A Question to the Administrators & members

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
Minyan Man
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A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by Minyan Man » 13 Mar 2022, 13:40

I don't participate on many web sites. This is the only one that deals with issues regarding the church that I follow.
And over the years this site has been a BIG help for me to navigate through my spiritual wreckage & come to terms
with my God & the church.

This is some general questions for the Administrators & followers of this site:
Where do you see this platform going?

Is there a natural life to sites like this one?

What has covid done to limit the reduced actively?

Do you see it coming back?

I'm just curious what your thoughts are.

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nibbler
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by nibbler » 13 Mar 2022, 19:42

Minyan Man wrote:
13 Mar 2022, 13:40
Is there a natural life to sites like this one?
These days I see a lot of the support like the kind this site offers(ed) occurring on other social media platforms and even in wider public discourse. In the past these conversations were relegated to small, private, anonymous groups. Now that more and more members personally know someone that has been through a similar journey and now that there's less stigma associated with the journey, people are finding support in different ways than they have in the past.
Minyan Man wrote:
13 Mar 2022, 13:40
What has covid done to limit the reduced actively?
There's the theory that with less church due to covid, there's less need for support. I think that the change in delivery method that people use to get support started well before covid.

There could be something to the theory though. I haven't been to in-person church in just over two years now, though I did "attend" all the online offerings while our ward still did them. I didn't need as much support during the covid years because it's far easier to simply log off a streamed meeting than it is to get up and walk out of an in-person meeting. That and to be honest, it's much easier to find alternatives to distract me from online meetings vs. finding distractions during in-person meetings. That's to say that I'm hearing less.
Minyan Man wrote:
13 Mar 2022, 13:40
Where do you see this platform going?

Do you see it coming back?
There certainly hasn't been a shortage of topics to talk about over the last few years. Issues at church are occurring all the time, it's just that no one is currently taking the initiative to create a topic about the issues. Myself included.

Online meetings have ended now and I still haven't gone back to in-person meetings (our area is still a covid transmission hot spot). Even once covid cases go down I think I'll struggle rekindling a desire to go back. A lot of what keeps me from going back are political differences, which are hard to discuss here.

These days I'm finding that it has been getting harder and harder to get my pulse up enough to post on any church related topic. Sure, there's lots going on, but posting about it would feel a little forced.
You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you lose weight.

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DarkJedi
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Mar 2022, 06:17

We have not ever had any "high level" talks about the status or future of the site. Those of us who are actively moderating more or less randomly check in. I check in most days at least once, often more, and I do skip a day here and there and I don't usually check in if I'm travelling.

I agree with Nibbler's overall assessment. I think people were less annoyed during COVID because we weren't going and sitting in meetings. And there is a general more "openness" regarding people who struggle these days (even though there can still be some judgement as well). Frankly I think some people after not having church for months just recognized how little it really meant for them. On the other hand I think there are also those who really missed it and do feel as though they need it. Of those two groups I'm in the former. I think there are others who fall in between (maybe feel they need the sacrament or the socialization) and those who come out of a sense of duty or fear.

Similar to Nibbler, I was doing Zoom church while my ward was doing it and even went a few weeks after they stopped until I didn't feel as though they really had my COVID safety in mind. I have not been back, and I'm not sure when I will be. FWIW, my ward did have a church related COVID outbreak during this time when I haven't been going.

Also similar to Nibbler, I haven't been one to start new threads very often recently. That's partly out of apathy because I don't really have the energy and partly because sometimes I feel like I have overabundantly posted sometimes and I don't want the board to appear to be dominated by the mods or our (my) opinions. I sometimes don't respond to posts for the same reason, particularly if I have already responded once.
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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AmyJ
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by AmyJ » 14 Mar 2022, 08:37

GENERAL EXPERIENCE
"Where do you see this platform going"? & "Is there a natural life to sites like this one?"

This platform was a lifeline because it was the first place that tried to reconcile the teachings of the church with my lived experience in identifying the unwritten social rules and the processes to use to set boundaries between the church and myself. It helped answer the "And then what" questions.

While I don't travel around the internet much looking for similar sites, I haven't found any. That being said, there are other sites that have expanded their offerings to overlap with topics commonly found on this site. I would hope that the content on this site at least stays archived so that others can stumble across it as "wisdom from past experiences" as it were, at a minimum. But I honestly don't know the future of this platform.

"What has COVID done?" and "Do you see this site coming back"?
I think that the break from church induced by COVID was a natural point for people to step away and not come back (like me) without talking about it.
I also think that COVID changed the unofficial cost-benefit analysis that we do in a profound way. Society has spent 2+ years now with each of us viewing each individual we came in contact with as a germ vector. What we get out of any activity has to be beneficial enough to overcome that newly weighted variable (the political fallout from masking/vaccines, Trump, and any other decision amplified that risk considerably - we don't want to be with people we perceive as being "on the other side" of that camp whatever that looks like). But we don't want to be with hordes of individuals who are going to get us sick - but it changes the organizational landscape if enough of "us" aren't showing up anymore for valid reasons.

I think that rolling out "Come Follow Me" was an unexpected message that the "home-centered, church-supported" model was a viable model - so if the individuals in a home felt that their "home-centered" religious/ethical discussions were "enough", they aren't coming back to an inferior (in a subjective way) "mutually important and interlocked home and church model" that required more of them with less reward.

The "mutually important and interlocked home and church model" wasn't sustainable from an human resources standpoint - the very specific meaning of what constituted a "home" was more exclusive then inclusive, the "church culture" activities died off, and the unpaid "youth programs" (and seminary) already had to compete with (and came up short against) the school, work, and other (professionally run to a variety of degrees) activities and organizations - and the split with the Boy Scouts accelerated that.

I think that within a year, the church leadership will make some specific, verbal changes that will drive people back to this site (or a site like it) for a while. I have a variety of opinions on what those efforts will look like, but I am too biased in that regard to write them properly.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE:
I think for me, there have been a lot of depressing topics related to the church recently, that I haven't had the heart to write about.

For me, it is clear enough that there are female branch members are happy enough to see me/nice if I encounter them (I attended the R.S. Christmas activity) and I still have some friends/acquaintances there - but they don't seek my friendship deliberately (which is what this site taught me to expect). The women in the church keep me in the loop while respecting my boundaries, but the men in the church have not bothered with us in a long time. We haven't "belonged" in a very long time - and this COVID era showed me that.

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nibbler
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by nibbler » 14 Mar 2022, 08:51

DarkJedi wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 06:17
... until I didn't feel as though they really had my COVID safety in mind. I have not been back, and I'm not sure when I will be. ...
I'm in a similar boat. It's easier to criticize than to come up with a plan but my stake eliminated online offerings the same day they did away with every single covid safety protocol they had in place.

I'm assuming that the people that were still watching online were doing so because they didn't feel safe enough to attend in person. Dropping all safety protocols will make the in-person holdouts less likely to return but the also eliminated online offerings at the same time. They've given the holdouts a tough choice, return to church before they may feel safe to do so or forego church altogether.

If they're really itching to eliminate online offerings to incentivize people to come back to church, they should have kept safety protocols in place for a little longer and done things to help the holdouts feel safer in their transition back. Instead they got a lecture on not judging from someone flexing their authority.
You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you lose weight.

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nibbler
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by nibbler » 14 Mar 2022, 09:24

AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
(the political fallout from masking/vaccines, Trump, and any other decision amplified that risk considerably - we don't want to be with people we perceive as being "on the other side" of that camp whatever that looks like)
It's easier to deal with people falling short of an ideal, we aren't perfect, falling short is expected. The last few years has brought a different issue to fore, what do you do when it's not about failing to live by an ideal and more to do with having a completely different set of ideals? In some cases the competing ideals are at odds.
AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
...the very specific meaning of what constituted a "home" was more exclusive then inclusive...
Very astute (and sad) observation.
AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
I think for me, there have been a lot of depressing topics related to the church recently, that I haven't had the heart to write about.
Very true. Muskets, Wilcoxes, adding exclamations and question marks, etc. :(

I'm similar to DJ in that posting has to overcome the inertia of apathy. I may try a little harder in the future to at least create a thread with the hotter issues. That hasn't really been done in a while.
You can’t run from all your problems, but it will help you lose weight.

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DarkJedi
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Mar 2022, 09:43

nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:51
DarkJedi wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 06:17
... until I didn't feel as though they really had my COVID safety in mind. I have not been back, and I'm not sure when I will be. ...
I'm in a similar boat. It's easier to criticize than to come up with a plan but my stake eliminated online offerings the same day they did away with every single covid safety protocol they had in place.

I'm assuming that the people that were still watching online were doing so because they didn't feel safe enough to attend in person. Dropping all safety protocols will make the in-person holdouts less likely to return but the also eliminated online offerings at the same time. They've given the holdouts a tough choice, return to church before they may feel safe to do so or forego church altogether.

If they're really itching to eliminate online offerings to incentivize people to come back to church, they should have kept safety protocols in place for a little longer and done things to help the holdouts feel safer in their transition back. Instead they got a lecture on not judging from someone flexing their authority.
I don't want to derail too much here, but in my ward they started not broadcasting last fall and announced a return to full meetings, with masks "required." Except if someone didn't wear a it was perfectly OK. I made it clear then that I was uncomfortable being a the chapel with people unmasked and singing but I would attend and sit in the foyer with my mask. I did this for a few Sundays until that one Sunday when the guy passing the sacrament in foyer was not wearing a mask. I did make my displeasure/concern known and basically got the response (from the bishop) "Oh, I didn't notice." Apparently it was a lot bigger deal to me than him and the message that he "didn't notice" was also a message he didn't care. In December/early January there was a COVID outbreak in our ward (I think from the Christmas party) that hospitalized two members and sickened most of the "active" members. Using my own (CDC recommended) precautions, I have remained COVID free these past two years and that is important to me because of my job (where there have also been outbreaks despite following the guidelines). More recently (within the past month) there has been an even bigger push to get butts in the seats. My current issue is that COVID is still a thing here while church has declared masks are not necessary. I won't go back until I feel safe there. (And no, I do not go to restaurants, theaters, or other places I consider risky either.)
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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DarkJedi
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by DarkJedi » 14 Mar 2022, 09:45

nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 09:24
AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
I think for me, there have been a lot of depressing topics related to the church recently, that I haven't had the heart to write about.
Very true. Muskets, Wilcoxes, adding exclamations and question marks, etc. :(

I'm similar to DJ in that posting has to overcome the inertia of apathy. I may try a little harder in the future to at least create a thread with the hotter issues. That hasn't really been done in a while.
Yeah, I could do better as well. I was sort of waiting for someone else to post about Wilcox - racism was only one aspect of what was wrong with that talk. And on top of that, it was a talk he has given repeatedly. Hearing him speak like that it was hard to believe it was that same guy who preaches "HIs grace is sufficient."
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

AmyJ
Posts: 1066
Joined: 27 Jul 2017, 05:50

Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by AmyJ » 14 Mar 2022, 10:30

nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 09:24
AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
(the political fallout from masking/vaccines, Trump, and any other decision amplified that risk considerably - we don't want to be with people we perceive as being "on the other side" of that camp whatever that looks like)
It's easier to deal with people falling short of an ideal, we aren't perfect, falling short is expected. The last few years has brought a different issue to fore, what do you do when it's not about failing to live by an ideal and more to do with having a completely different set of ideals? In some cases the competing ideals are at odds.
I think part of it is that we could more or less handwave the "falling short" as not life-ending (except for some of us in specific circumstances who couldn't) in our mental calculations.

I ran into the "competing ideals" with Activity Days. I was willing to run Zoom activities 1x a month for the girls - and I did what I could to make it fun and engaging and useful. But there was a constant push for "in person activities" and real world got in the way (my mother in law's funeral among other things) in terms of motivation and scheduling. The final straw was that we got a new branch president who wanted "a priesthood leader" at the activities (which were in the summertime with low COVID rates and I was thinking about running in-person activities because our risk was low) - and I couldn't sustain that. Beyond that, I got a "I get your point, this is inconvenient but" from the sisters leading the programs I was involved in. I can respect their position because they are in a different place then I am. It is an "inconvenience" for them. But for me, it would lead to fights to get my husband there, fights about attending church (I don't wanna put in the effort to get the family ready), and fights with my oldest who doesn't fit in church and as a budding agnostic/creationist deist theorist, doesn't see the point of being there, uncomfortable Sunday dress and all (it's all her - I actually had nothing to do with shaping her point of view aside from giving her technical terms and general basic religious theory).
nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 09:24
AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
...the very specific meaning of what constituted a "home" was more exclusive then inclusive...
Very astute (and sad) observation.
The longer it's been since I started the faith transition, the more I see how limiting the definition of the "ideal home" is now - and how the biggest champions don't realize the actual cost - they just see some of the systemic benefits and try to inspire the sisters (sell them to the women of the church) because the sisters run the church on the day-to-day stuff.
nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 09:24
AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
I think for me, there have been a lot of depressing topics related to the church recently, that I haven't had the heart to write about.
Very true. Muskets, Wilcoxes, adding exclamations and question marks, etc. :(
Yup. I would add that there has been a ton of COVID-induced systemic ruptures that have impacted families immensely and in some cases caused anxiety and/or grief that meets the criteria for actual trauma - that the church is addressing by saying, "Come back to church" (in some instances) without broadcasting what changes are being made or how the gospel is going to address this trauma [NOTE: I may be missing something specific in General Conference - if so, please let me know the article].
nibbler wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 09:24
I'm similar to DJ in that posting has to overcome the inertia of apathy. I may try a little harder in the future to at least create a thread with the hotter issues. That hasn't really been done in a while.
I am usually happy to put in my 2.6 cents (adjusted for inflation).

Roy
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Re: A Question to the Administrators & members

Post by Roy » 14 Mar 2022, 11:44

AmyJ wrote:
14 Mar 2022, 08:37
For me, it is clear enough that there are female branch members are happy enough to see me/nice if I encounter them (I attended the R.S. Christmas activity) and I still have some friends/acquaintances there - but they don't seek my friendship deliberately (which is what this site taught me to expect).
I remember having someone on my HT list (back when HT was a thing) that had felt hurt when they went inactive that it did not seem like their ward friends cared about her. In relaying this to the RS pres. she was a little offended by this sentiment because the RS pres. had personally reached out to this inactive woman. I think the disconnect is because the RS. pres. had reached out as a representative of the church and trying to get this person to come back to church but not as a friend and not really to see how she could maintain the friendship if this person wasn't coming to church anymore.

To be fair: 1) the RS pres. was a wonderful person and was legitimately bewildered at the inactive member's feelings and 2) it is probably asking quite a lot to expect that friendships that we might make through particular activities would continue after we no longer participate in those activities. We are all busy and friendships take investment. They are much easier to maintain when we are swimming the same directions and attending the same events.
"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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