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ThatLDSKiD

How Do I Tell My Friends?

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I'm going to confess a sin to my Bishop, and I anticipate he will ask me to not pass/partake of the sacrament, pray in public, home teach, etc. (Just the basic temporary "punishments"). The problem is my ward has a very small youth group and an even smaller young men's group. We have just enough to serve the sacrament, but usually someone is sick so we have an adult come, but it is apparent who wasn't there and we always ask "why could you not serve today, we needed you?"

If I stop passing the sacrament suddenly for a few weeks my friends and priesthood leaders will ask why...How do I maintain my privacy (since it is not there business) without making the situation uncomfortable? For instance, if someone asks me "why haven't you passed the sacrament or helped us prepare for the past 3 weeks? You need to get on top of that!" What do I say?

Another thing I'm worried about- Sunday School and Priesthood session...What if I am called to say an opening/closing prayer? If I decline my friends will become suspicious since I NEVER decline. My friends will think less of me, too. Second, in Priesthood our leaders do NOT take no for an answer. If I say I don't want to when I am called on then they will persist.

What do I do? Please help me, any suggestions, anything at all. I'm open minded. I want to fully repent and be pure, but I don't want to experience a rough process.

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If they ask about passing the sacrament simply tell them, "I have something that I am working on, I'll be ready in a few weeks (or whatever time the Bishop gave)" and then change the subject.

If the Bishop does not want you to give opening/closing prayer he can tell your YM pres. not to call on you for a while, it will be okay. This isn't your Bishop's first rodeo. :)

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I'm excommunicated and I always give one line; "I'm working on my repentance." If it's prayer, I just say, "I'm sorry, you will need to ask someone else."

That's all you need to say. If they want an explanation, repeat the phrase back to them. I don't care how small a unit you're in, it's no one's business.

And then, I'm sorry to say, you need to suck it up. It's all part of being in Church. You can't progress by not going, you can't escape it by being there. It's just a fact of life.

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Do the keep-it-simple route.

If somebody asks you, "Why haven't you...", you answer with, "I'm working on some personal issues right now." No need to elaborate. They can speculate, gossip, whatever - which happens a lot in small wards/branches - but you don't have to make that your concern.

Now, depending on what the bishop decides, you may get either of the following:

1.) no action - besides counsel and advice and lots of prayer and repentance, nothing else changes.

2.) informal probation - this is usually a very quiet affair, usually the bishopric, or even just the bishop, is involved. He may ask you to refrain from partaking/passing of the sacrament and ask you to surrender your temple recommend and release you from a calling. This is as far as that goes though. You should still be able to say prayers, give talks, etc. This doesn't go on church record.

3.) formal probation - same as informal probation except it goes through the disciplinary council so it's more than just the bishop and would go on church record.

4.) disfellowship - this also goes through the disciplinary council but is more involved. When disfellowed, you can still attend church but you won't be able to offer public prayers or give talks or exercise the priesthood keys or even offer a sustaining vote. The presidency over you (Young Mens or Elder's Quorom) may be notified. This is a little more complicated to keep "under wraps".

5.) excommunication - no need to elaborate I think.

Anyway, if you get disfellowed, then your worries might be realized. If this is the case, you can't really hide the fact that you're disfellowed. If people ask and speculate and wonder, just say the exact same thing I said before...say, "I'm working on some personal issues right now." and leave it at that.

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i would let the ym's leaders know you are working on some things and can't .... insert whatever the bishop says.... and to please not ask you so as to avoid any awkward situations. they should understand and accept that. if they inquire further tell them it's a need to know basis and they don't need to know.

if they don't ask you that will cut out most of the questions.

a polite "no thank you" tends to cause most ppl to move on. it's ok to leave it at that, you don't have to explain anything.

Doctrine and Covenants 42 

D&C 42

13And they shall aobserve the bcovenants and church articles to cdo them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be ddirected by the Spirit. 14And the Spirit shall be given unto you aby the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the bSpirit ye shall not teach.

my children (as young as 5) know that it's ok to say "no thank you" when asked to pray if they are not feeling it. there was one sunday when the branch pres announced from the stand that i was saying the prayer (didn't give me warning before hand), it was not a good day for me. i leaned over and asked my husband if he could do it. nothing was said, just when the time came for the prayer he got up instead of me. no one asked a thing. another time i was scheduled to teach rs and i was doing well all week, i prepared the lesson and everything. saturday night things hit and hard. sunday morning came and i knew i couldn't do it. i felt horrible but i went to the rs pres and told her i would not be able to teach. she had all of 5 min to prepare and fill in for me. she never pressed once as to why.

this could be used for a good teaching opportunity for your group; a chance to learn it's good to decline when you are not feeling the spirit and how to handle it respectfully when someone declines.

i know it's not easy, but it's more than ok.

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The problem is my ward has a very small youth group and an even smaller young men's group. We have just enough to serve the sacrament, but usually someone is sick so we have an adult come, but it is apparent who wasn't there and we always ask "why could you not serve today, we needed you?"

Sounds like an intrusive culture. Sounds like you want (meaning the culture) to create a sense of responsibility but have resulted in a group of interrogators. Sounds like you now have a perspective on why questions like that can create uncomfortable moments. I'm not blaming you for the creation of the culture, but maybe now with your new perspective you can think of a better way to achieve that goal. Question like the above are fine as rhetorical questions to a group or by a priesthood leader (in private, and fine may be stretching it, more understandable may be a better phrasing), but asked by random individuals, particularly in public, have flaws.

Edited by Dravin

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I think the bishop would probably let your YM president know that you are unable to pass the sacrament until further notice. He wouldn't go into any detail, just a simple, "John won't be able to fulfill these duties for a few weeks. I'll let you know again when that changes."

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Yes, a socially aware bishop would be good enough to discreetly ask other powers that be to just not use you for a few weeks. If it worries you, you can ask the bishop to speak to your YM leader--again, no details, just enough to keep you from being put on the spot. There's some sneaky ways around this. If the YM leader simply doesn't call on you, I doubt anyone will notice.

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Guest Alana

When I was told that I needed to refrain from public prayers the bishop told me that although we're supposed to ask before hand, that's not always the case. You don't even need to say that you're working on your repentance (I know for a lot of people that would just get their imaginations going like wild), just no thank you or perhaps next time is fine. How about, "I'll give someone else a chance today"? That's the problem though, isn't it? People start to wonder, people start to judge. This can be embarrassing, but don't let it distract you from WHY we're asked to refrain from sacrament and prayer and other things. It's not as a punishment, most definitely not to shame us, but a large part is so that we can see the blessing we give up when we sin.

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When I was in the young men presidency, I made it a point to teach the boys that they may ask anyone they like for assistance, but they are not to press or pressure. If a person said no, they were to say thank you and move on. They were to do that with youth and adults alike.

Unless you're able to change your culture, I would advise using a cryptic, "I feel like I shouldn't do [insert task] today." If they ask why, all you need say is, "I just feel that way." If that isn't a good enough reason for them, then there really needs to be a lesson about respecting other people's spiritual promptings.

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Ok, This bothers me. Why are we to give up the sacrament after we confess if it's not something to get excommunicated for. I would think we need to take the sacrament more than ever to renew our covenants- to recommit. I can see not taking the sacrament as long as the sin is still going on, but if it's not, what's the point? I know a young man- all too well- who had some issues. The bishop told him not to pass the sacrament and that went on for 4 months. I think it went on too long. He had quit what he was doing. I felt he was so in need of the spiritual boost the sacrament could give him. But the bishop was really into punitive punishment. I actually think making him abstain for so long did more damage than good. This kid became more withdrawn from the spirit during that time and I think it's because he felt like others were watching and judging him for so long. It wasn't until that bishop was released and a new clear headed one was called that this young man regained his peaceful countenance and the Spirit seemed to return.

And why couldn't a person pray in a class if they were on probation? Honestly- does the Lord not hear those prayers? Does he just shut his ears to the sincere spiritual pleas of that person till the bishop says the Lord can start listening again? Seems counter to when the Lord says..."Come unto me". He never says go off in your corner and quit serving and doing good for others while you're repenting.

I just don't get it.

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And why couldn't a person pray in a class if they were on probation? Honestly- does the Lord not hear those prayers? Does he just shut his ears to the sincere spiritual pleas of that person till the bishop says the Lord can start listening again? Seems counter to when the Lord says..."Come unto me". He never says go off in your corner and quit serving and doing good for others while you're repenting.

I just don't get it.

it's not about not wanting them to pray, you are encouraged to pray. the issue is when you say a prayer in class or in sacrament you are praying for an entire group, the church. there should be a certain worthiness there. the person should be praying privately and with the family, but there are restrictions when representing others.

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Ok, This bothers me. Why are we to give up the sacrament after we confess if it's not something to get excommunicated for. I would think we need to take the sacrament more than ever to renew our covenants- to recommit. I can see not taking the sacrament as long as the sin is still going on, but if it's not, what's the point? I know a young man- all too well- who had some issues. The bishop told him not to pass the sacrament and that went on for 4 months. I think it went on too long. He had quit what he was doing. I felt he was so in need of the spiritual boost the sacrament could give him. But the bishop was really into punitive punishment. I actually think making him abstain for so long did more damage than good. This kid became more withdrawn from the spirit during that time and I think it's because he felt like others were watching and judging him for so long. It wasn't until that bishop was released and a new clear headed one was called that this young man regained his peaceful countenance and the Spirit seemed to return.

And why couldn't a person pray in a class if they were on probation? Honestly- does the Lord not hear those prayers? Does he just shut his ears to the sincere spiritual pleas of that person till the bishop says the Lord can start listening again? Seems counter to when the Lord says..."Come unto me". He never says go off in your corner and quit serving and doing good for others while you're repenting.

I just don't get it.

The sacrament in its way purifies you. It's a renewal of baptism covenants. It renews you.

However, if you're in the middle of repentance, having not finished repenting yet, nothing is going to be washed away.

Now I can see a bishop going overboard with it, as in the case you mentioned. But denying someone the sacrament while they work on repentance is perfectly sane.

Praying, though... I don't understand that, either.

Edit: Never mind, Gwen had an excellent point.

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Thanks for your suggestions everybody, they help a lot. One thing I would like to add, that hopefully might generate some more helpful ideas, is about some more background...I'm particularly ashamed that I committed a sin severe enough to have to confess to my bishop about, especially since I'm considered a "role model" for the other youth. Our youth are very tight knit and the priesthood leaders are more like "supervisors" where the youth run the show. AKA if I decline I'll face some resistance. I just want some suggestions on how to smooth it out. Especially since it would be quickly noticed and raise questions...You all know how kids are about gossip and how unintentionally rude they can be.

Please help, thanks.

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Okay, if you are confessing masturbation problem... i doubt you are going to have anything other then informal probation (or no action). You will not pass or partake of the sacrament (for a small period of time). but I understand that you can still say prayers. I have never heard of any serious penalties from the church for that.

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Alright thanks everyone, I realized that Satan has just been feeding with fear and worry. I need to put off the natural man and strive to become pure. I'm sure the Lord will look out for me if I am steadfast. Thanks for all your help!

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do you realize you are still a "role model"? what a wonderful example to be able to say "yes i made a mistake, i'm owning it and i'm making it right". do you know how many ppl can't do that? so you aren't perfect.... surprise. you are doing the right thing, the right way. that's something to be proud of.

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Thanks for your suggestions everybody, they help a lot. One thing I would like to add, that hopefully might generate some more helpful ideas, is about some more background...I'm particularly ashamed that I committed a sin severe enough to have to confess to my bishop about, especially since I'm considered a "role model" for the other youth. Our youth are very tight knit and the priesthood leaders are more like "supervisors" where the youth run the show. AKA if I decline I'll face some resistance. I just want some suggestions on how to smooth it out. Especially since it would be quickly noticed and raise questions...You all know how kids are about gossip and how unintentionally rude they can be.

Please help, thanks.

"The most celebrated are the rehabilitated"--The Wizard.

Keep in mind that you don't have to go announce to the world that you had committed this sin.

Feel the proper amount of shame for what you've done. Repent. Move on and sin no more.

Once that's done, stop kicking yourself. As has been said, the fact that you are repenting is role model material aplenty.

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One more question...about the Bishop. I know he is supposed to remain confidential, but if I ask if anyone else in my ward has committed the same sin will he answer? Or will he tell me that he's not allowed to say. I'm just curious if I'm the only one, I obviously don't want names or details. I just want to know if I'm the only one in my ward. Is that too much to ask for?

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I would ask a less specific question. Something more general, along the lines of:

"Am I alone in this? I feel like I am."

or

"Have you talked with other people who struggle with the same thing?"

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