A reminder that I'm (we're?) bad at snap judgements.
The other night I was set apart for a new calling by the first counselor of my stake presidency, and I was reminded at how off I can be when sizing people up.
I'm relatively new to the stake, and I haven't interacted much with the stake leadership. I've had a couple of brief interactions and conversations with the counselors and stake president leading up to my new call, but that is about it. The first counselor came across as a really kind, unassuming elder gentleman, but nothing he said or did gave off any sort of 'wow' factor as to his spirituality, leadership, or experience (not that this is required). Conversation with him was light and a bit staccato as he had brief senior moments trying to recall details. Basically, I thought "this is a sweet old man who I'm sure has served a long time in the church, but he seems to be slipping a little."
Then he set me apart. He pronounced one of the sweetest blessings I have ever heard let alone received. Nothing in it was extremely profound or earth-shattering, but it was simple yet eloquent, meaningful, thoughtful, deliberate, thorough, personal and overall a wonderful, pure spiritual experience. As I've pondered on it I can't get out of my head the image of him standing behind me with his hands on my head, eyes closed, and well worn headphones on his head (the kind you see in movies depicting the 50's/60's) listening to and repeating words directly from Heavenly Father as clear as day.
Often when I give blessings I have long pauses as I try my best to feel and interpret the spirit and discern what I should say. This brother was clearly worthy and well experienced at seeking and listening to inspiration from the spirit and didn't require the pauses that I frequently run into. I don't think anyone should misconstrue cadence or length of a blessing alone as a simple sign of someone else's inspiration. Really, it was the spirit that I felt as he spoke that signaled this to me.
I have a much greater respect for this brother and his ability to seek the Lord's guidance. I misjudged him. I probably should have known better since we regularly hear from 90 year-olds in General Conference who consistently crush it (and this guy isn't remotely close to 90), but I guess I let my past interactions with other senior members cloud my judgement.
Just thought I'd share a recent, spiritual experience and what I learned from it. (Turned out longer than I had anticipated.) Anyone else have experiences getting it wrong with a leader or teacher in the church?
TLDR: We can learn a lot spiritually from the more seasoned folks at church. Don't be as quick as me to write them off.
The Last Feelsbender.
Uncle Iroh is actually a pretty good metaphor for how God deals with us. He's in it for the long game and sees the end from the beginning. He doesn't get furious at the first sign of rebellion and ditch out, but stays by our side patiently loving us and waiting for us to turn back to him.
Welp, time to watch that amazing series again.
Utah Mormons seriously need to stop judging us when they move to the east coast. You can start by removing the term "the mission field" from your vocabulary.
Why say anything?
"I'm moving from Utah to...Pennsylvania"
I can see that. My mission president said as much on the east coast usa. We were there to teach the members how things were run. Pass a little blame along to SLC and correlation.
In my experience that hasn't always been the case. Some members that come from areas with a high Mormon population move here and take it upon themselves to "fix" things that aren't familiar with or feel like they were sent here by God for our benefit and develop a savior complex. It can be very patronizing.
The foolish man built his house upon the sand. The wise man knew that sand is course and rough and it gets everywhere.
How do you feel about sand?
Being active in church while divorced...never thought this would be me.
Married well over 10 years. Married in the Temple.
Wife is abusive. I filed for divorce almost a year ago, and finalized a few months ago. We did marriage counseling for over a year with multiple therapists to fix things, but she didn't care, and didn't see anything wrong with her treatment or behavior (emasculation, gas lighting, flat out insulting, abandoning me in several health crises). During the divorce, I had to fight hard just to get less than half parenting time with my children.
Church is rough, every Sunday. People avoid me like the plague. I try to be pleasant, and welcoming. I attend for myself, not for anyone else, just to make that clear. People that I believed to be my friends, really showed their true colors after I filed. Only one person has remained in contact with me, but many consider him to be a controversial a-hole at church...I've found him to be the most compassionate and understanding of anyone, including my Bishopric.
As a male church member with an abusive ex-spouse, I've found little to no support from my leaders or fellow members, aside from the usual "well, the Lord will forgive you" kind of thing...forgive me for what, exactly?
Any other divorced members, men or women, care to share your experiences? This is a real struggle for me currently. It's not affecting my testimony. In fact, I feel closer to the Lord than I have in my entire life, including my 2 year mission.
Clearly not quite the same thing, but I had similar feelings after breaking up with my fiancee in a student ward. She was my first girlfriend, and way more interested in just being married than being married to me (she was engaged two more times within six months of me breaking up with her).
I eventually realized she didn't treat me like someone who loved me and pulled the plug about a month before we were supposed to get married. She was heartbroken, and cried constantly throughout church. Everyone hated me. They had zero details about our relationship, but since she was crying I was the jerk. I was the executive secretary at the time, and one of the bishopric stopped talking to me altogether. My roommates were the only ones that had seen how terribly she treated me, but everyone else just assumed I was some awful person. It really wore on me.
Only one other person got it. The other counselor in the bishopric had had a very similar experience in his younger days. He told me he knew how rough my situation was, and that it would get easier. Just that little bit of solidarity was a lifeline to me during this time, so I hope someone can provide that to you. People are judgmental and members of the church are no exception. Keep being your best self and people will come around, and if they don't they aren't worth your time anyway. Best of luck to you!
Oh boy howdie! My time to shine!!! So my situation is different from yours in that my wife left me for another guy while trying to claim that wasn't what was happening. There were mixed reactions, but 6 weeks after the divorce when all of the sudden she was married again to someone else and I was still a wreck, most people figured it out.
Here's the weird parts about being a single man in a family ward to me. Some people will just avoid you because they think being single is contagious. Some will think that you are desperate and try to set you up with every temple worthy woman your age. I had a couple of (married) women get too friendly with me and had to put a stop to that. Really it's an everyone acts differently when you are single situation.
After about six months it settles back down and people start to realize that you didn't catch a disease, you got rid of one.
I’m so sorry you’re going through this. Divorce is tough, no matter the reason. Unfortunately, divorce is more stigmatized in the LDS community and I think it’s harder for divorced men.
I’m glad you did what was best for you and you are finding peace. Stay close to your friend who is supporting you. You need more people like that in your life.
people start to realize that you didn't catch a disease, you got rid of one.
My mother-in-law divorced her abusive husband and calls divorce "the second best institution", after marriage. There has to be a way out when things are bad ... and there is. And it's not a sin to leave an abuser, period.
Weird how they left out Jesus Christ every time. Funny skit just thought that was interesting.
I've laughed at tons of SNL and was gearing up to hear done great Mormon humor, but it just wasn't... there. This could have been hilarious but they stuck to the most boring and cliche parts of our stereotype imo
Agreed. Just not a funny SNL skit.
That is pretty common. I've seen that a number of times over the years.
Millennials are between 20 and 35 years old. We don't speak emoji.
We should make a movie about this. "The Emoji Book of Mormon Movie".
That's a nice way to crop out the source of who created it.
On valentines day? Because they realize that it would be unethical to pay inflated prices for flowers and candies when they could give twice as much for the same cost the next day, some for your spouse and some for the poor?
I think it's kind of a tradition to post this video every year on Valentine's Day.
If you haven't checked it out already - I highly recommend Ted Danson's new show The Good Place.
Season 1 is up on Netflix. It's only 13 episodes but it is fantastic
Shameless and naked attempt to get upvotes. Which I gave you, love this clip. Thanks man!
Return With Honor?
I recently came home from my mission early because of medical reasons (I need surgery).
Today a youth from the ward I was serving in where I was sent home from sent me a message asking for advice.
It feels good to know that there were people there who valued my contributions.
I’ll consider it a tender mercy from the Lord.
The idea that anyone who either doesn't go on a mission or returns early is not "honorable" is a horrifically toxic part of Mormon culture. Even as an ex-member I know this is not an official teaching of the church in any way...it's just one of those things that somehow happened.
You sacrificed to go, you made the commitment, and stayed as long as you could. That is absolutely honorable in my book. Good work :)
As an active member (and RM), I agree 100% with this statement. It is so toxic. Whether you were out for 2 years, 6 months or 2 days (or even no mission at all) it doesn’t matter. We do what we can. No one can ask for more than that. Be proud of your mission, however long it was. Don’t let anyone take your mission experience away from you.
Converted in my early 20's. Until my late 20's nearly every member of the ward would stop me "when are you going to serve a mission Brother Mercer" "Have you thought about serving a mission?" "you should probably get to serving your mission"
Hi, I have a job (that I'm still at over a decade later) and debt and belongings and am a convert. I can't sell all of my worldly possessions, pay off my debt, quit my job, and run off to knock on doors for 2 years to come back to no money, no place to live, nothing but the clothes on my back.
They absolutely acted like I was a bad person since I didn't want to sacrifice 2 years of my life, while being brand new to the church. Feh!
And of course, in the singles ward, it was always "where'd you serve your mission" I'm a convert cloud of Road Runner dust where woman talking to you was standing.
I came home early due to illness and I was told by a close friend that it was probably because I was disobedient and the Lord didn't need that. She can suck an egg. As for your mission, you served what the Lord wanted you to serve and you have served honorably. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Welcome home. Heal quickly. :)
Captain Moroni gave armor to his troops before he sent them out to war with the Lamanites.
What has been your spiritual armor is the war against evil? What has been undeniable in being a protection for you? Having felt it's effects. And you thought, I'm sure glad I did this, because if I didn't I would be a wounded soul today.
Having been a wounded soul.
The Atonement is so very real, but I do not want to go back there again.
You only need to touch a hot stove once to know that it hurts.
I think one of the most important lessons I've learned from Captain Moroni's preparations is that you can't wait until you see the Lamanites coming to start building up your defenses, and you shouldn't wait to put on your armor until after you get hit by something.
Similarly, our spiritual defenses need to be prepared well in advance during times when we aren't at battle, and we need to put on our protective armor well before we can be hit by any of Satan's attacks.
internet filters (even if we don't have a problem with pornography)
media rules decided in advance (not just "if it's bad we'll walk out," because then you may have already been "hit")
dating rules regarding physical affection decided in advance (because in the moment, you're not thinking about putting on armor or building up a wall)
heeding the prophet, even when I don't see the same thing he sees (because he's up on a watchtower, and can see the enemy coming when I can't)
Moroni was a popular name in the Nephite culture.
Captain Moroni was a military leader during the war chapters. He is described as a strong and mighty man, well, I’ll just quote:
Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery;
Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people.
Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood.
Mormon, who compiled the records of his people, named his son Moroni, hundreds of years later. This Moroni introduces Joseph Smith to the ancient records hundreds of years after that.
I always do well when I regularly have sufficient and thoughtful scripture study.