Sunday, April 6, 2008

President Monson, MVP

It was conference this weekend. I watched more of it on Saturday and Sunday then I have in many years. The kids are getting old enough that I can largely ignore them and actually watch. Because this was President Monson’s first conference at the head of the Church, I was especially interested to listen to him. He did not disappoint. He was funny, poignant, measured, and personal.

It seems that much of what you hear from conference speakers could be read be another person and it would make no difference. It’s just a bunch of words. But President Monson’s closing remarks seemed directly attached to him. It’s funny, but in the Church we (or at least me) are so starved for real connection with our leaders that we latch onto anything that seems unscripted. While I assume President Monson wrote out his comments in advance, his delivery seemed authentic and unrehearsed. I always got that vibe from President Hinckley. He was a professional, meaning he excelled at the craft of delivering conference talks. I used to note the contrast in how he had the audience eating out of his hand and how other speakers didn’t. Well, President Monson owned the pulpit today. I was impressed.

31 comments:

The Faithful Dissident said...

President Monson has that rare ability to hold the attention of even the worst mind-wanderers like myself. It's like even if you want to tune him out, you can't. I've always enjoyed his talks and this one was no exception. If you ask me today, the day after conference, to give a synopsis of all that was said, his words are some of the few that come to mind.

When he invited the "critic" to come back, my thoughts turned to not only myself, but the Danzigs because it must have been hard to hear. I'm sure that they long to be able to come and "feast" again, and yet I can appreciate the difficulty of doing so when you feel you are going against what's in your conscience. I don't know what President Monson is like in a non-conference setting. I don't know the guy and I've only seen him on TV during conference. But the feelings of love, patience, humility and genuine concern that he always seems to exude make you feel that if only all leaders within the Church displayed such traits, then maybe differences would be solved and no one with good intentions would ever be forced to leave the Church because of a disagreement. I realize that it's probably just wishful thinking and maybe I'm just a sucker for Monson's gentle personality, but I think he is a very special man. I've always thought that about him.

Fifthgen said...

Before conference, I almost felt sorry for Pres. Monson. Following Pres. Hinckley would be a very difficult task. But I agree - - he really seemed to come into his own on Sunday. He showed his usual aptitude for using humor and the personal touch to present his message in a very accessible way. I sensed, too, that he felt and conveyed to the audience that he was was now the Number One Guy. But again, he did it with humility and warmth. He will be good.

And what about that Pres. Uchtdorf! When was the last time the church had a rock star?

jupee said...

After reading your post I went to lds.org and listened to the his talk Sunday afternoon. He seems like a warm and gentle man. My question is: Does who the prophet is matter? Because Monson is President, will you (SB, Fifthgen, and faithful dissident) go to the temple more often? Will you change they way you interact with your wife and children? Will it change your behavior at all? Or, does the fact that he is "President Monson, MVP" just validate the decisions you've already made?

Mormon Heretic said...

Fifthgen, the last rock star was Gordon B Hinckley, at least for me. But, yes I was impressed with Pres Uchtdorf too.

Jupee, yes, I probably won't change my ways much, but I did enjoy Pres Hinckley's talks the most of any prophet ever. Pres Monson has some humorous stories, but I've never enjoyed him as much.

That said, I really respect Pres Monson.

kframpton said...

jupee says,

"Because Monson is President, will you (SB, Fifthgen, and faithful dissident) go to the temple more often? Will you change they way you interact with your wife and children? Will it change your behavior at all? Or, does the fact that he is "President Monson, MVP" just validate the decisions you've already made?"

Never thought that I would say this, but, I agree that you have a good question here.

Having said that, I do (even though I am not what you would call "very active") enjoy President Monson. I have always felt that he was "approchable". A normal fellow. A person like you and me.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Jupee,

I already have a happy relationship with my husband, so I doubt that Pres. Monson would have any impact on my personal life in that way. As far as going to the temple more often? Well, I can't say I'd do it just because of him. For one thing, I don't live very close to any temples and for another, I'd have to feel more at peace spiritually before I think I would go. It's been over 2 years and although I'm still doing genealogy, I'm leaving the actual temple work to my family for the time being. But I think that certainly Monson can be a motivator to people to make changes to get their lives in order.

Overall, I think a personality like Monson can be a great inspiration to people. While some feel more motivated by a hard-liner, I think that most people today are more likely to listen and relate to someone who speaks from the heart and has a gentle and humble way about him. Much like Pope John Paul II, who won so many people's hearts because of his gentle personality.

Bottom line? I don't think any of us should do anything just because of who the prophet is. And yet in a way, we probably do without even realizing it. When we can relate better to a certain person, we're more open to listening and will take the message to heart instead of letting it go in one ear and out the other because we don't particularly like the guy.

I don't think I can recall any talks by Pres. Hinckley that I didn't like. While some other leaders have maybe said things that made me cringe, I've found that Hinckley and Monson have an ability to sum up things beautifully, focusing on the things that really matter in life. They're good at bringing us "back to basics." Both Hinckley and Monson have that diplomatic personality that I respond to positively. So yes, I think that in a way he just validates decisions that I've already made. He's a reminder of why I'm still in the Church, because honestly, it's guys like him that make me want to stick around.

Fifthgen said...

Mormon Heretic: Gordon B. Hinckley was amazing, one-of-kind. We will not see a President of the Church like him for a long time. He was smart and articulate with media-savvy and presence. His warm, kind, funny, grandfatherly image did not say “rock star” to me, though. Pres. Uchtdorf has the kind of worldly charisma that jumps off the screen in way that is different from other LDS Church leaders. He is going to be interesting to watch, and I think will be an invaluable asset to our church.

Jupee: Interesting question. Does the individual who holds the office of President of the Church really have an impact on how I live my life?

My initial thought was, well, sure he does. The ability of an individual to connect with, teach and motivate others can be a very powerful thing. Pres. Monson seems to have above-average gifts in this regard. I think that is the reason for Sanford’s tongue-in-cheek headline, “Pres. Monson, MVP.” Some will have the ability to connect with one kid of person, and some another. Pres. Hinckley seemed to have the ability to connect broadly with many kinds of people, and I sense that Pres. Monson will demonstrate the same ability in his own way. And, from what I know, he is a great role model. So, although I have already made the decision to try (without always succeeding) to be kind to my family, to be charitable to others, to be honest, etc., I hope and fully expect that Pres. Monson’s counsel will motivate me to do better and to find new ways to implement those earlier decisions in what I do and how I live. I also think he will be able to teach me something more about what it means to be kind, good, charitable, virtuous, etc., and how to draw closer to God. In fact, as a believer, I expect to learn from him the best ways for me to learn and do these things right now. Of course, to some extent, that is merely validating what I have already decided (or try) to do. But for me, reminders and encouragement, especially from good teachers and motivators, are really helpful.

But then, as I thought more about it, I came to the conclusion that, whomever occupied the position of prophet would likely have the same influence on me, albeit in different ways. I do not expect that Pres. Monson’s administration will alter the core beliefs that I and other members of the LDS Church hold. He will have his own areas of emphasis - - he seems very focused on charity, Christian service and tolerance - - but I do not expect any big changes in doctrine or, certainly, in “the good news” of the gospel. Moreover, for those who accept him as God’s agent in directing the church, the fact that there IS a prophet is more important than who the prophet is, I guess. Because of the calling and office, I try to place added importance on what the prophet (whomever holds the office at the time) teaches. And I would hope that, whoever the President of the Church is, I would still continue to try to the kind and good and charitable, etc.

So I guess my answer is that Pres. Monson will likely have some influence, around the edges, on what I do because of his unique personality and gifts. I fully expect that he will encourage me along my path to be better (which encouragement I need). But I would I hope I am already on that path, and would stay on it, regardless of who the President of the Church is.

Anonymous said...

Remember Pres. Hinckely's challenge to read the Book of Mormon? Members of the church around the world took him up on that. Everywhere you went, people were reading and talking about the Book of Mormon. I think the prophet definitiely infuences behavior.

Sanford said...

Well Jupee, I don’t know if you really meant for your questions to be addressed but here is my take.

Does who the prophet is matter?

For me personally, Yes. Because I am at a place in my life where my participation in the Church is in flux, leaders make a great deal of difference in my thinking on whether I will be more or less active or continue to tread water. I felt a strong connection to President Hinckley and his presence at the helm is one on the reasons I have stayed. If I were to feel alienated by a new Prophet, there is a real chance, perhaps even likelihood, that I would reduce or curtail my activity. Now I realize that many people (you included) don’t think I am much of a Mormon. I might not disagree with that, but I do attend Church very regularly and as you can tell from my blog, I give a lot a consideration to my relationship with the Church. I don’t like the all or nothing approach to Mormonism and would like to see the Church move away from it. If I did not feel welcome in the Church, my participation would likely change. President’s Monson appears to be the kind of Prophet I can support and respect and so far he has made me feel welcome. It’s early in the game but he is off to a strong start. The fact that he has extended an invitation to return is something to consider.

Does who the prophet is matter?

For the Church, Yes. IMHO not all prophets are created equal. They have different strengths and weaknesses. Some like, Joseph Smith, turn convention on its head and shake up the status quo. Others, like Harold B. Lee, are company men who regulate, correlate and systematize. Some are visionaries like Wilford Woodruff and some are just good men who don’t seem to have a particularly unusual connection with the other world. Prophets like Joseph Fielding Smith, with strident literalist beliefs, can put a real damper on intellectual inquiry. So yes, Prophets are not interchangeable Lincoln logs and who they are matters.

Because Monson is President, will you (SB, Fifthgen, and faithful dissident) go to the temple more often? Will you change the way you interact with your wife and children? Will it change your behavior at all? Or, does the fact that he is "President Monson, MVP" just validate the decisions you've already made?

For many people, Church activity levels fluctuate throughout their lives. At times I have been 100% active and at others I have been completely inactive. It’s not out of the question that the right Prophet could push me one way or the other. Much of what I try to understand about myself is why my beliefs and actions change over time. It’s not crazy to think that I could be a temple attender again in 10 years. Who can say? And while how I treat my wife will not change dramatically because of President Monson's address, regular reminders to be a good spouse cause me to be more aware of my behavior than I otherwise would be.

Anonymous said...

Sanford- You mentioned in your post that you would like to see the church move away from the "all or nothing approach to mormonism". The stance of the church that it is the same church that Christ formed, restored in our day, makes that impossible. There is no middle ground because the church is either one hundred percent true and is exactly what it claims to be or it is false and teaches doctrines of men.

As a missionary you taught people that if they would read the book of mormon and pray about it, they could gain a testimony of the truthfullness of four things: 1. The book of mormon itself. 2. That Jesus is the Christ. 3. That Joseph Smith did see God and was called as a prophet. 4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same church that Christ formed while he was on the earth. While you may not believe those things as strongly as you once did they are still either completely true or not true at all.

Because of that very reason the church can't do anything but the all or nothing approach. If it is God's church, he is at the head and the direction that the church follows and the doctrines that it teaches are his and thus the men leading the church on earth are just following his will. So until God decides to change he standards it is incumbent upon each individual to act as he/she sees fit. Whether that be doing everything God commands or not. The church however, by virtue of the fact that it claims to be lead by God and not men cannot follow every whim and trend that happens on earth unless God decides things should be changed. So in a very round about way I would say that like fifthgen I believe the fact that there is a prophet on the earth today is much more important than who the prophet really is. That being said, I agree that certain individuals( like President Monson) have characteristics that allow them to touch certain people in ways another person without those characteristics could not do.

I also believe that if someone feels that church is true and there are things he/she still has problems with, introspection(trying to figure out the source of the problem) and prayer(asking God to help us figure out why it is a problem) are two of the very best ways to resolve those issues.

I am not a lawyer like the rest of you seem to be and I am not able to write as eloquently as you all do but I hope my "two cents" will still be of some value.

Mormon Heretic said...

anonymous, I encourage you to pick a handle, like "Orthodox Mormon", so we can more appropriately address you. You'll still be anonymous, but you'll have a catchier handle. :)

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, and welcome to the dialogue. I must say that I once thought as you did, but as my testimony has progressed, I believe that "there are many who will say Lord, Lord", but will not be recognized by God. Your approach that it's 100% true or false is not a view I share.

Case in point. Do you believe Paul Dunn's stories were 100% good or 100% bad? It turns out they were lies, so according to your philosophy, they're 100% bad. However, I find many of them were very inspiring, so I don't believe they are 100% bad, and at the time, brought many people to Christ.

There are many who want to throw Paul Dunn, and the church, under the bus. I don't think he or the church are 100% bad, because he made a bad choice. His intentions were good, but he should have said they were stories.

Joseph Smith himself admits in the PoGP that he was involved in things he shouldn't have been. Does that make him 100% good or bad?

There are few things that are 100% good or bad. Joseph, Paul Dunn, and all of us are somewhere between the extremes, and so is the church. Enlightened individuals understand this, and don't limit themselves to such dichotomous views. (And no, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I pretend to be.)

People who believe in extremes, frequently become disillusioned when Paul Dunn, George Lee, Joseph Smith, the stake pres, bishop, or other prominent leaders prove not to be 100% righteous. The only 100% good person was Jesus, and the church and all of us fall short of him. (Even he said "Why callest me good--there is none good, but the Father.")

Sanford Barrett said...

To anonymous (post no. 10), thank you for stopping by and giving your two cents worth. I value the opportunity to compare my belief with those of others. You make some strong points and I would like to address a few of them. I hope that in doing so you and I might understand my thinking a little better.

Sanford- You mentioned in your post that you would like to see the church move away from the "all or nothing approach to mormonism". The stance of the church that it is the same church that Christ formed, restored in our day, makes that impossible. There is no middle ground because the church is either one hundred percent true and is exactly what it claims to be or it is false and teaches doctrines of men.

I want the Church to move away from the all or nothing approach for a couple of reasons. First, if the Church makes a member feel that their membership it is all or nothing, than there is a real possibility that if someone feels like they are less than 100%, then they might as well give up on the whole thing. I think a lot of people go inactive for that reason. I would like to think that even with the "one and only true Chruch", that there is room for reasonable people to hold different views, even about doctrine and practice. Second, I don’t think the Church is completely consistent is what it claims, at least over time. The Church is a growing and changing institution. The churches views evolve over time. Some examples of this are the Word of Wisdom, Polygamy, the Gathering of Zion, Blacks and the Priesthood, Birth Control and Homosexuality to name a few. I don’t think it is wise to hold so tightly to your beliefs that you cannot adapt to changes in the Church. If you do not allow for change, it can be very unnerving to discover or witness changes. As Mormon Heretic points out, too rigid of belief can lead to disillusionment. Revelation changes things. After all, what is the point of ongoing revelation if new information cannot trump the old?

As a missionary you taught people that if they would read the book of mormon and pray about it, they could gain a testimony of the truthfullness of four things: 1. The book of mormon itself. 2. That Jesus is the Christ. 3. That Joseph Smith did see God and was called as a prophet. 4. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the same church that Christ formed while he was on the earth. While you may not believe those things as strongly as you once did they are still either completely true or not true at all.

I don’t necessarily disagree with this, but what should I do. I don’t believe it as strongly as I once did. So should I leave the Church? I am not at a place in my life where I am prepared to be in 100%. Am I kidding myself to think there is place for me? Should I just accept that I have been spewn because I am lukewarm? I don’t really want cut myself off from the Church. But your rational (which I believe many share) makes me wonder if in fact there is a place for people like me in the Church? What do you think, do I misunderstand you?

I also believe that if someone feels that church is true and there are things he/she still has problems with, introspection(trying to figure out the source of the problem) and prayer(asking God to help us figure out why it is a problem) are two of the very best ways to resolve those issues.

I think those are good ways to go about figuring out problems, but what if that doesn’t resolve your issues? Or what if the understanding you come to doesn’t quite fit with an orthodox belief and practice of the Church? Does that mean that the devil has taken control of your thoughts? Or is it possible that your path might be a little (or perhaps a lot) different than what you expected? One thing I marvel at is how Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith turned convention on its head. Their paths were very unpredictable and they adapted as they went. I think religion is actually a very messy bit of business and we don’t have it figured out nearly as well as we would like to think. I wonder if we get too caught up in trying to have a nice predictable life and miss out on opportunities for growth and wisdom in the meantime.

Please feel free to comment again if you have time.

Anonymous said...

I don't have time to fully comment on either post right now because I am quite busy. I will try to do that later. But really quickly I just wanted to respond to Sanford. I am not suggesting there is no room in the church for people who are 100% commited only that the church as an entity cannot do anything less than the all or nothing approach. In fact I think it says a lot to still stick around when you don't feel completely comfortable. I kind of expected to be looked at as close-minded for two reasons, first is that maybe I am and second is that I don't think that I am fully able to convey my feelings through writing (I am more of a talker). I hope to be better able to clear up some points that were misunderstood. So without taking the time to answer every point right now I do want to say that I hope my comment was not interpreted to mean that everyone who does not agree 100% with everything has no place in the church. Soon as I have time to think of a catchy name I will do so but until then you can call me Eric Innes

pb said...

It seems to me that anonymous is correct: Either the book of mormon is true or it is not. Either Joseph Smith saw God and was called as a prophet of God or he was not. These are claims that the Church has made the foundation of its legitimacy. But evidence tends to show that claim no. 1 is almost certainly false. So what does that mean? Is it possible for the church to establish a new basis of legitimacy? Can the church say, Well, we still believe that life should be lived in the way that we teach, but it's not because the book of mormon is an accurate or true record of events that are described in it? Why do religions always paint themselves into a corner this way? Why not just say, here's a coherent system for living that offers many advantages if you choose to follow it. That way, when human knowledge develops so that we can pretty much definitively say that the earth is not 6,000 years old, the whole thing doesn't have to be thrown out.

pb said...

sanford: Am I wrong or have you just outed yourself as an introspecoholic? (Albeit one in the grips of the adversary.)

anonymous: I am a lawyer, but please don't hold that against me. I take an agnostic approach to The Law.

Anonymous said...

One quick comment before the real thing. I think the lawyer remark was also misunderstood. I said it for two reasons. First, I know that at least three of the participants in these discussions are or were lawyers(Sanford included) so I drew the logical(or so I thought) conclusion that many of Sanfords friends would be as well. Second, everyone that leaves comments writes very eloquently so it was actually a compliment that I was trying to make. Not a thinly veiled insult. So there you have it. You all seem to be very intelligent and write very well.

Mormon Heretic said...

Anonymous, thanks for the clarifications. And I think you are too hard on yourself--you write well, even if you're not a lawyer. ;)

PB, I think you illustrate well the fallacies of the "all or nothing" approach to religion. I guess with my study of the Bible, I look at various Biblical figures who did some things seriously wrong, but we still claim them to be prophets.

Moses killed an Egyptian man and buried him in the sand. Joshua killed entire cities. Abraham evicted a wife and son. Jonah got angry when the city of Nineveh repented. Noah got drunk, and fathered a child with his daughter.

We don't throw out the Bible, yet we call all these flawed men prophets. I don't for a second believe that Joseph Smith did anything as bad as what I just listed with these Biblical prophets, and I don't hold him as a mythical figure that many mormons do.

How does anyone know that God actually wrote the 10 commandments on stone? How do we know that Moses didn't forge them? Because of tradition, we easily believe that Moses parted the Red Sea, performed miracles, and talked with God face to face. If we believe this, why is it so hard to believe that Joseph Smith, a flawed individual, couldn't translate the Book of Mormon? After all, Joseph didn't kill anyone, yet people believe that an admitted murderer gave us the 10 commandments.

Prophets are flawed people. However, these flaws don't preclude them from being prophets and performing amazing miracles. I believe Joseph was a prophet every bit as much as Moses was. And I believe that Joseph was flawed, just as Moses was.

Religion should not be an all or nothing proposition, if we look at it through realistic eyes.

jupee said...

sanford: The third principle of the Unitarian Universalists is:

3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

Less than 100% is totally, totally okay with us members and the Reverend Goldsmith. In fact, we may be most okay with a ratio more along the lines of 10% all, 90% nothing. We recently concluded a shout-out advertising campaign with a tag line of: "Is God keeping you from going to church?"

I don't want to compete with, say, fifthgen, for your soul. His eloquence can be paralizing. Nevertheless, see you Sunday at First Church --9:00 a.m.?

Jerald T. said...

Pay, pray, obey. Rinse, repeat. Pay, pray, obey.

Atticus said...

Sanford: On the question, Is there a place for you in the Church? I offer this: The military regime in Burma makes a pageant of giving alms to the Buddhist monks that they oppress. One could say they do not "believe" and their participation is therefore hypocritical or worthless. But the Buddhist sentiment is that, in giving alms -- regardless of the belief or nonbelief that accompanies it -- there is redemption in the act itself. I'm not comparing you to the military regime in Burma, but I'm suggesting that you might incorporate this insight. If God knew where he wanted you to be placed -- and you clearly have a deep connection with the religious tradition into which you were born --consider simply practicing it, without worrying about whether you believe it.

Anonymous said...

Sanford says:
if the Church makes a member feel that their membership it is all or nothing, than there is a real possibility that if someone feels like they are less than 100%, then they might as well give up on the whole thing. I think a lot of people go inactive for that reason.

I do not go to church anymore. One of the main reasons is exactly this. Why can church not just be church? Why must I spend hours each day on my church callings while my house and family sit idle? Is it right for a grandfather to put the church and it’s meetings before his grandchildren? Is it right for a father to leave his family 4 nights a week to go to meetings for his calling? When is enough, enough? When is too much, too much?

Why can I not just go to church on Sunday and believe in the teachings? I obey the laws and teachings of the gospel. Why can’t that be enough? My children pray. I know “he” is there. I know. I believe.

Why must I try and convert others? Why? If the church’s teachings are correct then we have been taught that we all have our free will. That is what life is about, making the right decisions to get back to “heaven”. Why can’t we just let people make their own decisions then? Why?

Maybe I would go... if I felt it wasn’t all or nothing...

anonk

Mormon Heretic said...

anonymous,

I agree with Atticus. For example you asked "Why must I try and convert others? "

You don't have to.

"When is enough, enough?" When you say "Enough"

Give the amount you are comfortable with. "It is not requisite that a man run faster than he has strength."

Give up the guilt, and participate at a level you are comfortable with. That's what I do.

Church leaders are often told that they shouldn't neglect their families. If they are neglecting their families, they are not following the brethren, or the gospel. "No success can compensate for failure in the home."

Anonymous said...

mormon heretic, thank you for your thoughts. i would love to be the person that you are.

i know i should give what i can give and then stop. it is just so hard when you go to church and they start asking you to do things. a small calling at first and then more, and more. i was brought up in a family that never says no to a calling, no matter what. my brother was just called today as the young mens president. he was also told about 4 meetings this week he must attend for this calling. did i mention he has 3 kids, a wife and 2 dogs. oh yeah. he is also handicapped from a bad car accident 2 years ago so he can't walk. did he say no it was too much? no, of course he accepted, as they said he should. blessings will come to him, right?

my father always told me that religion is a personal thing between a person and god. i truely believe that. but if i go to the "one true church" then why should i have to defend myself and my actions to people there? shouldn't i only be accountable for my beliefs to god? i just want to be accepted for who and what i am.

i do not want to have to explain and defend myself to a bishop or relief society president about why we did not come to church this week but went and had a picnic as a family instead. is it really their job to "save my soul"? or is it my own job?

anonk

Mormon Heretic said...

Anonymous, I think far too many people fall into the trap you have. They feel they must give, give, give, even when they have nothing left to give.

All of us have spiritual peaks and valleys. Technically, I have never said "no" to a calling. However, if I know that I am struggling, I will let the bishop or stake president know that. I'll give you a couple of examples.

I have served in 3 elder's quorum presidencies. When the 4th call came, frankly, I was a little burned out, and it seemed that I was being pigeon-holed into one calling, and I wanted to do something a little different. It just so happened that the stake called me for an interview, when I was planning on taking a cruise to the Bahamas, so kind of had a phone interview. I calmly explained that I was willing to serve, but that I was tired of serving so frequently in the elders quorum. They said they would get back to me, and decided to call someone else. A few months later, I was called to the Sunday School, and greatly enjoyed that calling.

Currently, I am in graduate school, am married, have 3 part-time jobs, no student loans, and have to watch the kids when my wife works. My bishop knows that I am busy at this point in my life, and has been careful to call me to positions that he knows will not take up too much time. He has been extremely sensitive to me and my family, but that is only because I he knows my situation.

It is not reasonable to assume that every bishop knows your situation. In my experience, calmly explaining it to them is often the best method of "inspiration" a bishop can receive. The do not have a crystal ball, and do the best they can. But sometimes, they simply need to be told.

I remember a counselor in the bishopric was having marital problems, due in part to his abundance of church meetings. He explained this to the stake presidency, and was promptly released. Marriages should not break up because of the church, and leaders are very sensitive to this, but only if they are aware of the situation. They don't have a crystal ball.

I know that bishoprics can become frustrated when people turn down callings. Some perceive members as lazy and not "following the brethren". However, I think if you are honest, and say things like "you know, I'm really spiritually struggling right now, and I'm afraid this calling might bury me", you'll be surprised how supporting church leadership can be.

Frankly, when I had some marital difficulties about 2 years ago, due to my time crunches, and other crises in my life, I was released to spend time improving my marriage. It was the best thing that could have happened, but it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't spoken up. Too many people just have unrealistic expectations of their leaders.

Bishops are not mind readers, but because we hear so many stories in conference, we think that they are all supposed to be.

pb said...

mormon heretic: I agree with your insight that "religion should not be an all or nothing proposition." I'm not sure that this is what is taught by the Church, however. At least the way I understand it, The Gospel must be true or not, just as The Church must be true or not. (And, so I understand, it must be The Only True Church.) There is one path, not many. This kind of dogmatism can be a brick wall for many people, who may feel that their spiritual growth is not supported if it does not conform with the dictates of their church leaders.

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can win things ITS AWESOME !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU SHOULD COME NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

PRETTY please with sugar on top.

Anonymous said...

I love the websites rubyreddmania.blogspot.com and hawianparty.blogspot.com
you should go also!

Fifthgen said...

Anunymous (who might be Rubyreddmania): It might be my computer, but I tried to go to the rubyreddmania blog, and could not get past the first page. I will try again, but maybe you should check for problems, too.

Please don't hurt me.

Anonymous said...

We concider it!

Mormon Heretic said...

Sanford, you might consider deleting these unrelated comments--they look like spam to me (or worse.)