Should I ask to be released?

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DoubtingTom
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Should I ask to be released?

Post by DoubtingTom » 24 Mar 2017, 10:47

I'm meeting with my stake president this Sunday and could use some advice. Should I ask to be released from my calling? (EQP). I have already met with him several months ago and I told him then about my doubts. But he wants to meet again and see where I'm at. Since my last meeting, I have become more firmly planted on the side of doubt and uncertainty and I feel at peace with that.

Basically, to keep things brief here, I do not believe the BoM or BoA are historical books. Maybe inspired but that's as far as I can go there, but definitely not what they claim to be. I have issues with priesthood restoration and in the idea of an anthropomorhpic white male God with a beard as JS taught. I'm open to the idea of a higher power but certainly not a fundamental LDS belief. I think JC was a great man with many great teachings that, if applied, will lead to good things in our lives. But certainly I don't have a "testimony" of him as savior.

I plan to let him know all this, and originally, was going to let him decide if he wants to release me, but lately have been feeling like asking to be released. I just don't feel comfortable going to ward council and participating in these mind-numbing discussions about the needs and struggles of other members, etc. Also, I don't like the dissonance of having to stand up in front of the quorum as a leader when I know I don't believe most of what they assume I do.

So those in similar situations, what have you done? Should I ask for release or try to take advantage of my position to do good from the inside? Maybe I'll be released anyway unless I don't be completely open with my stake president. He's already revealed himself to be a loving and understanding man so I feel comfortable talking to him. I just could use some input from the forum. Thanks!

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Heber13
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by Heber13 » 24 Mar 2017, 11:11

Me personally, I don't ask to be released. I more look at it as I am who I am, and I believe what I believe, and I make choices on how much time I have to serve in a calling and volunteer my time.

If that means I skip Stake Conf, even though they ask for leaders to go to sessions and attend...well...I manage through that. I either go, or I don't go. I try not to let guilt or obligation over ride my desire to prioritize my time with family, which is the higher priority.

I skip Ward Council or PEC at times...either send someone in my place or just don't go.

I teach and share my views with ward members as appropriate and in the spirit of helping fulfill callings and what others go to church for, which means I keep many things to myself that aren't about anyone else.

I find I can function in a calling this way on my terms. And if they don't like it, they can release me. If they don't mind it, they'll keep me there.

I let them decide to release me or not. I just be me. I often think...if they are going by revelation, and God called me...he called me as I am. So...I'm there to do it as I am. If they aren't getting revelation on it...it's a moot point.

I place the action on the leader above me to make the choice if they want me as I am.

Handling the "mind-numbing" thing...that is just part of church experience for me. I have found many topics in Ward Council I like to speak up and represent a voice that is not main-stream or just being a parrot to the accepted normal answers. Sometimes that works and people like the new view...sometimes they ignore me.

My last Ward Council meeting was mostly about how youth, like 3 of mine in my household, don't stay for 3rd hour. I gave them frank reasons in my house we let them skip at times. Sometimes the lessons are boring. Sometimes they have other things like jobs or trips. Sometimes they don't have any friends at church and they just want a break from "you have to go always". It generated a good discussion, I think. So...sometimes I would think you being EQP may be of benefit to have your voice there to help all the other members of your EQ that think like you do.

Only you can decide if you need to ask for a release or not. Whatever you feel right about is ok. The church is going to move on either way.

Do you feel you can benefit by staying on and having it be something in your life you work through, for your benefit? Like the effort it takes to diet or exercise, which isn't fun...but can be healthy for you (spiritually)?
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."

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DarkJedi
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by DarkJedi » 24 Mar 2017, 11:28

What Heber said. :thumbup:

I am a high councilor. My SP knows I have doubts (my doubts about JS, BoM, BoA, restoration are similar to yours). He does not know the extent of my doubts as yours apparently does. I do experience the tension of which you speak but I have learned to deal with it and let others believe what they want while I choose to believe what I want (in an AoF 11 sort of way). At the onset of my faith crisis many years ago I was GD teacher and I did ask to be released. Had I to do it over again post transition (in other words if I knew then what I know now) I would not have asked to be released. It's part of the transition. As a HC I have a voice in councils and I get the pulpit several times a year, and I think that's important for those who also suffer as I have suffered and those who have transitioned. When I was called to the HC I told the SP "you call me and you get me." He was fine with that then and he's fine with that now. I have appreciated the experience and when he feels moved upon to release me I am ready, believing I have done what I could.

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not necessarily open to just any calling in the future, but I have never been completely open to just any calling. I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
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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DoubtingTom
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by DoubtingTom » 24 Mar 2017, 11:45

I guess part of my challenge is I have a hard time separating the obligation and time commitments from my desires. Part of me never wants to spend time away from family or personal interests for calling related stuff, and part of that is my admitted laziness. Another part of me doesn't want to spend time doing things that matter less when you don't really believe.

But I have been ingrained to accept every calling and to try and "magnify" and it's hard to get that out of my system. I guess I don't yet feel comfortable saying no to or just not fulfilling a specific assignment or request and it seems like it would be easier to not be in a position where I get those requests.

I guess another part of me feels that I accepted this calling and then afterwards had a major faith transition. After that change I feel less willing to serve in it, but maybe it could still be for my benefit. I'm torn. Thanks for the great advice so far.

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Heber13
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by Heber13 » 24 Mar 2017, 11:52

I really appreciate your honesty, and you're very honest with yourself about all these things. You have valid points, all of those things you mentioned...they are all valid things to go through.

One strategy is to do some hypothesis testing ;)
DoubtingTom wrote:
24 Mar 2017, 11:45
I guess I don't yet feel comfortable saying no to or just not fulfilling a specific assignment or request
...you know what they say about green eggs and ham, right?

Try it...you may find you like it after all. :D

Letting go of internal or self-imposed fears and limits may be the thing God wants you to learn in your life. Or maybe God has nothing to do with it.

You get to decide what to do. And see the outcomes of handling things some ways.

I have found many blessings by staying LDS and staying involved, that for me, they far outweigh the temptation to just walk away from it all. I think it has to do with a feeling I have that staying and stretching myself by being there is better for me than just quitting and feeling like my problems had to do with others, or the church, or an external thing. I feel like it is mostly an internal thing to deal with. How can I learn how to manage pressures of things that pull me away from my family, if I don't have things to test how to say no to it or not?

Just some thoughts about it. EQP can be a demanding calling. So much talk about home teaching...isn't there?? :wtf:
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."

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LookingHard
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by LookingHard » 24 Mar 2017, 19:40

You can asked to be released just because you want to be released.

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mom3
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by mom3 » 24 Mar 2017, 22:17

I hope you will choose to stay in your calling. Many people with doubts don't get the opportunity to be a gentle assistance on a ward level. My husband was a EQP years before his faith transition, yet he chose (while being a traditional believing member) to be a rogue EQP. His love of his quorum over arched all the usual business. He pulled a fantastic set of warm, happy counselors around him. They worked to make the quorum fun, happy, positive.

You can do the same. You can even have doubts. Think what you can teach, what bridge building comments you can make in meetings, you can pour love over your Quorum like no one else.

We get so worried about "telling the truth" to leaders we forget that "truth" has lots of avenues. Many people have "faith" even though they use "know". Many hope, but have never had to consider that hope.

I see so many opportunities for you to be a light if you stay. When the SP asks, share the essays with him, share church approved materials that position your challenge in a hopeful way. Even if you are in only a few more months see what you can do with it.

Just my 2 cents.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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hawkgrrrl
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 24 Mar 2017, 22:22

Personally, I like what mom3 is saying. I'm for fewer people in leadership who are full-on unquestioning kool-aid drinkers. They are fine people, but when that's everyone, they become terrible ministers. Pastoral care ends up going out the window. A real lack of empathy can develop.

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SilentDawning
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by SilentDawning » 25 Mar 2017, 04:51

That cat is out of the bag since you've shared your doubts. I personally would not have shared them. Going forward, though...

I'm in the camp that you need to look at the calling and say "Does this calling make me happy?". If it does,then keep it. If it doesn't, then ask for a release. But when you assess your happiness with the calling, look at the happiness benefits (if any) that come from service, impact on your family (good and bad) etcetera -- it's not a whole self-centered question -- look at all the sources of happiness and go from there.

To get out of the calling, give them about 3 weeks to find a replacement. Let them know that you are out of town on week 4 for several weeks and will not be able to function.

Then let them take their sweet old time finding a replacement. They will likely push it down to your councilor (if you have one), who may or may not do anything or even accept the acting EQP assignment, but let the chips fall.

If you don't put them on a timeline, they take forever. Keep your doubts out of it if you can -- keep your options open for the future.
"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

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Should I ask to be released?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Mar 2017, 12:00

Frankly, there are pros and cons for either choice, so you need to decide what you want out of church - both for yourself and others. Three things:

1) When someone asks me to fulfill a calling, they get me. Me. Only me. Not someone else. Me. If they don't like what they get, they can release me. No offense on my end. That is their right.

2) I have been the lone unorthodox voice on quite a few occasions in ward and Stake council meetings - occasionally because my view truly was unique, and often because those who saw things similarly were more comfortable letting me express a contrary viewpoint. On more than one occasion, I have been thanked by others for saying what they couldn't say - and for helping the, see that it was okay to say what they wanted to say. I also have been told multiple times by leaders that they appreciated hearing a view that wasn't natural for them - and sometimes that it changed their minds.

3) Sustaining and supporting, to me, includes telling leaders when I think they are wrong - or that I think there I should a better way. I refuse to fight about it if they choose. Ot to agree with me, but I see it as my duty to give my honest feedback. So, I serve and continue to be that guy.

Think of it this way:

The Q12 might not be moving in the direction it is now if Elder Wirthlin and Pres. Uchtdorf had refused their callings or shut up in quorum meetings.

I am not saying you must stay in your calling - not at all. I just hope you don't ask to be released merely because you don't have an orthodox testimony. In the end, you have to decide what is better - and all we can do is offer our own experiences and thoughts.
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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