Forced Turning Point

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
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wtfluff
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by wtfluff » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:24 pm

Something just popped into the fluff:

Reply to SP could be: "You are aware I haven't paid tithing in over a year, correct?"

And, to really put the nail in the coffin: "And I don't plan on paying any more tithing in the future..."
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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azflyer
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by azflyer » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:33 pm

Brother Graey,

I have anot posted here in quite a while. A little Red bird suggested I should come here and read your story.

As I read the words you had written, my heart swelled with happiness, and the begginings of little droplets of "moisture" started to form in my eyes. During my departure from the church an understanding bishop like you could have made a world of difference for me and my family. Even though I'm completely inactive, and have no desire to go back to the church, I still look back at my time as an active member very fondly. I know that you could help so many people.

And yet at the same time, I can't imagine the toll this would take on you personally. You're going to have to make a decision. Are you willing to sacrife your own mental health and your own sanity for the benefit and comfort you think you'll be able to bring to your ward over the next five years.

Best of luck to you friend.
Last edited by azflyer on Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Red Ryder
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:36 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:24 pm
Something just popped into the fluff:

Reply to SP could be: "You are aware I haven't paid tithing in over a year, correct?"

And, to really put the nail in the coffin: "And I don't plan on paying any more tithing in the future..."
Nah, just turn it down with a vague statement that you prayed about it and don’t feel it’s the right time. That you plan to leave planet earth and populate a star across the galaxy with your frozen sperm you’ve been keeping in the Ice cube trays in the church kitchen freezer for the last 3 years. :lol: ask if he can bring the trays by the house to save you a trip!

Kidding aside, Graey this has got to be a hard stomach churning decision for you.

Do you disappoint the SP, wife, and family now by saying no, or do you disappoint everyone later when you walk off the job a year or two in?

Or do you accept the calling and do your best like A New Name describes?

Truly a tough decision.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Fletch
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Fletch » Wed Mar 31, 2021 3:40 pm

I haven’t posted in a long time. But I’ve been checking in to this site quite often. I feel like I know you all. Anyway, When graey posted this thread the other day it really got to me. I was a Bishop years ago. I was not sure I could do it again. However after reading through this I am impressed with greays openness. I agree that he can do some good. I am currently a councilor in a bishopric. Just happened recently. It’s mostly managerial. I basically accepted because of my DW and family. It’s no big deal. Like what has been said I like helping people. I’ll never be forced to do anything or say anything I don’t agree with. There are good people in the church. Where I am in life I don’t have to cut the cord because I have problems with church history. I’m just free of the guilt now of the only true church. I’ve had some friends leave the church because of church history. I’ve been able to talk to them and help them realize it’s ok. I tell them I totally understand. I’ve come down hard on the TBM’s who blame them for leaving because of sin. Just stupid. We need to love everyone. You are all so helpful. Don’t forget that. I’m not good at getting my thoughts across. Hope this all makes sense. Drinking a soda, eating popcorn and waiting on graey.
Last edited by Fletch on Thu Apr 01, 2021 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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slavereeno
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by slavereeno » Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:15 pm

Wow! I am out of it for a bit and I come back to this thread!

First, if you choose to proceed, you will certainly make an awesome bishop! But frankly, were I in your shoes, I would decline... I am glad to hear you are connecting with DW and making progress there either way.

Sending my best cosmic vibes your way.

Reuben
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Reuben » Wed Mar 31, 2021 5:44 pm

Corsair wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 12:17 pm
græy wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:05 am
Title and Foreshadowing: What. The. Actual. F***?
I know you probably don't want congratulations or anything like that. Let us know how this is going to proceed for you and your family. Whether or not you accept a call to be a bishop, this strongly indicates that LDS leadership is either desperate or incompetent.
I'll bet the candidate pool is small nowadays. They probably just want buns in the chairs.

A bit off-topic: I very much dislike the word "struggle" when applied to situations like ours. If I struggle, it's with a delusionally arrogant organization, not with my spirituality.
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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Mormorrisey
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Mormorrisey » Wed Mar 31, 2021 6:05 pm

Wow, long, crappy-a$$ day at work, and I thought I'd pop in to see how ol' graey's meeting went, and.....Bishop Graey? Holy crap. The RR curse seems to have struck again! And once again, the spirit of discernment is at an all-time low in Mormondom; either that or they're truly desperate.

In any event, you know what all of us at here at NOM thinks about this development - we all think you would make a great bishop, and could help a lot of people, have some empathy for the marginalized, and as a result we all would support you. But then again, I can't imagine being a bishop knowing what I know now, and as you say, how do you bear testimony of anything? Help with missionary work? Do all the stupid crap a bishop has to do? And if you said no because of all that, we'd support you there too.

I only have one suggestion on the yes side, which was part of my process saying yes to being on the high council. I sat down and wrote a really long email, outlining exactly what I'd be willing to do, and what I wasn't. And frankly, this also helps your SP have no surprises should you, for example, never hold a membership council as a bishop. Just a thought.

And for the no side, well, that's pretty easy. Just say no! In any event, I'm sure the most important decision will take place in the walls of your own home, and that's great that Sis. Graey will support you no matter what you decide. That's the most important thing.

Good luck, man. We're all rooting for you!
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

Spicy McHaggis
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Spicy McHaggis » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:19 pm

wtfluff wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 2:24 pm
Something just popped into the fluff:

Reply to SP could be: "You are aware I haven't paid tithing in over a year, correct?"

And, to really put the nail in the coffin: "And I don't plan on paying any more tithing in the future..."
On this note, why doesn't the church let bishops get off the tithing hook? Bishops are already committing at least 30 hours each week to that role, shouldn't the church tell them they are tithing exempt while they're doing all that work?

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Palerider
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Palerider » Wed Mar 31, 2021 9:54 pm

I'm way too old school for this discussion.

How does a person who knows they don't hold any kind of priesthood, lay hands on a member's head who truly believes in that priesthood and give them a blessing? Set them apart by that authority? Ordain them to the priesthood?

If some SP had told me he never had to reconcile the church and it's history I would say, "Maybe it's time that you do." And then I would have started down the nearest rabbit hole.

Sorry....I think I still carry some repressed anger about the organization. My SP was not kind when I left the church. I understand things have changed a little since then. I'm sure graey would make a fine bishop but how do you hold your nose against the stink for five years??? I couldn't do it.
Plus I would feel like I was deceiving all those true believers who are counting on me/you to have the answers that will reinforce their testimony.

Couldn't do it. Nope. No way.

But if you decide to go ahead....?...?....May the force be with you. Best of luck. 8-)
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Wonderment
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Wonderment » Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:09 pm

In my life, I have accepted some leadership positions in organizations to which I had some objections, because I tried to convince myself that I could change the organization from the inside. This is fine, if the organization is looking for change and looking for leaders to help it do so. But, that is not the church. They are looking for leaders to enforce the status quo -- not change it.

So, because I accepted leadership jobs in organizations I wanted to help change, but who were resistant to change, it didn't work out. First, I found out that I had to persuade people to do things that I wouldn't do. ( like in the instance where a bishop has to encourage members to pay tithes or serve missions). If a member comes to you in anguish about a faith transition, how to you shore up a testimony when you are in a faith transition yourself? Do you tell the member to "doubt your doubts" or "fast and pray about it" when that is something you would not do in your own life?

Second, there were instances where an individual had a moral conflict with the organization, and I was expected to defend the organization, when I greatly wanted to support the individual. You'll be expected to side with the SP and the FP on all sorts of moral issues, and you'll be required to support the SP and the First Presidency. There's hardly any wiggle room there. You would be expected to preside over or attend disciplinary councils or meetings about disfellowshipping or ex-communicating a member. The bishop is not expected to be neutral about gay marriage, transgender children, kids who refuse to serve missions when called, wives opposed to celestial marriage, and so forth. That could cause a lot of cognitive dissonance and stress to you and your family.

You expressed concern that if you declined the calling, then you would be "outed" and would be seen as an apostate in the eyes of your children, and then your children would see you as a disappointment. I don't think that would happen. Children look up to and love a Dad who loves them, is there for them, and who encourages and supports them to live their best lives.

The church has taught us always to say "yes" to its requests and expectations. We are trained to be church-pleasers and to adhere to authority, putting aside our own ideas and needs. I think this is what is happening right now. I wish you the very best, and I know that your children will always love you and look up to you as their father, no matter what happens. -- Wndr.

Cnsl1
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Cnsl1 » Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:29 am

Maybe God really does have a hand in some things about this church.

I got to the thread late and was ready to offer advice on how to decline the offer, using the family filter caveat, which in my experience is nearly always respected. "I feel strongly this calling would not be good for my family right now." We're a family first church and most leaders realize that with big callings come blessings but also potential hardships. A calling is never intended to make things worse for a family.

But it sounds like you accepted it without saying yes, which is interesting and a good story to tell when you give your first talk to the ward as their new bishop.

You're going to be extremely popular with the majority of the ward. A few hardliners will be irritated at times, but conflicted by the understanding that, hey, God called you so... Hah.

Everyone will want to confess their sins to you just because the nature of your personality. When my brother was a bishop, there bishop before him was a very hard liner type, so my bro got very popular very fast. He was already a little nuanced in his belief at the time, and became more so through his tenure. He was the kinder gentler bishop who wanted to love everyone and help everyone to the extent possible, and not excommunicate anyone. I think he had difficulty working with one counselor who was a little more hard nosed, so the lesson there is pick guys you want to work with, not those who seem like the best fit to help with the job. A caveat though is to pick guys who can help manage and administer things too, cuz there's lots of things. There are less real things than the stake would have you believe, however. They'll want you to do lots of things, but you really don't have to do them. They'll set goals for you, but they're not your goals.

You'll be the bishop that gives the edges a voice. The guy who never says "I know the church is true" or other trite cliches. You'll be the guy who gives the recommend to Brother and Sister Jones who haven't had one in years and want to go. Did they finally pay their tithing, Bishop? Yes they did. They are full tithers. And no other explanation is needed cuz you're the bishop and that's private info. Teenager Billy can't progress on the priesthood cuz he masturbates once a week? He's blessing the sacrament now with a clear conscience.

You'll be the bishop who brings a breath of fresh air to your flock. The guy who emphasizes " love your neighbor" over pay your Tithing and obey obey obey. The guy who talks about the essays sometimes, who acknowledges the history difficulties, and who tells us yeah, some of this stuff is weird. Let's all be nice and does anyone need a couch.

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Emower
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Emower » Thu Apr 01, 2021 7:44 am

Hi Graey,

I was also clued in by a cowboy wearing red chaps. I just wanted to come and congratulate you, and to say I think you should decline this. Is it an opportunity to make a difference in peoples lives? Maybe. It is also something that will detract from your quality of life significantly. It seems selfish, but we really do only have one of these lives, and it seems a shame to spend a significant amount of it trying to walk a really difficult line that you don't have to walk. I tried to nuance my way through callings for a while. I was assigned to teach mission prep and I thought it was a great opportunity to introduce some of those topics that were not well known (e.g., rock in the hat, etc.). I made it 2 weeks trying to do that before realizing that it was taking way too much emotional bandwidth, and it was causing severe cog dis in the kids and not in a good way.
You could do some good, but at a high personal/family cost. It's not worth it, frankly.

annotatedbom
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by annotatedbom » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:50 am

Brother Graey,

As I normally have done as a believer and a former believer when someone receives such a calling, I offer my congratulations and my condolences. The congrats and condolences mean even more in my mind because of the interesting spot you find yourself in as a PIMO.

I have no suggestions as to how to respond to the SP about the calling. I know how I would react, but my situation is very different from yours, so my hypothetical response is irrelevant, but I think one part of this thread is so amazing, so I wonder if it might be the key to what you need. You and your wife had a five-hour conversation about this before the meeting. Just ... wow. Seriously, I think that's wonderful. I'm so glad you and she could share that emotional intimacy, and it leaves me wondering if another conversation with her her might be the best way to help you sort this out.

Have you talked wither her since the meeting about all this? I mean have you had another heart-to-heart, shared your concerns, fears, apprehension, hopes and optimism regarding the calling, etc.? Can she help you out not only sorting through that, but also to sort out ahead of time what parameters and boundaries you would want if you accept and minister to your congregation as bishop? Would it be about changing the Church or the ward, or would it be about making differences in the lives of individuals you minister to? If you believe in God, do you think your God can get behind this, or would she or he prefer a different path? Just what you needed right, more questions.

At any rate, though this may say something about Mormon revelation and inspiration, I think it may say more about you. I suspect you are a good and kind person and that the SP is inspired by your goodness and kindness, if not by the Spirit of God. If you are the good and kind guy I think you are, I'm not worried about what you decide to do with the calling because I'd wager you'll continue to do good no matter which way you go with this.

My best amigo,
A-BoM

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alas
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by alas » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:30 am

About baring your testimony, make it all about Christ and loving each other. That way, you are actually taking your ward in a good direction. Don’t make it about the institutional church, because the church is just a tool to bring us to Christ. The institutional church should not be worshipped as true, because that makes it into an idol. Might as well build a golden calf as stand before a ward and put the church in the place that only Christ should be. So, you’ll do fine if you just keep it about love and all the good things Christ taught.

You can finally have that Sunday school lesson (series) on some of the problems in church history, and maybe do the same kind of thing there. Sure, there are problems with the way church history is taught, but that doesn’t change the gospel of Jesus Christ a bit. Maybe the BOM is not historically true, but then parts of the Bible are not historically true either. But what can we learn from it? There is truth there, even if it is not history.

The church should be a vehicle to help us get closer to God and learn to love our neighbor. You can make at least your ward into something a little closer to that ideal.

As far as changing the church, sure if you go in thinking you will change big things you are going to be hitting your head against a brick wall. But if you accept the idea that you can teach more love and less judgement as the only change you want to make, that gives you enough to work on.

Good luck.

Reuben
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Reuben » Thu Apr 01, 2021 10:54 am

First, graey, wow. Wow.

If you do accept this calling, you can delegate almost all the tasks that would make your stomach turn. No bishop can do everything a bishop is responsible for anyway. Find people to do them who love people as deeply as you do.

If you don't accept it, it's not the end of the world, and not nearly as bad as you might be afraid it will be. It might even be good overall.

Good luck! We've got your back no matter what.
Learn to doubt the stories you tell about yourselves and your adversaries.

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Angel
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by Angel » Fri Apr 02, 2021 8:14 am

græy wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:05 am
Title and Foreshadowing: What. The. Actual. F***?

Return and Report:

...

"President Græy, I have here in front of me a letter from the first presidency authorizing me to call you to be the next bishop of your ward. ...
Not wanting to be a wet blanket and I know you are older and wiser than I am, but I just wanted to share two incents I had with bishops that were my turning point.

#1: Homeless girl shows up at church in blue jeans and tank top, scars visible on her shoulders. I was RS secretary at the time, sat down with her to get info if she was in our area to add her name and records. Was told by our bishop "people like that, I just give them gas money and send them on their way.".... I did not send her on her way, she lived at our house for almost a year (until one of her family members who had been abusive to her killed them-self, and it was again safe for her to live with family members.) .... moral of the story, the church has NO resources for people like this, and I am hopeful that you will become acquainted with community groups and other church groups who do have resources. (Baptist church near us gave her a car, Catholic church supplied doctors and healthcare, you will need to become familiar with protective services in your area, and I really hope you consider yourself to be a "mandated reporter" when it comes to stuff like this.

mandated reporter in all things - please put the welfare of victims above the welfare of their abusers. Victims will not talk to you if you are friendly to their abusers, and you will be perpetuating and enabling abuse to continue.

#2: Bishop giving callings and temple recommends to pedophiles. I'm not sure how much experience you have with pedophiles? or abuse? 25% of women have been assaulted. 1/4. 5% of adult men are pedophiles - that means in a ward of around 500, there will be 25 pedophiles in your congregation. The thing about pedophiles, is they are very good at grooming, one of those "I can't believe so and so would ever do that, they are such a gentle, loving, caring individual..." sorts of deals. Please realize the horror of little children watching everyone in the congregation raise their hand to sustain and congratulate someone who has been molesting's them for years and years. The spirit is NOT real, it will NOT warn you who these individual are. I'm sure you are familiar with https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJMSU8Qj6Go ... When you are trying to find who is "worthy", please have a conversation with the kids they are around before extending any calling to them. Anyone who has been in any addiction recovery groups - should not work with kids. Often what they share in those groups is the tip of the ice burg, just enough to get abused family members to not seek professional, real, help. Those addiction recovery groups enable abuse to continue.

#3: Messed up women who will seek to become "too" close to you. Make it a policy from the start that you will never have 1-on-1 interviews with anyone - not kids or adults.

Hope you stay safe, hope you get people the professional help that they need, hope they do not take advantage of you and eat you alive....

best wishes.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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nibbler
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by nibbler » Fri Apr 02, 2021 4:54 pm

græy wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:37 am
wtfluff wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:36 am
græy wrote:
Wed Mar 31, 2021 11:05 am
He concluded saying that he felt the lord was calling me for a reason :roll: (isn't that what we tell EVERYONE for EVERY calling?). He then said he'd tentatively say I was accepting the calling, but that if I really felt bad about it I could call him within the next day.
Did I miss the part where you said any word close to "yes" or hinted at any sort of acceptance of this 5-year-sentence?
You did not. I never said yes. I was given a day to opt-out.
A day? lol. It's like the reverse of trying to negotiate a price when buying a car.

"You know, another couple was on the lot this morning looking at this exact same car and they said they'd be back in the afternoon."

"You know, it's going to take more effort to find someone else, so if you don't want the calling let me know. No one is coming this afternoon to take this opening off my hands."
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

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MoPag
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by MoPag » Fri Apr 02, 2021 6:34 pm

Wow Graey!!!!!

What ever you decide, we are here for you.
...walked eye-deep in hell
believing in old men’s lies...--Ezra Pound

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StarbucksMom
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by StarbucksMom » Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:37 am

Graey, I can’t even imagine what you are going through, feeling torn about your wife’s feelings, trying to make a difference serving others, your loss of testimony & rhe stress this would cause & on and on.

I have known a faithful, fully believing bishop who moved (and stayed active) to get out of his calling after 2 years because it was causing way too much stress for his family. I have known other bishops whose families were under tremendous stress also, but who stayed in. Are you willing to give up at least 5 years of your life for a mega real estate corporation masquerading as Jesus’ church, working a 2nd full time job for them for free? When they could easily give you some stipend or pay but are too greedy to do so? Are you willing to ask members every year if they contribute 10% of their income to the corp’s 150+billion investment funds instead of their own retirement/family needs? And on and on..... Or can you say you prayed and are not able to accept at this time? And send a msg to LDSinc that all is not perfect in Zion and eventually they will need a paid clergy? (at least in a small way if it’s a second job.) Hope whatever you decide you and your family are at peace with it.

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græy
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Re: Forced Turning Point

Post by græy » Mon Apr 05, 2021 9:01 am

First off, I have to thank everyone for sharing support. I started typing out individual replies and thank yous, but there are too many. You're all life-savers. Thank you! ;)

This week has spawned a strange mix of emotions and HOURS upon HOURS of conversations with Mrs. Græy - most of it ended well, but all of it was pretty difficult to wade through.

DW jumped the gun after the interview and alerted both her parents and my parents as to what was going on with callings. I have had some conversations with her parents in the past and gave indications that I have pretty grave doubts about the church. Her mother has directly asked her a few times whether I was leaving the church. As soon as they heard the news my inlaws called to tell me over and over how this calling would resolve all my concerns. Her father, who has been a bishop himself, went on and on about how being a bishop was SO SUPER SPECIAL and gives you access to inspiration and revelation most people never have. The whole conversation just felt so... shallow. But it did open doors for more discussion with DW.

She has also been on a rollercoaster this week. One minute she's sure this is God personally stepping in to help me figure out my questions. The next, she's questioning whether or not there is any amount of inspiration in church callings at all. She's told me "I think you will be a GREAT bishop" and then without skipping a beat her very next thought is "I don't think I could come to you for a blessing, and I'm not sure people in the ward should either." Probably both of those statements are true, but they don't both fit under the mormon mold of bishop. At that point I was literally pulling out my phone to call SP and decline, but she stopped me.

I've had to re-explain and re-iterate my current standing as a believing agnostic. Not because I have any particluar reasons to believe, its just that it feels a tad more comfortable than atheist agnostic. The BoM is NOT historical. The BoA is NOT historical. This Bible is hardly any better. The priesthood is a manufactured construct to maintain hierarchy, and has no power besides as a placebo. I couldn't care less if people pay tithing or attend the temple, though if they find benefit in doing so, all power to them.

I also believe that service lifts us all up - whether that is due to some eternal law of "love God and love your neighbor" or simply because we are evolutionarily social creature who depend on and benefit from working together - I don't really care. I feel good helping people. Sometimes that looks like moving furniture for a friend or laying sod for a neighbor. Sometimes it looks like praying with people or even praying with your hands on their head. If the 88 year old lady in the retirement complex a few miles away finds comfort in that, I can do that for her.

This led to conversations with DW about a spectrum of belief. For any "worthy priesthood holder" from whom you ask for a blessing, that person will be on a spectrum of belief. They might accept evolution as science indicates or they might believe in young earth. They might believe Lamanites comprise of all Native Americans or they mighit believe limited geography. They might not even believe the BoM to be historical at all. The point is YOU DON'T KNOW. For the most part you assume their beliefs match yours, and that assumption is enough to believe in their magical powers. So where is the line? Where is the line on that spectrum of belief that once you know it exists, they are no longer "worthy" enough to give a blessing? You take it on faith that their prayer is effective and (whether a plecebo or not) it helps comfort you. Maybe that comfort even leads to some degree of healing. In my mind, those blessings are no more effective than a budhist mother sitting at a butsudan shrine in her home praying for protection over her children as they walk to school. But they serve a purpose for that individual.

That conversation apprently did have an effect on Mrs. Græy. She later expressed that she felt I could/should give blessings and she was wrong to think she couldn't come to me. (Her words, not mine. I did nothing but validate her reasons for questioning where I stand.)

And on and on and on.

Eventually, I had a conversation with my own father. He and my mother have always been active members of the church. They weren't the most hardcore believers - they occasionally "missed" tithing payments, rarely went to the temple except for family events, and watched their share of R movies while I was growing up. But they were excited to say they would make the 2-day drive (my dad HATES flying) to be here for the "big day". In an extremely rare moment of emotional vulnerability and through tears (unheard of for my dad) my father shared how profoundly he felt his failings as a father, but felt that seeing his children take steps like this was God letting him know that he did okay. They were excellent parents, and I've probably told them that hundreds of times. This felt different. I don't know how many years my dad has left, but I don't want him to spend them feeling like a failure.

This is getting too long already, and only touches on some of what has gone into this decision process. In the end - I did not call the SP and reject the calling. In effect, I am accepting it. Though, I'm still definitely coming to terms with that means and what it will look like.

I have two very good friends in this ward. I would absolutely describe one of them as orthodox. He has had (and is in) leadership positions much like mine. We are very close with his family and have vacationed together for several years. While we don't see eye to eye on theological points, we have been able to have good conversations about those points and walk away on very good terms. My other friend is a little more... flexible. I don't believe he has had any leadership callings beyond EQ counselor. But he and I have played competitive sports together for years and I believe we have a friendship that goes far beyond the church. I plan to ask them to be counselors for me.

I will enjoy fun activities with the youth. We will do service projects (never cleaning the church) and we're going to put our waverunner to use as much as possible. I will never ask sexual questions during any interviews - if I ask any of the prescribed questions at all. My priority would be letting the youth know they are all worthy, ALWAYS. Whenever possible, I will request that parents be in the room to share the interview process with their children - the same goes for my counselors. No one-on-one interviews.

I will share my "testimony" of Christ-like service, but will never talk of the church's truth claims or historical events - they aren't real and don't matter. I will never be able to change the church as a whole. But maybe there is some good that can come of this.

Mrs. Græy has also indicated that if I can give this calling a chance, she would also be more willing to sit with me and discuss actual church history. That may be enough of a reason by itself, though I don't think I should count those chickens until they hatch.

Besides, we've been talking about getting a house with one more bedroom for a while now. Worst case scenario, we'll just finally commit to that and get out of dodge.

Thank you again, NOM family. I hope this wall of text makes sense to you. It still just seems too surreal to me. One minute I'm somewhat at peace with this, the next I can start to make myself sick. As I've said before, anxiety alone would have done me in long ago if not for this community - if not for each of you. I think I will need this place more than ever in the coming months (years :( ).
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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