The Worst Visiting Teacher in the World

fillmorespencerDear Segullah,

As a Visiting Teacher, I’ve had my ups and downs. I got started off on the wrong foot during my freshman year of college, when I was assigned to visit the Relief Society president’s roommate, who was a new convert. If I didn’t make an appointment the first week of the month, the Relief Society president would come by my room to remind me. And because I can be passive aggressive (and because the RS president had a crush on my boyfriend), I started keeping the door closed, and my roommate and I would hide under our desks and pretend we weren’t home whenever we heard her forceful and distinctive knocking (yes, the hiding under the desks was entirely gratuitous because you couldn’t see through the door, but we were eighteen, and it was funny). Anyway, the real loser was the new convert, because my passive aggressiveness won out and she didn’t get the blessing of being graced with my presence once a month, and I suppose me, because I’ve always struggled with visiting teaching.

What followed was a decade and a half of hills and valleys. With certain companions, I’d go every month. I’d prepare lessons and make treats and call the sisters to make appointments. I’d keep them in my prayers. I’d call them on their birthdays. I’d host their baby showers. I’d make sure that my kids didn’t destroy their houses, and if they did, I’d make sure they cleaned up before we left. And this was often in places where I lived relatively far from the people I taught, or where those sisters might be in very different life situations than I was.

There were other times when I felt less inspired. My companion and I might make it to the end of the month before we called each other and said, “When can you go?” Other months we might miss entirely, and avert our eyes from each other as we passed in the hall of the church on the first Sunday of the month. We might send a postcard on a month when we were particularly busy. And I would often sigh in relief if one of the sisters we visited called to cancel.

I’ve had great visiting teachers, and great examples of visiting teachers. My mom is a fantastic visiting teacher– she never misses a month, and recently, when she had a less-active sister on her roster, she would stop by the thrift shop where the woman  worked a couple of times a month to bring her lunch. She bakes her sisters birthday cakes and holds luncheons in their honor. She drives them to doctors appointments and runs out and buys them toilet paper at Costco when they need a jumbo-size package of TP. Somehow I inherited my father’s reticence instead of my mother’s confidence when it comes to inviting myself over to the home of someone I barely know to talk about spiritual things and probe into the details of their lives.

Right now, I have no excuse not to be a good visiting teacher. My companion is a good friend who is about my age and has similar interests. We visit three women, also young moms, who are home during the day. And none of us lives more than half a mile from each other. But here’s an example of how bad things have gotten. I was sitting at the pool the other day with one of the women I visit and her husband. She paid me a compliment, and I deflected it by saying, “Well, I can’t be that great; I’m a terrible visiting teacher.”

Her husband said, “No you’re not. You brought us dinner when our son was born.”

Their son will be TWO in a couple of weeks. And other than dropping off hot fudge at Christmas, talking in the halls at church and ward activities, and waving when we pass on the street, that’s almost all the interaction we’ve had.

I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t feel terror that I haven’t made an appointment on the last day of the month.

I don’t answer the phone when the visiting teaching coordinator calls.

I may even have turned the other way when I saw one of the women I’m supposed to teach at the grocery store a few weeks ago.

I don’t understand why it’s so hard right now. I do have two toddlers I’d have to pack with me, but that didn’t stop me in the past. My companion and I were put together just about the time I started graduate school, and I think that she sort of gave me a free pass when I was in school, but I graduated more than a year ago.

The really terrible thing is that I can think of a hundred justifications for why I shouldn’t visit teach. It’s not in my introverted nature. This companionship is doomed. I feel like an intruder. I don’t want to force friendships or make a mess in these women’s homes. I’m 100% ambivalent when my own visiting teachers come to visit, even though I like them. And now, it’s just too embarrassing to even think about visiting these women after not making an effort for the last three years.

But deep, deep down, I do feel guilty.

So here’s my last ditch effort– convince me or help me feel confident in my justifications.

Sincerely,

The Worst Visiting Teacher in the World

P.S.– While you’re at it– what do you think of the picture?

About Shelah

(Editor-in-Chief) lives in Salt Lake City with her husband and six kids. She has a BA in English Teaching from BYU, an MA in American Culture Studies from Washington University in St. Louis, and an MFA in Creative Writing at BYU. Her work has been published in Dialogue, the Mormon Women Project, Irreantum, BYU Studies, and Segullah. When she’s not writing or wrangling, she can often be found running through the city in the pre-dawn darkness.

35 thoughts on “The Worst Visiting Teacher in the World

  1. I don’t think I can either convince you or help you feel confident in your justifications…but I can certainly commiserate! I know VT is inspired, and I know that it’s necessary and can even be a vehicle for miracles and spiritual growth on both sides. Still, I hate it. I don’t particularly like being visit taught, and I don’t like making calls. The actual sitting on the couch and visiting, I don’t mind so much. But the phone calls and the carving time out? That’s another story. I plug away, and most months I make contact of some sort. I no longer beat myself up about writing a letter some months instead of showing up on the doorstep with warm cookies. I’ve realized that a little contact is way better than no contact, and that VT doesn’t need to be fancy or time-consuming to be effective. I find a way that works for me, and that’s the way I visit (no partner, no frills, just friendship). Good luck! :)

  2. Okay. I doubt this is what you are going for but if you have noi tent ions if doing your vting, please tell your relief society president is she can either assign you someone who doesn’t watch anyone to come, someone who has joined another religion and doesn’t want teachers, or just not assign you to anyone. As a supervisor it drives me crazy when people won’t answer the phone to say no they didn’t do it…I don’t judge, I don’t always get mine done. As someone who’s teachers never come or reach out at all it makes me feel bad. its been at least four years since ive had a visit or call or note in the mail. I’d rather have no one assigned to me than someone who doesn’t even try.

    So I would say either find a way to do it and make it work for you or opt out.

  3. I’ve opted out. I give my service hours to my extended family, and my needs are met by the same. VT partnerships and routes get changed so often I don’t have time to make real friendships. They tell us to VT out of real love and caring, and not just so we can put a check mark on a paper. But it takes me longer than four visits to get to that point and by that time they’ve changed things up. So I am always doing it for a check mark, which feels fake because it is, so I just opted out. It’s just not for me.

  4. Shelah, I’m the VT coordinator in our ward, and I totally hear you. Times and seasons ebb and flow — sometimes it’s your time to serve, and sometimes it’s your time to be served, and sometimes it just doesn’t get done. I get it. VT should not be a source of guilt EVER. More important than checking off a box at the end of the month is the feeling as a community of sisters that we are there for each other. It’s more important to be able to sit with each other during our times of real need than to plan a luncheon or bake a cake. NO GUILT.

  5. After ten years of experiences like yours, I’ve opted out. I resigned from VT at the end of May. Already I feel like a big weight has been lifted. I’m trying to do a better job of managing expectations up front and not committing to things I don’t intend to follow through on.

  6. I’ve totally dumped making treats. And I text to make the appointments. For me a 6 year visiting teaching failure, this has made all the difference. I also finally broke down and told the Relief Society president where I struggle and she put me with someone who is an extrovert. Hallelujah!

  7. It’s the 8th. Get on the phone and make the appointments right now. Then call your companion (if you’ve got one) and see if she can join you on those visits. If so, great; if not, go alone. After that is done, the hardest part is done, and you can breathe a little easier. Come up with 3 or 4 questions to ask for conversation. Bring a treat/handout if that will make it easier for you, or don’t if that adds more stress. One successful month will knock down a mountainful of guilt and stress. Also, remember that those “check marks” for a visit or contact are only tallied quarterly, so if you visit once every 3 months, you are a 100%-er. :o)

    I hate visiting teaching, too. I hate, hate, hate making the appointments and coordinating schedules to get together. The visit itself, though it can be awkward, I don’t mind as much. But, based on my personal experience, just biting the bullet and getting out make any subsequent visits MUCH easier.

    If you still see this solution as impossible, then request that your route be switched so that you’re starting with a clean slate with a new batch of sisters that you don’t feel guilt over. Mark their b-days on your calendar, set an alarm/notice on your phone for the day or two before, take them a card/treat on their b-day; one of the 4 yearly visits is then already planned.

    Good luck. I don’t really have a testimony of visiting teaching, but I DO have a testimony of service and of charity and of serving in callings and of the relief that I feel after I can check off my visiting teaching for the month.

  8. I always love it when I get a visiting teacher who is happy to make me dinner if I have a baby and says hi to me in the hall. And leaves me alone other than that. Shelah, if you were my visiting teacher and I could report for you, I’d say you visited me every month because you were doing exactly what I needed.

    I don’t like the pressure of visiting teaching, but sometimes even more, I don’t like the pressure of someone expecting to visit teach me. It seems like it would help if people could declare their visiting teaching style and get matched with appropriate people.

  9. I had a VT companion that was perfect for me. She make the appointments and I’d give the message. We were fairly regular for about two years. I stink at it if I have to make the appointments or initiate the contact, but I’m good at follow through.

    I don’t particularly like the program, but I do see that it has a good effect on the ward. I used to feel guilty and shy away from my companion and the sisters I was supposed to visit, but then I realized that most people are just like me; busy, overworked, and overscheduled. Would they like a visit? Sure. Are they going to berate you for not showing up every month? No, because they’re most likely doing a bit of slacking themselves. Time to stop worrying about what people will think of you and just do what you can. If nothing else, make it a point to talk to them in the hall at church. You don’t have to be their best friend, but a sincere “How have you been?” is better than nothing.

    And to all the women that are opting out? Thanks for increasing the burden for the rest of us.

  10. I love the theory of visiting teaching, and I don’t mind doing it — when I have someone on my route that I already get along with. I asked one sister what I could do for her, if anything, and she, in all seriousness, told me not to come by, her life was way too hectic. So, we passed in the hall, we chatted, and I reported, yes, I had visited her. After I had been her VT for years, she got sick, and told me her husband could handle everything. I ignored her, talked to her husband and my companion and I fixed or arranged meals for a month until the RS president got wind of it, and had the compassion service leader coordinate meals. In that case, visiting teacher worked exactly as it is supposed to, and I am grateful for the experience.
    On the other hand, my companion and I left one sister’s home, making sure we knew that this was not a place we went individually; we needed to go to that house together.

  11. Our ward has really been emphasizing making contact with sisters you visit teach, rather than actual visits. A visit is great, but they really just want to know how everyone is doing and that they have regular contact with a visiting teacher. Things like a phone call, a text, or a Facebook message are all just as good a form of contact–and can be preferable to a last-minute visit that is obviously just being done to check off your obligation.

    One of the biggest challenges for me is that it can take several months to build a good relationship between me and my companion, and at least 4 months or so to really build a good rapport with people I visit. During the last year my assignment got switched several times for a few different reasons, and it has been so hard to get going again. I have had the same two people visiting me for 3 years now and I love them and never want them to be switched. I understand why assignments need to be moved around sometimes, but I think it’s important for everyone to remember that relationships take some time and effort to develop.

  12. Ok, we don’t need more guilt, but as someone who has been the recipient of absent visiting teachers quite often, there has been times when I really needed someone…really needed visiting teachers, but they never called and in my case, for a year, never even knew I had been assigned visiting teachers. (I had been. Found out after I went and requested that I please have teachers assigned). It might be difficult for you, but it might be absolutely essential for the other women. My advise..three is too many for a woman with two toddlers. tell them that you can only get in one person a month and request the other two be reassigned. It is better for them and for you.

  13. Ok, here is my attempt at persuasion: I see Visiting Teaching and Compassionate service as the most important parts of Relief Society. I love the Sunday meetings but would give them up in favor of more service. I am very glad that visiting teaching pushes me out of my comfort zone. I have made lifelong friends I would never have met otherwise. And some of the most sacred moments of my life have come in serving through visiting teaching.

    I once had a sister who ignored my attempts to make appointments for months. And she was never home when I tried to drop by. One Sunday evening I was home making cookies and had one of the strongest impressions I’ve ever had – it felt like I was being pushed out the door to visit her. So I went and it happened that she and her husband had just returned from their summer weekend home. During my brief visit that evening we discovered that a mutual friend of ours had passed away that day. After we wept together that night, she always made time for my visits. (It probably also helped that her husband loved the cookies I brought.) And those were powerful visits. It turned out that though on paper we had almost nothing in common, our views on the world and the gospel were similar enough that connecting with me helped her to feel less isolated at church and she began coming more often.

    Another sister I had been visiting for several years went through a difficult period of depression. I remember holding her while she wept, unable to leave her bed. It was all I could do to help but was what she needed at that moment. I don’t think she would have allowed me to serve her in that vulnerable way had I not been there for the mundane prayer and a message visits. We also somehow ended up speaking about that temple almost every month. Being with her when she finally received her endowments was one of the most thrilling temple days of my life.

    The trouble with spiritual experiences is that they rarely sound anything but corny to anyone but the person who experienced them. So I’ll spare you any more of them and just say that the cost of visiting teaching in inconvenience and discomfort is more than made up for in opportunity to mourn with those who mourn, comfort those who stand in need of comfort, and stand as a witness of Christ. It’s easy to get caught up in serving only those in our circles of family and friends but that baptismal covenant is not supposed to just apply to the people we already know and love. The miracles don’t happen every month. But they are not likely to happen at all if we don’t put in the monthly investment.

  14. I think that what is most important about visiting teaching is that we’re serving in ways that meet the actual needs of those we are assigned to visit. Some women may need the company and companionship of a sit-down visit every month. Others might be better served by a meal dropped off, a note in the mail, a trip out for frozen yogurt, an hour or two of babysitting so that she can have some time to herself. Obviously it takes a degree of connection and communication to find out what each sister’s true needs are.

    This next comment may touch a nerve, but I’m going to write it anyway. I think that we are often so busy being busy, we don’t take time to develop and deepen relationships. Yes, those things that make up a busy life are often important, but what could be more important than helping someone else feel valued and loved? Isn’t that what visiting teaching, ideally, is all about?

  15. I personally need visiting teachers. And I need to go and visit my assigned sisters. My personality requires social interaction, but am an introvert – this program was designed to get me out of my comfort zone and meet people!

    I totally get what you’re saying. The best time of visiting teaching I had was last year when my partner was not somebody I could count on to go so I just didn’t bother including her on making plans. And I loved going alone. I made friends with these ladies and it was fantastic. Then I got an inconsistent companion and it all fizzles. Now I have a gung-ho companion and we do pretty good.

    But Visiting Teaching isn’t just about getting to the house. Yes, getting in the door and providing some spiritual nourishment is a big deal. But also a big deal is making sure the sisters’ needs are being met. How do they want us to serve them? Do they need random Sonic drop-offs more than a visit to know we care and are thinking about them? Do they want us to chat with them in the hallways at church instead of going to Sunday School? Do they want the monthly visit? And how do we find this out? We gotta ask.

    And of course we have to follow those promptings.

    But without visiting teaching, how else will the RS President know what is going on in the ward? She cannot visit everybody every month. She doesn’t have the physical or mental or emotional capabilities for that, and yet she is in charge of making sure the women of the ward and their families are doing well spiritually and physically (emotionally and mentally sometimes as well). So if anything, let’s just help a sister out and make sure we know what’s up with those we are asked to teach.

  16. When I turned 18 and became a visiting teacher, I hated how artificial it all seemed. I am now 30 and yet I appreciate what the artifice is supposed to do to us as teachers and for those whom we’re teaching. Sounds strange, but I’m ok with it–I’m ok that I’m assigned to visit people whom I wouldn’t oterhwise befriend. And I’m ok with visiting someone I otherwise wouldn’t. I feel like these are chances for me to expand my capacity for charity. And I do kind of suck at it–I’m an awkward soul, and I know that unless my teachees are comfortable conversationalists, my visits are kind of awkward, too. So in that sense, I appreciate that visiting teaching makes us vulnerable. It’s supposed to, but in its ideal setting that vulnerability should allow us to grow closer together spiritually. I’m far from an ideal or even consistent visiting teacher, but I know it’s one of the most important works we can do. I know I’ll get better at visiting teaching, but only if I start practicing consistently.

  17. As I was reading this I asked myself if I wrote this. I am having a hard time with VT. I’ve lived in the same ward for 13 years and I’ve had at least double that number of visiting teachers yet I went for 5 years visiting the same 2 women. Because of all the changes in visiting teaching that I had, many times I needed help were over looked. (Try having a baby via c-section and then your husband having back surgery 6 weeks later not knowing who your VT were and a new RS President). Finally about 6 months ago after yet another change, I asked to not be visited. That really concerned the RS President. I was brutally honest with her about my reasons. She convinced me that she would give the former set of VT back and she wouldn’t change them for at least a year. So far so good. She is no longer RS President but the new presidency is trying to make VT better by not making changes so often. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way.

    Now I’ve been put with a companion who is new and extremely shy until you get to know her a bit. She seems really nice. I just have no desire to go out and get to know someone new yet again knowing that in a month or two it will change again. I know who all the sisters are on my route and I love them but those bad feelings get in the way.

    I know that the RS president can’t do it all by herself but when you don’t give sisters a chance to know and serve each other then how do you expect things to go well. I’m really trying and I know that just getting out and doing VT will probably help my attitude. One of my VT has a very good attitude about VT. She is one of the most loving people I have ever met.

  18. I’ve struggled with visiting teaching too, though I understand why we have it and the power it can have in our lives. I think I sometimes set the bar too high and then feel like I’m not doing enough. I’m trying to think more about VT as giving little drops–it might not be much, or it might be exactly what someone needs.
    Here’s what I need to remind myself of as well:
    *I remember the things my visiting teachers have done MORE than the months they didn’t come. Just like that friend that remembered the dinner brought–nearly two years ago–that is a memory of an act of service done by a visiting teacher. I am friends with one of my visiting teachers (we now live in different wards) and I remember telling her once she was a great example to me as a VT. She was very surprised and said, “I only visited you once!” But I remembered her coming over to visit me when I was new in the area (the whole state, actually), brought me dinner when my second baby was born (our RS didn’t bring meals so this was especially helpful), and threw together a girls’ night out/baby shower for me.
    Recently I was a visiting teacher for my lone visiting teacher–with different schedules we didn’t get together monthly for official visits. Still, I came home a couple times to find treats and a note from her on my door. It was simple and she might have been beating herself up for not visiting, but that little gesture meant a lot to me.
    If I think about how simple it can be–just a gesture, to show that sister she is thought of–it makes it easier for me to get out and do something.

  19. Great comments. I have really appreciated all of them. I will say you would be the perfect visiting teacher for me, I hate people coming to my house once a month. But you read others who really need it. So maybe that’s the key, matching people better. Not sure how to do that.

    I hate VTing, but I believe in it. I’m a big fat hypocrite loser.

  20. Right now I visit teach a woman who lives in government housing in a very dangerous part of town. The only time I can visit her is at night and I do NOT feel comfortable going there in the daytime, let alone when it’s dark. Sometimes I get so boxed-in thinking that I have to visit teach a certain way: an in-house visit. She doesn’t drive so she takes the bus to church. I realized that the best service I could provide her is to drive her home every Sunday to save her a bus trip. We talk in the car and while I don’t share a formal message, we share gospel insights. Now, I don’t feel bad that I can’t visit her the “traditional way” and risk getting robbed or shot, but am happy to provide a service that works best for both of us.

  21. I don’t think my opting out is increasing your burden. I don’t want to go, and I don’t need anyone coming to me. I might as well not be in the ward as far as VT goes so I don’t see how that adds any work to your load. If I wasn’t giving but expected to receive that would be different.

  22. This post totally inspired me to text a sister I rarely visit. I do believe in Visiting teaching and know it is a beneficial program in the church and I try to do it. I also told me visiting teachers they don’t need to come and they don’t.

  23. wish we could have VT Groups…where they just assign a few women (4 or 5) who would probably enjoy each other (women do TEND to cluster with people of their same demographic/stage of life etc), and just make sure they’re staying connected. Either getting together all at once (lunch, playdates, book group, gardening club, cooking, etc), or just checking in on each other individually.

    Fostering this kind of friendship such that if one of the sisters was going through a hard time, her friend would naturally know about it and be able to rally the troops and provide needed service seems to be a much better idea (Sisterhood of the travelling pants comes to mind…).

    But this awkward, formal “visit” thing has always been problematic for me. Talking about spiritual things one-on-one is uncomfortable enough with people I’m close to…let alone someone I barely know. And SCHEDULING! Oh the anxiety that produces. Finding a time when I’m free, my comp is free, and each of the sisters assigned to us are free is such a marathon task. I try to dedicate one morning and get it all done in a chunk each month, but that rarely successful. I hate setting up the appointments. I, too, hate the rotating “musical companions/visitees”. They just took away the one sister I really connected with and assigned us a woman in her late 80s this month. I know there is much I could learn from the elderly, but she’s not much of a talker and the assignment came with the sidenote “she and her husband like treats”. So now I feel like I am expected to bring her a monthly treat.

    It’s all dandy when it works, but so often VT just doesn’t. I am fine getting the message in the mail or on the internet, and am far more likely to tell my friend in the ward “hey, I’m inexplicably super depressed right now and it would help me to just hang out with people rather than to be alone so can I come over and do anything for you?” than I am to call my VT up and admit i’m in a black hole. Actually, I probably wouldn’t even tell my friend that.

  24. I am part of a tiny, tiny group in Africa, and I know exactly what Shelah is feeling! I am an introvert and so dislike inviting myself into another sister’s home, and sharing a message with her, and finding out how she is doing. I know that VT is important, but I dread it. We only have 11 sisters, and 3 or 4 don’t come to Church and don’t answer calls. These sisters fall to me (along with my other visits) and I dread the constant trying to contact them. By the way, I have not received visiting teachers for years, and it suits me fine. But I do feel so guilty for sometimes making no contact at all with the sisters I should see.

  25. I have loved not having a companion. In my ward that’s what works. All 3 of the women I visit taught have moved away…and now I am moving.

    It will be interesting to be back in the new VT route thing. As a former rs pres I really appreciate Becky’s comment.

    Just pray about it. And love and serve the way you can.

  26. And about the picture? I didn’t quite like it at first glance, but then I looked up the firm and saw it was a clever response to someone else’s advertisement that used home teachers. So I’m thinking it’s a win.

    Utah has such unique advertising.

  27. It seems like the Relief Society as an organization is trying to move away from the stereotypical “visit” and to focus instead on the idea of meaningful connection through whatever form of contact works in order to provide watchcare. That means different things to different people and will, I think, better provide for the unique needs of each sister.

    The real key to visiting teaching (as with any relationship) is communication: if you want to not be visited, or your companionship is not working out, or you want to not have a message, or just have text/phone/email/Facebook contact, you have to let your RS president know–you need to take responsibility for your own visiting teaching experience.

    If you haven’t been to see your sisters in a while, give yourself a get-out-of-jail-free card, some visiting teaching amnesty; the past is the past. Just move forward and do a little better. Focus on the blessings you will receive through visiting and being visited, and trying to bless the lives of others. Like other commenters have expressed, I remember the little things my visiting teachers have done: the meals, how they make me feel when they listen, the comfort they extended when I’ve had my miscarriages, the old (but reliable) sewing machine one sister gave me when I expressed how much I missed sewing.

    Regarding the whole opting out thing: I’ve been an RS president, and coordinating visiting teaching is a huge burden. When one sister opts out, it doesn’t just mean that her not visiting and no one visiting her cancel each other out and it’s as if she’s not a part of the program–it means that all of the sisters she would have visited must be redistributed to sisters who are willing to visit. I don’t say that to create guilt, but to clarify that the ramifications aren’t as simple as one might think. Considering that in most wards the current activity rate is 50% or less, the loss of even one visiting teacher can really add up. I tried to work prayerfully with sisters who were reluctant to visit. I called and asked if they’d be willing to be assigned even one sister they knew they would want to visit, if they could be a partner with someone they really felt comfortable with–and all the sisters I offered that to said yes. If that sounds more palatable to you than whatever random assignment you’ve been getting, just ask. I’d bet most RS presidents would go for that, as opposed to losing someone who is willing to visit.

    I think whatever you’re struggling with in the way of visiting teaching, it takes a leap of faith to just do it–to believe the Savior when he tells us that if we are feeling heavy laden, we can come to him, and he will bear the burden with us and make it light.

  28. Becky, thank you for your comment. It really touched me.

    As a very lackluster visiting teacher who is now in the RS pres, having to be a supervisor for VT, I have learned that the president really does rely on the VTers to keep their fingers on the pulse of the sisters. There is a lot of very real care and concern about the women in our ward, and we learn most of what we know from the women who are keeping close to the women they visit. I am not much better than I was before this calling. I’m pretty bad. And there is often guilt. But I think the program is a beautiful one by design that can truly knit the ward together when even small attempts at visiting are made.

  29. That ad irritates me to no end. I drive by that billboard a lot, and it just bugs the heck out of me every time I see it. Seriously, can’t we just try to not be weird? Marketing to Mormons, in general bugs me.

  30. my visiting teachers come regularly and stay at my home for at least an hour. And talk to each other about their personal lives. They count me as visited every month but they know little or nothing about me nor do they provide any support, comfort, or spiritual uplift to my life. These are the sisters who stopped me in the hall two weeks after my father died and after his death was announced from the pulpit to say express their sympathy. I am not a fan of the Visiting teaching program and see it as a type of enforced friendship that seldom works. There has got to be a better way to fellowship, friendship, and care for our sisters.

  31. I’ll cast my vote in with everyone else who says it’s tacky. I think it draws unnecessary attention to so many in the community who are NOT Mormon. Can’t we be inclusive? And not tacky?? I’m visiting Utah right now from NY and drove past the ad recently and thought it was sadly lacking in taste.

  32. What I have really appreciate about visit teaching is when I have a partner that will go I get to know her. One of my best friends in my ward is almost 20 years older than me, and we are friends because we were partners. I was partners with our new RS president, she is 30 years older than me, we have nothing in common, but we are friends because of visit teaching.

    I still check in on women I was assigned to years ago. I may not make it in home every month, but this new thing called Facebook has made it very easy to contact people.

  33. I just drove 1000 miles to attend the sealing of a sister I visited for years while she was not active and not sure she wanted to be LDS. She said I was the only person she cared about being able to be at their sealing. Visiting teaching is about being their friend and offering love to them. I don’t claim to be perfect. I don’t think it is about baking cakes. It is a way to minister to the one. I would say, just love your sisters, and if you don’t pray for that love.

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