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....)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Kimberli said...

I have followed your blog sporadically over the last year or so, but haven't commented until now. I am absolutely appalled that your bishopric has placed a person with that strong a history of instability/violence in a Nursery calling. My husband (who is currently serving in our bishopric, and a law school grad) and I have discussed the situation you have described and we both agree - it is entirely inappropriate to have that man in Nursery. Period. This has nothing to do with 'not judging' or 'loving' the individual, it is about providing a safe and stable environment for those children. The safety of those children should not be sacrificed for the sake of therapy/rehabilitation of a member with uncontrolled mental illness who has had such serious periods of violence and instability. It may sound harsh and unloving, but it's true.

The Church has set policies concerning people who have been arrested for domestic violence, etc.: they should not be extended callings in Primary, or working with YM/YW. If it were our daughter, we'd pull her from nursery and contact the Stake President and Area Authorities right away. Sounds like a paper trail of this man's inappropriate and/or criminal behavior already exists. The Church's Security Dept would still have its records on their encounters with him - I'd pull all that together and present it to the higher authorities with your concerns.

Are any other parents of Nursery-aged children worried, too? Perhaps if more than one parent was to approach them, your Stake Presidency would understand it's not just one hysterical parent over-reacting.

The fact that your bishop blabbed about your concerns to his wife (who is not in the Primary presidency, and therefore does NOT have stewarship over the Nursery callings), is a bad, bad sign. I wouldn't count on getting any help from him. And it's not his wife's place to lecture you on anything outside of RS. Personally, I am the last to hear what's going on in our ward, because my husband is very, very careful and doesn't tell me anything. We both insist on that.

Good luck! I hope you can get this resolved and back to enjoying your time at church soon. (sorry this is so long, but placing children in jeopardy for the sake of 'making nice' really steams me.)

Pieces of Me said...

Kimberli:

Thanks for you wonderful supportive comments! It made me feel really good, because I have been made out to be the bad guy in this situation. I have been thinking about my next step, and going to the state president.

I have a friend who does background checks for a living, and he is pulling together an offical background check on this individual, so that when and if I do approach someone higher up the line I have the factual proof I need so demonstrate he is a risk. I think at the moment my bishop thinks I am an emotional and hysterical mother because although I am normally a calm person, I have been very emotional when I have been talking to him about this because of two things 1. It involves my child, and 2. I admit that I am under a lot of stress at the moment, and this was just the icing on the cake. The one thing that sent me over the edge to insanity.

As for my bishops's wife, in fairness to my bishop it was not him to said anything to her, it was a good friend of mine, that works closely with her in a church calling. My friend was aghast at the bisiop leaving this individual in the nursery after I complained, and gave the bishop's wife an earful. Thats how she found out, and because she is in the RS presidency, she decided to involve herself and provide her opinion to me. I have worked with her in a prior calling enough to know what type of a person she is, which is a busy body, so although I was upset that she was making me out to be the bad person, I also considered the source.

As for other children in nursery, there is only one other little girl, who is nearly the same age as my daughter. So neither of them will be going to primary in January. I have been debating what to say, if anything, to the other parents. They have only been in our ward about 4 months, so they are not familiar with the history of the individual in question. The wife is the primary chorister, so she comes into nursery every week and can clearly see my daughter is not there. I don't know her very well, but we talked last week about setting up a weekly play date for our daughters since they are so close in age and the only ones in that age group in the ward. I think probably in the course of the play date that it will come up and I can tell her my concerns. He husband was a bishop in the ward they just moved from, so he knows the drill as far as what is acceptable under church policy and procedure.

Thanks again for you kind comments, they made my day.

Anonymous said...

I'm still stewing about this.