Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Meeting with a Mormon "General Authority"

Driving east on North Temple, I knew I was going to expose myself to a surreal experience unlike anything I had ever been subjected to. In advance of my arrival, my name had been given to church security, so that as I arrived at the VIP underground parking lot under the controversial main street plaza, I was greeted by a white gloved (yeah that's right, they actually wear white cotton gloves) white shirt, suit and tie garage attendant. He checked my name on a computer against a list of approved guests and directed us to the VIP (red reserved) parking area. There is a basement access to the Administration Building...with more security men there. We reported in and were asked to wait in a richly appointed walnut paneled waiting room. While waiting Elder Faust drove by in a golf cart (see I told you this was going to be surreal) on his way to his car...which I assumed was chauffeur driven. He gave a cute wave to my wife as he passed. He looked particularly old.

We were then directed to the office of my former mission president and current GA, one of the top 22 GA's in the church. While passing time in his waiting area we looked out his north-facing window onto the church office plaza. His office has a commanding view of the best flowerbeds in the COB complex...they were just finishing the fall planting of bulbs and pansies.

Pres. "X" came out and greeted my wife and I with a warm hug and a smile; he was genuine and loving. It was great to be able to have this personal time with him.

After some small talk and family catch-up, Pres "X" asked how he could help us...I reminded him that he had asked for the meeting. I again referred to my earlier letter and again described my situation. For some reason he misunderstood and thought that I was in my current situation because I had been offended...but I assured him that I was where I am currently because of historical facts and not how I have been treated. He seemed to miss this again and felt that how I was treated was the motivation for my loss of belief. He got my letter out and reread a portion of it so as to convince me. I told him that I felt they were not related again.

At this point he asked my wife and me to follow him into a special room down the hall from his office. The large windowless room was much like a conference room except there was no conference table in it. Instead, sitting in the center of the darkened room was a ornately carved mahogany oval table, perhaps 5 feet in diameter. Through the darkness I could see that this room was also richly appointed in fine hard woods and moldings As we entered the room Pres “X” turned the light switch on... a single spot light positioned directly over this table shown a pillar of exacting light down on what can only be described as the most amazing thing I have ever seen with my own two eyes. Lying on a red velvet gold-fringed cloth.... was a single solid “White and Delightsome” Brick.

Turning to me Pres “X” directed me to pound this brick several times into my head...assuring me that once I had done so enough times...my testimony would return. As I sat there in utter shock...he pressed a button on the wall behind us, causing one of the wood paneled walls to slide away, exposing a solid wall made of these same white and delightsome bricks. He told me that if I preferred...instead of hitting my head repeatedly with the single brick, I could instead run headfirst into the brick wall over and over and over again until my testimony returned. He said that the church had had much success with both methods in the past.

Since leaving the church...I have been asked to repeatidly bang my head against that same brick wall... over and over and over again... in the hope that I can somehow believe in the Mormon claims again... My head is so F***ing sore from trying to force belief in things that to me are so unbelievable.

Several times through my interview with this GA, I had to literally grit my teeth. Its time to move on...

PS: I gracefully declined his generous offer for a priesthood blessing...

13 comments:

F2K said...

Cr@ig,

I'm sorry, bro . . . I understand what you're going through. It's so hard to keep reliving that same painful, "Can't-you-hear?-The-Church-is-a-Lie!" conversation with those you love. You're definately fighting the good fight, and you mustn't ever give up . . . You feel yourself waning, email me!!

f2k

HJB said...

You are an amazing writer! I felt entertained until I had to remind myself that this is real... not fiction.

I highly recommend "The Jesus Mysteries" by Freke and Gandy... or any of their books... or "The Pagan Christ" by Tom Harpur. Helpful info for those of us suffering from a literal christian upbringing. -HJB

Eight Hour Lunch said...

Damn! You had me going until the brick...I guess I still need to work out some of my gullibility issues.

ChristFollower said...

I will admit to being kind of dense. Some of this seems like a true story, but somehow the special room with the bricks doesn't. :-) How much of this is true, or is it really April 1 and you got me, hook line and sinker?

FWIW, I'm a "middler" also. http://the-fork.blogspot.com, if you're interested.

Cr@ig said...

Dear Christfollower,

The scene I discribed was an actual true event up and through to the point of being taken to a special room with a brick. Therein I used this metaphore to describe the pressure and the absurdity of my expereience.

Told in a more accurate manner, instead of answering my difficult questions...I was told to just believe, have faith and all would be well. To me it was the same as if I was told to pound a brick against my head and all would be well...

Matt said...

The brick analogy works very well.

Simeon's Peep Stone said...

That is awesome! I knew there had to be an answer out there. Is there any way you can get me some face time with your old president? I've just been banging my head around with old copies of the journal of discourses and church history. A church authorized brick would probably work better.

Great analogy.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry but I am little slow...you hit the brick before the meeting? It looks like, but I have to admit that you have got a great imagination. But you know? Eventhough I can not comprehend fully but Heavenly Father loves all of us,even you!!IS IT THAT GRANT?

Anonymous said...

I totally believe you had to do this. Sorry you had to indure this horrible treatment.

Anonymous said...

Horrible treatment? He probably just strongly feels that you truly will be happier to return to the things you once believed. He probably sincerely cares about your happiness. I think you felt that. Even if all your questions were perfectly answered to your satisfaction, would that be enough? Would you then make the changes necessary and align your life with the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ? To most people in a similar situation, the answer is no. It's a smoke screen. They don't want it to be true, they don't want the accountability, they don't want to change their lifestyle, so they look for ways to justify their actions. If it's not true then you don't have to follow it, right? At least that's the reasoning. "O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish."

Anonymous said...

nice story! u would've made me laugh out loud if i didn't feel like you just disrespected your old mission president. and i think the story would've sounded better if you made YOURSELF the hard brick.

seriously, you people are experts when it comes to making fools of yourselves.

Anonymous said...

So you were excommunicated for nothing??? Seems like you story doesn't add up.

Cr@ig said...

I've NEVER claimed that I was EXed for nothing. What I do claim is that I NEVER broke any temple covenants.