Bishop wants to talk to me

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

Bishop wants to talk to me

Post by roobytoos » 06 Oct 2013, 22:02

I am in the middle of a faith crisis, and as such told the Primary President I didn't feel I could continue to serve in the Presidency. I told her that my testimony is struggling and didn't feel right teaching the children things I don't believe in right now. I knew it'd get to Bishop quickly, but it has actually taken two weeks for a response. I suppose it's because it was Stake Conference last week and General Conference this weekend. I didn't speak to him directly because I wouldn't be able to speak with him in a timely fashion, and wanted them to know so they could make the appropriate preparations for my absence.
Anyhow, the Bishop showed up at my house today and wanted to chat. Luckily for me, I was taking a nap and my DH (who is VERY supportive of me as I search for truth) said I wasn't available. I'm so glad, because I wasn't really prepared to have the conversation at home in my Living Room in front of my children. Any advice on what I should or should not say to him? To give context here is a brief overview of where I am at where the Church is concerned:
-I believe there is a God who hears and answers prayers.
-I want to believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, flawed as he was.
-I believe the people in the Church strive to do their best to live the Gospel as they understand it.
-I believe the Book of Mormon has wonderful stories, but I do not believe in it in a literal sense. Same with other scripture.
-Struggling with female inequality within the Church, but not seeking for female ordination.
-Struggling with tithing and find it to be a significant burden on my family. We barely make ends meet each month.
-I find RS to be an archaic institution that does not support the needs or interests of a modern woman. It tries to perpetuate "womanhood" of my mother's and grandmother's generations. At least it does in my ward.
-I want to attend sacrament meeting only and not be burdened by the other meetings as they currently only create stress and anger for me at this time.
-Despite my struggles, I find the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to speak to my soul and I want to find a way to belong, truly belong and not feel like an outsider.

I sure appreciate all they support I've found here so far. I am grateful for everyone's patience with me as I'm still learning how to share my views in an intelligent, thoughtful manner. I'm trying to learn to look past my anger and resentment and find peace.

User avatar
DarkJedi
Posts: 7315
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Bishop wants to talk to me

Post by DarkJedi » 07 Oct 2013, 03:15

Before I left activity in the church I felt the same as you - that because of my doubts I couldn't teach what I wasn't sure of or what I thought to not be true. I don't recommend the near total inactivity route and do recommend you continue to attend as you are comfortable. I have the same issues with other meetings and upon my imminent return I plan on only attending SM at least in the short term.

I'd be pretty vague with the bishop as far as my concerns go - something I have learned here. IMO what you have said here is too detailed to say to him. Try to leave it at something like "I'm having some struggles right now." I don't know your bishop so I don't know how pushy or assertive he will be, but you do not have to be specific about anything.

Good luck, I hope things work out for you so that you can 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

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

Re: Bishop wants to talk to me

Post by SilentDawning » 07 Oct 2013, 06:35

Everyone will have a different opinion, but I have received a similar visit recently. Mine was from a SP. My philosophy is to keep the problems you have that could prevent you from returning to full service someday, to yourself. Bishops have been known widely to make you prove your commitment if you express that you have doubts.

Therefore, if you want to share concerns, I would take out some of the concerns, and share only these beliefs if pressed.
-I believe there is a God who hears and answers prayers.
-I believe the people in the Church strive to do their best to live the Gospel as they understand it.
-Struggling with female inequality within the Church, but not seeking for female ordination.
-Struggling with tithing and find it to be a significant burden on my family. We barely make ends meet each month.
-I find RS to be an archaic institution that does not support the needs or interests of a modern woman. It tries to perpetuate "womanhood" of my mother's and grandmother's generations. At least it does in my ward.
-I want to attend sacrament meeting only and not be burdened by the other meetings as they currently only create stress and anger for me at this time.
-Despite my struggles, I find the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to speak to my soul and I want to find a way to belong, truly belong and not feel like an outsider.
The only one that prevents a Temple Recommend (the option I like to keep completely open) is the tithing one, in my view, and perhaps the Sacrament meeting one -- but they are not issues of faith, but of commitment. Steer clear of discussing doubts etcetera. It sounds like the Bishop may already know you have testimony issues of the BoM and JS since you told the Primary President about testimony issues preventing teaching. But I would downplay those concerns. There isn't much they can do about them anyway. Focus on those personal struggles and frame them as things only you can deal with as they are things no one else can change.

Hope this helps -- and you do write intelligently and understandably. As Einstein said -- it takes a genius to make the complicated and make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.
"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

User avatar
MayB
Posts: 139
Joined: 15 May 2013, 10:01

Re: Bishop wants to talk to me

Post by MayB » 07 Oct 2013, 08:41

I hate it when they just show up at the door like that! I'm glad that your husband was good enough to turn him away for you. I agree that it isn't a conversation to be had in that setting.
Everyone here is always saying to be careful what you share. I have to agree with that, especially as it sounds like you're still transitioning and working through some things on your own. I would emphasize what you do believe and your willingness to continue attending with your family. Maybe even suggest a calling or two that you feel you would be comfortable with.
Don't feel bad answering questions with "That's not something I'm willing to discuss with you" Contrary to what we often think, there's really no need to tell your bishop everything that you think and feel. Your faith is something very personal and you should not feel pressured to share anything that you don't feel comfortable sharing just yet.
Actually, you shouldn't have to meet with him at all if you don't want to. When I notified my bishop that I was no longer going to teach GD, he kept offering/asking to meet with me to discuss history issues. I simply thanked him for the offer, assured him that I was okay and that was that. Don't be afraid to say, "Thanks for your concern bishop. I'm doing really well and I'll let you know if I need anything or if I feel like chatting with you."
MayB

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16851
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Bishop wants to talk to me

Post by Curt Sunshine » 07 Oct 2013, 09:23

I would say something like:
"I appreciate your concern, but I just need to take a break from this calling right now. Elder Wirthlin and Pres. Uchtdorf mentioned those who struggle because they are tired, and Elder Holland said sometimes we need to slow down, breathe and recharge. I know he was talking about depression, but that advice really means a lot to me. It's what I need to do right now. That's all I'm asking - a chance to slow down, breathe and recharge for a while. I still believe and want to believe. I just need to rest for a while."


Who can argue with three apostles? :D
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

Roy
Posts: 6217
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Bishop wants to talk to me

Post by Roy » 07 Oct 2013, 10:27

I just wrote the following in another thread:
I had a surprise meeting with the bishop about a month back that seemed to go pretty well and I believe that I will be allowed to baptise (and possibly confirm) DD in the months ahead. I believe this is because:

1) The church handbook states that a father does not need to be temple "worthy" to baptise (although it is still left to the discretion of the bishop)
2) My bishop is a good man (not vindictive or punative)
3) I've been fairly vague in admitting to general doubts but also holding onto hope and faith of what I haven't seen but I want to be true.

I posted a thread of our conversation here. It may help, especially if you haven't already discussed your doubts with your bishop.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4587
One thing that I don't believe I reported previously. In our discussion I said that I have come to the realization that tithing will not keep my family from dying in a car crash or keep the entire western coast from being detroyed in a nuclear attack. He seemed to understand and even said that tithing will not keep his business afloat. There are plenty of failed businesses in Utah.

I told him that there is a new book in the missionary library that is sort of a dictionary of gospel terms. In this book it says that tithe payers receive tangible blessings for tithing payments and that many say that they can't afford NOT to pay tithing. I pointed to this as an example of the types of promises and expectations that set the groundwork for my disapointment. He said that he believes that people can receive tangible blessings for tithing payment. I believe that he was sympathetic and could follow my train of thought as long as it was just my expectations that were in error. As soon as I pointed out something in church literature that helped form these erronious expectations he had to back pedal.

This indicated to me that my bishop was unable to see things from my point of view. This doesn't make him bad just that he has certain restraints on his perspective. I share this because I did "test the waters" in a fashion to see if he might be able to understand at least theoretically where I aam coming from. He can't.

Good luck!
"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

Post Reply