Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Public forum, tell us about yourself and what brings you to StayLDS!
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SisterPeggy
Posts: 4
Joined: 03 Jan 2014, 01:41

Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by SisterPeggy » 03 Jan 2014, 10:52

I read over many, many stories last night as I just became aware of you website. I feel so relieved to find a place to seek whatever it is I need right now, I don't really know for sure yet. I feel like I am starting to experience a crisis of spirit, maybe not faith, but spirit - my spirit. I was born into the church and it has just always been what I do. And I love doing it. I am a church nerd - go to all the activities, always have, watch all sessions of conference, served a mission, married in the temple, go every single Sunday unless sick or on vacation - and even then sometimes we attend the local ward/branch where ever we are. When I was 15 I had an experience that left my heart and spirit full of the surety that God loves me, so I can always go to that place and feel happy again. I don’t “get” everything about the doctrine, but I cling to those things that bring joy and peace to my soul. I really, truly feel this is where I belong.

However, the older I get, it is just getting harder and harder and harder to exist in the cultural church environment. Many of the expected behaviors and norms make me want to pound my head into the wall. The other day I came home from church convinced that I should go get a large, visible tattoo, so that I could be a safe person for someone who doesn't fit the mold to approach. When I was in seminary, I remember memorizing the scripture about God not being a respecter of persons, but holy cow, our wards sure are! I struggle now because I feel that the church that I have clung to and loved all these years wants nothing to do with me. I am in my 40’s and have yet to be asked to do one thing for the Relief Society. And I have been in very uninspired, lonely, outskirts kinds-of callings for a long time now. Yet each week, I sit in church and watch my peers being singled out and admired and called to high-profile callings. I feel like that awkward person that nobody really knows what to do with when I go to church. I hate leaving church every single week wondering what the is wrong with me. My spirit is drained, my light dim and I feel really, really alone there.

I have pretty much abandoned prayer, other than to let Heavenly Father know how much I hate going to church and to ask Him to keep my kids safe. I don’t want to come across as a pathetic whiner. I am fairly happy and successful in all other aspects of my life, I love my work, I feel like I do some really cool things out in the world, I've got some weird and frustrating extended family dynamics (but who doesn't), I get involved with some amazing projects, I love my home life - husband - kids - pets, I love the people I come in contact with throughout the day, I am optimistic about whatever the future may hold.

So, is there a way to find peace where I feel so unwanted? I have a good dose of pride in me and find myself not wanting to be the little tag-a-long third wheel that everyone tolerates, because they have to. It hurts me to no end think that that is what I am to my congregation. I want to start calling out un-loving and politically inappropriate comments made in Sunday School, or get that tattoo, or wear pants to church (all for the wrong reasons - as you can tell), or even to just move to a new place, so then there would be a reason for me to feel so marginalized (and I won't get into how wrong my thinking is - nobody should be marginalized, ever ... it should NEVER be okay!!!!!!). But, I am guessing I need to work through this. I want to stay LDS and I hope to find friendship and fellowship here. And if I just need to be told to “snap outta it” (with a good hard slap across the face), that is fine, too. But I just feel like something needs to give, I shouldn't leave church each and every week feeling so much like a zero. People say we go to church to build us up to make it through the week - I am definitely go the other way. I build myself up during the week so I can survive another day of church. Help!!!!

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DarkJedi
Posts: 7316
Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by DarkJedi » 03 Jan 2014, 15:03

Welcome, I'm glad you found us, too. There is an eclectic group of people here, many of whom will relate to you and with whom you can relate. I don't have a ton to offer you other than the welcome. I have felt somewhat marginalized before and I have felt lonely at church n the past. Fortunately I didn't live int he ward where this happened for very long. I'm not sure where you live and if it is possible to go to another ward, but you might like to try that. Of course, you won't be called to anything while attending another ward unless you get the appropriate approval, but it could give you an idea of where you might like to move.
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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Haven
Posts: 60
Joined: 15 May 2013, 17:31

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by Haven » 03 Jan 2014, 21:13

Hi and welcome. I think you will find many people here who can help and understand. I have found the culture of the church to be the most difficult thing for me as well. There is doctrine too that I question but most of my frustration is with the culture and the shame I feel. The members of my ward are very nice but I leave feeling very much alone and like I’m invisible. I think I probably am fairly invisible because I’m a single woman in my 40’s and a convert. I don’t fit the mold at all. I’m still in the middle of my crisis/journey so my advice may not be very helpful but I’ll share what has helped me. I try to recognize that the church culture has little to do with God and I need to build a relationship with Him that’s not based on church. It has helped me to continue to pray and read the bible every day. I’ve talked with safe people about it and this has helped. I love the idea of getting a huge tattoo and piercing my ears and nose as well! :clap: It’s tempting! Hang in there, it gets better.

Ann
Posts: 2576
Joined: 09 Sep 2012, 02:17

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by Ann » 04 Jan 2014, 03:01

Hi, SisterPeggy - I don't have great advice, but I think you will find friendship and fellowship here. It's easy to brush off hypothetical hurt feelings or to minimize someone else's disappointment with the social aspect of LDS life, but it only takes a couple of miscommunications or exclusions from ward goings-on to remember how much they can sting. Less so as I get older, though.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

common twit
Posts: 37
Joined: 15 Aug 2011, 23:03
Location: Utah

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by common twit » 04 Jan 2014, 12:42

There are a lot of us just like you. Like you, i never missed church. I was so faithful. Then, i suddenly started to hate going. I basically quit going for a few years. I longed to belong again so i decided to go back. I thought it would be an amazing experience. It wasn't. I have been going again for four years now. It is still mostly negative, though.
Here are a few things that help me. First, I think of the atonement as helping me now and not so much when I die. What I mean by that is I call on the savior to ease my burden now. It works sometimes. Second, I try to find somebody to talk to each sunday. (Sometimes that disrupts sacrament meeting because i don't whisper). Ok I am kidding about that. Third, in classes i try to participate at least once. That is a hard one for me, though. And finally, the one that has helped me more than any is that if I get overwhelmed, I go home.
Just to let you know how we are similar, I'm an RM, married in the temple, raised mormon, never missed church, never missed paying tithing. I was so faithful it was sickening. I am 50 years old and I am still an elder. I am perfectly okay with that, though. It is just hard to relate to young fathers. They, like I was, are just so naive.
One last thing, i was lucky, i did not have to go the tattoo route. I am able to grow a beard. It is braided. You should see the glares on some people....hehe
I hope you can get something out of my ramblings.
Welcome and we are glad you are here.

church0333
Posts: 589
Joined: 26 Aug 2012, 17:41
Location: Springfield OR

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by church0333 » 05 Jan 2014, 07:22

Welcome and please know that many of us can relate. I was released a few months ago from a calling in the stake and right now I am so glad I have a little calling. I am a ward welfare specialist and get to work with those on the outside of your "normal" people in the ward. My goal is to just show them that someone cares. I approach it with as much nonjudgmental as I can and sometimes I can help and sometimes not. You don't need a tattoo to reach out to those who need your love and friendship but I will admit that it might help them to identify you. I like the idea of we wearing pants to church if you are female. I haven't dumped the white shirts yet but I am thinking about it. In fact today might be the day. I look forward to hearing more from you.

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nibbler
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Joined: 14 Nov 2013, 07:34
Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by nibbler » 05 Jan 2014, 18:39

SisterPeggy wrote:People say we go to church to build us up to make it through the week - I am definitely go the other way. I build myself up during the week so I can survive another day of church. Help!!!!
I feel the same way... in fact I may go off my nut and create a thread about that one day.
SisterPeggy wrote:I remember memorizing the scripture about God not being a respecter of persons, but holy cow, our wards sure are!
I think everyone is, not just us church members. I think of those moments where a BP or SP is either asked to give comments in a class or they simply volunteer a comment. Their comments are often held with a higher regard than comments from the general membership. I don't think the leaders intend this to be the case, I think more often than not it's the members that look toward their leaders and give more weight to their comments. So it's: These are inspired people, surely what they have to say will be deep. Others don't get that same benefit when making comments in lessons.

Human nature. If a celeb showed up to a secular social engagement people would naturally gravitate toward them. The right celeb shows up, they'd even gush all over them.

Sometimes I fear that I exhibit behavior on the opposite end of the spectrum... disrespecter of persons? :oops: What I mean by that is that I don't make any effort to glad hand a visiting SP (or other church "bigwig") because it feels like half of the time people are just doing it to get face time. At times I'll go to that extreme and ignore the visiting SP, which isn't very christlike. I'm sure it's all wrapped up in my perception of both my motives and the motives of others. Social interactions are the art that my personality desperately wants to pigeonhole into a science. I tend to think too much sometimes.
SisterPeggy wrote:I want to start calling out un-loving and politically inappropriate comments made in Sunday School, or get that tattoo, or wear pants to church (all for the wrong reasons - as you can tell)
If you want to do those things... go for it, but make sure it's for the right reasons, because you want to do it. I joined the church at the extreme tail end of my teens. I like to think I pushed the envelope back then, crazy haircuts, dyed hair, etc. but it didn't affect my social interactions in the church all that much - maybe some of the older guys looked at me and shook their heads but I was too much in my world to notice them at the time. Then again I was a convert, the friendliness may have been an attempt to rehab me or something. ;)

Edit: Point being... you get a tattoo, it doesn't have the effect you think it will, you still have that tattoo. BTW, I carried my share of convert baggage into the first few years of being a member but a tattoo was a line I decided I'd NEVER cross, even before becoming a member. I wanted my body to be 100% "pure." It's funny how at one stage of my faith crisis I thought it would be cool to get a very specific tattoo of something that symbolized my faith crisis to a tee. It was a perfect symbol for the change that had been wrought in me and it fit me in many other ways as well... and I mean perfectly. It even meshed with my continued activity in the church despite reservations... did I mention it was the perfect tattoo yet? :D I was surprised that the thought even occurred to me, church aside tattoos were taboo even in my own personally guarded list of things I do and things I don't do. I never got the tattoo and I don't have plans on getting it. If anything, both joining the church, later losing faith in the church, and later still finding a way to continue in church taught me that nothing in life is permanent so I decided to carry that symbol upon my earthen vessel - nothing permanent. Maybe a temporary tattoo? 8-)
SisterPeggy wrote: I want to stay LDS and I hope to find friendship and fellowship here.
I'm finding that this website is filling the gaps with respect to the social interactions that I don't feel like I can attain at my local church. I hope you can find that here as well. Welcome.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

ilovecoldplay
Posts: 6
Joined: 20 Sep 2009, 11:39

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by ilovecoldplay » 05 Jan 2014, 21:54

I can kind of understand how you feel with the callings. I finally got my first calling and the first lady would not let me help or do my calling at all! Then she is released and someone new comes in. I was happy I finally got to do my calling for a while but then the Relief Society took part of it away (mail route) and told me she didn't have any one for me to mail and then posted my mail route 2 months later on Facebook! She asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to do the mail route. Looking back I wish I said something but I never did. I don't know why I didn't say anything. Then the person above me was released and someone new got put in and she calls me and tells me she is having a meeting at her house and making changes to VT. Then I find out she got rid of my calling and many others to do all the phone calls or reporting herself. So then I am sad because I really want to do my calling and help so I go to the bishop and tell him I don't know what's going on but maybe you should release me because I haven't been able to do anything in my calling for a long time. ( OH yeah I forgot to mention that the new lady said she wanted to keep me around to do stuff for her possibly in the future.. In my head I think dirty work or stuff she doesn't want to do)
So then the bishop says let me find out what is going on and I will get back to you and we can talk soon. Next week I go to church and he says your released from your calling with a smile. I was not very happy because I really just wanted to help. Also, the lady above me wasn't really doing her calling but kinda told me I couldn't do mine. Basically instead of myself calling to get reports about visiting teaching, everyone just calls her to report I guess.

I also feel angry because my husband at the same time has not one but two callings and doesn't do them at all! I don't understand why some people who don't want and have no intention of doing callings get them and people that want them and want to help can't.

I finally just prayed to God and told him to let me know what my calling is and who or what I need to focus on right now in my life. I am not sure I want to serve people that care less about me anyway or don't really want my help. It just doesn't feel good. So instead I am thinking about volunteering at CR or Celebrate Recovery that is kind of like a church service on a different day of the week that is not mormon. It feels good to serve where I am wanted and where I can even volunteer to help where I think I can help or do good helping.

Also, I have never wanted to get a tattoo too much but I have had the biggest urge to pop open a can of coke or soda in the middle of a talk about reverence BIG TIME! I mean some times they just go way over board and the RS pres once said that it's wrong if we don't curl our hair and wear panty hose every week. She also said it's wrong to talk to people between or in meetings at church because it's not reverent. I think if she were bishop she wouldn't even let people that didn't meet her expectations in the building. She even said she was too embarrassed to sit by her daughter once because her hair was not curled.

Maybe you can try to not care about the other people there and just try to enjoy the 3 hours your there. Bring a book and read or maybe you can plan your week and set goals. I am not sure though because I struggle with the same thing as you.

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SisterPeggy
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Joined: 03 Jan 2014, 01:41

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by SisterPeggy » 05 Jan 2014, 22:07

Thanks for good thoughts shared here ... I think nibbler hit the nail on the head here: "I'm finding that this website is filling the gaps with respect to the social interactions that I don't feel like I can attain at my local church. I hope you can find that here as well. Welcome."

(I haven't figured out all the mechanics of this forum yet - working on it!!!)

Thank you all for adding a little wisdom and support into the pot ... at church today I played with a toy I brought for my kids ... it seemed to help!!! :lol: but I will try suggestions here and give it another go! Thank you!!!

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GodisLove
Posts: 114
Joined: 09 Apr 2013, 11:02

Re: Looking for Support, Glad I found you

Post by GodisLove » 06 Jan 2014, 14:40

I want to start calling out un-loving and politically inappropriate comments made in Sunday School, or get that tattoo, or wear pants to church (all for the wrong reasons - as you can tell), or even to just move to a new place, so then there would be a reason for me to feel so marginalized
Sit by me. Then I can just say it under my breath or we could even just look at each other and get it.

Welcome Sister Hill! This is a great place to feel understood or to read about issues and get the insight and articulation you were lacking before.
Not one Sparrow is forgotten
E'en the raven God will feed
And the lily of the valley
From His bounty hath its need

Then shall I not trust Thee, Father
In Thy mercy have a share?
And through faith and prayer, my Mother
Merit Thy protecting care?
Shaker Hymnal 1908

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