There is one inherently flawed component of the cultural model that has become the standard model of living for most Mormons in Utah.  The public face of the Church is so important on the national, state, stake, ward, and family level, that the needs of the individual are wholly and totally usurped.  I noticed this one Sunday in my singles' ward when my school needs interfered with my Church calling.

 

I had been called as an E.Q. chorister.  I basically picked the hymns, found someone to play piano (or play myself), and/or conducted.  It wasn't a stressful calling.  However, sitting through three hours of Church meetings can be stressful when you have an exam for a particular week.  One Sunday after Church, I got called into speak with one of the members of the E.Q. Presidency.  It turned into a conversation about how I was not fulfilling my calling to the level that was expected.  I explained that I had occasional Sunday obligations for school.  It did not seem to matter.

 

There was a high councilor who came and visited one of my wards on a Sunday.  One of the things he said was, "Women, dress modestly, because it speaks to the world about what the home life you make is like."  I kind of sat there for a moment, suffering from twofold shock:  (1)  The fact that this was the most ridiculous thing that a High Councilor could say at Church on a Sunday, (2) What about the men who do not treat their wives and children well?  Of course, in this high councilor's eyes, it seemed to me as if all he cared about was the public image of the Church and family, even if a member of the family was not being treat appropriately.

 

What bothers me the most about the Church's need to save face is how it treats the individual who is wronged, "offended," or becomes apostate because they do not believe anymore.  Consider the latest videos on Iamanexmormon.com.  When I first read about Eva leaving her husband, the first thing I felt was, "What about her ex-husband?  Did anyone in the Church even talk to him or see what his needs were?"  How about the Las Vegas man who was injured doing baptisms for the dead?  He was clearly in pain the day he was in the temple, yet he was made to continue.  Clearly, the needs of the individual are not of concern when considering the notion of Utopian Zion. 

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