An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

I tried to take a leave of absence from visiting teaching several years ago. The fact that I was teaching full time, working on my master’s degree, had four teens at home, and was serving in the YW presidency failed to impress my Relief Society president. “You’ll have to talk to the Bishop if you want to be released as a visiting teacher,” she said—frost forming on her lips as she spoke. I kept on visiting, convinced I would not be released from this calling until I was planted deep underground.

Fast forward nearly two decades and a different ward. When we moved into our current ward, I told the RS president, who met us as our furniture was being hauled in, that I wasn’t a regular churchgoer. She asked me to be a visiting teacher anyway, and I enjoyed getting acquainted with my partner and the three sisters we visited.

February was my partner’s turn to set up appointments. By mid-month I hadn’t heard from Jessica. When I met her at a neighbor’s Pampered Chef party, I asked about her schedule for visiting this month. “Didn’t they tell you? We’ve been switched. I told Eloise (our new RS president) I hated losing you for a partner.”

Since I haven’t been informed of a new assignment, I can only assume I’ve been fired—is this a first ever for a visiting teacher to be sacked? I suppose asking my own visiting teachers not to read me the lesson each month and answering honestly when asked if I had a testimony might have hoisted a red flag for our new RS president. While I did enjoy visiting women in the neighborhood whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise—I have to admit I won’t miss trying to coordinate my schedule with my partner’s, a mother of six who is finishing her degree, and then trying to make appointments with a young mother working on her associate’s degree, a busy business owner, and a grandmother on steroids. If I’d only known how to get fired 20 years ago.

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Comments on: "I’ve Been Fired as a Visiting Teacher" (7)

  1. Two of Three said:

    You won’t get off that easily. I’m sure there is something in store for you. I would quit the program myself but it would be just one more thing about my relationship with the church that bothers my DH.

    • Maintaining a good marriage is a good reason to continue visiting teaching. Interesting how much church activity–percevied as too much or too little by the spouse–impacts a marriage.

  2. I keep trying to convince my visiting teachers that they don’t have to come. Since we are all in the same neighborhood we see each other enough as far as I am concerned but they are pretty consistent. However, I get new ones about every year and keep trying to discourage kindly the monthly visits. Same with home teachers but they are so stalwart and kind that it seems impossible.

  3. […] admin posted about this interesting story. Here is a small section of the postThe fact that I was teaching full time, working on my master’s degree, had four teens at home, and was serving in the YW presidency failed to impress my Relief Society president. “You’ll have to talk to the Bishop if you want to be … […]

  4. Interesting…My thought as I read this, was perhaps the RS president hadn’t yet got the change out to you? I am finding as a new RS president myself, this is happening to me, and I feel so badly that someone may think they have been fired. I did get a phone call last Sunday to that effect…This has been such a challenge for me from the start. I have never been that great at visiting teaching. I have had people that don’t want regular visits, so, of course, I oblige, but something made me feel guilty about it anyway. And, I guess it’s just difficult for me to feel comfortable going to someone’s home who I don’t know very well and chatting it up about spiritual things once a month. So, when I do go, I rarely share the message, I just try to find out about the sister and get to know each other. I like to hear posts about visiting teaching, because I think it may always be difficult…

    • Amy
      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to hear from a RS president who puts meeting the needs of the individual sisters ahead of delivering the printed message.

      Maybe my RS president is just snowed under–or her visiting teacher coordinator is falling down on the job. Maybe I will get an assignment down the road–but a month has gone by.

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