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Author Topic: Can you run from bad church culture?  (Read 387 times)

Jen

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Can you run from bad church culture?
« on: March 06, 2021, 01:15:46 pm »
In the name of brevity, I'll just say that masks vs. no masks has become such a terribly divisive issue in my ward that we're actually talking about leaving. We've been here 15 years, and it's a ward we've mostly struggled with. I don't know, maybe I'm the problem... or maybe it's just not a good fit. It's a very right-wing, everything-I-don't-like-is-socialist, don't-tell-me-what-to-do kind of ward. The attitude of the youth program has long been that parents are an obstacle to get around, not the primary stewards of their children that should be worked with.

So much for brevity.

The question is this: Is it realistic to think that we might be able to find a ward and area where things would be better for us?
 
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Palmon

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2021, 01:33:36 pm »
After 15 years, you aren’t exactly running. If you and your husband want to try a new ward, try them out. Talk to the ward members. Ask if politics has invaded the ward culture. Ask about the youth programs. But fair warning, moving into established wards can be very lonely. If you find it a ward you think you’d like, start looking for housing within the boundaries.
Most of all, listen to all the prompting you and your husband get - even if they aren’t what you want to hear.
 
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JLM

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #2 on: March 07, 2021, 12:01:59 am »
Or you can participate in sacrament meeting, and leave, hang out in the hall or primary during second hour. As for youth activities, if the environment is hostile, don’t send the kids. Skip elders quorum and RS activities, and only accept callings on your own terms.

It will make you an outsider is the ward, but look on the bright side, it will make you an outsider in your ward. Beside, we’re all here for you in the New Nauvoo ward.
 
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Jana at Jade House

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #3 on: March 07, 2021, 05:10:08 am »
As a fully invested member who has had to separate herself from much of the institutional  church culture for mental health reasons, I just want to say I am heartsick for you.  Our wards should be havens, heartening, and healthy. 
The excuses range from only human to hospital for sinners  but after nearly half a  century of observing,   I  am not more comfortable in my pew Sunday, than I was as a 26 year old convert.  And yes, I beat myself up regularly because I know the constant is me trying to fit in.
On the other hand, the blessings and benefit of staying true to my Covenants is a great comfort.  I am regularly enfolded by grace as I invest my strength into fulfilling my callings and supporting others in theirs. 
I have decided this is my particular lot in life. 
Luckily here in the EU we dont have the political polarization, but we surely have other divisive stuff. So my sympathies.
May you find peace.
 
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Taalcon

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2021, 10:38:03 am »
Jen, my wife could have written that post of yours. Verbatim. In other words, you're not alone.
 
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N3uroTypical

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2021, 10:47:51 am »
I live in a very conservative ward full of old retired folks and military.  All I can say, is I've put extra effort into befriending the one or two different folks, doing what I can to help them feel welcome. 

One particular story - a widower started bringing his non-lds girlfriend-of-very-different-politics to church.  (I'm trying not to turn this into a political thread.)  From what I saw, pretty much everyone welcomed her and treated her kindly.  She made it easy - she was quite friendly and upfront about being the only one like her in the building, with that fun blend of self-effacing humor and just leaving hard topics alone.

I suppose she found the place a good fit.  She got baptized, married the guy, and did a stint as RS president.  As far as I can tell, we all still love her dearly.
What-about-ism is pointless. I like to think most people's responses to such arguments would be, "Yup. That person, who happened to wear the same political jersey I do/did, was totally wrong on that, too."
-Taalcon
 
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pnr

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2021, 11:55:59 am »
Given that we are assigned congregation by geographical area, there is no real ability to run.   But have you told the SP that your family would be willing to be assigned to a ward that needs more support, instead of your own?   Have you shared with your bishop and your stake president (in that order) your struggles.  (I'm sure you know that your mask position is supported by the First Presidency, and therefore as hard as it might be to love idiots and control risk, you are doing the Lord's bidding in wearing them.)   

I might even get up in Fast and Testimony Meeting and testify of your love of the Savior and appreciation for prophetic counsel and wish you understood or could live happily and safely in a ward that rejects that counsel and makes you feel unsafe, where people dismiss you and demean you for following prophetic counsel.  You might invite anyone to help you find joy in loving God in the midst of the turmoil.   At least that would put the issue front and center AND might help you find others who are struggling with the same issue.
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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cook

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2021, 01:32:11 pm »
Wards are different. Sometimes you know it the first time you visit, sometimes later on. Sometimes the one you thought different turns out the same after some years of getting more into it. You never know. I've known several people who've officially belonged to a Ward different than the area they live on,  for various reasons. It hasn't been a big deal - though depending on the distance, ministering may be difficult.

I'd say pray. And then act.

But it also may be  the answer is to stay and endure.
 
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Roper

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2021, 01:47:12 pm »
Today was our first Sunday back as an entire ward. All the safety protocols are still in place. Still, probably about a third of the members were not wearing masks. All the bishopric members and everyone engaged in the administration of the sacrament wore masks and took the recommended sanitizing procedures. It was really good to be together in communal worship. As I was taking the sacrament, these words came to my mind: "Lord, teach me to be merciful to those who sin differently than I do."

I absolutely understand why someone would want to disassociate with members who put others at risk at church because of political affiliation. If I hadn't been vaccinated, I still would not be attending. And even though I have been vaccinated, I still wore a mask and practiced distancing out of courtesy to other members and respect for church authority. At this point, I've done what I can do to the best of my understanding. The rest in the Lord's hands.
All grown-ups were once children...but only few of them remember it. ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, "The Little Prince."
 
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pnr

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2021, 04:35:08 pm »
If I hadn't been vaccinated, I still would not be attending. And even though I have been vaccinated, I still wore a mask and practiced distancing out of courtesy to other members and respect for church authority.

The CDC says that is what everyone who is vaccinated should do until everyone is vaccinated (and they know to what degree vaccination prevents passing it on, even when you are no longer at risk from getting sick). 
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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dyany

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2021, 05:42:28 pm »
I have felt very much 'on the outskirts' of my ward for similar reasons. We are talking about taking a road trip in about a year, out east, to find an area that the Spirit tells us will be a better area for us. I just can't stand it here anymore, and this has only added to the decades of emotional pain.
 
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nitasmile

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2021, 12:59:47 am »
Danny and Jen..move to my ward! My ward wears masks!! :)
 
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pnr

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2021, 11:41:21 am »

The CDC says that is what everyone who is vaccinated should do until everyone is vaccinated (and they know to what degree vaccination prevents passing it on, even when you are no longer at risk from getting sick).

The latest advice, thought I needed to update:  https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/cdc-vaccinated-individuals-socialize-masks-distancing/story?id=76320421
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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curlybat

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2021, 09:46:00 pm »
At times in the past, it really seemed we moved on at the right time. We never ran away from a ward, just had life move us on. Our current ward we've been in the longest. It has been great to see our ward do what has been asked even if not all agree with the need of some of it. Our ward is far from perfect, as each of us are far from perfect. I've gotten less and less concerned about what anyone else thinks of my family or me over the years and concern myself less and less with the eccentricities of others. I worry about me since that is what I can control.
Still TheOne and only me who happens to now be curlybat.

Nauvoodle since September 2001 (#431)
 
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pnr

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Re: Can you run from bad church culture?
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2021, 09:09:28 am »
Jesus himself taught what to do in response to oppressive government.   You'll recall the young man who spoke with him about having to carry the Roman's coat a mile --- the law at the time.   Jesus' counsel was to carry it 2 instead.  IOW to take back your own power in the act of doing something more than government requires.   

I do think it is a useful story to bring up in talking to people who claim discipleship and aren't wearing masks that are government requires.  (He also said to render unto Ceasar that which is Ceasar's --- discipleship doesn't seem to include disobedience in protest.)
Nauvoo 1270, Feb 2005
 
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