I met with my bishop at noon today. I'll try to remember how it went but suffice it to say I was saddened to the core.
Bishop: First of all, I'd like to ask how we can have a conversation about something we will completely disagree on and still be nice to each other (or something to that effect).
Me: Well, I guess we just try.
Bishop: Do you have a girlfriend?
Bishop: Are you having a sexual relationship with her?
Me: I don't believe that's any of your concern.
Bishop: Do you plan to change your behavior?
Me: She will continue to be my girlfriend.
Bishop: Is she a member of the church?
Bishop: Are you still married to [exHubby]?
Me: I don't know why that's important. I feel that all of this is between me and Lord. I feel good about my relationship with Him and will continue to do the things that bring me closer to Him. I'm in a good place with Heavenly Father.
He went on to remind me that I've been through the process of a disciplinary council before and I know how it all works. He then read to me from the Church Handbook about the repentance process. He said the councils are meant to bring one closer to the Savior and to encourage them to forsake their sins, but if that weren't possible then the councils are to protect the name of the church. He asked what my thoughts were about all of that.
I told him that regardless of what happens I will continue to go to church each week. I love the gospel with all of my heart. I also mentioned that I'm a different type of member now and I have no interest in being controlled by the church.
Bishop: Then why did you meet with me today?
Me: Because you asked me to.
Bishop: If you're not going to answer my questions then I don't understand why you came in.
Me: I don't know which questions I'll answer until you ask them.
Bishop: Do you still want to be a member of the church?
Me: I have mixed feelings about that.
At this point he reminded me that if I was unwilling to answer his questions he would have to go on what he "felt." I told him that was correct. He said he'd have his two counselors bring a letter to my house, inviting me to a disciplinary council. I told him if that's what has to happen then that's what has to happen.
Bishop: Why do you want to still go to church if you don't agree with church policy and the fact that I'm your Judge in Israel?
Me: I love the gospel. I love most of what the church teaches. I only have a couple of issues with the church. I want my kids to continue to go and I'd love to still go as a family. I'm at a place where I feel that I can take the good and leave the bad.
Bishop: I've heard that from a lot of non-members, how they still want their kids to go.
At one point I explained to him that IF I was having a sexual relationship with my girlfriend while I was still married to my husband, then of course I would feel that it was against the rules of the church. I believe that's a separate issue than homosexuality. And then I reminded him that he doesn't know anything because I haven't confirmed nor denied sexual involvement with my girlfriend.
Bishop: I will have to go with what I feel and what I know.
Me: May I ask what you know?
Bishop: (in a very passive aggressive sort of way) I don't think I'm willing to share that with you at this time.
Me: I find it interesting that you're unhappy with me for not answering your questions but now you won't answer mine.
Bishop: That's because this is about YOU.
Me: Exactly. And that has to do with me as well.
Bishop: Well, I will tell you this. I had a very long conversation with you daughter.
Me: I know.
Bishop: And she had a nice, long cry. And I'm sure she's going to have many more.
Me: I know that as well. Are you suggesting that she told you I was having a sexual relationship with my girlfriend? Because that hasn't been confirmed to her either way. She has no idea. It would be pure speculation.
He wouldn't answer my question.
Bishop: It seems to be that if you weren't having a sexual relationship with her then you'd be upfront about that. So that tells me that you are.
Me: That is complete speculation on your part.
Bishop: I'll ask you again, are you still married?
Me: Why is that important?
Bishop: Because it will be much worse if you're committing adultery than if it's fornication.
Me: I'm no longer married. We're divorced.
Bishop: Okay. Well, thanks for coming in.
I left there and called Kim. I wasn't feeling angry, but my heart was beating out of control. I told her about the meeting and we had a good conversation about it. Later on I called the ex and told him about it, then picked my boys up and headed to church. I felt icky being there, but just for a little bit. During sacrament I sent a text to my daughter and asked if the bishop had ever asked her about the nature of my relationship with Kim, and if he had asked any details. I also told her I wouldn't be upset with her about anything she talked to him about, but this was so that I could figure out if the things he had said to me in our meeting were adding up. She responded that she said she was my girlfriend, if she had said anything at all, and that was it. I became angry at this point because it was confirmed that he was being crafty in his words to me. He tried to make me think he had knowledge from my daughter of my relationship with Kim.
The thing that strikes me the most about this bishop is his lack of compassion. I've had many bishops who I have dealt with on this issue, and he is the first who has seemed ornery about it. My last bishop left no room for me to think that he approved of my behavior, and I was 100% confident that he was against what I had done... yet not ONE time did I ever feel unloved or unaccepted. His heart was full of compassion and he even cried with me on many occasions, even when my heart was hardened. I've experienced that with other bishops as well. The fact that this new bishop (who is married to who used to be my best female friend) lacks sympathy, makes the atmosphere for coming back a bit less than comforting.
The fact remains that he does not have firsthand knowledge of my relationship with Kim. He even said he'd have to base the process all on assumptions, until a bit later he mentioned that he "knows" something (that he wouldn't share with me). There are obviously clues out there. Even on this blog I talk about my relationship with her, but unless there are people doing their research and trying to dig things up, which is pathetic, then no one knows anything. Yes, people are digging and finding, which doesn't surprise me in the least. I guess that's more enjoyable than actually having a conversation with me?! I don't know. What I do know is that I'm getting a little angry with my bishop and I don't like that feeling. He brought me into his office and asked me questions while he supposedly already knew the answers. Why? What was his point in that? To urge me to confess? I'm not interested in confessing anything any longer. He also tried to get me to believe that my daughter told him specifics. I have no patience for crafty comments, created only to confuse me and put the fear in me. How ridiculous!
I want to quickly rid myself of the anger so that I can continue to enjoy my meetings each week, without the burden of thinking unkind thoughts toward my leaders.
I guess I'll be getting a letter sometime soon. A part of me thinks "Big deal. Whatever." But another part of me is really hurting because of it. I'll keep you posted.