What do you do when…
- It’s been over a year (possibly two) since your child has had a lesson in Primary class.
- It’s been several months since your child’s (different child than #1) Primary teacher has even shown up and she asks you, “Doesn’t she like me?”
- The suggestion of service projects for the youth rather than video gaming nights, facebook parties, and movies all the time, is met with shock and judgement that you simply don’t know what kids are into these days?<
- Your son is being accused, along with another boy, of things they are not doing to disrupt and cause irreverence. It’s guilt by association, and no matter what you say, no one really believes what your son says is going on or what you say.
What do you do when church goes wrong?
I know a lady. “The Crazy Lady” as she is called. Let me tell you that the ward she lives within is absolutely positively crazy. It would take me way too long to explain, but just know we lived there for 4 years and have been gone for 5, I am still trying to fill my spiritual well from the draining it took there. When we tell tales of the place, we get comments such as, “Really?! Are you sure you weren’t in a third world country?” I am telling you people it’s bad. Inbreeding might have had something to do with it. But there was plenty else too. Okay, I just have to share this one thing.
The first Sunday we attended, I went to take my son to nursery. I stuck around even though he was fine because I just got a weird vibe. The “nursery leader” was MIA. In her place, was her daughter (15) and her daughter’s boyfriend. They sat in the reclining chair in the corner making out. I am not joking. Turns out the “nursery leader” wasn’t MIA she was just assuming her regular spot in the kitchen preparing french toast, bacon, and eggs, for the little ones because they get so hungry. After their feast, and plenty of syrup being slimed all over the place, never to be cleaned up, it was time for war. Hitting, kicking, punching, biting, full on wrestling on the ground, it was a battlefield that’s for sure, but I was told it was “just fine” and not to worry, “they are just being children.” During the last hour, when I thought we were gathering for some sort of lesson, there was extreme excitement in the room. I thought, “Okay, so it’s not what I grew up with or am used to at all, but at least they are excited about learning about Christ and his Gospel.” Stop laughing! One of the aunts (I am not kidding about inbreeding) comes in (I guess she needed a break from class) and dumps a huge bag of McDonald’s french fries in the middle of the table. They jumped on them like wild pigs in a brawl. I could not believe my eyes. Needless to say, there was no lesson and the fries showed up every week. Let your mind run wild about what happened in Primary. I promise you could not imagine it if you tried. I’ll get you started, they didn’t even have manuals for teaching. One more teaser, blood and stitches were not uncommon. I bawled the entire way home and asked my husband if there was any possible way to get out of the mortgage we just signed on. Okay, just one more.
The Bishop’s wife declared over the pulpit that their openly gay son was born with the wrong spirit and that he would not be held accountable for his actions. His spirit was female and so the Lord wanted him to live as a female and he would make the necessary changes in the next life. He was called as a Primary teacher the next Sunday. No joke. Now just so I don’t seem like a hypocrite when you read the next part, let me state that I really don’t care if that’s what she believes and what they want to go with. I don’t. I will say, however, that don’t think it’s appropriate for it to be mentioned over the pulpit and presented as doctrine. The Bishop never did say anything about it, but you could see him nodding his head emphatically the entire time she was speaking of it.
Anyhoo, so I know this lady. Her approach was to not attend church with her family and refuse callings due to the extreme nature of things going on in this ward. She felt the spiritual welfare of her children was in jeopardy. They would attend on occasion and stay for Sacrament Meeting only. On Fast Sunday, you knew they would be sharing their testimonies. It wasn’t anything crazy either. It was solid and true, first time you’d felt the spirit at church in a really long time good.
I was her VT and we had a great relationship. I learned much from her, and then. Then I joined the crazy judgmental train that was that ward. How? I have no idea, and I am ashamed of it. From the Bishop on down, the mission was to “help” her see how insane she really was and “help” her “come back to Christ”. Not a single one of us had true intentions of “helping” her; not like I understand charity anyway. It was all about manipulation and “helping”, rather forcing, her to see it our way. She HAD to attend church or she was damned, and she was RUINING her children by the choice she made. The choice, I might mention, that came after much fasting and prayer, temple attendance, and careful study. The choice that was made as a result of personal revelation.
I can tell you that we have lived many places in our married life, and I was in many different wards in Utah and Arizona before getting married. You could say I have seen a few families. I have never seen any family, and I know some marvelous ones, that lives the gospel more fully and wholeheartedly than the “Crazy Lady’s” family. The children that are of age have served missions and currently hold callings. They are seriously faithful and christlike and are crucial in their current roles helping the youth of that branch to see a better way than has been there for so incredibly long. They are fighting the good fight in the most kind and non-judgmental manner I have ever seen and real change is taking place where it matters. The lives they are touching and influencing are benefitted more than words can say. I am not sure they could have turned out that way had their church experience been at the church building instead of their home. Do you know what is still said about their mother and their family? Yep, you guessed it, she is still the “Crazy Lady” that did it all wrong, and ruined her children. Even better, they are still trying to find the “celestial room” purported to be in or under her house somewhere. Again, not joking.
So, in my navigation of what is best for my children, I think of her and remember that doing what is best for your children might not always fit the mold. I am also careful to remember that doing what someone else did is not the same as receiving your own inspiration.