August 21, 2006

Someone snitched on me!

Well, I got home from work Friday to find a card in the mail from the high priest group leader in my ward. Some of the card referred to the incident with my home teacher that I wrote about last week. Apparently someone contacted my ward about my questioning of the church! The only people that I talked to about this was through an e-mail to my friend who is 25 and single who moved from my ward to Utah a while ago, and I e-mailed my LDS Austrian friend (host sister from my year as an exchange student) whom I doubt called my ward, but you never know. I thought I could talk to them as trusted friends and get their thoughts without this happening, but obviously not.

Here is the card I got.

The front of the card has a sailboat and says "Destiny is a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." Winston Churchill

"Dearest Lisa,

Last Sunday (your home teacher) asked to speak with me. He was very distraught about something he had said to you at church. He went on to explain what had happened and as to what I felt he should do. I told him to apologize to you. I hope he has done so.

I sense somehow that you have been so offended by his remarks and perhaps others that you have become discouraged and angry. Even to the point of questioning your membership.

Let me just say this. The moment you decided to go to the Temple and take out your endowments, Satan began to attack you. I hope you can look back in your life and see that this is so. He will use others in your life to try to stop your eternal progression. He will beat your house down in every way he can. Do not be surprised at this. He is very clever and very effective at what he does. Please do not be fooled. Please forgive (your home teacher) and others that say hurtful things. Please forgive those that agree with how evil the church is, for they are used as a pawn by Satan to discourage you as well. Please forgive yourself for allowing people to influence what you know to be true. For in your heart of hearts you know the church is true. You have felt the spirit touch you in the past to witness to you that it is true.

My heart is full of love for you and your sweet family. Don't worry about these things of Satan. Love your little ones, love your husband, he is a good man. Be patient with members of the church who don't do well. Take your sorrows and offenses to Heavenly Father and ask Him to heal your broken heart. I promise you now that He will assist you in this quest.

I am so sorry this has happened to you. I am not all. God & Christ love you so much AND Satan knows that so he will do everything to stop you. Deny the voices in your head. Say - STOP it! Stop it! Stop it! all the day long. (He underlined that part)

As always I send my love and best personal regards. May you feel the love of Christ in your life. May the angels protect you from Satan's grasp. This too will pass...I promise.

All my love,

Bro. ( )

P.S. Call me if you want to talk about this."


Here is my response letter. I haven't mailed it yet but I probably will today. Any thoughts or advice? My hubby thinks I should just ignore and throw away the card I got, and not respond to it at all. He says it sounds like fear tactics and he thinks it's lame. However, I wanted to let them know that nobody at church offended me, as they so obviously wish were the case, and show that in my eyes Satan never did any deceiving in order to not let me get to the temple. It was all because of the directive from the church to deny me my recommend if my husband didn't "allow" it.

Dear Bro. ( ),

I’d like to thank you for your thoughtful card. I really appreciated it. I have never been offended by anyone at church. I was very irritated by (my home teacher) not believing me when I talked to him. After having taught him in Gospel Essentials for over 3 years, I feel like I know him fairly well, and I’m frankly surprised that anyone would feel like it’d be a good idea to assign him as home teacher to any part-member family. Thankfully this is no longer my concern.

In response to your sense that I’ve been offended by others to become discouraged and angry to the point of questioning my membership…I’m not quite sure why you would assume this. I have never felt that way.

I have been praying a lot and studying the gospel, just as the scriptures admonish me to do to confirm truth to myself. I assure you I am not in Satan’s grasp nor have I ever been. I have never heard the church is evil from any source.

As for my eternal progression…You may not realize that I desired to attend the temple to take out my endowment over 6 years ago. I went through the temple prep class and I was so excited and anxious to finally reach this special milestone. After the class my husband and I were asked to the bishop’s office for my first interview to get my recommend. It was during this interview that I first learned that the church will not allow me to attend the temple if I don’t have written permission from my husband. Dart was shocked that the church would require a righteous, good, grown woman to get permission for something righteous she wants to do, therefore he couldn’t and wouldn’t give his permission. This has been the only evidence in my life of others trying to stop my eternal progression, and it originated in the gospel. One question I’ve always had but have been afraid to ask: If I had been born a man, would I have been required to get written permission from my non-member wife if I wanted to attend the temple?

As you can see from my attendance at church and my constant striving to be good…not even this has caused me to have a broken heart. I can see no evidence where Satan has tempted me. I am taking the temple prep class again with my sister Tonya. It’s been difficult to coordinate schedules with her as we juggle her 60 hour work week, my 40 hour work week, and our family lives with 3 kids each. Neither of us feel a pressure to hurry, as we know God loves us regardless, and we are doing our best.

Thank you for your thoughts and concern. You may rest assured that I’ve never felt God’s personal love for me and my family more than I do right now.


La said...

As a pawn of Satan, I'd like to step forward and bear witness of the vomit-inducing nature of that dude's letter.

"Deny the voices in your head"???
**wretching at the stupidity**

"Please forgive yourself for allowing people to influence what you know to be true"???
**chocking back the bile**

I must say your response is certainly more level-headed than anything I could come up with. Kudos to you!

Ok, I better go fester in my Satanic cest-pool now.

Equality said...

Great letter. I think you should definitely answer the HPGL's letter to you. The WORST thing is for the ward leadership to get the idea that you are going inactive or having doubts because you have been offended by someone. If they think you have sinned, that's bad for your rep., but they usually leave you alone. If they think you are an intellectual leaving for those reasons, they'll also leave you alone because they have no clue how to answer the tough questions you'd have for them. But offended--now, see, there's something they can work with. If they think that, you will suffer a love-bombing like you've never seen before. This letter is just the beginning. The YW's will "heart attack" your front yard. The YM's will come do service at your house. The Bishop will "drop by" to see how you are doing. Ditto the RS Pres. It'll be a full-court press. It's the only kind of inactivity they understand and can do anything about. So, yes, you have GOT to get that idea out of their heads if at all possible (it may not be possible--members like to assume that inactives have either been offended or want to sin. That anyone might actually no longer believe in the church is unfathomable to them).

What I find most offensive about the HP leader's letter is his obviously complete lack of awareness at how paranoid and deranged he would sound to any rational non-LDS (or non-fundamentalist) person. It's like he was channeling Dana Carvey.

Mason said...

I'd say your HPGL is a little too obsessed with Satan. I would say there are voices in HIS head that need to be denied.

The sad part is that you can tell he genuinely believes the "spirit" of his disturbing message will shock you back into place.

Some people never learn.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Yep. I could take his advice and "forgive myself for (allowing the church) to influence me now with what I really know is true.

Yuck. Sad part is he's a really nice guy, and of course he doesn't see this as offensive. Sigh.

schmeg said...

Ok, so don't hate me because I'm too tactless to think of a way to sugar-coat my words. This is just me....
(1) I am a FIRM believer in those pesky little "voices in your head"... It's called the still small voice and it's not allowed to steer anyone wrong. Trust me on this one. 30% of the trouble I find in my life is because I DO listen very carefully to it's advice and follow it. Another 40% of the troubles in my life are because I think I am smarter, have more facts than they do, or think I'm sneaky enough to get around them. I can contribute 20% of my problems to circumstances that have nothing whatsoever to do with me (God's tests, maybe?) and the other 10% are because I choose them in the name of the ones I love, can help, have a soft heart, or whatever. What on earth am I even talking about, you are now asking yourself? Both of those MoMen are partially right. I believe Satan is working on you hard at this time in your life. The @#$%^ who started the whole thing probably is truly sorry for some of the things he said & did. I've shown my ass and regretted it before, we all have. Cut him a break, find a way to ease his guilt without betraying your truth -- you'll both feel a lot better for it and you can part ways. The HP leader is giving you his heart-felt advice. Don't be harsh on him, either. He is most likely reacting to the situation in much the same manner as you would have done to someone you cared about a year ago (you know what I mean). Send him a card with 3 simple sentences on it thanking him for his concern and effort on your behalf, tell him you'll think/pray about it and that you just need a little time to make some small adjustments in your life and that you'd appreciate not being pressured (or'll say it better than I just did). --I seem to recall some serious hatemail my mom received from our home teacher when the news of her divorce from my very righteous, pillar of the church, father spread through the ward. In fact, our whole family pretty much got ostracized by that ward because of it.
But I digress ... I hate to admit it, but Dart is right on this one. (Although a c----S--- for not actually going with you every sunday). The church does teach some very basic, good things. Very big on building/keeping strong family values. Parent date night once a week, no kids or extended families involved...even if it means a 1 hr picnic in the park together. Sunday is set aside for the Lord and families. If that means the family wants to get home from church and watch nascar, so be it. If it means going outside and playing catch, jumping on tramp, or "spring cleaning" the garage, so be it. If it means having the in-laws over for games, why not? These are the good, lasting memories our children will cherish until the day they die with their great-grandchildren at their bedside. And, please, Lord, don't strike me dead for saying this aloud, but if it even means that you take the family out to dinner, at the resaraunt so the cook in the family can have a day of rest as well ... hmmmmmm ... I am seriously doubting that God is going to banish anyone into outer darkness for such a grave sin. In fact, the bible teaches that we are all here on this earth so that we might have joy ("Men are that they might have joy"). These are some of the things I really do believe. Smoking is bad. Drinking is bad. Drugs are bad. Children DO need strict guidelines so we CAN teach them the things they need to know to be successful in this life, on this earth, and to pass this "test". They also need every single ounce of love we can possibly muster for them. But, man --- aren't they sooo worth it? They deserve it. It's HARD to be 3 yrs old!!! Sometimes, Mom's are indiculous! And sometimes, every single one of us still "mess up", do/say the wrong thing, make mistakes. Duh!!! When these things happen, we need to "make it right". Do unto others... Try to be like Jesus.
These are things I know in my human, flawed heart and mind are true.
I know 3 men. For lack of anything else, I will refer to them as J, A, and D. None of them have ever been Mo, and they are all married to women who are. Each and every one of them have more of (the above referenced personal beliefs of mine) in their pinky toe toenails than my "pillar of the church" father could even begin to comprehend. They respect their wives. They respect and love and discipline their kids. They try to do what's right. They don't follow Satan's original plan of "forcing" good on those around them. They do their best to not judge and be understanding of those around them. Sounds to me like they pretty much live their lives as Jesus did.... Go figure. In my softer moments, sometimes I even might admit (hey-where's my beer?!?!?!) that they deserve their wives.
Are their wives victims of brain-wash? Are these men sooo damn good at manipulation, deceit and evil plots that they have hornswaggled their poor, innocent, brainless "help-meets"?!?! I'll let you make that call for yourselves. (GOSH DARNIT!!! Did I just give my gender away! Holy Hannah! I think maybe I might have! Somebody, QUICK, slap me in the face with a metal plate for having the audacity to THINK. For MYSELF! ... That does it, I'm gettin' sent not to outer darkness, but to the land of the Zogod's when I die ... I better quit smoking and drinking immediately to prolong the day when this fate is wrought upon my feeble soul...)
Well, since I seem to be on a roll ... you know the one? It's the one where I know everything. Yeah, that one... I might as well throw all the bloggers before me (and you as well, sister mary lisa) a bone. I need to make you all feel a little better about how you feel, and maybe impart some of my infinite wisdom upon you.
Facts I didn't see you "guys" mention about the Mo and their teachings:
The difference between the current LDS and FLDS church is that when BY died, his oldest son thought he should be the leader of the church as opposed to someone else who proclaimed to be "called of God" to lead it. One led the church this way (because God told him to ... and the fact that the US made it unlawful to have plural wives at that exact time frame)and the FLDS members (also having made that hideous hand-cart driven, deadly, trek across the US because of their belief and faith in the church)stuck to the "true" teachings that JS and BY taught them. Put yourself in their shoes for a minute, here, if you don't mind. Back in that day and age, after having gone thru all that they did for their "freedom of religion" what would you have chosen? Be honest, now.
My Grandmother, bless her soul, is currently helping my brother, who died of SIDS when I was a toddler, watch over and protect me and my kids every day. She died because my mentally insane aunt brought her current boyfriend at the time to her house. The boyfriend claimed that he was the other "Son of God" to live on this earth and heal the sick. My Gma wasn't sick. She was as strong as a horse and had been her whole life. She was on med's for high blood pressure and diabetes, took several pills/shots a day to keep it in check, but otherwise healthy and independent and loving. This man, in front of the entire family at the dinner table, put his hand on her forehead and told her she was cured of all her ailments. Nobody thought a thing of it. Obviously a cooook.... until a week later when she had several strokes in a row, caused by going cold-turkey off her med's because the son of God had "healed" her. Jesus died on the cross because the lawmakers of the time did not believe he was the Son of God. What would you have done, in that day and age? Be honest, now.
Found myself on another tangent there, sorry! Really. Now, back to the point at hand. Women were not even allowed in Mo's Temples until the 1950-60's. That time frame ring a bell to anyone? I know. The Women's Lib movement in the US when the politicians finally had to acknowledge the fact that beings with boobs are actually human, have thoughts, ideas, brains, feelings... you get the idea. Mormon men only change their views, beliefs and tactics when they have to -- ie: people of a differnt skin color, people with boobs, boys who can't hide the fact that their voices are changing (why that age for missions? ... things that make you go hmmm)
Have you ever thought about racism, stereo-types, controlling/abusive personalities? These things are tied together. All in the same general category. None of them fit in the teachings of Christ, the Bible(or the other books). MoMen have a very distinct stereotype from men that have never been Mo. Don't believe me? Ask a couple Non-MoMen. Guaranteed you'll get the same answer I've gotten. I have talked to J, A and D about it. Many, many, many others for that matter. My "DadSmitman" and my "AlmostPappa" are some others I can name who do not disagree with this st.type. S---! MY father, in my opinion fits it to a T. Controlling, Abusive, Superior, Self-Righteous, Selfish, to name a few.
When my Mom decided to divorce my dad, he slept in the church parking lot for sympathy until the "powers that be" in the stake had made the decision to ex-comm him. Then he fled to UT, where he is once again a "pillar of the Church". My Mom then married another man who had been "dis-fellowshipped" from the Church in that town, also for abusing his family, until he, too, fled to UT and was again accepted into the fold.
When I was in my "formative years" ... aka-a teenager, all of this was happening to me at the same time. Trying to figure me out, trying to keep grades up, trying to keep my siblings from getting beaten with a belt daily, trying to protect the young ones in my family, trying to please my parents, do my chores, keep the peace, write for the newspaper and yearbook, hold down a full-time job at Wendy's (which I generally walked to)getting kicked out of my house in the middle of the school year, growing boobs (which hurts like hell), having cramps, you name it... Stress!! Getting called "Stupid" daily at home and going to school and work where everyone thought I may as well walk on water. Didn't take me long to ask the big ? ... How come everyone in my public life thinks the complete opposite of the adults in my family life? 1+1 is not equalling 2 here. Are my dad and the Church right about me? And if so, how? I'm not trying to be deceiptful, fake, insane... I don't feel like I am... But, this 100 people and that other 100 people cannot possibly both be right about their honest, heart-felt assessments of me. What is a 13-19 yr. old supposed to do then? How can these ?'s be answered? So, I did what I was taught. I prayed. I wrote in my journals. I got nowhere. Did that faithfully, night and day. For years. The frustration mounted more and more every minute of every day. Until one day...
My Mom went to a week-long thing at BYU and one of the teachers in one of the seminars said something that changed my life forever - I finally found peace and happiness within myself.
It was just this -- (I won't put it in ""'s, but this is the jist of what he sai.) Until you find your own way of prayer that works for you, personally, just do one thing. Put a clock, alarm clock, the clock in your car, your watch, whatever it is... in your immediate view, twice a day, morning and night, for a FULL 15 minutes a piece and talk to God. Pray. Talk to God like you would talk to your best friend or the one you look up to the most. Talk about anything, everything, what you ate for lunch, what the neighbor's dog did to your mailbox, anything, everything... it just has to be for the FULL 15 minutes in the morning and again at night. Do it until you're pissed at the time it takes. Do it until you are laughing at your own silliness. Do it until your friends and family quit laughing and accept you for the nut-case you know you are. Do it until prayer becomes a habit in your life. Before you know it, you'll find yourself accidentally praying short 45 sec. prayers in the middle of your day in your head. If you have to, pretend that you are just having a conversation with yourself. Do it until you have no doubts that you are a full and bonafide FREAK. because once you get to that stage, you'll suddenly realize that the still small voice has a name. It has a face or two. It doesn't lie. It tells you the truth every single time. Every single minute and every single day. My still small voice has 2 very loud voices and I even know the names. My bro who died of SIDS and my Gma.
Now that we've established that I really am not the one who knows it all.... All I can say is there was never a bigger skeptic than me at that time and place in my life, and because I knew it wouldn't work I did it just to prove that speaker wrong.
In hind-sight, I thank God for my rebellious attitude of the time and my age, because I got proved very, very wrong. When I pray nowadays, I never forget to thank Him and Them for their influence in my life and the lives of my beautiful children and my best friend, J.

So Take That, SisterMaryLisa. I shiver to think of how long it's gonna take you to ask my opinion again. I honestly did not mean to be preachy here. These are my true, real, and heart-felt thoughts and feelings. Is someone gonna Out-Blog me? I'm excited to see it!!! I love you, wish I could take your pain away. I've been there and it makes me wanna cry for you. I'd do it for ya if I could, Sis! Belts will never hurt like that and it hurts my heart that you have to go thru it.

"I think that God has a sick sense of humor and when I die, I expect to find him - laughing" ....

Sister Mary Lisa said...

Wow, Schmeg, thanks for your (many!) words. So are you telling me to persevere in the LDS church or what? I appreciate all your thoughts!

Threads of the Divine said...

I love your post. I love LA too. As you can see, you're not the only pawn of Satan. All I can say is to just be true to yourself. Don't leave the church for any other reason than that it's a load of shit. Spreading the truth at that point is the only option.

Sideon said...

Your response was beautiful.

The recipient won't "get it" but it's not up to you to educate them. It's up to you to take care of your own well-being and beliefs.

beatdad said...

Wow sml, schmegs comment was longer than your blog child prevented me from reading. Oh well.

Maybe, if I keep reading your posts I might find out, but Do the Charch leaders in your ward think that you are in Satan's grasp?

I am always vaguely aware of that "Satan's grasp" thing could be going on in the heads of my dear TBM sibs.

It is kind of disturbing.