Thursday, July 06, 2006

Meeting with the Bishop --

I had a very positive discussion with my bishop last night.

I didn't really intend to do this, but I ended up pretty much unloading all the historical issues, from the 1832 first vision to the mysterious disappearance of the pistols from the modern rendition of the Carthage Jail story. He didn't really attempt to deal with any of that, but I didn't really expect him to. He didn't attempt to argue or try to discredit the information. He allowed as how our church leaders aren't perfect and have never been perfect, and he bore his testimony of the humility of the apostles, their inspiration, and that they do what they feel is in the best interests of the church. We don't always have the big picture or understand the circumstances behind those decisions, but in his case he had faith in the Brethren to make the right choices most of the time. I reiterated that my issues aren't with the events themselves as much as the intentional deception of the membership. I mentioned that it was a punch in the gut to get blindsided with information like the Council of Fifty, Helen Mar Kimball, and the use of seerstones in translating the Book Of Mormon when we had never been told any of this before, and I expressed my feelings of betrayal at not having been told these things.

He reiterated that I was a good and honorable person and was grateful for my forthrightness in wanting to make him aware of my situation. He felt comfortable with what I was doing in my callings and trusted that I wasn't going to teach false doctrine to the youth or members, seeing as how this has been going on for over a year right under his nose and he wasn't even aware of it. I mentioned I could no longer sustain the 1st Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators. I continue to believe they are inspired, in the same way that the Pope, Billy Graham, Mr Rogers, etc, are inspired, but I don't think their actions in misleading the membership about our history meet the standard for prophet, seer, and revelator. i.e. inspired by God to lead the One True Church. I mentioned I believed the church was true, but there are many sources of truth out there, and the church is not the exclusive, or even the best, dispenser of wisdom. Despite having said all that he left up to me whether I qualifed for a recommend, and if I had asked for one he would have whipped out the book and given me one.

He mentioned his sadness, not that I was being unfaithful to the church or anything, but that I was going through this, and he understood my position given the information I had been exposed to. We both agreed that this should be discussed with the stake president. He asked me to say a closing prayer, and after an hour and a half we parted on an extremely positive note.

So, round 1 is complete. I'm not expecting an interview with my stake president to be so touchy feely. He's more stern, and being raised in the church he's a scriptorian. We'll see what happens next.


Anonymous said...

I am glad it went so well for you CF. You are handling yourself and your change in beliefs in a positive manner.

I often look back on my exit from Mormonism with some regret for the things I could have changed. The outcome would have been the same but I would be more at peace with myself.

I hope the meeting with your SP goes as well as the one with your bishop. It takes a person of mature faith to sit as your bishop did and not dispute the historical facts. Somehow I doubt your SP, his counselors, or many others around you will be so respectful.

Best Wishes nonetheless.

Wife of Bath said...

I'm glad teh bishop was as open as he was to your concerns. This is a road shrouded in mist, and it is comforting to round at least one of the bends and see the path is not blocked by fallen trees or a washout. I hope the rest of the trip goes smoothly as well. Perhaps we can indeed choose the third way, if those around us will allow us to do so.
Wife of BAth

Anonymous said...

As WoB posted, I also pray that you can go that third route rather than be forced into a position that you don't want to take. I must confess concern for the official position that LDS may take, particularly wrt your children. Your Old Roomate.

ChristFollower said...

Oh, it's not that bad. Conservative Christians often confuse mormonism with Scientology, or weird churches like that. Although evangelicals don't like to admit it, personality-wise mormons aren't that different, despite the doctrinal differences. The cult thing is way overblown. Probably no different than living in a small Southern town that's 80% Baptist and deciding to convert to Catholicism. Some people look at you funny, but they get over it.

If you want to talk about cult-like behavior, something equally scary is the Southern Baptist Convention talking about pulling their kids out of public schools because of "those evil people in society". Same basic deal.

The kids aren't affected in any way by what we do. At least officially. The worst we will do is confuse them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I needed that. I'm obviously not very knowledgeable, just concerned for you folks... Point well made on some other conservative denominations... the old roomate..

Anonymous said...

Your experience with your bishop reminds me of my experience with my stake presidency interview. Amazingly loving and generous! I don't think he even finished all the questions. Once I shared my fervent and holy testimony as really is, he essentially just hugged me and gave me the recommend.
But then again I didn't unload. I just answered truthfully. I wonder if the Father would have me someday unload. I don't really feel the need to.

Justin Martyr