An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Visiting Teacher Quandary

I wish I didn’t find my visiting teacher annoying. She’s a lovely lady with a sure knowledge that the answer to any of life’s questions and problems is found in the LDS gospel. That probably wouldn’t bother me if it wasn’t accompanied by her equally sure knowledge that anyone not actively engaged in the Mormon cause needs patient, loving instruction.

Were I able to transcend my ego, I wouldn’t have the urge to prove her firm belief wrong. While her religious conviction only mildly irritates me, her desire to bring me into the fold requires all my self-control to choke back an adolescent urge to shock her from her certitude. Like a militant agnostic, I want to shout, “I don’t know and you don’t either!”

My better self generally muffles my response to a weak smile, a nod, or “That doesn’t work for me.” It is not possible to have a philosophical discussion of religion with a devout Mormon. There is no middle ground. And I really don’t want to undermine a faith that gives this woman strength and purpose in her life.

If I were more secure, it probably wouldn’t bother me to be considered a project. Until I reach that point, maybe I should just ask her to skip the lesson and make it a social visit.

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Comments on: "Visiting Teacher Quandary" (2)

  1. Skip a couple of visits. Might give her a respite, too.

    • She visits me. In Mormon culture, visiting teachers are assigned to visit every woman in the ward at least once each month. Besides the “lesson” they are supposed to provide friendship and any needed help or service. They must report completed visits each month. Not visiting is not an option unless the woman visited refuses a visit. Refusing a visit puts a woman in the “apostate” camp.

      It sounds ver regimented and I guess it is, but the purpose to keep in touch with each woman in the ward and be aware of any needs she may have. It does keep people from falling through the cracks, but I do think the welfare purpose of the visits could be better accomplished without a scripted lesson.

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