Surprise meeting with Bishop

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Roy
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by Roy » 15 Sep 2013, 15:13

Somewhat of an update.

Bishop's wife spoke in SM. She referenced a friend that recently has a baby girl with some heart issues. The heart function is at 12%. It is likely that she will die or have a severly limited and short life. She read an excerpt of an email that said that this little girl was Heavenly Father's daughter before she was theirs. Whether she makes a full recovery (unlikely as that now seems), Lives on with severe disabilities, or "slips away" - they will trust in God. The speaker commended the parents for their willingness to have their own wills "swallowed up in the will of the Father."

In conclusion the bishop's wife mentioned that she has her own trial that has been ongoing for the last 10 years and shows no sign of resolution. How she would love to be released from that emotional burden and have that child "return." I knew from my talk with the bishop that she was referencing her son that has embarked on a path of addiction and crime for the last decade.

I made sure to tell her that I was touched by her talk afterwards. I suspect that the talk assignment may have been inspired by my meeting with the bishop last week but even if it was - it appears that bishop kept confidances because she seemed surprised to talk to me after SM.

I might not agree with all of her conclusions but I heartily support all forms of dialogue in the church about hardship within the membership. I remember seeing a bumper sticker that read "Ser SUD es ser feliz" (to be LDS is to be happy). I want real conversation about when that doesn't quite turn out as expected.

I generally like my ward and believe it to be populated with largely good people.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Ruthiechan
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by Ruthiechan » 17 Sep 2013, 12:07

Thanks for the update Roy. :)

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SilentDawning
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by SilentDawning » 17 Sep 2013, 12:14

I was happy that you were happy with the outcome. I didn't quite know how to respond because you seemed satisfied with the way it all went. I'm glad you feel positive about your Ward. I wish I felt the same way about mine as my spirit is getting tired of feeling worn out from my old ward and church culture and policy in general. Its refreshing to see people with concerns in the church, but some positivity toward the local people.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

Roy
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Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by Roy » 24 Nov 2013, 18:15

We had another "Surprise meeting with Bishop" last night. DW has been having a hard time with her calling in the RS presidency. She was even considering asking to be released. When we started to get hints that a change was coming some months ago she decided to hang on. The ward boundaries were reorganized last week and many presidencies were reorganized.

Last night I got the call that Bishop wanted to meet with DW that night. She was out of town at the moment but was on her way back. He seemed insistent that it had to be before church the next morning. We agreed that he would come over late in the night.

I was getting ready with DW all our prepared responses. It seemed clear that he was calling to extend a call that DW would be sustained for the next day. It seemed thoughtless and insensitive that he would wait till the last minute and that this would leave little alternative but that DW accept the calling to not let people down. I asked DW if she might feel differently depending on who the president was or if it was to a different auxiliary. She just felt that she could not do it. I was ready to hold our ground. We even had a signal if DW needed me to take control of the conversation.

In the end, he came over and had a good chat. He released DW and thanked her for her service. We talked about several other things (including DD's upcoming baptism) and it felt pleasant and genuine. Then he left because he still had other visits to make that night....

My bishop, less than a week after the ward boundary change and the night before the reorganization of EVERY presidency - came to my house (on crutches no less) after 9 pm to personally release my wife and thank her for her service.

I judged him badly. :oops: :cry: :oops:
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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mackay11
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by mackay11 » 24 Nov 2013, 22:42

Roy wrote:We had another "Surprise meeting with Bishop" last night. DW has been having a hard time with her calling in the RS presidency. She was even considering asking to be released. When we started to get hints that a change was coming some months ago she decided to hang on. The ward boundaries were reorganized last week and many presidencies were reorganized.

Last night I got the call that Bishop wanted to meet with DW that night. She was out of town at the moment but was on her way back. He seemed insistent that it had to be before church the next morning. We agreed that he would come over late in the night.

I was getting ready with DW all our prepared responses. It seemed clear that he was calling to extend a call that DW would be sustained for the next day. It seemed thoughtless and insensitive that he would wait till the last minute and that this would leave little alternative but that DW accept the calling to not let people down. I asked DW if she might feel differently depending on who the president was or if it was to a different auxiliary. She just felt that she could not do it. I was ready to hold our ground. We even had a signal if DW needed me to take control of the conversation.

In the end, he came over and had a good chat. He released DW and thanked her for her service. We talked about several other things (including DD's upcoming baptism) and it felt pleasant and genuine. Then he left because he still had other visits to make that night....

My bishop, less than a week after the ward boundary change and the night before the reorganization of EVERY presidency - came to my house (on crutches no less) after 9 pm to personally release my wife and thank her for her service.

I judged him badly. :oops: :cry: :oops:
Thanks Roy. I needed to hear something like that today. Thanks for taking the time to share it with the rest of us.

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GodisLove
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by GodisLove » 25 Nov 2013, 09:02

This makes me have hope there is a Bishop somewhere who is kind. I know there are, they just seem so far away. Thanks for sharing.

I find myself preparing conversations in my head and rereading quotes to make sure I don't buckle. Maybe I won't have to use them, pretty sure I will.
Not one Sparrow is forgotten
E'en the raven God will feed
And the lily of the valley
From His bounty hath its need

Then shall I not trust Thee, Father
In Thy mercy have a share?
And through faith and prayer, my Mother
Merit Thy protecting care?
Shaker Hymnal 1908

Ann
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by Ann » 25 Nov 2013, 20:48

I really enjoyed reading this. Thanks, Roy.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

Curt Sunshine
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by Curt Sunshine » 25 Nov 2013, 20:50

Thank you, Roy.

God bless the good Bishops of the world. They carry a heavy burden, and so many do so without complaint and with real love.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Roy
Posts: 6070
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by Roy » 26 Jul 2015, 16:11

I began this thread when I was laying the groundwork to baptize DD 2 years ago.

It is now time to prepare for DS's upcoming baptism.

I scheduled a meeting with the bishop a few weeks ago but it was postponed until recently. I went to the church building a few minutes early and was the first person to meet with bishop.

Initially he made some light inquiries into how work was going and if I might soon have Sunday's off. I explained to him that there may indeed be some changes at work soon that will increase my work load but give me weekends off - so it is a double edged sword.

I then told him that Roy Jr.'s baptism is coming up. I explained to him that because of the winter weather and the failing health of DW's parents we have opted to hold the baptism in Utah where they live. I reminded him that we had discussed using Skype to broadcast DD's baptism (two years ago) to allow them to see it but that request had been denied. We are also planning to ask my FIL to play a more active role in the process by doing the confirmation. (because I do not have a TR and the CHI implies that one should have one for confirmation - I thought this concession might prevent possible roadblocks to the approval process. I did not share that rational with my bishop.)

I told him that we already have the building scheduled in Utah and that the bishop from there has requested my bishop to contact him. Bishop said that he would give him a call and that such was standard procedure when one bishop has geographical jurisdiction but another has worthiness jurisdiction over some participants.

He then told me that he would like to meet with me again in October and that we would also do the pre-baptism interview for DS at that time. I asked if we would be present for the interview of DS and he responded "generally not." I told bishop that my son is socially awkward and may find the meeting overwhelming. He went into fair detail about what the questions may be so we can prepare DS. Bishop told me that he skips the chastity related questions.

Then things turned to tithing (it always does...). Bishop invited me to become a full tithe payer. I thanked him for the invitation. He came up with a litany of reasons why I should pay tithing. 1) because it is the only commandment that I can obey perfectly. (I nod - even though I have no desire to be "perfect" and there are some big assumptions about what it means to pay perfectly when the exact standard is between you and the Lord) 2) because to hold some calling require holding a TR. (I told him that I was hoping to go back to primary when my work schedule changes and he heartily agreed that I would be welcome there) 3) because God is withholding blessing that He really wants to bestow. (I stay silent) 4) because DW and I need to go to the temple for our individual spiritual and marital health. (I concede that DW would love that) 5) because trying to pay tithing just prior to a child's wedding is discouraged and may backfire. (I stay silent, I really have no plans to do that but Bishop makes it sound like it is a common attempt)

Many of these justifications were tone deaf when considering the main reason why I do not pay tithing that I explained to bishop two years ago. (the reason is a disillusionment with the tithing=blessings model)

I realized two things. 1) that bishop might not remember why I do not pay tithing. 2) that bishop is giving me reasons why he finds it important to for him to pay tithing. This is perfectly ok in itself. I just need to be aware that he is speaking from his perspective and would be limited in his capacity to understand mine. It would be counterproductive to challenge his assumptions.

The meeting ended well. I brought things back around to the baptism. I will see Bishop again in October. There never was any suggestion that my ability to baptize DS would be tied to tithing payment. There may come a day when this bishop or a replacement bishop becomes more insistent and confrontational about tithing - but for now I prefer to keep things pleasant with a spirit of goodwill.

I plan to prepare DS for his interview by reminding him that his baptism is an important step to show his desire to follow Jesus. I do not plan to make it about the LDS church.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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SilentDawning
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Re: Surprise meeting with Bishop

Post by SilentDawning » 26 Jul 2015, 16:26

Roy wrote: He asked me why I would obey all the other commandments and not this one. I responded that I believe the gospel habits make me a better person or at least don't hurt me (in the sense that abstaining from drinking coffee and tea doesn't make me a better person). Payment of tithing could help me be a better person (if done for the right reasons) but the cost would be so great that it might be smart to find other less expensive ways to exercise generosity and humility.
Brilliant!!! I chuckled when I read this one...!
At one point he invited me to pay tithing once more and then paused for my response. I told him that I was thankful for his concern, I felt that it was genuine. I told him that I wasn't going to commit to anything on the spot but that I would discuss it with DW and make it the subject of thought and prayer.
Good answer. Great answer.
At one point he asked me how I felt about the plan of salvation? I told him that I was in favor of it and then asked if he could be more specific. He asked if my testimony of the plan was stronger, weaker, or about the same as it was before we lost our daughter. I told him that my knowledge and certainty was gone, but that I did have hope and faith (which is a hope for things unseen).
Another great answer. My daughter calls it a "swerve". I have to confess that as he probed these questions I had the words MayDay! MayDay! Mayday! running through my mind. I feel that you were in a situation where if you gave a wrong answer he might have revoked your ability to baptize your daughter.
He asked me if I would object to having a calling (not that he had one ready at the moment) and I told him that I had no objections. I was in favor of contributing if there could be a calling that would fit with my schedule (I go to work immediately after SM). I even recommended door greeter. :D
Another question that might have disqualified you from baptizing...good answer.
There were multiple times when he made statements and assumptions that I didn't quite agree with but I just nodded my head, or said "yup". In a way it was almost as though I was dealing with a child or an older person that has had life experiences so different than mine that they are just incapable of understanding my position and polite courtesy was more important than brutal clarity. It might be said that this approach is inauthentic. I can understand why it might seem so. At a different time in my life, having the bishop to validate some of my feelings would have been a stronger need - but not so now. He is just a man, a good man trying to do his best. I no longer see him as my confessor or my judge or as a representative of my God. He is still a gatekeeper to certain administrative functions that I desire to be a part of. For those that might still see this as dishonest, that's ok - I was never burdened with an overactive sense of honesty anyway. That might be one of my imperfections that the Atonement will make whole in the next life - I'm ok with that.
I agree with all of this. I do the same thing now, and chalk up even grossly objectionable statements as a result of lack of breadth in experiences, or just a different life paradigm.
felt that I left the meeting with an intact relationship with the bishop, my options open, and - as a bonus - I presumably get to baptize and confirm DD.
Nice job. I have learned this lesson recently. I ticked off a public figure recently and I seemed to miss the concept that you need to make friends with people in power even when you don't agree with them. And that you have to keep deeply divergent opinions to yourself for the sake of options and progress.

Also, you avoided putting the Bishop in the unfortunate position of having to tell you "no" to baptizing your daughter, and risking plunging you and your family into more crisis, and even jeopardizing getting your DD's name on the church and any other spiritual blessings that go with baptism. Overall, a great example of how to talk to priesthood leaders.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

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