Get me a new hometeacher

January 4, 2009 | 31 comments
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On the sweetness of Mormon life

Bishop started his testimony with something that had been gnawing at him. One of the inactives on his hometeaching list called him and told him to tell the Bishop to get her a new hometeacher, since he never came. He said being Bishop was hard. He thanked everyone who did music for the ward, which he said was sometimes what got him through.

A reactivating man said he was going to bear his testimony of Satan. We cringed. Needlessly, it turned out.

Last, our high councilman’s wife said her non-member twin sister was taking the lessons (they call them lessons now). They are close, very close, and this answered many prayers.

Yesterday the young men built pens for a single sister’s pygmy goats.

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31 Responses to Get me a new hometeacher

  1. Alison Moore Smith on January 5, 2009 at 1:32 am

    That first paragraph lost me in the pronouns, but it sure sounds like your f&s meeting was more eventful than ours.

    Every once in a while I get just a little weary of the nodding and smiling and spiritually uplifting experiences in my Utah ward and wish just one person would get up and pound the pulpit screeching hellfire and damnation, sing a song with hippie overtones, or reveal the dirty laundry of someone else in the congregation. It happened every month in Florida.

    Ah, those were the days.

  2. Sue on January 5, 2009 at 1:59 am

    They reiterated guidelines for testimonies today (no travelogues, no thanking people, no tangents, just testifying of Christ), and I think it intimidated a lot of people, as the meeting was pretty quiet – a few adults and a lot of kids.

  3. Tom Rod on January 5, 2009 at 2:27 am

    We had some great pulpit-pounding today. All around a wonderfully uplifting testimony meeting. Tears were shed, hearts were gladdened, and people who moved 2 months ago were finally released from callings.

  4. John on January 5, 2009 at 3:06 am

    As a bishop, I appreciate brief, heartfelt testimonies that lift people up and make them feel the Spirit. Too many members feel like it is open mic Sunday and they can express what ever they want.

  5. Floyd the Wonderdog on January 5, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Our F&T meeting is a group therapy session. Testimonies are so rare that I point them out to my children so they will know what one is.

    I want a Home Teacher. Because I’m active, I get the guy that shows up one a year if at all. My wife could use a VT too. She’s been VTed 4 times in the last 4 years. Our bishop recently decided that we were going to concentrate out HT on “high potential” less-actives. Now I’m on a list to be telephoned once a month. But the same HT who used to never visit me must now be assigned to telephone me, because I have yet to receive a phone call. I was told that I don’t need a HT because I won’t go inactive. Want to know why the sheep wander off? So that they can feel that someone cares. In the mean time, I HT 7 families, including two high maintenance ones.

    I’ve said it in High Council and I’ll say it again: If all I knew of the church was this ward, I would have to conclude that Mormons are not Christians. Perhaps I should get up in F&T and tell the ward that.

  6. Kim Siever on January 5, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I dare you, Floyd. FWIW, our hometeachers haven’t been by in two years.

  7. Rameumptom on January 5, 2009 at 10:24 am

    My name is Gerald, and I’m a high priest group leader. (audience: hi Gerald!). I’ve been home teacher free for the past 3 years….

    It amazes me sometimes on how much the STP (same ten/two people) in the ward continue doggedly determined to move the organization forward, despite the consistent efforts of the rest of the ward to thwart those efforts. Is it a sickness that attends those of us, who think that somehow when we are released from a calling, the next individual isn’t going to undo everything? Or that we might be able to figure out how to have inspiring Sacrament meetings on a regular basis? Or that we can someday not just hit 50% home teaching, but actually have those visits mean something?

    I still recall the stake meeting I attended about 15 years ago, when the visiting GA told us that our goal is not to kill our bishops….

    Perhaps it is time to reorganize our wards? We should have wards established based on D&C 88, where we would have telestial, terrestrial and celestial wards. A person attends a ward, depending upon the level of obedience they are willing and able to show forth. To attend the celestial ward, one must show forth celestial works, etc. Individuals are welcome to arise/descend to the occasion and move up/down as needed in their growth or lack thereof. We would ensure home teaching to all those attending the celestial and terrestrial wards, with occasional visits from those wards down to encourage those in the telestial ward.

    Anyone interested in submitting such a concept to the Brethren?

  8. Ray on January 5, 2009 at 10:27 am

    One of my good friends in our ward is a recent convert and a former minister in an African-American “praise” church. He said the opening prayer yesterday – which always is an amazing and moving experience.

    Another recent convert bore his testimony of how wonderful it was to baptize his little brother on Saturday, followed by his little brother (18 years old) bearing a wonderfully sweet testimony of the power of a brother’s example and God’s love.

    A man bore about a 45 second testimony – saying how wonderful it was to be able to close his eyes during the administration of the sacrament and hear the background noise of little children, and thanking especially the mothers who struggle to get their kids to church and worry that they are distracting others. He bore his testimony that Jesus really does love the little children, and he thanked the parents in attendance with their little kids for helping fulfill Jesus’ injunction to “Suffer the children to come unto me.”

    I love my ward.

  9. Ray on January 5, 2009 at 10:28 am

    #7 – Not me.

  10. Mark N. on January 5, 2009 at 11:19 am

    “They reiterated guidelines for testimonies today (no travelogues, no thanking people, no tangents, just testifying of Christ)

    Yes, the Bishop did that in our ward yesterday, too, and then immediately broke the guidelines himself.

  11. Mark N. on January 5, 2009 at 11:22 am

    We should have wards established based on D&C 88, where we would have telestial, terrestrial and celestial wards.

    Stake Presidents could then spend all of their time offending the members by assigning the non-celestial members to the various non-celestial wards. It could be fun.

  12. Adam Greenwood on January 5, 2009 at 11:44 am

    I normally don’t complain about my hometeachers never coming by (“let he who is without sin cast the first stone”) but recently I was borderline wanting a blessing for something and didn’t feel comfortable calling up my hometeacher who never comes (who may not even be assigned to me anymore, anyway).

  13. Glen Dutcher on January 5, 2009 at 11:59 am

    No HT visit since 1980. I’m good with that.

  14. RT on January 5, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    My wife and I are very active and have good home teachers. While I like having them come by, I wouldn’t mind if they were reassigned to a struggling family who might benefit from them more than we do. In a perfect world, of course, we’d all be home taught every month. But since we’re not in the perfect world, why shouldn’t EQ presidencies allocate the good ones to families that are in the most need?

  15. Bookslinger on January 5, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    RT, The philosophy I’ve heard is that every home-teaching companionship should have one “good” active family to home-teach so they don’t get entirely burned out on inactive or high-maintenance families.

    An idea I’d like to try some day is have an inactive/less-active priesthood holder home-teach another inactive/less-active family. Assign person A to home-teach just one family.

    You might get away with it, by not calling it “home teaching”. Say to the first “Hey, look, this other family just needs a friend, and some attention, could you just check up on them once a month, maybe invite them over for dinner once in a while? And if they need any favors, could you help them out if it’s just a small favor, and if it’s a big favor, call the EQP and we’ll get more guys from church invovled.”

    Say to the second “Hey, this other family just needs a friend, and needs to feel worthwhile. Would you let them be your friends and come over for a visit once a month, and go over to their place to eat once in a while? And if you need any favors, let them know. And if it’s a big favor you need, we’ll try to get more guys from church involved.”

    Probably easier would be setting up something similar for VT among elderly widows. Have Sister A call Sister B once a month/week. Have Sister B call Sister C; Sister C call Sister D. And Sister D call sister A. And don’t call it “visiting teaching.”

    Start off with one pair. Tell Sister A that Sister B is lonely and needs a friend, and would you call her once a week?” Tell Sister B that Sister A is lonely, and would you let her call you once a week?

    Hey, that’s it. The church changed the name of “genealogy” to “Family History” in order to jump-start it and get over the bad connotation that it had built up. Maybe the same needs to be done with HT and VT.

  16. TStevens on January 5, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    I am not much of a home teacher, but I do on quite a few occasions get free meat. When that happens I share it liberally with my families. I hope that counts on the balance sheet.

  17. CS Eric on January 5, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    Our ward counts feeding the missionaries as a visit. Since they leave us a message, our leaders say it counts. I don’t know if that is from the stake, or just from our bishop. Now I know why I’ve been counted as being visited for so long without having a home teacher darken our door.

  18. Adam Greenwood on January 5, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    TStevens,
    I would count it, were I one of your families.

  19. Kent G. Budge on January 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    My home teacher has rarely missed a visit in over five years that I’ve lived in my ward.

    My own record is not quite as good, though I don’t think I’ve ever missed a family two months in a row since moving here.

    Does that make mine one of the celestial wards? I hope not. I’d hate to have to leave.

  20. Deborah on January 5, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Several years ago we had a home teacher who gave us occasional visits, about like normal. But when my husband was out of work for an extended time this HT paid him generously to help reroof his (HT’s) house. He also collects bread from a local grocery store and made sure during that time that we had as much as we could use (still does, as a matter of fact). I love this man for his real efforts and service, much more important than sitting in my living room once a month.

  21. jks on January 5, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I love my ward. A father of five bore his testimony and thanked those who got him a plane ticket home from bootcamp so he could spend Christmas with his family. He thanked everyone who had helped his wife who broke her leg in two places a couple weeks after he had left (they live in a split level house with lots of stairs).
    An older lady whose husband died four weeks ago spoke about how much the Savior’s love is helping her.
    The bishop got up and spoke mid-session and bore his testimony.
    The visiting Stake President got up and bore his testimony.
    Great day back after all those cancelled church snow days.

    [Ed. - thanks]

  22. chris on January 5, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Growing up I was less-active in the church and grew up as an only child with a single parent mother. Statistically everything was not in my favor. I was fortunate to have some stalwart HT growing up who went beyond their calling. If it had not been for there influence I don’t know where I would be. I made decision as a missionary to do my home teaching after seeing the lack luster performance of some members with converts. I’m tired all the praise for something that all member of the church should do. I’m not saying that it’s been easy—especially being a democrat in a highly conservative church during the election and teaching someone who doesn’t want to be home taught by me because of some arbitrary disputes.

  23. makakona on January 5, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    um, why did my comment thanking ray for #8 get pulled???

    [Ed. - probably a glitch. No Makakona comment is in our moderation queue or in our spam filter.]

  24. jjohnsen on January 5, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Totally off topic, but did something change with T&S last week? You’ve now been put on my banned list at work, I can’t imagine why.

  25. Robyn on January 6, 2009 at 2:14 am

    I love this site!

    Sunday we went to another ward for Fast & Testimony meeting because a co-worker of mine said she wanted to go to a Mormon church and wanted it to be the one she would attend if “she liked it.” I warned her that this meeting was different than our other meetings and then prepared myself. First, this sister is Dominican and her son is Dominican and African-American and I prayed that this unknown ward would have some diversity. Prayers answered — several African-American members in this ward. All of the testimonies were true testimonies and more than 1/2 of all the testimonies given were by the African-American members. Second, no mention of Prop 8!!! Third, after church, this sister’s 14 year old son said “I like this church! I want to come back.”

    As for home teaching, we used to have the best home teacher in the whole world! He knew all of our children’s birthdays and what days report cards came out and would stop by and see how the kids did and praise them on their work. He always left us with a message that was encouraging. When my husband and I went on a business trip out of town he checked on the kids and instilled the fear of God in them if they gave their older sister any trouble. My kids, all now adults, still talk about him and what an awesome home teacher he was.

  26. Tom Rod on January 6, 2009 at 9:23 am

    My family is in the Church today because of dedicated home teachers. My dad was baptized when he was 12, went inactive at 16. He never lost his testimony of the truth, he was just too ashamed and scared of repentance to go back. When he turned 32, my oldest brother turned 8, and he remembering the responsibilities of a father softened his heart. His excommunicated mother told the missionaries where my family lived, and they sent the referral along to the appropriate ward. An inspired elder’s quorom president sent two fine home teachers who were enjoyable to have and didn’t only sit and teach lessons when they came. They invited us to barbecues, to become friends with their families, and to become active in their lives. The transition from inactivity to activity was a very natural one after that point for my father. After about six months he became active, and after three and a half years my mother got baptized. A year later they were sealed in the temple. Because of their dedication, all my brothers and I served prolific missions, are or soon-to-be married in the temple.

    What was there secret? They made the time for us. Really–that simple. A friend of mine said in reference to singing once: “What one doesn’t have in quality, make up in quantity.” We didn’t have the quality time of having the Church, family home evening, and the rest in our lives, so the home teachers gave us all the ample time we needed.

  27. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the success stories.

  28. makakona on January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    #22 – how bizarre. it appeared for a while and then disappeared. :\

  29. Jonathan Green on January 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Makakona, my apologies. I was glancing at the incoming comments yesterday, saw some unpleasant porn spam, and deleted it. When I looked again, the porn spam was still there, but the comment below it had disappeared. Sorry about that.

  30. mary on January 7, 2009 at 2:35 am

    I always like HT and VT because in our busy lives it assures we will become friends with at least a couple of the people in the ward. It just saddens me that as soon as they assign new HT’s or VT’s, the former ones never come over again–unless they’re reassigned to you. We just chat briefly when running into one another at church. I think that’s the problem with assigning people to visit people. Sometimes it feels like it’s never anything more than an assignment that soon terminates.

    As for testimony bearing, a couple years ago our ward was told that when bearing testimonies–no travel logs, no ” I love so-and-so”, etc. We were told to just stick to our testimony of the Savior–which most testimonies get around to it by the end.
    The next month, I think people were so intimidated that only two people bore their testimony.
    It got rather boring when all that was said was, “I know the Savior lives.” And then the person sat down. A couple months later everyone was back to speaking more normally and it was
    more interesting to listen to.

    I think we need to be more tolerant of how people bear their testimonies. Some people can be
    quick and to the point. Others take the long way. Some people
    have trouble speaking in public. Some minds aren’t as sharp and fast as they used to be and some people may take medication that affects them. It’s important that everyone feel “safe” with their ward members when they stand to speak. I doubt the Lord minds how people bear witness of Him but is pleased that they just do it.

  31. Ken S on January 10, 2009 at 10:00 am

    I must say that in times of doom and gloom and downright despair, it is refreshing to see that there are still some Saints with a sense of Humor. This is my first visit to the website, and I really got a chuckle out of some of the reader comments. I especially liked the one from Rameumptom regarding the proposed 3 degrees of “Ward Glory!” That’s just some sound advice for the Brass to consider! Some weeks I may well be in “Celestial Mode” and other weeks not so much! Something to think about though!

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