This life gets bitterly cold.
I recently had a conversation with my bishop about not being a home teacher anymore because I was struggling in my beliefs regarding the sincerity and integrity of the church as an organization.
I told him how I believed many of the members to be hypocritical. Which he did not deny. In fact, he supported the claim.
Then, he proceeded to relate to me that the church as an organization was not perfect, and would not be used after the second coming and all that, all of which I knew.
He then stated that it was there to be a guide for man to be able to rejoin Heavenly Father. A kind of spiritual hospital to be taken care of in. A help to those who are traveling in the long journey.
So if that is what it is for, why on earth has the organization never been a help to me, personally? I believe that it has helped many people, and it continues to do so. But in my observations and experiences, it does a good job of bringing down those that do not adhere to its gospel principles. Principles which are not followed by a wide number of members themselves.
The only ones who are implicated are those who become honest. So what does that mean for individuals? Are you better off being honest, a christ-like attribute, and, in the worst case, being removed from the church records?
Or are you better off committing sin and keeping your leaders blind with deceit, and pretenses, which is what many members do also.
I believe that the former is a much better idea than the latter. So, if thats the case, why are the ones who were honest, always the ones to be punished or disciplined or whathaveyou.
Or completely misunderstood.
One of my biggest issues with church leaders, is that when someone comes to them with a sin that they have committed, they do not commend that individual for having the FAITH, COURAGE, INTEGRITY, and HONESTY to come forth about it. Not in my experience anyway. Instead, they focus on the gravity of the situation and decide on disciplinary action without giving thought to the individuals thoughts, mindset, or feelings.
If the church wants to put people in positions where they are going to influence life plans and decisions of other individuals, they better damn well know how to be conscientious, compassionate, understanding, patient, and open-minded, without a lacking in any of those areas. I don't care if someone brings me the argument of being able to learn that while in the position. What happens to those who are victim to guinea pigging? The church does not apologize for mistakes or misjudgments its made. Its only focus is to get you on "the right path back to righteousness".
One such experience is this. I was 15. My abuse had been laid out in the open for my bishop, family, and who cares who else to see.
My bishop asked me if I had been masturbating. First off, the bishop SHOULD'VE known that I was. If he'd had any INKLING of how the mind works, he should've known that a) I was and b) I was certainly NOT going to confess to how often I did it, if I confessed to it at all. It was a learned behavior form a 63 year old man that had taught me many other things, the least of which was masturbation.
So he asked me that question. I confessed to doing it. I lied and said I did it like every 2 and a half weeks when it was like 2-3 times daily.
You know what he did? HE TOLD ME TO NOT TAKE THE SACRAMENT FOR TWO WEEKS!
First off, that did absolutely, totally nothing! It did no change my habits, or how I felt about them. Secondly, that should've been the LEAST of his worries or priorities.
You know what that does to a child who has been a sex toy to a depraved "man of God"? You know what that means? It means that I was wrong. I was not right. I was being a bad person. And the total embarrassment that followed during church was excruciating for a boy of my age and in my position.
And you know what he did after that? Absolutely zilch. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Nothing at all.
He never got me help, never talked to me about anything that I may have been thinking, feeling, or otherwise dealing with.
That is irresponsible, uncaring, and lacking effort to make anything right. That is completely unacceptable of a priesthood leader of the church. I never even got a blessing, nor was I offered one. Never was offered a chance to talk.
Some may say, "well why didn't you take the initiative and ask?" And to that I say you are a complete, and utter, uneducated moron. Go do research on the subject of abuse victimization and then tell me that there is ever an inclination to start things off when it comes to recovery.
The next move the church made was pretty simple. Send a General Authority to check on us boys. I'm sorry, but a jovial, glasses wearing, joking, unrealistic, make-light-of-the-situation type guy was definitely NOT what we needed. Not in the slightest or even in the right direction. I didn't even pay attention during the meeting with me and my family. It wasn't ever with me alone. Just me and my family. Yeah, THAT was gonna get them good results. It was completely pointless.
After that, there was no follow-up by my bishop, or any other church leader. I was left to fight by myself, and there was no assistance to be had. I got into pretty bad habits, and then moved. Still no follow-up to this day from any church source, or otherwise. Even though it is entirely their fault that anyone was abused after his first incident.
Lucky for the church, I no longer care what people do or don't do. I've learned to live life with no expectations, because that way, I won't be failed, and then I am pleasantly surprised when things do turn out well. Pretty good set-up in my book.
All of this brings me back to two points. Firstly, priesthood leaders should know how to handle LIFE when it is thrown at them by the people they are responsible for. They are pivotal figures in their branch or ward. And if they don't help out their charges, they are a spiritual contradiction not worth keeping around.
And then secondly, if this church is here to help and guide everyone back to God, they have done a pretty bang up job with me. How nice it was of them to care if I was given all the help I needed, and making sure my life wasn't crazy affected in all sorts of negative ways by THEIR mistake. Oh wait.
So far they've failed at that job. In fact, they really haven't done much good for me, personally, ever.
I suppose we'll see where these thoughts end up then, won't we.