My Ward is Depressed...

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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roobytoos
Posts: 18
Joined: 07 Jun 2013, 10:34

My Ward is Depressed...

Post by roobytoos » 28 Sep 2013, 10:36

I moved in my ward about 8 years ago, and at the time everyone was talking about how one ward had been "dissolved" in our stake and ward boundaries had been realigned. (We often don't hear about dissolving wards, do we? I hadn't until I moved in!) It had happened 2 years prior to our moving in.... that means it's been 10 years since the change. Plenty of time to adjust and move on, right?
I go to many ward functions, am friends with many ward members, and every single time there's a ward function, it's turned into a discussion of remember when.... remember when we did this... remember when we did that... it was so much better when this.... all of which happened before my time. It feels like all the good things that have happened since then are completely discounted! We are still considered new in the ward, after 8 years! I am really tired of hearing about people that moved out before I even moved in.
I have a friend who is in the same stake, and sometimes out of necessity (because of work,etc.) attends our ward. She told me she feels like she is walking into enemy territory because it seems like people are glaring at her, and no one says hello. This is crazy right? I say hello when I see her, but to be completely honest, I don't go to church every single week, because it's so challenging to be in a room full of people that just glare at each other.
I struggle going to this ward so much. People aren't friendly at all. Even the Bishop approached little ol' me and asked what the ward could do to be more friendly! Not that I need friends to worship, but having friends and an enjoyable experience sure goes a long way.
I personally suffer with depression, and quite frankly am seeing some parallels between my ward and myself when I'm having a major depressive episode. I have decided that my ward is depressed, and needs to go to behavioral cognitive therapy. :)

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SilentDawning
Posts: 7348
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: My Ward is Depressed...

Post by SilentDawning » 28 Sep 2013, 13:02

The culture of any organization is heavily influenced by its leaders. So, a happy Ward would have happy, friendly leaders.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Ann
Posts: 2576
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: My Ward is Depressed...

Post by Ann » 29 Sep 2013, 02:24

roobytoos wrote: I personally suffer with depression, and quite frankly am seeing some parallels between my ward and myself when I'm having a major depressive episode. I have decided that my ward is depressed, and needs to go to behavioral cognitive therapy. :)
Diagnosis is the first step. :smile: I'm sorry you're dealing with this. There was a time when I took all these ward/stake boundary issues very seriously, very personally. Looking back on it - yikes. I think it's great that the bishop recognizes what's going on. Good luck!
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: My Ward is Depressed...

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Sep 2013, 06:34

I agree that it's probably really a leadership issue, however, leadership can't always change an organizational culture especially if they're a part of it. Sometimes the culture is very ingrained in longstanding members of the organization. I once lived in a ward where there was very little growth by conversion and few people moved in because there was no employment draw there. Actually, thinking about it, those who did come for employment (there was a medical center there) often only stayed a couple years. The rest of the members had been there forever - quite literally they had mostly grown up together. They were not especially friendly to newcomers, I lived there five years and never really felt a part of the ward, converts didn't stay active. The leadership always rotated among the same few. Actually it was in that ward where I first asked to be released from a calling - I had been in Primary for 3 1/2 years, and really felt I was not growing there, and I felt as though going to priesthood and SS would help me get to know adult members better and feel more a part of the ward. Turns out that didn't help in the end.

I once spoke to my SP about differences in wards (my current ward is very friendly and mostly supportive). He and his family had moved around quite a bit in his younger years and he agreed with the assessment that some wards are much better than others - and had struggled in a ward himself when he traveled a great deal for work and his wife was home with small children including a special needs child. He believed as you do, that he didn't need the ward members to be friendly and helpful to worship, but it sure made it easier.

I'm sorry that you have this cross to bear. Is there a possibility that you can speak with your SP and get permission to attend another ward? There are some very understanding leaders out there who might be sympathetic - and I bet he knows the issues your ward has.
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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SilentDawning
Posts: 7348
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: My Ward is Depressed...

Post by SilentDawning » 29 Sep 2013, 06:47

roobytoos wrote:I moved in my ward about 8 years ago, and at the time everyone was talking about how one ward had been "dissolved" in our stake and ward boundaries had been realigned. (We often don't hear about dissolving wards, do we? I hadn't until I moved in!) It had happened 2 years prior to our moving in.... that means it's been 10 years since the change. Plenty of time to adjust and move on, right?
This happened in a Ward I attended 20 years ago. In the city there was a City First Ward and a City Third Ward, and no City Second Ward. It was because they couldn't make The Second Ward go due to lack of priesthood holders after they started it. And then, our SP in one Stake kept splitting Wards at the drop of a hat. This weakened one Ward to the point they had to put two back together again. And his splits demoralized everyone even when the Wards were successful.

In fact, there was a movement a couple decades ago to stop naming the Wards "Washington First Ward, Washington Second Ward" etcetera. Instead, they would be named the "Washington Heights Ward" or the "Victoria Terrace Ward". I think this was to avoid the fact that sequentially-named Wards burn the memory of failure in the area's history when a middle Ward (like the 2nd Ward) fails. Geographically named Wards dont' create naming gaps when the Stake has to close a Ward.

Anyway, I don't follow the geographically boundary rules for the time being either. There are times when your own mental health, needs of your family etcetera eclipses policy. And if the leaders won't let you do what is best for yourself by attending a certain Ward, then you have to take matters in your own hands. You have to claim the fact that they can't stop you from attending anywhere you please.

Also, it's kind of nice being in a Ward where you don't live. You can attend, enjoy the services (if you find them enjoyable) and then leave. The Bishop and the Ward CAN'T give you calling -- so it's Church-sanctioned benchwarming. While I am an advocate of pulling your own weight, it's nice sometimes to have a break.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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Kumahito
Posts: 284
Joined: 24 May 2012, 17:31

Re: My Ward is Depressed...

Post by Kumahito » 29 Sep 2013, 19:24

SilentDawning wrote:Also, it's kind of nice being in a Ward where you don't live. You can attend, enjoy the services (if you find them enjoyable) and then leave. The Bishop and the Ward CAN'T give you calling -- so it's Church-sanctioned benchwarming. While I am an advocate of pulling your own weight, it's nice sometimes to have a break.
^^^This! Of all the sage advice SD has given here, and there are many examples, this is the best. I think going to a ward that's not your own is a great way to StayLDS. Give it a try - it's awesome. :clap:
"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all."
- Oscar Wilde

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