Sunday, November 19, 2006

David Earns His Eagle... at 43

Keryn pointed out this story in the Deseret Morning News to me. It tells about David Tolson, a 43 year old with Down syndrome who has earned his eagle scout award. The story is particularly tender for us since we used to live in David's ward in Orem. Each week he attends the Deacons quorum in the ward and passes the sacrament--always the same route. He does an awesome job. His mother is a saint in every sense of the word. Seeing the photographs in the story brought back fountains of fond memories of our time with the good people of the Sunset Heights 4th ward.

Am I Moroni to my Bishop's Pahoran?

Behold, I direct mine epistle to [the bishop], ...who is the chief judge and the governor over the [congregation], and also to all those who have been chosen ... to govern and manage the affairs of this war[d].

...we desire to know the cause of this exceedingly great neglect; yea, we desire to know the cause of your thoughtless state.

...Yea, even they who have looked up to you for protection, yea, have placed you in a situation that ye might have succored them, yea, ye might have [called others to help] them, to have strengthened them, and have saved ... them from falling [by the wayside].
I've been pretty frustrated over the last few months. I have two children in the nursery at church, one aged 3, one aged 1 and a half. We haven't had a nursery leader in our ward since July.

Keryn is in the primary presidency. Their presidency has submitted a stream of names, eventually getting to the point where they aren't looking to find the "right" names to submit. They are just looking for warm bodies. Some calls have been extended, apparently, but none have been accepted.

Weeks go by without word from the bishopric on the status of the names submitted. Each Sunday Keryn's ears perk up during ward business to see if someone will be sustained. None are read and she pushes back the tears of frustration that fight their way up.

5 months after being made aware of the need, there are no nursery leaders.

Each week would bring a fresh round of stress to Keryn as she called different people to find substitutes. Eventually, a letter was given to each parent with a child in the nursery, including the bishop, giving them an assigned week to serve in the nursery.

The merry-go-round of faces was tough on the kids. They didn't have a good routine, they didn't have a rapport with the teachers, and some increasingly resisted coming at all. Finally Keryn and I decided it would be better for our kids as well as the other children if we spent as much time in the nursery as we could until permanent leaders could be called.

So, for most of these five months, I've ditched my obligation to be with the Priests quorum and played with the kids in the nursery. I can hardly complain about the fun level during church. I really enjoy being with the children in the nursery. And the more I do it, the better I get at it, and the more I like it.

But every week I go in to the nursery, I must do so with guilt that I'm leaving a portion of my real calling undone. (Being a dad is my real real calling, so I end up in the nursery by choice.) My calling with the Priests is primarily a weeknight calling. I am in charge of shepherding their Tuesday night activities. Because I don't see the young men in church on Sunday, I never feel like things are as well organized as they might otherwise be.

I feel ready to issue an ultimatum to the bishop: Either call someone to the nursery so I can feel comfortable as a father sending my children there each week, or release me from my calling with the young men so that I can fill the role in the nursery personally. It isn't a case of being unwilling to hold two callings. It is a case of being uncomfortable holding two mutually exclusive callings, and one of those unofficially.

So... I feel like I have a pretty good case right? I've been feeling this building up over a period of weeks. Then this afternoon I thought of the story of Moroni and Pahoran. Moroni was so ticked at Pahoran for not sending him the needed help. He assumed that Pahoran had no excuse and he chewed him out good.

I guess before I get too angry at the bishop, I need to remember what an incredibly sticky situation he must be in, calling people (including former bishops and relief society presidents) to serve in positions who flatly refuse. I'm glad I'm not in his shoes.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Humility of the Women Left Behind

A speaker in sacrament meeting asserted that John Taylor was very humble in being able to leave his wife in a ditch for shelter as he departed on a mission. Given the honor culture so prevalent in that day, is surely must have been a degrading thing for a man to leave his family in the care of others.

But it struck me that, as much humility and submission as it took for John Taylor to leave his wife behind, it took more for her to remain without violent objection. She showed true humility in accepting the will of the Lord and supporting her husband's call even when she dearly needed him. I get the impression that her story is not uncommon in the early days of the church.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Let's Show Cops in Priesthood

I've made the breakthrough. I've discovered the secret to saving the children of the world--or at least the church. The secret? Cops. No, not the people in uniform, the show on TV.

My revelation came a few months ago when I was flipping between the two channels we get on our television. It was late at night and I couldn't sleep. Cops was on. I watched a girl desperately trying to talk her way out of the fix she was in. She was in the passenger seat of her car. Naked. The car has just been pulled over. She gets out of the car, trying to wrap herself in a sheet or something. Her clothes are a wet clump on the floor of the car. She's apparently been swimming with the two boys in the car.

Drugs are found under the seat. She desperately pleads with the officer not to turn them in or "I'll never graduate! Those drugs aren't mine. I have no idea where they came from." She is sobbing. The officer isn't convinced.

This is the only episode of Cops I've seen in years. But I think I'm going to switch the curriculum for our Aaronic Priesthood meetings to include an episode every other week or so.

I looked at this girl on the TV. Her life is in shambles. Just minutes before we see her, she was living what she thought was the good life. Having "fun" with boys who most certainly adored her, or at least the version of her that didn't have any clothes on and let them drive around in her car.

Looking on the wreckage left behind such fun, you'd think that would be a powerful deterrent. I'm sure it all sounds very enticing "in the moment", but the price is so very high down the road.

Cops shows the costs. There is nobody on that show (except the cops) that anybody would want to be like. Hopefully our kids would be smart enough to make the connection.

I'd better go see if the library has any episode on VHS so I can clear the new curriculum with the bishop. I'm sure he'll be thrilled.

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