Jenny's blog

A sigh of release

Bishop told me in my PPI Sunday that I am about to be released in a couple of weeks. He even asked me for my ideas on who would make a good replacement. Huh? It was kind of weird. I almost wish he hadn’t told me, because now I’m having trouble focusing on the calling. I keep thinking about all the free time I’m about to have — primarily to fix the problems on the websites.

I was sadder than I thought, too. Maybe it was the shock. But I was only sad for a couple of hours. No crying, tho I kind of wanted to…. Not because I will miss the calling, but I’m being released because I’m tired, I’m sure. I’ve been in nearly 2 1/2 years, and I can honestly say I have done my best to fulfill my calling. In Utah RS presidents typically are called for 3 years, and that’s what I was expecting. I just feel bad, kind of like maybe I couldn’t hold out that long. I am just. so. tired. I didn’t ask to be released, but I think it’s obvious to everyone that I’m tired. I haven’t quit working by any standard. I’m better at the job now that ever. But I’m exhausted. I put an embittered post at the Millennial Star that I’m reproducing below. We have too many church meetings, imo:

I actually attended a calendaring meeting for 2010 tonight. In our area (Northern Virginia), we have strong members with strong testimonies who love to magnify their callings. Virtually every aspect of the church is functioning well, and it’s hurting families. We’re exhausted.

Here’s what I’m talking about — this is the list of activities where attendance is expected by at least one member of the household of active members, as per the Handbook or Official Programs:

5 ward activities (planned on or about holidays, which makes me angry “family time” my arse: Labor day, Memorial day, Halloween, Christmas, and one other)
2 ward temple trips
2 stake temple trips
2 youth temple trips
5 days of YW camp
8 days of Scout camp
3 days stake youth conference
170 days of early morning seminary
48 youth weekly activities (includes the 26 required activity days activities and the cub scouts, and the missionary correlation meeting which includes basically the welfare committee minus the bishop. I’m just counting those as one visit, even if you have youth in Primary or YW/YM.)
1 general RS broadcast
1 general YW broadcast
1 stake beehive activity
1 pinewood derby
1 stake yw sport activity
1 stake youth standards night
4 days of general conference
2 adult sessions of stake conference
48 sundays (where attendance is expected for 3-7 hours, either at the stake or ward level. If you’re a leader or parent of youth in the church, Sunday is basically blocked out.)
4 days of cub scout/activity girls day camp(2 days)
1 Aaronic Priesthood Commemoration Campout
2 stake youth dances
4 RS enrichment activities
2 stake RS enrichment activities
4 quarterly primary activities
2 EQ parties (are these even Handbook Necessary, btw?)
3 HP parties (are these even Handbook Necessary, btw?)
2 stake activities (one adult, one for preparedness that usually gets cancelled)

That’s 329 times members are expected to attend the church in a year. 329 trips, minimum. Guess how many of those overlap, or occur on the same day of the week? Just the mutual and seminary one day a week. So if you want to count it as days, subtract the mutuals, for 281 days of church attendance. So if you happen to be one of the unlucky members with priesthood, RS, Primary, and Youth members in it, there are approximately 250 days when one or more of your family members is missing for part of the day (and yes, I’m counting Sundays because of leadership meetings, firesides, youth firesides, byc, that not everyone is invited to attend but someone is expected to attend.)

Oh yeah. And I’m supposed to plan 52 meaningful family home evenings. On my “day off”. And squeeze in Date Night every Friday.

Add to that the roughly 5 convert baptisms and 8-10 child of record baptisms each year. And I’m not even addressing the planning and training and missionary correlation and welfare and presidency meetings or scout planning/camporee/venture stuff and church cleaning, compassionate service, funerals, firesides, etc. For those in leadership, we are at the church a minimum of 2 days every week. Sometimes 6, and we aren’t doing anything *extra*. We’re just following the program.

All of this in an area where probably 80% of our active priesthood and 30% of active women commute 2 hours daily to DC for work.

I shouldn’t have to choose between attending a ward activity or cutting the grass. There’s too darn much going on, BECAUSE we follow the handbook. This is the fault of Salt Lake. Members should not have to choose between church activities and life. I am being forced to choose between Church and other activities weekly, instead of occasionally. I should have the time to plant that garden, attend the temple, or do family history work. Or maybe even do TWO of them (gasp)!!!!

I also think that in addition to being overworked, I’m not a real good fit for this bishop. We don’t have the same sense of humor, and I get the feeling that he is really intimidated that I seem to know so much about members of the ward. I do have my ears to the ground, so to speak, but I’m also the RS president for crying out loud. If I didn’t know stuff, I wouldn’t be doing my job. He’s only been in 6 months and is doing a great job getting to know everyone.

He also doesn’t speak sarcasm, so I don’t think he always gets me. Ah, well. I am looking forward to the release now so much! Sweet relief!!! I am just afraid that I won’t be able to keep up the pace now that I’m anticipating the release. And I don’t really want to make too many changes either, so that the new president can run things her way.

I just hope it’s soon…. I won’t publish this right away jic someone from the ward stumbles on it. But hopefully in a few wee-eeeeks….

Posted by Jenny Smith

I'm Jenny Smith. I blog about life on the 300+ acres of rolling farmland in Northern Virginia where I live. I like tomatoes, all things Star Trek, watercolor, and reading. I spend most days in the garden fighting deer and groundhogs while trying to find my life's meaning. I'm trying to be like Jesus -- emphasis on the trying.