Getting Released From A Church Calling

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 720
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Getting Released From A Church Calling

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 18 Jun 2021, 20:09

I'm a ward missionary, but with the COVID going on, I haven't been able to do much anyway. Now, most of you here are aware I have issues with the church. I've shared here a few times what they are. The mask and social distancing in my part of the United States are going be relaxing soon, but the bishop still leaves it up to you whether you start going to church and watching the services online. I've talked with him a couple times, so he actually is a pretty nice, laid back kind of guy. After talking with my psychiatrist from the local mental health facility, I prayed and got the impression to ask to be released from my calling. Although I've been lazy lately with my studying scriptures and meditation because spending of too much time watching movies and spending time online with the COVID and all, I prayed about a few times and I got the impression to be released from my calling. Even when I was studying scriptures, I got the same impression. The truth is I have an anxiety disorder that I do take meds for. However, if I don't know who to share my issues about the church with inside the church and choose not, it will probably eventually cause my body too much stress, which can bring some health issues I don't need right now. I served a mission and I loved it. I may not have loved everything about it and definitely personal issues that I think I have shared with some of you, but I served it honorably. After I was released, I did have an incredibly strong spiritual that seemed to tell me God was proud of me. On my mission, I pretty much believed everything I was taught and taught others.

Things I have major issues with now that I didn't on my mission: 1. Priesthood authority. I'm not saying I don't believe the General Authorities or local authorities don't have it. Nothing like that. I just don't believe that they are the only ones that have it. I believe God can give that kind of authority to anybody he chooses that is spiritually ready for it. Maybe I'm just confusing the authority and power. I don't know.

2. I don't believe that the LDS Church is the only true religion anymore. I know members try to soften it by saying that all other religions teach correct things, blessed others lives, have good people, but we have all the teachings that God wants the church to have and, of course, priesthood authority. The people may not recognize the term, but the Lord seems to work with others, no matter what spiritual level they're at. Now, it is true we have apostles and prophets, unlike most religions, but I it seems to me other religions have teachings that people might need that the church doesn't have. So I don't believe the Lord is concerned that every person on earth grows spiritually within the LDS Church or does it in the spirit world through temple ordinances. Speaking of teachings...

3. The church doesn't seem to teach meditation. Yes, it does mention prayer, but most members tend to think of meditation as pondering or reflecting, not quieting the mind and just being silent. Well, maybe the closest thing to that is worshiping at the temple, particularly in the celestial room. Unfortunately, I received an impression about a friend that ended up being wrong. I have felt a lot of peace in the celestial room, despite that. The only thing with the temple is that going through the temple recommend interviews can be such a hassle if you are having serious issues with the church. But it still can be a hassle even if you believe pretty much everything and don't have what you understand to be worthiness issues.

Now, speaking of other teachings...there are some teachings that the church teaches that I believe are universal to everyone and others just depend the situations and the people involved. Parts of the law of chastity might be universal and also others situational. I believe the Lord doesn't condemn the LGBTQ community for expressing themselves if that's the way he wanted them to be. I believe there are still extremes to that, though. Maybe polygamy is also just situational. (Many people in this site seem to feel the same way I do about a lot of the chastity.) Russell M. Nelson is technically a polygamist.

4. The church can be way too works-centered and leader-centered (mostly the prophet and the other General Authorities, even though some leaders have been able to soften that a little bit. Uchtdorf, for instance. And, of course, I believe the belief that the prophet can't lead the people astray is a crock. Unless, when it was first mentioned it wasn't meant to mean they would knowingly teach people to do something they know is wrong or intentionally lead people away from the Lord. I don't believe people growing spiritually within the church are the only ones that can be truly happy. Many people are truly happy outside of it, or seem to be anyway. I'm not saying that the Lord isn't concerned about how we live our lives and treat others. I just don't believe that it matters to the Lord that people do it exactly the church teaches to do it or seems to.

4. Now, the temple. I don't believe temple ordinances are required in person or in proxy in order to be able to live with God. I just believe it's a tool that many people might need to grow spiritually, serve others, and learn lessons to help them along the way.

5. I don't believe the gospel was really lost when most of the people went into apostasy and killed all the apostles and prophets. I just believe they went into apostasy and killed them. When it comes to the restoration, it may not have to mean what most members believe. Maybe it was meant to just lead people to truly embrace becoming like God. (When I say that I'm not trying to sound like I'm saying people need to be in the church to become like God. I'm not.)

My fear is I'll end up being asked to teach something with the full-time missionaries that I have huge issues with. When I was a missionary, that's what we sometimes did on split or exchanges. Last time I worked with some missionaries, before my faith shift, that what we did. Although it's taught in the church that you're supposed to gain your own testimony, not rely on other peoples, it too often seems to be implied what the church teaches as a whole always applies to you, no matter what. I don't want to cause myself too much stress or just come across as fake.

So, finally, do you think I should ask the bishop to be released, or not worry about so much about it and politely teach those teachings which I pretty believe in? Set boundaries if I need to? What do you all think?

User avatar
Posts: 68
Joined: 11 Jun 2010, 02:01

Re: Getting Released From A Church Calling

Post by Limhah » 19 Jun 2021, 05:56

That's an interesting spiritual journey you're on and it sounds like you're in the earlier stages of an ongoing and possibly lengthy exploration that no one can say in advance where it will lead. It's good that you've worked some of the major points out clearly for your own understanding. I do a lot of that too, setting out points and outlines and summaries of where I stand on various beliefs or philosophies and what have you.

I'm reluctant to offer specific advice as so much depends on your unique circumstances, family & friends, and the environment of your local church. It's easy to counsel someone to be 'true' to oneself and speak one's own truth but in practice this is very difficult to do right. Looking back on my own long journey my only regrets are that I compromised maybe a little too much to preserve other people's sensibilities and wish I had been more forthright earlier on. But who can say?

It helps to have at least one other friend (IRL not online) that understands your situation and is willing to work with you and support you at least partway. I never had that in the church. I had friends outside of it though, but they couldn't understand the nuances involved.

User avatar
Posts: 7475
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Getting Released From A Church Calling

Post by DarkJedi » 19 Jun 2021, 16:16

Of course no one can decide for you. And boundaries are always good.

I'd probably appeal to the bishop based on your anxiety, and I'd ask that he keep it confidential and not share even with the ward council. I think in 2021 most people understand anxiety is real and can be devastating. I wouldn't go into my concerns about the church, I'd keep it as general anxiety.

May you find the peace you seek.
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

Site Admin
Posts: 16932
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Getting Released From A Church Calling

Post by Old-Timer » 20 Jun 2021, 07:11

I was going to say pretty much what Dark Jedi said.

Blessings as you work through this.
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

Posts: 6358
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Getting Released From A Church Calling

Post by Roy » 21 Jun 2021, 12:07

Ilovechrist77 wrote:
18 Jun 2021, 20:09
After I was released, I did have an incredibly strong spiritual that seemed to tell me God was proud of me.
1) Yes! Please let me confirm that for you. God was and IS proud of you! I have had a similar experience where I felt God's love.
I am now a parent of teenagers that are starting to make their own way in the world. They do have varying degrees of anxiety. Sometimes that anxiety prevents them from moving forward with certain options. Sometimes they have anxiety but are able to proceed. Regardless of which decision they make I am so proud of them. It takes courage to take a risk and move forward when you have doubts. It also takes courage to know your limitations and to "self-advocate" for your wellbeing despite pressure from the expectations of others. I am proud of you regardless of whether you continue in the calling or not. If I, with my imperfect and limited fatherhood skills, feel this way then I can only imagine the love and acceptance from a perfect and unlimited Heavenly Father. He really is proud of you!

2) I recommend reframing your list. It can be tempting to list things that others believe that you do not. I find it more helpful to make positive affirmations of what I do believe. What do I stand for rather than what I might stand against? For example, I believe in eternal families. I believe that the special bonds that we develop with each other in this life will have meaning in the hereafter. If I bore testimony of this (and I have) then I do not think that traditional believing members would have any issues.

3) It sounds like you already have your answer on what step you need to take. I do like the suggestion to keep church "testimony" issues out of it and just reference the generalized anxiety. It may also help if you are able to think about a calling where you feel you might be more successful and give that other calling to the bishop as a suggestion. "I have prayed about it and feel strongly that I cannot continue as a ward missionary due to my anxiety and personal wellbeing but I do feel that I would do well and would be able to throw my heart into being the Sunday greeter. I care about the ward and want everyone to feel welcome to our Sunday services."
"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

User avatar
Posts: 720
Joined: 08 Nov 2011, 21:42

Re: Getting Released From A Church Calling

Post by Ilovechrist77 » 23 Jun 2021, 17:26

Thanks, everyone, for the advice. I'll just have to pray about it a little more and see what I feel inspired to do.

Post Reply