When F&T goes wrong

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SamBee
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When F&T goes wrong

Post by SamBee » 10 Mar 2021, 08:55

I was watching a couple of F&T online. It's always interesting to hear people you've never heard before.

There is one - in a ward I've never been to - which includes a guy ranting about his divorce and how his family wasn't accepted. Now I understand why someone would be very hurt and upset, but I don't think the pulpit is the place to air such grievances. He eventually gets told to cut it short.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

Minyan Man
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by Minyan Man » 10 Mar 2021, 09:18

I've seen situations like this before. The message that comes across is: these are damaged & hurt individuals.
My conclusion is: they have no one to talk to & they think this is an appropriate venue to talk about it.
IMO this is a desperate cry for help.

My hope in cases like this that someone after the meeting will take them aside & say: I've been where you are.
This is how I got through it. If you would like to talk further, give me a call or come over to my house.
It is going to be difficult during this pandemic maybe.

The worse F&T meetings for me are the ones where they testify about God helping them find their car keys before
the meeting. No one tells them to cut it short.

Roy
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by Roy » 10 Mar 2021, 17:47

Testimony meetings have a long history in the church. It can certainly be a mixed bag of good, bad, and unexpected. I like to hear testimonies that are non-traditional and help me feel like I come to know the speaker a little more. I suppose I appreciate a sense of kinship and community with my ward "family".

I have an old friend that recently confessed that she has severe anxiety before F&T meetings. The perceived expectation that she might get up and speak is crippling to her and she takes anti-anxiety medication to get through it. I tried to help her give herself permission to skip these meetings. It is just one hour a month. She can exercise self care by sitting out this meeting and be a stronger and more productive community member in the process.
"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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SamBee
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by SamBee » 11 Mar 2021, 02:57

Minyan Man wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 09:18
I've seen situations like this before. The message that comes across is: these are damaged & hurt individuals.
My conclusion is: they have no one to talk to & they think this is an appropriate venue to talk about it.
IMO this is a desperate cry for help.
It's a matter of balance I guess. My friend is active in ARP and AA, and when he gives his testimony he often mentions his experiences in recovery. However, how he does it is positive, and he has been able to help many people both in and out of the church with addiction issues.

Divorce is, unfortunately, a common issue. I'm glad I've not been in an F&T where it's come up. I do have another friend who is semi-active who is currently going through one (delayed thanks to Covid). He often claims he has been abandoned by the church but that is not true. The current bishop (before he was called) helped him get to see his kids, the ward has helped repaint etc his apartment, and several people have met up with him and spoken to him about his troubles on numerous occasions. Yet he still complains, but thankfully not from the pulpit. His soon to be ex-wife lives in another stake, so it's not like our ward or stake leadership can do much and I've had to tell him there is little else the church can do - there is no adultery involved.

We get a lot of visitors when we aren't all under house arrest (like just now)... One of our common F&T is where someone uses their testimony introducing themselves, "I'm from Anyville, Utah/Idaho/California/Alberta etc", and we will never see them again after they exit the building. Sometimes when someone dies, people will stand up and give their testimony of the person who just passed over - I don't have a huge problem with that. The "Father" of our ward died late last year and we all loved him, so it was genuinely nice to hear tributes. None of us could attend due to restrictions bar his closest family, so people have paid trubute over Zoom.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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DarkJedi
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by DarkJedi » 11 Mar 2021, 08:21

You made me chuckle, Sam. Divorce did come up in out last F&TM. The guy testified about how awful his first wife was and how wonderful this one is.

In my orthodox days I used to love F&TM. They were mostly my favorites. I mostly dread them now. They can be very different in different places. Sometimes we have very good Christ centered ones (we did recently have one where every testimony was Christ centered). Usually it's a much more mixed bag and sometimes we get no Christ centered ones. The guy that talked about his first wife gets up almost every time and never really talks about Christ. There's an old lady who writes hers down and reads because she can't remember - but it's always very similar - "I know the church is true, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, I know Russell Nelson is a prophet...." There's the guy (and his wife, they both get up) who always talk about how much better our church is than other churches and they believe this or that while we know better. And the lady who always talks about how wonderful her kids are (they're actually nasty brats). An old lady always gets up (and needs help walking up there) and talks about how her adult children believe, but none of them have been to church in 30 years and their kids (her grands) aren't actually members (she also did the work for her long dead non-member husband and even though he rejected the church for 40+ years while married to her she's positive he accepted the work). Then there's the Latina with a thick accent who goes on for 10 minutes minimum and most of us don't understand what she said (from what I've figured out that's a good thing because apparently it's mostly scolding). The rest are random.

I guess my question is when does it go right?
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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Arrakeen
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by Arrakeen » 11 Mar 2021, 11:50

As a missionary I always dreaded Fast and Testimony Meeting. You just knew someone would get up and say things that would offend your investigators and they would never want to come back. Like when someone rails about modesty while you have investigators there dressed as most normal non-church members do... yeah we did not appreciate those kinds of "testimonies".

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nibbler
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by nibbler » 11 Mar 2021, 16:21

Minyan Man wrote:
10 Mar 2021, 09:18
I've seen situations like this before. The message that comes across is: these are damaged & hurt individuals.
My conclusion is: they have no one to talk to & they think this is an appropriate venue to talk about it.
IMO this is a desperate cry for help.
This is similar to where I land. I think many of the regulars wouldn't be as regular if they had a few good friends to talk to, F&T can be like having a captive audience.

I struggle to come up with an example of a good testimony, so it can be a struggle to come up with an example of a bad one (unless they're screaming or something).

It probably comes down to what's good for the testimony bearer. I don't get much out of it, but the person recounting their week over the pulpit must be getting something out of it, if nothing more than an ear or two.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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SamBee
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by SamBee » 12 Mar 2021, 16:52

I'd better put in a positive word here... F&T is our spiritual potluck dinner - sometimes it's all lasagna, sometimes all quiche etc, but the positive thing is that it is possibly one of the few democratic parts of our church. Brigham Young once said the most moving testimony he ever heard was by a man with little education and halting speech. I can totally get that. But I feel guilty about laughing at the guy who talked about his testimony of the "Church of Mormon"... A bit cruel of me, I know. Our current President would not approve.

My ward's F&T has changed a lot over the past twenty years. Back in the nineties, there were a lot of the "I know" testimonies, basically the same string of phrases strung together, and it did nothing for me. We also had lots of small children on the pulpit - I don't miss that either. Most of those kids have moved on in more ways than one - some literally don't live here anymore, others are inactive etc. It used to be a lot drier.

The other thing that bugged me was that people used to talk about the temple all the time... This was before I'd even been into the baptistry. I mean they talked around the subject of the temple, rarely giving any details, which was frustrating.

When F&T is on at some chapel I'm visiting well away from my home ward, I'm always tempted to get up and say something really off the wall. I've never done so yet.
DarkJedi wrote:
11 Mar 2021, 08:21
(she also did the work for her long dead non-member husband and even though he rejected the church for 40+ years while married to her she's positive he accepted the work). Then there's the Latina with a thick accent who goes on for 10 minutes minimum and most of us don't understand what she said (from what I've figured out that's a good thing because apparently it's mostly scolding).
We have an inactive Romanian member like that. He is very hard to understand, but complains no one speaks to him. No one dislikes him, it's just hard to communicate and no one else speaks Romanian (we did have a missionary from there once). It's a difficult situation.

As for temple work, I enjoy doing baptisms, and sealings, but I have never felt anything during an endowment even with my father and grandfather... Except once, my uncle - I definitely felt something then even though we had not seen each other in thirty years. Maybe we had a closer emotional link than I realised. A lot of people frown upon that work, and I wouldn't even be allowed to do my uncle's work now, since I'd have to get permission from my cousins, I've not heard from in forever.
DASH1730 "An Area Authority...[was] asked...who...would go to the Telestial kingdom. His answer: "murderers, adulterers and a lot of surprised Mormons!"'
1ST PRES 1978 "[LDS] believe...there is truth in many religions and philosophies...good and great religious leaders... have raised the spiritual, moral, and ethical awareness of their people. When we speak of The [LDS] as the only true church...it is...authorized to administer the ordinances...by Jesus Christ... we do not mean... it is the only teacher of truth."

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Gerald
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by Gerald » 20 Mar 2021, 05:44

I generally enjoy Fast and Testimony meetings but that enjoyment has evolved over the years. I used to think how cute it was when little children (my own included) would get up and bear their testimony which usually sent along the lines "I want to bear my testimony. I know this Church is true. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I love my family. Name of Jesus Christ Amen." Perhaps it's just me getting crotchety but I find little children's testimonies tedious (unless they go "off script" then it's cute again). We have an elderly gentleman in our ward who feels it his solemn duty to bear his testimony EVERY SINGLE FAST SUNDAY. That would be okay but his health has declined in recent years and 50% of the time he ends up rambling until his wife starts signaling him to sit down. It's become the practice in the ward to time him to see how long he goes (I think 15 minutes is the record). I wouldn't mind it if he would do it when there are obvious "lulls" in testimony bearing but no, he is the first one up there every single fast Sunday. :problem: But what do you do? It's open mike night at Church and restricting one implies monitoring all and I'd rather listen to him meander verbally about the gospel than, heaven forbid, move to a policy where the bishopric calls on people to bear their testimonies. Most of the time, it's sincere people bearing sincere testimonies. ( And to be fair, the elderly brother I referred to earlier does bear a very sincere testimony.)
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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hawkgrrrl
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Re: When F&T goes wrong

Post by hawkgrrrl » 24 Mar 2021, 15:05

When I was a missionary, we were visiting a family that was partly active. Their adult daughter was there, and she normally didn't go to Church, and I mentioned that the next day was F&T meeting. She threw her head back and laughed right in my face: "Why on earth would I want to go to that? They're all the same. People blubbering on about the same things over and over." Honestly, I pretty much agreed with her, so I didn't push it. I just thought it was kind of refreshing to have someone say the truth for once.

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