Meeting with the bishop

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
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DarkJedi
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by DarkJedi » 09 Jan 2014, 11:42

Thanks for updating us and sharing JHP. There was a time in my journey when I would have had a conversation very similar to yours if the opportunity presented itself, and by your description of the conversation it could have gone worse. Today I would be much more vague, but neither of us can change history. I hope you are able to carry on a mutually respectful relationship with your bishop, I suspect your interactions are far from over.

Our feelings and thoughts are much alike, and I, too, have three buckets (I actually have a fourth - things I'm pretty sure aren't true). I just had to comment on this one thing:
jhp33 wrote:Instead, he scoffed. And kind of laughed, and said "Why on earth would you think that?" I understand what he was trying to communicate, but the delivery was still a bit off-putting, and I told him that.
Here's why:
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf wrote:To those who have separated themselves from the Church, I say, my dear friends, there is yet a place for you here.

Come and add your talents, gifts, and energies to ours. We will all become better as a result.

Some might ask, “But what about my doubts?”

It’s natural to have questions—the acorn of honest inquiry has often sprouted and matured into a great oak of understanding. There are few members of the Church who, at one time or another, have not wrestled with serious or sensitive questions. One of the purposes of the Church is to nurture and cultivate the seed of faith—even in the sometimes sandy soil of doubt and uncertainty. Faith is to hope for things which are not seen but which are true.7

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters—my dear friends—please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.8 We must never allow doubt to hold us prisoner and keep us from the divine love, peace, and gifts that come through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Some might say, “I just don’t fit in with you people in the Church.”

If you could see into our hearts, you would probably find that you fit in better than you suppose. You might be surprised to find that we have yearnings and struggles and hopes similar to yours. Your background or upbringing might seem different from what you perceive in many Latter-day Saints, but that could be a blessing. Brothers and sisters, dear friends, we need your unique talents and perspectives. The diversity of persons and peoples all around the globe is a strength of this Church.

Some might say, “I don’t think I could live up to your standards.”

All the more reason to come! The Church is designed to nourish the imperfect, the struggling, and the exhausted. It is filled with people who desire with all their heart to keep the commandments, even if they haven’t mastered them yet.

Some might say, “I know a member of your Church who is a hypocrite. I could never join a church that had someone like him as a member.”

If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

If these are your desires, then regardless of your circumstances, your personal history, or the strength of your testimony, there is room for you in this Church. Come, join with us!
http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2 ... s?lang=eng
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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Heber13
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by Heber13 » 09 Jan 2014, 12:00

jhp33 wrote:Am I welcome here? Do you want me here if I think/feel those things?"
jhp33, your whole post is really excellent. Well worded, very sincere, very positive. Well done!! And I think that is a good question to ask the bishop...putting it back on him to think. this isn't about you being lost and needing him to help you fix it, this is now your journey to decide what you want to do or not want to do and how you choose to believe. Take his feedback as good things to consider, like a friend who has an opinion to offer you so you can think about it, but just like a friend is not an authority for you, neither is he. He is a volunteer servant who will try to care, but may not understand you and where you are, and that is OK, he still might have some inspired things to help you consider.

I think you handled it very well.

My question:

Do you want callings in the future? Maybe not teaching seminary, but do you want to stay involved in the ward in other capacities?
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

jhp33
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by jhp33 » 09 Jan 2014, 12:01

Thanks, Jedi. I do understand the essence he was trying to convey. And I really appreciate that talk from Elder Uchtdorf. It really resonated with me back in October, for this very reason.

In fact, one of the reasons I'm so convinced that I'm on the path that God wants for me is that I've consciously taken time as I'm thinking/meditating/praying to doubt my doubts. And they still remain.

jhp33
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by jhp33 » 09 Jan 2014, 12:06

Heber13 wrote:
jhp33 wrote:Am I welcome here? Do you want me here if I think/feel those things?"
jhp33, your whole post is really excellent. Well worded, very sincere, very positive. Well done!! And I think that is a good question to ask the bishop...putting it back on him to think. this isn't about you being lost and needing him to help you fix it, this is now your journey to decide what you want to do or not want to do and how you choose to believe. Take his feedback as good things to consider, like a friend who has an opinion to offer you so you can think about it, but just like a friend is not an authority for you, neither is he. He is a volunteer servant who will try to care, but may not understand you and where you are, and that is OK, he still might have some inspired things to help you consider.
Exactly! That feeling permeated throughout our meeting. Never before have I sat in a bishop's office before in that kind of setting and felt like I was equal to the person sitting across from me.


My question:

Do you want callings in the future? Maybe not teaching seminary, but do you want to stay involved in the ward in other capacities?
Very much so. Where can I serve with where I'm at right now? I'm not really sure.

During our meeting, we read a scripture in D&C about fellowship that really resonated with me, because I told him that I still crave that fellowship, and I feel that fellowship is essential in understanding ourselves in many ways. He then said something to the effect of "Well, we'll figure out some other calling for you to do."

Now, the old me definitely wouldn't have said or thought anything more about it, but I immediately piped up and said "Well, I'd also like to figure out what I where I would like to serve going forward as well." When I was in a bishopric before there was this one lady who I extended a couple of callings to, who always thanked me for coming and asking, and told me she would think about it, pray about it, and get back to me with an answer. I remember that at the time, I felt so put off by this, like "how dare you...this calling is from the BISHOP. You're just supposed to say YES!" Now I recognize how backward that way of thinking is. So, that was my way of saying to him that his word on where I serve in the ward is not necessarily the final word.

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Heber13
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by Heber13 » 09 Jan 2014, 12:15

jhp33 wrote: Now I recognize how backward that way of thinking is.
This is a very significant thought you had. To realize that the pressures we put on ourselves sometimes are self-inflicted...not always "the absolute way it is" is a HUGE discovery...and very liberating.

We often think we have to say yes, or we must say we KNOW, or that we cannot have doubts...and we put that all on ourselves because of the culture within the church.

But once you can break from those damning thoughts, and accept that this is your faith and your religion, and you can own it...well, a whole new world of possibilities open up on how you can be authentic, honest, and real...and still stay in a church that has a culture that promotes certainty and obedience.

Especially if you stay humble, and respectful, and sustain the leaders, so you try to navigate through the culture accepting it is what it is, but now make it more than it is, if you can do that, you can find some peace at church, I think.

If you want to stay connected to the group, and serve others, it is good for you to keep doing what you are doing and focus on the positives you see, and the common ground you have with others and the bishop, and the differences that bug you can be aired in this support group more easily. That is one strategy.

You seem to have a very balanced approach. That will serve you well.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by Curt Sunshine » 09 Jan 2014, 14:14

My advice now:
Show forth an increase of love, lest he esteem thee to be an enemy.


That is great counsel for lots of situations, and I think this absolutely is one of them.

Also, Elder Holland answered your exact question about the Book of Mormon in the PBS documentary. He said:
If someone can find something in the Book of Mormon, anything that they love or respond to or find dear, I applaud that and say more power to you. That's what I find, too. And that should not in any way discount somebody's liking a passage here or a passage there or the whole idea of the book, but not agreeing to its origin, its divinity. ...

I think you'd be as aware as I am that that we have many people who are members of the church who do not have some burning conviction as to its origins, who have some other feeling about it that is not as committed to foundational statements and the premises of Mormonism. But we're not going to invite somebody out of the church over that any more than we would anything else about degrees of belief or steps of hope or steps of conviction. ... We would say: "This is the way I see it, and this is the faith I have; this is the foundation on which I'm going forward. If I can help you work toward that I'd be glad to, but I don't love you less; I don't distance you more; I don't say you're unacceptable to me as a person or even as a Latter-day Saint if you can't make that step or move to the beat of that drum.
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

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Meeting with the bishop

Post by hawkgrrrl » 09 Jan 2014, 19:17

Exactly! That feeling permeated throughout our meeting. Never before have I sat in a bishop's office before in that kind of setting and felt like I was equal to the person sitting across from me.
This is the best place to be. I really enjoyed your recap of what happened. Great job!

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