But let me explain. I'll call him Jeff. We really hadn't talked since high school, except for a few chats on Facebook. But from the looks of things, he had a lot going for him. He had a beautiful daughter. He was planning on graduating from college in the Spring in Art and photography; he was very talented. He also had a great support system of family and friends. His death was unexpected and tragic. He also grew up in an inactive/part member family. So he grew up not really going or only going for social reasons as he hit junior high and high school, and I think he continued this same path into adulthood.
Jeff and I grew up in the same Mormon ward (church congregational boundary). At that time the Young Men's president (Sam) was a really great guy. He was compassionate and fun. He was a people person. Everyone liked him. I always had a lot of love and respect for him. Well, it looks like Jeff maintained contact with Sam since they continued to live by each throughout this time. Sam, throughout the last 15 years, has moved up the ranks within the Church. Soon after my family moved from this area he became the local bishop (pastor) for a few years. Now he has moved on up and into the local stake presidency (group of men who run many wards within a certain area). Despite all this moving up, I kind of naively assumed he was still the same old Sam. Compassionate, empathetic.
For those of you who have never been to a Mormon funeral...they are boring beyond belief. They are rote and very impersonal. Sometimes you may get something interesting but for the most part they are pretty cold. And why are they like this? Because Mormon funerals are only for proselytizing. They are using one of the most vulnerable times like a death in the family to promote their church. Here's a link to the article by Boyd K. Packer, one of the 12 apostles in the Church called The Unwritten Order of Things given in 1996.
He says: "...Bishops should not yield the arrangement of meetings to members. They should not yield the arrangement for funerals...It is not the proper order of things for members or families to expect to decide who will speak and for how long."So even though your family member just died you really have no say in how things are planned or what is said.
"Funerals could and should be the most spiritually impressive. They are becoming informal family reunions in front of ward members. Often the Spirit is repulsed by humorous experiences or jokes when the time could be devoted to teaching the things of the Spirit, even the sacred things."
So remembering your the fun times and the good times about your loved one is a big no no. Somehow the Mormon god will be offended.
"When the family insists that several family members speak in a funeral, we hear about the deceased instead of about the Atonement, the Resurrection, and the comforting promises revealed in the scriptures."
NO talking about the deceased! But of course! Having someone die is just another excuse for proselyting! Does this man have any empathy? Does he realize that funerals are for the FAMILY AND FRIENDS of the deceased? It's a way for us to celebrate our loved one's life and the life we remember and shared with her/him! It's a way for family and friends to find closure and say goodbye. It can be a beautiful and uplifting if allowed to be.
Packer summarizes his complete lack of humanity: "I have told my Brethren in that day when my funeral is held, if any of them who speak talk about me, I will raise up and correct them. The gospel is to be preached. I know of no meeting where the congregation is in a better state of readiness to receive revelation and inspiration from a speaker than they are at a funeral. This privilege is being taken away from us because we don't understand the order of things--the unwritten order of things--that relates to the administration of the Church and the reception of the Spirit." (A zombie Packer does seem fascinating, though).Yes, let's take advantage of grieving family and friends who happen to either be inactive or non Mormons and try to make them feel horrible and guilty. It's all about getting more members into their church or reactivating those who are inactive in order to get tithing and to make the church look good. If this man truly cared about people as individuals and their pain, he would never have said such horrible things.
WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!????? Are you kidding me? I was horrified. Absolutely disgusted. I looked around to see if anyone else was as shocked and horrified as me...nope. I wasn't sitting close to Jeff's parents. I wish I could have got up and declared bullshit on what he just said and give his parents a big hug. Who are you to use the death of this couple's son to promote your religion? Where is the compassion and empathy. How dare you do that to them!!! How dare you attempt to manipulate and make them feel guilty about who and where they are in their lives!!!! How dare you say YOU KNOW, when you have no FUCKING clue about "where" Jeff is let alone what he's doing or feeling!!! Shame on you, Sam. You should know better. My respect for you is gone. You have sold your proverbial soul to move up the ranks. You may not have wanted to at first. But you have and you did. Their were no "church police" there to stop you if you chose NOT to act like a shithead. You could have chosen the higher ground. Since the family, Jeff, and you are all most likely religious/believe in Jesus/God why in the world could you not have just talked about that!!!! Comfort the family, grieve with the family. Remember they are people who are grieving and are DEVASTATED that their son is dead. They just want to remember their son, grieve, celebrate his life and the good times they had with him.
Thank you for reminding me one of the many reasons why I left. But shame on you, Sam, for what you did. And shame on you, Mormon church, for allowing this to happen.