Following up on last week’s post on what you are excited about or anxious about in the upcoming General Conference, here is my two cents: excited the NCAA is providing alternative programming on Saturday evening, and cringing a bit about the likely emphasis on reactivating the millions of less active or inactive or hoping-you’ll-never-find-me Mormons out there. But rather than just complain about it, I’m going to take the high road and propose a program that will help: the Please Don’t Rescue Me program. Hospitals allow a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order so patients can die quietly. How about a PDRM (Please Don’t Rescue Me) form that Mormons can file? Think how much more efficient “The Rescue” will be when those who really do not want to be rescued are no longer on The List! And you know what The List is, every ward has one. It’s full of people in your ward that you have never heard of, many of whom don’t even live in your state anymore and a few of whom are probably dead. So here is a quick and dirty Q&A for my proposed Please Don’t Rescue Me program.
How does a person join the PDRM program?
Simply complete the PDRM form online at LDS.org (still in the design and approval stage). Once filed, your church membership record will be redirected from your local LDS unit to the PDRM File.
What happens to the names in the PDRM File?
An updated file will be forwarded to the temples of the Church each month, where it will join other names on the temple altars. Temple officiators and patrons will offer regular prayers on behalf of the PDRMs. It is expected this will be at least as effective as periodic visits from ward members.
Can a person submit a PDRM request before going inactive?
Yes, in fact this is encouraged. You can file a prospective PDRM form even while you are an active Latter-day Saint, and when you subsequently go inactive your local unit can request that your record be transferred directly to the PDRM File.
Will anyone at my ward or stake know that I have submitted a prospective PDRM form?
Early submission of the form will be kept entirely confidential. Only your bishop, his counselors, quorum leaders, auxiliary presidents and counselors, home teachers, visiting teachers, youth leaders, Sunday School teachers, ward clerks, ward librarians, and the ward newsletter specialist will be notified.
Won’t some wards be disappointed at losing dozens of names from their Ward List to the PDRM File?
Initial results from a pilot program for three stakes in Southern California showed surprising support for the program at the local level. Several wards held “Celebrating PDRM” parties when 100 names were transferred to the PDRM File.
Will names in the PDRM File continue to be counted as members of the Church for statistical purposes?
Yes. In fact, they will be counted twice.
What should bishops and ward members do without reactivation meetings to attend and reactivation visits to make?
The pilot program showed that bishops generally used that extra hour or two each week to take a nap. During the NFL off-season, ward members used the extra time to prepare lessons and enjoy family activities.
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So there it is, a program which will reduce burn out among active members, avoid awkward communications with inactive Mormons who don’t really want to talk to you or anyone else from the ward, and make ward clerks really happy.