I need to come clean

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Kipper
Posts: 292
Joined: 27 Aug 2012, 07:45

I need to come clean

Post by Kipper » 14 Jun 2019, 13:47

I need to have a conversation with my bishop about my situation. I'm using my writing skills to open up dialog because I lack verbal skills to articulate my thoughts and feelings. I'm not sure I'm going to describe it as a faith crises. My initial opening is about my appreciation for serving in the Bishopric as Ward Clerk and acknowledging that I don't make the useful contributions that I used to, not for lack of trying but things just don't come out right anymore.

August will be 5 years in this calling. I don't know what to expect next but I can't think of anything I would be willing to take on. I can't even agree to give a talk because I feel most of it wouldn't be sincere.

If you look up my history this has been going on for many years. I have been in agony most of the time and my status and relationships within the ward have fallen to an all time low. I need to come clean and describe that I have issues with the church and have been cut deeply. I'm going to describe where the issues started and why I am still in such a state I'm in. I will not bring up anyone in particular or resort to any animosity to anyone, I know they all do what they think is best and what they think they are inspired to do.

I'm just looking for things I should be concerned about or encouraged to say. I would be glad to provide details but I didn't want to write my story here. I feel as if I need to deconstruct my whole foundation and rebuild it again carefully and with my own hands. I'm short on time right now which is probably a good thing so I will check back later for any advice.

Thanks, I lean on this group a lot. The essay “How to Stay in the LDS Church After a Major Trial to Your Faith” by Brian Jonston was very helpful although it took me weeks to get through it. ;)

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mom3
Posts: 4077
Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: I need to come clean

Post by mom3 » 14 Jun 2019, 14:56

I don't know your Bishop or ward. I would suggest starting with the Gospel Topic Essays. It's safe for both parties. Tread in with that. Brush up on your reading of them. Then share them as a source of concern. You don't have to go beyond that.

As callings go, there are plenty of people who don't have callings anymore. You can go under the radar and not be outcast.

Start slow and small.

Keep us posted.
"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

Minyan Man
Posts: 1999
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: I need to come clean

Post by Minyan Man » 14 Jun 2019, 15:04

BE CAREFUL. Don't say anything you can't take back.
Don't you have a sympathetic ear in your Ward you can talk to?
I think I would start there before going to my Bishop.

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

Re: I need to come clean

Post by Roy » 14 Jun 2019, 16:16

I look at these conversations with the end goal in mind. What do I want to achieve? If the meeting is tithing settlement then I go in with a plan to declare my status and minimize issues for everyone. If the meeting is a TR interview then I should know beforehand how I am going to answer the questions in order to receive the TR (also some idea of how I will respond if the bishop does not want to grant one). More recently I have been meeting with the bishop with my children for their advancements (now that parents are allowed to attend).

In each of these meetings I have a purpose and a goal. I always have additional goals to keep my options open and to not raise any red flags that might be interpreted as a potential threat to the bishop.

Towards these goals when asked I will attempt to frame my belief as hope, or faith, or even a desire to believe. I also present it as a work in progress. This allows for growth and positive movement - even if only faltering.

But my goals are generally to stay off the bishop's radar and I am not sure that is your purpose. It sounds like you may need to unload or have a "come to Jesus" talk. When I talk to the bishop I hope to reveal just enough to avoid having to meet with the bishop again for the next six months to a year. I deduce that maybe the inauthenticity of being an unorthodox member is driving you crazy and you wish to go in and "come out of the closet" so to speak. Am I off base here or is this what you are looking for?
"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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hawkgrrrl
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Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: I need to come clean

Post by hawkgrrrl » 14 Jun 2019, 17:15

Sometimes it feels like people are trying to make a return at a store they know doesn't take returns for pants they have worn for years that are ill-fitting or unflattering. I'm just not sure what the store clerk can reasonably be expected to do in this situation.

Kipper
Posts: 292
Joined: 27 Aug 2012, 07:45

Re: I need to come clean

Post by Kipper » 14 Jun 2019, 18:35

Roy wrote:
14 Jun 2019, 16:16
...It sounds like you may need to unload or have a "come to Jesus" talk. When I talk to the bishop I hope to reveal just enough to avoid having to meet with the bishop again for the next six months to a year. I deduce that maybe the inauthenticity of being an unorthodox member is driving you crazy and you wish to go in and "come out of the closet" so to speak. Am I off base here or is this what you are looking for?
This is pretty close Roy, I am being an underachiever and I don't like it. I have to go again, more later. Thanks so far everyone.

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SilentDawning
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Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: I need to come clean

Post by SilentDawning » 14 Jun 2019, 19:16

It sounds like it's the tension between what people are expecting of you, and what you are/believe that bothers you. Am I correct?

To solve this, I would first assess what my immediate family wants/expects of me -- hold a TR? Be active in the ward? Go to church every week? Be a good example to kids if any? What is your answer to this question, below, then?

1. What are the expectations of your immediate family members? Your extended family?

If you can approach this situation without having to consider how a change in your church relationship would affect them, I would then determine what you want in this situation...

For me, it was simply happiness and inner peace.

So, the second question is:

2. What do you think would bring you the most peace and happiness if you were to change your relationship with the church?

For me it was:
a) gain control of my financial contributions to the church (the amount I pay)
b) get rid of the numbing monotony, chair setting up and moving people
c) put my time in places I found interesting, not required out of duty in the church
d) never be in a position where I needed out of a calling and had to wait for a release.

I would NOT share your doubts with the church leaders. That will only box you into a corner. If there is no need to talk to them, then don't. They are bound by the church party-line on most issues. Even if a Bishop agreed with you regarding doubt, he can't say it! He isn't a trained counselor of any kind, so he'll be shooting from the hip anyway. I find they lack utility.

BUT your Bishop most certainly can shut you out of things you might want to be part of -- ordinances, for one, or even a return to full activity and belief should you decide to, some day. So, there is no point to talking to local leaders. It might feel cool to talk and be open before the appointment and in the meeting, but then you have to live with it until he's released or you move.

And most of the hard conversations I had with Bishops ended up on the desk of Stake Presidents. I even had one stake president say in a talk "if you have problems with tithing or the Ward welfare program then you can't have the celestial kingdom". These were two things that I had finally shared with my Bishop after a couple years of cat and mouse annual meetings. I find it hard to believe that the very two things I'd shared a month or two previously with my Bishop came out of the SP's mouth over the pulpit in conference.

So, I would keep all the doubts and problems and naked truth to yourself. Post it here online. You will most certainly get a supportive response in most cases. And it will protect you from face to face consequences.

For me, talking here is enough. The local people really don't matter -- what matters is your personal happiness. Decide what will make you happy while considering the impact on family relationships. Then do that, carefully, so as not to destroy any options to get active again, participate in ordinances, etcetera.

If that means resigning from a calling, so be it. Do what you need to do to be happy, and then let the church adjust. Don't feel you're held hostage by the church. There is very little they can do if you just sort of fade back a bit from what they expect. In the end, you are a volunteer. Keep your options open, do what you need to feel happy, and share as little as possible with local 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

Kipper
Posts: 292
Joined: 27 Aug 2012, 07:45

Re: I need to come clean

Post by Kipper » 15 Jun 2019, 00:24

SilentDawning wrote:
14 Jun 2019, 19:16
It sounds like it's the tension between what people are expecting of you, and what you are/believe that bothers you. Am I correct?
Not exactly SD. Well, kind of but it is past tense. My beliefs are not the obstacle, I'll never deny the witnesses I have had but I am asked to deny my own personal revelation. I was given, and accepted a calling knowing that I was in the middle of reconciling some of my past mistakes in life (it was time) the best I could by completing my degree, not for bragging rights but to give me stability at the end of my career and also open up new opportunities. Neither of those things happened. I was compelled to believe that you don't turn down a calling and this one was important. They just weren't going to hear me and understand my needs. I live with my past mistakes now instead of my accomplishments. My unemployment and financial outlook is pretty bad. The straw that is breaking my emotional back is that I can't provide financial assistance to my son for a trade school he needs to start his career and provide for his young family. Details aren't important here but we haven't found a solution for that yet and if we don't I'll have a hard time living with that. This has changed the trajectory of my life path and continues to be problematic.

I can't continue to pretend as if this didn't happen and everything is moving along happily. I'm not happy with what took place and I am not going to keep this inside for the rest of my days. I will explain that as amicably as I possibly can. If I could leave it would be liberating but the consequences are to great. In a way I'm letting people down by my substandard participation and contributions and they deserve to know why. It's not just a matter of getting it off my chest, it has to do with being honest and looking for some honesty in return. I don't know what to expect or what my explanation will turn into but either way I am going to be truthful. I'm not sure I will receive the same.

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: I need to come clean

Post by DarkJedi » 15 Jun 2019, 04:24

First I agree totally with what Minyan Man said. Don't say anything so concrete that you can't take it back or clarify what you meant. I don't know your bishop, there are some really loving and understanding guys out there and there are some who are totally the opposite and there's everything in between.

You last post was most helpful for me understanding. I get it, it's not so much different than what happened to me. I also get the part you said earlier about needing to rebuild from the ground up. That's essentially what I did, using a similar analogy. Part of what I think needs to happen for you is that you need to come to an understanding of who/what God really is and what God really does and doesn't do. God doesn't find lost car keys, he doesn't find jobs for people, God doesn't physically/temporally bless or punish people. Basically, the common LDS teachings about God are all wrong. Now that I've said that, I can't tell you what God really is because you have to figure that out for yourself and that's going to become your new foundation. My best recommendation in that regard is the book "The Christ Who Heals."

Sitting in the bishopric you must see that the old teaching of don't turn down a calling is quickly on the way out. I know there are still some authoritarian rulers out there who continue to guilt and shame people, but don't fall for their Jedi mind tricks. Even in my position of readily turning down callings (I don't know what I'm going to do next either, there are few callings I'd accept) I was surprised at how many people do turn down callings here. I'm certainly not one to judge them, I mostly think to myself "good for them." Also sitting in the bishopric you must have learned that not only are all callings not inspired but almost none of them are.

in the end just be careful - the warnings others have given are real. Were it me I'd probably just say something like "It's been 5 years and I need to do something different. Thanks for all the fish."
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

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

Re: I need to come clean

Post by SilentDawning » 15 Jun 2019, 06:35

I don't feel that I fully understand the issues clearly in this case. You would like out of your calling, but there are also issues with past mistakes, career development, and supporting your family. You would like to talk to local leaders, but we all know that is a dead end, potentially harmful to your situation, and not advised....but I am not sure how it all ties together....if you care to explain it more clearly, that might help with giving an informed opinion.
"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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