Where do you draw the line? Your column today (10/31/13) came across (whether you intended or not) as if you were targeting a certain type of member vs uplifting that same member. We are human, and we all understand moments of frustration. Sometimes, being christlike is accepting our moments of weakness and asking forgiveness. You will be amazed (or maybe not) at the lives you can influence in your position as a writer and church leader w/ humility and repentance. Your talent, forum and influence brings you such great opportunity to uplift those who are in need of that connection, I hate to see pride work against Christ's true spirit and acceptance. Whether it was intention or not, the article published today came across as targeting and condemning a certain audience versus uplifting and inspiring that same audience to come back to the fold. For that, an apology vs any excuse or self defense statement would be taken to heart more effectively by those that were truly hurt by your words. You absolutely have a right to your opinion, all I ask is that you consider your focus. We all know what wrong choices bring, we can look in the mirror and see the effects every day, condemnation by your peers only turns the hearts away, find it within your heart to write to inspire those to come back. With an open heart and the position you hold, the work you can do could be so amazing!
Thank you for listening,
"A Young Men
This is a tough one. I have seen both sides of the coin and have experienced shunning myself as an adult and as a young adult. I was lucky to be a convert so as lonely as it was at times my testimony kept me going. I have seen the unfortunate consequence of parents encouraging teens to befriend kids who have really poor standards and seeing those "good" kids pulled in,never to return to the church even in adulthood. When encouraging our kids to support others it's important that they understand the difference between the value of the person and their behaviour. Kids sometimes find it difficult to differentiate between the two. It seems sometimes that the parents of the encouraging teens push the message of tolerance so far that their children think they are being intolerant by not accepting all of their new friend's behaviour. At times we also need to judge as to whether our teen is easily led or not before we encourage that sort of association. Prayer and guidance of the Spirit is a great way to know how to approach this problem on a person by person basis.
This type of judgement seems very much like the Pharisees does it not? They judged Christ for associating with sinners and publicans. Are we any better?
It is hard to see your child left out. It is equally hard to feel left out yourself. however, similar social shunning have happened to teens and adult who stay with the gospel who do not leave the church who stand firm in their place with Christ. what makes the different. I don't really know. My "on the autism spectrum" son and grandson seem to separate the behavior of the ward members from the gospel of Christ. I am very proud of their strength. I agree with Leah that Mormon teens are lack in social skills sometime but I have to disagree that most adult LDS have decent social skills. The model of social behavior comes from the adults and I am currently experiencing shunning from the adults of my ward because I am not part of that inter-group that has been together forever. No personal reason just the old group is comfortable, safe, and established and I am new to the area. It is more than a lack of manners, It is a lack of a true understand of Christ's counsel" Therefore you are no more strangers but fellow citizen with the saints" I prayer for my son's strength to make the gospel of Christ the center of my worship not the social activities of the ward members.
I so agree w/Leah & djb. In our ward I witnessed my children being bullied for not being "cool enough". Yet, while this was going on, 3 other mothers came to me to beg me to make my dtr (while she was being bullied) friend their dtrs making poor choices despite their standing w/their peers. All this because she was a good kid/dtr of a ward leader--she had to choose between "friending" the girls bent on mischief and the girls who constantly dissed her.
My son is still being bullied (schoolyard style). One mom accuses him of now being the bully.
The bishop calls mtgs. to tell the kids to all "get along" even though the bullying is still going on. My children & I are still paying the price for being put in a catch 22 situation.
If I expected perfect Christ like people at Church I would never go.
Any and every congregation is full of self absorbed and self interested people. Those are the only kind we have.
If you want an excuse to quit going to Church, just attend any Sunday and you can find one.
Maybe instead, grow up and make righteous choices regardless of others actions.
Instead of complaining about and blaming others, be the one that reaches out to welcome and befriend.
This has been a very serious problem within the church. Any time a young person stops going after being active or starts going and then stops it is due to the exclusionary behaviors of at least the youth with the perceived most power among the group. A friend of mine could not believe this was happening. I told him to ask his teen son, who has also since left the church. He was told that there was a boy who stopped going because of the teasing or shunning by the boys in church. When asked why he didn't stand up for him he said that he was too busy trying to protect himself. My own 13 year old grand daughter started, quit and now is going to a christian church due to the same exclusionary behavior of the young girls in our ward. Not one person has called or come by to see her from our ward. Shame on those young women leaders!
Many adult women have told me of the cruel behavior their now adult children withstood by the "good" kids in our ward and stake. Many adults in my "upscale" ward are unwelcoming and often exclusionary as well as out right rude to others. I have noticed with adults it is mostly the women. A former bishop who worked with my husband approached me and apologized for the "horrific" behavior of the women in our ward. He said that he knew their behavior was bad but that he did not know why. I wondered why he didn't deal with it head on.
Interestingly, shortly after I became a relief society instructor I asked two "nice" women if they would hold up a lesson prop for me. They glared at me and said "NO!" Talk about awkward. These same people will literally turn their noses up and look the other way if I see them individually in or out of church. There are actually several older adult women who band together because we are not in the in crowd of our ward and are often shunned. When we talk about it, it is always the same women who are cruel. So they don't zero in on any one person. But why do it at all? I just don't get it.
When I got divorced thirty years ago all of a sudden there was not room in the car pool for any of my kids. Such nice Mormon women! I hate to say it, but my husband and I lapsed somewhat in our activity when our last child left. In fact, we had six full months of complete inactivity. We just stopped going to any meetings etc. Not one person from the church called or came by. When we showed up at church one day all of a sudden there was a flurry around us by the bishop, relief society and elders quorum. They said they thought we had probably moved. LOl. Our house is on the main road that most have to go on to get to their own homes and we have several vehicles. We have always been active, had callings, participated in service projects etc, so this was an eye opener for us. There are other stories I could tell, but I think I have more than gotten my message across. When is the church going to address it formally? It is a huge issue. The youth are dropping like flies and so are many adults.
I think you may want to rephrase your sentence that describes tailoring activities to a less active youth as "a project" I would never want that description if I felt unwelcome my by Young Women's group or quorum. No one wants to be a "project" It is a term that denotes pity and judgment, not love and genuine friendship.
I've seen both sides of this coin. Kids that were excluded because they were just awkward and also kids who reached out to some of the kids that weren't being accepted and actually got sucked into destructive behavior. It is also hard to encourage a child to befriend the smelly kid who will not bathe or wear deoderant or the one who comes to church with headlice or other grooming issues on a regular basis. I saw a girl in the ward years ago reach out to another awkward teen only to have that teen drug her when she was over at that teens house and then let her older boy "friends" sexually assault the drugged teen. I've seen a teen that reached out to an outcast teen eventually start smoking marijuana and engage in other destructive behavior. All this reaching out was done at the prodding of the parents who had good intentions but didn't understand that there were underlying behaviors that were causing the outcast teen to be avoided by others in the ward. We had a teen that was treated like an outcast when I was in YMs but really he chased everyone off that would have reached out to him with his sex talk, hard rock listening, drug and alcohol references in most of his speech, and other crude remarks. As a parent who saw all this growing up, I am cautious about encouraging my kids to reach out to kids who may not be fitting in well. Some kids move in and have no problems but when others move in with standards and behavior not in line with the gospel I'm not going to imperil an impressionable child of mine by prodding them to be their buddy. I'm not saying that there are not cases where some families are just too stuck up to befriend others but sometimes there's a reason a kid makes the decision to not hang out with someone else. They may not communicate that there is a problem with their parents and the parent of the outcast may have no idea that their own child's behavior may be causing the problem.
Amen! As a teen learning of the church for the first time, the shunning of one particular family in the ward nearly pulled me away from the gospel and eventual baptism. I could not understand how followers of Christ could treat anyone so poorly.
I've always told my children that the lack of acceptance they feel from Mormon teens is the lack of social skills among young Mormons. They are so sheltered, so used to hanging out with the same group (often from childhood) that they have no idea how to 'welcome the stranger'...
Mormons, especially Mormon teens can be so socially awkward and unskilled. That's what I tell my kids... but inside, I know it's also that LDS parents tell their kids to choose good friends which sets up a very judgmental dynamic which comes across loud and clear in their interactions with peers. It's off-putting.
I think missions really help with this and most adult LDS I know have decent social skills - so somewhere, somehow we grow out of it! In the meantime, we lose a lot of young people.
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