Anecdote for Friends to Take Note

Brother Fred

Once upon a time, there was a man named Fred.  Decades long, an active member of the Mormon Church.  In his later years, his faith transitioned.  It was a 2 year process, gut-wrenching and excruciating.  Relationships with wife and family were strained.  Eventually, Fred found a way forward.  He placed his faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ within the church which bears His name.

A Bishop’s Warning

Fred selected a path in the church which did not coincide with the consensus.  A long discussion was had with the head of his congregation.  The wise bishop issued a perceptive warning.  “Be prepared for push-back from the members.  They won’t understand what you are doing.”  Fred felt strongly that his path was one of love, both for the church and for the souls he saw at its margins.  To him, being of service to the “least” in the church was worth hazarding whatever gossip might arise.  However, there was a consequence coming that Fred had overlooked.

The Love of Fred’s Life

Fred’s wife had witnessed his transition from beginning to end.  She had been frightened, insecure and confused as she watched the pain, anger and confusion experienced by her husband.  Finally, his ire subsided.  A clear path was chosen.  With the passage of many more months, the wife gained confidence that her husband was the very same man she had married.  She came to understand ‘the what’ and ‘the why’ of her husband’s course.  She began to see a path filled with integrity and charity.  She became supportive.


Then, the full meaning of the bishop’s warning burst upon the scene.  The love of Fred’s life stopped going to church.  Why?  The ward members were gossiping about her husband. That provided enough discomfort that she didn’t want to face the congregation.  Fred kept going to church.  His completely believing spouse did not.  What an ironic turn of events.  It literally took 6 months before she was willing to brave a ward family full of whispering  gossip behind her husband’s back.

Unfortunately, tale bearing is all too common.  When we engage in it, we are usually oblivious to collateral damage.  Fred’s wife has many good and deep friendships in her congregation.  The gossip didn’t harm Fred.  It harmed his innocent wife.  And none of her friends had a clue.  I hope this post clues them in.

Special Request

I happen to have a lot in common with Brother Fred.  Many people have told me that lots of gossip is going on about my church activities.  Here’s my request:  If you are interested in me, don’t talk behind my back.  Talk to my face.  Behind the back is rude, unChristlike and fraught with collateral damage.  That damage may be to your own family members who have questions in their own minds.  I have spoken with many, many people who don’t trust their families enough to openly discuss their concerns.  That is so sad.  Our current church culture does not foster an atmosphere of safety, honesty and authenticity.

There is nothing positive that comes out of gossip.  Instead, talk about me….with me.  Gossip is easy and takes no guts.  Speaking face to face does take courage.  I won’t bite.  I promise.  I love the church.  I love its leaders.  It saddens me that so many members are fleeing our ranks.  If you want to know where I stand, ask me, send an e-mail, or let me take you to lunch.

To the handful of brave friends who have reached out to me.  THANK YOU!

16 thoughts on “Gossip

  1. “I love the church. I love its leaders.”

    Sam, I presume you mean that as in “love the sinners but not their sins”.

    Request: Please qualify your statement about loving the church and its leaders. You are confusing people. Or, speaking for myself, you are confusing me.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have discovered a hidden talent. Spreading confusion! If I can just find a way to monetize my new skill.

      When I speak of the church, I’m referring to the PEOPLE that make up the church. When I refer to the leaders, I’m referring to the PEOPLE who are referred to as leaders. Here’s the secret to my position: I have chosen to put my faith in the teachings and example of Jesus Christ. His #1 directive is to love PEOPLE. He reiterated it over and over, in many different ways. However, it’s a lot easier to say than to do. I am attempting to do it. For example, I hate the policy, but love the policy makers.

      Now, I really hope that this didn’t clear anything up. As, I’m also trying to hone my talent at wreaking confusion.


  2. Ok, my opening remarks are directed to the gossips in Fred’s Ward. STOP IT! It is none of your business what is going on in Fred’s life. As someone who used to reside in such a ward and had similar difficulties as did several others, I know the quality of the people in that area. Be a friend and please don’t alienate someone who has been an exemplary member of the church. Be a friend and don’t give your advice unless you are specifically asked for it. To Fred’s wife , keep going to church and trust those the spirit directs you to trust. Hold your head up because you are a child of God. Your special personality and spirit is needed in the Church right now as more families are facing a crisis.
    To those who don’t agree with Fred and think he is losing his mind, unless you are his Ward bishop, his life is his to live the way he has chosen. He knows what the church teaches and through his crisis of faith has found his path within the church at this time and it is working for him. I don’t agree with Fred, and that’s my perogitive, but admire him being true to himself. As long as he is not teaching false doctrine or trying to lure people away from the church and its doctrine, it’s none of our business.
    To Fred, I do have a question about your above post in reply to Gary. Did I understand you to being somewhat coy as to your answer…sounded a little like you were playing a game. I hope I wasn’t reading that into the comment about wrecking confusion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janice,

      I think you slipped a little and referred to me as Fred. It was I, Sam, who responded to Gary. Of course, I was haveing a little fun with my answer. But, the response regarding my attempt to follow the teachings of Christ are totally serious.


  3. Stop talking behind my back 🙂 — Why do people use my name for an example 😉

    Not following this conversation well enough to know if Fred is actually one of the few and cool persons named “Fred”. Or if Fred is a pseudonym for someone else.

    However it fits perfectly, in this conversation. The name Fred has the meaning of “peaceful ruler”.

    Can’t we all get along? Who are we to look at the slivers of others and magnify them. Should we not be tolerant even through long suffering? What if God was to quickly accuse us all for our different inadequacies? Shouldn’t we strive to seek understanding and increase in love?

    I don’t know Sam well enough to know his history and character, but from what I do get a sense of is his love of the savior and the wanting to try to do what is right from his perspective. Many of us don’t look to change our angle on a matter. So we only see a two dimensional image from a specific view that we have grounded ourselves on.

    What if we saw everything from all angles and vantage points with the best lenses. And what if we then anchor it on Christ, who is the rock. I think Sam is seeing things from different angles, questioning and working out in his mind how the different angles all fit together and make sense. I’m not implying that he is seeing all angles or has the right lense. I do get a sense that he is trying to anchor his views to the Savior. To many of us, it seems wong as it doesn’t fit our specific vantage point.

    Maybe Sam’s vantage point is through a colored lense that doesn’t give true clarity and there are misrepresentations. Who are we to change that lense. Shouldn’t we instead focus on our own lense and root ourselves on the savior? This is in no way to justify Sam or others, but to suggest a better approach to interacting with each other.

    As to the law of common consent. I don’t yet have a feel or understanding of how this should work or is it working correctly. I do know though, that agency is of utmost importance to our Heavenly Father. Wouldn’t it make sense for some of Sam’s points to be valid if not currently in practice through Church Policy? Wouldn’t it be better to say to our Children, “Brother Sam sees things a little differently, I don’t agree with him on everything, but he is my Brother and love him.” Wouldn’t it be a great way to teach our children tolerance and an outpouring of love?

    I hope that there can be healing on all sides. Let’s look to the Savior. Let’s unite in our Love for the Savior.

    Brother Fred

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fred – umm – I mean Sam. The point you are driving is important. I think members of the church have a strong inclination of employing passive-aggressive behaviors. They are unwilling to address something head on, but try to indirectly say sometimes some very decisive things.

    The church MUST get more comfortable talking about doubts/issues or tons more are going to leave the church.

    I just listened to the podcasts on the excommunication of Amy and Jake Malouf. They mentioned that a father and son both separately contacted them saying they were deeply struggling, but both felt they couldn’t even talk about it with anybody in their family. That is a shame that the church culture is such that a family can’t have a conversation of a deeply troubling issue that they might be able to help each other out on.

    P.S. – Sam. I must confess I talk about you behind your back, but it is positive comments. So I am doing “good gossiping” 🙂 I hope that is OK with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Hap,

    Great to hear from you again. In many ways YOU are my hero, my friend!

    I listened to both of the Malouf’s podcasts. The issue of the father and son not talking struck me too. As I intimated in this post, I have talked to many people who have not shared their transition with their loved ones. Especially family. Only when the transition is complete and irreversible is their story shared. Today, that’s pretty much the only safe way to handle it. That reflects very poorly on the culture of our church. And the church culture permeates our families.

    I have been wanting to share in my HP quorum something like this. In fact, as I write it, I think I’ll send it to the Bishop and Stake President.

    “Our history, our doctrine, our current policies and especially the stigma and prohibition of discussing these matters is coming after your children, your grandchildren, your siblings and your spouse. The sad part is that you won’t even know it until your loved ones have been eaten up by what WE are so anxious to hide from. Now is the time to talk and prepare. Now is the time to build bridges of trust, safety and understanding. If we don’t engage the discussion here, INSIDE OUR CHAPELS, our loved ones will KNOW that it’s not safe to discuss inside our chapels or with faithful church members. Instead, they will turn to the community where it IS safe to discuss history, doctrine and policy. A community where there is no stigma or prohibition. That community is populated by a small minority of faithful members and a huge majority of people who no longer believe.”

    All my best.
    P.S. I’m anxiously awaiting some kind of update.


  6. Greetings again, Sam!

    There is a very good reason that open discussion of faith crisis and doubts is not encouraged or remotely tolerated by Church leadership … and never will be.

    This is the reason:

    When the troubling issues are discussed openly and honestly by intelligent people seeking to discover the unvarnished, unwhitewashed, underlying truths of the matter, there is only one possible conclusion.

    The Brethren are perpetuating a colossal fraud on the entire membership of the Church. They have lied to the members and misrepresented the actual history of the Church and its ingeniously clever founder for generations.

    They are knowingly and intentionally operating a Mind Control Cult that has been quite successful at deceiving, brainwashing and egregiously exploiting for financial gain, the otherwise intelligent people into surrendering control of their very own lives and fortunes to The Brethren.

    The luminaries who own and control the Church are guilty of stunning array of high crimes and misdemeanors. Under the principles of the Gospel they teach from their pulpits, they themselves have their calling and election made sure all right. They have exercised their free agency and sealed their own fate and will burn in hell for what they have done . . . every last one of them.

    Of course, “burn in hell” is a metaphor. The Brethren have qualified themselves for the Grand Prize behind Door #3. It’s an all expense paid vacation to a future existence where they will get to experience life as a gay Mormon youth who commits suicide after being programmed with a fatal dose of self-loathing within an organization run by people just like The Brethren.

    Sam, can you think of any reason The Brethren are in any danger of “coming clean” when there is zero upside for them personally? The Essays are their best shot at pretending to be honest and open. If The Essays were discussed and dissected openly in Church, most members would go WTH and eventually leave. The Brethren realize this and will continue to eject any and all voices of honesty and integrity from the ranks of the membership.

    Cockroaches require darkness to survive. They run from Light like the plague.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Gary,

    Oh man, you’re willing to endure more of the confusion that emanates from my stubby fingers!

    I’ve carefully read your critical and cutting comments. You have mercilessly attacked “The Brethren.” I am so glad that I’ve placed my faith where I have. It’s in the teachings and example of Christ. I recognize the leaders of the church as leaders. But, my faith is not in them. They serve as guides, advisors, administrators. I don’t follow them. I don’t worship them. I’m not their disciple. I’m not striving to come unto them. All that is reserved for someone or something else.

    Now, time to dispatch a little confusion….could you provide your address? It’s high time to send the missionaries your way.

    All my best, Sam

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha ha ha, I like you Sam. I am wondering though. I am in a similar situation. Why stay with the church? Why not be a christian in another church? Do you believe in the BOM? Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 1 person

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