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Have We Become Used to a New Normal Here?


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This website, is a place where we are encouraged, and accustomed to questions about about Church doctrine, and scriptural debate. In addition we are, and have become comfortable with such questions, and hardy debate. Also, for the most part very accepting of others points of view, within reason. Something happened to me in that last two days, that have caused my wife and I some confusion. Something I wish to share with respect, hoping for the same. 
 

Last Sunday, we received a new Stake Presidency, so after a week I decided to ask some questions on our Ward Website. Having not heard from our Bishopric in months, and knowing that our “Area Presidency” was in town having selected our new State President, also knowing that all Bishoprics would have been to a meeting with both, the Stake President, and Area President, I thought it would be a good time to ask some questions. So I decided to ask the questions, “Does anyone know when we will be able to assemble again as a Ward”? I also pointed it that in other States, and Countries, that many of the Saints were meeting together, as well as some Temples were being opened, although there were limitations”. This was all I asked, and all I wrote. 
 

However, I was seized upon by many in my Ward, with comments such as...

”Read your scriptures more, so that you can feel the Spirit”

”You need to have Faith in your Priesthood leadership, they are good men of God”. 

“You know it is not just us, it is everyone, no one in the U.S. or other places are attending Church”. 

There is so much more, to much to write. I understand that some don’t really know me well, some are more recent move in’s to our Ward. But others who responded in sort of a negative way, do know me. 
 

To the comment about reading my scriptures more, I told that sister that “I read my scriptures (usually) hours a day, and discuss them in websites such as this daily”. Then heR reply was sort of, “then why are you questioning your Priesthood leadership”. 
 

To the comment of not having Faith in my Priesthood leadership, my reply was, “I used to chaperone the Stake President and youth dances, one of his counselors, I have know every day of his life, and the Bishop is a member of my extended family”, I went on to say, “I have seen them all grow into mighty men of God”. Then she asks, “then why are you asking when we might return”. At this point I was just stunned.

Finally my Bishop comes to the rescue, tell all that these are good and honest questions and remarks, and that I have every right and duty to ask such questions. He apologized for not speaking out more, even if it was to say, “I don’t know”. 
 

Are things that so much different, that we can ask questions freely in this forum, and do we need to beware asking questions in our Ward classes, or even among our fellow Ward members? 
 

Is normal here, a different or foreign concept elsewhere? 

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Sounds like a bit of over-reaction on the part of some ward members. The cantankerous sister may be having other issues and is taking it out on you. I think that your questions are legitimate and timely. The negative responses were inappropriate and uncharitable. I would ignore them.

The lack of communication from your bishopric surprises me. We are all just an email or message away. Zoom meetings work well. Maybe they could do more in that regard.  

Edited by Bernard Gui
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1 hour ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

This website, is a place where we are encouraged, and accustomed to questions about about Church doctrine, and scriptural debate. In addition we are, and have become comfortable with such questions, and hardy debate. Also, for the most part very accepting of others points of view, within reason. Something happened to me in that last two days, that have caused my wife and I some confusion. Something I wish to share with respect, hoping for the same. 
 

Last Sunday, we received a new Stake Presidency, so after a week I decided to ask some questions on our Ward Website. Having not heard from our Bishopric in months, and knowing that our “Area Presidency” was in town having selected our new State President, also knowing that all Bishoprics would have been to a meeting with both, the Stake President, and Area President, I thought it would be a good time to ask some questions. So I decided to ask the questions, “Does anyone know when we will be able to assemble again as a Ward”? I also pointed it that in other States, and Countries, that many of the Saints were meeting together, as well as some Temples were being opened, although there were limitations”. This was all I asked, and all I wrote. 
 

However, I was seized upon by many in my Ward, with comments such as...

”Read your scriptures more, so that you can feel the Spirit”

”You need to have Faith in your Priesthood leadership, they are good men of God”. 

“You know it is not just us, it is everyone, no one in the U.S. or other places are attending Church”. 

There is so much more, to much to write. I understand that some don’t really know me well, some are more recent move in’s to our Ward. But others who responded in sort of a negative way, do know me. 
 

To the comment about reading my scriptures more, I told that sister that “I read my scriptures (usually) hours a day, and discuss them in websites such as this daily”. Then heR reply was sort of, “then why are you questioning your Priesthood leadership”. 
 

To the comment of not having Faith in my Priesthood leadership, my reply was, “I used to chaperone the Stake President and youth dances, one of his counselors, I have know every day of his life, and the Bishop is a member of my extended family”, I went on to say, “I have seen them all grow into mighty men of God”. Then she asks, “then why are you asking when we might return”. At this point I was just stunned.

Finally my Bishop comes to the rescue, tell all that these are good and honest questions and remarks, and that I have every right and duty to ask such questions. He apologized for not speaking out more, even if it was to say, “I don’t know”. 
 

Are things that so much different, that we can ask questions freely in this forum, and do we need to beware asking questions in our Ward classes, or even among our fellow Ward members? 
 

Is normal here, a different or foreign concept elsewhere? 

I would say very much so. When I started my faith crisis I asked a question (very scary) in Gospel Doctrine about a scripture in the Bible about our works being like filthy rags, the topic was on works. It was a scripture that I hadn't heard discussed much or wasn't listening. And I had been listening to EV's and wondering about which church I would attend if I didn't attend the LDS church. Well, my question caught the teacher off guard and she had never heard of it. And then I felt guilty for bringing it up, and felt very much alone. You don't know how much it helped to come to this board and ask away all the questions and issues that I could never do in my old ward. I don't know where I'd be without this board. It wouldn't be good, I know that. I even considered ending my life. Things are much better, thank goodness! Not to make this about me. 

My old ward is only a few miles away and they aren't going back to church yet because my former stake president felt that it wasn't the right time, according to one of my old neighbors that I stay in touch with. But my ward now attends once a month, so even with being so close in proximity, I guess it depends on the stake presidency. 

Wish you well, Papa!

Edited by Tacenda
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Our ward has been having sacrament meeting over Zoom for a month.

It took a bit for leadership to adjust but everyone in the chapel now wears a mask and keeps distance. They even wipe the podium between speakers.

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The local ward and stake where I live has not resumed church services yet.  Your questions were proper.  It sounds like some of your ward members are stressed (start of school, job uncertainty, etc.).  I would just ignore comments.  You did right (IMO) by not responding. They need feedback, but that should be something your Bishop should do.

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2 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

Are things that so much different, that we can ask questions freely in this forum, and do we need to beware asking questions in our Ward classes, or even among our fellow Ward members? 
 

Is normal here, a different or foreign concept elsewhere? 

I think you know by now that this board automatically is made up of people who are willing to ask questions and fairly well, if not perfectly, tolerate other ways of thinking.

In my experience many in the Ward are not used to questioning anything, even if they have been taught quaint ideas that the church never really held- like the idea that prophets and leaders are infallible.

I'd like to see them come up with that from the scriptures, but of course it's not there! 

 I wouldn't worry about it.

It takes two to offend anyone- one who offers offense and another who accepts it by being offended.   I have found that the best policy is simply to not accept being offended.

That means the one offering offense has controlled your emotions.

Don't let anyone do that- you are a very intelligent person who is well experienced in the church and how it works- don't let anyone control your feelings by trying to offend you!!  ;)

 

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That's sounds really uncomfortable for you and unfair. I think that, unfortunately, the issues of isolating have become very controversial for some. Some have very real reasons for it, too. Also, there are always some amount of people who are immediately threatened by anything that sounds like questioning church leadership, even if it is a legitimate question. 

To the subject you brought up there, I think the decision to assemble safely depends upon the local infection levels. An area of low new infection rates without current increases is more ready to open up than an area with increasing infection rates or high new infection rates.

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12 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

I think you know by now that this board automatically is made up of people who are willing to ask questions and fairly well, if not perfectly, tolerate other ways of thinking.

In my experience many in the Ward are not used to questioning anything, even if they have been taught quaint ideas that the church never really held- like the idea that prophets and leaders are infallible.

I'd like to see them come up with that from the scriptures, but of course it's not there! 

 I wouldn't worry about it.

It takes two to offend anyone- one who offers offense and another who accepts it by being offended.   I have found that the best policy is simply to not accept being offended.

That means the one offering offense has controlled your emotions.

Don't let anyone do that- you are a very intelligent person who is well experienced in the church and how it works- don't let anyone control your feelings by trying to offend you!!  ;)

 

Thank you my wise friend. 

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13 hours ago, Bernard Gui said:

Sounds like a bit of over-reaction on the part of some ward members. The cantankerous sister may be having other issues and is taking it out on you. I think that your questions are legitimate and timely. The negative responses were inappropriate and uncharitable. I would ignore them.

The lack of communication from your bishopric surprises me. We are all just an email or message away. Zoom meetings work well. Maybe they could do more in that regard.  

As a result my post, our Bishop has assured us he will keep us in the loop, and give us more regular updates. My guess is the he thought with no news, he just did not see the need, but now sees the need to let us know he is there, even if it Is not good, or no news at all.  

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Tacenda said:

I would say very much so. When I started my faith crisis I asked a question (very scary) in Gospel Doctrine about a scripture in the Bible about our works being like filthy rags, the topic was on works. It was a scripture that I hadn't heard discussed much or wasn't listening. And I had been listening to EV's and wondering about which church I would attend if I didn't attend the LDS church. Well, my question caught the teacher off guard and she had never heard of it. And then I felt guilty for bringing it up, and felt very much alone. You don't know how much it helped to come to this board and ask away all the questions and issues that I could never do in my old ward. I don't know where I'd be without this board. It wouldn't be good, I know that. I even considered ending my life. Things are much better, thank goodness! Not to make this about me. 

My old ward is only a few miles away and they aren't going back to church yet because my former stake president felt that it wasn't the right time, according to one of my old neighbors that I stay in touch with. But my ward now attends once a month, so even with being so close in proximity, I guess it depends on the stake presidency. 

Wish you well, Papa!

I hope things are better now, and your Faith has been strengthened. The scripture and the metaphor of our “works being as filthy rags”, is only to teach of where we often find ourselves, or without the Atonement will always remain, but with the “Grace of God”, we are washed clean, and can be adorned with “beautiful garments”. This way through our obedience, even though it is not perfect, the more we endeavor to learn and improve, the more we progress. In the end, although we may find ourselves standing  at the edge of a great valley, with no bridge to cross it. The Love and Grace of our perfect Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, an his tender mercies, it will carry us over to life everlasting. Also, always know that you are loved, and suicide is a permanent fix to a temporary problem, that carries with it, an eternal punishment. Look deeply within the pages of all our scriptures, The Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and there you will find the answers that not mortal teacher can explain. Also, be patient with any Gospel teachers, for they share all of our own limitations and weaknesses, and often struggle to answer the questions that we do. I know this from decades of experience teaching the Gospel, in fact teachers are usually called, because they are those in need of learning. 
 

ETA: God bless you, our dear Sister, my you always feel his love, and ours my friend. 

Edited by Bill “Papa” Lee
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The diversity of ideas and questions expressed on this site would make most/many ward members very uncomfortable. Your question was innocuous but you can see how others felt threatened by it. I've experienced the same thing many times, even when my questions were carefully and diplomatically phrased. Eventually, I grew so weary of the backlash for what I considered safe/honest questions that I stopped caring about phrasing them so diplomatically. The backlash continued so eventually I just disengaged.

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Having not heard from our Bishopric in months

That's my experience as well, even to the point that he didn't return calls, texts, or emails. His continued silence taught me that I didn't really need to hear from him after all.

 

 

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Oh, there are lots of places and times these days where it is impossible to ask simple questions.   (And apparently those ward members don't know that many congregations started meeting in small groups in late July, though they've explicitly discouraged those over 60 and with health risk from attending, and also officially stated that there is no obligation or expectation at all yet that anyone who doesn't choose to attend is wrong in that.)  GA has had some ups and downs though, and if you believe what you read about the state, some significant resistance to mask wearing.   I'd be more leery about deciding to restart meetings if I lived in such a place, and I'd also be waiting for the testing to drop below 5% positive and stay there for a time, and get to a rt (that's the number of people average getting it from one person) of less than 2.)

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There are stupid and insensitive people all over the place, even in Church.  I have a testimony from God to assure me of that.  Get used to it. And try to be nice when you can, even to idiots,  We will get blessings from God for it eventually.

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2 hours ago, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

I hope things are better now, and your Faith has been strengthened. The scripture and the metaphor of our “works being as filthy rags”, is only to teach of where we often find ourselves, or without the Atonement will always remain, but with the “Grace of God”, we are washed clean, and can be adorned with “beautiful garments”. This way through our obedience, even though it is not perfect, the more we endeavor to learn and improve, the more we progress. In the end, although we may find ourselves standing  at the edge of a great valley, with no bridge to cross it. The Love and Grace of our perfect Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, an his tender mercies, it will carry us over to life everlasting. Also, always know that you are loved, and suicide is a permanent fix to a temporary problem, that carries with it, an eternal punishment. Look deeply within the pages of all our scriptures, The Bible, Book of Mormon, and Doctrine and Covenants, and there you will find the answers that not mortal teacher can explain. Also, be patient with any Gospel teachers, for they share all of our own limitations and weaknesses, and often struggle to answer the questions that we do. I know this from decades of experience teaching the Gospel, in fact teachers are usually called, because they are those in need of learning. 
 

ETA: God bless you, our dear Sister, my you always feel his love, and ours my friend. 

Backatcha! Thank you! ❤️

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On 8/23/2020 at 7:52 PM, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

“You know it is not just us, it is everyone, no one in the U.S. or other places are attending Church”. 

My little end of the vineyard in Colorado is meeting for sacrament meeting monthly.  A-L meets first, M-Z meets second.  50 minute sessions, sacrament, a talk or two, no singing.

 

As far as the topic goes - stuff just comes across harsher than intended online.  It takes a concerted effort to be overly-full of politeness and transparent civility to avoid misunderstandings.  Forums like this don't bother much (there is some), but people who know each other live, who don't think to put extra effort into being friendly and polite, come across as harsh.

Your experience is a good example of that happening in both directions.  Folks probably took your comment harsher than you intended.  And I'd bet ten bucks you are taking their comments harsher than they intended too.

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I would have been surprised if anyone could answer your question. Short of prophetic revelation (in the anticipatory prophesying vein) there is no way to know when this will be over. Hopefully we will not just decide we are done with it before it is controlled and open everything. I mean this in regards to the church. Secular society has largely made that decision already.

While I do not think your question was answerable the responses you quoted were juvenile at best.

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On 8/23/2020 at 7:52 PM, Bill “Papa” Lee said:

...............................................

Are things that so much different, that we can ask questions freely in this forum, and do we need to beware asking questions in our Ward classes, or even among our fellow Ward members? 
Is normal here, a different or foreign concept elsewhere? 

You expect too much of all those ward members.  Some of them clearly live lives of fear and uncertainty, particularly in the midst of this pandemic.  Most ward members probably saw nothing at all wrong with your questions.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

  You expect too much of all those ward members.  Some of them clearly live lives of fear and uncertainty, particularly in the midst of this pandemic.  Most ward members probably saw nothing at all wrong with your questions.

True, although I just thought them to be such innocent questions. 

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9 hours ago, The Nehor said:

I would have been surprised if anyone could answer your question. Short of prophetic revelation (in the anticipatory prophesying vein) there is no way to know when this will be over. Hopefully we will not just decide we are done with it before it is controlled and open everything. I mean this in regards to the church. Secular society has largely made that decision already.

While I do not think your question was answerable the responses you quoted were juvenile at best.

Most did not know me very well, their answers were the worst. Or the most subjective “answers” were those that told me,  I should read the Scriptures more, and have more Faith in my Priesthood leadership. 

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18 hours ago, Ahab said:

There are stupid and insensitive people all over the place, even in Church.  I have a testimony from God to assure me of that.  Get used to it. And try to be nice when you can, even to idiots,  We will get blessings from God for it eventually.

I try not to be that blunt, but you are right, as you always seem to be. 

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