Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
User avatar
græy
Posts: 590
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Location: Central TX

Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by græy » Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:10 am

Again, long. Sorry, this is more-or-less my journal these days.

So, our ward's EQP just moved. He was really a good guy. He grew up engaged in theater and continued to act/sing on stage while he completed a degree in political science. He somehow held a very orthodox religious worldview while somehow maintaining very liberal political standpoint. To me, that seems like a powerful recipe for cognitive dissonance, but if he felt it, he hid it well.

Being in the bishopric I knew about the pending move months in advance. And as a bishopric we compiled a short list of people we recommended to the to SP to replace this man as EQP. We sent in the names more than a month ago... and heard nothing. Yesterday we had a Sunday with no EQP. No big deal, the old counselors took charge and things ran without a hiccup, but our BP was concerned enough to text the SP and ask what was going on. Over that past 3 years as BP counselor I have safely sat back and watched the changes, these callings, go out, somewhat entertained by the drama they inevitably cause, and this one was no different.

After church I had several interviews, and visited a family who had just returned home from the hospital that afternoon before finally getting home around 2:30pm. I had no sooner loosened my tie than a call came from our SP 2nd counselor. He and I have been friends for years and he occasionally calls for non-church things, or even relatively simple church questions (phone calls, look up info, etc.) so I thought nothing about answer the call. But as soon as I picked up and addressed me as "Brother græy" and asked if he could come visit with my wife and I. :shock:

Within 30 minutes of the phone call he had come over, assessed my worthiness (he asked one question - "Do you have a temple recommend?"), asked DW and I both to talk about our relationship, and then explained that the SP had received revelation that despite our recommendations, I was the next EQP for our ward.

I just sat there, stunned. I was supposed to be "safe" from this kind of thing. Bishopric members are off limits for this stuff, aren't they!?

He asked if I would accept that calling, and I had to sit and think for a minute. I wanted to say no. I wanted to tell him that I do not have the testimony, faith, motivation, or any other qualification to fulfill something like this. But I couldn't. If I said no, I'd have to explain. If I opened up right there, it would likely mean being released from my current calling anyway, and possibly with little to no say over the narrative. I tried to find a way out. I stalled by asking him (almost as a joke) if he had cleared this with our BP.

And then I looked at my wife.

She was silently staring at the floor and almost, I thought, on the verge of tears. I couldn't do it to her.

I hesitantly said I could accept the calling.

SP2 smiled and told me to pick my counselors. I need to get him names by Tuesday night. We joked again about the possibility of calling BP as my counselor. He told me not to think of this as a demotion. Getting the right person into the calling was the highest priority for SP and he "knew" it was me. That wasn't comforting.

I consider myself to be very loyal; probably loyal to a fault. One part of me feels like I'm leaving my team in bishopric. Another small part of me is elated to be done asking people to speak in sacrament and extend callings. But mostly I feel numb. I'm not nervous. I do feel inadequate, but not in the way your supposed to feel inadequate. Only that I won't ever recommend people go to the temple, or pay tithing. I can't stand most of the GC talks that are used almost exclusively as EQ lessons. I don't believe JS was a prophet like we generally talk about him at church. Brigham Young was even worse. While I can accept that most church leaders have been genuine and done the best they could with what they had, I don't think they were prophets, seers, or revelators, in any sense of the word.

I don't think I am capable of teaching or testifying in the way they expect. I told DW as much and she only replied she thinks this calling could be "good for me." She tried to explain that I could reach out to those that are struggling with similar questions. But I think she is hoping that in doing so, my own issues will eventually be resolved.

So here I am. Almost 24 hours later. Not really sad to leave the bishopric. Not excited at all to be in EQ. I feel, nothing.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

User avatar
Not Buying It
Posts: 994
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 12:29 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Not Buying It » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:29 am

Having accepted many callings myself because of my wife, you truly have my sympathy. There is little I can give in the way of comfort, other than the suggestion to do everything half-baked. When I was Elder's Quorum president I was there for each and every move and service project, but I never did PPIs because I despised them, I NOMed up lessons to the full extent I could and ignored the lesson manuals when I felt like it, never guilted anyone about home teaching, and more or less figured that while I had to take the calling to keep my wife happy, they really couldn't make me do it any way I didn't want to.

After all, if you do it on your own terms, what are they going to do? Give you a stern talking to? Release you? So what if you don't do it exactly the way they want? In my case, after pretty much doing it the way I felt like doing it (at the time I worked two jobs and had young children, mind you, so it was never reasonable to expect me to do all their stupid crap anyway), they released me after 18 months. I've told this story before, but when the counselor in the stake presidency released me, he said something about "You don't know why you are being released, do you?" And you know what? He never said why and I couldn't care less. I was just glad to have the hellish experience over with. If that was his way of trying to make me feel bad, it failed spectacularly. Remember - the Church will waste your time, take you away from your family, and never think twice about it. Don't feel bad about not doing their stupid busy work.

Maybe you have to do this for your wife - but you don't have to do all of their meaningless crap. What are they going to do, fire you?
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2204
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by wtfluff » Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:49 am

Congratulations græy! (Yes, the preceding statement is a JOKE.)

Hopefully EQP will be a step down as far as stress levels are concerned.

And I also agree with NBI: Do it on your terms. Also: Delegate, delegate, delegate... And then: Delegate some more.


P.S. Any other NOMs who could end up in this sort of position in the future, practice this reply over and over and over: "I'll need to pray about it." Then give yourself plenty of time to get that "NO" answer to pass a long. :mrgreen:
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

User avatar
RubinHighlander
Posts: 1439
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:20 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by RubinHighlander » Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:23 pm

Ug...I've pulled two tours of EQP duty in my past TBM life. As you have pointed out, I think getting out of the BR is at least less intrusive into peoples lives, having to do the temple interviews, ask folks to talk in SM and doing the conducting. You can choose to run your quorum with some liberties, perhaps stick mostly to the physical needs and practical life skills and service things, less on the spiritual testimony things. It might be refreshing for those guys to not get the doctrinal hammer smacked down on them every week. Maybe even dig out the Faith Crisis Report and figure out ways for your ministers to better approach less actives without the "fix you" attitude and "you must have been offended assumptions.

Good luck and keep us posted!
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1452
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Palerider » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:01 pm

I'm betting your wife is a wonderful person. So many Mormons are. The majority are really good people.

I just don't get why she would think that living a lie is what's best for you. She probably doesn't even realize she's doing it.

My guess is that most women really don't want to suffer the embarrassment or church shaming that comes with having an unbelieving spouse. I think they really crave that sense of belonging that comes from being "all in". Community is so much more important to women than it is to men.
Not that it isn't important to men, but seems moreso for women.

Or maybe I'm way off on this. Maybe she's looking at it totally from a "Wish he'd find his way back to Christ again" point of view. But isn't wanting you to live a lie something that Christ would not prefer?

A counselor friend of mine once said that most people's pain comes from being "self-conflicted". Living in such a way that is different than what you actually believe in your heart is right. Creates all kinds of problems including harvesting the fruits of seeds you didn't really want to plant.

Rambling thoughts here more than anything really constructive.

I can only hope for the best for you and your family. It's a tough thing to go through. All my sympathies. :|
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

User avatar
Random
Posts: 929
Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:44 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Random » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:08 pm

Not Buying It wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:29 am
When I was Elder's Quorum president I was there for each and every move and service project, but I never did PPIs because I despised them, I NOMed up lessons to the full extent I could and ignored the lesson manuals when I felt like it, never guilted anyone about home teaching, and more or less figured that while I had to take the calling to keep my wife happy, they really couldn't make me do it any way I didn't want to.
This is great advice! Doing a calling without the stress and guilt that often follows a calling sounds great to me!
There are 2 Gods. One who created us. The other you created. The God you made up is just like you-thrives on flattery-makes you live in fear.

Believe in the God who created us. And the God you created should be abolished.
PK

User avatar
FiveFingerMnemonic
Posts: 1282
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:56 pm

First time saying no is the hardest, after which they eventually stop asking.

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 2204
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by wtfluff » Mon Aug 19, 2019 2:15 pm

Palerider wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:01 pm
I just don't get why she would think that living a lie is what's best for you. She probably doesn't even realize she's doing it.


For me this seems pretty easy to explain:
Boyd F. Packer wrote:Oh, if I could teach you this one principle: a testimony is to be found in the bearing of it!
(Emphasis added by Fluffy.)

This sort of lying - to oneself and to others - is literally built in to the system. (Edit: And encouraged.)

Sorry for the tangent; Back to the tread/topic at hand...
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

Brilliant.

User avatar
2bizE
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 9:33 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by 2bizE » Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:49 pm

I think the stupor of thought you have is because you were probably hoping to finish your BP counselor job and then check out. Now you’ve got another few years.
Some ideas:
Teach lessons from the gospel topics essays.
Hold monthly open meetings to discuss doubts and other problems most people are afraid to address.
Plan ways for people to do ministering as humans not robots. Concentrating on real needs and services not spiritual stuff and tithing. Try to be as unorthodox as possible.
Hold an Amway or doterra party. Just kidding.
~2bizE

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 433
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by nibbler » Mon Aug 19, 2019 5:01 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:56 pm
First time saying no is the hardest, after which they eventually stop asking.
Can vouch. I turned completely invisible after my second no. It's a wonder people don't run into me in the hallways.

I like Not Buying It's advice. It's how I survived being the WML post FC. Not internalizing the guilt from people higher up the chain and not passing the guilt onto others. "The guilt stops here."

Then, like I said above, I politely declined a few things and ceased to exist.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

Blashyrkh
Posts: 95
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Blashyrkh » Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:36 am

The most powerful words in the LDS world are "No thank you."

User avatar
Advocate
Posts: 64
Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 10:14 am

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Advocate » Tue Aug 20, 2019 5:45 am

Wow. Graey, I feel like you and I (and probably a lot of people on this board) are similar. Loyal, helpful, concerned about spouse, willing to sacrifice for others. As more and more members leave or decline callings, it makes people like us ripe pickings for heavy callings.

If there was ever a question about church leaders receiving inspiration your post stands as a testimony that they do not. How could someone with the conclusions you have reached be called to a leadership position? I think this is a major issue why TBM spouses feel so badly when these callings are extended. They can't help but see that church leaders (even your stake president) have no inspiration, and that hurts them because it isn't what they were taught to believe.

One nice thing about your new calling is that you have "keys" so you have a lot more leeway to do as you see fit. Just remember, if anyone questions or challenges one of your decisions, the best response starts with "I felt inspired..."

User avatar
Red Ryder
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:33 am

Congrats!

You’ll be great at it and actually be a breath of fresh air. Do it your way until they decide they don’t want you to.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

Anon70
Posts: 564
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:56 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Anon70 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:25 am

I feel for you!! I agree with previous posts about doing it your way. I’ve been in an unwanted stake calling for over a year now (mainly for my spouse’s feelings). And I don’t even try to act like a TBM. I am vocal in my opposition about activities I don’t agree with (trek) and I give talks I feel like giving (I say my talk is on so&so’s GC talk but then I never reference it again). And somehow I’m a “beloved stake leader”. So just do it your way. I don’t know if they’re not paying attention or if they need more NOMers like us in leadership but so far I haven’t had to trade in my integrity too much. Just a few white lies in the TR interview. Good luck!!

User avatar
Just This Guy
Posts: 930
Joined: Fri Oct 21, 2016 3:30 pm
Location: Almost Heaven

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Just This Guy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:58 am

Anon70 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 12:25 am
I feel for you!! I agree with previous posts about doing it your way. I’ve been in an unwanted stake calling for over a year now (mainly for my spouse’s feelings). And I don’t even try to act like a TBM. I am vocal in my opposition about activities I don’t agree with (trek) and I give talks I feel like giving (I say my talk is on so&so’s GC talk but then I never reference it again). And somehow I’m a “beloved stake leader”. So just do it your way.

People who are truly open about their thoughts and feelings a very rare in Mormon circles. Most people will hide their true feelings to conform with the corporate expectations. Because of this, when we have someone who is not afraid to be more authentic, they stand out. TBMs may find them uncomfortable because they don't tow the line like they think they should, but more moderate members tend to look up to them because they are more interesting than the average TBM for the simple fact they are more genuine and authentic.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

User avatar
crossmyheart
Posts: 350
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:02 am
Location: Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by crossmyheart » Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:56 am

wtfluff wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:49 am
And I also agree with NBI: Do it on your terms. Also: Delegate, delegate, delegate... And then: Delegate some more.
This was going to be my advice- I was in YW presidency back in the day when I was starting to fall away. I learned to just delegate everything. If I didn't want to go to an activity, I talked a parent into going in my place. I brought in guest instructors to teach topics that made me ill (flattery will get you everywhere). When the president wasn't looking, I taught class my way and started teaching the girls about birth control and the option to NOT get married young. Wasn't long before I was let go...

User avatar
MoPag
Posts: 1925
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 2:05 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by MoPag » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:16 am

Don't worry, you've got this!

You can use this handy list when choosing your GC talks for lessons:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4195&p=58264&hilit=NOMfrence#p57620

Also if things get out of hand during a lesson, just bring up baptismal covenants. Tell them we need to get back to basics and remember that we all covenanted to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those in need of comfort and bear one another's burdens.

As for the challenges you will face, let me use my priestess-hood to set you apart and give you a MoPag-stolic blessing:

I bless you that you will totally kick a$$ at your calling. I bless you that you will find joy in taking back your power by doing things your way. I bless you that you will always remember that you have a NOM ward family here who are ready to help you! -Amen!
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

User avatar
græy
Posts: 590
Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2016 2:52 pm
Location: Central TX

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by græy » Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:50 am

MoPag wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:16 am
Don't worry, you've got this!

You can use this handy list when choosing your GC talks for lessons:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4195&p=58264&hilit=NOMfrence#p57620

Also if things get out of hand during a lesson, just bring up baptismal covenants. Tell them we need to get back to basics and remember that we all covenanted to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those in need of comfort and bear one another's burdens.

As for the challenges you will face, let me use my priestess-hood to set you apart and give you a MoPag-stolic blessing:

I bless you that you will totally kick a$$ at your calling. I bless you that you will find joy in taking back your power by doing things your way. I bless you that you will always remember that you have a NOM ward family here who are ready to help you! -Amen!
MoPag, that was quite possibly the perfect response. This weekend, while I'm sitting in a chair with some dudes hands on my head I'll remember the words of your blessing. Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has responded! This community is a life-line for those of us without anyone to really talk to IRL. I appreciate the support, positive encouragement, and advice. Thank you, all of you!
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

User avatar
Red Ryder
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Aug 21, 2019 10:35 am

MoPag wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 7:16 am
Don't worry, you've got this!

You can use this handy list when choosing your GC talks for lessons:

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4195&p=58264&hilit=NOMfrence#p57620

Also if things get out of hand during a lesson, just bring up baptismal covenants. Tell them we need to get back to basics and remember that we all covenanted to mourn with those that mourn, comfort those in need of comfort and bear one another's burdens.

As for the challenges you will face, let me use my priestess-hood to set you apart and give you a MoPag-stolic blessing:

I bless you that you will totally kick a$$ at your calling. I bless you that you will find joy in taking back your power by doing things your way. I bless you that you will always remember that you have a NOM ward family here who are ready to help you! -Amen!
I want a MoPag-stolic blessing!

Do I have to have a calling though?
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

User avatar
Linked
Posts: 978
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 4:04 pm

Re: Bishopric -> EQP: And I feel.... numb.

Post by Linked » Wed Aug 21, 2019 3:48 pm

Good luck as EQP Graey! They are lucky to have you, even if it is just for your DW.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests