So we get hundreds of emails asking us about our advice on ______ subject or what we would do in _____ situation. One of the most disheartening e-mails we receive on a daily basis are ones that go along the lines of “a member has done something to me that makes me angry and consequently I have stopped going to church.”
Before I go any further into this post, I wrote up a relevant piece a while ago about the “Judgment mentality within the church” talking about how it does exist in the church and how we need to be aware of this so that we can stop making so many irrelevant judgments on others.
Now back to the topic at hand. All of us face our own fellowshipping/members issues. We will almost always find ourselves in various situations where we could choose to be offended by the actions of others whether intentional or not. I have found myself in plenty of these situations and sometimes I am the better man, realizing that it wasn’t intentional and move on. Other times I fall into the trap of letting it fester and build up inside of me. I really do try to give the benefit of the doubt to individuals who have offended me and almost always when I approach them to discuss the issue, it usually turns out to be a simple issue of miscommunication.
That being said, I had one particular case where the High Councilman in the ward chose to intentionally humiliate me in front of the Elder’s Quorum. In his words “You are young and need to be taught a lesson and sometimes public humiliation is the only way to get through to someone like yourself.” I had served a mission, was going to college and was a functional young adult yet he was treating me as I was a Sunbeam (and even if I had been, it was still no excuse to publicly humiliate me).
For those who know me, I am probably the most even keel person there is. My wife literally has never heard me yell at her or any of our kids (though there are plenty of times that I feel like doing so). I’m probably one of the easiest going individuals out there and had he just corrected me in front of the quorum (even though he was factually wrong) I would have been a little peeved but would have probably just let the whole thing go. But yet there I was in a situation where the High Councilman felt that it was appropriate not only to belittle my opinion but belittle me as an individual.
I have never been as angry towards an individual as I was during those few months as I struggled with this particular issue. I tried talking to him. I brought the issue up with the Bishop and even offered to “let bygones be bygones.” However he was too stubborn to admit that any of this was on him and refused to apologize as that would have “defeated the lesson I was supposed to learn.” It was hard going to church because when I saw him, all of my pent up anger and feelings came right back as if it had just happened. Even now, if I choose to dwell on it, it starts to bother me where I felt that I had been wrong.
Then one day I realized that I was playing the victim in the situation. I was allowing him to dictate to me how I felt going to church. I was allowing his actions dictate how I was living my life. As the famous quote goes
“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen”
Even to this day he has never apologized or shown any remorse for what he did but I have chosen to move past it. From this experience I have learned to refuse to allow the actions of those around me affect how I choose to live my religion or my life. It was a lesson in forgiveness that I had to learn the hard way. I have learned that forgiving an individual even though they don’t want to be forgiven or necessarily deserve it, is still the right course of action because I deserve the peace it brings.
So when you are facing an issue where someone else’s actions are affecting yours, do what you can to resolve the issue. Talk with them because more than likely it wasn’t intentional. I’m convinced that the vast majority of being “offended” situations are usually misunderstanding issues.
However, this is not always the case as demonstrated in the aforementioned story. For these situations, ultimately you’re going to have to forgive them and move forward in your life and not allow that individual to dictate to you how you should feel going to church, how you feel at home or how you feel as you live your life. Ultimately the only person that ends up being hurt is you. I’m not just trying to give a pep talk and say whatever it is that you are going through is not a big deal. What I am trying to say is that allowing someone else to dictate to you how you feel in your life is.
I’m not going to be so presumptuous as to say there is a certain way to move on with your life but however you do it, whatever means or resources you need to utilize to do it, it’s something that you ultimately need to do. Utilize the resources within the church, your Bishop, your friends in the ward and most importantly, utilize the Atoning power of Christ to help you overcome any of these ill will feelings that you may have towards someone else and live the life our Father in Heaven has intended for you to live.
50 Replies to “When Writing the Story of Your Life, Don’t Let Anyone Else Hold the Pen”
Here is my story:
First off, like you, I’m pretty hard to make angry. I might moan about something to my husband, but I generally end up laughing it off. While in the end I did just laugh, it took a lot of…..tongue biting to get there:
I am primary president in my ward. My ward clerk, Brother Old Guy called me LATE one Sunday night (which I have an issue with on its own) and started in on me about how my secretary sucks. She hadn’t yet reported numbers to him. He told me I should ask to release her because she obviously sucks so bad. I told him that, yes she is late on numbers but she’s great on everything else! so no, I won’t ask to release her! He continued on, I finally said “Brother O.G. it is 9pm on Sunday night the best I can do tonight is e mail her and I will call her later this week” he told me more than once that was NOT the best I can do. I finally said, in a meaner tone “Brother O.G. it is 9pm on Sunday night, the best I can do..” “if that’s the best you can do maybe you shouldn’t be primary president!” I took a breath and said “that might be, and you can take that up with the Bishop. until then I will e mail her, have a good night”
The next morning I got an e mail from him forwarding my secs. e mail. he said “as you can see this is clearly WRONG, please advise” I looked the numbers over and told him she gave 53, not 54 but that shouldn’t be to big an issue. He said SLC says we only have 44. After a week of that I finally asked to call SLC myself. I was hoping to talk to them…Brother O.G. is old so maybe something is not being explained well enough (according to the stake we have 55 enrolled, but SLC says 44) SO I call. I get connected to a young man. I explain my issue to him and he says “I’m sorry ma’am, I can’t talk to you, you don’t hold the priesthood”
You should’ve seen my face. I tried talking to him, I just want to know about my primary!! is there anyone I can talk to please! I’m not asking for super secret sacred priesthood secrets! I just want to know why they have 44 and we have 55!
Eventually we hung up….and that’s that!
Fortunately I was able to laugh it off more than be angry..but. This was totally ridiculous!
That is ridiculous!
wow! good for you for your positive attitude!
It’s very frustrating when people can be so rude, and it’s almost a reflex to blame the church etc. However, this also happens at work and when it does we seem to just be disgruntled with the person rather than the company.. Anyway…. the scripture about unrighteous dominion seems to be certainly coming true in many cases.
We had a similar situation in our family. My husband was serving on the high council and worked as an assistant General Manager to a counselor in our stake presidency, who was the general manager of the business. They worked well for many years, until my husband was contacted and offered a job with another company for higher pay,.position and benefits. My husband felt he needed to share this offer/opportunity with him as a boss, friend and spiritual leader. The next few weeks and couple of months turned into a nightmare resulting in the loss of the offer (through direct and indirect interference from this man), subsequent departure from his job there and a year of traveling out of the state with a job, oddly enough, for the owner of the company they both worked for. (Go figure) As they were both still serving in the high council, my husband saw him on Tuesday nights and walked up to this man and shook his hand, even when the man couldn’t or wouldn’t look him in the eye. He was a long time friend as well as his family and it affected our friendship for many years, but my husband sat down with our children and told them that his actions didn’t make or break the truthfulness of the gospel and he would not let it come between supporting him as our stake leader. He didn’t have the respect for him as a person outside of the church, but in his church calling he had chosen to sustain him. This could have had a devastating affect on my children, but instead showed them to separate church from personal bitterness or feelings and my husbands testimony is incredible. That, I think, is the key. Gain and feed your personal testimony and try to remember, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is true and perfect, but the people within the church fall short. This man is currently suffering from a debilitating nervous disorder, and no I didn’t wish it upon him, and just last stake conference my husband reached out to help him up from stumbling in our stake conference meeting. He is a wonderful example to me, it took me a little longer to forgive, even though I did continue to sustain him through my husbands example. They have both since been released from those callings as this was about 8 years ago.
impressive of your husband, good for him for not letting that situation destroy his faith,etc! Clearly the stake presidency man as an employer had some issues..thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing–I needed to read that right now! My brother and his family are going through this type of situation right now only it’s their bishop who has hurt them so deeply. They aren’t the close family friends like you & the counselor in the stake presidency once were but as you can imagine, still a painful situation for them. It’s very reassuring to know that others have gone through these kinds of offenses & still been able to retain their testimony, forgive, & move on. Thank you!
sad that someone would try to humiliate you that way..as part of my job, I have recently had the chance to go to a home where some older/ill nuns live..it is such a peaceful and joyful place, in their monestary, and they speak in lovingkindness to each other. It is sad to me that as church members we don’t always have that true Christlike attitude in the performing of ‘church jobs’..maybe the power or something gets to people. Sigh..
Bad karma. And Karma is a witch.
Perfect title for this post! We had some business dealings in our hometown early in my husband’s career that we hoped would become our future. When the deal went south due to the inflexibility of the owner, we had to leave town, pay back a huge business loan, and were asked to not reveal the nature of the business dealings signing a “do not compete” clause. Interestingly enough, this man was a bishop and very respected businessman, so we were viewed by many as irresponsible and immature to leave when we did. While it was hard to leave the place we wanted to raise our family– near grandparents and in a great town, we were seriously blessed as we left and lived far away, staying active and serving in the church. My husband ended up sitting right next to this man a few years later at a conference and was able to chat and not let his feelings of rejection and the “it’s just business” attitude of this man affect him. We have never recovered financially, but everything else in life is so good. Forgiveness is powerful and has blessed us all.
I was inactive for nearly 25 years. When I made the commitment to Heavenly Father to return to church I was determined, that first week, to stay for all the block, as hard as it may be. I was in Gospel Doc Class and we were discussing something in Moses…Something sparked a memory, from years before, and I was looking in Exodus at another verse. The woman next to me said (something to the effect) Moses is in the Pearl of Great Price, haven’t you ever opened your scriptures before. I was devastated. I thought, if only she knew how VERY hard it was to walk into church that day and stay for the meetings. My feelings were very hurt. I cried on the way home, and during that cry and as praying for no harsh feelings in my heart I realized that I still wanted to go to church; and in the past I would have used that as an excuse not to go (truthfully I was looking for a reason not to). I think that was the moment I realized I turned the corner back to Heavenly Father and His Son and became totally recommitted to the gospel…but it did hurt!
Oh Deb, I am so sorry that happened to you. I’ve been a member 25 years (most of them active) and I still have trouble with which books go where! I’m glad you decided to come back and that you didn’t let another person’s imperfections keep you from coming to Christ.
Offense cannot be given, only taken.
Thanks, good advice that everyone in the church will have to use at some point. I actually believe it’s in the Lord’s plan.
Now at the risk of offending, can I recommend you get an editor? Frankly, are too many grammatical errors in this post for me to take you very seriously.
Testing if he practices what he preaches? 😀
Sorry for the grammatical errors. Apparently I need to get more professional editors other than myself and my wife. 🙂 Clearly grammar was never my strong point. Either way, feel free to make any suggestions on how to more clearly articulate the message that I was trying to portray.
Doesn’t bother me (and I’m a stickler for correct spelling and grammar!!!)…It’s a personal blog, not a published book that I am paying for! Write on Brother Huntinghouse! Write on!
Great reply John.! Others may have taken offense to carrieb’s comments, but you did not ~ just showing us, your readers, that you truly practice what you preach. 😉
funny, “Frankly, are too many grammatical… ” is grammatically incorrect or is your spelling as bad as mine 🙂
Only you determine how you will react in any given situation. I attend church for me, not for anyone else. If my efforts in a calling seem lacking but it’s the best I can do, so be it.
Elder Bednar said in GC Oct 2006 in his talk entitled “And Nothing Shall Offend Them” the following: “However, it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else.”
Since that talk, I have always tried not to be offended. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn’t. In one Ward I was in, a member always refused to acknowledge me and would walk the other way when he saw me. One time in the Temple when I said Hi to him, he shouted angrily at me and one of the workers reported him to the Temple President and as a result, his TR was removed as he had done this on more than one occasion to various brethren. Later it was given back but one time when I was in the Temple in an endowment session, I was in the PC and he joined it after me. Did I remove myself, no I didn’t as I was not the one offended? The strange thing is that my son is his HT and he always asks after me but never speaks if he sees me.
a very close friend of mine, had a situation with a Stake President that he could not understand and it offended him, as he drove home and considered what to do, he heard a voice saying “see that you don’t do the same when you are Bishop”. Yes three weeks later the same Stake President called him to be Bishop in the Ward. He is still greatful he “dropped” the grudge.
It is hard. I remember growing up with my Dad’s boss being the bishop, stake president, his home teacher and my dad really not liking his business practices. Now I am in the same branch with my husband’s ex-wife and all the people she has known for over a decade. I can’t say a thing about kids, not having friends, gossip about me, etc….without becoming the bad person. She is the “fragile” one who may not come to church if her feelings get hurt, but I can’t begin to express how hard it is for me to attend church, prepare lessons on loving your “neighbor”, attend community events, and even go to work with out hearing something about me…., “She seems nice.” I AM nice! What have others been hearing and from who?
My husband & I had a similar experience with a member of our branch and a business deal gone bad. this member lost his member ship in the Church over this and other issues. My husband could not get over it and continually let it take over his thoughts conversations, etc. Finally I asked my husband to list everything we had lost because of this incident. He listed “money”. Then we listed everything the other person had lost-“wife, children, business, membership in the Church, temple blessings, being able to take the Sacrament.” When we looked at the list, all of the anger and hurt we had disappeared.
While interesting to read, this article offered so much unfulfilled promise in the headline. Yes, a person may do something wrong and you could get offended. But there are lots of other things offensive about attending church and my hope was for advice about dealing with those things so I can regularly attend (which is a struggle). The general category would be, yes the gospel is true and it’s great to know it and have the ordinances, but the church drains me spiritually (where others talk of being re-charged). I like being in the temple, but not being in Sunday services; going to the one depends on enduring the other.
Sounds to me like you are doing great. You’re not the only person who gets drained going to church. Sometimes it takes a day or two to recover. But that you still go. That you have a priority on the temple, I think is fantastic, in my own humble opinion. What’s helped me (and without knowing detail I’m assuming we do not struggle with the exact same things) is the usual but powerful answers: Prayer and scripture study (in particular studying the lessons that will be taught – I can have my own opinion formed and contribute to the discussions). Pray for peace. Pray to feel the recharging that others feel when they go. And don’t expect the feeling to come right away. I very sure I’m not the only one that the Lord asks to wait for answers or blessings, but each time it has always been so worth the wait.
Those were all things that helped me get over the situation. It really did help strengthen my testimony as it gave me better focus as to why I go. Also, this is by far and away an exception to rule. Most members I interact have treated very well and warmly, even if they do have disagreements or a differing of opinions. 🙂
When I was 16, I was told by my young women’s leader that I was no longer welcome to come to any of the young women activities. She told me this on the way home from a youth dance. The reasoning was because another young woman didn’t like me and the leader said that she had to make a choice between the two of us. When I went into young womens, the leaders pretended I wasn’t there. They would ignore my comments during class and during Mutual. There were even weeks when they wouldn’t have a craft for me or an activity. They would let me know I wasn’t supposed to be there. My parents and I went to the bishop and the bishop told me that we would just need to work it out with the YW leader, that it wasn’t his place to get in the middle of it. After 2 months of this I started attending a different church. It is very, very easy to tell people not to get offended and to just get over it, that it should only be about the gospel, but this experience scarred me. I was 16 and told by members of this church who I trusted that I wasn’t welcome for something that wasn’t even my fault. It took me years before I would talk to a bishop because I had lost all faith in that position, and I still can’t look at that yw leader without wanting to smack her. It took me years to come back to church. I was terrified. My body literally shook each time I approached the building because all of those feelings and emotions would come pouring back in.
I was not the only girl treated like this in our ward. Previously a friend of mine had been baptised into the church. She had made a complete life change. She had been a party girl, she’d gotten tatoos, she drank and she smoke and her clothing lacked modesty. As she took the lessons from the missionaries she made a 100% life change. After her baptism, she did her best to learn about modesty, which isn’t really covered in the missionary discussions. It should have been the young women leaders who gently and with love helped this beautiful girl about modesty. Instead they berated her, called her names and embarrassed her week after week. One week they even asked in front of everyone if she knew that she dressed like a hooker. The other girls began to mimic the leaders and eventually she stopped attending church. Her testimony was just a seed, and it didn’t even have a chance to grow.
That being said, I hate stories like this. It’s incredibly easy to stand on your soap box and say I was able to get over it, so should you. However, it can take years and years, and possibly into the next life to forget some of the things that have been done to you by members of the church. Especially in the case of my friend, who didn’t have a rock to stand on yet. She wasn’t prepared for the howling whirlwinds that came from within the walls of what should have been a sanctuary. We should have been her shields and unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.
From my experience on my mission, let me say that I understand where you are coming from, Dee. I’m a convert to the Church, and my conversion was almost totally a joyful one. There were friends and members of our ward that didn’t understand where my family was coming from as Catholics – we dressed a bit differently, we thought a bit differently, we drank Coke, etc. – but for the most part, my sister and I and our parents were enveloped in love and support. We were cheered on and treated with kindness and genuine friendship. Going to church was strengthening and as you say, a sanctuary. The world certainly wasn’t!
Then came my mission, and that sanctuary was ripped away. From the MTC onward, I suddenly became a pariah. I was told by my MTC teachers that the Spirit was only present “when my mouth was shut.” They criticized my Spanish (the fact that I spoke it, not that I didn’t) and ignored my comments in class. Attending lessons was so painful that I asked to be transferred to the advanced Spanish class with native speakers. Only then did the teachers seem to like me, but the damage had been done – I was terrified to serve a mission and wanted nothing more than to go back to BYU where at least I fit in and contributed something to the world around me.
I arrived in the mission field and the mission president asked me if I had ADD, then told me that because I took medication for depression I’d “never be able to feel the Spirit or be an effective missionary.” What a way to start out! The area was rough and I felt like I had made a major mistake in choosing to serve, but I couldn’t leave or, as the mission president said, I would “never be trusted by anyone in the Church again.” After one disastrous companion who told me I didn’t have enough faith to be healed from my depression, things did improve, but the scars run deep. I came home from my mission with social anxiety that I suffer from to this day – I am always sure people are staring at me, seeing the failure that my mission president and many missionaries saw, rather than the person I felt like as a recent convert and a BYU student prior to the MTC. I will never regret serving the Lord, but I wonder sometimes if there was something I did to fail Him that caused my mission to be as spiritually and emotionally painful as it was.
I’m so sorry that you went through all that. I sometimes suffer from social anxiety (people say they’d never have guessed, as I’m a social butterfly) and I suffer from anxiety and PTSD as well, and my mission was very difficult for me. I’m 42 now and I’m finally feeling like it probably was a good thing that I went. Don’t ever give up on working to heal, and be patient with yourself! ((hugs))
I don’t believe that you did something wrong to “deserve” that. The Lord loves you. Unfortunately, He can’t control what His followers do. What I do believe is that all of your experiences will not only work through His atonement for your benefit, but you will meet someone someday that needs someone like you who has gone through your exact experiences to listen to them, understand them, and lift them up. More likely it’ll be many someones. The suffering we face in this world does often seem so unfair, especially when it is at the hands of another person, but the Lord is always on our side and in our corner. From many personal experiences I know that He can take anything bad that happens to us and work it for our own good and the good of others.
alas i must laugh. i was raised in this amazing gospel and by the time i was a teen i heard ‘a bishop is in for 5 years…because members are offended by him at the rate of 20%/year. so by the 5th year they are all offended’. well i don’t believe that and well if anyone takes offense remember we are all human and we all make mistakes. i know some whom use this as an excuse not to attend church. i was slammed by a bishop because my family was moving and he demanded i take the nursery position. i reminded him many times within 5 minutes we were moving in 2 weeks so i cannot accept. in the following 2 weeks my bishop, his wife and a few others ignored me when i came to church. i just laughed this off and moved. yes we are humans making choices.
I think the biggest point missing in the story is how to let Christ’s atonement fix the problem. Christ suffered for all of our sins, whether or not we choose to accept that atonement and repent. If he suffered for me, then he suffered for you, as well as any and all offenders. If my child breaks my neighbors window and I pay to fix the window, that neighbor gets to choose if he stays mad at my child. The window has been repaired. It would be silly to stay mad at my child.
Christ paid to fix all of our windows. I agree that effort should be put in to try and address the offender and resolve issues. In the event that the person isn’t, and never will be, sorry, Christ is sorry. Christ suffered for their sins just like he suffered for mine, and he is so very sorry. When someone hurts me, it might take me a while of “Christ is sorry, Christ is sorry, Christ is sorry” to be able to move forward. But I have felt Christ’s attoning power in my life. I know he has already paid the price of my sins. I don’t want his sacrifice to be in vain. Everyone always said “you have to forgive”, but I didn’t understand how to do that until finally understood this concept. It was then that I was able to move on and not hold onto the negative feelings of being offended.
Please, if you let someone else dictate your faith by not going is very sad for you. My faith came from my conversion not the dictates of another HUMANS behavior. When I die and stand before the bar of God and he says to me why have you forsaken my faith and all I can say is because “Brother Smith” insulted me? pretty sad indeed.
“He who takes offense when no offense is intended is a fool, and he who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool”-Brigham Young
As someone who has struggled off an on with feeling offended by others comments and the painful, yet normal cliquishness of human beings, (especially as an insecure teenager who had had a fragile testimony at the time) I have a couple of comments. I am a 36 year old who has been able to overcome many of my own hurt feelings and certainly do not judge anyone else who has been hurt emotionally by someone at church and who is trying to work through it.
I hurt for those who have been pushed away from the church by the accidental or deliberate cruelty of some church members. I have a brother who was pushed out of his social group, and the church by extension, by the parents of a couple of his friends who decided that he was a bad example.
I have had a couple of insights on this subject. I have begun to feel and realize that one of the purposes of going to church is to learn to love and serve people who we may not like or even be able to stand under other circumstances. Imperfect people are all the Lord has to work with when filling callings. I have learned to appreciate the testimony of some of the people I go to church with whose political and theological opinions I find offensive. I may not want to hang out with them, but I can still love them as my brothers and sisters and am less threatened by what they may say or do.
I share this next part cautiously as it is a little personal but I hope it may be helpful to someone. I had been called to severe as an adviser in the priest quorum. I had been giving alot of thought on my own teenage years and some of the hard experiences I had. I had even felt a sense of gratitude for some of the insights I had learned (though painfully) through some of my struggles. I felt an impression that went something like “Do you think I gave you those insights for your benefit alone?” Some of my painful experiences gave me insight for working with some of the youth in my ward and I feel a strong desire to create an atmosphere of unconditional acceptance wherever I am, even with those who are different from me or who I find irritating. (Not that I pretend to be complete or perfect.) I hope that those of you who have had some of those horrible experiences can use that painfully gained wisdom to be inclusive of people who have a hard time fitting in or who may be pushed away by others.
There will always be bullies and cliques and rude careless comments. Seasoned adults with experience in the gospel may be better able to brush off some of these challenges. Teenagers rarely have significant depth of testimony and are dealing with normal teenage insecurities and normal adolescent crap. We, the adults need to go out of our way to show acceptance to teens and not get overexcited over how they wear their hair or if they wear a non-white shirt to church etc. Teens, and anyone for that matter, need to feel that they can express themselves honestly without the fear of being judged or pushed out.
I had a similar situation years ago, when my husband was in school. I had, after considering all the options available, left my full-time job to care for my daughter, who I believe was being abused by her sitter. My husband and I made the decision after much prayer, etc. We still supported ourselves, through my own part-time work that I did from home, and massive student loans we would have to take out regardless. During this time, my bishop thought it was his business to pull me aside and ask me why I quit my job, in a formal sit-down in his office. I first said it was what I had to do for my family. After he pressed me to be more specific, I mentioned I had concerns about childcare (That is all I said; I did not go into the possible abuse – and did not even mention the sitter’s name). He became rather angry, and told me, “I know who your sitter is, and she is a PERSONAL friend of mine. You had better NOT be badmouthing her!” He never asked what my concerns were, or anything. Just basically told me to shut up. Not an ounce of concern for my terrified child.
I no longer live in the area, and he is no longer the bishop. Once every few years, I do run into him, and I can feel the anger and resentment again. But I simply turn and walk away. His rudeness, and lack of proper concern, have nothing to do with my relationship with my Creator, nor my feelings for Church. My child is safe, and that is ultimately what matters.
I can’t believe what I am reading!! ( I mean I do believe it, but it is incredible and very sad) How can members behave this way? I am wondering where you are all from? I am Australian and though I hear an occasional story they are definitely in the minority. If you are truly a Christian why would you put others down like this – particularly the girls in the YW program. Our Ward YW Presidents past and present would die if they read this. And the guy who wouldn’t speak to a sister because she wasn’t a Priesthood holder ??????? The mind boggles. Sorry people, for all your hurting – Jesus Christ and
Heavenly Father must be hurting so much too. If those who have offended are reading this – pick up your game and do things the way Christ would – this would all be foreign to Him!!
I truly appreciate this topic and counsel. I myself have had the opportunity to have been offended and probably did much offending to other members and non-members very often over the years. I have always chosen not to never take any offense and to quickly apologize for any offense I may have caused when I have known about it. Having served in many leadership capacities from stake presidency, high council, bishopric member and many others, I now face a completely different struggle. Something has happened in my life that I am unable to disclose fully, but suffice it to say, has made attending meetings next to impossible and left me wondering if the church and it’s doctrines are really true. This situation extends all the way to the office of the 1st presidency and the quorum of the twelve. I know all these brethren are men, but what has been done to me in the course of their interaction with me has been so devastating that I am hurt and I guess offended in a way that I see no way out of. Since my conversion, I’ve always believed that they represent God when functioning in their capacities and stewardships and I can tell you, no God that I believe in would have one of his sons or daughters treated as I have been. So, what am I to do when it was not an individual who has hurt or offended me, but the actual organization that is supposed to provide love, guidance, patience, understanding, joy, peace, comfort and hope? I feel nothing but despair, sadness, grief, emptiness, loneliness and dread when I think of going to sacrament meeting or any other meeting associated with the church. How do I move on? I post this here out of pure desperation. If you choose to reply, I thank you in advance.
I have never held any ‘high’ office . . . probably because of choices I made in a early life and current life situations. I have had years of less active behavior (that I am so sorry for because I love God) . . . and sure, there have been people who said or did things to me to hurt – people in high office that I am sure whose words at that moment did not come from God. They are still just souls like me, inadequate and imperfect. But if the ground shakes and the thunder rumbles and the very jaws of hell gape . . . well! Either the gospel is true or it is not. This I know – it is true – I just know it is from the very burning inside the tiniest cells of my being – through the soul within me – but how can one explain the spirit? I do it poorly. Never the less, I know that it is. But the spirits bears witness to me – not inadequate servants in the organization (and I am one). Who knows what anyone’s struggles are at any given time no matter what their position. However I will support God’s servants until God chooses to remove them, because I know the organization IS Gods. Men, like you and like me and like ‘they’ are still imperfect. I do NOT believe it was the ‘organization’ who offends you. That would be God himself. If Satan can take you down by convincing you of that, what a ‘feather in his cap’ as the saying goes. Trust God, and live. Be patient, as this too shall pass. Move on – if need be- one hour at a time. It will be for your learning as you struggle to become Christlike – and that is your goal. To become like Christ – not like men.
To Strugglingmightily – Hang in there – I am so sorry you are hurting like this. “the actual organisation” is still overseen by men, and I realise that you have mentioned this yourself, but hard as it is to understand, mistakes will always be made. I always go back to Joseph Smith and the belief that there is no way he could have written the Book of Mormon – that is where I get my testimony confirmed. We really must be in the last days with all this confusion going on within the Church. I just feel for you and hope you can find added strength to move on and realise the gospel is beautiful – I am glad I live away from the headquarters – it seems when we are converted and numbers are fewer we take the gospel less for granted and love it more. My very warmest regards to you.
I don’t know if my comment posted. In short, my daughter was denied a civil marriage by a bishop because her paperwork had not gone through for her previous sealing to be cancelled. The Stake President denied her and wanted her to wait for the cancellation to go through. She and her fiancee were already scheduled for a temple sealing, but that had to wait. They had a honeymoon paid for without an ability to cancel it and receive a refund. I felt my daughter was being punished because she was divorced, even though she wasn’t at fault. My faith helped me make it through, and I could have angrily left the church. But I had a flash of inspiration that it was my church, as much as theirs and I wouldn’t let them take it away from me. The Gospel was still the Gospel and true.
Be kind! It’s all about love. It doesn’t matter what we know, what we have read, how often we go to church or anything about Priesthood! If we can’t do this, we are not moving towards anything.
It is NOT our duty to ‘teach’ lessons’ to each other. How narcissistic.
I’m reading these comments and am so saddened to see how so many members of the Church are so extremely petty, selfish and cruel. It re-inforces my conviction that while the Gospel of Christ is always true, unfortunately as Members, His church is not. Let’s make sure we are part of the solution and not the problem.
I think everyone goes through this at some point to be tested. Yes I think that Heavenly Father is testing us when this happens. Especially when it is a priesthood leader who is over us. I think that when we find the courage to over come and support who the Lord has chosen and that he has chosen us to be in this particular ward, that our testimonies are strengthened in Christ. Especially when it is a false accusation. when we are completely at no fault this is the best! we are being persecuted in Christ. When we continue to go to church and support our leaders in spite of- I believe we have just grown in leaps and bounds. But the opposite is true when we falter. If you think to church history and those who were tried and how the blessings came after the trial. There are many examples of this. When in doubt, stand with Christ.
In the situation where the brother was deliberately belittled in front of his quorum, what as the response (if any) of the quorum members to the inappropriate comments?
No one said anything in this case…it was awkward for everyone in there but in the end, no one spoke up. Later on the Bishop spoke with him about it but even still, he was pretty admit that he was in the right and I needed to be taught this lesson.