Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Latter-Day Saints

Disclaimers:

1. I'm Tired.
2. When I'm tired I don't like strangers dropping by wanting to know why I'm not going to church.


When is enough REALLY enough? How many times do I keep rejecting people until the point is made (or a new Relief Society presidency is called or another person feels moved to contact me)? Last night, in the midst of a crazy week, dinner, emailing, and planning my two competions that I have this week-- two members of the RS presidency showed up, unannounced at my door and wanted entrance.

This comes after finally getting rid of my Visiting Teachers after repeatedly telling them I didn't want any contact (which they still did) and then I basically called the church and told them to NOT send them anymore. They finally got the hint. This comes after calls from the bishop's clerk for several weeks to set up an interview with me (no way in hell that that is going to happen, by the way). This comes after countless phone calls from Home Teachers and one horrific experience where I almost made the sister missionaries cry (I told them that I would return to church "As soon as women could hold the priesthood." Oh yeah, and I wouldn't let them in my house either, and they seemed very distraught as they walked away with heads hanging low).

The beauty of it all? I know EXACTLY what they are doing, their tactics, the strategies, the commitment pattern, the hope they feel, the idea that their message and friendship will save me and everything else shining through their eyes that look upon my sinful, hardened, removed-from-all-that-is-holy soul. I also, conflictingly so, know the complete sincerety with which they are fellowshipping me, because much of the time that I was in their shoes, I felt motivated by love.

Yep. I know. I've knocked on several doors of people like me. Karma has come back to fully bite me in the ass. Huzzah for Karma.

Here's how it went:

knock, knock

Me: Please don't be people from the church, it seems that whenever someone unexpected knocks on my door, it's someone from the church.

opening of door

two smiling faces

Me: Shit, church people.

Church Girl #: Hi! Are you D'Arcy or April?

Me: I'm D'Arcy


Church Girl #2: Oh my gosh, D'Arcy we've wanted to meet you for so long. We just keep seeing your name on the roles and that apostrophe is so cool.


Me: Yep, apostrophes are cool.


Church Girl #1: So hi, I'm Church Girl #1 and this is Church Girl #2 and we're from the Relief Society and we were hoping we could come in and talk to you.


Me: Actually, no. (I used to say, "no, thank you", but like I said, it's already been a long week).


Church Girl #2: (face falls, she looks truly sad) Oh, may I ask why. I know I don't know you, but can you tell me why you won't come to church?


Church Girl #1 (equally sad face) Yeah, is it like the people or the doctrine?


Me: It's doctrinal. The people are great. You guys seem great. Thanks for stopping by. (This isn't really true, I mean most of my issues are doctrinal, but the culture of the people is hard to take too. I go to shut the door)


Church Girl #1: (pleadingly) Oh, well you know. I could probably answer any questions you may have.


note to self, CG #1 looks all of 21 and CG #2 looks all of 18. Hmmm, could they REALLY answer my questions. During my active 30 years I read voraciously on church history, doctrine, commenteries, not to mention all of the standard works a few times (ok, Old Testment all the way through only twice, but I've read the Book of Mormon in depth over 30 times {2-3 times a year since I was 15}) I was the girl in the MTC that was called "Sister Scholar", I've been the one in my family that people always went to for clarity or history or fun facts about Prophets! (and boy do they get fun!) I was the one who went to the temple at least monthly if not more. And wow, here it was, the person who could answer my questions. I know she didn't mean to sound condescending, but with the journey I have had with religion, it sounded pretty condescending. (Especially because I think the assumption is that single people who tend to go inactive, do so because of laziness).

(FYI: I am sure, postive really, that I perfectly understand the spirit in which these girls MEANT to "help" me. But after so many attempts, I've finally gotten riled up enough to blog about it.)

I just said, "No, thank you." and shut the door.

In discussing this with a friend that night, he suggested a more delightful way in dealing with them would be to give them a challenge.
Have them define "sexism"
Then have them define "patriarchy"
Then have them give at least three examples of a "sexist" events.
Then have them give at least three examples of "patriarchal" events.
Then have them design a structure that is truly sexist and truly patriarchal.
Then have them compare that with the LDS church structure.
Then point MIGHT be made?

Sadly, I guess that goes for almost EVERY religion in the world and the LDS church is no exception.

I just wished that the LDS church WERE the exception, then I'd be able to let them into my home.

17 comments:

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, my sweet friend.

I really wish we didn't live so far away from one another. I think you'd fidn such freedom at the church I attend. It's so so SO different from anything you've ever experienced. I can all but guarantee....

(But - I also realize that right now, for you, church is a "4 letter word".)

Just remember that you're one of God's kids and he loves you with a love greater than you can ever imagine.

(And I love you too.) :)

smiles4u said...

Oh goodness...this is tough because you have tried to make your point. This makes me wonder how I would respond if I was in this situation.

Rowena said...

I agree with your friend. They needed the hard questions. But then, it wasn't really about what they needed right then, it was about what you needed and you needed peace, not a back and forth about something that you have already poured your considerable consideration into.

People really should learn to accept no as an answer.

Olivia said...

Lol, I love you! (and I'm not saying that in a 'i want to save you' way!)

And to me the truly sad thing about this post is that yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine in Tallahassee who just had her third cesarean birth, she has a three year old, a one year old, and a new born, no family in the area to help, and she's active, and when she came home from the hospital, no one brought her food. She was told food was coming, but it never actually made it to the door. She was expecting it, so hadn't prepared anything. So at ten at night she loaded three kids into a minivan and drove to the store. If our efforts were focused on people who want/need help and left the people who want to be left alone alone, how much happy would the world be as a whole?

Since we've been married (almost five years) we've been home-taught twice. When I had my miscarriage and was in the emergency room it took seven or eight phone calls to find someone to help Fai give me a blessing.

Ironically, the best way for you to get left alone is to go to church every Sunday. You might even get left alone if you only went to sacrament for a month, and then claimed a terminal illness. Now if you were to get sick, you'd probably get a year's worth of casseroles. So go back to church for a while, then get 'sick'. When your name shows up, they'll just say, 'she's not inactive, she just has cancer. we don't need to bother her.'

The next time some well-meaning naive person knocks on your door, don't hit 'em too hard over the head. Just tell 'em to find someone their efforts won't be wasted on. Tell 'em to go bake a casserole or go help someone move. Or just visit someone who'd actually like it, lol.

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

Olivia! That was awesome! It's true! No one ever knocks on my door (though, truthfully, it might be because my house smells like poop.)

Aw, D'Arce! Sorry, sorry, sorry. We're not all like that! The two sisters I visit teach are completely inactive and don't want any contact with the church and I've never met them or even tried! Does that make you feel better?

Probably not. But for all of you out there reading this post who don't know much about the LDS church, we are not ALL a bunch of self-righteous know-it-alls who cannot take no for an answer. I promise. Don't be afraid of us. (Unless you really, truly, just don't want to befriend someone whose house smells like poop.)

D'Arcy said...

HWHL: Thank you. The one thing I've always been pretty sure of in life is that God is Love.

D'Arcy said...

smiles4u: you'd be MUCH sweeter and nicer than I am. I can already tell.

D'Arcy said...

Rowena,

I agree. There is something really hard about accepting 'no' as an answer. I have a hard time with it myself. But I also realize it's turned out to be for my benefit when I have accepted it.

It's a funny situation to find myself in, that's for sure. Almost like membership in the church makes my personal life just free reign to all those who are keeping track. Very interesting.

D'Arcy said...

Olivia,

You are so wise. I agree so much with your words. If we could all REALLY focus our energy on people who are truly in need of it (or heck, even want it) then we could all be ten times more productive.

Remember how I always felt on my mission to finally get a GOOD companion or a SANE one would mean that I finally had turned INEFFECTIVE or CRAZY? Yeah, luckily the crazies just kept on coming.

I do wonder, though, about my friend Jessica who just had surgery. She had so many great women there at the ready bringing her things. I do wonder, if I ever REALLY needed help, would I simply have no place to turn?

D'Arcy said...

Jenn, don't worry, I am sure no one reading here is judging the LDS people. They know that one example doesn't represent the whole. Trust me, we are all intelligent enough for that, and sorry if I paint it that way. I just want to be able to say my experiences on my blog and not have to worry about offending my LDS friends. Hopefully, I didn't offend you. If you came by my door, I'd TOTALLY let you in (but only if you brought cookies!!)

Olivia said...

If you are ever in trouble, you would have a multitude of friends at your beck and call, and your family and if you wanted it (gasps in horror) members of the church. It might spark a whole new round of unwanted visits, but there you have it.

I truly do love the way the Relief Society works (or is supposed to work) I think sometimes though people who aren't well-known or well-liked are forgotten about, and that makes me angry. Lately I'm been thinking a lot about the importance of mundane little things. I think we forget too quickly how important they are.

skippylongjacket said...

Another suggestion: Tell them you have a sick momma and go up and visit her every week. Also, fortunately, your mom's ward has already lined you up with visiting/home teachers which you go to with your momma. You are hesitant to move your records, since eventually you intend to start attending your ward, but for now, we just have to wait and see when she'll get better . . . They'll write you off, bring up your name every once in a while in their meetings, but have a very good excuse to cross you off their lists and leave you alone. Admittedly quite the fib, but it's a way to get rid of them.

Or the honest way is to tell the bishop in an unequivocal way that you are definitely not interested in the church. I'm not sure who you called at the church, but anyone lower is probably not the way to go. He is the one who can tell the others not to put you on the list for Relief Society or for the missionaries to work on. I have seen that happened before successfully.

Of course, I also don't want readers to have a negative impression of the church, either. Really, members are very optimistic and truly want others to find the same peace and happiness they have found with the gospel. People are also supposed to and want to fulfill callings they see as being inspired by God. As you say, you were and they are motivated by love. Perhaps they just need to broaden their understanding of love.

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

D'Arcy.... so interesting.... today I had lunch with a good friend who is an agnostic. Sunday before last her 13 year old daughter went to a Baptist church service, as a guest (with a little friend). In the week following that one visit, they have had FOUR in person visitors to their house, including two separate pastors coming to speak to the 13 year old. They've also had 2 or 3 separate phone calls as well.

My friend, who was VERY hesitant about letting her daughter attend a church service in the first place is now WAY FREAKED OUT by how "over the top" they are in pursuing her daughter.

It's a shame. (And I thought the timing was very ironic, when she told me about it.)

Breaks my heart. This sort of thing pushes people AWAY from God.... and I'm all but certain it's not at all what Jesus had in mind.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

Sorry about all that you are going through. I hardly attend church anyore because of the judgementalism. There is a chruch I like in town (Unity) bu the drive is too much on a regualr basis and I feel very comfortable in my spriitual connection through nature and meditation.

All the LDS people I have met over the internet are very nice. My question to them keeps revolving around prop 8 and LDS interfernce in others' lives.

Michelle said...

I don't think any of your LDS friends are offended, I know I'm not. We just love you the way you are and want you to be happy.

G said...

this is timely (well, actually not, you wrote this a month ago, I'm just coming late to the party).

just this week I have had three separate visits from members of the church. In my case they all call first to schedule, no drop bys thank heavens. and in my case I always say 'sure! come on over!' And in my case they never never ask why I haven't come to church. I almost wish they would. the closest was when the bishop and the stake pres came and 'shared a message' about how sad it is that so many people won't make it to heaven because they didn't follow jesus gospel 'in the name of jesus christ amen' (that's our stake pres for ya. he's a real ass.)

I am not sure where I am going with this... because I DO keep saying "sure, come on over" and they are friendly and I am friendly and I don't want to hurt their feelings...
and
and
and...

anyways.
wish I could be more clean cut with it all, like you. draw the line. say no more.
but I can't
not yet.

GrittyPretty said...

hi- i found your blog indirectly through mind on fire. this is very well written. you must be the golden child that they really want back. we live in downtown provo and NO ONE bothers to send representatives knocking on our door. huh...kinds offended by the lack of trying (j/k).