We met in the bishop's office, and he clarified that he wanted to discuss the fourth question in the temple recommend interview, because Vern had made a couple of comments in Gospel Doctrine just before that which weren't in agreement with the instructor's views. The question he wanted to discuss was this:
#4 Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?I'll leave Vern's story for him to tell. Mine is simple. After he was done talking with Vern about this question, the bishop asked me if I sustained the leaders of the church as prophets, seers and revelators. I opened my mouth to answer that I sustained them with my prayers and faith, as the Doctrine and Covenants encourages, when he cut me off and asked:
"If you lived in the time of Brigham Young, and he said the saints were going west, would you have gone?"My answer was straightforward and simple:
"If God said "Go", I'd go. If He said "Stay", I'd stay.I left that office without a recommend, because, according to my bishop, my answer did not satisfy the current requirements of sustaining leaders.
It has been strange, not being a "card carrying Mormon" for the first time in my life. It's even more strange, having run afoul of this strangely-morphed version of the faith I have loved my whole life. And yet, I'm grateful for the overt insanity of the last couple of years' interaction with my leadership, as it has revealed a great deal of the traditions of my fathers.