How to Fail as a Mormon Bishop

Recently my inbox has been flooded with Google Alerts for Mormon News about a Bishop in the Taylorsville, Utah area who has turned a recent sacrament meeting into a side-show circus, lied to his congregation, opened his congregation up to scrutiny, judgement, and embarrassment, broken the rules associated with attendance, has allowed his personal political beliefs to trump LDS doctrines on self-sufficiency, and ensured the media awareness in order to ensure the greatest embarrassment to his congregation.

This is a major failure.  I think the worst part is, self-described conservatives are lauding this judgmental, juvenile, liberal (ends-justifies-the-means) mentality (M*,JrGanymede).

The sources include  an AP article. and Deseret News article...

The article describes the Bishop (Musselman) contacting a social activist who will disguise him with a lot of make up (a defacto mask) a wig and glasses to deceive his congregation and also his family, meeting on Sunday for their normal Church meetings.  The Bishop thought he could “teach his congregation a lesson about compassion.”

The article was quick to point out their desired reaction, that some give him money.  Musselman admitted asking for money, and condemns his flock through the eyes of children, which amazingly he uses to read the childrens’ thoughts… “I could see in their eyes they wanted to do more,” he said. ”

Ironically, the Bishop stated he wanted to teach the congregation to “don’t … be so quick to judge”, and has instead traded a hypothetical, fake-beggar, for a congregation of Saints who never asked to be tried and tested, mocked and ridiculed by the entire English speaking internet world.  Who gave the Bishop the right to come up with this unorthodox “test” is unknown, the LDS newsroom has so far been mute as to whether this type of dishonesty is encouraged or not.  Musselman condemns his congregation for ignoring him.  Yes, the sin of junior-high now has a solemn warrior condemning anyone exercising their right to freedom of association.  Because, somehow there’s an invented right of “being acknowledged”, even in the cases where he didn’t ask people for food or money.  Apparently overhearing solicitation is not an appropriate reason for avoiding someone who may very likely come after you next.

The AP leaves out some very important information, published only by the Deseret News.

Of one of the 5 who asked the apparent vagrant to leave (5/350 ~ 1%) the Bishop learned the following:

But what I didn’t know about this was that just one year before that time his granddaughter had come to his church … and helped an old man get into his car, and at the time that she did that, he was faking, and he stole her purse and drove off. So he came out because he was concerned about the safety of people, and his experience caused him to view me through a different lens.

While it is admirable that the Bishop learned to not judge his congregation (again, Irony Alert), this is something he should have known about in advance.  Maybe if he had discussed it with his full Bishopric instead of purposefully leaving out his first counselor, ward clerk, and executive secretary?  Has this guy never read anything on councils in the church?

Bad things being caused by the homeless disrupting church isn’t limited to Taylorsville, UT.  Commenting on this story, one person wrote

In a stake near where I live, a little girl was taken by a non member entering the stake center and raped and then left. Luckily she wasn’t killed. She was 3 years old. He was pretty raggedy looking. Not that that means we shouldn’t be kind, but we also should keep our children and ourselves safe.

People may object to judging a book by it’s cover, but statistically, most homeless folk are mentally ill, and mentally ill folks can sometimes do bad things.  Most good people want to help all people, and be friendly and inclusive, but intelligent and loving parents also want to protect their children.  When good folks go to far, and invite a homeless person into their home, their daughters have a strange knack for getting kidnapped and raped (Elizabeth Smart).  I personally feel it is more humane to make sure mentally ill folk are cared for in an appropriate venue, and NEWSFLASH, the Church is not the RIGHT hospital for the mentally ill.  In many cases, the mentally ill, and most likely, the homeless are in need of Mental Health Professionals first, and the Gospel second.

The LDS Handbook of instruction is a trove of information that contradicts what this man did.  One wonders if this “Bishop” has ever read this handbook in his life…

Each sacrament meeting should be a spiritual experience in which members of the Church renew their covenants by partaking of the sacrament. Other purposes of sacrament meeting are to worship, provide gospel instruction, perform ordinances, conduct ward business, and strengthen faith and testimony. …

Members of the bishopric plan sacrament meetings and conduct them in a reverent and dignified manner.

Occasionally something unexpected may occur during the meeting that the presiding officer feels a need to clarify. In this situation, he should make any clarification that is needed, being careful not to cause embarrassment. …

Leaders set an example of reverence during the time before sacrament meeting. The bishopric and the speakers should be in their seats at least five minutes before the meeting begins. This is not a time for conversation or transmitting messages. Setting an example of reverence encourages the congregation to be spiritually prepared for a worshipful experience. …

Orienting Participants. Members of the bishopric orient sacrament meeting participants. They review the purposes of sacrament meeting and explain that all talks and music should be in harmony with the sacred nature of the sacrament.

When inviting members to speak, a member of the bishopric clearly explains the subject and the length of time the person should speak. He counsels speakers to teach the doctrines of the gospel, relate faith-promoting experiences, bear witness of divinely revealed truths, and use the scriptures (see D&C 42:12; 52:9). Speakers should teach in a spirit of love after prayerful preparation. They should not speak on subjects that are speculative, controversial, or out of harmony with Church doctrine.

After reviewing the handbook, can anyone really claim that this man provided a spiritual focus on the sacrament that built faith and testimony rather than focusing on his theatrics teaching principles of the false doctrine known as “social justice?”

Did he conduct the meeting in a reverent and dignified manner?

Did an unexpected problem arise, or did he purposefully plan a disruption?  Did he make the problem go away with or without embarrassment?

Did he set an example of reverence before sacrament meeting?  Was he in his correct seat 5 minutes before the meeting began?  Was he conversing or transmitting messages?

Was his deceitful dress, behavior, and joke, fittingly in line with the sacredness of the sacrament?

Did he speak on speculative, controversial, or topics out of harmony with church doctrine?

Has this man ever been to Temple Square where the Church has put up official signs asking visitors NOT to give money to panhandlers?

Has this man ever read about church welfare, seen how a transient Bishop works (or should work)?

This man turned what should have been a sacred renewal of covenants (kind of a private matter) into a public ridicule of actions that falls outside of current liberal political correctness.  While their false-God, Obama, talks of his ability to look at someone and determine them an immigrant, this Bishop goes out of his way to judge those who choose to not associate with a fake character, presented in the most un-enticing manner possible.  Through extraordinary means, this man attempted to deceive, and succeeded in deceiving most of them.  He has personal political beliefs about how to best help the homeless (give them money) and chides those who don’t agree with him.  He preached these personal, political beliefs from the pulpit, and embarrassed those who don’t share his beliefs.  He made sure the media was aware of this by sharing it on Facebook. 

Now a word to the liberals out there.  Many liberals, don’t believe in keeping the law of Chastity, or the Law of Tithing, or the Word of Wisdom.  How would you feel if a Bishop came to church, portrayed one of those acts, and held a news-conference afterwards talking about how you individually had broken any one of those laws?  Perhaps he said you let it be known publicly, but truthfully, it doesn’t matter.  He’s broken the bond of sacredness between a spiritual leader and congregants.  Musselman claims it wasn’t his goal to embarrass ward members, but just because he wasn’t smart enough to see that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be held accountable for it.

My hope is enough members of his ward stand against this.  If you felt it was an abuse of his office, let him know.  Let your Bishop know that you won’t tolerate such petty, vindictive, asinine, juvenile behavior.  I hope the church quickly acts to reduce such side-show behavior.  Hopefully at the same time they can remove such idiotic liberal behavior that leads to this type of stupidity.