Just go to Church

Huzzah! New post in the inbox! This one was asked anonymously:

Why can’t one just go to church and enjoy the gospel and not have to home teach and all that other stuff excluding  callings?

Good Question. One thing, though… did you mean “including callings”, meaning you don’t really want to have a calling? (Note for Non-Mormon readers: a calling is mormon-speak for a job or position in the church – teaching a class, organizing a group, helping with church administration, etc.)

The good news is that you can go to church and enjoy the gospel and have absolutely no other responsibilities or expectations if that’s what you want.

Here’s how you do it: You call the Elders Quorum President and say, “Hey Bro, I’ve decided I’m not going to be a Home Teacher anymore, and I don’t really want Home Teachers visiting me either. kthx.” Then you call the Bishop and say, “Hey Bro, I’ve decided I’m not going to have a calling anymore. kthx.” Then you continue showing up for church on Sundays and “enjoy the gospel” (whatever that means to you), and you’ve got your wish!

That’s the simplified version. In real life, the EQ President and Bishop are probably going to try and extend those conversations to figure out why you’re telling them this and what it means about your relationship with the church. So expect the Bishop to want to meet a few times to “talk about your issues” or something. Feel free to tell the Bishop (and everyone else) as much or as little as you want as it’s really none of their business. And chances are that if you’re asking this question, I’ll bet the Bishop won’t be too surprised that you’re resigning from your calling – he probably sees it coming already.

Taking this course will be like riding a bike with only one foot on the pedals – it’s gonna be awkward. It’s true that if you don’t sign up for the whole church program, there will probably be social consequences. People are gonna wonder what your deal is, and many members of the church will probably take it a little bit personally – like if you’re not totally into the church, then you must not be totally into them, either.  It’s not that anyone is trying to be mean – they’ll probably just think that you don’t really wanna hang out with them. The best way to move beyond this is to keep showing up for Church on Sundays, and make an effort to show people that even though you’re not totally on board with all the programs and activities, you still value their friendship.

Good Luck.

Any more questions?

Ask Me Anything!!!


2 thoughts on “Just go to Church”

  1. I think the questioner has hit on a key aspect of being a mormon. The LDS church expects a lot more out of its members than most other churches, for practical reasons but also as a way of building the faith and commitment of individual members and strenthening the ties between members of the church.

    My mother-in-law has been going to the same church for thirty years and she still doesn’t know the names of some members of the congregation. That would never happen in a mormon ward, in part because the congregations are smaller but also because you have to go visiting teaching or run relief society or take on other tasks that put you in social contact with other members. That’s what makes mormon communities strong.

    Requiring members to commit time to callings also strengthens their commitment to the church. Because you spend so much time on church-related activities, being a mormon becomes a significant part of your identity. And having invested that time, you are more likely to consider those activities important, even if only as an after-the-fact justification.

    So while you could just show up on Sunday and do nothing else, there are benefits to more active participation.

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