Subject: Meeting with Bishop (a little long - sorry)
Date: May 07 13:17 2003
Author: Struggling TBM

Note:  This meeting with the Bishop was initiated because this Mormon (though seriously questioning Mormonism) husband went to see the Movie "Chicago" with his wife, who is a devout Mormon.  This shows the control many Mormon leaders try to have over members of their congregations.  The Bishop had given a talk previously at church telling them not to see this movie.

So I met with the Bishop. He was rather forthright in his purpose. He spoke at me for about ten minutes regarding how easily it is to slip into to moral problems, how standards are slipping with respect to media and what is rated PG13 would have been an X rating 20 years ago; etc.

He said he knew his talk on not seeing Chicago bothered some people and that was his intent. Those that were bothered would either respond with sincere repentance or anger. (Now I see the double-bind I was warned about!) He complimented my wife for unburdening her soul. He just wants to be sure that "wife" and I are progressing together.

It was clear that "wife" did not tell him that I was ticked and for that I am grateful. But then he went into the silent routine after asking me if there was anything that I would like to tell him. I tell you I was so uncomfortable. I felt like a deacon again. So I slipped and told him that I know "wife" confessed about liking the movie Chicago but that since I did not feel guilty, I saw no reason to see him.

He then told me that this is how Satan deceives us and that I should be grateful to have such a spiritually aware wife. He then chided me for not having the reversed role, that is, I should have been the one to see the evil and lead my family more effectively.

He then asked me if there were other issues that I did not feel guilty about. I could not believe that! I was so upset that I did not answer. He looked at me and said my name with deep sincerity. I answered, "No" but with a lot of emotion. Then he says, that my spirit is crying out for the truth and that I need to search my soul (what is the difference between my spirit and soul?) for the inequities in my life and resolve them with the proper priesthood authorities.

Dang it! I fell right into the trap! I thought this would go well and then go away. Now I am supposed to fast and pray about my life and schedule an appointment with him next month. I feel stuck. If I confess then I am guilty. If I don't then I am hiding something and I am guilty.

I got home and "wife" cheerily asked how it went. I did not snap at her, but she could tell I was upset. This morning she probed at breakfast but I still didn't talk.
Why the heck did I go to the meeting? I can't focus at work. I can't talk to my wife. I don't want to talk to the Bishop again, but if I don't, I will still be in trouble.

I thought the truth was my greatest ally. Seems like honesty just ...ah forget it.

Just venting. sorry for bothering you all

Subject: Sorry about that
Date: May 07 13:28
Author: Søvnløsener - Insomniac (like Theo, always swearing)

Does the phrase, rock and a hard place come to mind?

You have no respect for their authority on the inside yet are forced to show respect on the outside. No wonder you are torn up, its called cognitive dissonance.

I've been there, I know what you are going through, it's not fun at all.

The most liberating experience in my life (well, second most liberating after finishing a mission) was to reconcile the cognitive dissonance by giving a signed copy of my exit letter to the SP, putting all church authority on alert that, "I don't respect your authority and you have no power over me"

Look, I think I made it without swearing!

Do what you feel is right with The Force.

Subject: don't be sorry - and thanks for sharing. Your experience can forewarn others.
Date: May 07 13:29
Author: Langdon

You know, if you decide to talk to him again, you can be completely honest with him. I.e., tell him that you have a conscience, that you follow it, that his ecclesiastical position in no way 'trumps' your own relationship with God, that you are confident that you are doing the right thing REGARDLESS of any guilt trip they try to contrive, and that you feel that this 'interview' thing is emotionally manipulative or abusive, and that you are offended at the audacity of him trying to put himself in place of your conscience and prayer and personal relationship with God.

Of course, I'm interpreting your feelings and paraphrasing and putting words in your mouth; I don't know what your actual feelings are along those lines, but TELL HIM! If you think he's unfairly abusing his position, or has no right to judge you, then TELL HIM THAT!

If you do it with gentleness and love and calm confidence, then you disarm them.

Of course, that presumes you are even willing to talk to him again. YOU HAVE NO OBLIGATION TO DO THAT. In fact, you can tell him that. "No thanks, bishop! Don't need your interview, but thanks for asking!"

Good luck, and God or The Force (or whatever) be with YOU.

Subject: It's all about control.
Date: May 07 13:30
Author: Mehina

As soon as you stepped into that office, you handed over a good amount of control to your bishop - you were on his turf, meeting on his terms. Once you were in, your conditioning about the bishop being like Santa Claus - able to somehow magically tell whose been bad and whose been good, and able to magically punish or reward them - kicked in.

If you want to avoid a repeat, tell your bishop this - That you have done nothing you need to repent for, and that you feel quite content with your life the way it is now. Don't give him any more control over your life. You're an adult, and don't need your bishop to stand with you in line at the movie theater, and censor your entertainment for you.

It's like the Middle Ages witch hunts - a woman accused was already guilty. If she confessed, it just proved everyone right. If she denied it, then everyone knew she was lying. How not to get burned at the stake nowadays - Don't participate. Don't let your bishop into your private life any more than YOU want to. Pick a few phrases like, "I do not feel a need to repent for anything right now", and when your bishop confronts you, repeat as needed (over and over and over again, most likely).

And yeah, truth can be your greatest ally. But the truth is diffrent for everyone.

Subject: Re: Meeting with Bishop (a little long - sorry)
Date: May 07 13:36
Author: tucsonan

Dear StrugglingTBM:
As someone else has already said, you've no reason to be sorry. You're upset because of cog diss and because there is one more big chink in the armor that defends flimsy faith. It doesn't mean you're a moron for going (well, maybe a little bit...we did warn you), it just means that it's hard to reorganize your foundational beliefs. hang in there.

Subject: So sorry, at least you were kinna prepared -
Date: May 07 13:38
Author: Susan I/S

Someone almost posted the script for you on one of the other threads. There are people here in the same boat and those who have come out on the other end so keep your spirits up :). Do what is best for you and your family and keep showing your wife you love her. Remember you are an ADULT and this guy only has the power over you that you give him.
And hey, we ain't much but we are here for ya :)

Subject: Your bishop must be bored.
Date: May 07 13:39
Author: aa

You'd think bishops would be busy enough that they wouldn't want to spend their time listening to members confess the heinous sin of attending a PG-13 movie. Unbelievable.

If you don't go to the follow-up interview, won't you catch more crap from your wife than the bishop?

Subject: Re: Your bishop must be bored.
Date: May 07 14:28
Author: Struggling TBM

He's recently retired, I think. Maybe too much time on his hands?

Subject: I'm so sorry...
Date: May 07 13:40
Author: Alysabyss

It makes me so MAD to hear the things he was saying to you. I hate how arrogant and controlling the church leaders can be. "Well, if I SAY this movie is bad, it obviously IS bad, and you are an evil wicked sinner for not agreeing with me. Obviously you must have deeper, more serious problems, for enjoying the movie Chicago is on the road to APOSTASY!" Please!!
Don't be too hard on yourself. Those people are so manipulative that even if you had gone in there and done everything like you planned he still would have thought you were hiding something. The ONLY way to get them off your back is to confess something- anything! But DON'T! They just can't accept that you are not doing anything wrong when they think you are. And the whole thing about "YOU should be more spiritually sensitive, not your wife" was crap. Better the woman be the "wayward" one then the man, huh? That is so sexist. They can't accept being wrong. And I hate to tell you this, but it is not going to go away. It is going to keep getting worse until something happens. And what is even worse is that there is really no winning. If you give in and give them what they want, they get the gratification of knowing they were "right" and you were "wicked." What a great feather in their cap. But if you hold your ground and put the crazies in their place, you are "being led away by Satan" and all that garbage. This is emotional abuse. You shouldn't have to take this.
Hang in there, stuggling tbm. You've got friends here and they are pulling for you. Post any time you need to vent.

Subject: Re: Meeting with Bishop (a little long - sorry)
Date: May 07 13:41
Author: squeezebox

Boy do I relate to your dilema. I'm pretty much in the same boat. There are things I'm talking to my bishop about which are not improving quickly enough (or at all)such as my testimony and my moral conduct. I really have no desire to talk to him. He kept doing "hey you" interviews with me and finally told him that I did not want to work that way any longer. If he wanted to talk to me he could schedule an appointment. Still I have no need or desire to talk to him about anything.

In my first visit with him we talked a lot about my marriage and my issues with the church. I knew why he'd asked me in but I was not going there voluntarily. This chitchat went on for over an hour. He asked me "Is there anything you need to say to this bishop?" I'd say "no, not really". Again he'd stare at me and ask again. I'd tell him that any problems I had were between me and God and that I had no reason to talk to him about it. I could tell this really made him mad. He wanted me to spill my guts so bad. Finally it became obvious that I was just not going to play along. He had to say "what is the nature of your relations to sis. so and so". I told him a bit about my friendship but it's really none of his business.

He keeps promising me that if I just read my scriptures, pray, stay away from the internet, etc. etc. that he knows without a shadow of a doubt that I'll know that the church is true. He also promises me that my marriage will be so wonderful I'll be amazed. He really has no clue. There is no way that he can promise me anything. He has only known me for a short time and has no idea what my life is about. Unfortunately I don't think my marriage can be saved and I don't see how I could ever become a TBM.

Still, it's like a stinking lie detector when you talk to these guys. You have this great string of logic and dialog that you have planned to use. But you get in the office and the resolve just melts away. The best I've been able to do is to not condemn myself. I hate this constant avoiding of the bishop but I don't know what else to do. It's a no win situation. If I keep visiting with him it will be a neverending rehash of the same stuff with the possibility of things getting worse. If I refuse then he'll KNOW that I'm sinning and an apostate. I say "show me the pictures". If you have no proof then get out of my face.

I really have no good answers to this. Just wanted you to know you're not alone.

Subject: Don't beat yourself up, kid. You're smarter now.
Date: May 07 14:06
Author: Dude

Q: What do you know now that you didn't know a month ago?
A: You know something about how the Church is actually run: largely through clever manipulation by guilt. This guy even made you feel guilty about NOT feeling guilty! He's good.

You have paid a small price for this knowledge, being a little embarassed over a movie and being a little chagrined that the Bishop can play you like a ten-year-old. Don't feel bad, you're not the first or the last.

Of course, now that you are a bit enlightened, you have some choices to make. Good luck.

Subject: Re: Meeting with Bishop (a little long - sorry)
Date: May 07 14:06
Author: Yikes!

Struggling TBM wrote:

> He then asked me if there were other issues that I did not feel guilty about.

Hell yes. I don't feel guilty when my child gives me a hug. I don't feel guilty when I see the sun rise on a warm spring morning. I don't feel guilty when I get a raise at work.

This guy is a McCarthyite nut case.

Subject: Um, it's just a movie, bish
Date: May 07 14:22
Author: Dumpster

What a control freak your bishop is. You go to see "Chicago" and if you don't feel bad about it you're soul is yearning to unburden itself about transgressions large and small? Geez, it's JUST A MOVIE! I take it you're not "out" yet, but good God man, tell that Bishop to stuff it. Really, when I was high-TBM, I told the SP off once when his questions got too personal. He actually respected me for that.

Subject: Re: Uh, we told you not to go...
Date: May 07 14:33
Author: SD

we told you what would happen, but some people just need to pee on the old electric fence themselves. The up side is the impact on you was probably much more profound than had you just listened to us and may have brought you one step close to freedom. I'm glad you were able to keep your cool. I would have let him have it, and then I would have come home and let my wife have it for being so mind-numbingly stupid to "confess" to seeing Chicago in the first place. Good luck. The road ahead will not be easy.

p.s. My advice is to not go see the bishop in a month unless it's to tell him to fuck off.

Subject: I suggest talking to your wife about this....
Date: May 07 14:34
Author: lgone

One of the many thing that bothers me about your situation is that your control-freak bishop is driving a wedge between you and our wife. Could you talk to your wife and let her know the tough place you are in? Leave all of the anger towards the bish out of the discussion and first let her know how important she is to you and that you'd like the two of you to stick together and to make decisions together. Let her know how it made you feel to be called on the carpet like a little kid....and you have enough confidence in your marriage to know the two of you are perfectly capable of making decisions together, the right decisions.

I would also let the bishop know that you'll be in touch with him when you feel there is the need. Good luck! I have empathy for you!

Subject: Thanks for the support but my question is
Date: May 07 14:37
Author: Struggling TBM

Many of you seem to imply that my Bishop is not alone in his actions and that his behavior is almost insitutional. If that is the case I wonder.
1) Does the church culture breed people like this
2) Does behaving like this ensure your rise in the leadership?
3)Does the church train people to act like this -- I mean with courses or seminars that your everyday TBM doesn't know about?

It feels good to have "friends" that I can go to even if I don't "know" you.

Subject: Your bishop is extra controlling
Date: May 07 14:55
Author: Sophia

There are probably quite a few bishops like this, but I think the majority are not. Yours seems to be way beyond what is normal. I think most bishops would be very glad if the worst confession they had to hear is that someone went to a PG-13 movie!

In fact, this is not something that has to be confessed at all. I suggest that you do a search for "Church Handbook of Instructions," and read any sections about confessions. I'm not in a position right now to look that up for you, but I think you can find it. Most "sins" just have to be confessed to the Lord, not to the bishop. Only really serious stuff, like serious crimes, adultery, fornication, homosexual relations and child abuse have to be confessed to the bishop. (I'm not endorsing that notion, but that is what they say, and I think you'll probably find it in the CHI.)

So IMO, your bishop is out of line from the get-go for even asking about such a ridiculous "sin." But I know that it is hard to get out of the mindbindings of thinking that the bishop or other ecclesiastical leaders have control over you. Even when you realize, as you do, that it is ridiculous, the emotions are still there.

As for training of bishops, there isn't a lot of training, but stake presidents do hold training sessions where they discuss various aspects of being a bishop. If your bishop got this from one of these, then you've also got a controlling stake president.

I have been pretty lucky to not have controlling bishops during most of my life. Most have been pretty decent guys who want to be helpful and who actually do a lot of good in people's lives. I've had a few, I think, whose response to a confession about Chicago would have been, "I saw it too. Wasn't it great?"

In any case, I'm really sorry you had this experience with your bishop. I know from experience how intimidating this can be (though my experience wasn't with a bishop). But I think if you will read the CHI, you will find that your bishop is really overstepping his bounds. If you have the knowledge from this book (which is available only to bishops, SPs, etc.) you will be better prepared to tell him that you don't want to talk to him. Also, you can show it to your wife and let her know that the bishop is out of bounds. Then when the bishop asks you to come and see him you can say, "Bishop, I've read in the Church Handbook of Instructions the kinds of sins that are supposed to be confessed to a priesthood leader, and I haven't committed any of those sins, so I don't want to meet with you." He should back off after that (though being a control freak, he probaby won't).

Try to get it into your head that what you do and what movies you see isn't any of his business, and he is being intrusive and violating your boundaries by questioning you. If you can do that, you will be able to brush him off without feeling guilty.

The main thing here is that he really doesn't have any authority. He's just a funny guy in a suit, and you have no duty to account to him for anything.

Good luck to you.

Subject: Good One!
Date: May 07 17:20
Author: Bob

"He's just a funny guy in a suit, and you have no duty to account to him for anything."


Subject: Re: Thanks for the support but my question is
Date: May 07 15:58
Author: Mateo

Struggling TBM wrote:

> 1) Does the church culture breed people like this
> 2) Does behaving like this ensure your rise in the leadership?
> 3)Does the church train people to act like this -- I mean with courses or seminars that your everyday TBM doesn't know about?

I honestly think that number 2 is the most accurate. I mean, think about your mission, and think about the type of people who were leaders. In my mission, it was the people who were go getters (extreme... ie, "red" pesonalities, or "Type 1" personalities).

I honestly think that bishops are chosen mainly for their ability to get things done. When an alpha male is surrounded by people who are used to being told what to think and how to do it, this type of behavior kind of invents itself. Look at it as Natural Selection of motivation techniques. The bishop may have tried everything else, but since morgbots are used to only being told what to do and how to do it, standard motivation doesn't work. I almost think that Mormons need guilt in order to accomplish tasks.

Besides, how would you act if you really believed that you represent the Lord? Kind of gives you a superiority complex, doesn't it?


Subject: Simple questions, simple answers...
Date: May 07 16:30
Author: Colonel Thomas Kane

Struggling TBM wrote:
> Many of you seem to imply that my Bishop is not alone in his actions and that his behavior is almost insitutional. If that is the case I wonder.
> 1) Does the church culture breed people like this

The Colonel replies:
Not intentionally; but, yes, this is an environment that teaches all beta males serve, without question, alpha males. The President is THE alpha male; the FP/Qo12 is his institutional extension.

Struggling TBM wrote:
> 2) Does behaving like this ensure your rise in the leadership?

The Colonel replies:
Success in meeting the numbers ensures your rise; these control techniques help his succcess, and they are rather commonplace.

Struggling TBM wrote:
> 3)Does the church train people to act like this -- I mean with courses or seminars that your everyday TBM doesn't know about?

The Colonel replies:
Not formally; there is such an effort to hit the numbers, and no one is too scrupulous about how it is done, that one thing leads to another.

Struggling TBM wrote:
> It feels good to have "friends" that I can go to even if I don't "know" you.

The Colonel replies:
See the trick for what it is - an open ended question, which he follows with as much silence as it takes to get you to confess to SOMETHING, no matter how trivial.

With that thin edge of the wedge, he gradually drives the rest of the wedge home.

One more thought:

It certainly seems he and your wife are co-conspirators, in purpose if not in total fact.

It seems they both want to bring you into line, and are playing the functional equivalent of "good cop/bad cop" with you.

Best wishes.

Subject: Some bishops are worse than others
Date: May 07 17:00
Author: Jolimont

BUT, as I see it, the entire LDS institution is controlling. Some local leaders are better than others, but it's pervasive. This is a church that tells you what underwear you should use and asks you yearly if you've been following the edict. Can you think of any other church that dictates people's underwear?! Bishops also ask very probing questions about sexuality and financial contributions. Don't tell me they do that to give members the freedom to live their lives as they see fit!!

My business partner had marital problems so she went to see the bishop. He told her three things: 1. She is the problem because she's not a good enough mormon wife, 2. She should quit her job ASAP (never mind that she made 90% of the money in that family) and 3. Have another baby ASAP. Not only was that controlling advice, but it was stupid! She saw through it and decided to never ask a bishop for advice again, but she's still active.

I was devout LDS for 20 years and I lived in a buble. I saw nothing wrong with all the probing questions, the accusing innuendo, the dictate over movies or anything else. Once in a while I met a bishop that pushed my buttons and I thought "it's not the gospel, it's the people". I was wrong. The institution breeds and promotes controling leaders. It's not the people, it's the system.

Don't let this bishop jerk you around. YOU ARE AN ADULT, you can see whatever movie you please, even XXX if that tickles your fancy. And you don't have to answer to me or anybody else. OK, maybe your wife and your conscience, but do yourself a favor and leave the bishop out of it!

Subject: I love such sit-downs with the bishop! ...
Date: May 07 14:40
Author: cbiatwt

I used to be very intimidated, but, always had the 'right' answers, so, I was ok. Once I figured it out, I decided to keep my life in many ways the same... ie, I dont use drugs, alcohol, or tabacco (don't have any desire, anyway), married and into honesty, so, no carousing (sp?)...

So, I answer all his questions, no probs. Then, "Now, I have a few questions for *you* bishop..." I ask calmly and gently but directly. *He* ends up doing the figiting and squirming, backpedaling and 'no response'ing.

I get pretty nervous, because I totally *hate* confrontations (I start shaking), but, I have done this with sp's and bish's a few times, anyway. They always tell me I'm a good person with testimony problems but not one has given me 'a homework assignment'.

I just can't believe they haven't tried to ex me yet. Someday, I'll go over the line with the wrong guy and they will.

Subject: Goofy Sh**
Date: May 07 15:10
Author: Brad2

My Home teacher asked me about a year ago what my big problems with the Mormon church were. I told him most of my problems fall into the category of what I call "goofy shit". This would fall into that category. They get so wrapped up in and create such issues over GS. These days if put in such a situation I would just chuckle and shake my head and ask the Bish if he didn't have something better to do. I won't be put in that situation I resigned the first of the year.

Subject: Re: Meeting with Bishop (a little long - sorry)
Date: May 07 15:10
Author: misspeabody

The last bishop I had was a really great guy. He wasn't quite so controlling. An intelligent and very gentle person.

But I recall another bishop, much like the one you describe in your classic tale of Mormon squirming. I know it's tough, STBM, but you really have only two options:

a)Suck it up and go along with the programme.

b)Refuse to go along with this bullcrap ever again.

Going along with the The Guilt Trip will get a you an ulcer and a serious case of apathy. Refusing to co-operate (no matter how politely) will eventually send you down the rough, though rewarding road that leads AWAY from the LDS cult. If you choose that road, do your best to take your wife along with you.
'I thought the truth was my greatest ally.'

No, my friend. Not in the LDS church it ain't. Truth is for the REAL world.

Subject: Same story with 'Titanic' and 'Forest Gump'...
Date: May 07 15:30
Author: lump

I think this bishop is out of line. There are no questions in the TR interview that say anything about movies you go to. There is no "OFFICIAL" church prohibition for attending 'R' rated movies.

I remember whe Titanic and Forest Gump came out. Our local seminary teacher encouraged his students not to attend those movies. I'm sure a few complied, but many didn't. And I guess as a suggestion it makes sense.

But for a bishop to take the stand he did with regards to the movie 'Chicago' is absurd. I agree with other posters that this guy just enjoys his power and control. And that just plain sucks.

Subject: I just remembered...
Date: May 07 15:37
Author: Alysabyss

an experience I had a few years ago. It wasn't a full out meeting, but it kind of relates. I was standing outside the church building waiting for my ride (I was about 15 then- I'm 19 now), and the ward second counselor (and my best friend's father) came up to me. I had been thinking about school and stuff and I was quite stressed out. I have been told by my friends that I can sometimes look mad or upset when I'm feeling just fine. I guess it is something about my facial expressions. Anyway, he looked at me and said "Alyssah, I get the impression that something is bothering you." I kind of look up at him (he is considerably taller then me). "Oh. Ummm.... no. Everything is fine." He doesn't look satisfied and keeps staring at me. "I...well...really. I'm fine." I really was fine! I was trying to figure him out. He just stood there staring at me. "I just get the feeling there is something inside your heart that needs to be freed.." I stared at HIM now, kinda scared. Then he went on "Well, you know that if you ever need to talk about anything, I am here. Any time." I just nod. "Oh, okay. Thanks for asking..(??)" He looks at me for another minute and then walks off. So then I really WAS upset, standing there trying to figure out what the "spirit" was trying to tell him. I was literally fishing around inside myself looking for something that could be wrong that I needed to confess. I guess my whole point in sharing is that some leaders are caught up on "impressions." In their own hearts they see something they feel is "wrong" and they build it up to be some spiritual revelation when all it really is is their personal observation or opinion. IF that counselor HAD been inspired, he would not have felt the need to give me such an impromptu quiz session, because I was fine that day. On the same token, your bishop feels "impressed" that there is something more then Chicago on your conscience when there is not. This speaks a bit about the "power of discernment" many leaders are said to have.

Subject: Okay, you just hit a point that is bugging me
Date: May 07 16:29
Author: Struggling TBM

Why would God who is no respecter of persons give the Bishop more spiritual discernment over my life than I have? And how do I rationalize that with the fact that my leaders are my ecclesiastical superiors? Do I need to make a break between personal matters and public/church matters. And are there guide lines I could use to know when to make those breaks? When does the church have authority and when do I have authority? Seems that the bishop wants me to have no authority and if I have no authority, I have no choice and if I can't choose than whatever I do doesn't matter. Now that stinks.

I feel so rebellious (and a little good) with these thoughts.

But I do not want to screw things up at home. I just hope my wife understands that I AM NOT GOING TO TALK TO THE BISHOP ABOUT THIS AGAIN!

Subject: Exactly my questions too!
Date: May 07 17:22
Author: chiarroscurro

My last bishop and his counselor kept trying to tell me they had strong impressions from the spirit that I should have children, that someone was waiting for me, and so forth. I would get so mad because everytime I prayed about it, I would get the answer that I shouldn't. I got so confused because I didn't understand why God chose to talk to men I hardly knew about my reproductive life but wouldn't talk to me. These men said I wasn't listening to the spirit, that I needed to relax and IT would happen. I cried a lot over this and my hubby was no help at all. I finally concluded that I was steward over MY body, that I was entitled to personal revelation about MY reproductive habits and they only had stewardship over the general wellbeing of the ward. I called them up and thanked them for their concern and told them it really was a private matter and none of their business. It was so hard to tell them that but it was important to start establishing boundaries.

Over the years I have never regretted listening to my body and not having children- it was the right decision for me. And of course eventually leaving the church was too : )

Subject: The CHI on Confession
Date: May 07 17:36
Author: Sophia

There isn't as much here as I thought there was. Here is what it says:

"Repentance requires that all sins be confessed to the Lord. 'By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins--behold, he will confess them and forsake them.' (D&C 58:43). Members also should confess to their presiding officer if they have committed serious transgressions. Members who voluntarily and completely confess transgressions demonstrate that they have begun the process of repentance.

"Presiding officers should respond to confessions with love and understanding. If a sin that is confessed may be serious onough to require formal Church discipline, the presiding officer explains this to the member.

"Presiding officers hsould encourage members to seek the Lord's forgiveness, forsake the transgression and make restitution."

That is it.

I know that I have church lessons (I specifically remember one in RS about 5 years ago) in which they defined "serious" sins as the ones I listed in an earlier post--things like adultery, fornication, child abuse, serious crimes.

Now, first of all, let me say that going to see Chicago isn't a sin at all, let alone a "serious" sin, so it doesn't need to be confessed, even by Morg standards. Furthermore, bishops have no business going around seeking out confessions. If someone wants to confess (foolish though they may be), then they should go to the bishop voluntarily.

You asked:

Why would God who is no respecter of persons give the Bishop more spiritual discernment over my life than I have? And how do I rationalize that with the fact that my leaders are my ecclesiastical superiors? Do I need to make a break between personal matters and public/church matters. And are there guide lines I could use to know when to make those breaks? When does the church have authority and when do I have authority? Seems that the bishop wants me to have no authority and if I have no authority, I have no choice and if I can't choose than whatever I do doesn't matter. Now that stinks.

I feel so rebellious (and a little good) with these thoughts.

But I do not want to screw things up at home. I just hope my wife understands that I AM NOT GOING TO TALK TO THE BISHOP ABOUT THIS AGAIN!

If you feel that the bishop is violating your boundaries, as you obviously do, then you have answered your own question: he has invaded an area where you have authority over your life. The church teaches people to follow and obey their leaders, but even from a Mormon perspective, coercion was Satan's plan, not God's plan. And D&C 121 says that NO power or influence can or ought to be maintained by power of the priesthood, but only by persuasion, gentleness, meekness and love unfeigned. In other words, the bishop has the moral right to give counsel to people, but he doesn't have the right to use his position of power to force (or, IMO, even manipulate) people into doing what he says.

I remember those days, many years ago, when I first started claiming power over my own life. I remember feeling like I was supposed to get the bishop's permission before I even dared to BELIEVE anything different than what was taught, let alone ACT in a way that was different than they taught. A friend pointed out to me that I did NOT need their permission. I had to do a paradigm shift before I got to the point where I didn't feel, as you said, "rebellious." Eventually, though, as I exercised my own judgment, I realized that they didn't have any right to tell me what to do and think in a myriad of ways. I'm not talking about wanting to do anything dishonest or harmful or, for the most part, even against church standards. I'm just talking about having political and religious views that don't jive with the norms in Mormondom.

As I realized that I could think for myself and not feel guilty about it, I felt an incredible sense of liberation. Now it is hard for me to recapture that feeling of fear and/or guilt and/or shame that the church inculcates into people.

The bishop isn't your boss. He is there (supposedly) to be a spiritual leader and to serve the members of the ward, not to dictate to them. (Remember: I teach them correct principles and let them govern themselves.)

I think you are making the right choice in deciding not to go back to talk to the bishop. For your wife, simply tell her that you don't believe you have done anything that you need to confess to the bishop. Tell her what is in the CHI--that you only need to confess "serious" sins, and for Pete's sake, seeing Chicago doesn't qualify! The bishop doesn't even know if Chicago was "evil." He only saw the first 10 minutes before he walked out! That part had the "worst" scene of the movie.

In talking with your wife, don't dictate to her or get in a power struggle with her. Just tell her calmly that you don't want to talk with the bishop because you don't have anything to confess to him and he makes you uncomfortable when he tries to squeeze confessions out of you even though you haven't done anything wrong. Try to "lead" her to that perspective. If you try to force it, she'll likely side with the bishop, but if you can gently let her know how you feel, you can help her reach the same conclusion so that she will not want to talk to him either.

Good luck.

Subject: My theory- this isn't about the movie itself at all
Date: May 07 16:06
Author: I am Someone

I think your wife has tattled on your doubts and possibly whatever misbehavior you may have had since you started doubting.
This is about shortening your leash so you remain under morg control, and about your wife keeping your leash short because she is probably afraid you are going to start going nuts and start doing some major sinning, possibly being disloyal to her.
You may want to consider living the more external parts of the gospel for now (no swearing, no drinking, stick to sucky g movies for now) temporarilly, while you improve your relationship with your wife, expressing your unconditional love for her, etc. Once you are on firm ground, then start sharing your doubts with her, but keep it low key, slow, calm, and continue to treat her lovingly no matter how she reacts. You want to get to the point where your wife feels confident you aren't going to turn to a life of wild drunken adultry because of your disbelief. Once you get that far, you can tell the bishop to take a hike because you will have reclaimed his most useful tool for manipulating you- your wife.

Subject: "I don't want to talk to the Bishop again..."
Date: May 07 16:12
Author: Heathen

I learned a really nice acronym in the military. BOHICA. Stands for "Bend over, here it comes again!" That's where you are at.

It's really very simple.

Don't meet with him again. As of right now, you know where the conversation will lead. You know they are fishing, and you also know you did nothing wrong.

So tell him that. In a letter, on the phone, or in your own home, but not in his habitat.

Get angry if you have to. Tell him to take his high psuedo-morality and shove it right up his ass sideways. It's your life to live, not his.

I guarantee you'll feel better about yourself. It may not solve the problem, but at least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you didn't just sit there and take it passively.

I do hope things work out well for you. Keep us posted.

Subject: TBM, I had one bishop like yours.....
Date: May 07 16:31
Author: Randy J.

He was a control-freak, guilt-tripping, manipulating jerk. Before he was made bishop, he had spent three years on a mission, four years at BYU, and eight years as an institute director, so that's where he got his "training."

This was the same bishop I referred to in my speech at last October's ex-mo convention, who "counseled" me and my then-fiancee to not "consummate our marriage until after we'd been sealed in the temple" (even though we weren't going to the temple until four months after our civil wedding.)

That bishop would "challenge" members to live or perform over and above what was called for by normal standards. In interviews, he would ask people if they were paying tithing on gross or net, and if they replied net, he would chide them to "commit" to paying on the gross. He would have the priesthood guys show up at the church on Saturday mornings for unnecessary "work parties" for the ostensible purpose of building strength among the group. I remember him chiding his own counselor for watching 'Saturday Night Live.' That's just a few examples of his overbearing.

Amusingly, the guy had so many personal issues that he was released after only 10 months. I later heard from an impeccable source that he had been fired from his job for embezzling money from clients, and he lost his license to practice his profession. His wife divorced him. He was a total jerk and hypocrite. Every Mormon should be blessed to have such a man as bishop. There would be a lot fewer Mormons. :-)

Subject: Why is this even happening? I don't get it...
Date: May 07 16:40
Author: NEM

Aren't there more serious sins being committed out there? And why the hype about Chicago? In what era would it have been rated X? Before movies were invented, I suspect.

BTW, by Morg definition, soul = body + spirit. So if you have searched your spirit and can't find any guilt, you should try searching your body. (Maybe the wife can help with that one.) =)

Subject: A formula for meeting church leaders
Date: May 07 17:16
Author: Bob

1. Require them to come to your home.
You need to understand that the church is your bishop's turf. If you go there, you have already given him power. If you follow the simple step of not meeting anyone about church subjects at church, you are in a position of power. You see, you can tell someone to leave your house.

2. Establish who's boss, right up front.
Start with something like, "I asked you here because..." or "I agreed to this meeting because...".

3. Assert your position during the meeting.
The bishop will say things like "Thank you for your service," and this type of general thanks on behalf of the church or the community gives him power. It makes him seem to represent something other than himself. When he makes these kinds of statements, return a statement that gives you as much representation. For example, state that the community appreciates his efforts as well.

4. Let the bishop know when he's out of line.
Bishops who ask questions like, "what are your sins?" are out of line. Remind the bishop of the purpose of the meeting, and never-ever confess. If he pushes to know your sins, tell him that it is none of his business.

5. Kick him out if necessary.
Bishops who continue to push or assert authority need to know that you are the master of your own life and especially of your own home. Let a pushy bishop know that they are not welcome in your home if they don't abide by your rules. If you say, stop asking me about that or I'll ask you to leave, and he asks...tell him to leave.

6. Remember the bishop only thinks he has authority.
Bishop's are highly brainwashed individuals. They have no authority, except from the church. They do represent the church, but the church has no authority either. If you don't let the church, or its leaders stand between you and God, then you'll be much happier.

Good luck!

Subject: I still find it hard to believe . . .
Date: May 07 17:17
Author: aa

. . . that this is all about a PG-13 movie. I wonder what your wife has been telling him.

Subject: Me too!
Date: May 07 18:12
Author: Struggling TBM

I will guarantee you that I have no skeletons in my closet that my wife should be concerned about. She didn't schedule a meeting with the Bishop but just saw him a mutual one night and mentioned that we saw the movie and she felt bad based on his talk. Then he blows it up. I don't think that "wife" is causing this problem.

Subject: Obvious, TBM, you need to finesse this
Date: May 07 18:32
Author: Sophia

If it were just you, you could tell the bishop where to go. But you need to make peace with your wife, too. I have found that niceness works well with Mormons. You can be firm with the bishop, but still smile at him and be friendly.

I have been thinking about your reaction to his question about whether you have anything else you don't feel guilty about. I know he caught you offguard, and you were already stressed out. You felt judged just by the question. That is why you were first silent, and then your voice cracked when you finally responded.

I know that it takes time to get out of that mindset. It doesn't happen all at once. My advice is to simply start reclaiming your own authority over your life in little ways. You have taken a first step by coming here. You may still feel a little guilty about that, but if you do, that's ok. You will feel less guilty as you realize that the church is about controlling you for the institution's benefit, much more than it is about your spiritual wellbeing. We've all been there, in one way or another.

Mostly, you need to keep things going well in your marriage. Gently give your wife information, and let her arrive at her own conclusions. You might say, "Wow. Did you read that the church is buying a shopping mall?" Let that sink in, then later, say, Pres. Hinckley says they aren't using any tithing money, and they're paying cash. They must really have a lot of money!"

Or say, did you realize that JS had 33 wives? Later, some of them were married to other men at the same time.

Whenever something bothers her about the church, let her air it, but don't jump on it too much. Just say, "Yes, I noticed that. It bothered me, too."

When she gets enough things that bother her, she'll come along. Think about it like putting one book after another on a shelf, and finally the shelf gives way.

As for the bishop, though, just calmly, firmly tell him that you have nothing to talk about. Apart from that, be kind and helpful in church situations. Demonstate to him and others that you are a good person. If you do that, he will eventually let you alone.

Subject: Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move on
Date: May 07 17:35
Author: Breeze

and hopefully in a positive way. It's such a surprise to have the ground start shifting under your own staunch mormonism. What you thought before was one thing is not something totally different.

Give yourself some quiet and space to think it out and explore where you are now. You will see the path you need to take. Maybe not now, but you will see it.

good luck

Subject: Re: Meeting with Bishop (a little long - sorry)
Date: May 07 18:18
Author: nolongerin

I feel stuck. If I confess then I am guilty. If I don't then I am hiding something and I am guilty.

Remember, how they tried witches in colonial days? They threw them in water--if they sank, they were innocent (though dead), if they floated they were guilty, but lived only long enough to be stoned to death. Seems to me like you're in the same spot.

> Why the heck did I go to the meeting?
You went because you were trying to do what you thought was right. You were being rational in your thought, but because the Bishop is irrational in his thinking, you're now thinking you were crazy. That's how dealing with irrational people makes us feel.
> I thought the truth was my greatest ally.
It is. It always will be, if you can remember that the Bishop and other irrational thinkers don't necessarily have the truth on their side.
> Just venting. sorry for bothering you all
It's never a bother to read a post on this board, unless the post originates from a troll. Please go easy on yourself, and continue to share.

Subject: THE GIFT OF DISCERNMENT (tm) is BUNK (warning: may be too graphic for Theo)
Date: May 07 18:24
Author: alex

THE GIFT OF DISCERNMENT (tm) is BUNK. It seems that your Bishop thinks he has some almighty gift of discernment because of the pretend keys he got through LDS channels. I may not have the answers on everything on the LDS issues and I may have been deceived on many things by you evil ANTIs but I'm very confident I'm right on this in saying that the idea that LDS priesthood leaders have the gift of discernment as part of their church calling is totally bunk, moot and incorrect.

EXHIBIT A: Richard R. Lyman (1870-1962) was a son of Francis M. Lyman (apostle from 1880-1916) and grandson of another apostle Amasa Lyman. In 1918 he was ordained an Apostle himself. In 1925 he began a 2-decade affair with an excommunicated member which was full of sex, sex, sex and more sex. So he'd spend his days doing church work being sustained as a prophet, seer and revelator and then he'd spend alot of nights doing the wild thing with his beloved mistress (i.e. his secret polygamous wife). The typical church work of a LDS apostle back then was to preside over Stake conferences, set apart mishies and Mission Presidents, sustain and set apart new Stake Presidents, serve on numerous boards and committees as one of the Lord's annointeds and be one of the revered men who the mishies tell the world are talking to God face to face on a regular basis. For Elder Lyman he had an extra duty to hump his secret polygamous wife which his 1st wife Amy Brown Lyman (the general Relief Society president who thought she was the only wife of her beloved prophet, seer, revelator just like the general RS prez from a century earlier) didn't know about. As soon as the FP/12 found out in 1943 (i.e. 18 years after Elder Lyman starting humping his soulmate mistress) they ex'ed him that same week. However during this 18-year era of secret polygamy (and humping) Elder Lyman fulfilled many important responsibilities (including a few years as President of the European Mission) which would probably not have been given him if any of the FP/12 had discerned that he was secretly engaged in what he called polygamy but the Brethren termed as adultery and Theo would call FUCKING.

So next time some Bishop thinks he can discern that you watched a PG-13 movie where someone said DAMN or a girl was wearing a swimming suit then think about Richard Lyman (the apostle, prophet, seer, revelator) humping his mistress for 18 years while fulfilling his apostolic duties and none of the FP/12 having a clue about it. If there ever was a need for the gift of discernment in the church then this would rank a bit higher than that DAMN word in the PG-13 film.


Subject: Possible way for YOU to deal with the situation....
Date: May 07 21:44
Author: Dawn

Keep it between you and God....
If your wife or your bishop ask you anything more just tell them that you are keeping it between you and the Lord for now...that if you feel inspired to seek out the counsil of the bishop you will...

Until then you feel that keeping it between you and the Lord is the best course of action for you and that you feel good about it...

Just a suggestion

Recovery from Mormonism -   

Listing of additional short Topics  |  Main Page