Reconsidering participation in ministering

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sparky
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Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by sparky » Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:32 am

I am considering opting out of ministering, but want to talk through it with my fellow NOMs.

I haven't been actively doing much ministering for a long time; there's one guy I'm assigned to who I've talked to and helped out with this or that on occasion. Nice guy, we're not close friends or anything but it's always good to have acquaintances in the area. This is the lone benefit of the program IMO.

But they've shaken up assignments recently and my new companion seems pretty keen on fulfilling the assignment. I'm happy to be there to help out people in need, but at this point in my growth I feel like I'd be doing it under false pretenses. I wouldn't be there to build anyone's testimony or give priesthood blessings and whatnot, and I'm definitely not interested in old school home teaching visits+ spiritual messages. I just want to be a normal human. It feels unfair to them if they are expecting a dedicated "priesthood holder", and unfair to me to have to put up the pretense of such. And also unfair to my comp if he wants a partner who actually sincerely believes in God much less Mormonism.

So I guess I'm answering my own question. This isn't for me, and the kind, honest, mature thing to do is communicate that and stop acquiescing to things I'm not on board with. I'm slowly learning to do that.
Last edited by sparky on Mon Oct 24, 2022 11:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Linked
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Re: Help reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Linked » Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:48 am

Opting out of ministering sounds like a good option.

You could instead request a family and companion of your choice if you would like to continue visiting the guy you mentioned.
"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

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stealthbishop
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by stealthbishop » Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:01 pm

I just don't think it works for a lot of people. Sounds like overall it isn't meeting your needs. It's not helping you or anyone else other than the example you gave. It may be time to let go of something that is spiritually or emotionally wasteful. May your spiritual bowels be blessed to retain that which is valuable and nourishing for you in life and to let go of that which is wasteful. May the Force be with you!
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Put me to the test
Things on your chest
You need to confess"

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Red Ryder
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Red Ryder » Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:14 pm

From my TBM perspective, the best home teachers/ministering persons did this:






(Nothing)
Everyone is too busy to truly care if they were visited by another member of the choir.
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Hagoth
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Re: Help reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Hagoth » Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:35 pm

Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:48 am
Opting out of ministering sounds like a good option.

You could instead request a family and companion of your choice if you would like to continue visiting the guy you mentioned.
That's what I do. I tell them I will minister the same two families that I have ministered since I was active, many years ago. I tell them my companion is my wife. I tell them those are my conditions. If they want to reassign families they can take my name off the list.

Our ministering consists of dropping off fresh-backed bread or snacks and sometimes having a neighborly chat. Religion never enters the equation. Mrs. Hagoth is a great baker, so they are always very happy to see us.
“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."

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Help reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:01 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:35 pm
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:48 am
Opting out of ministering sounds like a good option.

You could instead request a family and companion of your choice if you would like to continue visiting the guy you mentioned.
That's what I do. I tell them I will minister the same two families that I have ministered since I was active, many years ago. I tell them my companion is my wife. I tell them those are my conditions. If they want to reassign families they can take my name off the list.

Our ministering consists of dropping off fresh-backed bread or snacks and sometimes having a neighborly chat. Religion never enters the equation. Mrs. Hagoth is a great baker, so they are always very happy to see us.
100% this. I suspect as Mormons, we are so used to being told what to do, that we don't take the initiative and say, "I'll do it, but I'll only do it this way." That's a perfect way to attack this. I did whatever the EQ said for years, until a few years ago when I had a similar Hagoth/Linked-like epiphany. So now my companion is Sis M, and she can do all the religious stuff in ministering she wants to, for however long she wants to. We have some elderly single sisters to look after, and I'll help drive them places, fix things, and do all the "home teacher" work that these women need. But I'm not going over to talk about the religious nuttery that is Mormonism. At all. So as long as everybody is good with this, including Sis M, I'll do it. But like Hagoth, the minute that changes, they try to give me a companion and a family of less-actives to try and reconvert, yep, I'm done.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
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sparky
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Re: Help reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by sparky » Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:08 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:35 pm
Our ministering consists of dropping off fresh-backed bread or snacks and sometimes having a neighborly chat. Religion never enters the equation. Mrs. Hagoth is a great baker, so they are always very happy to see us.
Why, if I didn't know any better I'd say that's a bona fide normal person friendship, no church needed!

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wtfluff
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by wtfluff » Mon Oct 24, 2022 4:47 pm

The last time I had any sort of Home Teaching interaction, it was still "Home Teaching." I had been done attending for a while, and I think they had just divided "the ward" again, and there was a new EQ president. Mr Prez showed up on my doorstep, introduced himself and handed me the little sheet of paper with names, telling me he and I were "companions." I simply replied "OK, let me know" and that was the end of the interaction. I likely walked straight to the shredder with the paper, and I never heard a peep from Mr. Prez. again, so my last Home Teaching "assignment" turned out perfect.

I vowed at that point that if anyone contacted me again about that broken, useless program, I would be my blunt self and reply: Look, you and I both know that this isn't going to happen. If you want me on your list, put me down for "these" two families. I will keep in touch with them (drink a mild barley drink with them now and then) and I will "let you know " if they need anything from the cult... Uh, I mean the Corporation™.

I didn't know that this was the Hagoth/MorMorissey Ministering Method at the time, but I will use that official branding in the future.
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lostinmiddlemormonism
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by lostinmiddlemormonism » Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:50 am

I've been thinking about this topic since I read it this morning. I am probably one of the most cynical individuals with relation to ministering/home teaching. Usually, I am with Red Ryder that the best thing to do with it is....nothing! But on further reflection, I'm not sure that is accurate.

I think that this program could be good for all concerned: the ministered to, the ministering individual, the local leadership, and the church generally IF it was approached with honesty and no ulterior motives. If for example an individual was approached by local leadership and was asked, "Would you like to have ministering visits?" If no, then leave that individual or family alone. If yes, then follow up with questions like, "how frequently?" and "what would you like those visits to be like: spiritual message, help with physical needs, friendship and belonging, something else, some mix of the above?"

AND if potential ministers/visitors were asked similar questions and an effort was made to actually match needs, desires, and abilities together...then they might have something.

The problem is that the expectations, desires and realities are world's apart. On one hand you have some people that just want to be left the hell alone and they have Peter Priesthood knocking on their door every other week. On the other, you have people who could benefit from a friendly visit just to check in and let them know someone cares who never gets seen at all. In all cases this leads to dissatisfaction on both the part of the visitor and the visited.

Just ask what people actually want and need, and then match them with others who are able and willing to deliver on that need.

-lost

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sparky
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by sparky » Tue Oct 25, 2022 8:16 am

lostinmiddlemormonism wrote:
Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:50 am
The problem is that the expectations, desires and realities are world's apart.
You've just described Mormonism in a concise sentence, bravo!

But seriously, what you've described sounds like a great program. But what you're describing isn't the ministering program. Maybe it could be if the church wanted it to be that way. Just like so many things in the church, when you describe what could be, it sounds amazing, but unfortunately, even with nearly limitless resources the church still is what it is.

So more and more I'm deciding that I need to live life and make decisions on who I actually am and what the church actually is. I wish the church were a place where diverse viewpoints were welcomed and could be shared openly, but it's not. It's an organization for believers to support each others' beliefs, which I do not share, so it's dishonest of me to put up that facade.

stuck
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by stuck » Tue Oct 25, 2022 9:29 am

lostinmiddlemormonism wrote:
Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:50 am


Just ask what people actually want and need, and then match them with others who are able and willing to deliver on that need.

-lost
That's a great idea lost!

Sparky,

I told my EQP that I was no longer interested in ministering. Unfortunately, that led to him having breakfast with me and me telling him that I no longer believe in the church. So maybe anticipate that. I guess it's not horrible and I think it's good to let others know where you stand, but there will be some fallout. But in a way, it's like we are "pioneers of truth" in our family's and our ward member's lives--fighting the good fight :)

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Hagoth
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Hagoth » Tue Oct 25, 2022 10:41 am

I think if they made a rule about ministering that you can't talk about religion or politics everyone would like it more.
“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."

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nibbler
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by nibbler » Wed Oct 26, 2022 12:48 pm

With the way I've seen it implemented, the ministering program wasn't a good fit for me.
  • Assigned ministers showing up at my house unannounced and at random times with the expectation that we'll drop everything and entertain their visit.
  • EQPs and BPs demanding that I drop everything to visit a family with zero consideration with where I'm at, whether I'm currently in a position to make such a visit.
  • We minister to manufactured needs. Does a family truly have a need or is the "need" to do the visit so a box can be checked?
  • The program doesn't minister to people's needs so much as it attempts to mold people to have certain needs and then check up on them to see how well they're coming along. Visits only aimed at seeing how a family is doing with meeting some stake goal they never asked for. Visits only aimed at trying to get people to be more active in the church in some measurable way.
  • You can serve people's true needs outside the confines of any program.
  • Being assigned families is more manageable but being assigned a companion is the worst. Being paired with a stranger to visit strangers is kryptonite for introverts. In general, church programs are nightmares for introverts.
What if the way people at church can minister to me is to allow me to peacefully divorce myself from all the expectations and trappings of the ministering program?

I've opted out of both the supply side and demand side of ministering. The pros with the program (there are some) are outweighed by all the cons.
Last edited by nibbler on Thu Oct 27, 2022 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Wonderment
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Re: Help reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Wonderment » Wed Oct 26, 2022 3:12 pm

Mormorrisey wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 2:01 pm
Hagoth wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 1:35 pm
Linked wrote:
Mon Oct 24, 2022 10:48 am
Opting out of ministering sounds like a good option.

You could instead request a family and companion of your choice if you would like to continue visiting the guy you mentioned.
That's what I do. I tell them I will minister the same two families that I have ministered since I was active, many years ago. I tell them my companion is my wife. I tell them those are my conditions. If they want to reassign families they can take my name off the list.

Our ministering consists of dropping off fresh-backed bread or snacks and sometimes having a neighborly chat. Religion never enters the equation. Mrs. Hagoth is a great baker, so they are always very happy to see us.
100% this. I suspect as Mormons, we are so used to being told what to do, that we don't take the initiative and say, "I'll do it, but I'll only do it this way." That's a perfect way to attack this. I did whatever the EQ said for years, until a few years ago when I had a similar Hagoth/Linked-like epiphany. So now my companion is Sis M, and she can do all the religious stuff in ministering she wants to, for however long she wants to. We have some elderly single sisters to look after, and I'll help drive them places, fix things, and do all the "home teacher" work that these women need. But I'm not going over to talk about the religious nuttery that is Mormonism. At all. So as long as everybody is good with this, including Sis M, I'll do it. But like Hagoth, the minute that changes, they try to give me a companion and a family of less-actives to try and reconvert, yep, I'm done.
Exactly right -- more people need to learn to say, "I'll do it my way, or not at all." Set those boundaries. It makes church officials pause and think about what they're doing by volun-telling others what to do under the guise of "obedience." -- Wndr.

dogbite
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by dogbite » Wed Oct 26, 2022 4:37 pm

No matter what you called it, I hated both sides of home teaching/ministering

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alas
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by alas » Fri Oct 28, 2022 9:18 am

lostinmiddlemormonism wrote:
Tue Oct 25, 2022 6:50 am
I've been thinking about this topic since I read it this morning. I am probably one of the most cynical individuals with relation to ministering/home teaching. Usually, I am with Red Ryder that the best thing to do with it is....nothing! But on further reflection, I'm not sure that is accurate.

I think that this program could be good for all concerned: the ministered to, the ministering individual, the local leadership, and the church generally IF it was approached with honesty and no ulterior motives. If for example an individual was approached by local leadership and was asked, "Would you like to have ministering visits?" If no, then leave that individual or family alone. If yes, then follow up with questions like, "how frequently?" and "what would you like those visits to be like: spiritual message, help with physical needs, friendship and belonging, something else, some mix of the above?"

AND if potential ministers/visitors were asked similar questions and an effort was made to actually match needs, desires, and abilities together...then they might have something.

The problem is that the expectations, desires and realities are world's apart. On one hand you have some people that just want to be left the hell alone and they have Peter Priesthood knocking on their door every other week. On the other, you have people who could benefit from a friendly visit just to check in and let them know someone cares who never gets seen at all. In all cases this leads to dissatisfaction on both the part of the visitor and the visited.

Just ask what people actually want and need, and then match them with others who are able and willing to deliver on that need.

-lost
I really really appreciated the whole program when my mother was a widow living 2 hours away from the only children of hers who both drove and gave a sh*t about their mother. Yes, there were some of my siblings who lived much closer, but they never bothered to introduce her to the last three of their children. So, my mother was not the kind to call me if there was a problem, like the water pipes froze up in her old remodeled cow barn of a house. She was also bitter against church and inactive. It was her home teacher who mowed her lawn, and drove her to the grocery store. The HT, VT, and neighbors coordinated to make sure she was taken care of. One neighbor brought in her mail and picked up any groceries she said she needed. Her visiting teacher checked on her almost every day, just to make sure she hadn’t fallen (she did have her button to push for emergencies, but still could have fallen in the shower or outside.) it was her VT who called me to say, “Do you know your mother’s pipes have frozen again and she has no running water and the plumber can’t come out to help her until Monday. She really shouldn’t be on her own in this house right now.” So, we called and told her we were coming to get her and to pack a bag. She never went home again, but her home teacher continued to mow her lawn until the house was sold after her death almost two years later. So, when the program works, it is really wonderful and needed.

But too often it is just an inconvenience where you have to take time away from what you want to be doing. Mine are that way 90% of the time. But when I had surgery, they brought over dinner with *home grown* tomatoes. About ten fresh, still warm from the sun, home grown tomatoes. Yeah, I will forgive unwanted visits for home grown tomatoes.

What the church needs to do is figure out a way to opt in or out. I don’t mind visiting a widow who needs her mail brought in from the road, and light bulbs changed, and occasional trips to the doctor or grocery store. But I HATE being assigned a companion and then assigned to visit people who would rather not have me come. Assign me to the lonely divorcee whose neighbors have abandoned her because she refused Covid shots, like the gal in my neighborhood.(for Southern Utah, my neighborhood is weird, 90% moved in from out of state and are liberal as can be. She is the only Trumper) Assign my husband the old guy whose losing his memory, but can still almost function, like another neighbor. But don’t assign us to the bishop’s family who is already maxed out on time and socialization.

If they allowed families to opt in or out, people who want the association or need constant service can be assigned the people who want to do it. And the people who just want to be left alone can be left alone. The church needs to learn that one size does not fit everyone.

Conman52
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by Conman52 » Sat Oct 29, 2022 8:28 am

Very well said Alas. I like your approach. For me I have not participated in ministering in a very long time. It feels dishonest for me as I'm not into going to people's houses that don't want or need me there. Sorry but I see it as a big waste of time unless their is an actual need to go .

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mossy back
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Re: Reconsidering participation in ministering

Post by mossy back » Tue Nov 01, 2022 6:48 am

My very first experience with home teaching was, for me, horrendous. My memory is a little foggy as to when young boys were assigned to start home teaching with an adult. (are Aaronic Priesthood holders still assigned as home teachers?) This was back in the early 70's. It must have been when I turned 12, deacon age. I was assigned with a younger man from the elders quorum. Nice guy. Mind you, this is my first time going out and 'home teaching'. Our first stop was the home of an inactive person. We knocked on the door, he answered, we introduced ourselves and promptly had the door slammed, with feeling, in our faces. I was mortified! Shocked! It freaked me out! From that first experience, home teaching was a burden and never ending source of guilt.

The program has good intentions but falls short when put into practice. There is a big difference between doing an assigned job or helping people because you want to and no one else knows about it and not expecting anything in return.

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