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7 years ago  ::  Dec 28, 2007 - 1:55PM #11
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,207
[QUOTE=tummyhorse;43090]So there is this guy and his wife I know that asked me a question I didn't know the answer to.  He and his wife have been made very uncomfortable in a small town Ward, her mother recently recieved divorce papers from her husband (not her father), the husband is a member of a family that has had numerous Bishop's and other leadership positions come out of their ranks in this Ward and also his family built this Ward long ago.  It's a small town and the family has multiplied to the point that they make up a goodly number of member's locally and they are looked upon by the other members as examples, even when their examples aren't so good.
Things have been said within earshot of said man's spouse, whether on purpose or not who knows, about her mother.
At this point she says she will never return to that Ward again.
They are both good people and have been attending another Ward 15 miles away.  He wanted to know if this was "Okay".  I told him I thought that if he felt like this was the best thing for his family then I didn't see why not.  I suggested letting the Bishop of his hometown Ward know how they felt, I couldn't remember any Doctrinal "LAW" that said you had to go to one Ward or another.

Anyone Got anything on this?[/QUOTE]

By default, the Church strongly encourages members to attend their own ward.  The reasons for this are obvious.  The practice of dividing Mormon congregations into geographic "wards" is designed to put a break on human pettiness - which afflicts Mormons as much as anyone else.  If you're stuck in a ward family by default, you're forced to make the best of it.  You don't have the convenience or luxury of picking and choosing your "brothers and sisters."  You have to accept people - along with all their faults.  Without this, the Church could be faced with a game of musical chairs and feuding wards as members chose favorites and ghettoed the losers.

For that reason, the Church takes a skeptical view of requests to have a member's records transferred from their geographic boundaries to some ward of choice - even to the point of penalizing some Mormons by refusing to consider their attendance at other wards for purposes of "full activity."  In some instances, recalcitrant "buffet Mormons" can find the Church unwilling to renew a temple recommend.

But that's absent strong reasons for an individual exception.  In fact, exceptions are made all the time.  Members are not asked to attend the same ward when they're divorcing, on separate sides of lawsuits, or a scandal has broken out and a particular member finds attendance difficult or impossible.  Bishops are the first gatekeepers in terms of deciding whether to recommend a records transfer but decisions can be appealed right up the chain of command - to stake presidents, regional representatives, area presidencies and ultimately the Council of the 12.  I have never met anyone who could not get the matter resolved by taking it up with the stake presidency.

In my immediate experience, I've known half a dozen families - over the years - who were given permission to attend a different ward because of divorce, and a couple of families who were given slack in attending a ward away from other members with whom they were having serious conflicts.  I know of no one who was given the greenlight simply because they thought their ward was a dud.  On the other hand, when faced with potential inactivity, my experience has been that local leaders tend to be accommodating.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 13, 2008 - 4:26AM #12
Pochahantus
Posts: 134
[QUOTE=tummyhorse;43090]So there is this guy and his wife I know that asked me a question I didn't know the answer to.  He and his wife have been made very uncomfortable in a small town Ward, her mother recently recieved divorce papers from her husband (not her father), the husband is a member of a family that has had numerous Bishop's and other leadership positions come out of their ranks in this Ward and also his family built this Ward long ago.  It's a small town and the family has multiplied to the point that they make up a goodly number of member's locally and they are looked upon by the other members as examples, even when their examples aren't so good.
Things have been said within earshot of said man's spouse, whether on purpose or not who knows, about her mother.
At this point she says she will never return to that Ward again.
They are both good people and have been attending another Ward 15 miles away.  He wanted to know if this was "Okay".  I told him I thought that if he felt like this was the best thing for his family then I didn't see why not.  I suggested letting the Bishop of his hometown Ward know how they felt, I couldn't remember any Doctrinal "LAW" that said you had to go to one Ward or another.

Anyone Got anything on this?[/QUOTE]
you can attend the ward of your choosing yes, but as always it is best to talk with one or both of the Bishops.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 20, 2008 - 6:47PM #13
goldensummer73
Posts: 2
I agree that you must remain Christian, even when the other party is acting unchristian and they are unchristian...they are Jewish. It is their family that is Christian. We are not LDS, but have been kept from our home church of 20 years by such a family. We are free to attend any church we want, and are not assigned to any one church. Still, to have your church family where you have served in many ministeries over the years suddenly make you feel unwelcome is something only Christ can heal.I will say one for this family, I know how it feels.Besides, what kind of witness can we be to a Jew if we make a lot of waves? God will handle it in His own time. God Bless.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2008 - 7:28PM #14
MF3
Posts: 1
I am not LDS, and do not mean to be disrespectful, so  please do not take it that way.  I have friends who are LDS but we don't discuss religion much as I am happy being an Orthodox Christian and they are happy as LDS.  Most of our beliefs are the same, so it's all good.

However - I don't understand why the Mormon Church would force anyone to go to any particular ward.  Perhaps they've moved across town, or to a different town, but want to continue to worship at their "home" Church and are willing to make the drive?   Maybe their friends from school, sports, etc just happen to live on the other side of town and they prefer to worship with them instead of the people they don't know as well at their own parish (ward)?

In this instance - it should be a no brainer, I would think they would want everyone to feel welcome and happy when coming to worship.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2008 - 8:21PM #15
bytebear
Posts: 1,451
It becomes a matter of practicality.  The ward is run by lay members, so if you are active in your ward, you probably have a calling (assignment) in that ward.  Moving across town and still attending the old ward does two things,  First it makes it more difficult for you to fulfill your responsibilities, like vising other ward members or going to various meetings during the week.  Second, you are robbing your new home ward of your talent and short changing them on helping hands.  The ward is not just a place to worship on Sunday, but is a center for community involvement.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 3:49PM #16
tummyhorse
Posts: 9
The family in question did attend another Ward for a time but are currently back in their assigned ward.  According to them due to faithful home teachers and visiting teachers.  Never forget how important you are to your brothers and sisters, even when it feels robotic each month and you may feel like it's not that important, remember it is and it could mean the difference in someone or some family's life and eternal life.

C
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7 years ago  ::  Feb 23, 2008 - 2:38AM #17
moksha8088
Posts: 4,983
East Coaster, welcome to the LDS forum of Beliefnet.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 05, 2008 - 9:36PM #18
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,207
[QUOTE=MF3;233363]I don't understand why the Mormon Church would force anyone to go to any particular ward.  Perhaps they've moved across town, or to a different town, but want to continue to worship at their "home" Church and are willing to make the drive?   Maybe their friends from school, sports, etc just happen to live on the other side of town and they prefer to worship with them instead of the people they don't know as well at their own parish (ward)?

In this instance - it should be a no brainer, I would think they would want everyone to feel welcome and happy when coming to worship.[/QUOTE]

The Mormon Church doesn't force anyone to go to any particular ward.  People are free to do what they want.  But the LDS Church strongly discourages church hopping because it creates administrative chaos, makes someone's ward a consumer choice, pits wards against wards and makes it harder for ward communities to serve one another.  There are going to be natural differences between wards - some of which are more compact while others are spread out, and some of which are packed while others are quite small - but in a lay church, it's important to retain a certain degree of intimacy.  Many churches have a professional clergy, and their services are capable of being held in vast complexes.  But in a church where individuals take turns serving one another, in different unpaid callings, it's important that there not be too many people in a ward - otherwise, there aren't enough callings to go around.  When wards reach a certain point, they split - so even in the best of wards, there is the likelihood that the members of that ward will end up in different congregations.

I imagine that it must be hard for someone outside the LDS faith to understand this practice, but when you consider the degree of coordination necessary for as many as six congregations to share the same building by meeting at different times, it's a "no brainer" that ward hopping is unwelcome.  That doesn't mean people can't do it.  It just means that the practice is not sustainable and so it's discouraged except where there are strong reasons in its favor.  Mormons aren't being overly controlling.  They're just telling one another to settle down and focus on the service to others.  Being a Mormon is not about belonging to a fraternity.  It's not about worshipping with the cool people or about creating a dream team of LDS congregants.  It's about accepting your neighbors as brothers and sisters, and about building a community with what you've got.  Mormons expect each other to be cooperative and considerate of one another.  Given the tremendous sacrifices and sufferings that Christian people have endured down through the centuries, this really isn't much of a burden.

Unless your ex is in the ward.
Or you have really strong feelings about somebody you don't want to bump into on Sunday.
Or there's a scandal everybody knows about and it's really getting in the way of your Sunday worship.

As I said, Mormons have their exceptions.  It's just that Mormons expect one another to accept each other and not play favorites.  It's not about forcing anybody to do anything.  It's just a policy.
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7 years ago  ::  Mar 05, 2008 - 9:36PM #19
BillThinks4Himself
Posts: 3,207
[QUOTE=MF3;233363]I don't understand why the Mormon Church would force anyone to go to any particular ward.  Perhaps they've moved across town, or to a different town, but want to continue to worship at their "home" Church and are willing to make the drive?   Maybe their friends from school, sports, etc just happen to live on the other side of town and they prefer to worship with them instead of the people they don't know as well at their own parish (ward)?

In this instance - it should be a no brainer, I would think they would want everyone to feel welcome and happy when coming to worship.[/QUOTE]

The Mormon Church doesn't force anyone to go to any particular ward.  People are free to do what they want.  But the LDS Church strongly discourages church hopping because it creates administrative chaos, makes someone's ward a consumer choice, pits wards against wards and makes it harder for ward communities to serve one another.  There are going to be natural differences between wards - some of which are more compact while others are spread out, and some of which are packed while others are quite small - but in a lay church, it's important to retain a certain degree of intimacy.  Many churches have a professional clergy, and their services are capable of being held in vast complexes.  But in a church where individuals take turns serving one another, in different unpaid callings, it's important that there not be too many people in a ward - otherwise, there aren't enough callings to go around.  When wards reach a certain point, they split - so even in the best of wards, there is the likelihood that the members of that ward will end up in different congregations.

I imagine that it must be hard for someone outside the LDS faith to understand this practice, but when you consider the degree of coordination necessary for as many as six congregations to share the same building by meeting at different times, it's a "no brainer" that ward hopping is unwelcome.  That doesn't mean people can't do it.  It just means that the practice is not sustainable and so it's discouraged except where there are strong reasons in its favor.  Mormons aren't being overly controlling.  They're just telling one another to settle down and focus on the service to others.  Being a Mormon is not about belonging to a fraternity.  It's not about worshipping with the cool people or about creating a dream team of LDS congregants.  It's about accepting your neighbors as brothers and sisters, and about building a community with what you've got.  Mormons expect each other to be cooperative and considerate of one another.  Given the tremendous sacrifices and sufferings that Christian people have endured down through the centuries, this really isn't much of a burden.

Unless your ex is in the ward.
Or you have really strong feelings about somebody you don't want to bump into on Sunday.
Or there's a scandal everybody knows about and it's really getting in the way of your Sunday worship.

As I said, Mormons have their exceptions.  It's just that Mormons expect one another to accept each other and not play favorites.  It's not about forcing anybody to do anything.  It's just a policy.
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6 years ago  ::  May 03, 2008 - 1:21PM #20
bunnybixler
Posts: 2
you can change wards.  i have a friend who moved and they got special permission to stay in the ward until she graduated from high school.  that's one example, here's another.  i knew a man in my ward who lived in another ward's boundaries.  his home ward had a counselor in the stake presidency that he had a problem with and apparently it was a big enough problem that he just couldn't stay in the same ward so he started coming to our ward.  his records were transferred and he had callings in the ward.  i think as long as the stake knows why the person is switching and they think it is legitimate enough then they will accomodate.  if not changing wards would hinder you from going to church and receiving callings then you should be able to switch.  of course she could always move into another wards boundaries.  there are also specialty wards that may be closer, but not fulfill a person's needs.  singles wards for instance.  i was closer to a family ward, but attended a singles ward.  my brother in law and his wife were members of a prison ward when they first moved into my area because that was the closest ward.  since they went to a regular ward they weren't welcomed officially as members until their records could be sent.  i think it took a few months.  i wouldn't suggest just attending a different ward without having your records moved because then you would be listed as not attending all your church meetings and then you may not be able to get a temple recommend.
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