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The hits keep coming

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 6:41 am
by sparky
Not sure if I'm asking for advice or just need a place to collect my thoughts with people who understand.

My wife and I have been released from our primary teaching calling. For a few glorious seconds, I was free of any obligation to the church.

But they can't let anyone not feel obligated for too long, so of course the next words out of the counselor's mouth were to extend a calling for DW to be gospel f'ing doctrine teachers together.

Luckily we have an agreement that we do not agree to things before discussing with each other, so we told him we'd discuss it and get back to him.

Long story short, this calling is at the bottom of the list for both DW and myself, for different reasons. She hates teaching groups older than like 10 years old, and has dreaded being given this calling for a long time. She doesn't like preparing lessons or talks, it's just not her thing. For my part, I have no interest in trying to twist the CFM curriculum into humanist lessons that I can stomach. I did that at the start of my faith crisis years ago, I don't want to do it again. After discussing, DW decided she'd be willing to accept it under two conditions: that we teach only once per month instead of twice as they expected, and that we can opt out at any time if it becomes too much to handle (obviously you can always do this as callings are non-contractual volunteer positions).

I've made it clear to DW that I do not feel comfortable participating in many aspects of the church, and this would be a major challenge for me, but that I am willing to shoulder that discomfort however she needs me to support her. So if she wants to accept, I'm willing to at least give it a try, again with the stipulation that I can back out if I need to.

At first it seemed obvious that we should turn it down, then she would have a chance at a different calling that she'd enjoy better, but after thinking for a day she has convinced herself it won't be "too horrible" (her words, not mine, IMO this is a pretty low bar for religious participation, but that's Mormonism for you), and there actually are other callings she wouldn't be happy with. So it's become a devil-you-know situation.

I'm just trying to calibrate my support for her versus my own needs. I know that marriage requires compromise from both people, but where is that line for me? We're kind of new to talking about my disaffection openly, so I don't want to go full bore and completely drop out of all things church as I would if I were just an unmarried single guy. I've accepted that she just experiences church differently and will likely always be an active member. So at what point do I put my foot down and say, I'm happy to support you, but that's your thing and I don't want to contribute?

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 8:49 am
by FiveFingerMnemonic
The first time saying no is the hardest. Then all the angst and hand wringing eventually goes away.

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 11:31 am
by Linked
sparky wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 6:41 am
For a few glorious seconds, I was free of any obligation to the church.
That must have been a wonderful moment, too bad he had to ruin it!

It really sucks when the healthy boundary you need between you and the church is impossible to erect without putting up a giant boundary between you and your DW. I've definitely been there and it is no fun.

It sounds like your DW, like many TBMs, is quite determined to find a way to say yes to anything asked of them by a church leader. Her reaction was a clear signal that this calling is not for her, but her training kicked in and she found ways to talk herself, and you, into it.

I think the once a month thing is great, any pushback you guys give against doing whatever you are told is a step in the right direction. Have you considered accepting together, and then you never teach? You are doing the calling together, you go to support her, but since this is her thing you just never take a turn teaching. That might be a middle road between supporting your DW and taking care of yourself.

"Not too horrible" should be on all the "Visitors Welcome" signs on the chapels.

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2022 12:51 pm
by sparky
Linked wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 11:31 am

I think the once a month thing is great, any pushback you guys give against doing whatever you are told is a step in the right direction. Have you considered accepting together, and then you never teach? You are doing the calling together, you go to support her, but since this is her thing you just never take a turn teaching. That might be a middle road between supporting your DW and taking care of yourself.

"Not too horrible" should be on all the "Visitors Welcome" signs on the chapels.
The problem is she REALLY doesn't like teaching gospel stuff to adults. Not the gospel stuff itself, just the teaching of it. She feels like she's just not good at talking about it, never knows what to say. She said outright that if they were asking her alone, she would almost certainly turn it down, so she would depend on me heavily for both lesson prep and delivery. I'm the opposite; I don't mind teaching itself, just the actual content of the lessons.

So ironically the only reason she'll accept (which she wants to do on principle) is because of me, and the only reason I would accept (which I don't want to do, on principle) is because of her. It feels so upside down.

Just wish they'd offered her an individual calling in the first place. Then I'd be free to turn down whatever they gave me; even if that disappointed her at least it wouldn't affect her calling/standing.

I'll most likely do it at least for a while as a show of good faith. At least I've laid the groundwork for opting out if/when it's too much. Who knows, maybe having to think in depth about the doctrine will make her realize she doesn't really believe it.

And I totally agree about the welcome sign! :lol:

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 6:00 am
by Red Ryder
Why not just say no?

You’re going to be wearing a rather large plastic bag over your head and each time you teach you’ll be sucking that precious oxygen out of the bag one careful word at a time. In a few weeks or months you’ll start to recognize an undesirable fatigue, a sluggish slog in your nog, a heavy burden on your heart, mind, and soul.

You’ll half ass it. She’ll stress out the whole week before the lesson. Your marital balance will be disrupted. You’ll be miserable. She’ll be miserable and blame you.

Save yourself the brain damage. Blue pill or red?

Blue Pill: suffocation by correlation; emotional discomfort; nausea, word vomiting, and monthly gastrointestinal fortitude one bad lesson manual episode at a time.

Red Pill: nope, nada, zip, sorry, no enchilada!

Practice a few of these lines and say them loud and clear with direct eye contact. Don’t quiver. Don’t flinch. Don’t give them an inch. Hell Send a text if needed.

“Sorry, but this calling just isn’t right for us right now.”

“We prayed about it and think it’s not the right time.”

“No thank you”

“No”

They’ll find the next couple on their list and I’m sure you’ll enjoy their teaching style.

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Wed Aug 24, 2022 9:43 am
by Fifi de la Vergne
Everything Red Ryder said. This is not a good fit for you or for you wife, and once you get past the discomfort of refusing (it'll happen faster than you think) you'll both be much happier.

Teaching gospel doctrine is one of the worst callings I can think of as a PIMO member.

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2022 8:45 am
by Just This Guy
You Wife really doesn't want to do it. So it sounds like the best thing is to respect her wishes and say no.

Say you are out sick one week. She wouldn't want to be the one covering for you.

The other option is to tell the bishopric that you are willing to teach the class on condition that the first lesions you teach will be the essays. You will ready and discuss each one in class.

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2022 3:38 pm
by Hagoth
Linked wrote:
Tue Aug 23, 2022 11:31 am
"Not too horrible" should be on all the "Visitors Welcome" signs on the chapels.
Hilarious!

Here's an idea. Teach a Good Cop/Bad Cop version of the lesson. The critic and the apologist.

Seriously, I really hope you get this worked out without too much unnecessary pain, Sparky!

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2022 9:46 am
by sparky
Small update to what I'm sure is an edge-of-your-seat saga. We talked to the BP member in charge of this task, told him we'd discussed it and that twice a month would be too much for us but we'd be willing to try once a month. He said he'd talk to the men up the hierarchy and see if that'd work out. So we are waiting on pins and needles for our fate.

Here's hoping they are just completely taken aback by us taking some control and setting the terms and they don't know what to do for the next few weeks/months 🤞

Re: The hits keep coming

Posted: Thu Sep 01, 2022 12:19 pm
by Linked
sparky wrote:
Thu Sep 01, 2022 9:46 am
Small update to what I'm sure is an edge-of-your-seat saga. We talked to the BP member in charge of this task, told him we'd discussed it and that twice a month would be too much for us but we'd be willing to try once a month. He said he'd talk to the men up the hierarchy and see if that'd work out. So we are waiting on pins and needles for our fate.

Here's hoping they are just completely taken aback by us taking some control and setting the terms and they don't know what to do for the next few weeks/months 🤞
Way to assert your boundaries together! Let us know what the response is.