Around 2pm today, I received a call from the stake executive secretary. He informed me that the stake president would like to come by and visit right away. My home was a-swirl in wedding preparations. So, we decided to meet in the church at 4:15.
I arrived at 4:00. No one there. I sat on the couch facing the outside door where the stake president makes his entrances.
At 4:15, the stake president and my former bishop made their timely appearance. I stood. We shook hands. The stake president gave me a hug. About one minute of pleasantries. Then, as we stood in the hallway, the following interchange ensued .
SP: The First Presidency has reviewed and responded to your appeal.
SP: They have affirmed the decision of the council.
SP: I wanted to pass that on to you and also extend warm regards. I urge you to qualify to return in the prescribed way. I wanted to deliver that message on their behalf.
SAM: So, it’s not in writing or email?
SP: I’ve received a letter.
SAM: Do I get a letter?
SAM: I don’t get a letter on this?
SP: No, its’ just a verbal one.
SAM: Okay. I’ve got a couple of questions on this. First, before the council, I signed an agreement not to record. The letter said that everyone on the council was going to sign that agreement and that no one was to record it in any form. But, I didn’t see anybody else sign it. You had me sign it here in the hall. Can I get a copy of everybody else’s signatures who signed the “no record agreement?”
SP: I’ll check on that and see.
SAM: Is that not your decision to make?
SP: I’m not prepared to answer your questions right now.
SP: We’ve gone through the council and I’m here to deliver that message.
(He slowly starts to back towards the outside door.)
SAM: The second thing I’d like to ask is this. Nobody was supposed to record anything. Yet, Joey was there to record it in writing. Since I was forbidden to record it, I’d like to get a copy of the record that you all made. Can I get a copy that?
SP: I don’t know. Those are confidential on our part.
SAM: But, I heard everything that went on in that council. I was told not to record and I was told that nobody else was going to record it. But you guys did record it.
SP: Sam, I’m just here to deliver this message.
SAM: Well, since you mentioned my preparing to return, I’ve got one other question.
SP: Uh huh.
(SP turns and increases his pace towards the front door. I follow.)
SAM: What do I need to do in order to come back?
SP: It’s written in the letter that you received from me.
SAM: It just said that I needed to join the covenant path and repent. But I……(Cut off by the SP.)
(They pass through the 1st outside door. I follow.)
SP: It’s written in the letter that you received. Thank you and have a great…..(Cut off by Sam.)
SAM: So why did they not give this to me in writing? Part of my reasoning for appeal was to let you off the hook for making this decision. I wanted it to come from the First Presidency. So why wouldn’t they put it in writing?
(We walk out the 2nd outside door into the cool seasonal weather.)
SP: Sam, all those questions you are asking…I’m not prepared to give any answers other than the message I’m delivering.
(We walk down the short walkway to the parking lot)
SAM: So, how do I get answers to those questions? Do we meet again and you answer the questions I just mentioned?
SP: NO. WE ARE NOT GOING TO MEET ANYMORE.
(I stop at the edge of the parking lot. They continue the short distance to their cars)
SAM: We’re not going to meet? So basically I can’t get any answers to the questions I just asked?
(Car doors open)
SP: Have a wonderful day. Thank you.
(I call out as they get in their cars.)
SAM: Okay….I just want to tell you that this is one weird, weird thing.
(They close their doors and drive away. I stand there dumbfounded at the oddity of what just transpired.)
I believe that my stake president is a good man. He’s certainly successful in worldy terms. But, I now have a clear picture that the LDS church is capable of turning a good man into a mindless zombie. A will-less robot following instructions from his Mormon masters.
No compassion. No friendship. No outreach. Distant and detached.
Anxious to flee the presence of the evil excommunicated apostate.
Nothing Christ-like whatsoever.
I wish he and the bishop well. They will be better off without the thorn of Sam in their sides. I hope that when doubts arise in their dark-night-of-the-soul that they’ll consider this excommunicated thorn as a safe place to talk.
A very weird encounter indeed.
Of course, this WILL NOT deter my determination to protect the kids.