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Switch to Forum Live View A spiritual dilema...
10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 6:35PM #1
Posts: 10
Wow its been a looooong time since I posted here, in fact I don't think the new format was even running yet.  I do, however, find myself at a place where a bit of guidance from some of the web-saints might be helpful.  First, a bit about me.  I am a disfellowshipped member, father of three and husband to a beautiful wife, I do not currently attend church and here is where the issue lies.  I can't attend.  I work on Sunday mornings and in my job there is really no way around it.  So my daughters turn 8 next year (I have twins) and they are wanting me to baptize them, I think I'd like to be able to do this and so I need to get back on the 'good' list with the church.  There are other reasons I'd like to get back in the church but this is a major one.  Can I ever be allowed back in when I cannot attend Church?  Am I going to be forever disfellowshipped?  Any answers would be welcome.  Thank you in advance for your assistance my fellow Brothers and Sisters.
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10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 7:51PM #2
Posts: 3,242
It's none of my business why you were disfellowshipped but I suspect it was not for poor church attendance.  If you have the other issues under control, and the only reason you can't attend is your work schedule, you're probably in a position to get your issues resolved.  I don't know the specifics of your situation (nor do I think you need to tell anyone other than your bishop) but disfellowshipment isn't supposed to be punitive.  It's supposed to be a way of clarifying the nature of behavior that could get a person excommunicated.  The idea is that certain transgressions, particularly when part of an ongoing situation or habit, are inconsistent with the Gospel path, so much so that without some intervention, there's a strong danger that you'll end up - at the end of the road - deprived of the blessings you thought you were going to get by being part of the Church.

Disfellowship is generally considered a wake-up call, designed to strongly urge a person to change course before excommunication becomes necessary.  As soon as it's clear that the issue has been resolved, the preferred course is to get that person back into full membership.

That said, I think you should consult your bishop.  You don't need to be available on Sundays to schedule an appointment with him during the week.  I think it's admirable that you would want to baptize your daughter, which is consistent with the Gospel.  I'm sure your bishop would be glad to know you feel this way.  A quiet meeting with him would be an opportunity to talk about your status and to clear the air about why you don't attend church.  It's also an opportunity to get a realistic assessment about where you stand and the likelihood that you'll be able to get some progress on your situation.

I wish you the best in this regard.
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10 years ago  ::  May 14, 2008 - 8:00PM #3
Posts: 5,277
Welcome back Acyd.

Bill's advice was excellent.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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10 years ago  ::  May 15, 2008 - 8:41AM #4
Posts: 1,020
Agreed with Bill on everything except the part about confiding only in the bishop, someone with whom you may or may not have a relationship.   

If you want to get back in, it's a local decision, but I'm sure they'll let you in. 

It's admirable that you want to do something special for your daughters...something they'll remember for a long time.  It sounds like you'd rather be in than out and while the circumstances surrounding your disfellowship are none of my business (I won't ask or expect you to disclose that), based only on the one post, you don't strike me as a bad guy.  It may not be fair to judge you from a single post, but you obviously love your family and that carries a lot of weight with me and any god-loving Christians should feel the same.

Do what you feel you have to do, but while 'attending all church meetings' is a general requirement, you wouldn't be the only member in good standing whose work precludes him or her from regular Sunday attendance. 

I wish you the best.
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10 years ago  ::  May 16, 2008 - 7:36PM #5
Posts: 10
[QUOTE=moksha8088;499995]Welcome back Acyd.

Bill's advice was excellent.[/QUOTE]

Thank you, its a bit different but the first two replies are by people I remember so its cool to see people are sticking around. 

Bill thank you very much for the input but how does a non-attending mormon stay an active member?  I mean if one would say want to go to the temple but can't attend church on Sundays....then what.  Right now I subsribe to several very good LDS podcasts which include LDSVoices and a couple of BYU casts.  I tend to listen to a couple of talks a week and read the scriptures a few times a week as well.  I suppose for a person who can't attend that it'll work.  I've always wondered why the church doesn't have some sort of midweek thing like many other Christian churches do.  I've been tempted to attend a midweek service at another church but I just don't agree with many of the Revival/Harvest style churches that seem so populat in my area.  Anyways thanks again for the replies.  I plan on calling the Bishop in the next week or so.
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10 years ago  ::  May 16, 2008 - 7:42PM #6
Posts: 1,451
Home teachers!   Have them over as much as possible, and get permission from your bishop to have them administer the sacrament to you and your family.  Attend as many non-Sunday activities as you can, and become a home teacher/visiting teacher yourself, so you can go visit other members.  There are plenty of opportunities to be active without going to church on Sunday.
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10 years ago  ::  May 16, 2008 - 8:35PM #7
Posts: 3,242
[QUOTE=Acyd373;504467]Bill thank you very much for the input but how does a non-attending mormon stay an active member?  I mean if one would say want to go to the temple but can't attend church on Sundays....then what.  . . . . I've always wondered why the church doesn't have some sort of midweek thing like many other Christian churches do. . . . [/QUOTE]

Actually, the Church does have midweek activities, just not midweek sacrament meetings.  Without a doubt, sacrament meeting is the most important church activity, because it allows individual members to worship, together with their family, and to take the sacrament.  This is important because it's an integral part of the repentance process.  Baptism marks the beginning of the spiritual journey but regular repentance and the taking of the sacrament are considered the weekly renewal of one's baptismal vows, along with a weekly remission of one's sins.  No other meeting - not even General Conference or the Endowment - can substitute for what takes place in sacrament meeting.

But circumstances do keep good people from attending church.  They may affect a single Sunday or every Sunday.  If your job makes it impossible for you to attend church, you are not judged for missing sacrament meeting.  But the goal of every Latter-day Saint is to find a way around this obstacle.  The list of people affected by Sunday work requirements includes politicians, professional athletes, police and firefighters, utility workers and seasonal workers.  It happens.  It may happen for quite a while - making it impossible for you to attend sacrament meeting for weeks or months.

But, as King Benjamin said about the proper response to those who ask for help, if you can't give, at least say in your heart, "I would if I could."  Sacrament attendance is not optional.  It's a baptismal duty. 

But sacrament attendance is not the only form of activity.  Even if you can't attend on Sunday, you should consider the other forms of activity that are part of the path that goes with baptism:

Study and pray every day.
Repent regularly.
On Mondays, hold Family Home Evening.  If Monday doesn't work, pick an alternate day.
Contact your Elders Quorum President and see about getting a list of families to visit.
If you can't (because of your disfellowshipment), at least let your home teachers visit you.
Go to ward and stake activities.
Look for ways to serve in scouts, MIA, etc.
Look for midweek or midmonth activities that keep you connected, like an Institute Class.

The most important thing you can do to get rid of the "inactive" label is to directly confront why you've been disfellowshipped.  If I had this thing hanging over my head, I'd attack it - like a credit card debt.  Put it away.  Get it off the table.  Go to your bishop and find out what steps need to be done to put it to rest and clear your name and membership status.

If your bishop is a jerk, go see your stake president.  I wouldn't go attend other churches, unless you think they have something to offer that the LDS church doesn't - in which case, you're off the hook completely.  Why try to improve your situation with the Mormons if you think the Baptists are just as good?  But I suspect you don't want to switch churches because you don't really think there's something out there that you can't get where you are.
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