Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Visting Teachers

I used to think that my oh-so-faithful visiting teacher (who has been my visiting teacher for years, even though I've been inactive 90% of the time) really cared about me.  After all, she came 4 times a year, and sent me messages through the mail the other 8 months. And she called me once in a very long while, albeit only to set up an appointment for her to come visit teach. But now she has a companion, and since I'm available on email and Face.book, her companion is the one who contacts me.

So last week I get an email from the companion wanting to know if they can come visit. The day she asked about was just a really bad day for me.  And let me be honest here--I'm not sure that I really want them to come. But I'm not ready to come out of the mormon closet yet, so I just responded that it was a bad week, and could they perhaps come this week.  No response. I'm assuming they got together last week to do their other visiting teaching--perhaps they could have briefly discussed me? Nah, of course not. I feel quite sure that by the end of the month I'll have another envelope mailed to me containing the official relief society visiting teaching message, with various quotations highlighted and/or underlined, a brief testimony written, and an offer to please call if I need anything.

Let's see--my husband travels for work, so he will frequently be gone for weeks at a time. I haven't regularly attended church in years. Do I need anything? Possibly. But will I ever say so? No. Not because I'm proud and stiff-necked, but because I don't think they really care about me at all.

When I was a TBM, I took my visiting teaching very seriously. I went virtually every month, and if I had a do-not-contact person on my list, I wrote her letters every month. (I remember getting the counsel that unless they invited me, I could not visit, but letters were acceptable.  To you, my friends, I heartily apologize for not respecting your wishes.)  I didn't photocopy messages, I wrote letters. Now and again one of those women would call me and thank me for writing, and I'd get all excited and think here was my opportunity to bring these sisters back into the fold! It never happened, of course, and now I'm glad. But with the every member a missionary bit, and all the talks about how we're supposed to share the gospel with people, and how we'd be met in the future by all the people who joined the church because we shared it with them, and I never got to share it with anyone so I thought I was just worthless as a member.

I've been spending a fair bit of time at Mormon Curtain, and have read a couple of stories where there were activities designed to illustrate the three kingdoms.  And it brought to mind a most unpleasant memory. It belongs here because it was at a visiting teaching conference put on my the student ward I attended in Austin years ago.  The sisters who had not done our visiting teaching two month out of the previous three were escorted into a dark room, given bread and water and left alone.  The other sisters were escorted into the cultural hall (why is the gym referred to as the cultural hall? I've always wondered.), and those who had 100% visiting teaching out of the previous three months were seated at the head tables that were adorned with tablecloths, china, crystal, and had a lovely meal served to them. The remaining sisters (missed one month out of the previous three) were seated at the other tables, with paper tablecloths and paper plates, plastic utensils, and plastic cups, but they still got to eat a nice meal.

Now I can't remember just why I hadn't gotten my visiting teaching done, but I do remember there was a good reason for it. It wasn't because I was lazy.  The three or four other women in the room with me were really resentful, but we tried to put it into perspective and take it for the lesson it was.

Looking back, I think that was a crap thing to do. And I think of how we're told that the church leaders in our day will be the ones to judge us in the hereafter (at least I've been taught that since I joined when I was 17), and I wonder how they can possible judge people when they know nothing about us. That's not right.

I'm not letting the morg rule me anymore, but I think it may take a while to process all this anger I'm feeling. I'm not normally an angry person, and I don't like feeling this way.  But man--the crap they put people through is just wrong!!!

Okay. I think I'm finished with this rant. Stay tuned--there will probably be another one coming soon.


  1. You never told me that story. That's HORRIBLE to single people out like that. That's just nasty.

  2. Honestly, I'd forgotten about it until I was reading those other accounts of similar situations. It really was horrible. All of us in that dark room were angry and upset. It was not an effective way to teach the principles TSCC claims to uphold.