Thursday, August 29, 2019

Child Abuse and the New Training Module

The new training for leadership of youth isn't great, but it's not terrible. A few thoughts I had while taking it:

This is really good:
"Coercion can occur when a leader compels a child using religious language or authority to imply a spiritual obligation or duty, permission, sanction, punishment, justification, intimidation, or threat. This is contrary to the Savior’s teaching that individuals should lead “only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:41)."
However, I think we need to be more explicit about when someone invokes someone else's authority to justify what they say. Judging someone as not following the prophet because they make choices that don't align with whatever trendy program or catch phrase is most recent is abhorrent, and falls solidly under this category. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

I, the Samaritan

In many ways, I have been richly blessed in my life.

The Spirit led me to a career that has made it possible to support my children. I have been raised in a faith that has sustained me and given me joy when life has often given me little reason for it.

But I am a Samaritan.

I am divorced and remain unmarried. For a host of reasons, I do not anticipate marrying in the temple again, and so I will not marry. To make things worse, I do not easily fit into the typical category of the divorcées and widows, available when the youth need a service project and otherwise silent.

My sins are branded on my face. I could not hide them if I wanted to. They have beaten me, wounded me, left me for dead on the side of the road. They are made plain to me every time I go to church, every time I think longingly of peace I once felt in the temple. There is no escape from being repeatedly reminded of my failures if I want to remain faithful in the Church.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Is "Violence" Really the Right Word?

He sat across from me, behind a desk. He was soft-spoken, the quintessential shy guy in the corner. When he asked me that question, "Is 'violence' really the right word? Doesn't that water down the word 'violence'?" I had been trying to explain to him why I—why people like me—so often felt that the church was not for us.

He knew from a previous discussion I had with him that I had been struggling with the changes in the Church. The efforts to pull back from the burden the church places on people have left many of us at the edges feeling even more adrift and on our own than we already did. 

I had stumbled over trying to explain how the things we teach at church conflict with our lived experience, when the pinnacle of church attendance—being sealed to a spouse for all eternity—was one of the sharpest tools in our abusers' box, and the promise of trying again brings feelings of fear and inadequacy rather than peace and hope. 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

When Charity Causes Death

Have you ever felt that you fail at doing the right thing? Maybe you have tried to be a good spouse, but find yourself always falling short. Maybe you have a coworker who doesn't seem to like you, no matter what you do to mend fences. Maybe you have a child who has chosen to reject your beliefs, and you feel like you have failed them. Or maybe you find yourself battling a destructive habit, only to find yourself succumbing again and again.

This is a feeling with which I have become very well acquainted. The pang of failure has become an old friend at this point in my life. The Lord is working with me differently than He ever has before, to the point that I sometimes wonder if it really is Him.

Today, as I sat during sacrament thinking over these things and trying not to cry, I remembered something that happened to me when I was six years old.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Changes in the Church: Separating the Wheat from the Tares

Sistas in Zion posted this to their Facebook page not long ago. It is a sentiment that I am finding expressed more and more often in the whirlwind of changes in the Church. This idea that the changes in the church will prove those who are truly the Church of God and those who are not.

Those who follow the prophet, do what he says, are those who will be proved faithful, and those who do not are simply not strong enough. The wheat and the tares will finally be separated.

I admit, I've had a very hard time with one of the changes. The manner in which church was shortened and this "Come Follow Me" program was rolled out has been a huge hit to my faith. Because of the 2nd and 4th/1st and 3rd alternate between Sunday School and "the Quorums" as I think of them, my kids will go months without one type of instruction or the other. This policy seems to have sprung from the mind of the privileged, those who have had the luxury of making their kids go to church every week, those who are firmly and safely in the center of the flock.

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