Just Because It’s A Commitment, Doesn’t Make It Right

Rusty - October 5, 2004

I’m distracted. And a bit peeved.

I’ve been working on a post for some time now. It has great spiritual significance to me and have been formulating it in a way that I hope makes sense for those who might read it.

However, tonight something has come up.

It has almost zero spiritual significance to me (and most members for that matter) and I am barely going to spell check this thing before posting it. Why would I post this one over the other? Because I’m so bothered I can no longer concentrate on that other post, no longer concentrate on school, not on work, not on seminary, I don’t even remember my wife’s name!

I found out tonight that the bishop of a close friend of ours has committed all the men in the ward to two things: 1) To never watch an R-rated movie ever again. Also, to never watch a PG-13 rated movie without his wife’s permission. 2) To use the internet (at home presumably) only with his wife’s permission (by assigning a password on the computer that only the wife knows).

I vehemently object to A) the bishop committing members of his ward to the living of a non-commandment, non-church policy, non-doctrinal, non-recently-mentioned-in-an-official-setting-to-establish-it-as-anything-remotely-like-a-commandment,-church-policy,-or-doctrine. B) The bishop suggesting that these guys are so pathetic that they have to ask their wife’s permission to do ANYTHING!!!! (note: I’m not saying these guys are pathetic, I’m saying that the bishop is suggesting they are by making them ask their wife’s permission)

When did “no R-rated movies” become church doctrine, policy, or commandment? I know this question has been asked a million times and would refer you to two posts by Bob Caswell here and here for my exact opinion, well articulated by Bob.

Now, regarding the internet, I fully understand the bishop’s intentions, especially in light of President Hinckley’s talk during priesthood. However, why not commit those who have problems with it rather than a broad sweep? Also, what kind of a message does that send to either spouse that the wife cannot trust her husband and that the husband has no self-control? Or that the two can’t work something out between themselves? Or ANYTHING else?

(this reminds me of another thing a RS president suggested in their ward back in Utah: that the wife light a candle (which represented the sexual desire) before her husband came home. When he gets home if he is not in the mood, he just blows the candle out. If he is in the mood, then he takes the next step. WHAT?!!! Is THAT the sort of communication I am supposed to have with my wife?)

My biggest objection to this whole charade is why didn’t the bishop commit them to something that could actually increase their spirituality rather than trying to help them avoid becoming “more bad”? Why not, “will you commit to finding someone to talk with the missionaries within two months?” or “will you commit to going to the temple once a month for the next six months?” or “will you commit to studying your scriptures every day for the next month?”

Nope. He had to commit them to asking their wife if they could blog late into the night.

1 Comment »

  1. Sheesh.
    Sister T | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 12:36 am | #

    Wow, I actually was relatively excited about this when Amy first passed on the information to me. But after the messages/rationalizations posted on the previous blog and Rusty’s angry tirade, I must bid an adieau.

    To be arguing about whether church doctrine really bars something like R-rated movies (sorry, I couldn’t get to the links why R-rated movies are somehow ok — but show me an R or PG-13 movie for that matter that fits into Ether 4:12 or Mor 7:16-17 & I’ll eat my foot) or inappropriate student use of welfare (as was argued in the last blog, it’s not “really” church doctrine because it was only stated by a prophet before he was a prophet, even though we do sustain the 12 as “prophet, seers, and revelators) — seems to me to be bordering on what D&C 58:26 is talking about.
    Laura | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 9:58 am | #

    Rusty, you’re upset by what you think the bishop should/shouldn’t have done? Did you first rid your heart of anger, get on your knees and pray about it (or counsel your friend to do that)? Do you *KNOW* from the Spirit that the Lord did *not* give the bishop specific instructions that this committment was what that individual ward needs for a reason the Lord knows? If you still were bothered by it, did you then go to the bishop and ask him about it (or ask your friend to do it) — ask him why he would give such a committment? I can say with absolute certainty that you could not have, or you could not have written the email which criticizes a church leader openly (see D&C 42:88-89), especially with the negative spirit in which you wrote that blog.
    Laura | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 9:59 am | #

    Again, again, again — what good does it do to post our opinions (sometimes quite angry on both sides)? What is God’s opinion? Justifications, rationalizations, “But-what-about”s, “My-situation-is-different”s, “Prove-it-by-church-doctrine”s — none of those really matter if we’re trying to stay as far on the Lord’s side as possible. I always thought it was better to err on being too close to the wall.
    Laura | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 10:00 am | #

    Laura, you seem frustrated. Perhaps you’ve had experiences which we don’t know about. But when you say, “…none of those really matter if we’re trying to stay as far on the Lord’s side as possible.” I’m not sure if you realize that what this bishop is doing could actually be considered closer to Satan’s plan. You know, the take-away-free-agency-force-everyone-to-be-good- and-live-by-the-same-arbitrary-gentile-created- standard.

    If this were my bishop, I would meet with him with my wife. Somehow we’d try tactfully and respectfully to explain that this new “commitment” is not only a bad idea but also quite offense and insulting to our relationship (the relationship my wife and I have).

    I can understand Rusty’s tone. This is worst case of least-common-denominator Church living. Prevention of sin is not effective when implemented in this manner. As Rusty alluded, the bishop could/should commit members to do things which would increase their spirituality, service, or love.
    Bob Caswell | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 10:21 am | #

    Bob, did you read Lara’s comment (especially the reference). Satan’s plan was a plan of force, allowing no room for error regardless of a committment. If someone from this group doesn’t keep the commitment presented by the Bishop, what can the Bishop really do? Nothing. Until you know for cirtain, you need to follow what Laura said about where the Bishops counsel came from.

    Lara left room for discussion, you killed it.

    I think I am done with this blog. Many other blogs have the problem of thoughtless response without reading others comments and thinking about them. But since this site was set up to discuss Mormon doctrin, etc, I would have hoped that people would be a step above the normal bloggers. It is not appropriate how many contributers have a lack of thought and not reading the arguments.
    Jerry | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 10:53 am | #

    My goodness! Let’s take it easy, I feel like we’re talking about abortion or homosexuality what with all the emotially attached comments.

    Jerry, I’m not sure how Laura “left room for discussion” while I “killed it”. It is common among bloggers to have differences of opinions *gasp* even Mormon bloggers!

    I’ve disagreed with many things on this blog but I’m not ready to have some last hoorah post like you or Laura, throw my hands up in the air, and move on to bigger and better things never to return. I find I learn more if I work through a discussion and try to understand the other side.

    Help me understand you; it’s a much better alternative than leaving the discussion hurt and offended. I meant no harm.
    Bob Caswell | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 11:49 am | #

    Now, to clarify, I didn’t say that the bishop’s plan WAS Satan’s plan. Rather, I said it could be considered CLOSER to Satan’s plan. I feel this way because I don’t think the gospel needs more and more rules and/or policies to work better. On the contrary, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of love and charity. Unnecessary reliance on rules and/or policies – no matter how well intentioned – can go against the basic principles of the gospel.

    I’m sure the bishop had the best of intentions in mind. But “best of intentions” mixed with authority as a bishop, doesn’t make the guy infallible.

    One other clarification, I respect Laura, Jerry, and this bishop and would never consider thinking of them as “lesser” based on their opinions. I’m not sure if that was clear. Based on my limited knowledge, they all seem like good people.
    Bob Caswell | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 12:07 pm | #

    I’m not sure the Bishop’s commitments fit into D&C 121. Giving counsel to ward members should only be given in the context of D&C 121.

    To try and commit, rather than counsel, on areas that are not “doctrine” I too think is an error.

    I thought one of the basic principles of the church was to TEACH correct doctrine and let us govern ourselves.

    If the Bishop feels a need to make these kind of commitments for his ward members then why not ban the “PG-13″ sitcoms and shows on TV, why not prohibit the newspaper with all of it’s negative news, and sexy women’s underwear ads, and don’t forget the sex laced novels some women like to read?

    I’d first talk with the Bishop, then to the Stake president and inform him what is going on. I think the Bishop is in error.
    Don | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 2:02 pm | #

    Perhaps that bishop is just married to a dominatrix and wants other priesthood holders to share his misery. However, as the “Little Utah” thread and comments suggest, there are those in the LDS Church who would rather not take responsibility and need to be given direction in all things.
    Randy | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 2:13 pm | #

    I understand that the Bishop’s have received direction from “The Brethern” that they are not to commit members to attending the temple a specific or minimum number of times per month.

    Even at conference the “Brethern” ask us to increase our attendence, but don’t give a specific number.

    But here’s a problem with this whole thing! If the members of that ward make the commitments the Bishop has required, what will happen? There could in fact be a huge change in the spirituality…but at what price?
    Don | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 2:13 pm | #

    Rusty, I’m interested, do you know what would happen if the Bishop tried to commit someone — let’s use, say, me as an example — and I replied, “I appreciate your counsel, Bishop. I don’t know if agree with it, but I’ll pray about it and see if I get a confirmation from the Spirit that I should do this.”?

    Is he yanking people’s temple recommends or something? What if someone decides not to follow this counsel?
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 3:03 pm | #

    I couldn’t agree more. Give a pinhead enough power…
    Ken | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 3:45 pm | #

    This sounds very unusual, what the bishop is asking be done. It’s a bit too much and I can’t imagine that I’d really agree to it. I can handle not watching R-rated movies … that’s not a very big deal to me. But only watching PG-13 movies or using the internet with explicit permission from my wife — that’s just a wacky idea. Why is the authority/intelligence behind this type of decision bound up in the female?

    My guess is that this bishop has had some very unusual experiences in either his personal life or in the bishop’s office — and that either he is in a complete panic about the onslaught of pornography in the modern world OR he’s got some personal issues that he’s projecting onto his ward.
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 3:53 pm | #

    Laura & Jerry,
    I regret that you feel the need to forever turn your back to this post. I started this blog with the express purpose of having a conversation. I’ve been searching and I can’t find where you suspect people of “lack of thought and not reading the arguments”. Unless that means, “expressing opinions in contrary to my own.” Then there appears to be an abundance. If that is your criteria for regular readership of a blog, then I sincerely wish you luck finding one. (for the record, I thought Bob’s comment both reflected that he did read the argument and wrote a thoughtful respsonse.)
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 8:40 pm | #

    Now to the remarks: I must say that my friend doesn’t know that I know this information and I can guarantee he was much more level-headed about this than I. But his response is not relevant to this conversation as it is I who have issues, not him.

    You also must know that I wasn’t on an angry tirade as it might seem. In fact, I am the least angry person I know. This post was written in the spirit of disbelief, rather than anger.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 8:41 pm | #

    Logan, I don’t know what the bishop would do. But I suppose if it were just council, this post would never have been written. I doubt he’s yanking people’s temple recommends.

    Danithew, I’m just as curious as you. I don’t know why the authority/intelligence behind this type of decision is bound to the female. My wife and I have the type of relationship where we communicate about our problems, and I presume most of the readers here do as well. I don’t imagine that asking permission for something would benefit the relationship any. Those are the kinds of relationships that end up on sitcoms (Raymond comes to mind) which makes for good comedy, but a sad relationship.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 8:41 pm | #

    Laura,
    I was delighted you quoted those scriptures (Ether 4:12, Moroni 7:16-17) because they perfectly illustrate my point. They say that whatsoever persuadeth me to do good, it is good. I can’t count how many R-rated movies have persuaded me to do good and to become a better person. Let me name the first few that come to mind: The Passion, Braveheart, Gladiator, The Patriot, Amelie, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan, etc. I guess I trust my judgment better than the group of guys in Hollywood. Thank you for helping me make my point a little bit clearer.

    But this isn’t a post about R-rated movies, but about a bishop commiting priesthood holders, wholesale-style, to cultural doctrine. To me it’s like my bishop commiting me to shave every day for the rest of my life (because if it’s good for the missionaries, it’s good for everyone, right?). It’s perplexing.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 8:43 pm | #

    Rusty, I guess I’m asking what it means for the Bishop to “commit” people. I’m trying to think of things he could do if someone decides not to comply. Temple recommends came to mind. I guess he could also release people from their callings. Other than that, though, is there very much he could do if someone prefers not to be committed?

    And I agree that there are lots of R rated movies that lead me to do good. You’ve got a great little list. Two of my favorites that you didn’t mention (not that I think you meant to be exhaustive) are Jerry Maguire and Love, Actually (although I admit those may not be for everyone).
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 9:22 pm | #

    While he does have the right to ask people to try to walk the right path in life, cute methods like this have anegative response in most cases. I have had a run in with a bishop over an issue before and we had to simply agree to disagree. But he does seem to be going about this in the wrong way.
    gunner | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 11:11 pm | #

    All this discussion about a bishop’s “misbehavior” seems to be based on second-hand information. Please tell me how the bishop “committed” the men in the ward? Was it through encouragement or suggestion? Just tell me the entire story.

    Most bloggers are maligning the bishop without a clear, fair account of the bishop’s “committment.” I have had many bishops in my life and question the portrayal of the bishop’s committing of members. I just wonder if the original sources as well as Rusty weren’t a little too anxious to show examples when bishops or others in the Church attempt to counsel in “wholesale” ways and left out some details in their account. Explain how he “committed” the Saints.
    Zach | Email | Homepage | 10.05.04 – 11:59 pm | #

    Many bishops and other leaders have suggested to place computers in lived-in areas of the house, for example. Creating passwords is a good idea. A separate password only the wife knows does seem silly. However, I’d like to know just how the bishop committed people. The story I heard sounds fishy. I can never remember being “committed” in the way you are suggesting.

    And, as far as R-rated movies are concerned, I’ve read your list including many noteworthy titles. Yet, how many others have you watched that you are not so proud to list on this LDS site? Hopefully, if you’re watching R-rated movies, you limit them to the “uplifting” ones such as Saving Private Ryan and not to others that arguably have no uplifting, inspiring qualities. I suspect that many of you aren’t sticking to the “good” R-rated movies.
    Zach | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 12:01 am | #

    Poor bishops. They are long asleep right now. In contrast, bloggers fret over these topics, slicing through peripheral issues in the Church. We bloggers surely are a different sort! I think a return to the scriptures and less picking on those serving in the Church would be appropriate.

    I wonder if anyone out there is more committed to the basics after days of blogging. All we learn is more instances of “Bishops behaving badly” and others abusing welfare. What do we do with this anyway?

    So, I recommend that we all go to bed, get up early, and work hard for our families. But no more blogging. In closing, the next fireside the bishop holds should be on blogging. He should emphatically point out that it is both addicting and non-productive. No blogging should be done, except in the presence of one’s eternal companion.
    Zach | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 12:13 am | #

    I have to agree with Zach, that blogging is addictive, but I will argue about it being non-productive. I find at least slight benefit in hearing out and learning from others’ views, as well as discussing and solidifying my own in the process.

    As to Rusty’s post, whether the Bishop truly committed the men by raising their hand to the square, or whether he merely offered those ideas as suggestion (I’m guessing it’s somewhere in between), all I can say is POOR BISHOP. He has surely seen untold number of pornography-related cases and is only doing his best to help his ward members in whatever ways he can think of.

    Since we don’t know the nature of the “committment,” I can neither criticize nor support the bishop’s actions. But sheesh, let’s give our bishops a break.
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 12:31 am | #

    In the last few minutes I checked my email and had to come back to the blog to see what has happened. Has anyone else been guilty of this? I know, you all have. That has become my final point: re-gain control of your life! I’ve only been looking at this site for 3 days and I can see some of your names as participants several times a day.

    What about your other “important” responsibilities you’re neglecting? Aren’t you as “busy” as you tell your friends and family? What are you doing with your discretionary time? Go back to your seminary lessons, remember your wife’s name, and do something productive.

    I know I’ve wasted way too much time with this new curiosity over the last three days. For heaven’s sake (literally), build up the kingdom. I’m going to repent and stay off this site for at least one week. Anyone with me on this blog boycott?
    Zach | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 12:39 am | #

    Wow! I don’t look at this blog for over 24 hours and a cornicopia of comments erupts!
    Rusty,
    From what you have found out, I very much agree (if we can all figure out what “committed” means) that he was outside his authority in this gloss-over commitment. However, I can understand to a degree why some were a bit upset with the MANNER you posted it. You said yourself in the post that you were so upset you couldn’t think straight. From what you’ve told me, this site is all about a calm, controlled and analytical look at different perspectives and such in the church, NOT “tirades” founded on hot cognition or emotion.
    Oh yeah, and as your brother, you are NOT at all the LEAST angry person I know!
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 1:07 am | #

    Amy,
    As you have always been good at, you find the best in people, despite their faults. However, I think it is a bit rash (at least until we know more) to say the Bishop is doing the best he can. We don’t know that he is or that he isn’t and should not label him as such until we do know. As for Bishops in general, I heartily agree.
    Zach,
    I personally know many of the bloggers on this site and am pretty sure that they don’t get on here as often as you think. Maybe once in the morning and once in the evening.
    Going from extreme to the other is, from my experience RARELY a good idea unless your talking about sin. All things in moderation (including blogging) and you will usually get the best out of most any aspect of your life. (In relation to that, you may want to look at my post on moderation and opposition)
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 1:13 am | #

    In general,
    Is a Bishop EVER supposed to COMMIT someone to a non-commandment? (outside of the repentance process itself one conducts privately with a Bishop, that is)Is he ever supposed to chastise any more then what is needed to keep the members of his ward active members of the church? What I mean here is in regards to the questions asked needed to be baptized and/or hold a current recommend. If one is obeying the word of wisdom, following the prophets, believes in Christ, etc. what else can a Bishop force or commit them to do?
    It reminds me of when I was a Boy Scout and my advisor tried to commit us all to get the skiing merit badge. Sure, he could commit us, but if we said no, there’s little to nothing he could do about it. The only problem (and it is a serious problem, maybe an entirely different post) is the abuse of peer pressure.
    Oh, and I did NOT get that badge, by the way.
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 1:20 am | #

    I am very interested in knowing exactly what it means for the Bishop to have committed people to this, and I feel as though my comments have been in the vein of trying to figure that out.

    But unlike some others, I can easily imagine a leader being somewhat coercive in this. A Stake President I’ve had would often come up with extra requirements for prospective missionaries. He would *recommend* that they give up their X-Box, or never drive one mph over the speed limit, and such. And, in his defense, while these were “technically” suggestions that someone could reject if they felt inspired to do so, when you’re young and preparing to serve a mission you don’t really feel like you know enough to be able to do anything but comply. So even though some of his suggestions may be wholesome, many people I know have felt intimidated instead of inspired by someone who has the power not to let them go on a mission.
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 7:22 am | #

    To add to that, I know that Stake President meant nothing but good for those young people, and I’m sure the Bishop has the the welfare of his ward members in mind, too. In either of their minds, I doubt they mean to coerce anyone into anything. But I think they might sometimes forget how intimidating a “suggestion” can be from an authority figure to members of our church. Often people don’t feel like they can discuss it in conjunction with the Spirit.
    Logan | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 7:26 am | #

    Wow, I’ve managed to alienate three people from blogging all within this one post. I wonder if that’s a record. I never knew I had such power to offend (it’s a good thing these bloggers left after reading my site, which I consider quite tame, before they got to By Common Consent, Times & Seasons, or even Sons of Mosiah. I guess I never considered myself that controversial either, but hey, I guess I can learn something by blogging
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 9:47 am | #

    Logan, thanks for the question, which the answer is key to this discussion. From what I understand the bishop personally interviewed/talked with each person and “committed” them to do those things, missionary style. That is, he said, “will you, Brother X, promise to never watch another R-rated movie again?” and waited for a response.

    No doubt the bishop had only good intentions in mind. No doubt he is a good man, and possibly someone I would even get along with. I have no qualms with the man or his testimony, obviously he is very concerned for his flock. However, I don’t think “good intentions” justify any actions. Look at Sidney Rigdon. Or any other person who is misguided in the way they express their good intentions.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 9:48 am | #

    Zach,
    You suggested that we build the kingdom rather than waste our time on blogs. Does my three hours every day doing seminary (travel, teaching, and preparation) while working 30 hours a week all the while going to grad school full time count? Considering most people blog on their down time (I do, 10-minute breaks at work, a few minutes before class, 20 minutes before I go to bed, etc.), I can hardly consider it a dangerous “addiction”.

    I sincerely hope you return. I welcome your comments. I just hope I can have time to defend myself/my thoughts before you completely abandon the conversation.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 9:58 am | #

    Hi, everyone. I’d like to introduce myself as Rusty’s wife. I do acknowledge that I have a very common name…one that may be quite easy to forget I would first like to defend the author of this colorful blog. It’s really too bad that “defense” is needed here – because the purpose of a blog is simply to bounce ideas and thoughts off of eachother – not necessarily having to walk on eggshells because you’re worried that everyone won’t agree with what you have to say. Give me a break. Lighten up. No need to make tacky comments about the author on a personal level (same applies to the commentators on Amy’s last blog referenced on Times and Seasons). It’s JUST a blog “for heaven’s sake.” No need for personal offense.
    Sara | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 3:33 pm | #

    Bret, I know Rusty’s teenage years were blazing with his “red” characteristics, but he’s change since then. Really. In the past 5 years that we’ve been together, I’ve seen him really angry maybe three times (two of which were direct results of Provo parking conspiracies. Figures). Apparently most of you do not understand his sarcasm. Do you really think that he forgot my name, or that he truly was on a “tirade”? Laura seems to be such an expert on following the spirit, yet she was truly offended by the “negative spirit in which [Rusty] wrote that blog.” There was no negative spirit! He just wanted to share this wacky story and see what everyone thought about it. In fact when I told him about this commitment situation his reaction was so over-the-top exaggerant that I was literally laughing tears and we had a wonderful “moment” of being silly! Anyway, I’m not into blogging, but these comments have persuaded me to make my first contribution (and a very long-winded one at tha
    Sara | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 3:34 pm | #

    Also, I would like to respond to Zach’s comments. If you feel like this may become addicting to you, then by all means stop. However, don’t assume that is the case for everyone whose names appear frequently. Many of the blog contributors that I know are “thinkers” and very spiritual people who grow and learn by discussing gospel (or non-religious) topics with other intellectual people. Simple as that. No addictions or neglect on our end. How about yours?
    Sara | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 3:39 pm | #

    Hi Sara. Get back to work.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 3:47 pm | #

    Ok, Logan, here’s the story: I was talking to my friend on the phone when she told me that her bishop had committed the men in her ward to these very specific things. I asked for details and she said that the bishop took her husband (and other men) into his office and asked him individually to commit to NEVER again watch ANY rated-R movie, only watch a PG-13 movie with his wife’s permission, and only use the internet when his wife gives him access with her password. That’s it. No exaggeration. No dilution of the story. It came straight from her. Take it as you wish. Nobody is saying that the bishop is a bad person. This type of “commitment” seems extreme and a bit out of line. If there are specific men in his ward that need these restraints, then it would be appropriate for the bishop to extend these commitments to them to help with the repentance process. But I know for a FACT that my friend’s husband does not have any problems with pornography or such sin.
    Sara | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 3:48 pm | #

    Sorry. That was a joke.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 3:48 pm | #

    Funny, Rusty, that you feel like you need to apologize to your wife for joking – when you KNOW that she KNOWS you’re kidding. I think all of these offended people have made you paranoid…
    Sara | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 4:21 pm | #

    Rusty,

    All those people who apostasized from your blog are going straight to HELL.

    K, I’m just kidding.

    If they’re like that, who needs ‘em?
    danithew | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 4:37 pm | #

    Danithew,
    LOL!! It’s hilarious that you said “just kidding.” I do that all the time, say just kidding (like I did above to my wife) even though I know they know I’m kidding. It’s like it just needs to be said. But on the other hand, it kind of deflates the joke. It would have been ESPECIALLY funny coming from you Danithew if you would have left it without the j/k.

    Regarding your second comment, I have to say that I need ‘em! How else can I increase my comment numbers if I offend everyone away! (insert “just kidding” here)
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 4:48 pm | #

    Well, well, well, Rusty, you sure have stirred up a hornets nest here. However, as someone who lived the gentile life till I converted, i think this particular Bishop, probably is either trying to get Priesthood holders to do as he thinks they ought to live their lives. Now, if those things he said were suggestions he made, it woul d have been fine, but to get the men to actually commit to what I think are asinine ‘rules” , is a case of the bishop overstepping his bounds. What he is implying is that all the Priesthood holders in his Ward are untrustworthy, irrespponsible men, who need to be reigned in like they were unruly children. Again, those posters who have been offended by Rusty’s commenst ought to think – your assumptions that that Church leaders cant make mistakes is perhaps not a correct assumption to make. The Church itself is True, but the human beings who are members, and that includes our leaders are falliable
    wolverine | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 4:58 pm | #

    Given that 20% of women view pornography in the workplace (as reported by President Hinckley on Saturday), why did this bishop not give this same commitment in Relief Society?

    I think his method is wrong. Why does he not just focus on the people with the problems rather than all the men? Why doesn’t he encourage frank, open discussion between marriage partners instead of instilling distrust?
    Kim Siever | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 4:59 pm | #

    Rusty,

    Obviously, that Relief Society president hasn’t read the T&S breast thread.

    I think many brethren would never blow out the candle. They’d probably even enter the house faster than usual.
    Kim Siever | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 5:01 pm | #

    For what it’s worth, I’m not offended at all. I get a small amount of pleasure from knowing that other people recognize the fallibility of a lay clergyman with significant responsibilities both within and without the church. Imagine how hard it must be for some to get over the errors (or whatever you want to call them) of clergymen who devote their entire lives to their religions!

    And while I’m here, I meant to comment earlier about Laura’s reference to D&C 28. In light of that scripture, it seems even more apparent that the Bishop chose a poor method despite his best intentions. I can’t say why the Bishop felt inclined (inspired?) to ask for this commitment, but, in my opinion, the focus should have been on increasing spirtuality through well placed counsel tailored for each individual.
    SFW | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 5:10 pm | #

    I meant D&C 58.
    SFW | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 5:12 pm | #

    Rusty, I’ve been following your blog silently for a few weeks now — I like the way you think and thought I’d jump on tell you that.

    No go prepare tomorrow’s seminary lesson.
    ChrisBrooklyn | Email | Homepage | 10.06.04 – 10:56 pm | #

    Sara,
    I think you’re taking my comment a little to the extreme. It was meant mostly to poke fun at Rusty anyway, but I don’t think I can still say that Rusty is the LEAST angry person I know. (Maybe living in New York has changed your perspectives) He’s definitly not at all an ANGRY person but he does get angry and very passionate over things that a lot of other people I know don’t. (He is a red, after all and this is coming from a white’s perspective, remember) As for his sarcasm I assume you were mostly talking to others on this blog because if there’s one person (besides yourself, perhaps) that understands Rusty sarcasm, it would be his younger brother!
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 1:04 am | #

    Bret,

    You said my giving the bishop the benefit of the doubt was “a bit rash (at least until we know more) to say the Bishop is doing the best he can.” ?!?! Are not the others the ones being rash who were so quick to jump to such harsh judgment of the Bishop? Now that I know more of the story (i.e. the form of the “committment,”) I will concede that his actions seem a little strange, to say the least.

    However, what worries me is the cynicism that pervades so many comments regarding this bishop. True, church leaders are by no means perfect or infallible, and true, we need to be cautious in that regard. All I’m saying is we also need to be cautious in how quick we are to criticize them.

    (con’t)
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:23 am | #

    “Parents simply cannot flirt with skepticism or cynicism, then be surprised when their children expand that flirtation into full-blown romance,” stated Elder Holland (Apr. 2003 Gen. Conference). He was referring primarily to skepticism of church doctrine, which is not the issue of this post; but I think the point still holds just as true for skepticism of the church leaders we claim to sustain.

    P.S. Hi Sara! I’ve been wondering when you’d get on. Don’t worry — if everyone knew Rusty personally, they couldn’t stay offended long, what with all that charm and wit (and of course the cute dimple). Ha!
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:24 am | #

    C’mon people, this post is about harping on people we don’t know, quit talking about me!!
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 6:12 am | #

    Amy,
    I think you right. (But I also wasn’t wrong) These people who were quick to judge the Bishop fall under the same category as I put the Bishop in response to your comment. Now that we know how the Bishop committed these people, I can truly say I think he was not doing his best. HOWEVER, that does NOT mean I’m quick to criticize or be cynical about the rest of the work this Bishop does as a Bishop.

    Oh, and Rusty smells!
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.07.04 – 2:44 pm | #

    Odd that no one commented on an obvious parallel: By apparently long tradition – before a call is extended to his wife, a husband must give his permission. And all this consternation because the Bishop is asking the men to seek their wife’s consent before logging onto the internet? I’m not sure I agree with either approach, but at least there appears to be some parity evolving!
    Allen | Email | Homepage | 10.08.04 – 10:05 pm | #

    I don’t post here much but I feel I have to in this case.
    Russ-I agree in the same emotional state as you do. If anyone knows anything about how a “poor bishop” can ruin ones spirituality, it’s me. I believe a Bishop should always be looking at things in a case-by-case manner as it is. This “commitment” is probably an excellent one for those dealing with such issues, but to generalize such a thing is terribly offensive to me. I don’t think I need to have my bishop sit down with me and make me commit to doing my home teaching on the 1st of every month just because some of the other men in the ward did it on the 30th. Or commit to paying 12% tithing because another member is only paying 8% or none at all. Whether the intentions were good or not it is almost irrelevant due to how much negativity this has generated. If a positive idea is presented in a negative way, doesn’t it lose all of its emphasis and all that it had to gain?
    Bryce | Email | Homepage | 10.10.04 – 3:18 am | #

    Logan said it right with, “even though some of his suggestions may be wholesome, many people I know have felt intimidated instead of inspired by someone who has the power.” False preaching or false implications can defiantly hurt the way we look at the church, and we then almost no longer look at it as the gospel but as the people running it. MAN does run God’s church, and MAN is not perfect, so we must remember that OUR gift of agency is to be in use always. And that blindly following leadership is a naive way to be faithful in my opinion.
    Bryce | Email | Homepage | 10.10.04 – 3:21 am | #

    Bret- Rusty DOES smell since he now lives in NY, but I agree with Sara saying that Rusty is a passionate person and that it can sometimes be taken as anger or sarcasm, but that passion also translates into him being a good choice for such blogs.
    Bryce | Email | Homepage | 10.10.04 – 3:22 am | #

    Bryce,
    You know I know the difference between passion, sarcasm, and anger. Though sometimes they run together!
    Bret | Email | Homepage | 10.10.04 – 9:16 pm | #

    hello guys! Dad told us all at a family picnic about how much this one topic energized and I just had to get on and read it all. I find it all quite “interesting” to say the least. We all have our own opinions. “There is no reality, just everyone’s perception of reality.” All of us have our ‘sensitive’ issues and this one seems to be on everyone’s list. It’s good to share opinions and views and I believe that’s the whole purpose of this blog, right? Russ, obviously you’ve hit a nerve here which resulted in what you wanted…a great big huge discussion filled with positive and negative views. That’s what the world is full of. Thank you to all for sharing your opinions..for that’s just what they are.
    Angela | Email | Homepage | 10.12.04 – 6:18 pm | #

    Rusty,
    I understand your frustration, but may I provide a different perspective from my time as a counselor in the Branch Presidency and now as an EQ Pres? I don’t say that to say I’m better than anyone, just to establish the point of view I’m coming from.

    Pornography is destroying the lives of countless men and women in the church. It is a serious, serious problem. I’ve seen some of its effects in my experience. My guess is that this Bishop has been counseling a lot of men with this problem and is worried about the souls of his flock. We are talking spiritual life and death here and the destruction of families. The Bishop is accountable to the Lord for the spiritual welfare of his ward, and that is a massive responsibility. I have had some limited experience with this situation and I have seen people’s lives torn apart by pornography. It is difficult to overstate how poisonous and destructive it is.
    Braden | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 10:29 am | #

    I’ve learned from my time as EQ Pres that priesthood keys are real and that they provide revelation. A Bishop is entitled to receive revelation for his ward straight from the Lord and while it may not be doctrine, it is counsel that is the will and mind of the Lord for that ward. I know for a fact that as EQ Pres, I’ve been inspired with specific counsel for members of my quorum that when followed, has blessed their lives. That was the most surprising thing after I was set apart–the flow of revelation for those for whom I am accountable. I am sure for a Bishop it’s even more strong. It’s not me–it’s priesthood keys.
    Braden | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 10:31 am | #

    President Packer said something to the effect of: “a man who will not support his Bishop won’t support the President of the Church.” It is the same spirit of revelation that leads each one. Truth doesn’t need to be packaged as official church teaching. D&C 1 talks about what church leaders say under th influence of the Spirit being the mind and will of the Lord. It doesn’t need to be canonized.
    What is the benefit of R-rated and PG-13 movies and unlimited internet when compared with the potential cost? What does anyone really lose by following his counsel? It reminds me of what the Savior said about plucking out your eye if it offends you because its better to lose an eye than lose your soul. It’s better to miss the latest movie, however cool, than to ingest sex or nudity that might spark an addiction. Even if it doesn’t lead to an addiction, it’s still wrong and offensive to the spirit. This is war, we’re in these days.
    Braden | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 10:31 am | #

    Braden,
    Thanks for your comments (although long overdue… and don’t tell me you’re working three jobs…). I agree with almost everything you’ve said. Over at T&S there was long (and I mean long, spirited, and long) discussion on the R-rated movie debate and also when it’s appropriate to disagree/disobey/criticize your bishop. There were a lot of incredibly insightful comments on both side of the discussion, including many from your brother Ryan. I have to say my mind has been expanded because of this discussion and I’m grateful for blogs and their minions for it.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 3:12 pm | #

    I, however, feel that a couple points of clarification are in order. Firstly, the commiting a member to do something “for life”. It’s one thing to say, “while you work with the youth” but it’s something else entirely to extend that commitment (of something that isn’t even doctrine) long after the bishop will no longer be bishop. It’s tricky wording anyway. When we make covenants, we say we’ll do something, but not for specific amounts of time. To me it smacks of DC 121.

    Secondly, I don’t agree with a commitment of the husband being subservient to his wife and always needing to ask her permission. Most couples have their own ways of working out their problems that are according to their personalities and relationships. I can understand it as maybe an idea (to someone that has the problem as is trying to come up with ways to deal with it), but NOT committing him to it. That is WAY out of bounds for a bishop, ESPECIALLY when my friend doesn’t have a porn problem.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 3:12 pm | #

    That’s my beef. For someone that sounds as anti-authority in my post as I do, I’m in fact much more willing-to-obey-even-under-extremely-suspect- circumstances than one would expect. In fact, there are those in my ward who have shown irritation with my bishop for things he has asked me to do and me complying.
    Rusty | Email | Homepage | 10.14.04 – 3:12 pm | #

    I just wanted to say thanks, Braden — I appreciated hearing your perspective and sound comments.
    Amy | Email | Homepage | 10.15.04 – 12:10 am | #

    What sometimes troubles me about “counsel” such as this, is that people begin to use it as a new standard of obedience and loyalty to the brethren or God. Before we know it, the crime is that brother Jones is using the computer without his wifes permission and the intent of the counsel gets lost. For somebody who has seen several young ladies harsley treated and in cases run off for wearing that second earing I definitely see a problem. We know what is right and wrong, we have the correct principles to govern ourselves with. Already in this thread I have seen peoples “obedience” questioned because they dare to comment, or they are seen as critical of church leaders, for simply having a different opinion. Now one persons porn problem has turned into another individuals lack of obedience and questioning of church leaders, problem, and people have moved farther away from one another rather than closer.
    sam | Email | Homepage | 10.18.04 – 10:43 pm | #

    I’ve used a nom de blog because I want to make sure that the guilty are protected.

    From my experience in the Church, I have learned that we need to remember that the Lord has promised that the prophet will not lead us astray, but has made no such promise about our bishop, stake president, or even the apostles. I think that I heard several people take sharp breaths at that comment. Remember that not all the apostles followed Joseph or Brigham. Matthew Cowley was excommunicated for polygamy.

    I served under a mission president that was frequently reprimanded by the brethren. How do I know? He was required to make public retractions and apologies. I realized that unless the doctrine being taught does not agree with the teachings of the brethren, that it can be classified as opinion and treated as such.

    Our Stake President was visited by an apostle and sorely rebuked for having eliminated a major church program in our stake. As EQ pres, I put my faith in the Stake President only to learn that the brethren felt that he had exceeded his authority.

    The current bishop has admitted to being unable to tell the difference between his own opinion and inspiration. He required us to pay for a post-funeral dinner for all attending my son’s funeral, when we were facing nearly a million dollars in medical expenses. We were told that unless we did, we could not hold the funeral in the church. This is not an isolated case. His other forays into unrighteous dominion are legion. The Stake President must have the bishop’s number on speed dial.

    I have served as a bishop. The mantle was so evident that it was almost palpable. When offering council, I was sure to differentiate inspiration from opinion. We then discussed the council, regardless of the source.

    I have been abused and used by those who claimed authority (as they supposed). These experiences have led me to place my unconditional faith and obedience in the Lord and the prophet. Everyone else needs to have the Lord’s imprimatur before I will do something that strikes me as outright stupid or strange.
    Floyd the Wonder Dog | Email | Homepage | 11.18.04 – 10:57 am | #

    Comment by Comment Restore — November 28, 2005 @ 12:47 am

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