Kirby: I don’t feel oppressed in the Mormon church — hell, it’s my choice to attend or not

Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune

Lots of commentary about the changes in the Mormon church’s leadership. New president. New counselor. Same praises/laments from friends regarding the change.

No. 1 • “It’s the Lord’s will. Anyone who protests that decision needs to repent.”

No. 2 • “I don’t like that guy, but I really can’t stand the other one.”

Me? I lost interest in the change within 24 hours. It’s like the weather, an approaching meteor or a decision my wife has made — there’s nothing I can do about it, so why worry?

Part of the issue for me is that I’m me. I’m not LGBTQ, a woman or even a deep-thinking theologian with serious church historical problems that need resolving.

Nope. I am a free agent. And when it comes to free agency, I do whatever the hell I want. Except for the boredom part of church, I don’t feel oppressed.

If I don’t want to go to church, accept a calling, or listen to some knob expound on what the Lord thinks, I don’t. I do something else. My entire church job is to take care of myself and be available in case someone needs help.

One thing I do know is that I wouldn’t want to be the person having to maintain policies and keep everyone happy. Fortunately for me (and mostly because of me) I never will be.

Why would anyone want to be in charge of people who seize every opportunity not to waste a perfectly good atonement? It’s incomprehensible.

Maybe this complacency is why I’ve never had a bishop worth complaining about. Either what he says makes sense or it doesn’t. The decision whether to cooperate is still mine.

My new local leader is a good example. Recently, Rose Summit Ward Bishop Tom Geertsen asked me to stop going to the women’s Relief Society and instead attend the high priest group. I said OK.

Asking me to stay out of Relief Society seemed a reasonable request. Maybe I was scaring someone too concerned about hurting my practically nonexistent feelings to tell me.

Bishop Geertsen was also nice about it. So I did what he asked, even though I’d still rather go to Relief Society than sit in a room for 45 minutes with a bunch of old men.

I could have made a big deal out of it, left church in a huff or penned horrible Facebook screeds about his gender-discrimination policy. I’d never do that when all I would have to do is walk over to his house and tell him.

A former bishop once told me that some people in our ward hated him. He didn’t say why, only that they sent him nasty anonymous messages insulting his wife and daughters.

I thought he was a good bishop, maybe even in my Top Five All-Time Best Local Church Leaders Who Haven’t Compared Me to Satan.

But how do ecclesiastical leaders know whether they’re doing a good job if they never get any feedback?

Surprisingly, I have a good idea. Truth is, it was given to me by someone I will refer to here as Mark, because that’s what he said his name was. Here is Mark’s groundbreaking suggestion:

“I often wonder how the leaders of the church, especially at the local level, would respond if they knew their service was to be rated or reviewed by us folks at the bottom of the food chain? They claim they love us, but the proof would be in the pudding. We rate grocery stores, service providers and more — why not those who claim to serve us?”

Next Sunday • A multiple-choice review form that can be filled out and slipped anonymously under your ecclesiastical leader’s door.