doing in meeting those expectations. It just gets harder when you're not interested in a program and harder still when you allow yourself to not be interested in a program.
But there's no way to regulate the "home Church" program. :) Heck, they're going to try. I'm sure they'll bring it up in the PPI (if they can ever figure out how to catch me). But it's not like Home Teaching, ministering, genealogy, or temple attendance. There's no good metric. Comparisons are going to be very difficult, and that's one of the larger "sins" holding us back.

With the changes, I think most of our problems boil down to bad habits and human error. Maybe instead of Sunday school, we should start the first year off by holding one of those "Addiction Recovery" programs, mandatory for EVERYONE. "Hello, my name Brother Smith, and I am a recovering jerk."
"The whole world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel." - Horace Walpole

"Even though there are no ways of knowing for sure, there are ways of knowing for pretty sure."
-Lemony Snicket

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