Your Monday polls #22

I have to give a talk on home teaching in a couple of weeks. After answering the polls (for a blessed few of you, the second poll won’t apply), please share your thoughts on home/visiting teaching, especially ideas for good practice.

[poll id="110"] [poll id="111"]

Comments

  1. Bro. Jones says:

    For accuracy about my current ward, I voted “cankered soul” and “disorganized.”* For what it’s worth, my companion and I have a single family who is inactive and refuses to accept contact from us–I tried calling them once after I moved into the ward just to give it a shot, with no reply.

    I suppose I could corner the EQ presidency and demand more families to teach. I probably should, and I want to. But I haven’t, therefore I’m “disorganized.”

    I actually appreciate the home teaching program when it’s done properly–short, well-intentioned visits to check on the welfare of the people in the ward. A home teaching visit once returned me to activity during a tough period in my life–similarly, an utter lack of home teaching during an earlier tough period made inactivity even more attractive. But I appreciate how hard it must be for the leaders to keep organized, particularly in wards with high turnover like my current one.

    (In previous ward, I was close friends with my HT companion, and we were pretty regular in our visits.)

  2. I really don’t care for home teaching. I’m active in the Church and I really don’t need a monthly visit from home teachers and a monthly visit from visiting teachers. If I need something, I’ll ask. The Church just needs to have this set up for inactives and people with needs. For the rest of us, a contact person or two if we need anything.

  3. I’m back to being good. But there was a year and a half where I was horrible.

  4. I didn’t for about 10 years, either giving or receiving, but since moving to the West I’ve participated more in both phases.

    I prefer dinner and conversation once every other month or so, sharing some kind of wisdom or topic, but am also open to having the kids play and talking about Jesus.

    I think I’ve decided that it’s a bit like arranged marriages for acquaintanceship and there’s something of interest to be learned from letting someone else determine with whom you will be spend some of your precious time.

  5. Bro. Jones says:

    #2: That’s an interesting idea: making (or allowing) people opt-in to receiving home teaching. It would certainly lower the size of the rolls. I would choose to keep receiving home teachers in my current ward, where I really don’t have any friends–but in my previous ward, where I had several good friend who were active, I didn’t need home teachers quite so much.

  6. Anon., assuming you need some help, who are you going to ask?

  7. Bro. Jones says:

    Sorry for double posting. I was just recalling the “Spiritual Friendships” that the Society of Friends (Quakers) offer. Basically, if you feel like you would like additional spiritual fellowship outside of regular services, you make your interest known, and anyone who is also interested will join you. You then decide how frequently to meet. Every few meetings, the group assesses its collective and individual spiritual progress, and decides as a group whether to continue with the meetings. It is expected that some spiritual friendships will quietly drop, while others may continue for a longer time.

    Very interesting idea. Not sure if it would work for LDS or not.

  8. Ardis, in my experience, home teaching is usually a bad answer to the very good “who are you going to ask” question. In my adult life, entirely outside Utah, home teaching assignments generally change every few months and include 10-20 households. This means that even very good home teachers don’t get to connect too closely to their home teachees. My guess is that most Mormons wouldn’t call their home teachers for help; family, friends, and local leaders probably come to mind more readily.

    In our area, a 70 recently taught a priesthood training meeting instructing us to remove all active families and most inactive families from the home teaching rolls. Instead of trying to home teach everyone, he wanted us to focus on one or two households per home teaching partnership — the households that could most benefit from close attention. All others, he said, should be triaged off the list. Our units simply lack the active people to try a comprehensive home teaching program. To date, this idea hasn’t been implemented, but I think it’s an interesting concept.

  9. I like my two home teachers fine, but I dread having them come to home “teach.” I get the Ensign, I don’t need anybody to haltingly read the message to me and my antsy kids in my “home teacher” room.

    I would love to see the church make this an opt-in program. Want home teachers? Sign up.

    If I need help, the last (okay, maybe not LAST, but certainly not high on the list) people I would call would be my home teachers. And if I lived in an area without friends and family (why would I live there again?), I would simply call my priesthood leadership.

  10. I agree with most people’s sentiments and waver back and forth in my opinion on the usefulness of HT.

    I will add though as a contrary viewpoint, there was a time a few months ago that I needed someone to come help me give my son a blessing at a fairly inconvenient time.

    And while I *could* have called any number of people in the ward, from friends to priesthood leadership, I remember that it felt good that there was someone (my HT) that I could call that was *supposed to* help me in times like these.

    Just throwing that out there…

  11. mapinguari says:

    I don’t particularly care for the program and favor an opt-in arrangement on the condition of reciprocity (i.e., if you want a home teacher, you must be a home teacher).

    Given my general dislike of the program and, accordingly, my place in the “cankered soul” category, I have often wondered whether my soul would be better off if I were to decline the home teaching assignment. It seems to me that it is better to decline, knowing that I almost certainly will never go, than it is to graciously smile and accept the assignment, knowing that I almost certainly will never go. In the former situation, I have no promise to break; in the latter, I have promised to act and later failed to follow through. The latter situation just feels more ‘wrong’ to me (although, in the interest of disclosure, I’m more likely to take this option).

  12. As with #2, I visit those on my list who are inactive and/or have needs. To answer #6 (even though it wasn’t directed at me) I would call one of my actual friends in the ward if/when I needed help. I do this now even though I have HT.

  13. For a variety of reasons, I resigned from the whole VTing debacle more than a year ago, which meant that I was reassigned to the RS president. But one of the things I love about the RS president is that she has publicly confessed to her own difficulties with VTing, so she’s only tried to VT me a couple of times. Once we met at a coffee shop and had a pleasant conversation. She’s an exceptionally real, emotionally honest person, and I like her a lot.

    I’m finally feeling somewhat ready to try the whole thing again. I’ve had excellent and wretched experiences with both HTing and VTing, as I suspect most of us have. As is so often the case with church programs, I’ve decided it’s a matter of adapting the program to my particular circumstances, finding a way to make it work for me. I don’t want to wade back in only to land myself in the kind situation that drove me to quit the program last time.

    I guess I’m currently in the last category on the first poll because by resigning I’ve quit even making myself feeble promises that I’ll try to follow the prophet next month. But the sabbatical has been good for my soul.

  14. @mapinguari – Your statement reminds me of a Ward Council meeting I was in several years ago. The HC rep asked us to commit to something – I can’t remember what it was but it was something along the lines of visit 1 inactive family this month or invite someone to hear the missionaries by the end of the month etc.

    He then asked us to raise our arms to the square and commit to it. I’m sure I was not alone in thinking this was kind of weird but everyone was doing it so we kind of all socially pressured each other into it.

    All except the YW president. She did not do it and in fact commented that she knew that was something she could not commit to doing at this time in her life and that if she committed to it she would actually do it and so was not willing to do it.

    I’ve always admired her for sticking up to it as opposed to the rest of us who probably also had no intention of doing it but were just going along with it…

  15. You know, I have a hard time with VT- I’ve had some good ones, I’ve had some horrible ones, I have been both good and horrible. It’s hard when you and your companion, adding in the families you VT, have a combined 20 children. Scheduling becomes a nightmare.

    I love our HT- and have relied on them for help- and would be happy to return the service, should we be needed.

  16. I have twelve ‘families’ on my list. One I visit every other Sunday and sometimes during the week. Some I visit roughly once a month. Some (active, functional) I see three times a year, tops. Others have asked not to be visited, but I drop by at Christmas with bread and slip a birthday card through the mail slot.

    Our HT never comes for a ‘proper’ visit, but he calls to see if I need help changing the winter tires, brought half a kilo of fish he caught, offers to take the boys to the park, passes on magazines he has subscriptions to which he thinks we’d like, etc. He’s like a great uncle.

    My feeling: it’s a good idea and a bad program. It needs to be de-programmed and humanized. I am suspect of 100% home teaching statistics: people are clearly hounding ward members or lying about the statistics. It should never be above 70%. Home teachers should honestly consider the needs of those they are called to serve and act accordingly — screw the statistics.

  17. Mark IV says:

    You are all a bunch of sinners, apostates, and backsliders who need to repent before you get what you deserve, which is to roast in hell forever.

    I love HTing, although we do need to exercise wisdom in its implementation, and I agree with the approach suggested by JN-S in #8.

    In my case, I don’t know if I have ever done anybody any lasting good as a home teacher, but I know it has certainly been good for me. If we really don’t have the time or inclination to make our visits, in what sense can we be said to be loving our neighbors?

  18. I go every month (or so) and consider myself a lazy, lousy HT. I don’t know/remember birthdays. I don’t notice unmowed lawns and leaky faucets. I almost never bake cookies. Wo is me.

  19. John C was once my comp in Baltimore. Without him, I would never have gone. In fact, he was a right royal pain in the behind.

  20. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    “it’s a good idea and a bad program”

    My sentiments, exactly! As much as I constantly harangue folks about the corporate culture of our church, I am amazed that Home Teaching still exists at all. In any other organization, corporate or otherwise, a program that was so inefficient, so ineffective (that’s right, I said it), and so tedious would have been done away with long ago. Of course HT is a good idea, but the program is beyond flawed.

  21. 8: So, who DO you ask?

    I know I’m just a Utah Mormon without a valid opinion on home/visiting teaching (or the Word of Wisdom) in the real world, but in this artificial coccoon of Zion where everything runs exactly as it should because we’re all lockstop automatons, I’m grateful to have and be a teacher. For the first 25 years of my adulthood, I was/had neither. I haven’t asked for a blessing or for advice about a practical problem, but at least I know there is now someone TO ask if necessary. Who do YOU ask?

  22. My point is that going every month does not a good home teacher make. It might be a minimum (although I doubt that). It speaks mostly to the OCD of a given home teacher.

  23. Last Lemming says:

    I’m assigned to HT the bishop and a member of the Stake Presidency. The expect to visited every month and seem to sincerely appreciate it (although I can’t fathom why). So I visit them every month and deliver the prescribed lesson. I also have two inactive people, one of whom I know will let me in. But I don’t visit them. Maybe if the program in #8 were implemented, I would.

    So I’m lazy, but I voted “don’t care for it”, because I would really prefer to be visited much less frequently.

    In previous wards, I calibrated my visits to what I thought the visitees would tolerate. That frequently translated to every other month, but if you asked them, I bet they would say I was there every month.

  24. Ardis, I’m not sure where the animus is coming from here. I certainly don’t think that Utah Mormons don’t have a meaningful voice in this conversation. But I do think that the program may function differently in Utah than it does outside — not because of automatons or whatever, but simply because the active-to-inactive ratio seems to be substantially higher for most units in Utah than it is for most non-Utah units. This is a distinction I raise because it seems substantively relevant, not with any intention to marginalize people in Utah.

    Who do I ask for blessings or practical advice? Yikes. A list would include, in no particular order: friends in the area, people who I work with in church callings, Elders’ Quorum presidents, bishops, my wife, family members, friends from the Mormon internet, and occasionally a home teacher if he overlaps with one of the previous categories.

  25. We actually attempted the #8 system in our Baltimore branch. It still left me with 10 families (there were approximately 4 active MP holders at the time).

  26. Re: non-Utahn home teaching. I served on an EQP that had the responsibility to organise home teaching in a ward with hundreds of inactives and a geographical area which went from the Pennsylvania state line down to inner Baltimore. Different challenges.

  27. I haven’t been assigned families to HT in over two years. Some may call it an oversight, I call it an answer to a prayer. I dislike having home teachers come over, and I dislike doing it.

  28. JNS, there’s no animus! If there were, I’d stop talking to you. Please just imagine there are smiley faces sprinkled throughout. But no smiley on this sentence: We have three inactives to every active in my Salt Lake ward, and more inactive sisters on our VT beat who can be contacted only by mail than active sisters we can visit. Also, our ward skews very heavily to the 70-and-above age group (my VT partner turns 91 this week), meaning that many of our actives are unable to do a whole lot beyond touching bases.

    Of all the list of people you would ask for help, the only two available to me are the bishop (assuming I could get in for an appointment during the rare weeks he is even in town) and the EQP (whom I don’t know at all). My point is that HT/VT gives people like me, who live and work alone, and whose church callings don’t entail working with anybody, without family, someone specific to turn to for help, if needed. It may be a bad answer for you, but I’m tellin’ you, it’s the ONLY answer for someone in my shoes. Unless of course you are offering to give me a blessing via internet. [ :) :) :) :) :) :) -- insert smileys where needed]

  29. Oh, if only we had three inactives to every active! That’s about what I understand to be a normal ratio in Mormon Corridor units. Our local unit has a ratio closer to 15 to 1. I’ve lived in units with overwhelmingly worse ratios, as well.

    I agree that our teaching programs work very well for some people. I certainly don’t think they should be abolished. I’m equally convinced that they don’t work well for everybody in the church.

  30. :) Well, I repeat my comment :) — :) surrounded with smileys — :) about being unqualified to comment :) seeing as how I’m jest a lil’ ol’ lady from Utah :) . 15 to 1? and you have valid addresses for them? (I mean, they’re not just names on the rolls from 30 years ago, but people you actually have some sort of stewardship for and don’t have the “invalid address” excuse not to look them up?) Ouch!

    :) Still, I’ll bet most of your HTs and VTs are younger than 91. :)

  31. Who do I ask for blessings or practical advice? Yikes. A list would include, in no particular order: friends in the area, people who I work with in church callings, Elders’ Quorum presidents, bishops, my wife, family members, friends from the Mormon internet, and occasionally a home teacher if he overlaps with one of the previous categories.

    JNS,
    Well, a blessing and practical advice are two separate things. Your list is a good one for the practical advice category, but for a blessing I’d hope not too many people have EQ President and Bishop (or their wife and internet friends for that matter) on their list. One of the greatest things about the HT program is the not-bothering-those-who-have-enough-on-their-plate-already aspect of it.

  32. Yeah, the invalid addresses get sent to the lost-people office in Utah. Lots of these people are just names on the rolls from 30 years ago, but names that correspond to people still in the area…

    You’re right, though, that most of our HTs and VTs are younger than 91. Some are that old, though.

    Anyway, the program obviously has challenges everywhere. The worst I’ve ever heard was someone in Chile who was required, as a condition for Perpetual Education Fund money, to home teach 35 inactive people every month.

  33. I like home teaching in Utah, and I see its benefits in my ward. I don’t go every month but at least every other. I have gone more often when there are issues to address. I have to admit though, that if I had to do home teaching in the situationa that Ronan describes in #26, I would probably fail miserably.

    I can comfortably walk to all my HT families, so I figure I have no excuse not to visit them.

    I rarely give the prescribed message, because it seems a bit out of place most of the time. If I do a “lesson” it’s usually one I make up. I don’t know if all of that makes me a good or bad home teacher, but it’s what I do.

  34. Rusty, fair enough, although I have indeed had blessings from internet friends and it does seem that bishops and EQ presidents give more than their share of blessings. I’m guessing that organic social networks within the church do quite a bit more “not-bothering-those-who-have-enough-on-their-plate-already” than the home teaching program does, though.

  35. Seabass says:

    Put me down as one who doesn’t really care for it, but who thinks it is helpful to have someone who is supposed to help–it just gets over some of the worry of inconviencing someone.

    I think it would be better to designate HTers, have them go two or three times a year (so the HTees would be comfortable calling for help) and then increasing the amount of book clubs/sports events/other activities for smaller groups. That way people could have friends, not be bored, and still have someone to call on.

  36. Lulubelle says:

    I really don’t like HT or VT. I think the amount of time I spend in Church or Church-related activities is MORE than enough. With such little time for my family, and regular church-stuff taking up far too much time as it is, I don’t have 3 nights/month to devote to either program (which, if done properly, is me VT once/month, allow a VT into my home once/month, allow a HT into my home once/month). I don’t spend that much time with my closest friends, and I wish I did! Some find it helpful and that’s great. I think an opt-in program would be great. BTW, if someone is inactive and not to keen on the church, don’t you think VT/HT efforts would be really annoying to them? I know some less active/non active/former members who feel hounded endlessly by missionary visits, HT, VT, the RS presidency, and more.

  37. Steve Evans says:

    Ardis, you put up one more smiley abortion of a comment again, and I swear…

  38. Randy B. says:

    Of the thousands of different pieces of advice that could be mentioned, I’ll suggest one: When you HT a family with kids, please, please, please focus your visit in large part towards them directly (unless, of course, there are compelling reasons that dictate otherwise). That means often doing the untraditional, like playing a game instead of having a lesson, role-playing a bible story, having a kid-friendly object lesson, and so on. In other words, make the visit something the kids actually look forward to.

    Growing up, my family had the same HT’s for as long as I can remember. They were as faithful as could be. They came every single month, and every month they gave a brief synopsis of the 1P message, preceded by small talk with my parents. This monthly visit was dreaded by every single one of us kids. The HT’s would do little if anything to engage us, and as a result we were consistently bored out of our skulls, counting the minutes until it was over.

    Our current HT is entirely different, for which I am truly grateful — our kids doubly so. We’ve had lessons on astronomy (after which he left his books for our kids to read and look through), we’ve had fun object lessons, and of course lots of treats. The difference in the effectiveness of two approaches is enormous.

  39. Single Sister says:

    As a single female I just like to know who my home teachers are. I don’t care if they visit, but I want to be able to call on them if I need them. I’ve asked to be taken off of the list to be visited at home by my VT – I know who they are and they ask me how I am on Sunday and that’s it. I’m gone from my home 13 hours a day, and in the end I just don’t have the time or the energy to visit. When I did have HT and VT regularly though, it always annoyed me how often they would change them. One year my VT’s were changed 12 times (yep, I said 12). Why on earth do they do that? All in all, though, I would prefer that I just know who both my HT and VT are so I can call if I need them, and not have them visit.

  40. Jessie T says:

    I do my Visiting Teaching much more often now that our ward has switched over to VTing “groups”. They clump 4-6 of us together who are basically in the same life-place and we meet once a month to discuss the lesson. My life-place right now involves a 3 year old and a 9 month old. My “companions” are in pretty much the same spot so our VTing really becomes a play group where we adults chat about the message and about life while our rugrats roll around on the floor. I find it uplifting and helpful, although this is the first time in my life that I’ve actually enjoyed it.

    I grew up without a dad, so HTers were very much appreciated for blessings, fixing random things, general welfare, etc. Our last guys were awesome and we really felt like they cared about us. Our new ones seem like they’re just mentally placing a check in their to-do list. Oh well. It’s an easy way to get to know some of the ward members better than you do with nods in the hallway before Sunday School. Not really the point of Home Teaching, I know, but at least it’s something.

  41. StillConfused says:

    “My feeling: it’s a good idea and a bad program.”

    Amen!! When I was married, I had a home teacher. When I was a single mom with a fatherless son … no home teacher. Despite repeated requests. There when you don’t need them; not there when you do. I actually get better visits from my non-LDS neighbors who actually care about me and stop by to help when they see me struggling on yard work. The LDS neighbors are too busy to stop and visit or help — probably going to home teach someone.

  42. Jennifer in GA says:

    I’m a crap VT, but I’m a good person. (Most of the time. ;D) To me, this means that if I see or hear of a need, I try and do something about it, without needing to have an assignment given me to me to do so. A few months back, a sister in my ward had a baby. Her husband is a Weekend Warrior, and I knew he’d be leaving shortly after she got home from the hospital. I’m not her VT, but anyone could see she was going to need help. So I called her up and asked if I could bring her dinner one night, and offered to drop her children off at preschool (which happens to be the same one I teach at). She was happy to accept my offer of help, and I was happy that I could be of service to her.

    Isn’t that the way things are *supposed* to be?? Mourn with those that mourn, comfort those in need of comfort, and all that jazz? It would have been silly and inefficient of me to call up the RS president, see if anything was already being done for the sister and her family, wait to hear back from the VT, etc, etc. It’s ridiculous!

    My husband is the EQ president, and organizing the HT routes is a nightmare. He hates it. It’s a waste of time and energy, especially since he has to make changes every single month.

  43. :) Yes, Steve? :) what will you do? :) Hm? :)

  44. I’ve had some amazing home teachers over the years. One gave us a car. Another gave me & my kids blessings when we were sick, with his hands shaking from nervousness. He’d never done a PH blessing before.

    Right now our HT is a cool guy who comes over and hangs out for a bit. His family has taken us dirtbiking out in the desert in their giant RV. I actually forget he’s our home teacher. He’s a friend.

  45. Latter-day Guy says:

    My two bits: the thing is generally a drag. I don’t particularly enjoy home teaching; what’s more, I like being home taught even less. I suppose that it might be a beneficial, even needful, practice for some folks in some areas. It just seems like a waste of time to me, albeit only two hours a month. (Unless you’re at BYU, where the time involvement in one ward I lived in was about 6 or 7 hours a month. It sucked. Alot.)

  46. Steve Evans says:

    CURSE YOU PARSHALL!

  47. I actually am living proof that VT/HT can work to activate a family. We went directly from baptism in 1984 to inactivity with only occassional forays into church on my part. A big part of the problem was that my husband and I had both smoked for most of our lives and were only able to quit for a brief time in order to be baptized, then went back. We joined the church in Calif, then moved to Utah for non-religious reasons. For 8 years we had the same HTs, a couple who was called to visit us as HT & VT. I don’t remember how often they came, probably not every month, but they did get to know us fairly well by the 8th year. Then the sister was called to a leadership position in the Ward and asked to have me in her Presidency (in a specially created calling but I didn’t know that then!). The job she asked me to do went well with my skill set and after consistently attending church for a full year I found out I actually believed what I was hearing. I was then given the help I needed (from a spiritual source) to quit smoking and went to the temple for the first time about 6 months later. That was 10 years ago and we have moved 2500 miles away from that Ward but I am still going strong.

    The most amazing part of this story is that their influence is still affecting our family for good. My husband finally decided he should attend church in Jan of 07. (I think he got tired of being left behind every Sunday) After 6 months of consistent attendance he was able to stop smoking at the age of 71! He has since received the MP and will no doubt go to the temple as soon as he gets over his nervousness.

    I know not every VT or HT has this great an impact but it can happen.

  48. How do you do the smileys? I want to play with them, too!

  49. Tsk-tsk — damned if I didn’t, and now damned that I do! I shall now behave myself.

  50. Noray, wonderful story of the way it is supposed to work.

    Smileys are made by typing : and ) right next to each other (the eyes and the smile). Somebody else will have to share the secret of the frownies and tongue-sticks and other variations.

    But, I pray thee, learn from my folly and do not rouse the Steve Evans Beast!

  51. In my own home, I ask my kids to check on each other, help each other out, play together etc. They might do those things for each other if I didn’t ask them to, but I don’t think it’s wrong for me to ask them to do it, nor to ask later if they actually did do it. I’m not very good at VT, but I have had some special experiences that I easily could’ve missed by giving myself excuses. Thank goodness in those instances I didn’t, but I wonder what I’ve missed out on when I did talk myself out of it.

    Our brand new stake president talked about HT/VT at our last ward conference and he said, “What if you knew that the people on your list were only going to need you one time that year, but they would really need you, which month would you skip?”

  52. Kevin Barney says:

    I have more thoughts about this than I can possibly manage to share here. I’ll just do a little off the top of my head.

    The statistics are an abomination, from every point of view. My first calling in this area was executive secretary to the EQP over HT. I was going to refuse the calling (I had no interest in haranguing guys to do their visits), but the stake had just come out with a new program to allow virtually any form of contact to “count.” The idea was to encourage more contact, even if some of it was less than “ideal.” But our ward was the only one that attended the special stake training meeting and knew what was being asked of us. So we started reporting 100% HTing (because if anyone didn’t get contacted some other way, I personally would send them a letter, as I had been instructed to do). Some wards thought I was a miracle worker, and others thought I was lying and cooking the books. Both reactions annoyed me; I was just following stake instructions. But from that experience I learned just how meaningless the statistics are. I realize some people wouldn’t do anything without the motivation of the numbers, but their value as a measurement is nil, and I for one resent the whole statistical side of the program.

    I agree with the idea of focusing your best HTers on the people who really need them and can most benefit from them, such as single sisters and the marginally active. The fully active and hardcore inactive should be lower priorities. I neither need nor particularly want HTers, but at various points I’ve been assigned some of the best HTers in the ward. These guys should have been assigned to people who needed them more than I do.

    I resent the pressure to visit hard core inactives, who were probably notches on some missionaries’ belts for their statistical glory and rushed into baptism only to promptly become inactive. The inordinate focus on baptism statistics in the missionary program leads inexorably to pressure on the HTing program and strains limited active MP resources. I don’t like being pressured to try to fix someone else’s mistakes, especially when in my view such mistakes are endemic to the system.

    Everyone reading the 1P message seems very silly to me. That was originally supposed to be an available resource, not the automatic monthly default.

  53. I opted out of visiting teaching a few months ago. I was quite specific that I wouldn’t be going, and also quite specific that at least two of the women on my list needed to be reassigned, because they need good visiting teachers.

    I think the concept of VT/HT is very good, but it obviously isn’t working as currently constructed. Some of the options expressed here sound like they could work well. I like both opt-in and allocating resources to single men and women, borderline actives, and the sick and elderly. A team approach, where a team of six adults is assigned to a group of 24 people opt-ins and others, could be useful because the organic relationships JNS refers to could emerge from these.

  54. Peter LLC says:

    Last mont our High Priest Group Leader organized a hike as a way to jumpstart our dismal HT efforts. All home teachers from both quorums were invited to invite their families and all who came would be counted (spiritual messages were dispensed before, during and after the hike as well as prayers). We got 50% that month to satisfy the bean counters and it was a fun outing for the participants.

  55. #6, I would ask my friends in the ward who I am closer to personally and geographically. But, like I said, the ward could offer contact people for assistance without the need for monthly visits.

  56. Home Teacher=access to the Priesthood for many people.

    Single sisters, or those whose spouses are not Priesthood holders are not looking for handymen or wise counsel; they NEED (and deserve) a relationship with someone who they can call when in need of a PH blessing (even if that is only once every few decades). If they don’t know who their HT is, or know his name and that he doesn’t care enough to form a relationship, how are they to feel comfortable to call in emergencies? They tend to be very wary of being a burden on EQP (and may not even know who that is) or Bishops.

    I think some underestimate the segregation of sexes at Church. It is VERY hard for single people to socialize with ward members of the opposite sex in many cases. If they don’t have a spouse to socialize with or through, they just won’t know a lot of people of a different gender. This is especially true for women, whose callings are frequently in all female auxiliaries. So if a woman is single, she could easily not have any friends who hold the Priesthood.

    I am all for unconventional visits, and Susan’s HTs sound ideal–they are friends.

    I have a dear friend who was inactive for 18 years. She lived less than a mile from the Church building and yet, in all that time, never received any contact whatsoever. One week some sister missionaries sought her out, invited her to church, and she started coming. I can’t imagine how she must feel to look around her ward at a bunch of people who couldn’t make time for her in 18 years of inactivity (yet they have given her 4 callings now and depend on her quite a bit).

  57. I don’t want to let VTers off the hook. While we cannot offer the PH, we can offer a different kind of service that can be as valuable–a sympathetic ear.

    Sure, in order to do that, you may have to sit through years of agonizing, painful, boring, smelly, and inconvenient visits, but a good VTer when you need her is worth her weight on gold.

  58. Just do it

  59. My favorite visiting teaching story:
    My friend in my ward (mom of 3 little kids) was up in th emiddle of the night with a headache while her husband was out of town. It was so bad she dialed 911. Then she called her visiting teacher.
    Her visiting teacher beat the ambulance to her house. My friend only lives 1.5 miles from the firestation and the hospital. Her visiting teacher lives farther away.
    Isn’t that cool? And btw, the headache was serious. Months of tests and medications and I’m confused by it all.

    Ronan, your list of options is too short. I believe in visiting teaching. I am not too disorganized. I like it. It’s just extremely difficult for me to feel comfortable calling someone to make an appt. so I procrastinate or avoid it..it pretty much has to be my sole goal for the day. If my companion makes appts I will happily go. I’m sure there are other reasons besides social anxiety.

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