My current ecclesiastical leader lives next door. He was just "Geoff" until about a year ago when he became "Bishop Short."
Having a bishop next door isn't a problem for me. Most of the interviews are conducted through a fence. They're spirited if not exactly spiritual.
ME: "Hey, bishop! Make your damn dogs shut up!"
HIM: "Robert, you promised me that you would watch your language."
ME: "The hell I did."
Bishop Short and I are content with our unconventional ecclesiastical relationship. I have no idea why he is, but know why I am. He's a guy.
Despite the power of discernment church leaders are supposed to have, I can successfully lie to another guy 70 percent of the time. That's because I know how a guy including a church one thinks.
Conversely, I have no idea how or even what a woman thinks. And this despite a lifetime of soul-punishing experience.
I didn't use to worry about this because Mormon women don't have the priesthood. And you have to have that in order to be an LDS bishop. There's an ordination ceiling in our church and rightly so, according to me.
But what if things changed and your LDS bishop suddenly became a woman? I don't mean he had an operation. I mean he was a real woman.
All right, SHE was a real woman. Whatever.
Suppose you showed up in church tomorrow and there was a woman sitting where the bishop (a man) normally sits? Worse, there were two obviously XX chromosome types where the counselors usually sit.
Pretty scary, huh? It is for me. Of all the church stuff I fret about going to hell, mission calls, rivers of blood, high council talks, etc. any idea of women getting the priesthood tops the list.
It's more of a possibility than it used to be. Mormon women are once again campaigning to be ordained. You can check the latest attempt at Ordain Women http://ordainwomen.org/, a website devoted to driving me out of the church.
Ordain Women is just the latest in a series of power sharing maneuvers pants (in church), prayer (in conference), and now priesthood (in credibly).
I'm not saying women can't be bishops. They're certainly the equal of men when it comes to spirituality, dedication, love, service and other feely stuff necessary to be a church leader. They could be bishops. I just don't want one being MY bishop.
For one thing, there isn't a woman in my ward who believes a single thing I say. When it comes to that they're worse than my wife, daughters, and granddaughters.
And women all have feelings. I don't. I couldn't deal with a bishop who started crying in the middle of an interview.
And what about those bishop interviews? I'm not confessing to a woman bishop that I routinely use impure thoughts to get through a meeting. What if she wanted details or even a list?
Having the bishop right next door took some getting used to. However, I'm not sure I would ever get used to the bishop being Geoff's wife rather than Geoff.
Primary President Karly Short. Relief Society President Karly Short. Ward Chorister Karly Short. All of those make sense. Bishop Karly Short? That's just too weird. It rings false worse even than "Bishop Robert Kirby."
Robert Kirby can be reached at email@example.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.