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How to torpedo yourself at Church

I love the notion of “social capital” at Church — building up a reputation as someone trustworthy, reliable, the sort of “good neighbor” reputation that then permits you to act as you please [1]. People with large amounts of social capital in their wards can say controversial things or act crazily (blue shirts! Pantsuits!) without fear of being marginalized. Attempt those tasks without a good buildup of social capital, and heaven help you. Once people know that you’re fundamentally a good person and worth of trust, you can get away with all sorts of antics [2].

However, much of the building of social capital has to do with initial positioning in the ward. As a new arrival, the heat is on — you’d better not make any false steps in building your reputation, or you’ll never gain the respect and admiration of your elder’s quorum. Let’s consider a few common pitfalls.

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