Sunday, December 03, 2006

Moroni, Pahoran, and Me: Part II

We wrote last week about a struggle we've been having in our ward. I wondered in that post whether I ought to go to the bishop and give him some sort of ultimatum. I felt that I had two callings (or de facto callings) that were mutually exclusive and that I couldn't do both of them fully. I got many great comments. Thanks to all of you for your thoughts.

I had a very long and instructive phone call about the post with my older sister who has personally been through some of the exact same struggles I wrote about in that earlier missive. She posted the following as a comment to that post. I didn't want you to miss it if you hadn't been following the comments on the other post.
I think you are wise to consider Moroni and Pahoran. Moroni certainly had a testimony of Christ and he certainly was justified in complaining. His circumstances were horrendous-Pahoran was his leader and was obligated to sustain him. He was doing an exceptionally bad job-many people lost their lives (although the scriptures tell us they were saved in Christ).

So by considering this, what can someone in your position learn?--there are some parallels. Pahoran was not fulfilling his role because he needed to be sustained in a literal way by Moroni. He needed Moroni to help him before he could effectively do what- as the leader- it was his unquestionable duty to do. So what is the likening? I am sure you already know the answer because I have known you for years and know that this is the conclusion you would likely come to-- Be the Moroni to your Bishop's Pahoran.

It's OK to express your frustrations and concerns to him just like Moroni did. But you can't stop there. Moroni showed us that he was sincere when he claimed he just wanted to do what was best for his people. He supported Pahoran militarily. What does that look like today? Personal service to your bishop and his family is a good start, but it sounds like your ward may need more than that. You might consider increasing your own activity and invite other members in your ward to do the same. Fellowship in a ward goes a LONG way when you are trying to defeat the apathy of a ward (which is a spiritual coup metaphorically speaking). Moroni was justified in his complaint, but he also marched and fought for his people.

I know you and Keryn are both the kinds of people that aren't afraid to take on a task that is worthy. Can you solve the problem in your ward with bloodshed or loss of limb? Of course not! But service and an increase in deliberate fellowship can go a long way in every ward.

I don't think your testimony of the restoration is a factor here. Lots of people had a testimony of the restoration and flat out quit the church. What I meant by the Joseph Smith comment was that if you are a member of the church he organized, you have to accept your bishop as the rightful 'Pahoran' in this analogy. He is your divinely appointed leader which makes him worthy of 'fighting' beside in defeat of what is a real problem in your ward that needs fixing.

I agree that if we have a testimony of the gospel we still have day to day struggles that are real, but our excercise of that knowledge can certainly diminish the weight of those struggles. I am interested to hear how you will solve it because I know you will come up with innovative and inspired solutions.

My smiley was just because I like you and want to spread around a little more sugar to people I adore (you and your family!) ;) :) :->

I think she is right on the money here and the counsel is wise.

It turns out that I was released today from my calling with the Young Men without even having to go in and talk to the bishop. (That was actually quite a surprise.) I don't have another calling for now; they have decided to wait until after our little boy is born and we have a better handle on what his medical situation will be.

Everything isn't sorted out with the Nursery or the Primary yet, but I'm sure we'll get there. And in the mean time, I can help out in that capacity without feeling guilty that I'm abandoning the Young Men.


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  • Your sister has great wisdom. It seems that you now have a partial resolution. My prayers are with you and your family, especially regarding the upcoming birth of your son.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/05/2006 9:57 AM  

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