#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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

– Rebecca

 

Pro Tip: Poor people can follow the law of consecration. Trust women to fulfill their callings. Let women work together for their mutual benefit.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. If you would like to submit an experience, please do so here.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23).

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11 Responses

  1. Ziff says:

    I’m really sorry, Rebecca. This is awful. It sounds like your bishop and the other bishop were just furious that there were good things going on that they didn’t have absolute control over. How petty and childish of them. I’m so sorry they took their fragility out on you.

  2. Moss says:

    Oh, Rebecca, my heart aches for you. It sounds like a wonderful project and I bet your example blessed and inspired many people.

  3. Jacob H. says:

    There is so much violence in this story. I hope you have worked through and risen above the trauma these men inflicted on you. Shame on them

  4. SC says:

    Once again, I could write a book about how many times I have heard stories similar to these. I have been invited to speak in other wards by well-meaning sisters who then get reamed by controlling bishops because only men are allowed to jump boundaries for speaking engagements in the church—not only are men the only ones who can speak outside boundaries, but they do so on the tithe-payers’ dimes as the church flies general leaders out to speak everywhere (if women want to hear from female leaders, we have to pay out the wazoo for Time Out for Women!!). And oh yeah only men are allowed to decide which topics are discussed—if Sisters cultivate and become expert in a topic, it is dangerous, reckless gospel hobbyism and their recommends must be revoked.
    Sisters, I It just makes me sick to think about how many times I have seen women punished for sharing their teachings outside their own ward or branch. Why is it that men are allowed to project their voices in this church? Why is it that Women can only do so if they launch a paid business like “Time Out for Women.”??? (I have NO clue why they even launched TOFW—is it because brethren secretly pick the topics or collect all the profits?)

    • ST says:

      Time Out for Women is a division of Deseret Book, which is owned by the Church, so the program is a way to drive book sales (on good authority from someone who is a popular speaker in that program).

  5. Ted says:

    These experiences are terrible and traumatizing. Almost nothing is worse than being cut down or chastised for something that you know you were doing right, as clearly you were. It makes me ill to think that leaders would treat such heartfelt service this way.

    I want to question the use of the term “violence” used by Jacob H. I think referring to non-physical acts, even aggressive ones, as violence, is a dangerous precedent to set. This is a strategy used by many to justify true acts of physical violence in response to “verbal violence,” since, legally speaking, one is typically allowed to respond to violence with physical force in self defense.

    We have a word that I think serves very well for what I assume (perhaps wrongly) that Jacob has in mind: contempt. The leadership clearly treated your offering with contempt, and for that they should be ashamed.

    • Jacob H. says:

      🤔 I’m not sure “contempt” is strong enough to describe it. The anger, the pointed questions and harassment from a position of authority that led to clear signs of trauma — weeping, fearful behavior, etc. If they weren’t being violent then what other word captures the essence of their behavior? Open to suggestions

  6. Mike says:

    Wow. I am sorry that your wonderful experience was treated this way by others. If those bishops were in our stake I’d rip them a new one. The scriptures D&C 58:27-28 come to mind as I read about your family’s wonderful service. Perhaps the bishops thought that the use of the word “men” in those scriptures only means literally males. Come to think of it, D7C 121:36-37 come to mind as I read the second half of your experience.

    I love hearing stories though of us ordinary people doing great things. Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. Dani Addante says:

    That’s awful! Service is more than just serving in the church. I don’t understand how those bishops could be so cruel. I’m so sorry this happened to you. You did nothing wrong. Those bishops should be ashamed of themselves.

  8. Dave C says:

    This is maddening!

    Consider presenting your experience using a non-LDS controlled forum, such as a book club, library conference room, park, or someone’s home.

  9. Shawn Beus says:

    Sickening. Thanks for sharing.

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