Have you always wanted to be miserable? Based on the concept behind John Bytheway’s “How to be Totally Miserable: A Self-Hinder Book,” here’s a list of ways you can reach miserable status in your LDS ward.
If you want to be happy, by all means, do the opposite. But if you follow the steps in this humorous list closely, you’ll be miserable in no time.
1. Expect to be bored
People who come to church with questions and with an optimistic view about the speakers and teachers usually come away happy. To avoid the risk, lower your expectations.
2. Show up late, leave early
If you’re worried that you’re starting to enjoy your ward, make sure to avoid spending unnecessary time with ward members. If you can, show up late to your meetings and always be the first to leave. If you get to know other people, you might like them, and that can lead to loving your ward.
3. Don’t answer your phone
Here’s a tip: Save the ward executive secretary’s phone number in your phone, then don’t answer when he calls. This way, you can be sure to avoid assignments and callings, which can lead to happiness in your ward.
4. Do as little as possible
If steps two and three don’t work out and you still manage to receive a calling, accept it grudgingly and put in little effort. Magnifying your calling will give you a feeling of satisfaction and purpose. Avoid this!
5. Be hard on people
In order to become and stay miserable in your ward, create thought patterns that reaffirm that your ward is the worst. Look for ways other people are falling short. Being hard on people will help you see the worst in them, which will help you stay miserable.
6. Stay home from optional meetings
If someone in your ward invites you to an optional activity, don’t go. These activities can sometimes be fun, and you don’t want to accidentally find yourself having a good time. Activities also usually involve other people, which means that attending them creates the risk of making friends.
7. Never home or visit teach
This one can be tricky, because your companion might try to persuade you to go. Don’t give in! Visiting ward members in their homes allows you to get to know them and creates opportunities to serve, both of which can increase happiness.
With everyone. About everything. Even if you think you might agree with the basic idea of what someone at church is saying, find at least one way in which they are wrong. Repeat this exercise for anyone who makes a comment.
9. Complain during the week
Because you only meet with your entire ward once a week, it’s important to remind yourself during the week of all the reasons you hate your ward.
10. Wait for people to come to you
Whatever you do, don’t be proactive. Be sure to sit alone and wait for someone to come to you. If no one does, or if someone chooses to sit somewhere else even after seeing you, assume that it’s because they don’t like you.