Ward Hunting

My wife, Amy, and I have been fixing to move for a while here. I think the day is actually at hand. (We’ve got our eye on Williamsburg, but we’d love to hear suggestions if you’ve got any.) Oh, there are the reasons we give people, like "it’ll be a shorter commute on the Subway", and "with the money we save on tolls by living closer to Amy’s work we can get a better place for the same monthly expense". But let’s be honest here: the biggest reason we’re moving is that we don’t think we can stand our ward much longer. I know this is somewhat taboo in the Church, and I hope we can all still be friends.

How guilty should we feel about this? (Okay, that’s a trick question since I swore off feeling guilty years ago. But still. . .) I’m sure you’ve heard it all before: ward mission leader/Elders quorum president/Primary President in a barely functional ward; painful, firsthand look at how our ward can’t receive the many, many people we baptize and even pushes them away; blah blah blah, whine whine whine. Still, somehow moving seems easier than going to the Bishop and seeing what we can do to fix the problems and relieve some of the stress we’re under.

It’s not as though we haven’t put in a good effort. We’ve been here for three years and have made some serious progress in training and helping the less-experienced members. But now we find that Church is becoming the hardest, most draining part of our lives instead of the source of happiness and peace it should be. Ideally — if we were truly like Christ — we would simply redouble our efforts and find joy in forgetting ourselves in the service of others. 

The thing is, we’re not that Christlike yet. If he were in our place I’m sure he could manage and even thrive in it. But we just can’t anymore. Even my jaded, desensitized conscience sends up a red flag when I consider what Christ might do in my situation and I still feel like the right decision is something else. But I do — I feel at peace with our decision. I hope we can continue to become more like Christ and that if we find oursleves in a similar situation in the future we can more fully live up to that standard. Right now, though, we’ve been burned out for too long and we just need a fresh start.

Comments

  1. Bob Caswell says:

    Well, Logan, if it’s any consolation, my wife and I are itching for a change ourselves and haven’t “put in a good effort / made serious progress.”

    But that’s neither here nor there. In response to the real gist of you post, admitting that you’re not Christlike in a particular context while coming to terms with that in the same thought… That can be a big WHOAH for some of us, I’m sure. I’m glad you don’t let it consume you like it should a “good” Mormon, heh. I personally think you’re fine.

    But, now that I have overanalyzed in my head a little, I wonder, to what extent, I’m basing my “Logan is fine” conclusion on the fact that I know firsthand how much you’ve done for your current ward. If you were a lazy piece of s— who never did one thing in any of his capacities of calling-hood, then maybe I’d think differently. Not that I really have any right to say who’s fine and who’s not in this situation anyway. But it’s interesting to think about nonetheless.

  2. mark ashby says:

    Permalink wrote:
    “somehow moving seems easier than going to the Bishop and seeing what we can do to fix the problems”

    No matter how disfunctional a ward is, I make it a point to leave it in God’s hands, or else loose my own peace. I would NEVER presume to tell a bishop how to “fix” things, REGARDLESS of any personal opinion I have about his methods.

    Recall the story in the Old Testament where The Ark of The Covenant was being removed to another location. One of the oxen stumbled, and was about to overturn the cart The Ark was on. A man stepped forward to steady the cart, and when he touched it, God struck him dead. Only the Priests of Levi were allowed to touch it.

    God considered the overstepping of personal bounds to be a greater problem than the fall of the Ark. Food for thought.

  3. Mark Ashby says:

    PermaLink wrote:
    “we find that Church is becoming the hardest, most draining part of our lives.”
    **************

    Try being scourged for several hours with a whip that has bits of steel and bone woven into it, and then having railroad nails driven through your wrists and ankles, right at the bony parts, and then *hanging on them* for several hours, all while everyone in town files by and spits on you as they insult you.

    That would be pretty draining.

    Of course that was Jesus. What about us weak humans. Read up on the lives of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. Constant illness, poverty, beatings, tarrings, children dying, rotting away in jail for months, getting shot by ten or twenty rifles at almost point blank range and falling out of the jail window, slogging a couple of thousand miles across the plains with almost no food and merciless heat, puking your guts out with dysentery at Winter Quarters and dying on a muddy riverbank (like my own ancestor).

    Now THAT would be draining.

  4. Mark Ashby: Permalink wrote

    Ha! Now if that isn’t a dead giveaway of a newcomer I don’t know what is.

    Of course Mark Ashby seems like such a pleasant and non-condescending fellow that I am just giddy with anticipation for his future comments…

    (Pssst — Logan was the post, Mark)

  5. Make that “wrote the post”…

  6. Mark,

    I certainly didn’t mean to say that I’d “tell” the Bishop how to fix things, at least in a way that wasn’t respectful. At the same time, though, I’ve been in the executive leadership here for three years, and the Bishop has only been in the ward less than one year. I’m in meetings with him all the time and he quite commonly relies on my greater experience with the ward members and circumstances. It’s not a case of storming into his office and screaming at him about his methods, as you seem to have understood.

    Also, you’re right that Christ and others are stronger than I am. I don’t deny that. I even said it. So I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to convince me of.

  7. Logan – there is nothing wrong with the way you feel. Nothing to feel guilty about. Yes, our Scriptures and our Church were inspired by God himself, however, our Wards, and Stakes etc are populated by humans and run by humans. And since we humans aint perfect, reality is that there are bad leaders, and dysfunctional Wards, Stakes etc. And since, as Bob says, it is not like you havent made the effort to help deal with the dysfunctional aspects of your Ward. So,I dont think there is anything to be guilty about. Just move on, and find a different Ward, and go on with your life. No need to pull yourself down into negativity, by displaying misplaced loyalty to a dysfunctional Ward, and its poor leadership.

  8. Emily S says:

    Logan,

    If I didn’t know better I’d think you were describing my and my husband’s experiences in our Brooklyn ward (not Williamsburg, so you may still be “safe” with that choice). I don’t have much to offer except commiseration. We will have reached the 3-year mark this summer, but we reached the end of our rope last fall, and began eagerly and guiltily looking for a new place, primarily for exactly the reason you cite: Church became the hardest, most draining part of our lives. The move ended up not being the right choice for us (for a number of reasons), and we resigned ourselves to at least another year in our present circumstances.

    I find that my drained feeling ebbs and flows in opposite cycles to that of my husband, which thankfully seems to keep us both slogging through with some measure of cheer. It was also something of a mixed blessing this year to become too ill to remain president/chorister/pianist/everything else to the Primary, and my husband now only holds 2 callings instead of 4. I know we are needed here, and we are glad to be of service to others, but I often wish that I felt some sort of benefit–not as payment, but as much-needed reinforcement.

    It is my feeling that it is perfectly acceptable to toss in the towel sometimes and give yourself a fresh start. The Lord doesn’t always care which ward we’re in–sometimes another person can do the work we’re leaving behind just as well if not better. If it were truly important that you stay where you are, you’d know it, and you seem to be the kind of person who is honest enough with himself to recognize and follow the promptings. As it is, you say you’re at peace–so go, and good luck!

    (And if your ward is truly spectacular — or at least a bit of a respite by comparison — let me know, I may not be far behind!)

  9. Seth Rogers says:

    My dad once related a personal experience to me.

    He said a newly moved-in member came up to him in the hallway and they started chatting. The newcomer eventually related how horrible his last ward was, how the people were un-Christlike, the bishop was insensitive. He concluded “we just didn’t like that ward.”

    My dad replied: “then you won’t like this one either.”

    My dad has now spoken. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. Just remember though, dad isn’t here to defend himself, so go easy on him.

    The above doesn’t necessarily represent my own opinion. I’ll just throw in this thought:

    If all the cool people move out of a ward for greener pastures, who does that leave in the “problem ward?”

    It’s possible that “ward hunting” simply makes the problem worse. I’m not entirely comfortable with segregating the twerps in the church into “problem wards” where they all canibalize each other.

  10. Seth Rogers says:

    Mark Ashby, your analogy to “steadying the Ark” was interesting. Let me give you another story. Jethro saw that Moses was managing the people of Israel poorly and gave some sorely needed advice which made things better for everyone.

    Under your reasoning, Jethro should have been struck by lightning, or at least reprimanded for what he did. Instead, he is praised in the scriptures.

    Now another example:

    In the ward we just moved from I sat in on Bishopric meetings as Exec. Sec. and I can tell you from personal experience that the kind of thinking displayed in this quote:

    “I would NEVER presume to tell a bishop how to “fix” things, REGARDLESS of any personal opinion I have about his methods.”

    Drives Bishops absolutely nuts! Of course they want respectful input on how things could be done better. They aren’t omniscient and, sorry to break it to you, they don’t receive direct revelation on every single calling they give out.

    If you have an autistic son, an invalid parent at home, a pending bankruptcy, and just got called as Relief Society president, for heaven’s sake, SAY SOMETHING! The Bishop wants to know these facts so he doesn’t feel like a complete moron when he finds out about them a few months later when someone else expresses concern.

    Those who prefer their bishop to operate in an informational vaccum are not doing him any favors.

  11. Seth Rogers says:

    Sorry to put three posts in a row, but …

    I just wanted to mention that we just moved from a rather spectacular ward that we’d been in for 3 years while attending law school. I’m typing this on Sunday and we’re just about to go to our first Sunday meetings in our new ward in two hours.

    Now you’ve got me all nervous. :)

  12. Bob Caswell says:

    Not to threadjack here, but Old Testament stories of God playing with mortals like dominos have never made lasting [positive] impressions with me. The Ark of the Covenant story Mark points out is one such example. If the moral of the story is “God kills you if you help in a very positive way when you don’t necessarily have authority” then I think plenty of great people would have been dead by now for, um, doing good things.

    Seth Rogers,

    While what your dad said is true to a certain degree, I’m afraid I think the larger truth is that wards are more different than they are alike in the context of these sorts of issues.

    And as far as the problem associated with all “cool” people leaving, I think that’s more a perceived problem than a real one. For one, I think most people don’t have the luxury of just up and moving based on ward preferences. For another, anyone with the above luxury probably fits into Logan’s profile of already having tried three years (or for longer than say a few months). In other words, while Logan is getting ready to move, I’m sure there are a few souls in the ward who are new and helpful and in the stages Logan was a couple of years ago.

    I guess I’m pointing out that life in general as well as service of good natured people partially prevent any sort of mass, measurable segregation of “cool people” and “twerps.”

  13. Hmmm, interesting post. Emily, what ward are you in? My wife and I had a brush with another ward here in Brooklyn (could have been yours) and I’ll just say that we’re grateful for the ward in which we currently reside (Park Slope). Speaking of that Logan, my invitation to join us is always open. The chances of having more than one calling would be slim to none. (Hey, you could take my place and be seminary teacher next year!!!! j/k.)

    Don’t feel guilty. The Church is everywhere so that you can move anywhere and the Church will be there. You shouldn’t have to make residential decisions based on your calling in the Church. You’ve served faithfully, move on. I can tell you this though, if your reason for moving would be strictly based on your work in the Church, don’t expect to have too much of a break in Williamsburg. From what I understand it’s a struggling branch (thought Mark B. could give more insight on that than I).

    Just come down here, live by the park, be closer to Manhattan, and enjoy church again. Email me.

  14. Or move out to the Long Island sticks, we have some great wards out here ;)

  15. Mark B. says:

    Send me an email, Logan. I’d be happy to talk about the Bushwick 1st Branch (which is in Williamsburg at 185 Marcy Avenue).

    mebutler at nyc.rr.com

  16. D. Fletcher says:

    Or, alternatively, you could just choose a ward and start going to it, without moving at all. You might not get a calling, but for the time being, is that so bad?

  17. Mark Ashby: No matter how disfunctional a ward is, I make it a point to leave it in God’s hands, or else loose my own peace. I would NEVER presume to tell a bishop how to “fix” things, REGARDLESS of any personal opinion I have about his methods.

    When I was bishop, I longed for more people to tell me what was wrong with the ward (I’m in Rusty’s ward, Park Slope) and even my leadership style. Direct inspiration only takes a bishop so far, and so often I felt like the most valuable inspiration I ever received came from candid and honest discussions with ward members about a range of issues.

    So I have to generally agree with Seth Rogers when he says that this kind of thinking “drives Bishops absolutely nuts!” I don’t know if I’d put it in such stark terms, but at least for me, I always felt like the more feedback I was getting from ward members, the better. I think we too often assume that our bishops know better than we do just because they are bishops. Not always true.

  18. I’ve lived in seven wards since becoming active in the church in the early 70’s. I briefly lived in a ward while waiting for my home to be completed, thank God it was temporary. I still haven’t figured out why the ward wasn’t a healthy place, but it wasn’t and it still isn’t.

    I moved into my home oh, uh, 27 years ago. I loved the ward and made life-long friends of my neighbors. These people have seen me through a lot, and vice versa. Nine years ago, they split the ward. I hated the new ward. I didn’t move, but I missed my old friends from the area they took away. Our ward split again a few years later, so I haven’t moved, but have lived in three wards in the same house.

    Each has had a different flavor. I think I will miss the original crew for the rest of my life. There are good people here, but it’s not the same.

    The church is the same, but it is different, too.

    My neighbor moved in about four years ago complaining about her old ward, according to her, those people were awful. But her former bishop was a very good friend of mine. She is a difficult person and probably now complains about us.

    Although we are a hardier crew and I haven’t had any trouble with her since I told her I was going to come across the table and strangle her if she didn’t shut up at a Relief Society dinner, when she was griping at me. True story. Boy, was it quiet for a minute at that table.

    I don’t know what my point is, I think some wards are hard, I think some people are hard. God bless you on your move.

  19. Logan,
    Don’t let Mark B.’s intentions get in your way. He is interested in building the kingdom, I just want another person to hang out with.

  20. Best line the ‘nacle has seen in a month: Ideally — if we were truly like Christ — we would simply redouble our efforts and find joy in forgetting ourselves in the service of others.

    Speaking wholly in the abstract, and without any intention of commenting on the particular situation, I have second that idea. I think we have a sense that our emotions – whatever they are – are beyond our control and thus justified. If this is the case, then we have no choice but to remove ourselves from difficult situations in order to correct our emotions.

    But there’s something about being like Christ – something about truly loving the Other as the self – that brings a real joy even when times are difficult. I think our society has come to the point that we are cynical enough to believe that that joy is fake or socially constructed in order to get people to think they are happy when they’re really not. But I don’t think that’s the case.

    There’s a real, genuine joy that really can eliminate discouragement and really can bring real peace into our lives from this state of being. As you can see, I think this is for real. It’s a state of being that is difficult to achieve though. We all can attest to that. But I think it’s possible.

  21. danithew says:

    … I haven’t had any trouble with her since I told her I was going to come across the table and strangle her if she didn’t shut up at a Relief Society dinner, when she was griping at me.

    Holy cow Annegb … I love you for sharing that with us. Thank you.

  22. I’ve told our bishop many times how to fix things. Sometimes he did what I said. Other times, he told to me I’m smoking crack.

    Logan, you can move to our ward (Lethbridge First). Then I can call you as my secretary.

  23. With regard to Mark Ashby’s comments about providing input to the bishop I recommend Elder Russell Ballard’s comments on the importance of ward leaders providing and bishop receiving the maximum input:

    M. Russell Ballard, “Counseling with Our Councils,” Ensign, May 1994, page 24 (this is available online at lds.org but I can never figure out how to do links there). This is a General Conference talk, I believe Elder Ballard has spoken on this more than once but this is the one I found first. Also he has a book entitled “Counseling with our Councils” available at http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100000227.

  24. “You might not get a calling”

    Or a temple recommend.

  25. alamojag says:

    Seth,
    What the people are like in one ward aren’t the same in others. We have had wards where we were loved, and that we loved. The first ward we lived in was composed mainly of “old-timers”, people who had been born and raised there. We only stayed three months, partly because EVERY week we were asked to stand and introduce ourselves. The last introduction went something like “We have been attending the ward for several months, and this is our last week.”

    Contrasts: In both the branch where we reside and the one where our records are, we have been begging for the Relief Society to send visiting teachers fo two years now. Our branch president told my wife last night that he “can’t make the RS president do her calling.” In the ward we lived in in Albuquerque, the visting teachers would come and take lawn chairs and sit outside the house until my wife came to see them. Guess which branch we made lifelong friends in.

    I am looking for a new job, leaving the best one I have ever had, just to get away from the church in this very provincial small town.

  26. John Mansfield says:

    This reminds me of part of a biographical article on Ardeth G. Kapp in the September 1985 Ensign.

    Their commitment to the Lord was tested early in their marriage. They had just bought a piece of land overlooking Centerville, Utah, a few miles north of Salt Lake City; on it they planned to build the home they had spent some time planning and saving for. But shortly before they were ready to start building the house, Heber was called to be a high councilor in their Bountiful, Utah, stake. He explained to Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, who issued the call that they would soon be moving out of the stake. Elder Kimball replied, “Accept this call, and everything will work out.”

    Ardeth and Heber interpreted this to mean that when their house was finished, Heber would be released. But when they were ready to build, the stake president, Stanford Smith, told them that there were no plans for Heber’s release, that the Lord had called him, and that they should see what the Lord had to say. “I remember feeling,” Sister Kapp says, “that I didn’t really want to ask the Lord, because I thought I knew what the answer would be. But we knew what we had to do, and we wanted to be obedient. So we prayed, and sold the property.

    “It seemed a hard thing to ask at the time,” Sister Kapp smiles, “a sort of test for my young faith. When we sold the lot, we thought we were saying good-bye to our dream. Land within our stake boundaries was too expensive. But within weeks we heard of some property in our stake that we could buy for a similar price. We bought the lot and soon had our home finished. The whole experience reminded me that we receive no witness until after the trial of our faith.”

    I am not sure how to take this. I guess if a stake president or bishop refused to release someone moving away, then the person in leaving would be failing to magnify his calling, somewhat like abandoning a mission call. Since we are always serving in one calling or another, though, this article made it seem as though we can never move without ecclesiastical permission. Maybe being a stake officer is special. Happily, such concerns have never been an issue during our moves. The bishops have just said “We’re sorry to hear you’re leaving,” and graciously released us from our duties, usually before the packing began.

  27. Mark Ashby–I realize this is a longshot, but: Are you any relation to a young couple named Paul and Amanda Ashby?

    I was in a great ward, the ward I grew up in and had then returned to. Then we split and I ended up in that “other ward” that had always been the bad ward since my youth. And then we split again and I’m in a great ward — all without ever moving. I still miss the original ward, but it’s not the way it used to be; it has changed as well. So I think I am in the best ward — probably the best ward in the church.

    Anneg — Excellent use of interpersonal skills that are not used often enough. My Bishop has suggested that sometimes we just need some boot- in-the-butt training. I think maybe I would recomend you as the instructor in that course is you were in my ward.

  28. Maybe you feel like you should move because moving IS the best thing for you & your family.
    We moved recently. We had just gone through ward changes and then the time was right for upgrading from the fixer upper home we had. So we started looking around. Where else can we afford to live? What are the school options for our kids? Commuting options. We seriously looked at a few different areas.
    We found the house that felt right. The school felt right. 9 months later we still love our house and our situation all around.
    We are in the same ward as before. But I am absolutely sure that we chose the best situation for our family, so even when we had been willing leave the ward situation when we ended up deciding that this house was right, I figured the ward situation would eventually work itself out…..in fact, we are now most of the way there to feeling like its a real ward.
    If where you live feels less and less like where you want to be, find where you should be!

  29. My heart goes out to you Logan..

    I bought a house in my current ward (San Fernando Valley – LA) and it is the strangest ward I have ever been in. Counselors in the Bishopric singing bad solos, a constant stream of strange people bearing their testimonies for 15 or more minutes, just weird stuff. I have had the elders and the sister missionaries in our ward over for dinner several times and both set of missionaries have said they are scared to bring investigators.

    Basically I’m stuck here – I could sell my house for a profit, but houses are expensive everywhere in LA, so that wouldn’t really do me any good.

    I don’t have an answer for you but i completely empathize with you. My wife and I moved here from the downtown LA (Koreatown) ward which i thought was crazy at the time, not a Sunday goes by that I don’t miss that Koreatown ward. (Some of you may have read Aaron B’s post on this site – we were in the same ward)

    Anyway.. i see nothing wrong with moving based on your ward. If you feel you’ve done all you can, and you’re at your wits end. I think the Man upstairs would rather you were happy on Sundays rather than cursing the hassle of going to church.

    As to Mark Ashby… What was the point of your comments? Personally i don’t think telling us what the Savior went through or recounting how hard the early prophets had it really does anyone any good. We all know these things. It’s obvious Logan is feeling torn with this or he wouldn’t have brought it up. I gotta say, comments like yours come off REALLY self righteous and I’m hoping annegb threatens to jump across the table and strangle you.

    Sorry to get contentious – couldn’t help it.

  30. Emily S says:

    Rusty,

    Ah Park Slope…like an oasis in the desert, right? Or at least several removes from Bensonhurst (word.). We would love to be in your ward, but I don’t know that it’s feasible at this time.

    Don’t get me wrong, there *are* a few members here we count as friends, and who treat us like people with needs and feelings rather than simply as workhorses or conglomerates of useful abilities. We do recognize that pretty much everyone is well-meaning, and probably equally stretched thin, but…. As I said before, it would be nice to be able to take some replenishment from Church and the Sabbath as well as serve. Maybe I’m just not serving correctly, and that’s why I end up feeling exhausted. I dunno.

  31. I appreciate all the comments. Especially the empathetic ones.

    I’d like to say to everyone that I don’t mean to badmouth any of the people in my ward. The issues and burdens are just a lot to deal with. While I have my certain issues with my Bishop (what self-respecting radical doesn’t?) I respect him and know that he’s trying to hard. I’ve got lots of good friends here and can’t think of anyone I don’t like. It’s just that the whole situation has worn me down.

    Mark B., you’re just the man I wanted to talk to.

    Rusty, your offer is, as always, extremely tempting. The thing about it is that those other reasons about “better location” do have an impact on our choice, and Williamsburg beats out Park Slope there. But keep talkin’, and we’ll see. ;) At the very least we should be able to hang out way more easily.

    Hey Kim, what’s the commute like from Lethbridge?

    Thanks everyone who posted how they’ve dealt with similar situations. I’m glad to hear about others’ thoughts. And thanks for the support.

  32. Emily wrote (comment # 8):

    ..”It was also something of a mixed blessing this year to become too ill to remain president / chorister / pianist / everything else to the Primary, and my husband now only holds 2 callings instead of 4…”

    I don’t understand why the church insists on fully staffing struggling wards and branches as if they were a full-blown ward in the middle of Salt Lake City.

    What would be so terribly wrong with saying, “We are just a small ward..we don’t provide that service…yet”.

  33. [i]I don’t understand why the church insists on fully staffing struggling wards and branches as if they were a full-blown ward in the middle of Salt Lake City.

    What would be so terribly wrong with saying, “We are just a small ward..we don’t provide that service…yet”.[/i]

    The Brethren in recent years have encouraged that sort of thing. Cross the ocean in any direction and you’ll find that. Here, though, I’m afraid it’s part of the “culture” to try to do everything.

    Incidentally, my late grandparents’ ward fifteen blocks from Temple Square didn’t try to do everything.

  34. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    Our ward is suffering because the competent people who move here quickly get burned out and leave for their sanity. Why haven’t I moved yet? My wife won’t let me. She needs to be near the son we buried here.

    The locals aren’t really into that whole valiant thing. They’re more interested in just being honorable. Then they wonder why the *Utah Mormons* who haven’t been here that long end up with the leadership callings. We’ve had one person get up in F&T and say that they hated Utah Mormons. Guess where they moved six months later? Memorial Day Sunday most of the Primary teachers just didn’t show up. No subs, no excuses, just no show. *Valiancy? We don’t need no stinkin’ valiancy!!* To see further rants on by previous bishop please refer to *Help! Help! I’m being repressed.*

    We had a mission president returning to our stake after the end of his successful service. He was called to move into this ward. He’s making a great Bishop. Because he was previously in the stake presidency, he carries a large amount of gravitas. He’s told me that this ward is much more of a problem than they had thought when he was in the stake presidency. This poor Bishop has a few faithful that he can call on and is working hard to change the hearts of others in the ward. There are half a dozen families that have left this ward over the years who, if they had just stayed this ward, would have allowed the ward to advance all the way to mediocre. Sometimes we have to consider that being the leaven in a bad ward is a calling that the Lord gives us. I consider my calling to be to build up Zion wherever I may be. It’s just that I’d rather be somewhere else.

  35. Logan writes:

    I’d like to say to everyone that I don’t mean to badmouth any of the people in my ward. . . [I] can’t think of anyone I don’t like.

    Whew!

  36. Seth Rogers says:

    Well, if it’s any comfort … I believe our capacity to suffer is just as important to our becoming Godlike as our capacity for happiness.

    ….

    I guess that doesn’t sound very comforting after all. But I still believe it.

  37. Mark B. says:

    Logan,

    I hope you and Amy enjoyed your visit to Bushwick today. We’re looking forward to having you move in.

  38. Logan, may the Force be with you. I’m conflicted because we are in a very similar situation (oh yes, the fabled Atlanta Ward…) Yes, our ward covers most of the city of Atlanta and many of the Southern suburbs so not only is it somewhat dysfunctional, it is humongous. Things are way better right now than they have been at several low points over the last 5 years, but the fact remains that my almost 9 year old daughter is one of two (the other is often not at church) active girls between 7 and 15. There are plenty of younger active kids who are in student families, but the older our kids get the fewer peers they have, and the peers they do have are almost exclusively living in drug and crime ridden neighborhoods and go to terrible inner city schools.

    Less than two blocks away is the border to another ward in the stake that covers the more prosperous northern suburbs that have more youth (but all wards in our stake are continually losing families with schoool-aged kids because of the housing prices). We have gone around and around about moving, but we’d have to move at least 20 miles outside the city to get anything bigger and we’d be trading that for a terrible commute.

    So, we are still here, enjoying a lot of things about the ward but worried sick about what YW will be like for our girls, and feeling very tempted to ask to attend the other ward (fat chance right?) or pray that the boundaries are changed. I love that there are YM rapping in Priesthood meeting (reportedly, of course I wasn’t there), people playing the ukelele and singing Gospel music in F&T meeting, and that I’ve made friends with people I never would have otherwise crossed paths with in Relief Society. I’m not even that worried about the ‘burn out’ (I’m RS President and my husband is the Ward Clerk). I’m just worried that my kids will hate church and that as leaders in the ward we’ll be expected to support a struggling youth program (struggling mainly from lack of participants, not necessarily leadership). I loved the YW I served when I was in the YW presidency, I just can’t see that there are going to actually BE many YW by the time my girls are in it.

    Kaimi, I dug up a post about you leaving this ward from a couple years ago on T&S where you were worried about your kids beginning to dread primary. Can you give us an update? How will Jordan’s family affect your church experience? Am I putting you too much on the spot?

  39. Randy B. says:

    Kaimi is moving . . . to San Diego. (Belated congratulations, by the way, Professor K.)

  40. Jordan, then no wonder you’re moving!

    (although so far Randy’s exodus hasn’t put _us_ over the edge… yet).

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