#hearLDSwomen: Chastised for Following Revelation about Consecration
Back in 2014, I watched a General Conference talk with my family—Elder Holland’s “Are We Not All Beggars?” The spirit of that talk galvanized my heart, and I felt prompted to create a consecration experiment for our family: we would give away 2014 things in five weeks, in an effort to bless others.
This was a really big deal for me, because I so often had felt like the Poor Project Family at church. (This is our budget: we have seven kids, we have enough to eat, we never vacation, we drive a ‘92 van.) I felt like my offerings were not enough. So this was a time for me to offer things to God and just accept what would happen.
It turned out to be an absolutely amazing experience. I shared it on Facebook because I felt shy about it at church, but my friends in the ward pushed me to try to bear a testimony about it, if not in Sacrament Meeting, at least in Relief Society. So I did.
Then, other women in my ward wanted to talk to me about it, and word got to some friends of friends in our neighboring stake, and a woman called me from a neighboring stake to talk to me about our five weeks of consecration, and she said she loved it. She asked me to come tell my story at the next Relief Society Tuesday evening meeting. I hesitantly agreed, and then prayed to know what to say, and started spending time putting a presentation together.
What happened next:
- A bishop called me out of the blue, with an angry voice, demanding to know my full name, my temple worthiness (at the time, I had a temple recommend and was attending every week), and my bishop’s name and number.
- The sister from the other stake called me. I could hardly understand her through her tears. She told me that when she’d submitted her idea for a Tuesday night Relief Society activity, her bishop was very angry that she’d planned that activity without his permission, and he had ripped her a new one. She wept to me that she was in some trouble with him, and that her bishop was now going to call my bishop, and that she probably shouldn’t speak to me anymore.
- MY bishop called me into his office, and chastised me. He chastised me for talking to the woman from another stake; for upsetting her bishop enough that the bishop had to call him, my bishop, to determine my worthiness; and for speaking to anyone at all about this consecration thing.
He chastised me and told me that what I had been engaged in was a hobby and a distraction, but it wasn’t service. He explained that service is something you do that’s a duty determined by our church leaders and that you are extended a calling by the church leaders to do. Because my bishop did not sign off on this consecration challenge, it was NOT service, and I shouldn’t talk about it. He also told me I needed to serve the church more.
It was a couple of months after this, in early 2015, that I caught pneumonia, and couldn’t care for my seven children. When I asked him to release me from my two callings—telling him I’d been too sick for months to even feed my children—he took my temple recommend.
Pro Tip: Poor people can follow the law of consecration. Trust women to fulfill their callings. Let women work together for their mutual benefit.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23).