Posted by Zenaida
“I’m ready to move out just so we can change wards.”
Have you ever said that? I think I have. I’ve had friends who have. It’s interesting that in the church we meet according the where we live. That often means a somewhat diverse group of people that may have no other reason to meet each other outside of the religious gathering. This sometimes means interacting with people that we may be uncomfortable with. This can mean a mix of very diverse ideologies. One particular example is of a friend who did not change her name when she married. This is simply unthinkable in her ward. Her legal name does not appear in any ward directories, and she is always addressed as Sister [Jones], even though her name is Sister [Smith]. It’s good for us to encounter people who don’t think the same way we do. It may sometimes be painful, but we need to be stretched sometimes or to just be shown a different vantage point from the same old window.
But, I think it can also be a trap. When you’re in a ward with people who have been standing at the same window for generations, it can be very difficult to introduce new views. I sometimes wonder if I had been in a different ward if I would be in a different place in my life. By random choice of the apartments I have lived in, I have chosen a social group with which I am bound until I move again.
This brings up the phenomenon of ward-hopping. Singles often visit different wards looking for a better social/dating scene than the one their own offers, leaving them drifting from ward to ward without ever establishing a presence, without a calling, or if they have one, it’s probably part-time and flexible. I’ve been told in the past on more than one occasion that I should attend the ward I live in. I’ve only ever done that once, and then it was to stay with the ward I liked, not to ward hop. I can’t imagine myself ever doing that as a married person. It seems impractical and “just not done.” I wonder if I would attend the local ward just as I might investigate the local schools, though.
I have the impression that other Christian groups are more self selecting, and more fluid in their membership. I don’t know whether that’s correct or not, but it seems to fit. If you don’t like the church you are currently attending, whether for theological or social reasons, you are free to find another to attend despite your geographic location.
I do like the idea of rubbing shoulders with those whom I might normally avoid. I’m only human, and it seems like their should be a safe space to interact with a generation who thinks it’s appropriate to thank my husband for my contributions, the neighbor who doesn’t know how to pay next month’s rent or put a meal on her table, the visiting teacher who has never known want in her life, and the woman in the next row who voted the same way I did.