Q&A: Questions and Answers


Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine

I do everything I’m supposed to do, but it seems like the less-active kids get all the attention. How do I get over the resentment I feel?

New Era

Almost everyone likes to have people pay attention to them or even have friends make a little bit of a fuss over them. It’s nice. It makes you feel wanted and appreciated. And it makes you want to be around all those nice people again.

Of course, everyone likes to be where they feel comfortable and welcome. And that’s what your Church leaders and others are trying to do for those who are less active. They want them to feel accepted and at home enough to come more often. Then the gospel messages that are given in lessons, along with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost confirming the truths that are being taught, can help these youth make good changes in their lives. Just being in the right place—at church—can make all the difference in crucial times.

These same Church leaders also love you and want the best for you. They know that you are also searching for truth that will help you make good decisions in your life. But, for the moment, because you are attending church, seminary, and activities regularly, your leaders are hoping that you are on sure footing. For them it is such a relief to have young people who seem so stable and sure of their lives. They know, because they remember what it was like when they were your age, that you have problems and insecurities too. And they certainly would never mean to hurt you or make you feel resentful of the attention others are needing.

If you catch yourself feeling resentful or neglected, and it’s becoming a problem, try talking with your Church leaders. They may not even realize that you have concerns. Give them a chance to understand what you’re feeling.

Then stop and take an honest look at yourself. Part of growing up is learning how to rely on yourself. Instead of having everything done for you, start doing things for yourself and others. In other words, instead of waiting for people to walk up to you and say hello or calling to see if you need a ride, start paying attention to those around you. Do they need someone to say hello to them? Does your leader need some help? Can you arrange for a ride to an activity instead of waiting to see if someone will do it for you? Can you get yourself up and ready for seminary on your own?

A rather surprising thing happens when you start to take charge of your own life. It gives you confidence. It makes you happier. It helps you figure out how to find answers to your questions.

This is the time in your life to develop your own testimony. And you can do that by studying and reading the scriptures on your own as well as when you are assigned to do so in class. Learn to pray about your own concerns and for others as they face their problems. Try to follow the Savior in all things. What the Lord has promised is literally true—that if you will lose yourself in service to him you will find what you want most (see Matt. 10:39). But it’s losing yourself in a good way. You lose your worries, your unhappiness, and your resentment. Then as you become strong, you can reach out and help strengthen others (see Luke 22:32).

Readers

One of the main reasons that less-active members get so much attention is because members are trying to help them feel comfortable so they will want to come to church more often.

Eric Hunter, 16 Mechanicsville, Virginia

The less-active kids need more attention because they have a greater chance of falling away from the Church. They really need to feel like they’re wanted. If you’re active, everyone knows you’re firm. Whether you know it or not, people do realize how strong you are, and they look up to you for that. Heavenly Father is also pleased with you.

Tracy McIntyre, 16 Toronto, Canada

If you are still feeling resentful, talk to your bishop about your feelings. And remember that they’re getting attention for a good reason.

Jeff Patten, 12 Liberty, Missouri

Would you rather that they not show up to church? I have five older brothers. None of them is active. I would love nothing more than to see one of them come to church. You should try to remember that the less-active members need our care and support the most. Feeling resentful about it will only make things worse.

Name Withheld

It sometimes does seem that the less-active kids get more attention. Others in your ward are trying to build a relationship with those individuals so they will start coming to church and begin to be involved. Don’t worry. Your good works are not just tossed aside. Instead of feeling angry or offended, join the group.

Paige Emmett, 13 Charleston, Illinois

It doesn’t count as much now as it will in the end who gets the attention. It will be your glory in the end if you just keep trying to do the right and not worry about who’s getting the attention.

Jessica Crawford, 14 Arlington, Texas

Just remember the less-active kids get more attention because people are trying to get them to feel welcome. Maybe you should try helping these less-active members. That way you can feel good about yourself.

Dustin Wills, 12 Torrance, California

[photo] Photography by Welden Andersen. Posed by models.

[illustration] While on the earth, Jesus gave his disciples a new commandment, to “love one another” (John 13:34). As modern-day disciples, we also need to obey this commandment. This includes paying loving attention to those who are less sure of their testimonies or are searching for the gospel. Just as Jesus Christ gathers us into his flock, we need to assist the Shepherd by drawing in those who may go astray. (Painting The Good Shepherd by John Steel.)