Why Stay, Part 3 --
I was reflecting on this a lot in church on Sunday.
From the LDS perspective I am damaged goods. I cannot pass a temple recommend interview because there's no way I could sustain the current general authorities as "prophets seers and revelators". I think they're entitled to the same inspiration as anyone else who prays to God with real intent, but I don't see them as the Lord's special witnesses, any different from any other preacher, pastor, or evangelist seeking to humbly spread the truth about Christ.
As such I am really not able to be a full part of the LDS community. Most serious callings are off-limits to me, not that I would really want them anyway. I'm forever in a support role, like the Christmas cookie delivery from December, the second banana carrying the plate supporting someone with more credibility. In the LDS church what matters is serving within the church, either presiding or teaching, and I can do neither. The most I could aspire to would be generally made up jobs serving within the LDS community performed under the watchful eye of someone with more credibility.
I contrast this with the opportunities for service in front of me as a member of the church we attend now.
Before the service on Sunday they showed a video about a Boys Club ministry in downtown Raleigh. There are possibilities in front of me for making up packages of food and supplies for less fortunate students at a downtown elementary school. I may go to a meeting tonight for people putting on a chapel service in a local homeless shelter. I can help teach and encourage fellowship in my community group. As a member I could become a deacon and help lead and organize ministries in the church, for example the parking ministry I'm part of now. I can actually make a difference to the less fortunate outside the church and minister in some way to those in it, even if just a greeter helping people find parking spaces and carrying their babies into the building when their hands are full.
I can do something meaningful and not just take notes at someone else's meeting, accompany someone else to a home teaching appointment that nobody wants to be involved in anyway, or haul furniture for people who already have lots of helpers and could realistically afford to pay movers if they chose to.
I can never make a difference in the LDS context. I can make a huge difference in the church I attend now.
Why would I trade meaningful ministry for marginalized irrelevance?