Subject: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 24, 2009
Author: poster

The Mormon church expects its members to perform in ways that would be difficult for a person with a lack of socializing skills. We were expected to perform talks in the sacrament meeting and go on a mission etc.

Do any of you know a person who would have difficulty with all of this still remain a Mormon who is supposed to have a temple entry recommend?

I feel a lot better as an ex-mormon and socialize better among non Mormons. Being among Mormons made me feel horrible like I have no ability to socialize among people.


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 24 23:02
Author: newblacksheep

My TBM [Mormon] father is extremely shy. I know that he struggles with going to church sometimes and for the most part tries to avoid activities. He believes it all but I think much of the practice of Mormonism is very hard on him. He struggles to accept callings, especially ones that require a lot of reaching out to other people. But he can do it when he has to. I think it really wears him out. Right now he is on a mission and seems to enjoy it but my mother says he is really tired.

I am also on the shy side and had a really hard time with many of the callings I was assigned. Some of them I just didn't do even though I accepted them (only cuz I couldn't say no). I hated doing VT and avoided it as much as possible. I served a mission and it was agonizing for me. I dreaded being called on to say prayers or bear my testimony. Those were the worst moments for me.

I do think being shy is definitely a drawback for a Mormon. Maybe that's one reason I found my way out.


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 24 23:07
Author: gone AWOL for good

ok I survived for a long while, even to becoming Relief Society president until I got kicked out (that's what I call it when they give you no notice and call a person who has just moved into the ward that week, I didnt sin or anything, then :) ). I am very introverted, but also shy and not good at quick social skills. I have learned much over the years, even to talking loud enuf so people can hear me! I did all this stuff because god wanted me to, but can see some anxiety or panic situations that I didn't understand what happened at the time. (Good mormons don't have anxiety problems or any other problems for that matter.) I never understood why people would get up and say " im happy to speak to you today." I thought they were lying.

I remember the bishop not understanding my fear as rs pres about doing my first 'welcome' of a new woman into the relief society.

Now I get that I was more freaked out internally (now called anxiety) than other people, even those who dont like public speaking. And I was a supply teacher, of little kids.

After doing the 'go up the ladder of success ' I found that it didnt make me happier, give me more friends, or more clout or anything. The callings I took afterwards: nursery leader ( told bishop counsellor I didnt have much of a testimony at the time) and librarian were my favorites. I had my own 'office' and could hide in it, communicate with a few at a time, not crowds. it was difficult.

When I read in the dc that god condemns those who open not their mouths to preach the gospel I was pissed. God could create a situation for me (abuse) and a personality trait (introversion) and then condemn me for having it. Thanks god.

My stress level would be enormous were I still a tbm! Im soooo glad im out.


Subject: Yes, sort of. My ex-fiance was extremely shy. He always had leadership positions, but
Date: Sep 24 23:26
Author: Moniker

he was also very depressed.


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 24 23:37
Author: shy lady

I left the church because I don't believe in god, much less the Mormon doctrine.

However, both my shyness and boredom with church meetings are what led me to seriously think about what I actually believe, not what my family WANTS me to believe.

I really hate to admit it, but my shyness was probably the straw that broke the camel's back. I was living thousands of miles away from family and friends, struggling to find my place in a new ward where I had no family to sit with in sacrament meeting when I began looking at anti-mormon literature and doing some research. My reasoning was that I hate trying to fit in and be sociable very much, so I needed to know if I was wasting my time. I concluded that I was.

On the other hand, the church is also a haven for people with poor social skills. I have a few TBM relatives who aren't shy but their social skills are so terrible, it's really embarrassing! Really, it's so bad that I doubt they will ever find marriage partners. But because the church is so accepting of people, it is their only source of "friends". (If you can count VTs, home teachers, your bishop, etc. as "friends"!)


Subject: That's part of why my mom never joined.
Date: Sep 25 01:11
Author: can't log in here

She's very shy, though I wouldn't say she lacks socializing skills. She's very pleasant and gracious. She just doesn't like being the focus of attention.

She never believed the church was "true" but said she would consider joining to keep the peace with my uber TBM dad. However, she did not want to ever say a prayer at church, give a talk, teach a class, be called on in class, or do anything of that nature. She was fine with it only if she could attend infrequently, sit quietly in the meetings, and go home.

On another note, I was pretty shy myself in elementary school. I do credit the church with helping me to become more outgoing. Even now, I have no trouble with public speaking, class participation in college, etc. That's maybe the only good thing I got for my tens of thousands of dollars in tithing....


Subject: I was unbelievably shy as a child and adult
Date: Sep 25 01:30
Author: blueskyutah

From my first moments as a child in junior sunday school I can remember the anxiety that came rushing in anytime I would have to handle the sacrament water tray or possibly have someone hear me sing. I felt so confined in the classroom, having started attending church at the age of 5 rather than from birth like the other children. Later, as a scout, I felt the shame while following the kid who was brave enough to carry the flag during the presentation of the colors or listening to the ones brave enough to call everyone to attention. Then later as a teacher trying to pass a microphone to people wanting to stand during testimony meeting and all I could do was get the cord tangled up so I couldn't reach the people who wanted to stand. Later, attending my interview with a stake president who shamed me for wanting to go on a mission to improve myself rather than the most successful missionaries who did it to serve the Lord. Then, knocking on the first door and watching someone burst out laughing the first time I told them about the golden plates. Having doors slammed in my face, being brutally mistreated and surviving taught me the skills to overcome my shyness. But then as the years passed, my lack of commitment and shyness kept me from fulfilling the duties expected damaging my credibility among my peers. Slowly my potential wasted away until I was left with nothing but the calling of ward clerk or ward historian. And yet through all of this I managed to figure out intellectually that the church was a farce. I can now be myself in all situations, no longer shy, but mostly comfortable hanging with those around me.


Subject: A BYU psychologist harassed me for being "shy".
Date: Sep 25 02:13
Author: anonymous

When I attended BYU I saw a Mormon psychologist, who was also a bishop. My problem was that I could not get high enough grades in what I wanted to major in. However, the psychologist ignored my problem. When I tried to talk to him about it, he brushed me off. I also wanted to talk about religion. Again, he brushed me off. He wouldn't listen to me for very long, and when he asked me a question he would tend to not listen for an answer.

So, I just sat there and patiently listened to what he had to say. He criticized me for being "shy". He also said I was too serious. He harped on this again and again and again.

He did not understand me. He did not try to understand me. I think he represents the typical Mormon in this respect. The typical Mormon can't afford to listen to shy people. Shy people tend to have very well reasoned ideas, and Mormons can't afford to listen to crystal clear reason. If a Mormon really listened, REALLY LISTENED, to a shy person who told him why the Church is not true, this would hurt the Mormon's testimony. Mormons also tend to avoid really serious people, because really serious people like me are very curious about the way the world is, have a skeptical, scientific mind set, and like to investigate truth claims in great detail. Mormons tend to be happy-go-lucky and outgoing because this helps to avoid the really serious issues with the Church.

It is interesting that a psychologist would act the way my psychologist did. It just goes to show you how powerful the outgoing, jovial mindset is among Mormons. It permeates Mormons' jobs as well as Mormon culture. Mormonism is self selective for this type of mindset, and anybody with a different mindset tends to get criticized, marginalized, or ignored completely.


Subject: I know a few
Date: Sep 25 06:04
Author: angsty

but they suffer every time they're asked to give a talk or teach a class.

I am not as shy now that I am comfortable but I was extremely shy while I was a member. I was so uncomfortable in church that sometimes I would go to the ladies room to pass extra time rather than socialize. I got called as the ward chorister and that pretty much destroyed me. It was absolute torture. I was obedient and accepted every calling and every request to give prayers and talks, but I would have preferred to sit quietly in the back.

Because of my shyness, I put off going to the temple so long that my initial recommend expired. I was afraid I'd be asked to do things in front of people that would make me terribly uncomfortable (hello prayer circle). When I finally told my mother that, she said "Oh, there's nothing that goes on in the temple that SHOULD make you uncomfortable". She was so wrong, plus afterward she told me that she knew lots of people that WERE uncomfortable the first time.

My sister is shy in the same ways and I think it helped her leave the church as a teenager. Her shyness just kept her from feeling comfortable at church and since she wasn't comfortable she never "felt the spirit" or felt like she belonged there.

Being in college helped me some, but I still have trouble talking in class. The only classes I do talk in are classes that are very small where I actually know the teacher outside of class. Otherwise I just don't have the emotional energy to speak up.

This is completely opposite of how I am at home and with close friends. I can be obnoxiously talkative when I feel comfortable-- and sometimes when I am extremely nervous and on the spot.

I've had some therapy for performance anxiety too-- in some respects my shyness is performance anxiety, but in other respects it's just that I find most interactions to be exhausting and I don't have the energy. I am careful though to be conscious of how my shyness might make other people uncomfortable and I try to make sure that it doesn't.


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 25 08:25
Author: confused

I suppose it would depend on your definition of a successful mormon-
Is a successful mormon the one who can talk to anything, and convince anyone that they are temple worthy by their toothy grin and firm handshake, working up the ecclesiastical ladder?
Many can and do fake it or sell it by using a pretty good line, but they are more about themselves than anything else.

I know plenty of people who are shy, but that does not stop them from being effective as teachers, speakers, and leaders. Sometimes people who are shy or at least not the salesman type have more sincere beliefs and personalities. To me, those are the successful ones.


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 26 17:34
Author: gone AWOL for good


Don't confuse introvert with shyness ( a social problem based on fear )

Extroverts (most people) tend to get energy from other people. They like to talk and be around others. Like a student who comes home and tells about her whole day in great detail.

Introverts ( 25%) tend to get energy by being alone. When they are drained they go by themselves to recharge their batteries. IE a child who comes home from school, barely says 'hi' and goes to his room and reads, or listens to music for a while. Or a spouce who comes home from work and hides behind the paper for a half hr.

When recharged both children are perfectly fine and social at mutual that night.

A shy person can have an introverted or extroverted personality base. An extrovert who is shy, has a real problem because they need people to recharge with and cant do it. An introverted shy person may have a really hard time learning the social skills because they get drained faster due to their introverted nature.

Introversion- extroversion is a continuum. People seem to change also.



Subject: Mormonism drove me into a deep dark shell.
Date: Sep 26 17:40
Author: Cheryl

It was how I found a place of relative safety in a dangerous church culture. No, I don't think anyone who appears shy can be respected in mormonism.

Leaving the church gave me an opportunity to be more real and open. I'm not shy in the real non-mo world and it's a great relief to be myself.


Subject: Interesting thread. The answer is "no." Well, only if the shy person can fake it.
Date: Sep 26 19:52
Author: forestpal

And, as someone mentioned, that takes a huge amount of energy!

Maybe that's why some people have to struggle harder to fit in, while others seem to thrive.

Popularity is probably the most prized character trait in Mormonism. Every member a missionary! Bring all your friends and neighbors. Fellowship and convert! Mormons are salesmen! They even have sales techniques and sales quotas!

Also, a low-key individual doesn't fall into the mass hysteria as easily. Anonymous had some interesting observations about this.

I grew up in a city of very few Mormons. The dozen or so Mormon kids in our high school actually embarrassed me, because they were so aggressive in putting themselves forward as elitist, shallow, rich, gossipy, show-offs.

I was two different people. The older I got, the more at odds my church and family self was to my public self. At church, I was a female, not as competitive as the other girls, and not very "domestic". At home, my TBM parents were always criticizing me. I was not perfect. I could never have the priesthood or be as good or important as my brothers. The only way I could ever go to college is if I got a scholarship, yet my brothers could goof-off and do whatever they wanted, and be assured of a college education, if they went on a mission. I was scared to death to be called on to pray out loud, and when I was, I'd say I didn't want to, which was probably even more embarrassing. The teachers or whoever wouldn't let it go, but try to coerce me into praying, prolonging the agony. I sat in the back of class and avoided eye contact, or left early. It was that painful. I was being abused, and God was all I had--and I was scared of having my personal prayers criticized along with everything else. I refused to ever give a talk, no matter how much they harrrassed me to. I sang only once, with a group. I never played the piano, either. Once, after YM/YW, a friend wanted to hear a sonata I had learned, so a group of us went into the chapel, and I played the second movement for him, softly. The Bishop's counselor came storming into the chapel, like we were committing a crime, and shut the keyboard lid on me (I rescued my fingers), and yelled, "Don't you know that that kind of music isn't allowed in the House of the Lord?" I was humiliated to tears, but I stood up and said, "That__was__BEETHOVEN!" I never played in that ward again.

The same shy person won talent shows in junior high and high school, played the piano for fashion shows, community musicals, majored in piano performance in college, taught piano lessons (never to Mormons), played the organ in other churches (paid). I also sang solos with the school choir, danced, starred as the lead in two plays in high school, was always getting in trouble for talking in class, was very much into parties, dances, and dating, worked on the school publications, was a studentbody officer. Sorry to over-illustrate, but I was NOT a shy person in the real world!

Mormonism just sucked the confidence and self-esteem right out of me. I should have known something was wrong, but, like everyone else, I thought that the church was perfect; therefore, I must be weird. A Gemini with a dual personality.

As an adult, I never became Relief Society President, as my mother had hoped, to complete the long line of RP's back to a General RP. I didn't ask questions or make comments in class. I mean, what can you say about lies and nonsense? I did teach for a while, and I skirted around the JS garbage, and used outside references and The Bible, and had class discussions (all of this is forbidden now) to try to teach a valuable, relevant lesson. Finally, I could no longer teach lies to children, so I escaped to Cub Scouts and stayed there for many years doing that, and playing the organ and accompanying behind the scenes.

By then, I was a single divorced woman, and I knew my place on the back pews, behind the widows. I wore dark, long-sleeved clothes to hide the fact I was not wearing garments, and ran out the back door before someone could ask me to do something.

In the meantime, in the outside world, I was thriving! While married, I volunteered in the schools, tutored, substitute taught, was PTA pres, and worked my way up to the school board. I was planning large fund-raisers, meeting community leaders, and giving speaches in front of large groups. I would even give a stand-up comedy roast at the end-of-year banquet. When I got divorced, I went back to school and got an advanced degree--not in music--and proceeded to build a successful career. That necissitated a great deal of social contact--but nothing was ever as awkward, difficult, and discouraging as trying to fit in with the Mormons.

It was not easy to be that assertive and proactive, but it was--I don't know how to describe it--it was--rewarding? I was in control. I was confident I could succeed. An honest day's pay for an honest day's work. No brown-nosing, no lying, no faking-it. Not like Mormonism, where no matter how hard I tried, I would always be a second-class female, a working mother, a woman not married to anyone of importance, not worth knowing.

Even with the career in place, and my children doing very well, I would get so depressed on Sundays, that I would just come home and go to bed for an hour. I was in that "deep dark shell" that Cheryl described. Until I resigned. It is amazing how fast the depression and "shyness" disappeared.


Subject: Hey, I'm an extrovert, and I NEVER get asked to do anything....
Date: Sep 26 20:00
Author: Primus

Since I am NOM [new order Mormon], and a Bishop found out a bit, I haven't been asked to speak, nor hardly asked to give prayers or anything. I do occasionally teach EQ, though I actually skipped the last time I was supposed to teach. I have NO problem though getting up in front. I have considered getting up during F & T meeting and giving a rousing evangelical sermon of hellfire and brimestone for fun, but I haven't.

I probably got a one of those little marks on my records that says

"avoid having this guy speak, we don't know if he can control what he says and it scares us because he sometimes makes weird remarks in gospel doctrine that cause dirty looks on the teachers face."


Subject: You're an extrovert? I'm shocked, absolutely shocked.
Date: Sep 28 09:17
Author: angsty

LOL-- if you had been in my ward I wager you would have been one of our favorite teachers. :-)

Towards the end, DH and I were on the lookout for every possible closet subversive in the ward. We figured we couldn't be the only ones. We probably weren't. The problem is that the subversives get muzzled or discredited so it's hard to figure out who they are unless the do or say something overt.

Sometimes I miss the entertainment of going to church, but not enough to actually go again.


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 26 23:45
Author: free to be me!!!

I love this thread! I was a shy Mormon who worked SO hard to overcome my shyness, especially during church activities. It was always a nightmare for me. What could I do though? I had to be involved.

Looking back, I can see why my self-esteem was bashed. The church is all about "Leadership" qualities. If you are a regular, nice person, who just wants to mind their own business, you can forget getting brownie points from ward members. Only the "professionals" get the impressive callings. Always made me feel like sh*t.

The amazing thing is, I have found that I am not shy at all (well, very little) since I have left the Morg. I have pondered this quite a bit lately. I realized I hardly know who I really am. I was only a shadow of myself in the church.

As a member I was always focused on trying to please the Mormon God, & he loved extroverts who could lead meetings & make everyone feel comfortable. As a ExMo, I do so many service projects & work in situations that I always thought I was to shy to work in.

I never allowed myself to relax in the Morg & I was always nervous, worried about what would be coming at me next. Would it be something that would make me cringe, or something I could handle. Life was truley a nightmare.

Now, I am able to relax & enjoy my life & I find I love being involved with others. I get to choose where I will spend my energy, & that has made all the difference.

Relaxing (long sigh)


Subject: Re: Has a shy person ever succeeded in being a Mormon?
Date: Sep 28 08:53
Author: Happy

I hear ya, long relaxing sigh is what I did too for myself. It's so liberating!


Subject: More guilt to be heaped upon members
Date: Sep 28 08:33
Author: Dave

Although the Mormon cult trys hard to pretend otherwise, PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT. (Cookie-cutters are for cooking purposes only, but the Morg doesn't care.)

Not everyone is cut out to be door-to-door salespeople, public speakers or debating champions.

But the cult keeps insisting that EVERY young man HAS to go on a mission, for example. It's a "commandment"...

I have been shy all of my life. Giving talks, teaching classes, and knockng on people's doors to SELL mormonism was TORTURE to me.

I have heard Mormon leaders say that "shyness is a sin, for it prevents growth"...

"Overcoming" shyness becomes one more way to pressure members, and heap guilt on them. One more way to have them feel inadequate, unworthy and inferior.

And that's great for cult leaders.


Subject: Shy people have trouble succeeding anywhere --
Date: Sep 28 08:38
Author: Giant Scorpion of the Apocalypse

-- ever notice that in most job ads they mention that applicants must be "good team players"?

Not everyone can do this; some people are quiet achievers and better suited to working alone.


Subject: Not true that shy people have trouble succeeding anywhere.
Date: Sep 28 09:27
Author: Cheryl

There are many jobs that are best done by introverts in library basements and back rooms, in labs, at computers, or in solitary offices or cubicles.


Subject: Re: Not true that shy people have trouble succeeding anywhere?
Date: Sep 28 10:49
Author: Giant Scorpion of the Apocalypse

Cheryl wrote:
> There are many jobs that are best done by introverts in library basements and back rooms, in labs, at computers, or in solitary offices or cubicles.

That's what I said:

"some people are quiet achievers and better suited to working alone."

But even so, we inevitably have to interact with other human beings and this can be very difficult.

And in order to get a good job, we have to go to university where we are required to deal with people and do public speaking on a regular basis. Not easy, and many simply cannot cope at all.


Subject: No, public speaking is not required for all university students.
Date: Sep 28 11:21
Author: Cheryl

Nor do all students need to interact more than minimally with others.

The same is true of churches. Many require close to zero interaction and absolutely no public speaking at all.


Subject: Exactly, Cheryl. I'll add that shy people can often times work very well with others.
Date: Sep 28 11:31
Author: Moniker

They're typically more pleasant to be around. They are great observers, and as a result, learn very well and quickly. Shy people know a lot more than people think they do. They are usually the smart ones who keep the country running, behind the scenes. Additionally, they usually get along better with others and create less drama than those who THINK they have great "people skills". It's usually those people who think they're so wonderful with people and so outgoing who create the most drama at work, leading to less productivity.

I say this as someone who is not shy at all, but who values the qualities shy people have. I was very pleased with my decisions to hire shy people when I was a manager of a large business, that required a lot of interaction with the public. They never disappointed me. Those who bragged about their so-called people skills and abilities to be team players were another story. I like people who are all action, not all talk. That has just been my experience though. I guess you've had some very different experiences with shy people than I have, Great Scorpion.


Subject: Yes, I agree that's usually the case.
Date: Sep 28 11:38
Author: Cheryl

Oftentimes, very extroverted people do cause drama in classrooms and on the job. They can tend to strive to be seen as the leaders and unfairly take control over others. Shy students are often more cooperative group members and can be deeper thinkers.


Subject: Re: No, public speaking is not required for all university students.
Date: Sep 28 19:55
Author: Giant Scorpion of the Apocalypse

I found it was. We had to give regular tutorials, and I was petrified and made a fool of myself.


Subject: "Good team players" can be shy too.
Date: Sep 28 11:27
Author: Moniker

I think sometimes shy people are even better team players, because they actually listen to other people, process things carefully and aren't so quick and rash to jump into situations. I think your interpretation of the term "good team players" is very subjective.


Subject: I "succeeded," but was miserable.
Date: Sep 28 09:11
Author: 2thdoc

I climbed the mormon ladder of success and pursued a mormon approved career, all out of obligation to be a perfect morgbot. However, I am very, very introverted and was miserable for decades trying to force myself into the mormon mold. My heck, knocking doors as a missionary, giving talks, home teaching, even playing the piano for the choir and organ for was all misery. I can't overuse the word misery here. I look back on my life and just see a trail of horrible, wrong decisions and choices that went against my inborn nature but were done because of church influence and pressure.

The sense of relief I feel now is overwhelming as I feel free to be myself (and allow myself to feel fine about who I am).

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