Dear Friend, I’m Offended, Too

Bednar Offended

Recently, I published a blog entitled “Do You Wear the Right Panties?”  It elicited a strong comment from a good friend.

My Friend’s Comment

“Sam, you have crossed the line and finally shown your true colors. To poke fun at something that is sacred to TBM, you have in essence spit on the face of the Church you claim to still be a member of. Why haven’t you left yet? I think it is because you like the title as if it makes your speeches more real if you can add to your rhetoric that you are still a member….a title…worse yet ….pride. I never thought I would see the day when someone I had admired for so long would turn from being so humble to so prideful. It’s the pride cycle in human form. God Bless you my friend. For you and I both, I am glad for forgiveness and the Atonement.”

My Response

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your comment.  Dialogue in the church is so lacking.  Without it, no one can come to really understand one another.  I appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts.

I can see how you could be offended by my piece.  Your hurt is valid and I recognize that.  I hear you.  I see you.

In October 2006 General Conference, Elder Bednar made a this statement:

“Believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make.” 

According to Elder Bednar, you have chosen to be offended.  And…I respect your choice.

Now, I’m going to take this opportunity to share how I have chosen to be offended.  Hopefully, this will shed more light on my “True Colors.

  1. For most of my life, I have been taught lies, half-truths and deceptions.  That offends me.  Even the noted Mormon historian Richard Bushman admits that lies have been common fare.  “I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative.  The dominant narrative is not true;  it can’t be sustained.”  The church should openly admit where they were deceptive or simply in error.  And then apologize for it.  Not doing so is the same as the church spitting in my face.
  2. During the 2 years of my full-time mission, I taught a lie that was conveniently provided by the church.  I didn’t find out until 3 years ago that it was a lie.  That offends me.  The church should openly admit that this teaching was a lie and apologize to all those who taught it.  Not doing so is the same as the church spitting in my face.
  3. When I was a kid, we sang songs that encouraged us to think about and follow Jesus.  Today, we indoctrinate our kids to follow the prophet.  The primary songs center around the temple, the scriptures and the prophet.  That really offends me.  It affects my posterity.  They are being taught to make the apostles their God instead of Christ.  Whose face is that spitting at?
  4. The church has changed.  Our focus in now obey, obey, obey.  Yet, the apostles lead out in disobedience to the Law of Common Consent.  Boy, do I ever choose to be offended at this hypocrisy.  The church is spitting on it’s own mandate from Jesus Christ.  We are spitting on the restoration.  The apostles have elevated themselves above the accountability mandated by the Savior.  I’m also disappointed that the general membership continues to be complicit in allowing them to do this.
  5. I…AM…OFFENDED…that my 12 year old daughter was taken behind closed doors, all alone, by the bishop, without my knowledge or consent, and asked if she masturbated.  During her teenage years this was repeated “all the time.”  The church spit in my face by condoning and encouraging this practice behind my back.  They circumvented my parental responsibility.  Yeah…I choose to be offended at these indefensible interviews with MY children.  I am also super disappointed that the good members of the church are not rising up in mass to condemn this practice and call for its immediate cessation.
  6. We hold ourselves out as the quintessential family church.  We constantly hype The Family Proclamation.  Yet, The Proclamation, many teachings from the General Conference pulpit and our own Mormon culture are tearing families apart.  I see it every day.  I hear it everyday.  I read it everyday.  But, the church turns a blind eye to it.  How offensive!   So unfortunate!  And….almost completely preventable!!!  How hypocritical to praise the family out front, and, at the same time, tear them to pieces behind our backs.
  7. I…AM…OFFENDED…that the church leadership counseled a gay man to marry my daughter.  They told him that he would turn straight once he saw my daughter naked.  Outrageously OFFENSIVE!  This was my daughter they were messing with.  Stake Presidents and Bishops gave this counsel for decades.  It has left broken hearts, broken families and soul crushing sadness in its wake.  I have chosen to be super OFFENDED that my church gave such horrible direction.  If I were to spit on anything, this is where my spittle would be directed.  Fortunately, both my daughter and my gay almost-son-in-law did not wed.  Today, they are both married to wonderful men.  But, there was no help from the church, whatsoever.

Of course, I could list many other things that are offensive to me.

No way am I going to turn a blind eye.  I would….if I didn’t care about the Church or my family or the members of the church.  If I didn’t value my temple covenants, I might just sit on my thumbs.  If the teachings and example of Jesus meant nothing to me…I could easily do nothing.

But, I do care about the Church.  I do care about my family in the Church.  I am concerned about the members…especially those who find themselves marginalized.  I value my covenants.  The Savior’s teachings are the foundation of my actions.  His example is the foundation of my choice to be offended.

All my best wishes to you and your family.  May you bask in health, family unity, and God’s love.