Date: September 29, 2023 11:17PM
> Is it really true that once the bishop knows the
> entire ward will? That doesn't seem to line up
> with everything I've been told about the bishop.
There's no way to know for sure. Keep in mind, these men are lay clergy with no training in ... anything most clerics handle. Obviously someone isn't automatically good, genuine and honest via clerical training. And someone isn't automatically bad, devoid of integrity and dishonest in the absence of training. But you never know what someone without training will do, or how they will keep confidences. He may divulge things to his wife, who divulges them to others and it gets around. He may tell other people thinking that he's doing it for a "good" purpose, like having people "fellowship" you, thinking it's saving your soul for eternity.
Keep in mind that we don't owe everyone absolute honesty when it comes to things that are none of their business. In those cases, truth is not always the helpful, necessary approach when it comes to a religion you don't believe in and aren't spiritually beholden to. Tell the bishop what he wants to hear, regardless if it's true or not (ie ... yes you have faith, sometimes you question the nature of god, but doesn't everyone? etc.)
Right now, you need to prioritize your ability to get through school with good grades and hopefully keep your relationships with your friends. The church doesn't serve you, so approach it with a survival mindset.
Since you are taking AP courses and you mentioned college courses, it sounds like you're in a really good place to get scholarships. THIS is your priority. There are scholarships for everything (even scholarships for redheads, just for being a redhead), you just have to ferret them out. This is your co-priority with school. It's your only way out, your only way to have some independence in your choices for what comes next after graduation. For everything else religion-related, go through the motions and sort of disassociate (not as in the disorder, but just let the words of your church meetings and discussions with your parents wash over you and commit to not internalizing anything.
Last two things: I saw above that you were already thinking about what you want to study. People change majors all the time. I did. I even rejected some amazing scholarships from schools that didn't have the niche major I planned, and you know what? I graduated with a major that couldn't have been further from what I thought I wanted to do. Your ticket out is school and school funding. Go where you get the most funds or is the least expensive for you, and everything else can be worked out later. The degree is more important than the major, and there's also grad school. For instance, I know several people who majored in drama with plans to go to law school (and did). Rock your exams (the ap ones are a killer), get great grades, find great references, build up well-roundness, and start looking at schools now.
I don't know your financial circumstances, but see if you can find a summer program at a university. I know johns hopkins has one (a biosciences niece did that between her sophmore/junior year and junion/senior year. UNC also has a program, I'm sure the programs are everywhere. A summer away will give you some extra credits and FREEDOM from your family, with the ability to just explore a day-to-day non-mormon teen life.
Finally, and this seems crucial when the mission talks come up: Find a way to phrase this: that at the moment, your testimony in god and the church is weak, the required answers to get a calling and even a temple recommend wouldn't be honest and it would be without integrity, and you respect their church too much for that. After a year or so of college, you hope you'll be more clear about your faith and if so, then you'd be able to answer the questions with integrity and serve the lawwwd with integrity as a missionary, as you feel strongly that going under false pretenses would hurt the mission, the missionaries around you, and also hurt your soul because it would feel dishonest to try to bring people to something you don't yet fully accept. So, so what if you're a 22 year old first time missionary? (not that you'll be this, but really I can't see how, if hard pressed, they can justify why being a missionary at 18 matters so much more than at 22.
Good luck, find adults you trust who can help you. If you're not in the morridor, try meeting with the school's college counselor to start planning a way out. I wish you the best. I think it's going to be ok. You sound strong and strong-minded. You'll get through.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2023 01:45AM by Maude.