Does the Mormon church think shy people should exist at all?
Posted by: poster ( )
Date: November 11, 2010 04:36AM
The structure and activities of the Mormon church are not well suited to shy people. Shy people are people who can be shy to all sorts of varying degrees. A few oddly shy people may have never been to a church in their life. I myself would only go to a church because I know a person who goes there and they know me.
Has the Mormon church ever touched on this subject in any way?
Does the Mormon church think everybody should be good enough to be a poster child for the church?
"Shy" is just another way of saying, "You need to get up and bear your testimony/give talks/participate in class discussions/say group prayers more often." At least, that's how my parents and members of my ward treated my shyness as a child/teenager. The idea was that if they kept forcing me into it, I'd stop being so introverted and act more like them. The reality was that I felt horribly guilty for being unable to handle such things naturally.
The church requires members to give talks, to get out there and mingle, to speak out about the wonderfulness of mormonism, to spread the gospel, to invite near strangers into their homes, as hters and vters [home teachers, visiting teachers] to barge into the homes of near strangers, and to be cheery and friendly.
Anyone who can't or doesn't want to do these things needs to rise up and "not hide their light under a bushel."
Some people will never be able to do this and others aren't interested, but
mormonism doesn't accept those realities. It assumes that shyness is a defect
that must be corrected. This is wrong. Some shy people want to change and others
don't, but none of them are necessarily defective.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/2010 05:22AM by Cheryl.
I was expressly told by a Church leader that shyness is a SIN.
After all, shyness prevents us from progressing in the cult and from doing things needed to gain "exaltation". (I never wished to be "exalted" in the first place... Becoming a god would be a punishment.)
So hyness is nothing but a SIN to be overcome - in order for the Reich to grow.
I have always been very (that's VERY) afraid to give talks. I never went up to the pulpit to bear my testimony-no way. When ever I was asked to speak in a new ward I always told them no. So when my now 31 year old son was giving his farewell talk (this was when they had the whole family participate. You know,the family that the missionary belongs to,the family that will miss said missionary.The family that is paying for the missionary. Now they barely even let the missionary speak at all.) I told the bishop absolutely I was not going to speak. It wasn't going to happen. I was already a mess because my son was leaving for 2 years. Half way through the meeting the bishop gets up,turns around (the fam. was on the stand) and says "sister R-do you have anything to say?" I was so embarrased and literally sunk down in my chair. I hated that bishop after that.
My shyness was a result of the way my mother brought me up. My opinion wasn't valued, everything I said was stupid, and no one cared to hear me talk. It proved detrimental at church where they wanted you to give talks and pray publicly, just like everyone else was doing. I bore my testimony maybe twice, and only because of intense pressure. I looked down at the pulpit the whole time. I didn't want to see all the people "not caring" about what I was saying. I always turned down talks and was lectured for it. But I never heard anyone at church tell me that I was being a sinner for being so withdrawn.
energy from being with others.
Then there are those of us who are robbed of energy by human contact and have to recharge by being alone.
Non only are our needs ignored at church, but then we go home to huge families in small houses where there is no where to hide.
It is one of the reasons so many Mormons are depressed, and so many ex Mormons report feeling free and happy for the first time.
One mold. If you don’t fit, it’s YOUR fault.
I know a couple of converts who agreed to join ONLY if they were never asked to speak in front of a group. Of course, the Church had to say “yes” –(anything for a future tithepayer.)
But BICs never get that choice.
Like that's info that will be kept on records. They will be asked to speak in front of troups often. It is just the church's way.
I am personally very outgoing. However, I have watched the shy at the receiving end of claims of sin and hence there tendency to withdraw. There is really good evidence that introversion and extroversion are largely genetic. It cannot be changed and if there was a god it would be his fault. As is typical of Mormonism, it is all about disempowering the member. You are bad for being yourself and not fitting the mold.
I found this particularly evident as a missionary. A mission is a place to be trained in the fine art of selling garbage to the gullible. It is a place where extroverts thrive and introverts struggle. TSCC is all about sales 24-7 every day of the year. That is why the Amway of religions cannot tolerate shyness.
The church at the very least implies that you are sinning if you are shy. They teach that it is your moral obligation to go out and welcome newbies to church, preach the gospel, teach classes, give talks, home teach and all of the rest. If you are shy, something is wrong with you. I am a shy kid, I knocked on thousands of doors as a missionary and up until the very last one I felt sick to my stomach every time someone answered.
The mormon mantra is "every member a missionary" and "member missionary" and as such, each member is called upon to get out of the 'comfort zone' and to forsake their 'plateau' and step out and find people for the missionaries to teach.
Just like any other recruitment/sales oriented outfit, there is no room for shy people except in out of the way, drudgery callings.
On the old board when it died there was someone who posted a vidio of kids being sesnt to strict parants.
A line from that vidio that worried me 'You only grow when you do things you dont want to do.' So they do see shyness as a waeakness and the only way to help people is to make them less shy.
Yeah, I used to hear all sorts of rhetoric that when you go on a mission, you open up and become a people person. It was some kind of glorious gift from god for serving him, according to the people I talked to. As for me, I was very outgoing on my mission and closed up after being home, after finding out that nobody really cared. I have tried to be very outgoing, only to be stepped on at church. After I closed up really badly, I couldn't talk to people anymore. This was while I was at USU. After I finished my one and only semester there, I came to find out after some further social experimentation that I subconsciously could NOT talk to Mormons. I literally will say nothing when around them, because I don't trust them, but I have no problem being open when I don't think a person is LDS or if they aren't. Just the feeling of being judged subconsciously screwed with my mind. I was asked by a convert if I was wearing garments once and after that, I shut down. I find it sad that I don't trust Mormons anymore, but I've had bad experiences with them. That's the area where my shyness the worse. Other than that, I tend to thrive in big groups the best, actually.
So it runs on the assumptions of extroverts.
Besides, it's a cult, and cults are about the group, not a bunch of individuals off living the way that makes them feel comfortable. Cults are about controlling behavior, about turning the followers into a single entity that can be steered by the leaders.
Shy people can and do fit into cults, but only as long as the system lets them function within their comfort zones, that let's them serve and support the machine without a lot of personal interaction with others. Mormonism isn't good at that, because it assumes people are interchangeable. Anyone can function in any calling (except leadership positions, where you have to be a certain kind of person). When people fail to fit the church's faulty assumptions, they blame the people, because extroverts seldom imagine they're wrong.
fallenangelblue -- I'm the same, only it wasn't my family that devalued me and my opinion-- it was my peers in school.
I turned out shy because I was always the one getting picked on. I was really poor, and while I've always been straight, and everybody always told me I was "pretty"--- I was much more tomboy-ish than all the other girls. I was raised by a Green Beret, lol. Which meant I creeped the other girls out, and I was too macho for the boys to like, lol. So nobody wanted to hang out with me.
I was always told by my peers, "Shut up, nobody cares what you think..."
One particulalry BAD year was 5th grade. The teacher was obsessed with "group" assignments. Several times a day, she would always force us to break up in to 4 or 5-person groups. No body ever wanted me in their group. If I tried to join one, they would all tell me "Get lost". I'd always be the last one left alone. Then the teacher would yell at me for not joining one, and I would get sent to the office. Eventually, I would just go and sit down at a random group's table, no matter what they said. But after they gave me a snotty look and say "GO AWAYYYY!!" for the 50th time like a broken record, an argument would eventually break out. When the teacher came to break it up, everyone would agree that **I** started it. And it was back to the office again. Jeez, I hink I LIVED at that office, lol.
Man, I really hated that teacher, and I know she hated me too because
eventually I got sick of her never wising up-- so I would lash out at her. But
hey, she deserved it. Punishing me because the other kids were picking on me...
Oh yeah, that was really productive. What a moron.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/12/2010 09:00AM by melissa3839.
at general conference along time ago - I think his name was Irying ? or something ? mention shy people and to be respectful of them. Being a shy person I finaly felt some valadation at the time.
It is so weird I should stumble upon this thread after the dream I had last night. In the dream I had agreed to speak in church (we are never supposed to say no!) Because I was so terrified to do this I decided I would call in sick. Then I decided I would just not show up, as they deserved no phone call or explanation as to why I wasn't there. I also thought maybe if they thought I was just undependable they would leave me alone. So I was hoping that my husband would forget that I was supposed to speak because he would say "You made a commitment to be there and you better do it." Needless to say I was very relieved when I woke up.
I was painfully shy as a kid, and now I am a functioning shy person. I think my shyness was worsened by the Mormon cult. I was told that being shy was "selfish" because I would not share the gospel or my testimony. I felt so different from all the other kids int he ward who were outgoing and were praised for their boldness. It is always difficult to be shy, and to add guilt to that makes it even more difficult.
I have always said that my time alone was like recharging my batteries - just as Heresy said above. I do enjoy being with friends, but too much of it wears me out. I always remember being exhausted after church. All those people wanting something from you! Ugh! And those people were not even people I wanted to be with - I was forced.
It took a long time, but since leaving the church I have overcome depression, my self esteem has improved and being shy is mostly a non-issue for me. I am so glad that I left when my children were young. They are both shy too and I would hate for them to have to deal with all that crap!
there were probably many of us.
Love this thread. I ONLY participated in mormonism because I thought I had to. I quit praying in church the minute I realized I could say no. I had one bishop tell me that I needed to practice praying so that I wouldn't be shy about praying in church. My reply was that, for one, I didn't feel that practicing praying meant the prayer came from the heart. I was always bothered by mormon flowery prayers.
I'm going to also suggest that many of us aren't really "shy"--we are RESERVED (this is what someone I worked with told me after they got to know me). We don't like being noticed. We don't like being on display. We like to CHOOSE our friends--don't like forced friendships, and yes most of us introverts NEED alone time.
I was so thrilled when I realized I no longer had to go to church. I NEVER liked it.
Some people mistake shyness and introversion. I'm an introvert and I've overcome most of my shyness. I can talk to strangers, give presentations and do job interviews. The problem is that it drains me. I gave a presentation this morning that went very well, but now I'm exhausted for the rest of the day. I'm always nervous before hand, and the adrenaline pushes me to give a good presentation, and then I want to crash afterward.
Extroverts thrive on attention and company and hate solitude. Introverts like small groups or being alone, but big groups and attention are a chore to survive.
Giving talks, lessons, and then entire missionary experience are very extroverted activities. It takes a lot of effort for an introvert to talk to strangers about religion. I can go up to people and talk to them, but I usually don't because it's not worth the effort. Extroverts confuse that with being shy or timid. It's just too much of a bother.
Mormons expect extroversion and treat introverts like they are just maladjusted extroverts. There are lots of benefits to being an introvert or being friends with introverts, but LDS society doesn't respect that.
I have to laugh--my oldest son is very shy and respecting that, my husband asked the oldest child of my sister to ask the blessing at a family Thanksgiving dinner one year, the first we ever spent with my sister's family.
My darling hubby was clueless about Mormons (we are a Catholic/TBM hybrid). TBM sister's oldest child was *gasp* a girl.
But she was the only girl in a family of 8 and delighted to be asked to pray publicly for the first (and only) time in her life and launched into one of the most beautiful and heartfelt prayers I have ever heard. Not that the TBM's noticed. But the rest of us did. Including Mr Shy. Who now has a very special relationship with his Mormon cousin.
Let's hear it for the shy people!
An alternative perspective: A few years ago, my son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of high functioning autism. We later found out that it is very likely this condition has been passed down through our family for at least several generations.
One of the most interesting aspects of A.S. is that many "Aspies" have a very hard time making friends and handling what are generally considered "routine" social situations. Aspies tend to avoid eye contact and have an extremely difficult time reading/understanding facial expressions, body language or other social queues. (If you want to know more, just Google it.)
So, here you have my son and I, somewhere out there on the autistic spectrum. I can tell you from very sad, poignant experience that trying to fit in to the church and live up to their seemingly ever increasing demands has been the worst possible struggle of my life. It has led to countless hours of depression, self-loathing, etc.
Finally, a few months ago, I decided to let go and not fight anymore, and I can't even begin to tell you how much of a burden that has lifted off my shoulders. If you think the church is unequipped to deal with gays (and it is), then you should see how it does with those who are physically or mentally or neurologically or psychologically challenged in any way.
I was hoping to end on a positive note, but all I can say is that, from my experience, the church as a whole is vastly inadequate at dealing with and embracing people who find themselves on the margins of society. They are, instead, much better at converting and retaining the terminally self righteous.
i have asperger syndrome also, , that is cool that you and your son are aspies!!!! being an aspie or not, i still wouldn't want too put up with the mold the church expects us to fit in. the church teaches black vs.white but the world is gray I have faith that god is forgiving, loving and understanding, so I have no fear and keep an open mind for every situation. remember the church is run by men who try to please God and teach his gospel,instead they bypass reality.
Great thread! I suffer from social anxiety and a certain degree of agoraphobia. I've always been like this, and the Mormons tortured me for it. My parents offered no protection, even though they were the ones who created me. Screw 'em all.
After leaving Mormonism I've become more and more of a hermit type.
It was a freeing thing for me to finally admit that I really don't like most people. I don't wish anyone ill. In fact I hope everyone has a happy, healthy life. I just find it easier not to have to deal with people and their sh*t.
Mormonism wants everyone to be a back slapping, car salesman type. It's easier to push the product on the unsuspecting.
One thing that introverts can't stand about extroverts is their seeming insincerity. When extroverts would come up and vigorously shake my hand and tell me how glad they were to see me, I thought they meant it. Introverts only do this with people we really like and consider friends. Extroverts toss around this sort of affection with everyone, which is nice, but introverts interpret as deeper than extroverts mean it.
When an extrovert considers you a friend, you are one of many. When an introvert considers you a friend, you are a select few. Broadly speaking, extroverts flit from one friend to the next like the social butterflies that they are. Introverts cultivate a few friendships but value them immensely.
See Also 589. Can a Shy Person Succeed as a Mormon?
Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church www.exmormon.org