Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?

ray Oct. 2012

I was baptized at the age of 10 in early 1985. I left the church in early 1996 at age 21.

I have Asperger's in a moderate way. I avoid eye contact at least half of the time when I am talking and chatting to people. Who has felt badly treated for being shy or more shy than the way the Mormon church like you to be?

As a Mormon, I felt like I am the only person in the world with such an issue or problem. When I was last attending the Mormon church, I had a meeting with a Mormon counselor who was employed by the church. He and then branch president at that time treated me like I am the worlds problem because of the way I am. There is a site at www.shypassions.com where I can find many people like me to all sorts of varying degrees.

I could never be the type of sales person a Mormon or a Mormon missionary is expected to be.It seems to me that if you are not, Mormons say you are a sinner or something silly like that.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
When I started developing medical disabilities, I had a hard time making it through the work week, let alone doing all the "free-time" things expected of a Mormon. Since my disabilities weren't clearly obvious,I eventually concluded that the only way to get the Mormons off my back was to resign.

The population in general has trouble relating to the disabled (which is way it has been necessary for laws to be passed to protect them), but the Mormon church isn't at all empathic.

Incidentally, I concluded that the church's attitude comes from its pioneering history when the disabled could presumably be a tremendous liability.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
I'm a mild Aspie too. I don't think we do well in the LDS Church. We're called upon to do too much in public.

I once went inactive for a few years because I realized that church for me just meant hiding behind anyone larger than me, so that I wouldn't be asked to say a prayer or to read something.

It took me 13 years to finally get up and bear my testimony. It took 14 years to go to the temple to take out my Endowments. It also took a year and a half just to get me into the waters of baptism, because the idea of being dunked under water, with a bunch of people watching, was an extremely uncomfortable idea to me.

Yes. The morg sees shy members as defectives who need to improve.
Anyone is marginalized if they're not cheery and outgoing, if they don't like to give talks and lessons and if they don't speak out and promote the church agenda to nomos and inactives.

It's considered sinful to avoid giving public testimonies or shy away from bragging about the mormon church.

Quiet introverted people are not as respected as those who can provide entertainment and fill high profile slots at church.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
Yes. I am an introvert, and decided not to serve a mission as I knew being a saleperson for a religion than claims to be "the only true church on earth" would be very difficult for me. Clearly there is something wrong with me for deciding to stay home...at least that is what a lot of people thought.

This is a problem the TSCC is facing, it marginalizes people that don't quite fit the super-TBM mold. Clearly not everyone is going to be a type-A over achiever, thank goodness.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
Yeah, Cheryl brings up another point which affected me. I wouldn't call people to do Visiting Teaching assignments. I wouldn't give a lesson. I finally gave a talk after 14 years in the Church. There was no way I ever would have served a mission.

I just plain didn't fit in. I'd have been better off with one of those Sunday churches, where you go and hear the sermon and then you leave.

Cali Sally
I am very introverted but tried avoiding humiliation from church leaders by doing all the callings they gave me and never saying "No".
However, I never volunteered for things and hid in the shadows whenever possible because I detest the lime light. Giving my testimony caused me to perspire profusely and my heart would race. I didn't do it often.

When I left TSCC it was because I learned about the lies. I was in no way eager to lose my testimony. I just could no longer hold onto the slippery little thing. I always thought I did my very best as a Mormon. When I did finally leave Mormonism, the bishop's wife told me I left because I was too lazy to be a good Mormon. So, all that time of forcing myself to do what was so terribly difficult was for naught. Nobody appreciated it or gave me credit. If I have learned anything from Mormonism it is to just be yourself because in the end it doesn't matter what others think of you. You must be true to yourself.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
I'm sorry for anyone who has disabilities of any kind. I have a disability that is in remission most of the time, but it is absolutely unpredictable. It does not interfere with my work, because I do not allow it to. But my life depends on getting plenty of rest and the good kind of exercise, during an attack. This takes priority time. My biggest fear is making an appointment or having an important scheduled event. I stress over the possibility of a sudden onset of pain, and having the embarrassment of explaining and rescheduling. I can usually handle it--but maybe the next time I won't be able to handle it. All the commitments, deadlines, performances, and inflexible schedules created too much stress, and stress makes any disability even worse.

Anyway, I just lost a friend over this. She is Mormon, and very strict about being punctual, won't give an inch in changing plans--even plans for fun and relaxation.

Most of us have been sick or injured, and have had a small taste of how badly the Mormons treat members who have to miss their callings, even once or twice. The Mormons intimidate members so much, that they go to church sick as dogs, and make their sick kids go, too.

There is only one personality type that Mormons revere, and that is the Type-A, overachiever, extrovert, "color red" authoritarian, inflexible fanatic. I can't believe that I once was "friends" with people who actually thought it was desirable to be OCD!

Being shy includes not putting yourself forward, not selling yourself, not selling your spouse or children, not performing, and most important of all, not recruiting new members. Remember, every member a missionary, and a shy person is useless. They make good janitors, though.

Cali Sally
Forestpal, I've followed your posts with interest and your description of the revered attributes of Mormonism
describe David Bednar to the "T". He even says that it is easy to follow the gospel. That's because he is type-A and couldn't live any other way. I know because I worked with him. All I can say is be glad you aren't like that because the man comes across as being without a heart. He may show it to his wife, kids and close friends but working with him, I never saw it.

ghost buster
Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
I've never really been a big fan of the "talk to everybody or you're responsible for their sins and the sins of their children for a thousand generations" method. It's such a pushy sales tactic and all it does is piss people off. I always wondered why god would employ such cheap ineffective methods, now I know. He's an asshole!

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
I was shy in church. When I was in singles ward, I sat alone for 3 years because it was a preference. I am quiet, I usually have a very good poker face on, and Im pretty, and a deep thinker... so do you know the first judgement people make of me? "Wow, it's like she thinks she is too good to talk to anyone. She must be a bitch." Yup. Most people never even speak a word to me before they make that judgement. Can you understand why I am pessimistic about people? Bishop decided that I was too quiet, so he made me greet everyone as they walked in. He said I have a friendly face. I totally laughed and told him that's funny, because most people think I have a bitchy face. Even though I am shy, I am ambitious as well. I'm not shy at all when it comes to getting work done... and that's the way I saw my callings; work.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
Yes, it can be difficult for people in church if they are very shy as it's not uncommon to be called upon out of the congregation to give a prayer, for instance.
I had a relative that was so shy they never spoke in public at a church meeting for any reason.
It's OK to say: no thank you, and to avoid being singled out.
I've seen it done many, many times in the LDS Church.
CSU Provo Student
Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
In my opinion, the mormon religion is structured toward extrovert type A people and very much biased against introversion and shyness.

Reading various ex-mo boards for a number of years, I am convinced that the typical former mormon is introverted to some degree. It appears by my observation that mormonism magnifies personality types. The aggressive extrovert salesman becomes larger than life in the mormon societal structure and the shy introvert is marginalized as insignificant to the business of mormon inc.

I am one of those full on introverts. As a kid, the thought of going on a mission was as foreign to me as being able to flap my arms and fly. I didn't go. I left the unwelcome arms of LDS, Inc. and they probably were okay with that because I didn't fit their 'profile' of an ideal member.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
I'm on the shy side and found Church participation to be unpleasant, painful and I often felt stressed out. When I was a missionary I had a friend who was very shy and we had to do constant tracting and father contacting in the foreign language. He lost about 40% of his hair in the first three months of his mission! He was terrorfied doing door approaches, I felt so bad for him, knowing how hard it was. He seemed to relax a bit after several months but he confided in me that he was so stressed out he wanted to leave.

Missions are horrible for introverts
Missionaries are expected to be with someone else 24/7, have little down time, and be on at lots of social events and contact people all day long. For an introvert, who finds other people draining, it's 2 years of torture.

As Sartre said, Hell is other people.

I overheard this at BYU
In my last semester at BYU, I hardly went to ward social activities. I worked evenings tutoring, plus I had 15 hours of courses and my own friends already. I was ready to leave Provo, so meeting the ward wasn't a priority outside of church.

I overheard two of my roommates' friends asking why I was such a jerk. They were stunned and said, "why do you think that?" They said, "He never talks to anyone else and never shows up to ward activities."

So, being busy and introverted makes you a jerk?

Re: Yes. The morg sees shy members as defectives who need to improve.
you nailed it Cheryl. This is a huge reason why I always felt inferior and worthless at church. Still do most of the time since I was BIC. It absolutely threw me into a massive panic attack to have to call other members to remind them of church activities when I was in YW. I hated it! I avoided giving talks at all costs and pretended to be "sick" to avoid having the attention put on me as much as possible. Mormonism leans towards a certain personality and that's it. If you don't act like an over-enthused used car salesman, they don't want you for the "top" jobs.

Re: Missions are horrible for introverts
ha, I had never heard that before. Best.quote.ever!
No Exit

Shocked at the absurdity of his fate, Garcin concludes, "hell is other people" - not torture devices or physical punishment, but the torment of those he can't escape. The play ends with the three joining in prolonged laughter before resigning themselves to spending the rest of eternity together.

Re: Yes. The morg sees shy members as defectives who need to improve.
That's true, I also have mild Asperger's, but when I was a member, I had no idea. Still, I refused to do the "every member a missionary" thing, and I only gave my testimony once, which was basically easy since I've done enough amateur drama to make it seem convincing. I'm just glad I was never made a VT, as I know I would have hated it, especially if they expected me to visit someone who was inactive and wanted to be left alone.

I know I pissed people off because I refused to send the missionaries to visit my nevermo family, as I was taught that one's religion is a private matter. I also refused to let the church get the family history information that my Catholic grandma spent a lot of time putting together, as I thought it was disrespectful to those ancestors.

It wasn't until after I resigned and my divorce from the TBM ex was final that I finally got the Asperger's diagnosis, as the therapist I was seeing for PTSD suggested I might have a mild case of it. She gave me the referral, and I got the diagnosis.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
I was always very introverted. I would rather have had abdominal surgery than have to speak in church! That's NOT an exaggeration. I HATED the teaching assignments that I had in church as well. They were absolute torture.

Funny thing is, I'm actually a good teacher and have evolved into a good public speaker. But the methods the church used (essentially forcing me to do it) never brought this out in me. I do it professionally now, and am quite respected for my abilities.

Re: I overheard this at BYU
Haha isn't it horrible? Did you know that extroverts are much more likely to lie and manipulate you than an introvert is? Never trust someone who smiles too much. Lol! then again, that's a judgement as well.

Im not a bitch, but I'll turn into one real quick if someone thinks they know me without even talking to me.

Dave in Hollywood
The Stockholm Syndrome
I wrote about this a couple of years ago but was shot down by everyone. I think it is one of the Church's sneaky tactics (whether they realize it or not) to INSIST that people give talks and teach classes, etc, no matter whether someone is shy or not.

What this does to the shy person is induce a heckuva lot of stress (I should know since I'm painfully shy). That stress either breaks they shy person and they flee the church, or they submit to the demands, give the talk or whatever, and then cleave even closer to the church because they have survived the stressful situation.

It's kinda sick because the church gives you warm fuzzies for doing what they asked, but they are the ones that induced all the stress in the beginning.

It's not unlike being a missionary, the more the doors are slammed in your face, the more you turn to the church for the love and validation you're not getting from the outside world. It's a win-win for the church, but a terrible situation for anyone short of Mitt Romney's level of self-belief.

Re: Was the church ever biased towards any of you for being shy?
Ryan Gosling (the actor) said the one thing the Church taught him was how to shake hands and talk to people and that's exactly what I think about when I think of the Church. It's a lot of type A, outgoing, networky types. If you are introverted in the LDS Church, you don't fare as well, even just as far as you are not as respected, and you are literally not viewed as being 'as worthy' or spiritual as others because you're not constantly talking aobut how great this or that agenda in the Church is. It's a bunch of BS. It's basically just a top down, pyramid scheme business and this type of mentality is just one more indicator of that.

"Recovery from Mormonism - www.exmormon.org"