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Monday, July 1, 2013

Guest Post: A Series on Disfellowshipment, Part 2

The following is an anonymous guest post in what will be a three-part series on disfellowshipment. Submit your own guest post via email. Read Part 1 here.

My bi-weekly meetings with the Bishop began. He was supportive and encouraging even though I was slipping all over the place. He gave me things to read, called me throughout the week just to say hi, and was a good friend. I never felt damned or nervous entering his office. Truly an inspired man.

So what is the hardest thing about being disfellowshipped? For one, rejecting the sacrament is always a little awkward, especially when the one passing is your new member friend. You know what's going on in his mind. "Huh? It's bread. Eat it. Take it. Hurry. I'll wait here. Can he see me? Why is his hand shaking back and forth? Not hungry? Okay then."

Perhaps the most difficult experience was one day when I got an email at work that said, "Come home. Emergency." sent to me by my mother. I slammed the gas down as I raced home to find my mother screaming in pain holding her leg, which had come out of its socket, taking a chunk of bone with it. How? Bodies are weird.

I couldn't give her a blessing. She asked and I had to say, "I can't." It was a terrifying answer in response to her shrill plea.

There are small things that you wouldn't normally think about, like saying prayers during class time. Unless you have Brother Overachieving-Organized-Do-No-Wrong-Planner-Guy who plans prayers ahead of time, teachers usually ask people to give invocations and benedictions 3.5 seconds before class begins. It works out, unless they asked me. In one case, the Sunday School President called on me right after the lesson giver had said Amen.

"I can't."
"Why not?"
"I just respectively decline."
"Just do it."
"No." (Awkward for everyone in the room, the thick kind of awkward you feel in your loins.)

I had a buddy clue in and volunteer immediately. Whew, one more invitation to say the prayer and I would have been out of there. I'm one of those people who never understood why someone would stop coming to church because they were offended, until that moment. Thankfully, I stayed and the Sunday School President apologized. Church was really hard during that year.

After a few months and some improvement, the meetings with my Bishop went from bi-weekly to weekly, then bi-monthly. I read half a dozen books written by Prophets and Apostles promising forgiveness through the Atonement. I believed in those promises. The lifestyle changes I made helped me feel like I was showing Heavenly Father that I didn't want to make a mockery out of the suffering His Son went through for me.

Make new friends. Done.

Break up with girlfriend. Done.

Do all the things that primary kids tell you to do when you ask them, "What can we do to return to Heavenly Father?" That one list of things that everyone knows. That set of righteous actions we think of in Gospel Doctrine class but don't want to say to avoid seeming like a newb.

What is that list? Pray daily. Read your scriptures. Nevuh miss chuhch (cuz that kid could never say his "r"s).

After a period of one year, and what seemed like hundreds of hours sitting in the maroon chair in the Bishop's office, I was called into another Council meeting. The day came and I couldn't have been prouder of myself. I suited up, following the advice of Barney Stinson (HIMYM), and drove to church.

Much like the previous year, I was early. The lot was mostly empty. I reflected on the past year while looking at the same exact scenery 365ish days prior. What a new feeling this was. Things were going to be okay. I made it. I fixed my tie, tucked in my shirt, and pulled the doors open.

(to be continued ...)

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