Monday, July 10, 2006

Being Sustained and Sustaining

I was sustained for a calling yesterday. Building Scheduler and Ward Webmaster. I think it's an excellent fit; I spend about half my life on a computer anyway. I think the tasks involved will just be making sure there aren't any building use conflicts, and keeping the calendar up to date. I told the bishop I considered this calling a wonderful opportunity to send uplifting messages to everybody in the ward with an e-mail address. He kind of paused for a minute, but then I laughed and said that it wasn't really my style. He sort of exhaled and agreed with me – that it wasn't really my style.

On the other hand – sustaining. When my husband got his calling, we talked about it very carefully, and I decided that I was going to support him in doing it. And mostly, I do. The only thing that really bothers me are the Sunday morning meetings. Under the old regime, the morning meetings started an hour and a half before our first meeting. Plus, he got a Sunday off every month. That didn't interfere too much with him cooking my breakfast, so it was OK.

However, under the new power structure, he doesn't get a monthly Sunday off. Also, on the Sundays when women attend the regular meeting, there is a separate PEC meeting a half hour earlier that he needs to attend. Even though it's only twice a month, for only a half hour, I really resent the extra time. I think it's because they need an extra meeting without the women in order for it to “count” as PEC. I'm sorry; that just sets my quills ready to fire.

I told him how I feel about it, because there's no sense simmering in resentment – that would just make it worse. I'm not doing anything to put obstacles in the way of his attendance, or being mean about it or anything. I do feel, though, like this is an obstacle for me – that I'm not sustaining him as I agreed I would when he took the calling. And I'm being petty. Ick.


Rusty said...

Well, they don't need a separate meeting without women for it to count. In fact, if they are having a ward counsel or welfare committee then they don't need to have PEC that week at all. I don't understand the desire to have more meetings. I'm all about minimizing, combining and sleeping in.

That said, Ann, I'm sure the toaster strudels he microwaves for you can be made just as well by your kids. :)

Anonymous said...

From past postings by you Ann, it appears that you are sitting on the fence with your faith in the Church of ol' Joe Smith.

Do you attend church meetings every Sunday? If yes, why? Social pressure? Marital pressure?

Just curious... have you talked with your household priesthood leader about your questionable faith? Or has his LDS God given ESP kicked in and figured it out yet?

Be truthful to your husband. If there is anything truly good that comes from the LDS religion it is definitely your family.

Serenity Valley said...


Have RT and I ever told you about the comfort we take in the near-impossibility that he'll ever be given a leadership calling? We figure that, if he keeps blogging, he'll be marked as one of nature's Sunday School teachers.


Why do you assume that Ann is not honest with her husband? It's a real leap from, "My husband's extra PEC meetings kind of bug me" to "I don't share my inner life with my husband".

Ann said...

This is not the first I have heard of a PEC meeting not being a PEC meeting if there are women present. However, I have only heard it before from a woman.

My husband has read the appropriate section of CHI Volume 1. He agrees with you, Rusty, that there's no need for an extra meeting, as the PEC can "invite others to attend as needed." I would think that the RS President (for welfare) and ward council (for ward council) could qualify as "others [who] attend as needed." However, we both think that the bishop doesn't see it that way. Further, he's a new bishop. I want to let him get his feet wet before I start telling him what to do.

My missing breakfasts. (sigh). Rusty, you do my husband a grave injustice. There were no pre-meeting meetings on Sunday. We had blueberry waffles with chopped pecans and whipped cream (real whipped cream, not "topping"), crispy turkey bacon (to balance out the whipped cream) and grapefruit.

One of the reasons I wrote this post is because I was irrationally excited about the "no meetings" event on Sunday.

Anonymous, my husband is well aware of my mixed feelings about the LDS church. I attend because once in a while, I feel God's presence there. Plus, that's where my husband goes. I like being with my husband on Sundays.

Serenity, I think my husband has reached the pinnacle of his leadership possibilities, which is just fine with him. DH offered to trade callings with the new cubmaster to no avail.

Mark IV said...


Your husband should do what my EQP does - ask his counselors to take turns attending leadership meetings. It worked well in our ward.

BTW, I attended your ward a few times last Dec.-Jan. I wish we would have met.

Hellmut said...

That reminds me how nice it is that I no longer have to recover from Sunday on Monday.

I have yet to see an American ward that keeps the Sabbath.

God created heaven and earth in six days. On the seventh day He rested.

He neither pruned the bushes in the Garden of Eden nor did He call a meeting with Adam.

Leadership meetings break the sabbath. There's no way around that.

Of course, Americans are working more and more hours and are making less and less money (when adjusted for inflation). That's a real problem for a community that relies on amateurs.

I am not sure though whether that justifies turning Sunday into Church work day.

It seems to me that longer working hours and less income are real family value issues that would deserve the attention of LDS leaders. There is a lot that they could do about it if they put their mind to it.

annegb said...

I live for the day when Bill is again in a leadership position because he ruins my Sundays. He's so OCD (think Monk) that he can't be still and have a reverent day.

I love when he leaves about six and I don't see him home again until six that night. He enjoys it, too, so there's something for everybody.

Ann said...

I dunno, Hellmut. Sabbath breaking is so ubiquitous that church meetings seem like a minor form.

While I enjoy the turn of phrase, God also did not watch golf (or shoot a round of 18), cook out, surf the internet, prepare the next day's lecture, shop for groceries, swim, or catch an afternoon baseball game. Everything on that list is restful to somebody, and sabbath breaking to somebody else.

It has been my observation that most women with families work their butts off on Sundays, and they rarely get chastised for it because then the chastiser might be expected to do the dishes.

A dear relative loved to sew, and while her family's hobbies, like photography and coin collecting, were fine for the sabbath, her hobby was "work" and therefore not allowed.

So the Sabbath argument doesn't hold much water with me.

Anne, have you read the website True Wife Confessions? Give it a glance. Bill will look like a prince again, OCD or not.

Stephen said...

Wish you well in this.

Anonymous said...

Well Ann,

I actually agree with you here. Time demands need to be limited or eliminated where possible. Ideally a Bishop should take this as a matter of life-and-death in the Ward. But it can vary depending on the human qualities of the Bishop and other ward leaders.

I used to be Executive Secretary a while back, so I went to every non-youth-oriented meeting our Bishop did.

First meeting on Sunday was Bishopric meeting at for one hour consisting of the Bishop, his two counselors, the head Ward Clerk, and the Executive Secretary (me).

After that, we had PEC (again, an hour long) with the EQ prez, Ward Mission ldr, Young Mens prez, High Priest group leader, and the full-time missionaries (and of coures, everyone who was at Bishopric).

Then you typically had about 30 minutes to run home and collect your family for Sacrament Meeting. Which was rough for me since I had to be to Sacrament Meeting early in order to talk to people and do several small odd jobs that the Bishop needed attended to before the meetings.

I also had to print out the agendas for all these meetings, so I typically got there early. I think the earliest I was ever at the Church was 5:00am, back when our Sacrament Meeting was at 8:00am due to scheduling necessities.

Typically, the Bishop got there before I did.

The first Sunday of each month, we would not have PEC, instead we would have "Welfare Meeting." This included all the PEC crew and the Relief Society President (and any of her counselors she wanted to bring along).

The third Sunday of every month we held "Ward Council" instead of PEC. Again, the PEC crew attended, the Bishopric mtg peope, the RS President, and then the Sunday School prez, Primary, Young Women, Activities Committee, and the coordinator for Sacrament mtg music.

But those meetings were never held in addition to PEC, they always replaced it.

Eventually, my Bishop asked the RS President if she wanted to be there for PEC's as well as Welfare and Council. He made it clear that he'd love to have her there (he always deferred to her and allowed the RS Pres. virtual autonomy), but he asked if she felt she could take on the additional meetings.

Our Bishop was always downright fierce about protecting the time of the really busy members in his ward. He always said that you MUST nurture and shelter your "core families" in the ward (the ones who always end up with the vital callings simply because they're trustworthy and reliable).

He shot down a couple hair-brained schemes that the missionaries thought-up that would have demanded too much of the members. He also went to bat for the ward members to counteract over-zealous demands from the stake leadership entities. He was always looking for ways to simplify activities.

And he was relentless in enforcing time limits on meetings. We never went overtime on our meetings. He always kept control of the dialogue in those meetings and wasn't shy about finishing a talkative participant's thought for him, or redirecting, or flat-out deciding that we weren't going to deal with that now. But at the same time, he took ALL of his leaders very seriously and we all had a say in things.

My job was primarily to protect his time. To stand as a barrier between him and the demands of the ward. Theoretically, I was the only one in the ward who was EVER supposed to call him at home. Even I shied away from doing that and restricted most of my communications with him to email (which we both answered religiously). Theoretically, I was also supposed to deflect overly-needy members who make a hobby of visiting with the Bishop every time they hiccup. Though thankfully, I never had to deal with anyone like that (it was a great ward).

Once I messed up and scheduled a last minute appointment with him for a member on his usual interview night. I found out later that he had to break away from playing with his kids to come to the Church because he had assumed that there were no appointments that night. I felt terrible and made it a rule to never schedule anything "the night before" again.

That Bishop was amazing. And those were the most amazing two years of Church service I ever had (yes, that includes my mission). Typically, I spent 6 hours at church each Sunday (and a couple extra hours each week, not including home teaching). I loved it. It was demanding and tiring, but it was profoundly spiritually renewing. There was a powerful sense of espiret de corps that pervaded our entire ward leadership. Everyone was energized. Core church meetings were extremely positive and there were smiles everywhere. People were happy in the Gospel. And so was I.

I learned a lot about church leadership from that man. One of the genuine saints that I've had the privilege of knowing.

Just wanted to share.

Seth R.

Ann said...

Seth, thank you for a very interesting and encouraging perspective.

What was your wife's take on this time?

I am not selfish with my husband's time in most circumstances. Before the hurricane, when we were finishing up our evacuation preparation, he left for an hour or more to help someone put plywood up over their windows (a complete waste of time, it turns out, when a tree goes through your roof...). I didn't resent it at all. It was 95+ degrees outside, with hideous humidity. I was proud of him.

The more I think about it, the more I think it's the extra meeting without the wimmenfolk that irks me.

Anonymous said...

My wife was very pleased with my active role in the Ward. She actually likes having a clean-cut separation between my stewardship and hers. Having me occupied with structured meetings and out of the house more was actually welcomed by her.

But you have to realize - my wife and I have always been much closer than the average couple. More than most people, we share each others thoughts almost telepathically. We are rarely apart from each other. I deliberately decided that I was willing to get Cs in law school if it would mean a reasonable amount of family time. Even when we where newlyweds, people would shake their heads and comment on how we acted like we'd already been married for 5 years.

The problem with us wasn't creating more time for the marriage. The problem was forging our own independent identities from each other.

My wife enjoys having me out of the house at predictable times.

Seth R.