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Thursday, June 09, 2005 

Why Michael McLean's Songs Make Me Nuts

For a child that pretty much did whatever she was told growing up, there aren’t really any instances that I really found fault with any priesthood leaders. I never looked at them as perfect, but I was pretty darn good at doing what I was told. It pained me (when I was younger) to “buck the system” and be rebellious. It wouldn’t be until I was 19, unmarried and pregnant that I would really have experience with how a priesthood leader handled my “tough” situation.

I happened to be called into the Bishop’s office the day after I found out I was pregnant. Ironically enough, it was to give me a calling to be the Primary pianist. I had the weird experience of shocking the hell out of the bishop by telling him that I was pregnant before accepting my musical calling with the children. I did, however, have to give up the “calling” that I had with the youth dances. While I TOTALLY understand why I was not the best person for that job, I also wished that this bishop would have actually TOLD me about that instead of the Young Women’s leader asking my mom why the bishop had told her that I could no longer do the job and to find someone else and me finding out that way.

Looking back, it seems that I was one of, if not the first, teen pregnancies that this particular bishop had dealt with. He called me and Hubby back into his office to help “counsel” us with our choices. The main thing I remember was the wonderfully acted, not cheesy at all, church videos telling two different stories of teenage pregnancies. One who was able to work things out and start a life with the baby’s father and keep the baby and the other girl that chose to give the baby up for adoption with Michael McLean’s “From God’s Arms, to My Arms, to Yours” playing in the background. I can safely say that these videos DID NOT help me in my struggles and decisions, but I could understand how they might help…the bishop. I continued to feel scared, awkward, unsure, scared, like a sinner who should be wearing the scarlet letter and scared. While his intentions were good, the “counsel” the bishop provided just didn’t apply to me, I felt. Like I had just been given a “text book” answer and that was supposed to be good enough. But was it?

I think the answer to that question for each of us, in any touchy situation is never an easy one. It took me a long time to realize that the answers I needed were right with me all along. The Priesthood leaders are yes, there to lead. But they are not there to tell you what to do (even though some do try) and tell you how your life should be and they are certainly not perfect. I’m sure that due to my “leave of absence” from the church for the past eight years that I view church leadership a lot different. Not negatively, just differently. Each person has to rely on their faith to get the answers they need. That faith may or may not lead you to following the direction from Priesthood leaders…but that is the beauty of free agency. I think that is where the true test begins.

"I felt... Like I had just been given a 'text book' answer and that was supposed to be good enough. But was it?"

I think it is sad in your circumstance that you never felt like the bishop was giving you inspired counsel. If ever there was need for a bishop to be inspired (and to communicate that)...it would be in a circumstance like your own. When you can really FEEL that, it is comforting to know there is a higher power at work who knows and loves you, and is there just for you.

I remember attending our family ward the first Sunday we were settled in after being married. It happened to be a combined meeting of all youth and adults. As we filed into the cultural hall I teased Todd that we were in for the yearly chastity talk. BINGO! We watched that video as a ward. I think the chuch makes those things to give some direction BEFORE it happens, not after.

Any woman who has a problem with the men holding the priesthood have never had to face a young woman and her boyfriend who they may or may not know intimately and counsel them on the most important decision of thier lives. I don't envy that job, because I am just too human.

But I do agree with Suzie, that there have been times were I needed counsel and a Bishop provided an insight or direction that I may not have "thought" of on my own. I have left a Bishop's office more times than I care to mention with a burden lifted from my shoulders.

I really wish that I could've left that day with a least SOME of the burden lifted...I did not. But to be perfectly honest, I SHOCKED the hell out of EVERYONE. No one ever thought this would happen to me...so maybe I just blindsided everone...including the bishop!

I'm not sure if this is what you're talking about, but, because I've experienced almost everything anybody could experience (except being gang-raped by Serbs, or falling out of an airplane without a parachute), I can talk to about anybody. If people know you've been there, they relax, usually.

Those insipid church songs bug me, too. Or church-inspired groups, I mean. I'm not quite sure what insipid means, but it sounds right.

Ah, I sometimes enjoyed McLean, especially when I'm sleepy.

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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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