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Failures Or Choices.


dirtius maximus

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One title to this article on Deseretnews is "Failures lead to Crime"

pregnant girlfriend, no mission, kicked out of Ricks, eventually married the girlfriend and started a family "But he never seemed to get ahead. And he continued to think of himself as a failure" The part in quotes would suggest that the thoughts of being a failure were self imposed. However later in the article:

"Then he met Jamilyn. They fell in love and married in an LDS temple. All the while his illicit "side job" — a bookkeeping business he told his new wife — thrived. He had a son. He bought a house, drove a Lexus, paid for with cash. He became a leader of young men in his LDS ward. And, court documents say, his family, friends and the people he grew up with in Idaho Falls thought he had redeemed himself and considered him a success."

The part in bold would suggest that others vocalized to the person that he was a failure for his life choices, those being not serving a mission, pregnant girlfriend and being kicked out of Ricks.

Do we have culture deliberate, unintended or otherwise of castigating those who choose not to serve a mission? Or end up with a premarital pregnancy? Is not serving a mission a failure?

What can be done to uplift the person without the use of negative labels towards the person, while not promoting the choice that was contrary to the Gospel.

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One title to this article on Deseretnews is "Failures lead to Crime"

pregnant girlfriend, no mission, kicked out of Ricks, eventually married the girlfriend and started a family "But he never seemed to get ahead. And he continued to think of himself as a failure" The part in quotes would suggest that the thoughts of being a failure were self imposed. However later in the article:

"Then he met Jamilyn. They fell in love and married in an LDS temple. All the while his illicit "side job" — a bookkeeping business he told his new wife — thrived. He had a son. He bought a house, drove a Lexus, paid for with cash. He became a leader of young men in his LDS ward. And, court documents say, his family, friends and the people he grew up with in Idaho Falls thought he had redeemed himself and considered him a success."

The part in bold would suggest that others vocalized to the person that he was a failure for his life choices, those being not serving a mission, pregnant girlfriend and being kicked out of Ricks.

Do we have culture deliberate, unintended or otherwise of castigating those who choose not to serve a mission? Or end up with a premarital pregnancy? Is not serving a mission a failure?

What can be done to uplift the person without the use of negative labels towards the person, while not promoting the choice that was contrary to the Gospel.

I think so. Parent grow up teaching their LDS daughters to only marry returned missionaries. Boys are taught from a very young age that serving a mission is the ultimate goal of a youth within the church. I think it is pretty difficult to come back from not serving a mission (unless due to health concerns). Men who don't serve missions feel like failures. Some of that is due to their own insecurity and not due to anything said by Church members. Other times Church members aren't so kind.

I have occassionaly seen people who did not go on missions stay in the LDS Church and thrive. When it happened it was usually due to the efforts of an entire ward to ensure the YM still felt loved, accepted, and that he wasn't being judged at Church. It takes some effort on the part of the individual and his LDS community.

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I read this earlier and was thinking about it. I know two great, great guys who didn't go on a mission and have turned out very well, but I know also many who hadn't served and have served and haven't seen them at church in years. I wonder if he can pinpoint to some events in his life post mission thing that led him to believe that he was an outcast or if he just felt like that on his own without anyone giving him grief over it. I had a friend years ago who came back early for whatever reason and we welcomed him home and went bowling!

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I have yet to serve a Mission for the Church. I'm a successful happy member of the Church, and have been for 40 years. :)

TSS, in light of your post count, you should change your little avatar quote to "creates words without number." :D

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deborah please revisit your comment and change it appropriately. No one has blamed the Church. As the other posters understood, the discussion is about the the membership and the culture the members create. respectfully.

You asked "Do we have culture deliberate, unintended or otherwise of castigating those who choose not to serve a mission? Or end up with a premarital pregnancy? Is not serving a mission a failure?" That implies that the blame lies outside the individual. I heard this on the news this morning and it sounded like they were trying to excuse him because of all the pressure to conform.

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I think when things go "right" we attribute it to a variety of things, seminary, YM/YW leaders, institute, good friends other positive influences but when things go wrong like this fellow has learned all those things are stripped away and he is alone responsible for everything he ever did in his life and he wasn't influenced by the Church. I doubt highly the Church though ever told him to steal and do criminal activity. I read a article summarizing a book I want to get my hands on!!! something about healing from religious abuse by Jack Watt and he said that Christianity is the only army that shoots its wounded. I hope he gets the help and healing he needs.

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You asked "Do we have culture deliberate, unintended or otherwise of castigating those who choose not to serve a mission? Or end up with a premarital pregnancy? Is not serving a mission a failure?" That implies that the blame lies outside the individual. I heard this on the news this morning and it sounded like they were trying to excuse him because of all the pressure to conform.

Actually, the implication is better said "Some of the blame could lie outside of the individual". As such, it is appropriate to question the role the church culture has played - that is, unless you are claiming one's cultural upbringing never has anything to do with a man's character and/or actions?

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Hmmm...

Well, I've got a confession to make. I've made some bad choices in my life, and had to pay a price. I've also made some good decisions in my life, and by doing so have obtained certain blessings, or avoided certain problems. However, it often seems as though the bad choices I've made are what other people choose to focus on, and they define me by those things. I accept responsibility for my sins, but also feel that when other people constantly label me a certain way, it is difficult for me not to believe what they say. With constant repetition, it kind of sinks in. So, I have to really struggle to keep a more positive image of myself, one that will enable me to maintain hope and do what's right.

On the one hand, I cannot blame others for what I've done wrong. I have to (and do) accept responsibility for myself. But I do think we will also be held accountable for how we treat others, because no man is an island, and what we do and say can affect other people.

There are really no simple answers.

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Actually, the implication is better said "Some of the blame could lie outside of the individual". As such, it is appropriate to question the role the church culture has played - that is, unless you are claiming one's cultural upbringing never has anything to do with a man's character and/or actions?

No question our family dynamics contribute to how we feel about ourselves. But we can't spend our lives blaming other people for our bad choices. There comes a point when we have to take responsibility for our own choices good and bad.

I have one son who also didn't go on a mission and he felt bad about it for years and thought people were looking down on him. They weren't, but because of his own feelings he thought they were. He finally got out of that and is active and self-assured in the church. He also learned he wasn't the only one who didn't go on a mission for a variety of reasons. That is not to say that some people don't judge and they will be accountable for that. But to say the church as a body has such an attitude I think is exaggerated.

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I think when things go "right" we attribute it to a variety of things....

You make a good point. How often do we hear people attribute their success to their parents, spouse etc. All likely play a part, but in the end it is the individual choosing to act on those good things he learned. I think on the other hand we've seen kids we feel sorry for because of their home life and we do understand that child has a harder chance of raising himself up. Hopefully a teacher or a friend or some other person can say or do the thing that will help the child see another way so that he at least has a choice. But even such families produce wonderful adult children.

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