sharmaine

Yep, I hate Relief Society

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I'm currently at home skipping Relief Society.

I am in a ward that is about half poor and young families and half a retirement community. Relief Society is not well attended in general. Pregnant ladies who are morning sick stay home. Young moms stay home or out in the hall. Most of the seniors only come to Sacrament if they come at all. So the few people left who come to Relief Society are pretty...zealous.

And then there's me. I'm young and married, no kids. I work. When I was first in the ward I tried to make a few friends but I'm just at a life stage all by myself in this ward. Most of the women don't have the time, energy, or money to go see a movie etc. with me and are more interested in my potential as a free babysitter so they can do something with their husband.

However there are a few senior ladies who see me as a project. One in particular, we'll call her Sister Jones, who has taken it upon herself to try to corner me at church and any ward function. It's a very awkward, controlling social interaction where she asks personal questions or interrogates me as to why I wasn't at church the previous week or why I missed X ward function. She has even tried to sell me her MLM essential oils on multiple occasions to "help your poor health" (because if I miss a Sunday here or there I must be sickly) or  "to help me get pregnant" even though I have never expressed a desire to get pregnant or trouble in doing so. She has called, texted, and shown up at my door various times to check up on me. I ended up blocking her number and now do not answer the door when I am not expecting someone (I don't have a peephole in my door to check who it is).

I just don't go to Relief Society now. I used to sit out in the foyer reading my scriptures but she has sent one of her minions out after me. So I've been leaving church early rather regularly now. I have expressed very firmly that I do not appreciate her gestures and my husband has also talked to her. She doesn't get it. The bishop thinks I should just live and let live because she's an old lady who's set in her ways and won't change. I have asked him for a calling in primary during third hour but no luck.

So what would you do? Tell her off? Tell the bishop off? Change wards? Keep skipping RS?

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2 hours ago, sharmaine said:

1. She has even tried to sell me her MLM essential oils on multiple occasions

2. I have expressed very firmly that I do not appreciate her gestures and my husband has also talked to her.

3. So what would you do? Tell her off?

1. Church Policy: If she is doing this at church, please see:

Quote

21.2 Policies on Using Church Buildings and Other Property

Church buildings and other property are to be used for worship, religious instruction, and other Church-related activities. Church property should not be used for commercial or political purposes, which would violate laws that permit its tax exemption. Nor may property be used for other purposes that would violate these laws. The following list provides examples of uses that are not approved:

2. Promoting business ventures or investment enterprises, including posting commercial advertising or sponsoring commercial entertainment.
3. Buying, selling, or promoting products, services, publications, or creative works or demonstrating wares.

2. Good job.
3. Try #2 again in a very extra firm manner without a full blown "telling her off". 

I would talk with the Relief Society President and explain exactly what is going on with you AND why you are not attending. Let her at least know what is going on and see what she can do for you. Explain that this is not a casual concern in passing, but rather something that is honestly affecting your desire to attend RS.

Explaining to others always trumps skipping RS or going to another Ward. The same kind of crazy MLM lady could be their too. You take control and don't allow crazy lady to force you to adjust.
 

Edited by NeedleinA

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@sharmaine Hi there! Welcome! Thank you for your post.

Let me introduce you to the ‘broken record technique’ so called because vinyl records would get stuck in a scratch and repeat the same phrase over and over again. This technique is endlessly useful with noisy overbearing people that you meet at church, administrators, bureaucrats, and people that want to sell you things.

Elderly Sister Possum: You really need to buy this Yak Oil.

You: No thank you.

Elderly Sister Possum: But clearly you need it! Your hair is a mess, you clearly lack energy..

You: No thank you. (No change in expression or inflection).

Elderly Sister Possum: But it is so cheap and clearly you...

You: No thank you. (No change in expression or inflection).

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Do not explain and never add or subtract a single word. 

Have I been through this? You bet! 

Obeying the commandment to attend Relief Society will make your life better. Yes, it will! And at least one or two of those old ladies will turn out to be terrific people. Good Luck! 

Edited by Sunday21

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6 minutes ago, Sunday21 said:

Obeying the commandment to attend Relief Society will make your life better. Yes, it will! And at least one or two of those old ladies will turn out to be terrific people. Good Luck! 

^^^^ this

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Meanwhile, you know how one person can get a restraining order against another so that "another" has to stay at least 500 feet (or whatever) away from "one person"?  And you know how a judge can issue a gag order in a trial where it seems important that folks not talk about something or other related to said trial?

Do you see where I'm going here?

@Just_A_Guy, what would it take to create something new, like say, a gagging order, which prohibits "another" from speaking to "one person"?  :itwasntme:

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1 hour ago, Sunday21 said:

@sharmaine Hi there! Welcome! Thank you for your post.

Let me introduce you to the ‘broken record technique’ so called because vinyl records would get stuck in a scratch and repeat the same phrase over and over again. This technique is endlessly useful with noisy overbearing people that you meet at church, administrators, bureaucrats, and people that want to sell you things.

Elderly Sister Possum: You really need to buy this Yak Oil.

You: No thank you.

Elderly Sister Possum: But clearly you need it! Your hair is a mess, you clearly lack energy..

You: No thank you. (No change in expression or inflection).

Elderly Sister Possum: But it is so cheap and clearly you...

You: No thank you. (No change in expression or inflection).

Repeat, repeat, repeat. Do not explain and never add or subtract a single word. 

Have I been through this? You bet! 

Obeying the commandment to attend Relief Society will make your life better. Yes, it will! And at least one or two of those old ladies will turn out to be terrific people. Good Luck! 

I tell people that I'm not interested in their hippy, voodoo, snake-oil elixir. That seems to work.

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3 hours ago, sharmaine said:

One in particular, we'll call her Sister Jones, who has taken it upon herself to try to corner me at church and any ward function. It's a very awkward, controlling social interaction where she asks personal questions or interrogates me as to why I wasn't at church the previous week or why I missed X ward function. She has even tried to sell me her MLM essential oils on multiple occasions.

MAN!!  There's always one of those isn't there?  That bugs.

1 hour ago, NeedleinA said:

I would talk with the Relief Society President and explain exactly what is going on with you AND why you are not attending. Let her at least know what is going on and see what she can do for you. Explain that this is not a casual concern in passing, but rather something that is honestly affecting your desire to attend RS.

I like this.  But I'd take this a bit further.  If it is really as bad as you're describing (which I can absolutely believe, because I've seen it) then I'd have no problem skipping for a while and telling anyone who asks "Why don't we see you at relief society anymore?"  

Because Sis Jones is always trying to sell me her "oils" and no one seems to be interested in helping me stop her.  So I'm going home where she won't be able to do her spiel.

"But we miss you here."

Apparently you don't miss me enough to keep her off of me because nothing short of bodily harm is going to stop her.  I'm dead serious.

46 minutes ago, zil said:

Meanwhile, you know how one person can get a restraining order against another so that "another" has to stay at least 500 feet (or whatever) away from "one person"?  And you know how a judge can issue a gag order in a trial where it seems important that folks not talk about something or other related to said trial?

Do you see where I'm going here?

If it is truly at the level of harassment in the legal sense, this may be an option.  Think, a few hundred dollars for a lawyer to draw up papers.  Hand it off to her.  She runs away from you whenever she sees you.

Of course, this is the type of action from which there is no return.  You're never going to fix a relationship like that.  But if it truly at a criminal harassment level...  I dunno.

Edited by Guest

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Church or not, no one has the right to bother you like this lady seems to be doing. Tell her upfront you are not interested and want nothing to do with her. Franky, if someone wanted to sell me Essential Oils for any reason, I'd  tell them using impolite language to leave me alone. I wouldn't go to the bishop or anything else-you are in control here. 

The good thing about dealing with people online is that you can block and ignore them. The "de friend" button on FB is a wonderful tool. I really wish we had that in real life. 

I admire you for going to church. A lot of us having this problem would just stay home. 
 

Edited by MormonGator

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45 minutes ago, zil said:

Meanwhile, you know how one person can get a restraining order against another so that "another" has to stay at least 500 feet (or whatever) away from "one person"?  And you know how a judge can issue a gag order in a trial where it seems important that folks not talk about something or other related to said trial?

Do you see where I'm going here?

@Just_A_Guy, what would it take to create something new, like say, a gagging order, which prohibits "another" from speaking to "one person"?  :itwasntme:

Somehow this doesn't strike me as the best course of action in a ward family where we are supposed to fellowship one another.

3 hours ago, sharmaine said:

I'm currently at home skipping Relief Society.

I am in a ward that is about half poor and young families and half a retirement community. Relief Society is not well attended in general. Pregnant ladies who are morning sick stay home. Young moms stay home or out in the hall. Most of the seniors only come to Sacrament if they come at all. So the few people left who come to Relief Society are pretty...zealous.

And then there's me. I'm young and married, no kids. I work. When I was first in the ward I tried to make a few friends but I'm just at a life stage all by myself in this ward. Most of the women don't have the time, energy, or money to go see a movie etc. with me and are more interested in my potential as a free babysitter so they can do something with their husband.

However there are a few senior ladies who see me as a project. One in particular, we'll call her Sister Jones, who has taken it upon herself to try to corner me at church and any ward function. It's a very awkward, controlling social interaction where she asks personal questions or interrogates me as to why I wasn't at church the previous week or why I missed X ward function. She has even tried to sell me her MLM essential oils on multiple occasions to "help your poor health" (because if I miss a Sunday here or there I must be sickly) or  "to help me get pregnant" even though I have never expressed a desire to get pregnant or trouble in doing so. She has called, texted, and shown up at my door various times to check up on me. I ended up blocking her number and now do not answer the door when I am not expecting someone (I don't have a peephole in my door to check who it is).

I just don't go to Relief Society now. I used to sit out in the foyer reading my scriptures but she has sent one of her minions out after me. So I've been leaving church early rather regularly now. I have expressed very firmly that I do not appreciate her gestures and my husband has also talked to her. She doesn't get it. The bishop thinks I should just live and let live because she's an old lady who's set in her ways and won't change. I have asked him for a calling in primary during third hour but no luck.

So what would you do? Tell her off? Tell the bishop off? Change wards? Keep skipping RS?

Turn them into your projects instead. Befriend them. Love them. Serve them. Buy their magic elixir snake-oil. 

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1 minute ago, MormonGator said:

Church or not, no one has the right to bother you like this lady seems to be doing. Tell her upfront you are not interested and want nothing to do with her. Franky, if someone wanted to sell me Essential Oils for any reason, I'd  tell them using impolite language to leave me alone. 

The good thing about dealing with people online is that you can block and ignore them. The "de friend" button on FB is a wonderful tool. I really wish we had that in real life. 

 

Shunning other members does not strike me as very Christ-like. Should we really be cutting off fellow members we disagree with or who bother us? (The irony of my response here, of course, is that I know Gator has specifically blocked me because I bother him).

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24 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

If it is truly at the level of harassment in the legal sense, this may be an option.  Think, a few hundred dollars for a lawyer to draw up papers.  Hand it off to her.  She runs away from you whenever she sees you.

Erm, it was a joke.  Or it was supposed to be a joke.  I expect there are better, more Christ-like options.

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Just now, zil said:

You could have several pins made with "MG Defriended Me" on them, just hand them out at will. :P

shopping?q=tbn:ANd9GcTAeFsVUESCUDcTWa7DV

LOL! 

One of the best things about being an adult is that you can pick and choose who you want to associate with, in your personal life at least, sometimes not so much in your professional. If you don't want someone pestering you, you tell them so. If they keep bothering you afterwards, you firmly tell those in charge about the issue and what you will and will not stand for. 

 

It's okay to say say no and not explain any further. It's your life, after all. 

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Just now, MormonGator said:

One of the best things about being an adult is that you can pick and choose who you want to associate with

Actually, you can choose those with whom you don't want to associate.  If you want to associate with someone, and they don't want to associate with you, you're out of luck.

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4 minutes ago, zil said:

Actually, you can choose those with whom you don't want to associate.  If you want to associate with someone, and they don't want to associate with you, you're out of luck.

Agree, though the cool thing I have noticed as I've gotten older (and yes, more mature) is that there aren't many people out there like that. Those who I seek out who don't reciprocate the offer in some way. I spend more time maintaining my already held friendships than I do seeking out new relationships. And the new relationships I do seek out are formed on mutual interest. I'm extremely lucky, I guess. 

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24 minutes ago, zil said:

Erm, it was a joke.  Or it was supposed to be a joke.  I expect there are better, more Christ-like options.

I kinda got that vibe.  But listening to her description, it sounds like it's at that level.  But I'm not her, so...

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12 minutes ago, zil said:

Actually, you can choose those with whom you don't want to associate.  If you want to associate with someone, and they don't want to associate with you, you're out of luck.

That's why my neighbor calls the police on me whenever I visit?

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

Somehow this doesn't strike me as the best course of action in a ward family where we are supposed to fellowship one another.

Turn them into your projects instead. Befriend them. Love them. Serve them. Buy their magic elixir snake-oil. 

I admire and agree with this attitude, except perhaps the last sentence.

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5 hours ago, sharmaine said:

 

So what would you do? Tell her off? Tell the bishop off? Change wards? Keep skipping RS?

Perhaps you should ask @Sunday21 how she dealt with someone who sat uncomfortably close to her, and then apply a modified version of that technique to Sister MLM. :) 

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2 hours ago, MormonGator said:

 Franky, if someone wanted to sell me Essential Oils for any reason, I'd  tell them using impolite language to leave me alone. 
 

@MormonGator I've noticed your skin is looking a little green and rough lately. I'ev got some essential oils that could help you with that, for a heavily discounted "member" special price. I can have it delivered on Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning, which time would be better for you?

Edited by askandanswer

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6 hours ago, sharmaine said:

I have asked him for a calling in primary during third hour but no luck.

Who did you ask, and did you say why you were asking?  The thing about Primary callings is that they're really for both second and third hour.  Even if you're "just a teacher," many Primaries need the teachers to sit with their classes during Sharing/Singing Time to keep things reverent, and also connect anything that happens to be covered in both lessons.  So, if you teach a class third hour, you should probably sit with them during their Sharing/Singing Time second hour.  If that's really a route you feel inclined to take, touch base with your Primary Presidency and let them know you're available as a sub.  I know ours would wipe your feet with their tears (of joy) just for offering.

Since this is the internet and I can give you extreme and ridiculous advice that I would never take myself.....
next time Sister Jones approaches you at church, just burst into tears.  Start sobbing so uncontrollably that anything you say is incomprehensible.  Really anything to make her feel terribly uncomfortable.  Go ahead and answer your door, just do so naked and/or while holding a bloody butchers knife.  In case it's her.  If it's not...apologize and say you were expecting someone else.

Otherwise, you can corner someone else she doesn't seem terribly close to and ask, "How did you get Sister Jones to stop trying to sell you her oils?"  Odds are, you aren't the first, and you can probably find someone local to commiserate with you.

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FWIW in Oregon and Arizona Judges won't issue restraining orders within religious structures.

Make an appointment with your Bishopric AND the RS Presidency together, come prepared with documentation regarding Sister Bothersome and drop it in THEIR laps to fix the problem. There is no Try, just Do. Documentation = writing in a calendar journal of every encounter with her. She said: XXXX . I said: YYYY  Not only date it, but put the times too. Example: At 12:10 PM Sis So-&-So Said: XXX.

If that doesn't work, then on any Sunday where the majority of the sisters are in attendance in RS, Stand up and put your situation to them. How can this be resolved? What are their suggestions in getting Sis In My Face to back off and leave me ALONE? Will this put her in the spot light? Yes. Will it embarrass her, probably. Will it stop her? Who knows? BUT what it will do is make the entire RS sisters aware of the problem.

One woman should not be allowed to badger you, harass you AT CHURCH of all places and keep you from being *Spiritually* fed during all of the Sunday Blocks.

In my previous life when I owned a Tavern, and had customers who disrupted my bar - I would make *dates* with them to meet up at the *Spit* (a stretch of land that jutted out into the bay where people would meet up to fight. Yes, have actual fist fights) an hour after the bar closed. Of course I would never show up. Never had any intention of showing up. The next time I saw these people, IF they were sober and brought it up that I was a no show, my response was: Of course I was a no show.

Now, you could make an appointment with her to meet up at a restaurant to *discuss* her oils, then just don't show up. When she brings it up at church, your response need only be: Correct, I did not show up. Then walk away. If she continues to want to discuss it, face her, make the quiet sign as you slowly move your head side to side indicating NO. Then walk away.

 

 

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2 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Agree, though the cool thing I have noticed as I've gotten older (and yes, more mature) is that there aren't many people out there like that. Those who I seek out who don't reciprocate the offer in some way. I spend more time maintaining my already held friendships than I do seeking out new relationships. And the new relationships I do seek out are formed on mutual interest. I'm extremely lucky, I guess. 

This is the kind of wisdom that looks at itself in the mirror and calls what it sees luck! :) 

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4 hours ago, MormonGator said:

Church or not, no one has the right to bother you like this lady seems to be doing. Tell her upfront you are not interested and want nothing to do with her. Franky, if someone wanted to sell me Essential Oils for any reason, I'd  tell them using impolite language to leave me alone.

4 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I tell people that I'm not interested in their hippy, voodoo, snake-oil elixir. That seems to work.

Last time someone tried to get me to go to their Southern Baptist den of hypocrisy, I used something more based on Colin Firth's lines from the church scene in Kingsman.  Worked well, though I'm not sure you'd want to use it in a place you spend much time.

 

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