Rants from a Convert

I know a lot of y’all that read my blog don’t watch our YouTube videos, but this has been on my heart, and I actually intended to make it a blog before it became this vlog. Apparently, my mouth got ahead of my fingers..

unwelcome

I wanted to share it here so maybe others can comment with their experiences as a convert.

I converted to the church in 2008 after my youngest child was born. It was the best thing to happen to me and my children.

I loved our church, loved the people in it and finally found my “place” in religion. I was welcomed in that ward, even though I was a convert, and I was made to feel welcomed and wanted. The other mothers took the time to get to know me and my children and invited us on activities. Then I moved to a new place where cliques were rampant and people didn’t seem so eager to welcome the convert. – Of course this doesn’t speak for everybody, but the majority of people made me feel this way. – It became a struggle to go to church. Then some things happened that made me feel really bad and like I was forgotten. Anger, and self-pity boiled inside me and I basically quit going to church for most of last year. It wasn’t that I had issues with the church, it was just the people inside it.

The entire time we were away I don’t remember getting one phone call, one text, or even one message on Facebook asking about our absence. I think the week that we were planning on going back I finally did receive one text, but that was it… for a YEAR! (We went to church maybe 10 times last year) As I stated in my video, I know its not their job to check up on me, but when one of their own was struggling, I think they should have noticed and cared enough to find out why. In my last ward if I even missed one day they would call to find out why. It’s hard enough being a convert in the church and that ward seemed to understand it a lot better than my current one.

Anyway, I mentioned before that I am moving to a better, less run down, house in the near future, and one reason – apart from the crappy house – is to get back into my old ward. To prepare for that I’ve started going to church again. The kids have missed it and I have too. They love going, and especially love going to primary. So, when I took them to find their new classroom at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t, mostly because I’m always confused how the Primary classes work. One of the girls (I’m assuming a part of the Primary Presidency) told me that the children’s names were on the outside of their classrooms. I looked; mine weren’t on there! She insisted that they were and I told her MY KIDS were not on there.. Others were, but not mine. I felt like going into the bathroom and crying. (sidenote: if you watch the video, you can see how emotional I got just talking about it in the car after church.)

At that moment I realized we had missed so much church that they just removed my children from the list of kids. I was hurt. I was sad, but most of all I felt unwelcome. I know that we had missed a lot of church, but we didn’t move out of the ward! It felt like they had just written my children off and forgot about us. The worst part was that nobody even bothered to find out why. I could just picture them in my mind adding kids names to the lists and when they got to my kids saying “Oh, they don’t come anymore” and nothing further being said.

So, today as I’m in the middle of vlogging I received a phone call.. from the missionaries. They wanted to know if they could come by sometime soon. Did somebody from the church watch my vlog and say something? I don’t know, but I think God has a funny way of making things work out.

My question is for you converts, did you ever go through a period where you felt like you didn’t fit in? If so, how did you overcome it?

12 thoughts on “Rants from a Convert

  1. Margaret Henderson

    I am not a convert but I have experienced what you have way too many times. It is hard to remember that the church is not the members when you are hurting. We are now in a great ward and it really helps. I have not attended for years but am attending almost weekly again. Just sad that my husband and son are not there with me.

    1. LifeAsAConvert

      The whole time I was absent I longed to go. The children asked me all the time “When is church?” and they hated that they missed it. They love going. Kaia is 9 – almost 10 – and not baptized yet. It feels like a failure on my part.

  2. Lisa

    I have been a member since 10 years old. I have never felt like I fit in. I was the poorest farm girl in a very rich ward in a small town in WY.
    I have always been the odd one out and so have my children. My children have been purposefully ostracized. My non-member husband was chased off. The only reason I go is to go to the temple. I struggle with going to a place where if one was healthy of mind they would never put up with that crap, yet week after week we are asked to. My children, all three, are adults an inactive. Why would I want to go hang out with people who purposely hurt my family. I struggle with this daily.
    I used to drink. I had a dream the other day, In the dream I had a beer (I don’t even like beer), half way through the beer I realized I could no longer enter the temple and I wept bitterly. So I will keep going so I can go to the temple. I don’t know what to do with the contradictions.

    1. LifeAsAConvert

      True. I know that some people there are close and cliquey because they have been there for a long time, and I shouldn’t let that get to me. It just felt like they were saying “You don’t belong here” by not recognizing my kids.

  3. Alison Whitcomb

    This isnt something that happens to converts only. And if you asked every single member of every single ward, I’m pretty sure they would all say that they feel like they don’t fit in one way or another. Yes it may seem like they forgot you and yea it’s stupid that nobody reached out to you for a whole year. There are two sides to every story. Think of how many people are in each ward and how many are active, compared to how many are not. There is the Home Teaching program, but obviously they don’t always do their job and that’s their own fault. It’s near impossible for a bishopric to keep track of 400 – 700 people on their own. Same goes for missionaries. When I got to a new ward as a missionary and was handed a giant ward list and half of them were inactive, I felt nothing short of helpless and overwhelmed. It’s not fair to expect a small group of leadership and missionaries to Singlehandedly reach out to every single person. When it all comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if people say hi to us or invite us to get togethers. We go to Church to partake of the Sacrament. That alone is more important than making friends and fitting in. I go to Church with purple hair, and I’m pretty sure I don’t get the most approving looks. But I know inside myself that I need the Sacrament. I need the spiritual renewal that comes from the lessons. Screw everyone else and their judgmental attitudes. Letting other people offend you to the point of not coming to Church only harms yourself. The people that led you to that choice have no clue they were part if it. It’s not fair to let people have that control over you. No matter where you go, there will always be people less friendly than you wished they were. So what? They don’t determine your eternity. Heavenly Father does. I’m so happy that you’ve decided to start coming back. You are a strong woman! Your happiness is not defined by the acceptance of others. As long as you are living the commandments, happiness is sure to follow. You are being a great example to your kids and that is the best thing you can be doing for yourself and for them. I am forever grateful that I got to be part of your baptism. :)

    1. LifeAsAConvert

      Allison thanks for your response. I always felt even more terrible about the whole thing because I was letting the people come before the church. I know I don’t go to church to see the people and that the people aren’t always going to be true, but the church is.

    2. Lisa

      Alison, thank you for this reminder: “We go to Church to partake of the Sacrament. That alone is more important than making friends and fitting in.” I’ve been struggling for about 6 years now. this is a reminder I need. Thank you again.

  4. Sandra

    It took us a while to feel at home in our new ward. Some wards CAN be pretty clique-ey, and it can feel like there is no way you could fit in to the already formed relationships.
    Now 2 years later I am so glad that even though we moved again, we didn’t had to change wards! We have made great friends, even though it took some effort at first.

    I am sorry that you felt unwelcome and that no one seemed concerned you hadn’t been attending. I hope you can continue to attend, and that you enjoy being back in your old ward once you move! I myself am not a very good fellowshipper – it is a good thing others are so good at reachin out and including new people.

    1. LifeAsAConvert

      I’ve been anxious to move so I could start attending again, but I thought one day, what if I move into my old ward and it’s nothing like I remember it. That realization got my butt back in quick. I can’t let the people come before the church, and I know this, but it’s a struggle.

  5. Pingback: Kaia is getting Baptized AKA Reflections on my Baptism.. | LifeAsAConvert

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