carlimac

More struggles with Direction from stake President

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I just want to throw this out there to see what you think. 

We have a very spiritual and meticulous stake president. I fully believe he wants the best for all in the stake. I think he loves us. He says he does but...this keeps coming up and I don't know what to do with it. 

Last night at a stake auxiliary training and leadership conference he came into the Young Women break out session and said, " We have been told in the scriptures and by our church leaders to "not go beyond the mark".  I looked that up on LDS.org and found a few references. Didn't read the whole conference talks or whatever to find the exact quote but the gist I came away with was that we are to keep things simple and forgo all the elaborate, showy stuff we (especially women) get caught up in as we serve in our callings. ( I think this is what some women just do by nature in and out of the Church. We are prone to decorate and entertain by nature. )   But our stake president has interpreted it differently.  He thinks it means we should NOT be doing anything at all beyond enriching our knowledge and "relationship" with our Savior. So last night (2nd time I've heard him say this in the last month) he said that ALL our mutual activities should be centered around Christ.  This isn't a bad thing except , I quote, " all these things that we keep doing like having spa nights and playing board games are a waste of time. They are going beyond the mark of learning about Christ." OK this kind of jars me because-1)  I think he's interpreting this saying in his own way and  2) I feel hes' really out of touch with what the youth, and especially the young women need.  

He's known to be a very controlling person, extremely disciplined AND only has one child- a 13 yr old daughter. He is very invested in what she does at every activity ( they are in our ward.) I used to be the Beehive leader but thankfully have been moved to be secretary. So I don't have  to worry anymore about the very picky stake president judging me for the activities we would do at mutual with his daughter. But I'm still involved and I see this rigid attitude toward youth activities being detrimental to them. 

I have two daughters of my own in Young Women. I've raised three others. They have so much pressure in high school right now!!! They are losing sleep to get up and go to seminary at 5:30 every day. They hear the same lessons over and over every year and every week at church. They supposedly have scripture reading with their family every night and now will have even more gospel study with families on Sundays ( if they happen to have a family that wants to do this.) I feel very strongly that they need some down time with their like minded and same believing pals at mutual. They need to play and  chill and interact and have a spa night if that brings them closer to each other and builds friendship and love. 

Thoughts?

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Well, since you're addressing a mostly anonymous group of Saints and non-Saints spread across the world who do not know your stake president personally, I feel perfectly free to give my irrelevant opinion, for all the vast good it might do. And here it is:

Sustain your stake president. If he feels that the young women should do only specifically Christ-centered activities, then go with that. Don't complain or murmur. Encourage your daughters in it. See if you can be instrumental in bringing about the stake president's vision.

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@carlimac

Im not one to disobey leadership, but I’m also not one to take the word of a stake president over the word of the entire church.

https://www.lds.org/youth/article/what-are-we-doing-at-mutual?lang=eng

If he wants all activities ended, I would approach him with this and say “I’m just trying to do what the Prophets and Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints want me to do”

...maybe a bit less guilty-tripy... but you get the point

I am all for respect, but don’t bow to direction that isn’t supported higher up.

SIDE NOTE: That is IF all your saying is true. If you just misinterpreted his direction or are embellishing things, then maybe take a different direction. But either way I would approach him and let him know your concerns and share with him that link I posted above.

Edited by Fether

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@carlimac I agree with you but...the stake Pres is a volunteer (as are you of course!). Stake Pres May view his payback for all those hours as running things his way. Let him.

This not a fight that you are going win. Support him and let your daughters hold their own fun activities at your place. You might want invite the whole class even the less popular. Tells us about the parties! 

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5 minutes ago, Fether said:

@carlimac

Im not one to disobey leadership, but I’m also not one to take the word of a stake president over the word of the entire church.

https://www.lds.org/youth/article/what-are-we-doing-at-mutual?lang=eng

If he wants all activities ended, I would approach him with this and say “I’m just trying to do what the Prophets and Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints want me to do”

...maybe a bit less guilty-tripy... but you get the point

I am all for respect, but don’t bow to direction that isn’t supported higher up.

Thank you for this link. I had forgotten about it. 

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2 hours ago, Sunday21 said:

@carlimac I agree with you but...the stake Pres is a volunteer (as are you of course!). Stake Pres May view his payback for all those hours as running things his way. Let him.

This not a fight that you are going win. Support him and let your daughters hold their own fun activities at your place. You might want invite the whole class even the less popular. Tells us about the parties! 

It's not a fight. I'm just wondering if others think this is appropriate or is the stake president himself "going beyond the mark"?   So far he hasn't specifically vetoed any already planned activities. And I'm sure we could put a gospel spin on almost any activity we do. But if it's all preaching all the time, we're not only going to lose some of our youth, we're not going to be able to draw in the less active or not yet members to join and associate with us.

He has already vetoed any swimming or water activities with combined YM and YW because of... swimming suits. `So people in the ward with pools just have their own parties and invite everyone. Last Labor Day a family with a pool and who lives on the river invited the whole ward over for a BBQ lunch. ( They are former mission presidents. So they are pretty well educated in the gospel and church policies.)  They were worried at first about letting people in the pool because the stake president would be there, but finally said, OK we'll let Primary aged kids swim. Some of the more exacting families had their little girls wearing long leggings and (clingy) t-shirts to swim in (some of these were developing young pre-adolesents so it wasn't exactly doing the job of providing modesty ) The boys- just trunks. 🙄 But all the youth- both young men and women went down to the river to canoe and kayak and swim in the river- in swimming suits. (Except his daughter who I'm sure would have loved to join in.)  I think in a way it all just made the stake president look foolish for his policies. It was as if we were all thumbing our noses at him.   

Of course during camps or youth conference there is NO coed swimming. We follow the rules!

 We moved here 18 months ago from a ward that used to have combined mutual boating /waterskiing outings. Nobody got uptight about it. What exactly are the rules??

Edited by carlimac

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Years ago there was a very faithful and loving man in our ward who had a really large beard. When it came time to renew his temple recommend, the new stake president stated that he would not sign the recommend unless he was clean shaven. 

 

This man showed up at church with a clean shaven face and told us the story. One of the members mentioned that he didn't have to do that and that the stake president had no right to demand such a thing as there was no church policy against facial hair. Several nodded and agreed with that assessment. 

 

This man rebuked them and said, "Hey, I raised my hand to sustain this man as the stake president and thought that you all did the same." 

 

 

The truth of your situation is that your stake president was called of God to preside over your stake at this time. You will either sustain him in this calling or you will not. 

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48 minutes ago, carlimac said:

I just want to throw this out there to see what you think. 

We have a very spiritual and meticulous stake president. I fully believe he wants the best for all in the stake. I think he loves us. He says he does but...this keeps coming up and I don't know what to do with it. 

Last night at a stake auxiliary training and leadership conference he came into the Young Women break out session and said, " We have been told in the scriptures and by our church leaders to "not go beyond the mark".  I looked that up on LDS.org and found a few references. Didn't read the whole conference talks or whatever to find the exact quote but the gist I came away with was that we are to keep things simple and forgo all the elaborate, showy stuff we (especially women) get caught up in as we serve in our callings. ( I think this is what some women just do by nature in and out of the Church. We are prone to decorate and entertain by nature. )   But our stake president has interpreted it differently.  He thinks it means we should NOT be doing anything at all beyond enriching our knowledge and "relationship" with our Savior. So last night (2nd time I've heard him say this in the last month) he said that ALL our mutual activities should be centered around Christ.  This isn't a bad thing except , I quote, " all these things that we keep doing like having spa nights and playing board games are a waste of time. They are going beyond the mark of learning about Christ." OK this kind of jars me because-1)  I think he's interpreting this saying in his own way and  2) I feel hes' really out of touch with what the youth, and especially the young women need.  

He's known to be a very controlling person, extremely disciplined AND only has one child- a 13 yr old daughter. He is very invested in what she does at every activity ( they are in our ward.) I used to be the Beehive leader but thankfully have been moved to be secretary. So I don't have  to worry anymore about the very picky stake president judging me for the activities we would do at mutual with his daughter. But I'm still involved and I see this rigid attitude toward youth activities being detrimental to them. 

I have two daughters of my own in Young Women. I've raised three others. They have so much pressure in high school right now!!! They are losing sleep to get up and go to seminary at 5:30 every day. They hear the same lessons over and over every year and every week at church. They supposedly have scripture reading with their family every night and now will have even more gospel study with families on Sundays ( if they happen to have a family that wants to do this.) I feel very strongly that they need some down time with their like minded and same believing pals at mutual. They need to play and  chill and interact and have a spa night if that brings them closer to each other and builds friendship and love. 

Thoughts?

It is interesting to me that two people can be in the same place doing the same thing and one is doing it because they are Christ centered and the other is not.  But for sure if someone is involved in an activity that they cannot remain Christ centered - they ought to change that.  Sometimes we priesthood holders get distracted and cannot see how something like any makeup on a lady can by Christ centered - so somethings have to be explained.

 

The Traveler

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18 minutes ago, Colirio said:

Years ago there was a very faithful and loving man in our ward who had a really large beard. When it came time to renew his temple recommend, the new stake president stated that he would not sign the recommend unless he was clean shaven. 

 

This man showed up at church with a clean shaven face and told us the story. One of the members mentioned that he didn't have to do that and that the stake president had no right to demand such a thing as there was no church policy against facial hair. Several nodded and agreed with that assessment. 

 

This man rebuked them and said, "Hey, I raised my hand to sustain this man as the stake president and thought that you all did the same." 

 

 

The truth of your situation is that your stake president was called of God to preside over your stake at this time. You will either sustain him in this calling or you will not. 

I just don't know about this.  I will sustain him in as much as he follows the prophet. But I won't sustain him in his extreme efforts to control the stake to meet his own personal standards. Another example was that when his daughter was in Primary, he would personally re-write the Primary programs that were written by the Primary presidency, offending many in his wake. Apparently he was called on the carpet for stuff like this by his superiors. Not released, just told to relax and stick to stake affairs.  

Edited by carlimac

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

It is interesting to me that two people can be in the same place doing the same thing and one is doing it because they are Christ centered and the other is not.  But for sure if someone is involved in an activity that they cannot remain Christ centered - they ought to change that.  Sometimes we priesthood holders get distracted and cannot see how something like any makeup on a lady can by Christ centered - so somethings have to be explained.

 

The Traveler

When I was in the MTC we sisters had grooming lessons during time we could have been studying the gospel or learning Spanish.  We also had "exercise" classes. Anyone remember doing "Chicken Fat" in the MTC?  Also I've noticed that all the female temple workers in the temples I've gone to are very well groomed with make-up, and fingernail polish and some with not extreme but modern haircuts. 

Edited by carlimac

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All young men and young women activities should have a gospel centered purpose. This is what I hear your stake president saying. If the young men and young women activities are not gospel centered, then in a sense, it is looking beyond the mark; although, looking beyond the mark is much more severe than a non-gospel centered activity.

We can go and have fun anytime on our own dime. If we are using Church funded monies for an activity then they need to be within the guidelines the Church has established. So, can going to the spa or playing board games be within the boundaries set by the Church leaders (Handbook) -- yes. Can going to the spa and board games not be within the boundaries set by the Church -- yes.

If you are following the guidelines, then I would agree with @Fether, local leadership thoughts and opinions, do not supersede those who have the keys and provide instruction to the Church as a whole.

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1 minute ago, carlimac said:

I just don't know about this. 

 

Then you should pray about it and receive your own answer.  

 

1 minute ago, carlimac said:

I will sustain him in as much as he follows the prophet.

 

Does his counsel go against the prophet? 

 

Handbook 2

13.2.1
Responsibility for Planning Activities

Before planning an activity, leaders consider the spiritual and temporal needs of members. Leaders seek the guidance of the Spirit to determine what kind of activity would help meet those needs. Careful planning is necessary to ensure that activities accomplish gospel-centered purposes and meet the needs of those who participate.

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1 hour ago, Colirio said:

Years ago there was a very faithful and loving man in our ward who had a really large beard. When it came time to renew his temple recommend, the new stake president stated that he would not sign the recommend unless he was clean shaven. 

 

This man showed up at church with a clean shaven face and told us the story. One of the members mentioned that he didn't have to do that and that the stake president had no right to demand such a thing as there was no church policy against facial hair. Several nodded and agreed with that assessment. 

 

This man rebuked them and said, "Hey, I raised my hand to sustain this man as the stake president and thought that you all did the same." 

 

 

The truth of your situation is that your stake president was called of God to preside over your stake at this time. You will either sustain him in this calling or you will not. 

I would agree 100% in general situations like you mentioned. But in the OP’s situation, the stake president is giving direction that is not in line with church standards.

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4 minutes ago, Fether said:

I would agree 100% in general situations like you mentioned. But in the OP’s situation, the stake president is giving direction that is not in line with church standards.

I don't think this is true. What has the stake president done that violates any Church directive or standard?

Stake presidents are generally given pretty wide latitude in implementing Church policy to make it fit the local needs. Based on the OP, it doesn't sound like the stake president has gone beyond the bounds.

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Bishops and Stake Presidents at times do things according to their personal opinions while running the affairs of the ward/stake.  For the most part they are not worth battling over.  I gave up on my trunk or treat battle after years of trying to get the SP (s) to change their mind.  It is not that big of a deal.  Now if one tried to tell me I had to shave over a TR, that would be the type of battle I would have.

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1 hour ago, Colirio said:

Years ago there was a very faithful and loving man in our ward who had a really large beard. When it came time to renew his temple recommend, the new stake president stated that he would not sign the recommend unless he was clean shaven. 

 

This man showed up at church with a clean shaven face and told us the story. One of the members mentioned that he didn't have to do that and that the stake president had no right to demand such a thing as there was no church policy against facial hair. Several nodded and agreed with that assessment. 

 

This man rebuked them and said, "Hey, I raised my hand to sustain this man as the stake president and thought that you all did the same." 

 

 

The truth of your situation is that your stake president was called of God to preside over your stake at this time. You will either sustain him in this calling or you will not. 

The church handbook states that those interviewing members for recommends should not add any requirements to those that are already specified. In my opinion this example is one of unrighteous dominion.

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8 minutes ago, mirkwood said:

Bishops and Stake Presidents at times do things according to their personal opinions while running the affairs of the ward/stake.  For the most part they are not worth battling over.  I gave up on my trunk or treat battle after years of trying to get the SP (s) to change their mind.  It is not that big of a deal.  Now if one tried to tell me I had to shave over a TR, that would be the type of battle I would have.

I agree. I do feel that brethren should be clean shaven to model the church leadership. However, if they choose not to do so they have that choice. Recommends should be limited to the questions/requirements provided, and those questions/requirements only...nothing should be added.

Edited by scottyg

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7 minutes ago, scottyg said:

The church handbook states that those interviewing members for recommends should not add any requirements to those that are already specified. In my opinion this example is one of unrighteous dominion.

This occurred back in the 1980's, so take it for what you will. 

 

And just as stated, the man could have fought the issue even then. Instead, he chose to sustain his stake president in his calling. I guess I would ask the question, which choice results in the greater blessings? 

Edited by Colirio

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22 minutes ago, scottyg said:

The church handbook states that those interviewing members for recommends should not add any requirements to those that are already specified. In my opinion this example is one of unrighteous dominion.

Perhaps. Or maybe the stake president was told by the Spirit that this man needed a test of humility and submission, which test he passed. As long as he isn't inviting the man's wife to divorce her husband and run off with him, I think we should be slow to judge the stake president on such matters.

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A couple of thoughts.

  • You say the SP says he loves the young people.  Any reason to doubt that?
  • Wouldn’t the greatest manifestation of that love be to do all in his power to help those young people to come to know their Heavenly Father and the Savior (which by definition is “life eternal”)?
  • Wouldn’t an invitation to youth leaders to have youth activities be Christ centered be a demonstration of that love?
  • Is it possible that in interviewing and counseling with youth the SP has noticed some youth don’t have a strong testimony of God and Jesus Christ?
  • In your interactions with the youth, do you feel that a greater love of God and His Son would help the youth better meet the challenges in their lives?
  • If you see value in Christ centered activities, is you reluctance to have more of them based on uncertainty about how effective those activities have been in achieving their purposes?

I’m grateful for your service, and that of the SP, with the youth and wish you both Godspeed in helping them remember their divine heritage and realize their divine potential.

 

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16 minutes ago, Vort said:

Perhaps. Or maybe the stake president was told by the Spirit that this man needed a test of humility and submission, which test he passed. As long as he isn't inviting the man's wife to divorce her husband and run off with him, I think we should be slow to judge the stake president on such matters.

This really irks me!! I can't imagine this would be the responsibility of the stake president to impose this kind of test on a person. It has nothing at all to do with temple worship or obedience. 

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2 hours ago, carlimac said:

I just want to throw this out there to see what you think. 

We have a very spiritual and meticulous stake president. I fully believe he wants the best for all in the stake. I think he loves us. He says he does but...this keeps coming up and I don't know what to do with it. 

Last night at a stake auxiliary training and leadership conference he came into the Young Women break out session and said, " We have been told in the scriptures and by our church leaders to "not go beyond the mark".  I looked that up on LDS.org and found a few references. Didn't read the whole conference talks or whatever to find the exact quote but the gist I came away with was that we are to keep things simple and forgo all the elaborate, showy stuff we (especially women) get caught up in as we serve in our callings. ( I think this is what some women just do by nature in and out of the Church. We are prone to decorate and entertain by nature. )   But our stake president has interpreted it differently.  He thinks it means we should NOT be doing anything at all beyond enriching our knowledge and "relationship" with our Savior. So last night (2nd time I've heard him say this in the last month) he said that ALL our mutual activities should be centered around Christ.  This isn't a bad thing except , I quote, " all these things that we keep doing like having spa nights and playing board games are a waste of time. They are going beyond the mark of learning about Christ." OK this kind of jars me because-1)  I think he's interpreting this saying in his own way and  2) I feel hes' really out of touch with what the youth, and especially the young women need.  

He's known to be a very controlling person, extremely disciplined AND only has one child- a 13 yr old daughter. He is very invested in what she does at every activity ( they are in our ward.) I used to be the Beehive leader but thankfully have been moved to be secretary. So I don't have  to worry anymore about the very picky stake president judging me for the activities we would do at mutual with his daughter. But I'm still involved and I see this rigid attitude toward youth activities being detrimental to them. 

I have two daughters of my own in Young Women. I've raised three others. They have so much pressure in high school right now!!! They are losing sleep to get up and go to seminary at 5:30 every day. They hear the same lessons over and over every year and every week at church. They supposedly have scripture reading with their family every night and now will have even more gospel study with families on Sundays ( if they happen to have a family that wants to do this.) I feel very strongly that they need some down time with their like minded and same believing pals at mutual. They need to play and  chill and interact and have a spa night if that brings them closer to each other and builds friendship and love. 

Thoughts?

The youth program is to help them grow physically, spiritually, intellectually, and socially. Here-

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man. (Luke 2:52)

Increasing our relationship with our savior includes learning how to positively interact with God's children through wholesome uplifting activities. 

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5 minutes ago, carlimac said:

This really irks me!! I can't imagine this would be the responsibility of the stake president to impose this kind of test on a person. It has nothing at all to do with temple worship or obedience. 

So the bishop (and the stake president) are fully authorized to call a man in, demand of him an accounting of his financial situation as per the covenant of consecration the man made in the temple, and instruct him to sign over his house and all his possessions to the Church—but they are not authorized to instruct him to shave his beard off.

It's a mystery.

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