This is longer and in parts way goofier than planned; I start by stealing Carrie Ann’s quotation:
“Hugh could not be disillusioned by the actions of the Church leaders because he was never illusioned to begin with. He knew they were human.”
I used to be quite illusioned by church leaders. I still am a little. I say and do stupid things but I just expect church leaders, especially the general authorities, to be less stupid than I am. That tendency is just ingrained in me and I don’t know if I’ll ever shake it. And should I? When I do something stupid, it’s just me doing something stupid. I can apologize and make amends and people can say, “Ah, don’t worry about it, you’re just kind of stupid.” But when an Apostle says something stupid church culture is such that it’s like scripture. You really strike out on your own if you disagree with the authorities, even should they say something stupid.
I’ve never faced any major differences with church leaders, nothing like what Kaycee or JP mentioned. I never had anything pierced, no tattoos so I didn’t face what Sarah faced though my wife, VL, did remove her extra piercings and though I wish she wasn't, she is now way too ashamed of the small tattoos that she picked up before joining the church.
Recently, VL started renting Eddie Izzard videos. I’m in love with the guy, not literally; though I am literally in love with his clothes—he wears women’s clothes, right? And they’re great, men never get to wear anything good, it’s all so boring, suits and ties, all stuffy like Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton in their suits and ties, the Enron guys, wearing all their suits and ties. Wearing a suit and tie, it’s as if you are destined to be a national criminal or a general authority. That’s like a 50/50 shot, barely better than Las Vegas odds and since we aren’t supposed to gamble why not shoot the middle and dress like Eddie Izzard? He’s got a fantastic wardrobe. Can you go home teaching dressed in women’s clothes? Probably best that I never know, so that’s out the window but it’s good daydream material for when I’m in a sleepy daze at church.
I’m the king of passive-aggressive behavior and used to handle concerns with church leaders by not discovering that I have any. The key is this, stay up really really late Saturday night. Really late. Get no more than four hours of sleep. Three and a half is optimal. The lack of sleep will leave you in such a daze that you won’t be aware of much of what is done or said at church while you slip in and out of Eddie Izzard daydreams. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Ah, but my idyllic life did not last; as my faith waned I came to pay attention more and started noticing things. I tend to see a lot of contradiction, maybe I’m looking for it, I don’t know. I think of the Garden of Eden story, maybe I read it wrong, but it seems Adam and Eve were faced with contradiction: go forth and multiply and don’t eat the fruit; but to go forth and multiply, you need to eat the fruit. Did Eve do the wrong thing? I don’t think so; it seems the church teaches that she used her agency and did the necessary thing. In making that choice she initiated a move from naivety and stagnation to responsibility and action.
So I go case by case and find the way through. I have trouble thinking that the Spirit would direct me to disobey prophetic counsel, but I also have trouble with wack, pseudo-commandments and other silly behavior. For me, the necessary thing is to not follow some of that counsel, ignore the silly behavior. Fortunately, my dilemmas are mostly personal and I’m able to work around them without drawing attention. I don’t know how I’d respond were I in the position of Sarah Marinara with her earring, or the unfortunate situation of Kaycee’s parents. Should something like that ever happen to me I hope I handle it as excellently.