carlimac

More struggles with Direction from stake President

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7 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. 

I guess if I viewed the only purpose of a TR interview to be to gain entry into the temple, I might agree with you.  But aren’t all interviews an opportunity to ask ourselves, in a Spirit-rich environment, “what lack I yet” and then act on the promptings we get in response?  I think this brother’s experience might be better understood in that light.

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2 hours ago, carlimac said:

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.

Exactly. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so much more than teaching saving ordinances. It's learning how to live others, work together, make plans and carry them out, learn about life skills which include gaining favor with others. Its about becoming well rounded in all things physically, spiritually, intellectually and socially. That last one- socially is what the youth need more than anything. They need to learn how to talk and work with others. If one doesn't know how to do this how will they be able to teach and convince others of truth later on? 

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1 hour ago, let’s roll said:

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.

 

I think he loves them. There is nothing wrong with helping them increase their testimony. But I feel he is imposing his own personal preferences on the whole of the stake. Why would he single out having spa nights or playing board games?  If these are activities that might bring in people to associate and fellowship with LDS youth in an upbeat, clean, safe environment, what is wrong with doing those activities. I just think he has overstepped his bounds. Plus he is demonstrating that he thinks we can't think or receive revelation for ourselves or lead the youth without him dictating what we should do. He definitely doesn't trust us. 

 

I don't know but I can't recall my kids ever having interviews with the stake president unless they were going on missions. 

Edited by carlimac

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You don't want to burn these kids out. Like you said, it's hard enough being a kid and everyone, from baby-senior citizen needs to unwind and have a night off just to chill, play video games or watch TV.  My grave fear is that cracking the bullwhip and demanding that kids do nothing but religious stuff on their time off from work/school will cause them to rebel in the long run. 

While it's true, I'm not a parent, I was once a teenager. In my subjective experience (and yes, my experience doesn't make for a scientific case study) the kids from the most extreme religious households were the ones who-when they were away from their parents-were the most irreligious ones out there. 

Give the kids a break. They already do so much for the church. 

Edited by MormonGator

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4 hours ago, carlimac said:

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.  

I saw a wonderful thing once in bishopric meeting.  Our High Council representative asked to attend, to work with our bishop on some issues arising with priesthood ordination.  He showed up basically to urge the bishop to focus a little more on timeliness in arranging meetings with the stake and submitting the appropriate paperwork.  After he was done talking, our Bishop got out the handbook and, for the next five minutes, went through about half a dozen different sections, seeing what it said about the process of moving a young man from priest to elder.  Basically, the stake had made several errors is process, didn't understand who was responsible for what, and had failed to take the bishop's appropriately-submitted paperwork and do their jobs.   It was a wonderful thing - everyone was friends, nobody was mad.  So the royal pasting the bishop gave the stake was done in good-natured love, but it was a royal pasting nonetheless.  I've never seen a more tenderhearted beatdown.  Bishop even had the exact days he had submitted the correct forms, followed with noting the steps the stake was supposed to take, and asking the High Council rep when the stake was planning on taking those steps. 

Anyway, if you want to keep your spa night, you might want see if your bishop might be willing to point out to the stake president that it's not his stewardship to plan or fix ward YW activities.  In fact, the Stake President is given direct instruction, when it comes to auxiliary organizations, only to oversee the Stake RS, and assign counselors to oversee the Stake YW.   Basically, the SP isn't following the handbook, and someone may want to consider pointing this out. 

 

Handbook 2.10.3 Ward Young Women Leadership

10.3.1 reads, in part: "Bishopric-The bishop and his counselors provide priesthood leadership for the Young Women organization."

10.3.2 reads, in part: "Ward Young Women Presidency-The ward Young Women presidency consists of a president and two counselors. They work under the direction of the bishopric. They also receive orientation and ongoing support from the stake Young Women presidency."

15.1.2 reads, in part: "Oversee the Work of Stake Auxiliaries and Programs - The stake president personally oversees the stake Relief Society. He assigns his counselors to oversee the other stake auxiliary organizations: Young Men (including Scouting where authorized), Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School. These counselors ensure that members of stake auxiliary presidencies are instructed in their duties.

The stake president also assigns his counselors to oversee efforts with stake activities, young single adults, single adults (as needed), Church magazines, public affairs (as needed), music, seminary and institute, and physical facilities.

Members of the stake presidency meet regularly with the presidencies of the auxiliary organizations to which they are assigned. In these meetings, participants counsel together about the progress and needs of members in the organizations.

Members of the stake presidency also meet regularly with committees and specialists in the other programs to which they are assigned."

 

 

Edited by NeuroTypical

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2 hours 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.

Maybe true. But that doesn't mean the guy who shaved was wrong.

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I apologize if I missed this, but have you tried meeting with the SP and explaining your concerns? I believe in obeying and sustaining priesthood leaders, but they are mortal and sometimes make mistakes, even with good intentions. For example, on my mission, my mission president asked us to write out our prayers before saying them. His intention was to get us to think about what we were saying, a laudable goal. What it felt like was reading a prayer book for personal prayers, and it was awful. We let the president know it wasn't working, and he rescinded the requirement. By talking to him, rather than just being angry, the Elders and Sisters honored his priesthood, while at the same time pointing out something that wasn't working. If you have not done so yet, sit down with him and talk about your concerns. Remember what it says in the scriptures about when we have issues with our brother. Matthew 18:15:

"15 ¶ Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother"

I feel like too often we rail against someone from afar, without ever truly talking to them about our concerns. We stew and rather than fix the problem, let it fester until it comes exploding out of us. I can't tell you how many problems I've solved following this scripture's teaching (and how many problens I've escalated by not doing so). If you haven't, set up a meeting and talk with your SP. Explain your concerns. He may see his idea was in error, or you may better undertsand his reasoning behind the direction he gave you. Either way, you will have gained your brother, and you can resolve the issue. Just my random two cents.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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58 minutes ago, MormonGator said:

the kids from the most extreme religious households were the ones who-when they were away from their parents-were the most irreligious ones out there

My non-scientific case-study experience tells me just the opposite. Neither views, of course, are relevant to the topic at hand. But....

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9 minutes ago, Midwest LDS said:

I apologize if I missed this, but have you tried meeting with the SP and explaining your concerns? I believe in obeying and sustaining priesthood leaders, but they are mortal and sometimes make mistakes, even with good intentions. For example, on my mission, my mission president asked us to write out our prayers before saying them. His intention was to get us to think about what we were saying, a laudable goal. What it felt like was reading a prayer book for personal prayers, and it was awful. We let the president know it wasn't working, and he rescinded the requirement. By talking to him, rather than just being angry, the Elders and Sisters honored his priesthood, while at the same time pointing out something that wasn't working. If you have not done so yet, sit down with him and talk about your concerns. Remember what it says in the scriptures about when we have issues with our brother. Matthew 18:15:

"15 ¶ Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother"

I feel like too often we rail against someone from afar, without ever truly talking to them about our concerns. We stew and rather than fix the problem, let it fester until it comes exploding out of us. I can't tell you how many problems I've solved following this scriptures's teaching (and how many problens I've escalated by not doing so). So if you haven't, set up a meeting and talk with your SP. Explain your concerns. He may see his idea was in error, or you may better undertsand his reasoning behind the direction he gave you. Either way, you will have gained your brother, and you can resolve the issue. Just my random two cents on the issue.

NO I haven't met with him. Too scared to do that. But I have talked with the YW presidency and one of them is wife to the bishop. Also the YW president meets regularly with the Bishop to discuss what's up. The bishop ( poor guy) has by default been the one to act as a buffer between disgruntled ward members and the SP.  He's very diplomatic and the results are better if he does it rather than one of us lowly stake members. 

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On 10/26/2018 at 11:22 AM, Colirio said:

activities accomplish gospel-centered purposes

Phrases like this are found all through the handbook, instructing us that activities and events are to be gospel-centered, to accomplish the purposes of the Church (or some auxiliary), etc.  The negative, presumptive1 reaction to this (not just in this thread, but also that I've heard in real life) is the part which I find most disturbing.

1As in, presuming an extremely narrow interpretation of the words and of the possible ways to implement the instructions.

It's as if everyone has two lists.  In list one they put the "religious, Church, gospel, spiritual" stuff.  This list has things like Sunday church meetings, prayer, scripture study, serving in a calling, ministering, and such.  In the other list, they put everything else: work, school, entertainment, hobbies, sports, socializing, shopping, etc.

They then place a somber, grey, sans-serif "not fun" watermark over the first list; and a bright, colorful, Chili-Pepper-Extras "fun" watermark over the second list.

Then, when someone reads one of those phrases from the handbook, or counsels / instructs using equivalent wording, everyone frowns and murmurs about having to do the "not fun" list, while sneaking longing glances at the "fun" list.

It's as if everyone thinks (a) the first list cannot be interesting, joyful, and even fun; and (b) the two lists must ever remain as separated as the peas and the chicken in a tv-dinner.  In other words, apparently we cannot think of a Christ-centered way to do fun things.  We cannot imagine a way to make the things in the first list more enjoyable - as if enjoying them would somehow be wrong or impossible.

This whole "we get enough of the gospel, we want to have some fun", as if the two must be separated, reminds me too much of "we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible".

Are we really so unimaginative, so bound by the world's ways, so stuck in childhood and childish ruts and tantrums that we cannot find a way to merge these things?  If so, what hope is there for anyone that exaltation will be joyous?  Do you really suppose that "spiritual" and "fun" will be segregated in the Celestial kingdom?

If the saints cannot figure out how to always remember Christ and have joy at the same time, I fear the world will win and we'll lose more and more to Babylon because the youth have been taught that there's boring Church stuff on one side, and fun worldly stuff on the other, and ne'er the twain shall meet, so you'd best pick one and run with it.  Instead, we ought to be teaching them how to have one list.

Edited by zil

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3 hours ago, The Folk Prophet said:

FWIW, I've had a few times in my life where I consciously, intentionally responded to a leader by doing it my own way with a basic, "If you don't like it, you're more than free to release me" attitude.

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A little update...

Apparently it wasn't just the Young Women leaders that got a stern talkin' to by the stake president. The bishops got raked over the coals and the RS leaders, too. He only spared the Primary this time. My husband is in the bishopric and reported that our bishop, since the fateful stake meeting last week, is experiencing PTSD from the last time the SP got overbearing and they had to go to the regional leaders get him to him chill out. Bishop is afraid it's all happening again. The comment he has made is that though he has been given the keys to managing our ward, he feels stripped of the keys when the Stake President gets involved. 

One thing we all recognize is that part of this is the SP's cultural upbringing and it's his go-to method of disciplining and teaching.That in combination with his micromanaging personality makes him formidable.  His wife who is from his same background isn't like this. I've heard him give talks in stake conference and in our ward where he will go on excessively on the topic of obedience. It was so over the top I got the impression he has OCD about perfection and obedience. 

So we have to peel back these layers and try to understand the message- his anxiety for the spiritual well being of the stake and his hope that no one goes astray on his watch. But at the same time we have to assert our own right to revelation and to run our programs in the way we feel will be best for the ones we're responsible for. 

One other detail that gives us hope is that he's 9 1/2 years in to his calling and will most likely be released in the next year.  I pray he is never called to be a mission president. I can imagine disastrous results for many missionaries. 

He is a good man with a big heart and a terrible leadership style that offends. His wife is an angel. Love her to bits!  I see his daughter as a really high achiever but she alternates between the deer in the headlights look or a dull, won't look you in the eye countenance. I'm worried for her. She is his only child! 

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5 minutes ago, carlimac said:

But at the same time we have to assert our own right to revelation and to run our programs in the way we feel will be best for the ones we're responsible for.

I don't think this is correct, at least not as far as I understand how Priesthood keys and divine authority operate. We run our assignments the way we feel is best, until and unless those with the keys of Priesthood leadership instruct us otherwise. Then we obey. The idea of "You've set me apart for this responsibility, now get out of the way and shut up while I do my thing" seems out of harmony with what I understand to be the way the kingdom of God is supposed to operate.

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14 minutes ago, Vort said:

We run our assignments the way we feel is best, until and unless those with the keys of Priesthood leadership instruct us otherwise. Then we obey. 

Vort is right.

And it's sounding like the Stake President needs to have someone stand on his neck and shout the sections on handbook 2 at him until he realizes that those with the keys of priesthood leadership have specifically instructed him to delegate running the ward YW to the ward, and the stake YW to one of his counselors.  From what's being reported here, he is disobeying.   

I mean, if I were a small cog in this large clock, here's how I'd deal.  I'd pass my opinion up the chain and then stop talking about it.  The next time dood took leave of his stewardship and came down on me or mine, I'd pull out handbook 2, read 10.3 and 15.1, and I'd ask him to please follow the handbook and work through his counselors and the bishop.  I'd ask that any message or guidance he has for me or mine, be delivered through the appropriate channels as clearly laid out in the handbook.  Then I'd walk away, or hang up the phone, or whatever.  And I'd go buy my bishop a pizza (or whatever would sustain him in a meaningful way) and thank him for running interference.

Edited by NeuroTypical

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15 minutes ago, Vort said:

We run our assignments the way we feel is best, until and unless those with the keys of Priesthood leadership instruct us otherwise. Then we obey. 

This is generally true. But there are certainly times to not just "obey" when a priesthood leader is being overbearing. This is easy to understand if one takes the "overbearing" example to extremes. As in something like: "You have to attend a 4 hour meeting every weeknight for the duration of your calling."

We follow the Spirit and we do our best to do what's right. But no...I don't think we just flatly "obey" when local priesthood leadership moves into the realm of abusive. I'm not suggesting the OP example fits the bill in this regard at all. But I have had times in the past where I felt it was right to kindly and carefully say, "I can't/won't do that." I'll grant, the idea is a dangerous one, and I think one needs a great deal of spiritual maturity and a strong leaning towards humility and obedience to not err. 

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On 10/26/2018 at 10:54 AM, carlimac said:

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??

It seems me that something very interesting is happening in your ward:  in the absence of “officially-sanctioned” social activities, anxiously-engaged members are beginning to independently step up and fill the gap.  That’s a healthy dynamic, and one that—if cultivated—can leave the stake as an exceptionally wonderful unit for decades afterwards.  

Now, it would be an entirely different thing if the SP were crashing private block parties and dictating the events’ programs, dress codes, etc.  But that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening.  

In his defense, you have no idea what’s underlying his decisions.  Is there a traumatized rape victim who can’t handle going in public in a swimsuit—or a juvenile sex offender who needs to be included in youth activities without posing a risk to others?  You don’t know.  You probably never will know.  As Church members we covenant to bear the burdens of the weakest among us.  Sometimes that means the ward-sponsored pool party needs to happen.  Other times it means the pool party CAN’T happen.  Ultimately it’s the SP’s job to be the final arbiter of where that balance has to lie at any particular time; and I’m really uncomfortable with this dynamic of trying to out-lawyer priesthood leaders with choice quotes from the CHI.

I’d be inclined to say “Okay, President.  You get three (soon to be two) hours on Sunday, one hour on mutual night, and two Youth Conferences a year for us to do things your way.  The rest of the week, my class president will be ministering according according to the Spirit’s whisperings to her; and if she feels inspired to set up extra events and activities (even-gasp!-pool parties, and maybe even round dancing!!!), then as her adult advisor and as her friend I will be empowering her to do things her way.”

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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55 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

It seems me that something very interesting is happening in your ward:  in the absence of “officially-sanctioned” social activities, anxiously-engaged members are beginning to independently step up and fill the gap.  That’s a healthy dynamic,

 

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2 hours ago, NeuroTypical said:

And it's sounding like the Stake President needs to have someone stand on his neck and shout the sections on handbook 2 at him until he realizes that those with the keys of priesthood leadership have specifically instructed him to delegate running the ward YW to the ward, and the stake YW to one of his counselors.  From what's being reported here, he is disobeying.   

I think you are interpreting it in one specific way.  Delegating means exactly that, delegating.  It does NOT mean one has no authority over the organization nor has a say in it's regards.

I'm not saying the SP is in the right here, but I'd say that your interpretation is not exactly how I would interpret the same wording.

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I do understand there are different ways to read the handbook.  Here's how I'm doing it.

Quote

10.3.1 "Bishopric-The bishop and his counselors provide priesthood leadership for the Young Women organization."

The SP should work with the bishop.  To go straight to the YW org basically cuts the bishop out of the picture.  When he tries to lead the YW orgs, he is performing the duties of the bishop, and he shouldn't do that, he should perform the duties of the calling of Stake President.

 

Quote

10.3.2 "Ward Young Women Presidency-The ward Young Women presidency consists of a president and two counselors. They work under the direction of the bishopric. They also receive orientation and ongoing support from the stake Young Women presidency."

The SP should work with the stake YW presidency.  To go straight to the ward org cuts the stake YW presidency out of the picture.  He's performing the duties of the stake YW presidency, and he shouldn't do that, he should perform the duties of his calling. 

 

Quote

15.1.2 reads, in part: "Oversee the Work of Stake Auxiliaries and Programs - The stake president personally oversees the stake Relief Society. He assigns his counselors to oversee the other stake auxiliary organizations: Young Men (including Scouting where authorized), Young Women, Primary, and Sunday School. These counselors ensure that members of stake auxiliary presidencies are instructed in their duties.

Members of the stake presidency meet regularly with the presidencies of the auxiliary organizations to which they are assigned. In these meetings, participants counsel together about the progress and needs of members in the organizations.

Members of the stake presidency also meet regularly with committees and specialists in the other programs to which they are assigned."

The SP should assign a counselor to oversee the stake YW auxiliary organization.  When the SP tries to ensure the members of the stake auxiliary presidencies are instructed in their duties, he is not performing the duties of his calling, he's performing the duties of one of his counselors, and he shouldn't do that.  Because he's not a councilor, he's the SP.

If he assigns himself, he should meet regularly with the committees and specialists.  When he goes around them and starts making and implementing decisions, he is performing their duties, not his.

No really, God didn't send Jehovah to go do [X], and then push Jehovah out of the way and go do [X] Himself.    The Lord's church is a church of order.  It's as inappropriate for an SP to dictate ward YW policy, as it is for the Beehive president to dictate stake YW policy.

I raise my arm to the square and support and sustain my leaders in their callings.  I don't do it to sustain them in performing other people's callings, especially when it seems pretty obvious that the people in those callings want to do things differently.

[Anyway, that's how I see it.  I understand your mileage may vary.  I'm not saying I'm right - just this is what I'd be saying if I was in the OP's situation.]

Edited by NeuroTypical

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40 minutes ago, NeuroTypical said:

The Lord's church is a church of order.  It's as inappropriate for an SP to dictate ward YW policy, as it is for the Beehive president to dictate stake YW policy.

I agree with the first sentence, but disagree with the second. If President Nelson himself were to observe a ward in operation and then instruct how corrections should be made, do you think he would be in violation of his calling? Do you  think it would be as inappropriate for him to do that as it would be for the Beehive president to dictate Church-wide policy? Methinks you're overstating just a tad.

The stake president delegates assignments to others. That does not release him from responsibility for those assignments, only spreads it out so he doesn't have to do everything himself. Consider that when assignments are not being fulfilled, it is the stake president's job to see to that, whether by encouraging and tutoring the person with the calling or by calling someone else (or doing it himself). I agree that it's suboptimal for the stake president to be micromanaging ward concerns, but if he feels that's what he needs to do, I think it's perfectly appropriate.

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