Forced Turning Point

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.
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græy
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Forced Turning Point

Post by græy » Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:30 pm

Well, crap.

Our ward's bishop, with whom I was a counselor for just over 3 years, is coming up on his 5-year mark. Speculation about the next bishop has been running wild. About 30 minutes ago I got a text from the stake secretary asking if my wife and I could meet with the Stake President this coming Sunday afternoon.

I feel kind of sick to my stomach about it.

Option 1: The meeting is just a check up for current EQPs and their wives, and nothing will come of it. Is that even a thing? unlikely

Option 2: The meeting is a pre-emptive interview for us to renew our temple recommends. Both of us need to schedule stake interviews, so this is a very remote possibility but ultimately unlikely

Option 3: He has noticed that I haven't paid tithing in more than a year and is calling us in to question where we are. possible

Option 4: He is interviewing candidates for the new bishop. likely

I don't care to continue my activity in the church, but my wife does care about her activity. And she intends on taking the kids with her. My goal is to be involved enough that I don't have to continually fight messaging that I am an unworthy father, or destined to hell for not doing priesthood-y things. This double life may be a bit duplicitous but I don't feel like I need to be any more honest with the church than the church has been with me.

Assuming it is either 3 or 4, I don't see how I come out of this meeting with the ability to still be a part of my family's religious life. I sense that my release as EQP is imminent and my forthcoming lack-of-standing in the church will be common knowledge amongst my best friends who are in the stake presidency, high council, and bishopric.

I don't necessarily want to cross this bridge yet, but I don't see how I can get out of it. Whether I simply say no, get released, or eliminate myself from the running for bishop, all roads end up in the same place. :evil:
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

Wonderment
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Wonderment » Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:02 pm

don't care to continue my activity in the church, but my wife does care about her activity. And she intends on taking the kids with her. My goal is to be involved enough that I don't have to continually fight messaging that I am an unworthy father, or destined to hell for not doing priesthood-y things. This double life may be a bit duplicitous but I don't feel like I need to be any more honest with the church than the church has been with me.

Assuming it is either 3 or 4, I don't see how I come out of this meeting with the ability to still be a part of my family's religious life. I sense that my release as EQP is imminent and my forthcoming lack-of-standing in the church will be common knowledge amongst my best friends who are in the stake presidency, high council, and bishopric.

I don't necessarily want to cross this bridge yet, but I don't see how I can get out of it. Whether I simply say no, get released, or eliminate myself from the running for bishop, all roads end up in the same place.
Is it okay with your wife if you don't accept a calling at this time? You could tell the SP that you are not "spiritually ready" ( or some other vague language) to serve as bishop at this time. Is it possible to tell the SP that you are comfortable with your current level of involvement? ( that's pretty much the truth, yes? )

I always cringe to see church officials try to "pull the covers" off members who just want to quietly remain out of the limelight. I'm hoping this works out well for you -- Please keep us updated. Sending positive thoughts, from Wndr.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Red Ryder » Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:59 pm

Here’s a few options:

Tell him you have a Pr0n problem.

You like to watch insect documentaries and they always lead to mating rituals. Whisper in his ear that the sound of two crickets rubbing their hind legs together makes a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you’re not an Entomologist so it’s probably a sin that you need to get under control before you can lead a congregation to eternal salvation.

Tell him you prefer to lead the ward Choir.

Explain to him that the sound of falsetto warbling in your ear reminds you of the sound two crickets rubbing their hind legs together making a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you’re not a Professional Conductor so it’s probably a sin that you need to get under control before you can lead a congregation to eternal salvation.

Tell him you prefer to be inactive and don’t believe anything the church teaches. Whisper in his ear that you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and that you believe Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon reminds you of the sound two crickets rubbing their hind legs together making a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you're a singing Entomologist studying Nihilistic Buddhism and that you prayed to God for answers to tough mormon questions but only got crickets.

Congrats future Bishop Graey!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

Wonderment
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Wonderment » Fri Mar 26, 2021 8:15 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:59 pm
Here’s a few options:

Tell him you have a Pr0n problem.

You like to watch insect documentaries and they always lead to mating rituals. Whisper in his ear that the sound of two crickets rubbing their hind legs together makes a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you’re not an Entomologist so it’s probably a sin that you need to get under control before you can lead a congregation to eternal salvation.

Tell him you prefer to lead the ward Choir.

Explain to him that the sound of falsetto warbling in your ear reminds you of the sound two crickets rubbing their hind legs together making a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you’re not a Professional Conductor so it’s probably a sin that you need to get under control before you can lead a congregation to eternal salvation.

Tell him you prefer to be inactive and don’t believe anything the church teaches. Whisper in his ear that you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and that you believe Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon reminds you of the sound two crickets rubbing their hind legs together making a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you're a singing Entomologist studying Nihilistic Buddhism and that you prayed to God for answers to tough mormon questions but only got crickets.

Congrats future Bishop Graey!
:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: ! Bwaaa..hhahaha ! This just post just made my entire day. -- Not because I take Graey's dilemma lightly, but because I can just see the bishop's face when a candidate for a calling starts talking about crickets and sin. Hilarious. 8-) - And Graey, please do keep us posted. - Wndr.

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Hagoth
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Hagoth » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:01 pm

"OK, but can I still be a bishop if I think this whole priesthood thing is just make-believe? And if I use tithing settlement as an opportunity to tell everyone just to keep their money for the next year as a Christmas bonus?"

Seriously, I'm sorry you have to be stuck in this tar baby. Good luck!
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

dogbite
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by dogbite » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:13 pm

It's too late for my first suggestion.

Don't accept meetings where you don't know the agenda. This also means your wife can't consent to a meeting on your behalf as a couple without your prior consent.

Just say no. Don't let them dig. Offer no details or explanations. Tell them it's of no ecclesiastical concern and will remain your personal business only.

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Palerider
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Palerider » Fri Mar 26, 2021 9:14 pm

Most SPs when they have made up their mind who they're going to go with as a prospective bishop they really lay on the "you're being called by the Lord" thing. It's a big arm twist to get you to accept.

If they were really inspired, the Lord wouldn't call you in the first place. He knows you well and how you feel about the church.

But as I recall your name has to be submitted to the First Presidency and I think that has to occur before they actually call you. At least that's the way I remember it. Interesting to see how inspired they really are....🤔

Regardless, It would not be fair to your ward members (no matter how misled they may be) to accept the calling of Bishop if you aren't a true believer.

I can't imagine the internal conflict that someone would have to deal with in that situation.

So no matter how big the pressure you might receive from leadership or spouse and family, doesn't the answer have to be "Sorry but no." and then when they make another run at you, "Absolutely, hell no."...???
"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

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græy
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by græy » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:05 pm

Wonderment wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 6:02 pm
Is it okay with your wife if you don't accept a calling at this time? You could tell the SP that you are not "spiritually ready" ( or some other vague language) to serve as bishop at this time. Is it possible to tell the SP that you are comfortable with your current level of involvement? ( that's pretty much the truth, yes? )
You pretty much nailed it Wonderment. I think this will be my strategy going in.
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

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græy
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by græy » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:07 pm

Red Ryder wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 7:59 pm
Here’s a few options:

Tell him you have a Pr0n problem.

You like to watch insect documentaries and they always lead to mating rituals. Whisper in his ear that the sound of two crickets rubbing their hind legs together makes a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you’re not an Entomologist so it’s probably a sin that you need to get under control before you can lead a congregation to eternal salvation.

Tell him you prefer to lead the ward Choir.

Explain to him that the sound of falsetto warbling in your ear reminds you of the sound two crickets rubbing their hind legs together making a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you’re not a Professional Conductor so it’s probably a sin that you need to get under control before you can lead a congregation to eternal salvation.

Tell him you prefer to be inactive and don’t believe anything the church teaches. Whisper in his ear that you’ve gone down the rabbit hole and that you believe Joseph Smith’s translation of the Book of Mormon reminds you of the sound two crickets rubbing their hind legs together making a love song that just turns you on. Remind him that you're a singing Entomologist studying Nihilistic Buddhism and that you prayed to God for answers to tough mormon questions but only got crickets.

Congrats future Bishop Graey!
:D :lol: Oh man, RR! This post just about makes all the anxiety over this meeting worth while! It is after midnight, so maybe I'm just tired, but I can't stop laughing at this!

...only got crickets.
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

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græy
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by græy » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:17 pm

Thanks Hagoth, dogbite, and Palerider.

I'm not really concerned about actually getting called as bishop. As I said, I haven't paid tithing in a long time now. There are at least 4 or 5 other guys who are just as capable and much more faithful (i.e. - they definitely pay their tithing).

What I am concerned about is that once that fact is revealed, I will be released and labeled as "unworthy" to participate in my kids coming-of-age rituals.

I really just want to quietly go through the motions while teaching my children that the're not crazy for recognizing a total lack of BoM evidence as problematic, that it was never okay for Joseph to lie to Emma and the world about how he manipulated and pressured young girls into marrying him, and that modern prophets have no more revelation than our neighbor Jim who is one of the nicest athiests you'll ever meet. I will also take them on service projects with me and teach them that it feels good to help those who are in need.

I would prefer to do all of those things without the church whispering in their ears that I am fallen, lost, damned, or a son of perdition. But I guess in the end, I can't play their game if I don't want to play by their rules. It just really sucks that my family still wants to play.

Quick update, the meeting won't happen until Tuesday night. I'll keep you all posted after that. Thank you all for the encouragement - I would probably have given myself an ulcer years ago if not for you NOM-folk.
Last edited by græy on Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

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wtfluff
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by wtfluff » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:37 pm

Option 5: Your wife is getting a new calling as Stake Funeral Potatoe Specialist™. To fully support her in her new calling, you will be required to taste-test all Funeral Potatoes submitted for after-funeral shenanigans. not a snowball's chance in a volcano


I'll keep praying to no deity whatsoever that it's something not even on the radar, and everything will blow over. The type of angst this type of krap causes should not be possible coming from a giant real-estate corporation. :evil:
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

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moksha
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by moksha » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:36 am

I would love to see a kind and gentle group of people called to the bishopric worldwide. If this group all leave the Church, that will never happen. It will be like Bednars from top to bottom. I am pulling for Graey to inherit part of the mantle.


BTW, funeral potatoes are greatly improved if you use a combo of mozzarella and Monterey Jack cheese. Your arteries will appreciate the mozzarella.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Culper Jr.
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Culper Jr. » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:14 am

græy wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:17 pm
What I am concerned about is that once that fact is revealed, I will be released and labeled as "unworthy" to participate in my kids coming-of-age rituals.
Yeah, that sucks, I walked that line for years. I would reach an understanding with one bishop and then they'd change and I'd have to go through the entire thing again with another bishop. With bishop roulette, you never know who you're going to get.

I figured out that most leaders don't want to deal with these faith issues, so as long as I didn't articulate my lack of faith they wouldn't press me on it. I kept up this sort of vague hostility and would deflect the few times they tried to ask. Like once the bishop did ask how my testimony was, and I just said, "private" with sort of an irritated glare, and he just said, "okay, fair enough" and moved on. As long as I didn't actively cause any problems, they let me do whatever ordinances I wanted. They really don't want to deal with it. But on the other hand, they don't want to call me to anything important either, which is good. They want "church broke" style compliance in leadership, and if you put any kind of edge to it they will call someone else. To make sure, I wore a blue shirt and had a beard. But it was a neatly trimmed beard, and I wore a tie with the blue shirt so they are all confused as to where I'm at.

Good luck, I know how stressful this is and I really hope it all works out for you.

Blashyrkh
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Blashyrkh » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:13 am

The most powerful word in the English language is "No." I feel for your position with the wife and kids. I was in the same position. The church always felt like this huge weight on my shoulders which I don't believe God intended it to be. I finally just had to be honest and say no to callings. I believe that the anxiety over saying no was much worse than the actual outcome. The wife was a little upset at first but over time she has come to accept my distaste for the church. Its a tough choice to have to decide between your family and yourself but life is miserable when you are living as something you don't want to live as. Good luck.

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2bizE
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by 2bizE » Sat Mar 27, 2021 1:47 pm

I feel like I am going to face a similar situation shortly. I just don’t want to be Mormon anymore, but family hinders me leaving. I think the easiest way to handle this is to decline meeting in the beginning. I am going to claim that callings in the church have negatively affected my mental health and I’m not looking for a calling at the moment.
~2bizE

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Journey
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Journey » Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:14 pm

Can you just botch the interview?

I understand you don’t want the let the SP in on how you really feel so just don’t tell him anything about that. You might know him and have an idea what to say to make yourself an undesirable candidate. Just like you would if you were interviewing for a job you’re hoping not to get.

No need to go doctrinal as to make your wife uncomfortable if you were to say how you’d like to have the YW pass the bread and water and not just the towels ;)
Could you tell him how excited you are for the opportunity and how you’re looking forward to spending all the money on all the needy people in the ward and even looking at community needs so you’ll be talking to him every week about increasing the budget. Or be very apathetic about all of it and non-committal about whatever his agendas are so he knows nothing will get done and you’d let everything just go by you and you won’t care about any kind of pressure, you’re just unmoving.

Whichever way you think it would work better for you, your wife and the SP. Let them all know that it would just not be a good fit.

Either way, good luck and hang in there!

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Just This Guy
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Just This Guy » Sat Mar 27, 2021 4:20 pm

græy wrote:
Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:17 pm
Quick update, the meeting won't happen until Tuesday night.

You can always tell them that you can discuss this over coffee. Tell them that you can meet at your favorite local coffee shop to share latte's.
"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

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Corsair
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Corsair » Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:38 pm

My dear Graey, let me offer a sliver of hope in your concern. My brother-in-law is a good friend and has told me a few relatively unknown details about the process of choosing bishops. Names of bishop candidates are submitted to the office of the First Presidency for a background check. This does apparently include a check on your payment of tithes, but do not fear.

The Office of the FP will simply give a simply thumbs up or thumbs down on the candidate and not provide any detail. Your stake president normally should not know whey the FP declined to give their approval of your advancement into being a Judge in Israel. Being a counselor does not require the same background check.

I do not know if this is good news or bad news for you, but at least I hope you can use this to better prepare for the options ahead of you.

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græy
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by græy » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:28 am

Journey wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:14 pm
Can you just botch the interview?

I understand you don’t want the let the SP in on how you really feel so just don’t tell him anything about that. You might know him and have an idea what to say to make yourself an undesirable candidate. Just like you would if you were interviewing for a job you’re hoping not to get.
I'm pretty sure I'll have to do something like this. Be cordial, but not impressive. That actually comes pretty naturally for me, so no worries. ;)
Corsair wrote:
Sat Mar 27, 2021 9:38 pm
My dear Graey, let me offer a sliver of hope in your concern. My brother-in-law is a good friend and has told me a few relatively unknown details about the process of choosing bishops. Names of bishop candidates are submitted to the office of the First Presidency for a background check. This does apparently include a check on your payment of tithes, but do not fear.

The Office of the FP will simply give a simply thumbs up or thumbs down on the candidate and not provide any detail. Your stake president normally should not know whey the FP declined to give their approval of your advancement into being a Judge in Israel. Being a counselor does not require the same background check.

I do not know if this is good news or bad news for you, but at least I hope you can use this to better prepare for the options ahead of you.
That actually is very helpful Corsair. I knew that tithing checks were standard practice prior to being called as a bishop, but I don't know at what level those checks take place. This is good information, thank 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

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jfro18
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by jfro18 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:37 am

This is a tough one - I know of people who just turn down callings by saying they don't feel like they are the right person, but like you said that then will mark you with that stigma even if you don't go into details.

I've also heard some people say that they will turn down a calling like Bishop by saying they don't have a belief in the literal history of the BoM even though they find value in it, so they wouldn't feel honest as a Bishop telling the ward things they don't believe are literal. That seems to put them in a spot where they don't want to put you in that spot, but they also know that there's value in you being there still.

It's an impossible situation to balance church, family, and community when you no longer belief, so all I can say is do what you think is best and I wish you luck :)

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