Sunday, November 29, 2009

Is it all relative?????

I am a product of my generation. I was born in the late 60's, was a child in the 70's and a teenager in the 80's, and in college in the 90's. Much of how I think, and how I see the world is filtered by generation I grew up in along with the life experiences I have had. How can it not be?

I recall in the early 80's having a discussion with my mother. My mother grew up in the 40's and 50's, during the height of the cold war. In the early 80's US and Russian relations were strained at best. I recall the fear that my mother had of the Russians and the nuclear war that she believed was a real possibility. When my mother spoke of this I looked at her like she was crazy, and I told her that. My fear was not the Russians, I felt that they at least had enough common sense to know that if they engaged in nuclear warfare with the US it would be returned and mutually assured destruction of both countries would occur. My perception was that the Russians did not want to die any more than the Americans did. I recall telling my mother my fear was the middle east and the Islamic radicals that had no fear of death, hence no fear of killing Americans. She didn't get it, any more than I understood her fear of Russia.

If you look back at the knowledge society had 10, 20, or even 30 years ago you can see how as a society we have evolved, especially when it comes to issues such as parenting, interpersonal relationships, self awareness, etc., the list is quite long. Its like Oprah says "when you know better you do better."

The church for better or for worse has had to change and adapt with society. Albeit most change in the church as come at a snail's pace. In a church that believes it has all the correct and right answers, I think it is difficult to accept change, because for many it is akin to admitting that perhaps the church does not know everything and is evolving along with society. What is ironic about this belief is that the Church also believes that, as we evolve and change as individuals, we gain further light and knowledge. So on one hand we are expected to grow and progress as individuals, but at the same time we are expected to be resistant to change if contradicts or is not in harmony with any thing ANY church leader might have said in the past, or currently.

A simple look at Church history demonstrates that on many issues, both doctrinal and moral the church has evolved over the years. In fact to read some of the statements said by church leaders can be shocking, if considered in our modern day context. But what we have to recall is that those statements were not said in the context of the knowledge we have now, they were said in the context of the knowledge the leaders had at the time. As as Oprah says "when you know better you do better."

I think it is also important to consider that just as I filter information, knowledge, and light through the generation and life experience I have had, leaders making statements also filter through their generation and life experience. As much as we like to think what they say is the pure "word of God" I think its more like the word of God filtered. And I am ok with that, because I know that I have the opportunity to get on my knees, receive my own confirmation and revelation, filtered through the generation I grew up in, and the life experiences I have had.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Because I just can't leave well enough alone...

After stewing about for several days, and feeling like I was not being understood I fired off an email to the first counselor in the RS, who also happens to be the Bishop's wife. Here is the email: (Some of the names have been edited, for obvious reasons!)

"I wanted to explain myself a little more than I did when we spoke on Sunday afternoon, because it is a very complicated issue for me. My issue with CP is more that just a personality conflict, its his judgment. Like I said I have a brother in law that is bi-polar. He was diagnosed when he was 19 and in the MTC. He clearly had to leave his mission and come home due to his medical issues. Over the course of the last five years he has done an outstanding job maintaining his medication, including monthly visits to his doctor to monitor his medication by checking his blood. He understands his condition is a life long condition and that even if he is feeling good he can't go off his medication. I trust him completely with my children and on more than one occasion I have left my children in his care because I have never seen any behavior from him that would lead me to believe he would do any harm to my children.

CP is a different story. I have been concerned about his behavior from the time he and his wife moved in to the ward. I have not seen him exercise good judgment in many different situations. Several years ago, you were probably in Hawaii when this occurred, he and his wife were considering purchasing the house across the street from me when Craig and Debbie placed it up for sale due to his call as a GA. CP and Craig began to negotiate on the purchase price of the home, and somewhere along the line the negotiations fell apart. CP believed that Craig was being dishonest and went up to Church headquarters. He waited out in the parking lot for Craig to come out, but Church security discovered him before he had any interaction with Craig, and made him leave. He also wrote several letter to Church headquarters saying that Craig was dishonest and had no business being a GA. Well a few months after this occurred Craig and Debbie were coming to our ward for a visit, and Church security demanded that Craig have a body guard because they did not want him unaccompanied in the ward where CP was, given what CP had done and said. Craig did not want a body guard but agreed to let Bishop J know what was going on, and asked Bishop J to be his body guard since he would be sitting up on the stand with Bishop J. Obviously nothing occurred, but to me it is an example of his instability, and lack of good judgment.

More recently in July the SWAT team was at the CP's house. CP's wife had taken CP up to SLC and checked him into a mental health facility because he was off his medication. Since it was a voluntary check in, after his wife left CP checked himself out and returned home. His wife was not there at the time, and CP who was still manic, wanted to get into the locked gun cabinet and was upset when he could not. One of the kids called the police which is why the SWAT team had to come out to the house. The SWAT team had to negotiate to get him out of the house and he made all sorts of statements about not coming out without a fight. Eventually he did come out and agreed to return to the mental health facility. How do I know this information, its from the police report.

The July incident was FOUR months ago. If this was something that happened several years ago, and he was stabilized with his medication I would not have an issue. The problem with CP is that he does not maintain his medication and these two incidents are only two of a handful of incidents involving CP that I could tell stories about, where his judgment is questionable at best.

Now I do agree that probably most of the time he does just stay in his room and probably would not come to church when he is in that state. But that is not a risk I am willing to take with my child. As you know little children can be difficult, especially two year olds, I know, I live with her daily, and she acts like a typical two year old. My concern, is given his instability, and demonstrated lack of good judgment, what if he is in the nursery, perhaps having a bad day, and my child begins to act like a typical two year old? It is not hard for me to conceive that he could "snap," not intentionally, but just due to his instability and poor judgment, and it could turn into a harmful situation for my child. I have seen it time and time again in police reports I have read, and it is usually stems from an individual with mental health issues, who is not properly addressing their mental health issues, and a child does something that causes the individual to snap. In these situations generally is not the parent of the child, but rather someone who does not have an emotional attachment to the child, such as a care giver.

CP's past instability and poor judgment in conjunction with his recent instability and poor judgment, as a mother give me great concern in leaving my child in his care. I too have prayed about this situation and I do not feel comfortable leaving my child in nursery. My job as a parent is to do what I feel is in the best interest of my child and to protect my child. I could not live with myself if I allowed her to be in nursery and something happened.

While I know CP probably will not be in nursery that often because his attendance at church is sketchy, I still cannot sit comfortably in Sunday School or RS knowing that it is possible he will decide he needs to come to church for some reason, and the first place he would go would be to the nursery to see his wife.

I hope you now understand that is not simply a personality conflict I have with CP and that I am not judging or labeling him. As I explained earlier, given my situation I am the last person to judge or label. With my soon to be ex-husband's situation I have had similar discussions with him about who he can expose the kids to and what situations he can place the kids in. Because at the moment there are days I question his judgment too. My decision with CP is based on his demonstrated conduct of instability and poor judgment, in conjunction with the feeling I have that my child should not go to nursery.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of the position I am coming from, and why I am having to make difficult decisions, and how his being in the nursery is complicating my already complicated life."

I sent this email a week ago, and the only response I got was about going to lunch for my birthday and making sure it is fun and not discussing any "heavy" topics. Well at least I tried, hopefully I gave her something to think about, and I am also considering sending a copy of the email to her husband, the Bishop. And perhaps including a sentence or two about how he has now been placed on notice of the instability of CP, and God forbid should anything happen while CP is in nursery, he will expose himself and the church to legal liability. (Its the lawyer in me, I can't help it....)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How did I become the bad guy???

Church as been testing my patience lately.....

I took a trip in October and while I was gone my ward felt the need to change nursery leaders. This did not come as a complete surprise to me because before I left the former nursery leader told me she was being released. (I have a two year old so clearly nursery affects me.)

I returned from my trip to find a couple had been called to the position. Now I have no issues with the wife, but the husband that is another matter.....

First, he (CP) is bi-polar, and does not control his condition with medication. If he controlled his condition with medication I would not have an issue. I have a brother in law who is bi-polar and controls his condition with medication, and I completely trust him with my children. When CP goes off his medication he gets violent. In April he was arrested for domestic battery, and domestic battery in front of his children. In July he was off his medication again and this time he was trying to get guns out of a locked gun cabinet. The SWAT team was called out to his house and he had to be talked out of his house (episode lasted 2 hours) and then was taken to a mental health facility. And these are just the incidents I am aware of because of my access to police reports.

Second, he admitted that in a prior ward he pulled the pants down on someone else's kid to spank the kid, because he thought the kid was acting inappropriately.

Third, (and this is only a minor concern) he is sue happy. To date he has sued two individuals in my ward for bogus claims. Both of which included claims of defamation of character because he believed these individuals were talking smack about him. Both law suits were thrown out by the judge because the claims were bogus, but not after both individuals spent considerable time and money defending themselves.

So I took my concerns to the bishop who said he would think and pray about it. I met with the bishop a week later and was told he prayed and his counselors prayed about it and they felt CP needed to stay in nursery. I was fuming. I told the bishop I prayed about it too, and felt my child should not be in nursery with him, so clearly we have competing answers. It went downhill from there. I basically slammed the door as I left the bishop's office.

My life is hard enough as it is, and this just makes it harder. I go to church alone, with my three kids who are 8, 5 and 2. So clearly having a spiritual experience at sacrament meeting is a no-go. The one and only spiritual experience I get each week is in Relief Society. I told the bishop that if CP was left in nursery I would not be taking my daughter to nursery. Which impacted me because I either had to leave after sacrament meeting, or attempt to take her to Relief Society, which in reality would mean no spiritual experience for me and disruptive to everyone else trying to have a spiritual experience.

In the last year since my husband and I separated this is only the second time I have even met with the bishop. I have not asked ANYTHING of the ward. I told him he really does not have any concept of my life, what I am asked to deal with on a daily basis, and how hard things are, and how I am trying to make the best of a difficult situation that I had no choice or control over.

Quite frankly I knew what the bishop's answer would be before I even met with him and I was prepared to accept it, what surprised me was how angry I became, I have not been that angry in a long time. I hate being that angry. I know I loose effectiveness, and I just hate the way it makes me feel.

Today as I was leaving after sacrament meeting, I was stopped by the first counselor in the Relief Society presidency who also happens to be the bishop's wife. We talked about the nursery issue for a while and I ended up with a lecture on how we should not judge others, but we should be accepting and loving. HELLO, I have a gay husband I think a know a thing or two about judging others???

All I am asking is that my kid not have to go to nursery with an individual who has recent KNOWN violent behavior, is not properly controlling his mental health, and admits to making poor judgement choices involving other people's children?????

But you know I am the bad guy.....