This is one of those “I never thought I would write…” letters. I don’t know if this is something that happens with everyone all the time or I’m the only one who’s affected. I have gone to many different wards and branches in the Mormon Church and I now have settled in a very very small town. From the get go I never felt really comfortable or at-home at this new ward. It’s not a warm, welcoming place. I struggle every Sunday morning to get up and go to Church. I very much love my religion, I want to live the Gospel and be a active member of the Mormon Church, but…. When you see little things here and there, it makes you lose faith in people, therefore you stop going to church because of the people. It happened to a lot of people I know, I don’t want it to happen to me. What should I do? Does this happen to other people? Feeling guilty,
People in small wards in small towns where there is little change in ward membership over time often develop rather close-knit relations among themselves. They may not appear to be as open as do the people in larger, more transient wards in the Mormon Church. However, it doesn’t take much to change such situations. Instead of subjectively sitting back and criticizing others for their faults, you could lead out by providing an appropriate example. If you take the initiative, welcome others when they come to church, and be open and friendly, you might be surprised how soon you come to be accepted. That friendly attitude should be sincere and should extend beyond the meeting house. Be the first to speak to people on the street, provide service to others where you can, invite some families over to your home from time to time in order to get better acquainted, and you’ll soon be accepted as one of them rather than as an outsider that may be the object of some suspicion just because you are not well known.