An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

The Bishopric Is Coming

The ward executive secretary called to schedule a visit from our new bishopric tonight. The first counselor dropped by Saturday to extend a calling to me: “How would you like to be the Webelos leader?” “I would just hate it,” I answered with more truth than tact. The visit ended with George agreeing to do emergency preparedness training and my offering to help a young immigrant in the ward learn English. I declined the invitation to attend Sunday meetings because, “I’ve heard all the lessons and talks—multiple times.” I thought that should put an end to re-activation efforts.

I know George and I are dead weight on the ward records—dragging down the attendance stats. With centralized financing, slipping a few bucks into an envelope to cover the food we eat at socials doesn’t help the ward budget much. In all honesty, we should have our names removed from the roster. But George maintains a glimmer of hope for an eternal family life, so we remain a burden to our ward.

There is no inoffensive way to tell anyone you don’t share their religious convictions. I don’t want to offend these good men who are taking time from their families to visit us, but I can’t help wishing they could like us for who we are instead of loving us for who they want us to become.


Comments on: "The Bishopric Is Coming" (11)

  1. Waiting anxiously for the rest of the story…….

    • Numi–big let down.
      George misunderstood on the phone. I opened the door at 8 PM to find the High Priest Group Leadership at our doorstep. So, I excused myself and left George to explain why he doesn’t attend PH meeting.

  2. “instead of loving us for who they want us to become.” <– I adore that line. I'm sure your and George's company at parties is worth at least a few cookies. 😀

  3. Two of Three said:

    “There is no inoffensive way to tell anyone you don’t share their religious convictions”. And that is exactly it. Folks in the ward would be flabbergasted to think I don’t believe the same things they do anymore. No one could possibly comprehend that perhaps there are other ways of living that God approves of. It is worse than fighting city hall. It is city hall on steroids.

  4. This has to be a Utah thing.

    My current Branch probably has around 30% activity, and that is being generous. Our activity rate is abysmal, but we live in a small blue-collar town that is struggling economically, and it is hard for everyone, so making time for Church on Sunday is not a priority. We also have huge branch boundaries, which makes a trip to Church something of an ordeal, especially given the severity of winter. This all being said, the Presidency’s position is generally if someone will let the Home Teachers in, we have made a huge leap forward. I cannot imagine anyone showing up to ask why someone did not attend a meeting, that would be activity suicide.

    I have heard this about Utah, and I think that Utah Mormons are somewhat odd. Lots of good friends from there, but also some bad experiences with the native sons and daughters. I think this trend might be dying, though. The ratio of non-Utah Mormons to Utah Mormons is typing in favor of the non-Utah, and I think times are changing, but that is as a non-Utah Mormon, so what do I know?

  5. I absolutely relate to what you’re saying: and I live in the UK. When we stopped coming out to church we had visits from everyone from Home and Visiting-teachers to Area Authority Seventies. Every time, I’d invite them to stay longer when they excused themselves: feeling that if they genuinely wanted to sit and talk… to get to know me… I’d be happy to have their friendship. Instead, it’s a stat: a visit to report on. And I’d can’t make myself be too excited about that.

  6. “But George maintains a glimmer of hope for an eternal family life, so we remain a burden to our ward.”

    So your husband believes in eternal family life, and you do not? I ask because my husband has recently finally admitted that he doesn’t believe in the LDS faith/church/whatever you want to call it anymore. I understand his reasons, and really, I’d be there myself if I didn’t have this gut feeling that there is some essential truth that is to be found only in the LDS church (my husband would probably say this is the result of years of social conditioning and various chemical reactions in my brain, but I have chosen not to believe that). The thing I find the most disturbing is how this might be affecting our chances of having an eternal life together (that is one of the LDS doctrines that just feel right to me). If you don’t believe in eternal family life and your husband does, I’d be very curious to know how he deals with it, and why he still believes in it when it seems he does not believe in many other things, and how you reached the conclusion that it does not exist.

    As for the rest of your post, this is what I am dreading. I was a “ward project” through my teenage years, because my mom was half-active and severely anti-social. Whenever my husband tells everyone, the same thing is going to happen again. People showing up at our house who have never cared to speak to us before, but now want to “reactivate” him, and are suddenly our “friends.”

    • After a near-death experience in which he saw neither bright lights nor Heavenly guides, George is unsure about an afterlife–but if there is one–he definitely wants us to be there as a family. Maybe it’s wishful thinking. He definitely hopes we don’t just cease to exist once our hearts stop beating.

      I would like to believe in an afterlife of eternal progression–and I don’t rule it out. I just don’t see evidence to support it. If there is a God–I have to believe he or she is compassionate and will not judge his or her offspring for not believing what is not perfectly clear.

      Good luck to you when your husband comes out of the closet. There is no way to have an inactive spouse and not become a ward project.

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