7 Ways to Respond to Hostile Members

We've all experienced it: someone we are charged to help in our ward might harbor bad feelings against the Church and, by extension, against us. So what do you do when those you are supposed to help and uplift don't want anything to do with you?

There you are, standing on the doorstep. You served an early dinner to your family, got the kids started on homework and laundry, picked up your Home Teaching or Visiting Teaching partner, and now you’re ringing the doorbell of a less active member.

The door opens. You introduce yourself. But instead of a happy smile from someone glad you see you, the person growls, “When are you people going to leave me alone? I’m trying to have a nice evening with my family, and you interrupt it.”

You apologize and try to explain that you were just coming by to see if you could help in any way, let them know you’re there for them, but they’re not listening. “I don’t attend anymore and I’d like you to tell everybody to bug off!” Slam!

And you sigh. First of all, you know exactly what it’s like to want an evening with your family. In fact, you sacrificed that very thing to “search and rescue” tonight. Not only that, but if you’d had their phone number you would have called ahead, instead of popping in. You also have no way to make it known to every member, and everyone who will ever move in and get assigned to this person, that this individual wants no contact. You can put it on the list right now, but in a few months new rosters may get printed, new people won’t know, and this will happen all over again. Our meetings do not begin with a recitation and memorization of every person who wishes we’d drop off the face of the earth.

It’s frustrating on both ends. 

Lead image from Meridian Magazine.
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