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Tiffany Gee Lewis: Does the LDS Church complicate or simplify lives?

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  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    Oct. 13, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    All that "extra time" I used to have before I joined the Church was typically filled with video games, pornography, and intellectually stimulating but spiritually unproductive TV shows and movies. I'm quite grateful that my life is not so "simple" anymore. People should take a step back and realize what a blessing it is to have the meaningful and active lifestyle that being a member of the Church provides—not taking it all for granted and murmuring like so many cultural Mormons do. The world is vacuous and shallow; there is nothing in it that can fill one's time better than what the Church has to offer.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 13, 2013 3:22 p.m.

    @Wilf 55
    I went to the site you referred to. I discovered it to be very academic and intellectual. Nevertheless, I believe it has an undergirding anti-Mormon agenda.

    Academic research can hardly explain what happens in the hearts of the converted. We as members are asked to reach out to the less-active. In so doing their (and our) lives are blessed. And the less-active often are just that, less-active, still with a testimony, but for one reason or another, not participating.

    It is not surprising to me that there are varying retention statistics throughout the world. The Lord never told us that all would remain active. Different circumstances throughout the world would affect the retention rate. One cannot over-generalize.

    For me, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints simplifies my life. I am taught true principles by leaders who know. When I obey the commandments and counsel given, time and again, my life is blessed. When I obey, I avoid the inevitable heartache of the consequences of sin and my conscience is clear. I will be forever grateful for the Lord's instructions. He loves me and all His children.

  • pleasantgrove PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    Oct. 12, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    The church bureaucracy is different than the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel is the good news and it is simple. Jesus summed it up when He said that "His" commandments were to love God and others. The church really is here to provide authority to perform ordinances. All the rest is just opportunities to grow by loving others and giving up our lives to find them. Unfortunately, every auxiliary program in the church thinks theirs is the most important so it grows into a monster and no one with authority stops it or cancels it. Quit babbling about how we should balance our time blah blah blah and make some serious changes to church programs that are time wasters. And please just say straight out that much of this stuff we are asked to do is useless and goes unchecked. Just take scouts for instance. A program that isn't even part of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The time and resources to support it is staggering.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Oct. 11, 2013 7:26 p.m.

    Fall is busy for us for many of the same reasons: School, food storage, and even ward choir. When we begin to feel overwhelmed then we often find a need to take a moment to reconsider our priorities and to evaluate if each activity we participate in is bringing us closer to our goals or not.

    Attending Sacrament, Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society, I feel, definitely is. From there we work through those things which occupy our time. Quite often we discover too much time being spent with television or social media. In moderation things are not bad, but we easily allow our pet projects to overwhelm us and to compensate, some delete from their lives the things which were most critical.

    Get rid of the clutter, unplug the TV and skip some of the extramural activities.

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Oct. 11, 2013 12:02 p.m.

    The benefits I get personally from my membership in the LDS church far outweigh the complication it introduces in my life. It is well with the price.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Oct. 11, 2013 7:58 a.m.

    Does the LDS Church complicate or simplify lives?

    Let's see. The answer is yes.

    The teachings simplify our lives, but the meetings.....I'm talking about the non-worship meetings and meetings and meetings....

    We need to have workshops on how to run an effective 45-minute meeting. We would get a lot more done.

  • Another Perspective Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    It gives a LOT of rules to live by. Some such as don't start smolking are EXTREMLY beneficial. Others such as girls are not to wear more than one set of earrings and don't wear clothes without sleeves or skirts above the knee are annoying and restrictive. So is go to church EVERY Sunday and no shopping on Sunday.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    Yes, it complicates life for the gay person, just like it *complicates* life for the adulterer, the thief, and any other person who breaks serious commandments. If there is not repentance, I suppose the person's life could get complicated. What I don't get is when a person commits those sins and then expects the church to change its doctrine to make the person feel better. And they won't *let it alone*.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 2:09 p.m.

    rwl123 asks about the figures of LDS activity worldwide in connection with complexity and simplicity of living the gospel. A web search on 'LDS church activity and growth' provides answers (comment rules forbid me to give links). See also the difference between church reported membership and the census results on religious affiliation in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, and the Philippines, as published by BYU professor Tim Heaton. The perfect stats would come from the church in figures of average attendance in sacrament meeting, but the church does not release those. Retention is a major concern for church leaders, in particular outside of the U.S. The causes for inactivity are various, but the weight of church demands are a definite factor. Think also of the challenge of part-member families - which often constitute the majority of the members in some areas.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Oct. 10, 2013 1:34 p.m.

    "Be ye therefore perfect". How much more complicated can it be?

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 12:44 p.m.

    Scientist

    We get it. You hate religion, are an athiest, and are happy only when running down other peoples faith. Now may I direct you to the Salt Lake Tribune. That's where you will find the most like minded folks who will be glad to wallow with you in your need to be nothing but negative.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Oct. 10, 2013 12:17 p.m.

    Spier Rico,

    Dang it, you just described me to a T. But I wouldn't have it any other way! He who the Lord calls, him will the Lord make equal to the task! That I do believe. Where much is given, much is expected. And if we trust in Him, He will surely never fail us.

  • Spider Rico Greeley, CO
    Oct. 10, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    At times do I have to sacrifice things I want to do in order to fulfill my callings? Yes. Is that bad? No. Why? Because I am serving others. Does that mean there is very little me time? Yes. Do I still have plenty of time to be with my family? Yes. Do I sometimes skip extra meetings so I can be with my family? Yes. Does paying tithing make affording things more difficult? Yes. Does it also make me budget and cut unnecessary selfish desires? Yes. Do I sometimes grumble when I have an extra duty added to my plate? Yes. When I serve despite my occasional protestations do I feel good afterwards? Yes.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:59 a.m.

    Complicate or simplify?

    It definitely puts more demands on time. It can be difficult to be a leader, own/run a business and spend time with family.

    It definitely puts more demand on resources. Where does UT rank in forclosures and bankruptcies?

    It definitely complicates life for people who are gay, those that don't fit the "mold" and those that love them.

  • JMiner Eagle Mountain, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:58 a.m.

    It's simple... Learn the forgotten art of saying "no". The church is made for us, not us for the church.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:47 a.m.

    Life is complicated by the things we try to do in parallel to what we want to do most of all...

  • Kouger Lehi, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:16 a.m.

    Question: "Does the LDS Church complicate or simplify lives?"
    Answer: "The Church simplifies complicated lives!"

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    Many of President Uchtdorf’s talks echo the same sentiment of prioritizing our work. Yes, our leaders are aware of the problem. The Book of Mormon also teaches not to run faster than we have strength (see Mosiah 4:27). Speaking to Joseph, The Doctrine and Covenants teach us:

    “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end.” (Doctrine and Covenants 10:4)

    From this I learn that speed and diligence are NOT the same things and that the Lord will provide. He is in change and will provide (or not) the energy. Diligence requires a day by day effort, not the Indy 500.

    In other words, there have been several general authorities over the years who have taught us not to get in the “thick of thin things”, but to do those things that matter most. The general authorities who used this alliterative phrase include A. Theodore Tuttle, Thomas S. Monson, and H. Burke Peterson.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:22 a.m.

    @Wilf 55
    SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    *There, 70 to 80% of members turn inactive, many if not most because it becomes "too much". Yes, church membership requires sacrifice, but what if the cost in retention is so high?*

    Where do you get your figures? I lived in the East many years, and yes, it was a bit more difficult to home teach and get to church because of distances, but, looking back, the Lord compensated.

    I had a church leader back there explain it very similarly to how President Uchtdorf does. The leader explained that we do indeed have more than we can do, but that is because the Lord wants us to have to pick and prioritize. We have to learn to work on the most important things. This having to prioritize/choose IS part of the plan. Just a thought. But it makes sense to me.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:15 a.m.

    To hear my colleagues cuss their various imposed assignments at the church it does sound like it complicates life.

  • Deserthiker SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 9:14 a.m.

    Well said. Thank you for a beautiful gem of thought that rang true and brightened my day. I'm sharing this article with my family members

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 8:57 a.m.

    The only problem we have is that there are always those individuals who attempt to "magnify their callings" at the expense of everyone else's time and energy.

    Good church leaders have fewer meetings which are actually shorter, because they are more effective. Good leaders encourage others and then trust them to accomplish tasks. Good leaders recognize their own humanity and are secure in themselves. They don't expect superhuman perfectionism from us mortals.

  • BYU Joe MISSION VIEJO, CA
    Oct. 10, 2013 8:32 a.m.

    Why do we think simple is good?

    Growth comes from discomfort. I never grew an inch in life without a challenge of some type.
    If your goal is to remain static and passive then off you go.

    My problem is not the complications of the "church" but rather the way the demands are placed upon us in the social context - as if missing the Ward Party is the equivalent of treason or passing on a calling is equal to a fully denial of the truth.

    Life is a project to be managed, worked on and experienced. Sometimes the road is hard and step, other times is is smooth. At times simple and at others so complicated and busy it seems impossible to manage.

    No worry - just keep moving forward, love your fellow man and take a vacation once in a while. And I don't mean to Hawaii - Sometimes you just have to look the "leader" in the eye and say no thank you - right now I am just going to be part of the audience.

    and don't forget to breathe - oh and the dry cleaning, and to get your oil changed, and to call you Mother, and to....

  • Weber State Graduate Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    For an LDS academic, the church does indeed complicate one's life unless one is willing to put away any attempt to try and reconcile the sensible with the nonsensical. Much of the doublethink we see and hear from many Mormon apologists only serves to perpetuate such difficulties for many member scholars who have been trained to think critically and avoid errors in reasoning. When challenged, the old fallback to strictly rely on faith over thought seems to be nothing more than an evasive prescription for avoiding the obvious.

  • mountainlocal Brooklyn, NY
    Oct. 10, 2013 8:17 a.m.

    Like much of life, this question isn't easily answered with a tidy black or white conclusion. It's personal, it's fluid, and there is no right or wrong answer.

    Whose life is more complicated a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a single mom trying to raise kids in the South Bronx? Is it better to live in the bliss of a happy, communal tribal village of a third world country or have the money to visit that country and then come back to this one and be stress about work, social changes, traffic, crime, politics, etc?

    There is a wonderful lyric from a Bob Marley song, "Every man thinks that his burden is the heaviest". How true it is and that is why respect for fellow humans is so important. You never know what the person across the counter is experiencing behind closed doors.

  • LittleStream Carson City, NV
    Oct. 10, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    This is what I've learned throughout a life of being inactive in the church and then being active. When I was inactive my life and time was filled with more meaningless things. Watching football, partying, etc. When I am active my life and time are filled with meaningful things. Going to church, still watch football,doing family history, teaching a Sunday school class. I'm not busier, but I am more fulfilled.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:46 a.m.

    The Savior prayed constantly, but under the stress of His atoning sacrifice, "He prayed more earnestly." I find when I am stressed by the demands on my time from many sources, including Church callings, that I am led to "pray more earnestly." When I do, there is a spiritual inflow that expands my faith and ability to serve. This leads to spiritual growth and maturity. I have been blessed by my callings and church duties.

    That said, I agree with a previous commentator who said that you have to choose concerning your schedule. Sometimes service to family or at work takes precedence to service in s specific meeting or calling.

  • Gramma of 7 Lehi, Utah
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:45 a.m.

    This is perfectly said. Nobody ever told us life would be easy as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But, as we follow and serve the Savior, it will be wonderful. Thanks so much for your thoughtful article.

  • evansrichdm west jordan , UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:27 a.m.

    I find that you just got to let some meetings go to the way side. If I went to every meeting that does not take place on Sunday I would not see much of my family and that would go against the goal of the church to strenghten families. I am not saying dont go to churhc on Sunday, but do you need to go to every fireside? When I was single in college I went to more meetings, now that I have my own family I would rather spend quiet time with them then go to a fireside. My kids are going to more meetings now that they are older and what to be around their friends, so I am glad I did not go to every meeting when they were small and wanted to spend time with me. When I am a empty nester then I might go to more meetings.

  • Wilf 55 SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 7:16 a.m.

    The simplicity or complexity of church life can also be very different as to where one lives. Compare living in Utah, where wards count many helping hands and where going to church and doing hometeaching happens in a small area, to most other places in the world where active members often fulfill three or four callings and must travel long distances. There, 70 to 80% of members turn inactive, many if not most because it becomes "too much". Yes, church membership requires sacrifice, but what if the cost in retention is so high?

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Oct. 10, 2013 6:49 a.m.

    Some times you just have to turn it over to to the Lord. Remember what the Spirit of things is. It's a you matter thing.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    Oct. 10, 2013 5:53 a.m.

    Something changes in a person who makes sacred covenants with God, having a firm determination to endure to the end of life. They begin and continue to develop a testimony of God's truth and knowledge by the power of the Holy Ghost and their works.

    But, life intervenes and it can be very easy to lose the eternal focus of God to become myopically drawn to life's daily plights and worldly allures. No matter where we are currently in this journey, it is important to never forget mortality is but a moment.

    The works we do here to serve the Lord and become transformed by the power of His Atonement not only help us discern good and evil to repent and grow, but learn how to prioritize good, better, and best.

    As we follow the prescribed counsel by ancient and latter day prophets, promises of lasting happiness, transformation, and progression can be realized. As this unfolds, it becomes better understood that eternal goals supersede mortal ambitions and concerns. That is how the Savior overcame the world and we likewise, can do so through His power. Nothing in the world is of greater worth than that which is eternal.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 11:03 p.m.

    Resting one day out of 7 should help; and thankfully the Bible promises us "health in navel and marrow to thy bones" (Proverbs 3:8) And some day soon poverty and homelessness will be eliminated, so you will be able to check those off your list of things not to worry about anymore. Actually, the scriptures never tell us to worry about anything, so you can cross that off the list too (of things not to worry about: worry). Every day that goes by, God and the faithful win, whereas for unbelievers, every day that passes, they are one day closer to the next life, in which they don't believe. Religious people live longer.

  • The Scientist Provo, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 2:18 p.m.

    The mental gymnastics required to live in the (post) modern world yet continue to believe in religion is a mindset that is definitely more complicated (and convoluted) than is necessary or healthy.

    Hence, the high incidence of anxiety, depression, and prescription drug abuse in Utah.

  • m.g. scott clearfield, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 2:15 p.m.

    I think it is pretty clear that if one listed everything that a Church member could consider doing, journal, food storage, geneology, family history ect. plus normal Church responsibilities, it would take up more time than most people have to spare. The key is to not feel that you need to be doing all those things at once. One is not expected to run faster than they can, and every individule has to set their own pace. Otherwise, fatique and or discouragement could lead a member to chuck the whole program and run off to a cabin in the woods. I'm sure that is not what Church leaders would want to see.

  • Bob A. Bohey Marlborough, MA
    Oct. 9, 2013 12:18 p.m.

    So your issue was that you thought one of the definitions of simple was to have free time on your hands? By looking up the word simple in the dictionary, your problem was resolved? What a great book the dictionary is.

  • oragami St. George, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 11:34 a.m.

    True spiritual progress requires quiet and focused awareness of the present moment. The more packed (and over-packed) our lives are, the harder it is for us to be mindful of anything at all. Thus, our deep spiritual progress and our peace and happiness are stunted. Just my opinion.

  • Deanvrtc Vancouver, WA
    Oct. 9, 2013 11:21 a.m.

    There is a balance in everyone's life that has to be hit. That does not change when called to heavy church responsibility. God does increase our capacity to serve when we are called, but there is, and will always be, more items on the "to do" list than there is time for. It sound to trite...but the only way to decide is spiritually. And...its not always the same answer for everyone...

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    yes, both the church and the 'gospel' complicates lives. It doesn't do that to everybody, but I have seen many, myelf included.

  • andyjaggy American Fork, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    Ha, I've always felt like we make things overly complicated in the church, the whole busy is more mentality. Few people have the time and ability to contemplate and meditate on life's truths and the gospel for any decent amount of time anymore. Perhaps it's just my strongly introverted personality, but I would almost always rather go to a quiet spot in the mountains and meditate on the gospel then go to yet another church activity or meeting.

    That said I agree with the above poster, living the gospel standard and teachings simplifies your life in many ways.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:25 a.m.

    "Meetings" (Bishopric, PEC, Councils, BYC, Presidency, Mutual, Scout, Activity Days, Planning, etc) can complicate your life. Living the Gospel never complicates your life.

  • Old Jake Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    If you go to every church meeting they have you are probably unbalanced and not being a good parent.

    It is your life. Stay in control of it.

    The Church is their to help you not interfere. You need to use your own best judgement on what will help or hurt you and your family.

  • Kralon HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA
    Oct. 9, 2013 10:01 a.m.

    The LDS church does absolutely complicate life in the sense that we are taught so many things to work on, even in just one church meetin. To be happy we have to set aside all but one or two things to focus on so that we can progress to the point where we can focus on some other goals.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 9, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    This article makes no sense. On the one hand the writer looks to the example of the Savior who spent his time preaching, praying and healing. On the other hand she speaks critically of the Church when asking us to use up some of our time reading the scriptures, praying and teaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Going to Church on Sundays for a three hour block was introduced to give us all more family time on the Sabbath. For many, before that, members were making fairly long trips to Church twice on a Sunday, and again through the week for a separate, weekly, Relief Society meeting etc.

    We are dissuaded from having extra meetings on Sundays so as to provide more time for family. Likewise youth leaders have been asked not to have expensive, or too many, activities. The goal and effect of following these instructions is to free up more time not to complicate or monopolize our time.

    Surely the little bit of time typically given to spiritual exercises in the home is well worth it and could be profitably increased all concentrating on the priorities of the simple Christian life.