Not feeling welcome in our "new" ward?

Corrie - posted on 02/20/2009 ( 18 moms have responded )

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We have lived in our current ward for over three years. Due to a VERY unique work situation, we were unable to attend regularly our first year, but we have since. Also because of the work we do (we work at a boarding school that is located in the community) many "old timers" in the ward are not happy about us being here because they don't like the fact that our employer built a "reform" school in their neighborhood. Anyway, it has been so difficult for us to feel comfortable at church. When some people have found out who we are and what we do we have actually seen them move seats away from us in sacrament meeting or say things like "Oh, I see" and then turn away. We didn't even meet the bishop in person until we had lived here for two and a half years. We didn't have home teachers until this time either. They just barely started coming to our home to collect fast offerings three months ago. When my neighbor (who does the same thing we do) had a premature special needs baby, the Relief Society didn't even arrange for someone to bring her meals. I've had tried so hard to ignore the people who are not being Christ-like, because there are many who are very very nice. I also think that some of this is possibly due to unintentional oversights and such. I can't believe that we are intentionally being excluded. I have never experienced something like this before and it has been a particularly difficult struggle because we relocated our family for this job and we moved away from our family and a very loving community to this. I was really hoping that our ward could be a source of support for us and especially our children. But my kids didn't even get parts in the primary program the first two years we lived here. We have tried to be as active as possible in extracurricular church activities, but our long work hours preclude this most of the time. We try to be as outgoing as possible during Sunday meetings, but it is so intimidating. Does any one have any advice?

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Tamara - posted on 11/29/2011

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Our last ward was like this very unwelcoming, we sadly ended up going inactive because of it.

My son turned 8 the bishop came by briefly said he would have our visiting teachers talk with him to prepare him for the interview for baptism and we didnt hear from any one from the church for about 6 months, aside one of the young men who is really good friends with my oldest son. I mentioned it to him (he is also the bishops son) and he said he would ask his dad to call but still nothing.

Then the last day of our move He showed up with the Young Mens Pres and a few other young men and theyhelped us load, the Pres called his dad from the ward over here. We got to the new house at like 915 by 930 the house was packed with help to unload food was brought, we totally felt wanted in the ward. I mean we werent even really here yet and in the house you could totally feel the love and the Holy Spirit. It was awesome everyone got done about 1130 or so then we said a prayer and they left.

Anyways I guess my point is I know its rough and not all wards are like that. You are in my prayers that some of the members in your ward make you feel as loved and welcomed as they have made me.

OOO side note, I am totally active again (ok its only been a month but I an blessed and encouraged to get up and be there every week and for all the RS 'meetings' (what ever they are called now days) And We are having a couple over to help my two youngest get ready for their Baptism so they can have their interview on Sunday :D

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Sharon - posted on 08/26/2013

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Hello all, So long story short, I haven't felt welcome in my ward too, do you know if it's okay to attend another ward? I live in Utah, so it's not like there aren't plenty around, but I wasn't sure if it's frowned upon or if the Bishop in the new ward would even accept our records, etc.

Patricia - posted on 03/18/2013

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I feel the same way. As does my son. As a convert of less than 3 years. I feel like I am an outcast and since I have been sick. Feeling isolated.

Tara - posted on 08/30/2012

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Does anyone know of anybody who has requested to stay in their current ward for one reason or another?

EHChgo - posted on 11/09/2011

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I can relate to not feeling embraced thats for sure, but when I first read your post I thought of a Conference talk about letting things get under your skin "easily offended" I think they called it. I wish I knew exactly what one it was. Don't give up on Church. Have you expressed your feelings to them at Church. I have recently thought if we could be on time I would say something at RS. If you can talk about it as a concern to the Bishop. The other things is that and its hard to remember this but everyone struggles with their own inner demons for some its judging others. Pray for them. The other thing is something's only come but buy way of prayer and fasting. See is that might bring you more insight and then I would say something to someone. I have a speial needs teen. And it is hard because at times on the surface he can appear to just like other teens but HE IS NOT. If he has a seizure he is out the next day. he is also autistic, my old Bishop says this could be a teaching thing for me, but sometimes I sit back and wait for them when I should be asking for what I need. I didn't have home teachers for several years as well - this is wrong.Also would get the Visiting Teaching message in the mail right after watching a video on it.

I am not a good Mormon, I went back to smoking. - yes yes i know, but I am stressed - I am judged by many but there is only One who will matter in the end. - Stand and ask for what you need. I needed food, one of the RS counselors came to my house and commentsed that people in this ward don't need food because "we do whatever we need to do to make it". At first I was deeply offended. But I am managing that feeling or at least trying too. I don't know if I can help here because now its brought my own stuff - I am sorry. I really do think you need to say how you feel the next time you are in RS or at least talk about it with the Bishop.

Annalee - posted on 09/24/2009

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Wards can make you and destruy you too if you let them. Look for what is good and just remember you are going to church for god not the people in your ward. Hang in there

Annalee - posted on 09/22/2009

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Hello, Sorry you are facing these trials in your ward it must be very discouraging. Just hold on to what you belive is true and forget about those that may be judging you. that is easier said than done I know but the gospel is true the people at times can cloud that if you let it. I have had several experiences that have hurt my family too. Hang in there. Write soon.

Wendy - posted on 07/09/2009

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As long as you are attending your meetings and doing what you know you are supposed to be doing the attitudes of the rest of the ward are not important to your salvation. It does make it hard to want to go to church though. Might I suggest that you start doing kind things for those that shun you. Drop off some cookies or find another way to serve them. No matter what they say or do to you always be kind and loving. Your example will eventually soften their hearts. Regular temple attendance will also help you deal with everything and give you the spiritual feeding that you don't get from your ward. Rely on Heavenly Father. He will be there for you. Pray daily for the strength to find peace and happiness in your ward so that you can love those that distance themselves from you.

Deon - posted on 03/12/2009

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We have felt the same way in our ward- we moved here almost a year and a half ago! We have really struggled because we moved in, and got sick so we were not able to attend. Then had some things happen with my husband( he had just gotten out of the airforce and was struggling) And well, we have felt the same exact way. We also have an older ward and have thought that maybe it was because there were a lot of people moving in and out and so they don't really care to get to know those who are only going to be there for a short amount of time. We have only started to feel a small part of the ward and have found that the reality of things are- everyone is struggling. And just because you are Christian does not mean that you act like him. I am a convert and have found that a lot of people are afraid of things that are different, and make judgements or assumptions about who or in your case what you do. maybe you should talk to your bishop and let him know how you are feeling, maybe just share your testimony- the light of Christ will show through and it always breaks down walls, also, to me a fire needs to be lit under some tushes to get the fire of the Gospel back into people's hearts- but those are just my thoughts- hope it helps good luck!

Melinda - posted on 03/04/2009

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That is really tough... Growing up I was in the same ward, and the growth of the ward didn't change much. However, being married everything changed. We moved around a lot at first. When I noticed my kids being excluded, I went to the primary president and confided in her how I felt. That seemed to help. I would also talk with the RS president. Tell her your situation. Being in the RS presidency currently, I'll tell you, we don't know everything. Maybe, she could help find a VT assignment that won't take too much time, or can work around your schedule. There are lots of ways to be creative with VT assignments. Just an idea. Best of Luck. It's nice to see you around here...this is a great area too for support.

Corrie - posted on 03/02/2009

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Hi Vilate,  no worries.  No offense taken.  I think that is very good advice.  Unfortunately my husband and I litterally work 24 hours a day, 6 days a week.  We have about 36 hours off a week, and I mean hours.  We can have our children with us at work which makes this possible, but we haven't been able to participate in extracurricular stuff like enrichment night or even ward parties.  Neither of us have gotten VT or HT callings, and I'll be honest that I haven't asked for them because it would just take more time away from those precious 36 hours of alone time with my kids.  We do have a calling on the activities commitee, but they haven't really needed us for anything.  The head of the activities committee is one of the people in the ward that isn't really a fan of us.  Her first words to me were "I know that I am the busiest person on the committee and I have time for this calling, so I'm sure  you will."  I thought it was weird.  Anyway, we were happy to finally get a calling but they havent used us for anything yet.  We have spent a lot of time in prayer and are focusing our energies on the members of our ward that are open to us, and just being patient with the rest.  It has been nice to hear from other people that have had this experience.

Vilate - posted on 03/02/2009

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i have been in your shoes, and this may sound calloused, but belive me it isn't meant to.  In that situation I found that it was me that did alot of it to myself, and alot was just oversite.  I had to change my attitud about the whole situation.  I suggest you jump in with both feet.  Do everything you can to be involoved.  Sing in the Chior, go to the weekday enrichment classes, do you VT and HT, make sure yours are coming too, if they aren't invite them to come.  Do you have a calling if not ask you Bp for one.  I found that when i became involved and didn't let other have an influence on me things changed.  I also suggest that you pray that you can feel more excepted and that you can find service opportunities inyour ward. 



I hope i didn't offend, and I hope this helps and things get better for you.

[deleted account]

I've been in your shoes many times. I grew up in a ward like yours.  My father was the personnel director for the local prison and therefore had hired and fired most of the ward or a family member of someone in the ward.  Talk about snubbed!  Yes, it's exhausting and hard to feel the spirit when misunderstanding rules.  Hang in there. Once the ward members know you're there to stay and can't be intimidated, I hope things will change for you and your children.  Go to the bishop and tell him your concerns.  If that doesn't work ... go to your stake leaders.



Right now I'm in a ward in the town where my father-in-law is mayor and in the bishopric. There's not an overwhelming feeling of love from a lot of ward members towards our family.  The trick is to find one friend.  Just one to make the hardness seem a bit softer. We've been here almost a year and I'm finally starting to feel the inkling of acceptance.  I think my testimony has strengthened because I had to rely more on Christ and on my family.



And good grief!  I'm a teacher in a reform school!  These kids I teach are the most insanely wonderful teenagers I've ever met.  They've been through more in their young lives than I want my own to ever experience.  Your ward needs to just "get over it!"



~in sympathy.

Jennifer - posted on 02/22/2009

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Just remember why you go and that it has nothing to do with other people in the ward. I know that's a hard line, but I've been there myself. We moved into a ward where the old part didn't want the new subdivision built, fought against it, and then became part of the ward. We moved in and the old timers were less than Christlike to us. But we just kept trying. Luckily, we had more (2 or 3) families move into the ward in the subdivision who were just wonderful and we all bonded together. We found we just worked together and played together. My son wasn't included in cubs. I had medical problems and no one cared. It just goes on. But we are still in contact with the families that we made friends with there. It was a major challenge, but we just kept trying. Eventually they will either ignore you or you will find some people who will be friendly, often they are the most shy. Don't give up, it'll eventually work out. I wish I had a better answer, but I don't. And I know from experience how some of those wards in SLC can be. Best of Luck and just keep your chin up and your head down.

Gina - posted on 02/21/2009

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It's amazing how much your ward can effect your life. Due to my husbands work schedule, we go to church in another town, and the ward we go to feels more like home to us than the ward we are supposed to go to. The people are really easy going, laid back, and do not judge at all. If I was you I would go talk to your bishop, maybe the people are just different, and you need to get to know them better.

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