Several personal accounts of ecclesiastical abuse, abuse and power and authority and shunning shared here and here . Account is edited for length. Read entire account here.
Today, I was meeting with the Bishop and Stake President because a church member decided to tell my Bishop about my writing on Facebook my feelings on women and the Priesthood.
That was the beginning of the nightmare.
Then I got asked by the Bishop to meet again regarding the 2nd temple recommend question… "Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or *individual* whose teachings or *practices* are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?"
That question, one that was written up in the time that there were members who were a part of unions or masons as well as Mormons and Polygamy…that is what that question had to do with then, if I understand it correctly.
Everyone else I have talked to and especially, I have asked the Ordain Woman organization if anyone has specifically lost their temple recommend over being involved with Ordain Women.
No one had.
No one person in my church has had their temple recommend taken away over being involved with Ordain women…even as far up as Utah… but I was told mine would be taken by my Bishop (I will not disclose his name here) if I answered yes to this second Temple recommend question.
I am worthy in every other way to go to the Temple, but I believe that women should hold the Priesthood and I am a part of a group "Ordain Women" who have been nothing but respectful in their cause, and the group themselves tell us to be nothing BUT respectful.
For a month now, I have had interviews with my Bishop. It had literally given me severe, horrible stomachaches, making me wonder if an ulcer is next.
I just want to be left alone to worship.
Then a week or two later he mentioned that he wanted to meet with me over the 2nd temple question (the one above).
Then almost 2 weeks went by, with my getting anxious wondering why I hadn't met with him yet, so just so he would know I wasn't trying to avoid him, I went to his office and asked him if he still wanted to meet and talk. He said yes…So we agreed that we would meet at my house.
We met at my house and as usual, he seemed pleasant, but very polite.
We went over the thoughts he and I both had, me talking about how Joseph Smith himself had given the Priesthood to women, and that from what I understood, that had been taken away in the 1800s (It started by the Relief Society that had been run by women starting out, getting disbanded, then to turning Relief Society over to men being over the women in it by Brigham Young: then later Joseph F Smith had completely taken the Priesthood away from women , as women used to bless each other… if I am understanding it right. It is another parallel to my African American brothers, as the Priesthood was also unfairly taken away from my African American brothers by Brigham young ) which meant to me that the Ordain Women Group was NOT going against the church because our FOUNDER of the religion himself ordained his wife Emma as a Priestess, (If that is true- and from what I read and studied, it IS in Mormon History) but the Bishop told me that what modern Prophets teach is what matters now, Not Joseph Smith, which hits me as odd because our whole religion is based off of Joseph Smiths first vision… and the Ordain Women group is not going against the church in my mind…are they teaching against the church?
No… they are just asking our Prophet to pray about it.
I told Bishop I didn't know how to answer that second question because as of right now they don't teach women's ordination…By now I was getting angry.
So he asked for my Temple recommend, and I told him I wanted to talk to the Stake President (one up from him) it was getting later and later, so we parted ways and he said we would meet the next week. BY now I was completely drained and just exhausted, feeling completely misunderstood.
I went in to talk to the Bishop completely calm.
As I talked to the Bishop I let him know what I believed, I wasn't angry, and I took some of the thoughts I had found from Edward Kimball's document on the Priesthood, which were incredible and had many parallels to the Ordain women movement.
Suddenly it seemed the Bishop was getting VERY angry with me. He said. "I'm just going to be blunt with you…I think you are being deceived". (That I thought was more than a little over the top.) To which I said, "I have my truth and you have yours"... Even though he was angry, I still felt calm which was amazing under the circumstances.
He asked for my Temple recommend right then, but it felt more like he demanded it and wasn't asking. I just thought he sounded very, VERY angry.
So, I gave it to him.
Despite that, I know that I am not in the wrong, and that God knows I am worthy. I sincerely believe that EVERYTHING I have prayed and pleaded about I got answers to.
I am sad, but I feel my temple recommend is a sacrifice that is required for me for NOW. I don't know why, but through whatever I am required to do, I have been shown in more ways that I am saying here that God IS with me.
I hope the decision the Bishop made to take away my temple recommend will be turned around at some point.
I have heard dozens upon dozens of people say that they got their temple recommends despite saying yes to the second question that I talked to him about as people are married to non LDS members and have friends who have different beliefs… I DO believe the time will come when it is right and things will change.
The next 3 weeks, felt like a witch hunt.
That wasn't the end of the appointments, as I had also made an appointment with the Stake President that day.
Right away when I walked in, I set down my highlighted papers on his desk, scooted the chair up to his desk and asked him if I could read what I had underlined…he said no, that he would rather we just talk. Then he started talking very fast, which surprised me, as at first he wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise until I think he realized that I wasn't purposefully trying to cause contention. Then he slowed down and we had a good meaningful conversation. He told me that there isn't any way I could answer no to the 2nd temple recommend question...(Which I thought was quite unfair. As it is supposed to be up to ME how to answer the questions.)
With THAT said, he wasn't as hardcore with me as the Bishop. I felt more love coming from him despite what he was saying. He then said he has seen temple recommend questions change three times during his Presidency and that if someday that happened that I would have my recommend back. I think he realized that I was sincerely asking questions, unlike when I talked to the Bishop, I just felt condemnation.
The Stake President also brought up, that in the Temple the women do the same things the men do THEMSELVES,
But I didn't tell him that.
The Stake President then said to me "If the men had half the desire you have to hold the priesthood and bless others, as I can see you have, you wouldn't need to do this...
Which made me sad to think that he was missing the point…
I asked him then, what about single women, then he said something about separate but equal...and I said, (placing my hand on that stack of papers that I had highlighted and wanted to talk about) that was the exact wording that was used when it came to my African Americans brothers and its being used with Women...
The other point is, that women who are in the military who are out in the middle of nowhere, at times without male Priesthood holders can't have a meeting or take the Sacrament. How is that ok?
I don't know why, but sometimes in this life, sadly, there is no answer.
At least not for now.
I more I have thought about it, I believe the reason I am here, at THIS time is for THIS moment. This, above all else, is the stand I have been called to make.