Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

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Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by Sheldon » 08 Jun 2016, 11:35

Here is a great blog post written by a former bishop about all the empty seats at the table by those that chose to not Stay LDS.

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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by nibbler » 08 Jun 2016, 12:12

The article reads like the most depressing Dr. Seuss book ever written. :(

Thanks for sharing. This is an article I'd feel comfortable reading during a SM as a part of a talk.

I know several people who have left recently... I'd say that many of them felt more crowded out than anything. I wish them well on their journeys but I do wonder what more we could be doing.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by DarkJedi » 08 Jun 2016, 12:59

Thanks for sharing Sheldon. I particularly like this part:
Why does it sadden me?
That they have chosen a lesser path? No, I don’t believe that. If there is a heaven to get to, that’s exactly where my friends who have gone will go. I wish them joy & godspeed on the road they have chosen. This is a happy thought for me.
But, tears well up. I miss the days when they were reliably in neighboring chairs and tables. Chairs of instruction. Tables of counsel. Chairs of service. Tables of camaraderie, community, & cordiality. Now, empty chairs at empty tables. My friends are gone.
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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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by Shawn » 08 Jun 2016, 13:05

Wow. So well written and powerful. That song is so poignant. I have griefs that can't be spoken in church and it's tough.

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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by SilentDawning » 09 Jun 2016, 09:45

I liked the piece. Chuckled at the Dr. Seuss reference above. as some of the paragraphs sounded like Dr. Seuss.

The take-away thought for me is that those people who are no longer at the table are a valuable source of information to the church about why people leave. Yet, often, their story gets boiled down to one shallow sentence "they got offended and left". "The Young women were mean to her so they left". When a lot of struggles and other effort went into staying by many of those "leavers" for a long time before they left. Their story gets simplified and is often punctuated by unwarranted judgmentalism about why they left, as Elder Uchdorft pointed out.

The other take-away is those empty chairs represent many people living VERY FULL lives, but in non-church contexts. It may seem empty to the people left behind in the room, but the people who left are often in a place they find much better, more fulfilling, and more peace-inducing than would have been possible in the church.
"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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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by Roy » 19 Jun 2016, 09:19

Thanks for sharing Sheldon.

I think about LDS people that I have known and been close to that have moved away. When I talk to them (or my wife Facebook stalks them) I take some comfort in the fact that they are still active in the church. It is as though that identity still binds us over the time and distance. strange.
"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

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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by LookingHard » 30 Aug 2016, 05:57

I have subscribe to his blog. It is hard to see him struggle with issues.

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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by Gerald » 30 Aug 2016, 06:45

Very touching post. I certainly agree with the sentiments despite not really knowing anyone who has left the Church over such issues. (Well, I have a second cousin who I heard about through the family grapevine but she's not someone I know particularly well.)

However, we keep hearing these stories over and over again and I've yet to see any real coherent response from the LDS Church. I don't think I ever will. The overarching message seems to be (ironically) that all is well in Zion.
So through the dusk of dead, blank-legended And unremunerative years we search to get where life begins, and still we groan because we do not find the living spark where no spark ever was; and thus we die, still searching, like poor old astronomers who totter off to bed and go to sleep, to dream of untriangulated stars.
---Edwin Arlington Robinson---

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Re: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

Post by GBSmith » 30 Aug 2016, 11:45

I skimmed through much of his blog and found what he had to say about "by common consent" interesting. Evidently he's routinely voted in opposition to the sustaining of general church officers over the November policy. It's interesting to think that since the policy has been declared revelation that we as members should have the chance to vote on it. Sorry if that's a thread jack.

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