Brother Chad Comes To Visit

“May I meet with you before I meet the rest of your family? I’d like to make sure I know your goals and how to support you,” the new home teacher, Bro. Chad, asked my husband, Dan.

I should have known right then that we had a problem. Who the heck uses ‘may’ when talking to other adults? Like, seriously? 

Dan turned to me, “Bryn, what do you think?”

Bro. Chad interrupted (he was a Master Level Interrupter), looked straight at Dan and said, “I mean just you, Bro. Brody. Priesthood holder to Priesthood holder.” Bro. Brody. He actually called him Bro. Brody. We were the same age and he called him Bro. Brody.

Dan stared for a minute, processing, and said, “Bryn knows everything about our family. She’s our CEO, COO, and Head Scheduler. She should be part of the conversation.”

Bro. Chad didn’t even look at me. “I would like to meet with you privately as the head of the household.”

I think a snort escaped me. In fact, I’m pretty sure it did. Sometimes, snorts are sneaky things and they come out in spite of our attempts to hold them in. And if I’m being honest, I probably didn’t try to hold it in.

Not one to make things easy for my husband if I can laugh at him instead, I bowed my head and murmured, “I’ll just take the kids to Primary, then, while you two men work it out.” There was a heavy emphasis on the word ‘men.’ It was my shot across the bow. Bro. Chad didn’t flinch. 

After meeting with Dan, Bro. Chad sat the rest of us kids, oops, I mean the rest of the family down for the thoroughly prepared lesson. It ticked all of the boxes in the Perfect Home Teacher manual. He had an object lesson. He read scriptures. He testified–earnestly. But I forget exactly what he was trying to teach. Most sit-down-and-listen-to-men-speak lessons are entirely forgettable to me.

During the post-lesson adult chat, after the eye-rolling kids had been dismissed to play Polly Pockets and sneak cookies, I tried to draw Bro. Chad out, to see him as a person and, I think, to get him to see me as a person, too. But Bro. Chad failed. He didn’t look at me. Not just in the metaphysical sense, but in the literal sense. His eyes never registered me. Not a single time. When I politely asked about his wife and kids, he addressed his response to Dan. When I asked if they had been able to unpack after their recent move, he told Dan that his wife was taking care of unpacking now that the heavy stuff was in place.

Oh, for the love of…

Knowing that swearing in Spanish is one of my favorite hobbies, and throwing out a soft ball to give Bro. Chad a chance to include me in the conversation, Dan said, “Bryn served a mission in northern Spain. The two of you might like to compare notes on the language.” Bro. Chad didn’t even swing. Instead, he asked Dan to share his favorite spiritual experience from his mission. Which, by the way, was proof that he also didn’t see Dan, who has exactly zero spiritual experiences to share.

Bro. Chad waved me away as I offered the plate of Cowboy cookies I had made with my Grandmother’s recipe and which the children had all but demolished. Literally waved his hand in the ‘shoo, fly, don’t bother me’ way. 

I mean.

By the time I began to rage-clean the kitchen, Dan had taken to pointedly staring at the door. Bro. Chad finally left (after limp-fish shaking my hand without looking at me). He threatened to come back every month as I shut the door a little too close to his nose.

“What the heck?” I yelled, only I probably didn’t say ‘heck.’ “Not once, not a single time, did he look at me or address a comment to me. Never again. He isn’t coming back here.”

“Agreed. Do you want to tell him?”

“Oh, no. You’re the Priesthood holder. You fire him.”

After talking to the Elder’s Quorum President, not a bad guy as far as that goes, Dan handed the phone to me per the EQ Pres’s request. He listened politely, repeated what he heard me say, and sat for a minute, thinking.

And then he must have forgotten who he was talking to, because he said, “This might be a good opportunity for you to teach him how to do better. Will you share with Bro. Chad what he can improve on?” Oh, buddy. Don’t use a direct “will you” question with me. I see right through your Commitment Pattern.

I compared his EQ leadership to a cartoon character and then, kindly, let him know how he could do better. “It’s your job, not mine. He had a mother, and he has a wife, and you’re the EQ President. Between the 3 of you, figure it out. I’m not here for him to learn on. I’m here for him to serve, and he’s incapable of serving if he refuses to acknowledge my authority.”

I didn’t swear. Not even in Spanish. Which, I think, earned me a Celestial Gold Star.

I feel like I should add the disclaimer “not all home teachers.” In fact, I’ve had amazing home teachers who became some of my dearest friends. 

We lived in Cambridge without a car while I was pregnant. During that time, our home teacher and his wife magically showed up at our door every Sunday for months to drive us to church so I didn’t have to walk to the bus stop.

When our metal railing came out of the concrete steps and threatened to kill my elderly neighbor as she walked to our door for a visit, our home teacher welded down a new piece of metal. We now have the most stable handrail in the neighborhood and my neighbor visits without fear.

We had a home teacher who brought us homemade bread THAT HE MADE. Mmmmm, fresh bread. He also texts me on my birthday and it’s been 7 years since he was my teacher.

As I think about it, they all had one thing in common: they saw me. They served in real, tangible, much-needed, Christlike ways. And they did it without condescension, or preaching, or even referencing their Priesthood Authority. I’m not a super big fan of male authority, so that’s a gift they gave without even knowing it.

The new handbook mentions ministering a bit. I don’t know if we currently have a ministering brother, but it doesn’t really matter. The last one we had, the one who welded the railing, is the one I would call if we needed anything. I know he loves our family and, most of all, he hugs me every time he sees me. That, to me, says more about his ministry than Bro. Chad could hope to.

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18 Responses

  1. Valerie says:

    We haven’t seen our ministering brother in our home—or for that matter have had any conversations with him on phone or online or anything—for going on two years. I don’t think he likes us. It’s my husband’s birthday in a week and we received a card in the mail to “Brother …” signed “Brother (surname), Ward Mission Leader.” Huh? You don’t have a first name or perhaps we aren’t on first name basis anymore (we used to be several years ago?) And are you sending the card as a ministering brother or a ward mission leader?

    I went away for a month in September. Shortly before I left I received a text from our First Counselor asking if we were comfortable meeting in person about a calling for “us.” Since virtually no one in our ward wears a mask at Sunday meetings we have hardly attended this past year. Actually that’s an excuse as I am pretty well inactive but we won’t go there right now since no one has figured that out. Or maybe this was his way of finding out….

    Anyway I texted back that I was going away for a month. First Counselor texted back if my husband was going too and when I said no he asked if our ministering brother knew that hubby would be on his own. Hubby is in his 70s and it’s just the two of us and the dog at home. I said I doubted it as we hadn’t seen him in two years. First Counselor texted back asking if we wanted him to bring that up with the ministering brother. I replied that if he (FC) didn’t have an issue with that, we didn’t really care either. End of texting exchange.

    I won’t go through the dance anymore. The happy history I had with the church up to five years ago is just that, history. I have moved on to a different belief system and I only attend to support hubby who still, despite the Church ignoring him and viewing him as a problem (he has emotional issues) still believes in Church doctrine and the commandment to go to church every Sunday.

  2. revabeth says:

    Loved this. You nailed it.
    But I think of my grandson, on the autism spectrum and that would be him as he tried to “serve.” He says he doesn’t like to talk to people because they want him to look them in the eyes and he struggles. Then he looks down and realizes his gaze is their boobs and then he really shuts down.

    • Bryn Brody says:

      One of our home teachers (years ago) was on the spectrum. He was delightful and the lack of eye contact didn’t bother me. In fact, I appreciated his directness and how honest I could be about what I needed from him.

      There’s a difference between neurodivergence and misogyny that refuses to look at women because sex. If this other HT had been neurodivergent, he wouldn’t have looked my husband in the eyes, etc. I hope your grandson is able to serve people who understand the difference and appreciate the gifts he brings to the table.

  3. John says:

    Well i have to say, carajo no vale nada pues.
    Limp handshakes, pretending women don’t exist, all part of being morally chaste and never acknowledging another woman after marriage.
    I like the new ministering a lot better than the old home teaching. Squeezing out a lesson in front of a family hog tied to a couch is no fun. But I don’t even have to limit my service to the families on my list. And there’s lots of other great ways to serve. This week someone who’s not on my list, for example will be getting a wheelchair batmobile for Halloween.
    @Bryn- keep punching up (or is it down?)

  4. Ziff says:

    This guy sounds infuriating, but your telling of it is *hilarious*! Such good storytelling!

  5. Tina says:

    What is the opposite of ‘you had me at hello?’ Because this man, after having asked to meet with my husband without me, would have gotten No for answer. No meeting without me, no visiting my house. So sorry you had to deal with someone like that in your home. I kind of wished the story would have included you swearing in Spanish just to see if Bro Chad could understand it. (I did say hell to my previous bishop. He wasn’t happy about it. I didn’t apologize when he expressed disapproval. I can probably count on both hands the number of times that I have sworn in my life as I save it for occasions that call for it.) Love what you told the EQ president!

  6. Heather says:

    Bryn, I needed this level of absurd today. Thank you.

    • Bryn Brody says:

      Bro. Chad says, “You’re welcome.” But he says it without looking at you and adds a a scripture-mastery quote to simultaneously encourage and shame you.

  7. Amy Grigg says:

    This was brilliantly told. Thank you for this. And I’m sorry about Brother Chad.

  8. Caroline says:

    Ugh! this is infuriating. And you’re so right — you don’t need to be this guy’s teacher in terms of treating women like human beings. Glad he’ll be reassigned — and hopefully that EQ pres will give him some tips.

  9. Tim says:

    I love the ministering. Better than home teaching EVER could’ve been. I find quick conversations in the hall get much more done than anything else.

    Given who I visit — and especially the more relaxed atmosphere that goes with it — it be much easier to have a spiritual experience while rendering genuine, heartfelt service.

    The ‘Chads’ of this world as illustrated here are not welcome at — or in — my home.

  10. Risa says:

    It’s interesting…I stopped going to LDS church 7ish years ago and no one has Chad’ed me since. The misogyny is coming from the church.

  11. Tim says:

    My wife doesn’t want them over. Neither do I. With one of us having increasing health issues, phone calls do the trick. If some uptight ‘Chad’ in the EQ has a problem with that, then tough!

    Our address is not listed in the ward directory for a reason, and at my wife’s specific request, which I honor and support 100%!

    She releases her information to those she CHOOSES to, and with whom trust has been established, as do I.

    Not every — especially in the Church who says they are your friend — are who or what they claim to be.

    After you’ve pulled a few knives out of your back, you learn this the hard way.

    If Nosey Parkers have a problem with that, then they need to take a long, hard look in the mirror…

  12. A Poor Wayfaring Stranger says:

    I think that your Brother Chad might have been my former fiancé-literally! Same name and same MO. This happened back when I was a young professional and quite naive about such men. He proposed fairly quickly so I insisted on a long engagement. It was a good thing that I did because the more I got to know him the less I liked him. To the public he was an Uber TBM with a smile and beautiful manners. In private he revealed himself to be a patriarchal jerk and emotionally abusive. I didn’t realize what was happening to me because it was so gradual. When it finally ended I was an emotional wreck who didn’t trust men at all. The poor lady that I worked with who had set us up initially kept apologizing for introducing him to me. She’d known him all of his life and had no idea what a monster he really was beneath his Peter Priesthood exterior. Moral of the story: run, do not walk away from any man in the church who acts like Brother Chad. Do not let him minister to your family. Warn your daughters about the Brother Chad types that they will most likely run into at BYU and in YA wards. I later was a ward mom to a BYU student ward, and this was one of my first talks to my young ladies who were both students and young professionals. I felt it was my duty to both warn them about this kind of man and to spare them the heartache and emotional abuse (which can often turn into physical abuse) that occurs when dating this kind of man because, unfortunately, this is the type of LDS manhood that parents, teachers and leaders seem to approve of (at least the outward appearance) and encourage young women to date and marry. Caveat emptor.

  13. Jan Signore says:

    I LOVE how you told this story. Institutional change moves at the speed of an iceberg. Makes me happy for the many strong men and women I know in the church who would be equally appalled by this, and who are actively working to change the culture. Thank you!

  14. Reader says:

    How about you say, “Jesus called and said stop being as ass.”

    Then correct him. He’ll fire himself or have to change. I win lots of friends in church this way. Not really, but the ones I do make are worth the ones I lose.

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