Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

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DarkJedi
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Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Jun 2015, 17:09

We recently had a leadership council style discussion on dealing with those who are struggling or those who might be in faith crisis. Here are some of the bullet points of the discussion (which I thought was very good considering the number of orthodox leaders present):

Be a friend
“I don’t know why” is acceptable
Listen, don't argue or tell them they're wrong
Don’t try to solve the problem
Don’t judge
Focus on the core, foundational doctrines of the Gospel
Prayerfully read Pres. Uchtdorf’s October 2013 General Conference Talk “Come, Join With Us.”
Units could consider how to promote non-judgmental responses in class, quorums, and interviews
Express sympathy – “I’m sorry this is happening to you”
Ensure that individuals feel needed/wanted
Help people feel comfortable expressing questions and doubts
Encourage a culture that understands that questions are normal and part of building faith
People can fall away when they stop feeling that they belong; help them feel that they belong
Recognize that all phases of building faith are important: desire to believe, hope, and know (see Alma 32; see also “Tasting the Light” by Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Young Adult Worldwide Devotional, May 3, 2015)
Help foster a culture devoid of judgment
Embrace those who are struggling with doubts; they belong
Ensure that we teach and focus on the core doctrines in all our meetings avoiding teaching culture and life’s antidotes over gospel principles and testimony
Help individuals put what they don’t know in context of what they do know
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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Old-Timer
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by Old-Timer » 28 Jun 2015, 17:11

Excellent.
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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LookingHard
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by LookingHard » 28 Jun 2015, 17:53

Glad to hear. I just had a good lesson given in my priesthood class talking about how when people ask questions we should be careful to worry more about not offending them (making them feel they are not welcome) than making sure we correct their (allegedly) incorrect statement. It was good. I saw several members tell the teacher they liked the lesson. A good day today.

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mom3
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by mom3 » 28 Jun 2015, 18:23

DJ - Your little corner of the world gives me hope.
"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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SilentDawning
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by SilentDawning » 28 Jun 2015, 18:50

Help them find ways of being involved, and serving, that don't make them confront their doubts or require them to be inauthentic in their beliefs. That is a big one for me. It will help them feel part of the community, without necessarily having the same belief system.
"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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mom3
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by mom3 » 28 Jun 2015, 19:09

SD - That is a great one.
"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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Gerald
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by Gerald » 29 Jun 2015, 04:36

I like these suggestions. I was sitting in Church yesterday thinking about my ward and the range of beliefs that must be present. And yet, even with those varying degrees of commitment and faith, we can still sit together and worship...each in our own way. I look forward to the day when such differences can be openly acknowledged, discussed, and even supported (as appropriate). Discussions like the one DJ describes are a step in the right direction.
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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DarkJedi
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by DarkJedi » 29 Jun 2015, 05:52

I don't foresee another council discussion like this in the near future, but if we have one I'll bring that up, SD. Some of these were my own input - I'm sure you all picked out Uchtdorf! ;)

Gerald someone did mention that there were probably far more that don't believe everything than we know and that they probably keep it to themselves. It didn't make it into the notes.
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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amateurparent
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by amateurparent » 29 Jun 2015, 06:33

Reading this just made me do a Happy Dance
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

NonTraditionalMom
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Re: Council discussion about dealing with those struggling

Post by NonTraditionalMom » 29 Jun 2015, 14:12

I think these are absolutely excellent ideas. I guess I am just struggling with the disconnect that comes between talk and action. If these notes were given in my ward council, I don't think anyone would disagree. When it comes to actually not judging, actually not trying to solve the problem, actually allowing a place for those with struggles and doubts... I'm not quite as optimistic. Then again, maybe that's me being judgmental.

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