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Wednesday, June 08, 2005 

Bishop Boot Camp

While I was away at college, something happened between my home ward bishop and my parents. I think it originated with the bishop disagreeing with my dad, the scoutmaster, about some scouting requirements. Then there was some bad blood that spilled over and one day, in ward council, my mom was asked to turn in all of her keys and materials for her calling.

My mom was extremely upset at this and viewed it as an attack on her integrity. She couldn't bring herself to even face the bishop because she was so hurt and angry by the incident. My dad was so offended, he refused to be in the same building and stopped attending church altogether.

Over the course of the next year or two, my mom eventually forgave the bishop and my dad went back to church. There was a long time, though, where I would hear with every phone call home that there was some crisis or incident that continued to rub salt in the wound.

One thing my parents taught us well, by example, was to have integrity. My parents are strong, amazing people who keep their covenants and work hard in their callings, but when that core value was attacked by a person in direct spiritual authority over them... they experienced a crisis.

I remember trying to talk to them during this time about how they might deal with the situation, but the root of the problem was that they didn't trust the bishop anymore because of the way he treated them. I sometimes think that there ought to be some sort of Bishop Boot Camp that these priesthood authorities should go through so that they understand the human element of who they are dealing with.

When I was in my senior year of college in a BYU ward, I asked my bishop if I could take my endowments out at the temple. He explained the church's position (which I knew) that it was not recommended, and then brought up an incident I had previously talked to him about as an example of why it would not be recommended for me, personally. I was disappointed by the meeting... but mostly because since I felt I'd been forgiven for that incident, I didn't think that it should have been a reason for me to have opportunities withheld.

I understand that priesthood leaders are human beings and as such will make mistakes... but their mistakes certainly do seem to count for more than the mistakes I might make. The direct spiritual implications are huge. My parents felt betrayed by their priesthood leader. I felt that my bishop betrayed my confidence in the confessional and forgiveness process.

I'm not really sure what to do when these types of things occur. Although I happen to have examples to share, I can happily say that these are the only examples of this type of thing that I've experienced.

Just to be sure, though... they really should look into that "Bishop Boot Camp."

My hat's off to your folks for staying in the church.

I feel your pain regarding the Bishop bringing up past confessions to use against you. I had a similar experience during my exit interview with my Mission President. I felt more than a little betrayed.

Unfortunately, I don't think you can teach not being a jerk.

that is just so sad...on so many levels.

However, once again I must reiterate how much I adore you and your parents. :D

I think nflanders' point is maybe the most important, and that's that some people are just jerks, whether or not they are in a position of authority. They don't automatically become sweet because they got a new calling over the ward. Personality stuff carries over.

I'd be interested in hearing the other side of the story.

I’ve got to take my hat off to our current Stake President. He is very serious about training new Bishops and High Councilors. I’ve seen some of the materials for the Bishops and it’s great. I was a bishop under the former SP and he would give no council or guidance at all. I felt that I was on my own.

I’m on the High Council and our training included the Stake President telling us how he was tired of the jokes about *dry councilors*. We were then trained on how to give interesting, but spiritual talks. My teenagers actually look forward to and remember HC talks now.

We in turn were assigned to train the EQ and HP leadership. When I was EQ pres I didn’t even know that there was a High Councilor who was supposed to be my mentor.

What my lovely sister didn't add was that my mom is a total rule follower. She tries very hard to do what is right, even at the expense of herself. When the Church leaders asked for keys it was the final insult to my father who would literally walk through the fires of hell to keep her safe from harm. What the leadership in the church did at this time was reprehensible, unvalidated and unfortunatly in my experiance typical of the leadership at the time with very few exceptions. I personally am hard pressed to forgive such arogance, but then my mother in her kind and forgiving heart is a better woman than I am. She has more strength of conviction than any of her contemporaries realize. More than that she is pure of heart....and I love her and my father very much for their strength of character.

See? Your examples here were absolutely valid and right on with the subject. I did not have these examples to share, but they needed to be said.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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