Jump to content

Does "the church" take too much time from families?


blooit

Recommended Posts

I have 8 kids and a beautiful wife. We are in many ways a typical Mormon family, although a little larger than average :P. The leadership of the church (as long as I can remember) keeps encouraging us to minimize meetings and maximize family time, but it is only recently that this has become a real concern for my family and I. My wife serves in the ward young womens, I serve in the stake young men's, but also hold two ("minor" ward callings). One son is the Deacon's quorum president. Most of the rest of my kids are young enough to not hold a calling. The following is a list of the time obligations we often face in a week. Please note, this is not an exaggeration.

Sunday 9:00-12:00 - 3 hour block (Dad teaches Elder's quorum, Mom teaches young women's lesson)

Sunday 12:00-3:00 - Dad to another ward for ward conference

Sunday 1:00 - Mother to Choir

Sunday 2:00 - Mother to YW Laurel's Presidency Mtg.

Sunday 3:00 - Hometeachers Visit our home

Sunday 4:00 - Dad to Aaronic Priesthood Council

Sunday 6:30 - Dad to Stake Youth Committee mtg.

Monday 4:00 - Daughter to Achievement Days

Monday 5:00 - Ward Young Women's presidency meeting

Tuesday 7:00 - Son, Daughter and Mother to Mutual

Tuesday 7:00 - Dad visits mutual in another ward (even though he works Tuesday nights ;) )

Tuesday 9:00 - Dad to Stake Young Men's presidency meeting

Wednesday 6:00 - Family to Blue and Gold Banquet

Thursday 4:30 - Young Son to Cub Scouts

Thursday 6:00 - Son to Ward Basketball

Friday 6:30 am - Dad and Son to "morningside"

Friday night - Son to snow cave campout

Saturday - 9:00am - Family help clean the church building

Saturday 10:30 am - Mother to Relief Society meeting with Sis. Beck

Saturday 7:00 pm - Dad to help setup chairs in chapel

There are a couple things that could be cutout here, like choir or ward basketball, but most are what you might consider "mandatory" or at least important meetings. This does not include any additional firesides, preparing for the talks and lessons given, helping people move, going hometeaching and visiting teaching, and any non-church activities that the kids might someday want to participate in, etc.).

I am sure there are some out there with it much worse. I'm no bishop or EQ president, and that takes so much more time. So do we view these things are opportunities to serve, or are we (as a culture) going against the counsel we've been given to focus on family first? Have we overloaded our schedules so much with meetings that we never actually get down to serving? Other thoughts?

Link to comment

I have 8 kids and a beautiful wife. We are in many ways a typical Mormon family, although a little larger than average :P. The leadership of the church (as long as I can remember) keeps encouraging us to minimize meetings and maximize family time, but it is only recently that this has become a real concern for my family and I. My wife serves in the ward young womens, I serve in the stake young men's, but also hold two ("minor" ward callings). One son is the Deacon's quorum president. Most of the rest of my kids are young enough to not hold a calling. The following is a list of the time obligations we often face in a week. Please note, this is not an exaggeration.

Sunday 9:00-12:00 - 3 hour block (Dad teaches Elder's quorum, Mom teaches young women's lesson)

Sunday 12:00-3:00 - Dad to another ward for ward conference

Sunday 1:00 - Mother to Choir

Sunday 2:00 - Mother to YW Laurel's Presidency Mtg.

Sunday 3:00 - Hometeachers Visit our home

Sunday 4:00 - Dad to Aaronic Priesthood Council

Sunday 6:30 - Dad to Stake Youth Committee mtg.

Monday 4:00 - Daughter to Achievement Days

Monday 5:00 - Ward Young Women's presidency meeting

Tuesday 7:00 - Son, Daughter and Mother to Mutual

Tuesday 7:00 - Dad visits mutual in another ward (even though he works Tuesday nights ;) )

Tuesday 9:00 - Dad to Stake Young Men's presidency meeting

Wednesday 6:00 - Family to Blue and Gold Banquet

Thursday 4:30 - Young Son to Cub Scouts

Thursday 6:00 - Son to Ward Basketball

Friday 6:30 am - Dad and Son to "morningside"

Friday night - Son to snow cave campout

Saturday - 9:00am - Family help clean the church building

Saturday 10:30 am - Mother to Relief Society meeting with Sis. Beck

Saturday 7:00 pm - Dad to help setup chairs in chapel

There are a couple things that could be cutout here, like choir or ward basketball, but most are what you might consider "mandatory" or at least important meetings. This does not include any additional firesides, preparing for the talks and lessons given, helping people move, going hometeaching and visiting teaching, and any non-church activities that the kids might someday want to participate in, etc.).

I am sure there are some out there with it much worse. I'm no bishop or EQ president, and that takes so much more time. So do we view these things are opportunities to serve, or are we (as a culture) going against the counsel we've been given to focus on family first? Have we overloaded our schedules so much with meetings that we never actually get down to serving? Other thoughts?

The Church is like having a part time volunteer job, it takes a lot of work to do the work of the Lord in these Latter-days!

If you feel that your callings are interfering with your family though you should prayerfully ponder this and seek the will of the Holy Ghost. If you feel moved to do so you should consider talking with the Bishop about being released to allow you more time with your family.

Most callings take a lot of time especially leadership callings, it take a lot of planning and prayer to manage a full plate of family, work, and service! It is difficult but Heavenly Father never gives us more than we can handle if we put our total faith in him.

Our new Bishop recently told me that the Stake President told him that his priorities should always be 1) God, 2) Family, 3) Callings.

You need to put your relationship with God and your family ahead of your callings and assignments.

Link to comment

Our new Bishop recently told me that the Stake President told him that his priorities should always be 1) God, 2) Family, 3) Callings.

Well, he got that wrong, because if a faithful LDS puts God first, then s/he will have to put God's work first (i.e. callings). The order is (should be) 1)Family 2)Anything else you care to prioritize.

Anyone recall the old 'Family First' motto?

H.

Link to comment

As a parent, I did a lot of good in those rides to take my kiddos to this or that or the other. Much of what you list is the multiple effect of lots of children, not really the church. But the new handbook makes it clear that members should have only a single calling, and that meetings should not interfere with families. (And ward conferences, Youth council and other meetings aren't every week.) If I were you, I'd look at whether there was some carpooling opportunity. I would have not taken my cub scout to cub scouts the same week of Blue and Gold. I'd do my YW presidency meetings via skype. And I'd watch the meeting with Sister Beck on the internet (or consider it my relief from being on as a mother that week.)

Link to comment

I have 8 kids and a beautiful wife. We are in many ways a typical Mormon family, although a little larger than average :P. The leadership of the church (as long as I can remember) keeps encouraging us to minimize meetings and maximize family time, but it is only recently that this has become a real concern for my family and I. My wife serves in the ward young womens, I serve in the stake young men's, but also hold two ("minor" ward callings). One son is the Deacon's quorum president. Most of the rest of my kids are young enough to not hold a calling. The following is a list of the time obligations we often face in a week. Please note, this is not an exaggeration.

Sunday 9:00-12:00 - 3 hour block (Dad teaches Elder's quorum, Mom teaches young women's lesson)

Sunday 12:00-3:00 - Dad to another ward for ward conference

Sunday 1:00 - Mother to Choir

Sunday 2:00 - Mother to YW Laurel's Presidency Mtg.

Sunday 3:00 - Hometeachers Visit our home

Sunday 4:00 - Dad to Aaronic Priesthood Council

Sunday 6:30 - Dad to Stake Youth Committee mtg.

Monday 4:00 - Daughter to Achievement Days

Monday 5:00 - Ward Young Women's presidency meeting

Tuesday 7:00 - Son, Daughter and Mother to Mutual

Tuesday 7:00 - Dad visits mutual in another ward (even though he works Tuesday nights ;) )

Tuesday 9:00 - Dad to Stake Young Men's presidency meeting

Wednesday 6:00 - Family to Blue and Gold Banquet

Thursday 4:30 - Young Son to Cub Scouts

Thursday 6:00 - Son to Ward Basketball

Friday 6:30 am - Dad and Son to "morningside"

Friday night - Son to snow cave campout

Saturday - 9:00am - Family help clean the church building

Saturday 10:30 am - Mother to Relief Society meeting with Sis. Beck

Saturday 7:00 pm - Dad to help setup chairs in chapel

There are a couple things that could be cutout here, like choir or ward basketball, but most are what you might consider "mandatory" or at least important meetings. This does not include any additional firesides, preparing for the talks and lessons given, helping people move, going hometeaching and visiting teaching, and any non-church activities that the kids might someday want to participate in, etc.).

I am sure there are some out there with it much worse. I'm no bishop or EQ president, and that takes so much more time. So do we view these things are opportunities to serve, or are we (as a culture) going against the counsel we've been given to focus on family first? Have we overloaded our schedules so much with meetings that we never actually get down to serving? Other thoughts?

You know that you can say 'no' to any of that stuff, right? There's great power and freedom in that simple word. The church does put out a demanding schedule of activities, but it can only be partially blamed if you don't prioritize your life.

Now, if it's guilt you are feeling, that's another matter, but if it's just an inability to say no, well, try it and see what happens.

H.

Link to comment

So do we view these things are opportunities to serve, or are we (as a culture) going against the counsel we've been given to focus on family first? Have we overloaded our schedules so much with meetings that we never actually get down to serving? Other thoughts?

Everyone is different, if/and/but with children, we need to set good examples. I think each person has to speak and decide for himself, assuming he hasn't given up the capacity. For this reason it is better to be "quick to observe" than not, but this is all a learning process anyway, so no harm in a bit of trial and error (how liberating it is to say "No" if you say "Yes" too much; or to say "Yes" if you say "No" too much...).

Link to comment

I have 8 kids and a beautiful wife. We are in many ways a typical Mormon family, although a little larger than average :P. The leadership of the church (as long as I can remember) keeps encouraging us to minimize meetings and maximize family time, but it is only recently that this has become a real concern for my family and I. My wife serves in the ward young womens, I serve in the stake young men's, but also hold two ("minor" ward callings). One son is the Deacon's quorum president. Most of the rest of my kids are young enough to not hold a calling. The following is a list of the time obligations we often face in a week. Please note, this is not an exaggeration.

Sunday 9:00-12:00 - 3 hour block (Dad teaches Elder's quorum, Mom teaches young women's lesson)

Sunday 12:00-3:00 - Dad to another ward for ward conference

Sunday 1:00 - Mother to Choir

Sunday 2:00 - Mother to YW Laurel's Presidency Mtg.

Sunday 3:00 - Hometeachers Visit our home

Sunday 4:00 - Dad to Aaronic Priesthood Council

Sunday 6:30 - Dad to Stake Youth Committee mtg.

Monday 4:00 - Daughter to Achievement Days

Monday 5:00 - Ward Young Women's presidency meeting

Tuesday 7:00 - Son, Daughter and Mother to Mutual

Tuesday 7:00 - Dad visits mutual in another ward (even though he works Tuesday nights ;) )

Tuesday 9:00 - Dad to Stake Young Men's presidency meeting

Wednesday 6:00 - Family to Blue and Gold Banquet

Thursday 4:30 - Young Son to Cub Scouts

Thursday 6:00 - Son to Ward Basketball

Friday 6:30 am - Dad and Son to "morningside"

Friday night - Son to snow cave campout

Saturday - 9:00am - Family help clean the church building

Saturday 10:30 am - Mother to Relief Society meeting with Sis. Beck

Saturday 7:00 pm - Dad to help setup chairs in chapel

There are a couple things that could be cutout here, like choir or ward basketball, but most are what you might consider "mandatory" or at least important meetings. This does not include any additional firesides, preparing for the talks and lessons given, helping people move, going hometeaching and visiting teaching, and any non-church activities that the kids might someday want to participate in, etc.).

I am sure there are some out there with it much worse. I'm no bishop or EQ president, and that takes so much more time. So do we view these things are opportunities to serve, or are we (as a culture) going against the counsel we've been given to focus on family first? Have we overloaded our schedules so much with meetings that we never actually get down to serving? Other thoughts?

Just a thought: 7 of those items are activities for your kids which will happen, church or no church...especially with 8 kids. And just wait till they are ALL teen and above (life gets even crazier!) Also, Ward conference, presidency meetings, special meetings with General presidencies, Cleaning the church, youth committee meetings, home teachers, etc. do not happen EVERY Sunday, so this schedule you posted, though seemingly busy, is not a "real" look at things.

I DO however, feel your overwhelmedness...and understand when weeks are like this, it can feel like too much.

Link to comment

Well, he got that wrong, because if a faithful LDS puts God first, then s/he will have to put God's work first (i.e. callings). The order is (should be) 1)Family 2)Anything else you care to prioritize.

Anyone recall the old 'Family First' motto?

H.

I disagree with you interpretation.

Families and the Church in God
Link to comment

I have 8 kids and a beautiful wife. We are in many ways a typical Mormon family, although a little larger than average :P. The leadership of the church (as long as I can remember) keeps encouraging us to minimize meetings and maximize family time, but it is only recently that this has become a real concern for my family and I. My wife serves in the ward young womens, I serve in the stake young men's, but also hold two ("minor" ward callings). One son is the Deacon's quorum president. Most of the rest of my kids are young enough to not hold a calling. The following is a list of the time obligations we often face in a week. Please note, this is not an exaggeration.

Sunday 9:00-12:00 - 3 hour block (Dad teaches Elder's quorum, Mom teaches young women's lesson)

Sunday 12:00-3:00 - Dad to another ward for ward conference

Sunday 1:00 - Mother to Choir

Sunday 2:00 - Mother to YW Laurel's Presidency Mtg.

Sunday 3:00 - Hometeachers Visit our home

Sunday 4:00 - Dad to Aaronic Priesthood Council

Sunday 6:30 - Dad to Stake Youth Committee mtg.

Monday 4:00 - Daughter to Achievement Days

Monday 5:00 - Ward Young Women's presidency meeting

Tuesday 7:00 - Son, Daughter and Mother to Mutual

Tuesday 7:00 - Dad visits mutual in another ward (even though he works Tuesday nights ;) )

Tuesday 9:00 - Dad to Stake Young Men's presidency meeting

Wednesday 6:00 - Family to Blue and Gold Banquet

Thursday 4:30 - Young Son to Cub Scouts

Thursday 6:00 - Son to Ward Basketball

Friday 6:30 am - Dad and Son to "morningside"

Friday night - Son to snow cave campout

Saturday - 9:00am - Family help clean the church building

Saturday 10:30 am - Mother to Relief Society meeting with Sis. Beck

Saturday 7:00 pm - Dad to help setup chairs in chapel

There are a couple things that could be cutout here, like choir or ward basketball, but most are what you might consider "mandatory" or at least important meetings. This does not include any additional firesides, preparing for the talks and lessons given, helping people move, going hometeaching and visiting teaching, and any non-church activities that the kids might someday want to participate in, etc.).

I am sure there are some out there with it much worse. I'm no bishop or EQ president, and that takes so much more time. So do we view these things are opportunities to serve, or are we (as a culture) going against the counsel we've been given to focus on family first? Have we overloaded our schedules so much with meetings that we never actually get down to serving? Other thoughts?

For certain, much of this has to do with your large family and this will only get worse as they get older. That said, we're all reminded of how our particpation in the LDS faith requires so much. We could never be accused of being "Sunday Christians" as we are so very engaged throughout the week. As is always the case though, every virtue a vice. There must always be a scenario that would have a member opting out of certain responsiblities due to a clash between those and family obligations. Waiting around for the local leadership to "get it" may well leave you waiting indefinately. Learning to say "no" in certain circumstances may well be one of the most difficult things for me to learn though I am becoming convinced it is one of the most important steps for me to take.

Link to comment

I've been cutting back on meetings ever since I entered the arena of Church leadership

in the late '60s. Today I had it down to 8 hours:

7:30-9:00am Bishopric

9-10:45am Ward council

10:45-11:15 Choir practice

11:30-2:30pm Sacrament, Sunday School, Priesthood

2:30-3:30pm Finish up ward clerk business

Another 50 years and I may get it down

to six and a half. Shoot, in the Rockford IL bishopric back in the early '70s (split schedule

days), we started bishopric at 6am and didn't leave the chapel until after accounting for

the tithing around 7pm. The good thing is that Bishop Giometta's wife always brought

us a homemade Italian lunch at noon. We reeked of garlic in sacrament meeting, but the food was

sooooo good.

At a regional leadership meeting around 1974 in Beloit WI, the bishops were instructed to

delegate more of their responsibilities to their counselors and priesthood leaders. Sound

familiar? Anyway, during the meeting, I went through

my handbook and totaled up the meetings I (2nd counselor) was responsible for during

the month, and it came out to something like 75. I thought there was a whole lot of delegating

going on already.

My experience is that "cut back on meetings" is always spoken with a wink and a nod.

We all know there's no way to do it and maintain the programs, but the sentiment is in

the right place. Church meetings are like gardens...if you're not vigilant, the weeds will

inevitably take over.

Seriously, unless we eliminate programs and organizations, what can actually be cut?

Any suggestions?

Bernard

Link to comment

Well, he got that wrong, because if a faithful LDS puts God first, then s/he will have to put God's work first (i.e. callings). The order is (should be) 1)Family 2)Anything else you care to prioritize.

H.

The first and foremost calling one can receive from God is to take care of his children and if it's a full time calling, it has priority over any parttime calling. Thus the order is Your relationship with God, your relationship with those God has given you to care for, family first here, then extended family, ward and neighbourhood, community etc. And last if you so desire, participating in something that is good and praiseworthy that is also hopefully fun and rejuvenating. However, since one's relationship with God, family and others is never ended, one must not feel obligated to put perpetually on hold the fun and rejuvenation especially since this can be incorporated into the relationships in many ways.

Link to comment

I am curious as to what people would be doing with their time if they were down to only 3 hours a week and all in one day and we had the rest of our time to do what we wanted.

What would you desire to do?

What is a more realistic prediction of what you would end up doing.

Link to comment

I am curious as to what people would be doing with their time if they were down to only 3 hours a week and all in one day and we had the rest of our time to do what we wanted.

What would you desire to do?

What is a more realistic prediction of what you would end up doing.

Today we discussed the Missionary Preparation Class for the youts that is offered by our ward and stake two Sundays a month in the evening.

With the Bishop's yout fireside, that makes three Sunday nights out for the youts.

Some parents had said they want their children home on Sunday evenings, but some of the kids said

all they do is sit around or watch TV, and some families do have family/spiritual activities on Sunday evenings.

Some comments that were made:

---The older youts could drive themselves, so mom and dad didn't have another trip to the building.

---It's a valuable program (even though it's not in the handbook) that some leaders feel strongly about.

---Youts need to be home more with their parents and younger siblings.

---Most yout leaders also have little kids at home, leaving the spouse to put them to bed Sunday evenings.

---Even if the meetings are "optional", someone has to be there to supervise.

---The youts are getting more "gospel instruction" on Sunday, which is a good thing.

---Isn't it better to do this than sit at home and watch TV or text your friends?

The conclusion....make it optional for those who want to attend. Even if only 2 or 3 attend, they would get some benefit.

To be discussed again at another meeting.

My feelings....seminary, Sunday School, Sacrament Meeting, Priesthood, firesides, dances, church sports, YM/YW, Scouts, campouts and hikes, Yout Conference, EFY, summer camps, temple trips, service projects, missionary splits...these aren't enough. We need more Yout Activities! There cannot be too many Yout Activities. Keep the youts busy.

Bernard

Link to comment

This actually IS a pretty typical week. I know some of these meetings aren't every week, but when they are not there, something else often is. I'm not belly aching about serving in the church. I love (almost :P ) every minute of it. But something is wrong (administratively) when a family does not have one single night (including Monday) without being split up for meetings. We can barely fit in dinner, and struggle even more to fit in scripture study and prayer each night.

My question ran deeper than that. I wonder if we (as Mormons) spend so much time in meetings, that we rarely actually get out to serve. I mean we spend much more time talking about it than acting on it. I remember one sister in the middle of a meeting saying, "how about we stop talking and go do it right now" - so we ended the meeting and went to work. It was great.

What programs would I cut? That's a whole new can of worms isn't it. I would love to see scouting go and Aaronic Quorums take over training our kids. I would ask auxiliaries to refuse to meet unless inspiration is needed. If you don't need the spirit, it can be done by email. Next I would try to remind people that magnifying their callings doesn't mean holding more meetings than anyone else. Then I think I would ask church leaders to remove most of the "mandatory meetings" from the handbook and allow local leaders to hold most meetings as needed. I would also want to teach people that most meeting should end when the tasks are done, not when we've used all the time we possible can.

Just brainstorming, but those are some thoughts.

On Bernard's question on what would replace this time, yes it is the family's responsibility to make their time quality time, and as a family we do that I think very well. Just because people misuse their time doesn't make it OK to take it away from those who wouldn't (if that makes sense).

Link to comment

Handbook 2

1.4.2 Family Home Evening

Latter-day prophets have counseled parents to hold a weekly family home evening to teach their children the gospel, bear testimony of its truthfulness, and strengthen family unity. Stake and ward leaders are to keep Monday evenings free from all Church meetings and activities so family home evenings may be held.

Link to comment

I wonder if we (as Mormons) spend so much time in meetings, that we rarely actually get out to serve.

There would be definitely fewer meetings, at least much less time spent in meetings, if individual priesthood effectively ministered and prevented much of the reasons (or assumptions) for numerous or lengthy meetings. No one is so irreplaceable that they have to attend every single meeting, especially if inspired to do something else.

Not using the priesthood to change lives causes a man to depend on meetings for his marching orders (and hopefully someone else's marching orders! ...in which case he just wasted his own time anyway) and even eventually become unable to distinguish between a meeting, a council, revelation or service. Using the priesthood well makes a busy family life easier to manage.

Link to comment

I've been cutting back on meetings ever since I entered the arena of Church leadership

in the late '60s. Today I had it down to 8 hours:

7:30-9:00am Bishopric

9-10:45am Ward council

10:45-11:15 Choir practice

11:30-2:30pm Sacrament, Sunday School, Priesthood

2:30-3:30pm Finish up ward clerk business

Another 50 years and I may get it down

to six and a half. Shoot, in the Rockford IL bishopric back in the early '70s (split schedule

days), we started bishopric at 6am and didn't leave the chapel until after accounting for

the tithing around 7pm. The good thing is that Bishop Giometta's wife always brought

us a homemade Italian lunch at noon. We reeked of garlic in sacrament meeting, but the food was

sooooo good.

At a regional leadership meeting around 1974 in Beloit WI, the bishops were instructed to

delegate more of their responsibilities to their counselors and priesthood leaders. Sound

familiar? Anyway, during the meeting, I went through

my handbook and totaled up the meetings I (2nd counselor) was responsible for during

the month, and it came out to something like 75. I thought there was a whole lot of delegating

going on already.

My experience is that "cut back on meetings" is always spoken with a wink and a nod.

We all know there's no way to do it and maintain the programs, but the sentiment is in

the right place. Church meetings are like gardens...if you're not vigilant, the weeds will

inevitably take over.

Seriously, unless we eliminate programs and organizations, what can actually be cut?

Any suggestions?

Bernard

I know it varies from ward to ward, but 1 1/2 hours for bishopric and 1 3/4 hours for ward council seems long to me. I limit each to an hour. Our ward isn't huge (about 270 in sacrament meeting; 45 youts). Maybe due to size, you have many more issues to cover.

Link to comment

With all respect, some of that busy-ness is related to the age of your children. I have plenty of friends outside of organized religion who seem to be as busy as you have described when their children were the age of yours--even though they typically have fewer children and the composition of the activities are different. For example, children very involved with lessons (horseback riding, piano, other instruments), sports (competitive and recreational), parent teacher organizations, being a "team mom" or "team dad". Balancing the conflicting schedules of Mom working and Dad working.

Link to comment

Those are true words.

Also I have noticed in my travels (I lived abroad for five or so years), that in areas of limited membership sometimes active families from well established places take a much larger role supporting local branches. I remember when a Sunday came and I was, as an elder, suddenly presiding. They asked me to bless the sacrament, then to give two talks, and then to teach Sunday School and Priesthood. There was no one else. Sometimes we do have to go beyond the norms presented to us, and sometimes we resent the fatigue that comes with the additional responsibility. But an eye on the family should always be the guiding principle.

Link to comment

I love the ward council meeting i have them down to 45 minutes, i give my ward leaders full authority to take care of there orginization. they only share what they want to do and we say yea or nay if we like the idea, its better then them always asking me what they should do.

also i have told them that ward council is not gossip hour.

Link to comment

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...