Sturm und Drang

By Starfoxy

In my ward when they want to give you a calling (or release you from one) the ward clerk calls you at 7:30 am Sunday morning and asks if you can come to church a little early to meet with the Bishop. Last Sunday we got a call at 7:30 am asking if both of us (my husband and I) could come meet with the Bishop a few minutes before church. Unfortunately my kids had been sick in the middle of the night and at that point neither of us were planning on attending church. The ward clerk readily agreed that we should postpone the meeting for a later date.
I knew at least half of what they were intending to tell us. We have been in the nursery for a little under a year and a half. They recently called two more couples as nursery workers, and released the leaders of the other nursery. While I don’t know if they will give either of us new callings, they are almost certainly going to release us.

Due to my callings as a nursery worker and primary chorister I’ve attended Relief Society and Sunday School in my ward twice since moving in. Now for the first time there is a serious possibility that I will be attending these meetings regularly. And I’m not sure how I want to approach this.

Part of me is eager to spend some of the orthodoxy cred I’ve earned as a rock solid murmur-free Nursery worker and just say all of the outrageous unorthodox things I have swimming in my mind. On the other hand I’m also inclined to be a little less hasty and instead spend my time slowly, carefully sounding out the group and looking for the line that separates the orthodox from the heretics then walking that line slowly.

To me it comes down to deciding which is more important, authenticity and internal consistency, or good relationships with the real people that will be sitting in the pews next to me for the next several years. On another level it comes down to how my behavior reflects on those closest to me. Many are quick to blame a woman’s feminist ideas on the bad behavior of the men in her life. It makes me positively ill to know that someone will wonder what kind of monster Mr Starfoxy must be for me to think such things.

In some ways I’m so out of touch with my ward that the ideas I think are crazy and unorthodox might not make anyone even bat an eye. Though the opposite may prove true, and the things that I find perfectly normal may be so heretical that I’ll use up all my goodwill with one off-hand comment.

I really hope that I’m over thinking this and that I’ll find myself as happily at home with all the women in my ward as a fish in water.

Or maybe after all this planning and hand-wringing I’ll be called to teach sunbeams and it won’t matter anyways.


Starfoxy is a fulltime caretaker for her two children.

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11 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    This is always such a difficult issue, I guess amplified in this case because you’ve been able to attend RS and SS so rarely.

    Sad to say, but in my limited experience, being a unmurmuring nursery worker just means nobody in the ward knows who you are rather than that you’ve built up any orthodoxy cred. When I served in the nursery, I got the sense that even the parents of the kids I taught (okay, mostly played with) didn’t really know who I was. I hope it’s different for you, though. Good luck with the transition!

  2. Jessawhy says:

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how open my ward has been to less orthodox members. There have been a few exceptions (even in RS leadership positions) but for the most part people have been understanding and thoughtful about outside ideas.
    Even my peers, other SAHMs, and I have become close friends despite our differences in beliefs (church, politics, etc). I’d always assumed that people in my ward were really judgmental, but I’ve found that they’re really not, that I used to be when I was a TBM, but not everybody is.

    I imagine that if you’re friendly and willing to serve you’ll become a cherished part of your ward family. My husband says that’s the best place for the unorthodox. If we’re the first to volunteer to help someone move, babysit, bring in meals, then what we say in RS or SS becomes more acceptable to the ward.

    Lastly, I think lots of members are searching for greater depth to their worship. As someone who spends a lot of my week thinking about issues surrounding the church and the gospel, I can sometimes add a new element to the discussion (borrowed from my friends on the bloggernacle, of course) and a lot of people like that. Certainly, Starfoxy, you can add much to the discussion with your thoughtful ideas and perspectives.

    Keep us posted on how it goes!

    P.S. Our new R.S. Pres is 25ish with one baby at home. So, you never know what calling you could get!

  3. Starfoxy says:

    You know Ziff, that was something that I hadn’t considered. I know my orthodoxy cred is pretty high with the Primary President and certain members of the bishopric. But now that I think about those are the only people with whom I have much rapport.

    Jses, I think I may be pleasantly surprised as well. Our Bishop, I know, is just a wonderful man and has done a fantastic job for setting a good tone in our ward. I also never hear anything cringeworthy in Sacrament meeting, so chances are good that the adult classes won’t be much different.
    And don’t say such things about young RS presidents. I have enough trouble sleeping, I don’t need nightmares too. 🙂

  4. EmilyCC says:

    So, your meeting is postponed two weeks? I find I can hardly sleep before I have a meeting about a calling. I will be very sad when my time in Primary is over–it’s brought me a peace about the Church that I didn’t expect to find.

    And, I was curious…have you had people would judge Mr. Starfoxy adversely because of your feminist ideas? That would make me think twice about my behavior. I often feel like people look at my husband and say, “Isn’t it nice of Nate to tolerate Emily’s crazy ideas?” 🙂

  5. mb says:

    Judgmentalism usually has fear at its root. When they know you love them there is less room in their hearts for fear. So I think Jessawhy is right.

    My experience: If my first hope and effort is to honestly get to know, love and help out and I do so with joy, then after a while I find that they know I love them and appreciate their gifts and I can say just about anything and no-one will (hardly) bat an eye.

    But they are just human beings, so you’ve got to do the love and help part first.

  6. Kelly Ann says:

    I think the nice things about callings is that they continually change. I hope you will be comfortable with whatever asked.

    As I have started re-attending church (transferred my records to the family ward), I have thought a lot about how I will fit in. I am not too the point that I feel I can accept a calling but I have made a decision to actively participate (helping wherever necessary) and start sharing my thoughts. And I have been very honest with my Bishop as to where I am at. It has been redeeming to know that people still accept me for who I am even though they don’t really get it. I am coming to appreciate that there are many fish out of water so to speak. I’d love to be a nursery leader because the best thing for me has been to remember the life spectrum element in the church after too many years in singles wards.

  7. Caroline says:

    Best of luck finding the right balance, Starfoxy.

    I think Jess has it right. People in RS are often starving for a new insight, a different way to approach a topic. If you can impart some of that in a compassionate and sensitive way, you’ll be a rock star in RS. (Note, I’ve never quite figured out how to do this, so if you have success, write a follow up with some tips.)

    Also, like others have said, if you clearly want to serve, help out, and love others, that goes a long way to building up wiggle room for you to make some unorthodox comments.

  8. Caroline says:

    ok, not to be stupid, but what does ‘durm und strang’ mean?

  9. Melanie2 says:

    “Sturm und Drang” was a movement in German literature and music, typically translated as “storm and stress.” But I don’t actually speak German, so I’m not sure if “Durm und Strang” is a typo or a clever take-off that means something else.

  10. Starfoxy says:

    Yeah, that would be a typo. Too much Harry Potter in my head. *blush*

  11. ZD Eve says:

    …ah-hah! So THAT’s where Rowling got it. Thanks, Starfoxy, I’d never made that connection before now.

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