Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Melancholy

I've been feeling melancholy lately. Some things have happened at church recently that don't involve me directly (I only know about it because of my calling); as such, I'm under explicit instructions to not talk about - ever - not even with my wife. But, the truth of the matter is, I've been struggling a bit these last couple of weeks because it's exposed a dark side to the church that I don't like to acknowledge even exists. I'll just say that I'm really really glad I'm not the bishop.

The way I'm dealing with it is by trying to not think about it and to focus on the good things of the church. That's the same way I deal with other things, such as some of the early statements made by general authorities regarding same sex attraction. But, it bothers me that the only way I can deal with it is by burying my head in the sand pretending it doesn't exist.

9 comments:

Sean said...

i hear you my friend.

[kɹeɪ̯g̊] said...

That's never a good way to deal with anything. I'm sorry you feel you have to.

Vanson said...

Ugh, that must be frustrating.

I get to hear secret stuff too as an assisstant clerk. Sometimes I get to give my opinion on some controversial things that I am not allowed to talk about... however it is nothing really negative.

draco said...

i thought that the church didn't have any dark side- or any secrets either.

Neal said...

Abe,

I've been in Bishoprics before, so I may have experienced something akin to what you're going through.

Sometimes leaders - Bishops, Stake Presidents - even Prophets - screw up. Sometimes their judgements are off, or their personalities enter into things. They are human, after all. Sunday we talked about the time when Joseph Smith gave Martin Harris some of the BOM manuscripts (against the counsel of the Lord), and Martin lost them. The Lord was pretty ticked at Joseph, to say the least! Joseph was so distraught that he didn't eat or sleep for days. The plates were taken from him, and he was unable to translate for months. This turned out to be a turning point for Joseph, and it caused him to mature and humble himself and re-dedicate himself more fully to the Work. I think we have to remember that all leadership callings are a test for the person so called. They can succeed or they can fail, just as we all can. Some are dynamic, and some less so. They are growing as they serve, just as we are. I think we keep them on too much of a pedestal at times, which is unfair to us and to them.

Neal

MoHoHawaii said...

Organizations tend to act in their own interests. I remember how completely digusted I felt when the Catholic church's role in the priest abuse scandal finally came out. Catholic leaders kept secrets and generally aided and abetted the perpetrators, all in the interest of smoothing things over and keeping a lid on the scandal. They sometimes even smeared the reputations of the abuse victims as a tactic to reduce the credibility of the accusers.

I wish I had more faith than I do in the ability of large, conservative organizations to be brave and do the right thing. The dark side of obedience is cowardice.

Peter said...

My home ward Bishop did some pretty down right disgusting things to my family. So did a counselor from LDS family services. And they both broke laws of confidentiality and communicated with each other. Was the Bishop removed from his position? No.

My mom felt helpless for a very long time before realizing that she needed to stand up for her rights and for her family. Now she is taking legal action. There needs to be accountability.

We can't turn and look the other way. That is organized crime! That's what the mob does! We're bigger than that. We value the Church enough to hold it up to high standards. Let's not sweep its dark side under the rug, let's surface it so that we can fix the problems.

Beck said...

I'm reading a book on life in the deep south of Italy where the Mafia and secret societies run the show and everyone knows it and accepts it. As an outsider looking in on that situation, it seems so wrong and stupid of the common people to tolerate such activities and look the other way or ignore that what is going on is actually going on (bribery, robbery, murder, etc.)

And yet, I've advised the same attitude in your situation. Sometimes the church is too big and powerful and it's better just to not know, or to look the other way or ignore what's going on. Oftimes, ignorance is bliss. It isn't right but it's the truth when it comes to politics of the ecclesiastical level.

So what is one supposed to do? If you can't say anything, what are you supposed to do? If you speak up are they going to come after you and kneecap you like in southern Italy?

It ain't pretty...

Abelard Enigma said...

Sometimes leaders - Bishops, Stake Presidents - even Prophets - screw up.

it's not that church leaders make mistakes that is bothering me. I understand that they are human and won't be correct 100% of the time. It's the lack of accountability that is bothering me.

And, to murky the waters even more - my problem is not with anything my bishop or stake president have done. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for my bishop and stake president.

Time to go bury my head again :(