Bishops and life decisions

(Warning: This is a long, venting post. You'll need a minute to get through it. Sorry.) So, I got a job yesterday. Yes, a job outside the home that will actually reward me with monetary benefits. It's a job working as a per diem Speech Pathologist when Jacob is in preschool. With him in school 2 days a week, I have a little more time and a little less money, so I thought I'd give working a shot. And, it was easy to get this job. Really easy. I got on the internet, googled job openings for speech language pathologist in Virginia, and bam, up came a long list of opportunities. I applied online, sent my resume in, and a week later, I'm employed. Wa-hoo! The other thing is, I know I'm qualified for this job. Not only does my resume make me look qualified, I actually can do this job. I've done it before, and know I can do it again. In a word, I am marketable. Good thing I didn't listen to Bishop Bubblehead. Names have been changed, for obvious reasons. Bishop Bubblehead was my bishop when DH and I got engaged. At that time, DH and I were both far from being done with our education. I was just starting graduate school, and DH had about 2 more semesters in his undergraduate at BYU. We decided to wait until he had graduated to get married. We looked at our future goals, worked out the details, and felt we had a good plan. We booked the Salt Lake Temple for a date 7 and a half months into the future, and settled into the craziness of trying to go to school and plan a wedding at the same time. Bishop Bubblehead told us we were making a mistake. He called me into his office, and told me in no uncertain terms that I needed to quit graduate school and follow DH back to BYU, to be with him while he finished. I could always continue my education later. "But my graduate program doesn't allow you to just stop and then start up again. It's a pretty regimented program, with clinical hours and things that need to be completed by a certain date," I explained. "You haven't even looked into it,though, have you," he said, accusingly. "You haven't explored any alternative educational options at all." I admitted, guiltily, that I hadn't. I didn't want to. I wanted to finish as soon as I possibly could. He then said, "And I'll bet you are planning to put off having children until after he finishes law school, too. I'm telling you right now, putting off marriage and family for education is a mistake. You need to really pray about this, and see if you can't get married in December. Otherwise, really, you might not make it to the temple." (DH and I had gotten engaged at the end of October.) I called DH in tears after this, and told him about the conversation. Luckily, DH said he would have told the bishop to stick it, and that we were honestly doing the best thing for both of us, and for our future family. The bishop continued to bug us, (well, me, mainly. DH was in Utah most of the time) but we held firm and got married in May, 7 months after our engagement. DH had graduated and deferred law school for a year so I could finish at GW, and I was in the home stretch of my program. Things looked good. I did what I needed to do to get licensed, and Jacob was born 2 months before our 3rd wedding anniversary. So now, 6 years later, I can get a job almost at the drop of a hat that is flexible and fits into my schedule as a Mommy. That would have never happened if I hadn't finished my degree and gotten my license. And it makes me a little bit mad that Bishop Bubblehead was not concerned with this particular aspect of my life, that he was not considering the long term consequences of me giving up a graduate program, just because it separated me and my intended for a few months. I understand that his main concern was getting us to the temple, and that 7 months is a long time for unmarried people to stay chaste, but I wish that he would have had enough faith in us to realize that getting to the temple was just as important, if not more so, to us (which it was), and therefore, we would somehow manage it (which we did). I wish his counsel could have included ideas about DH juggling HIS education, (which actually ended up being the case), instead of accusingly putting the burden of giving things up squarely on my shoulders. And what is even more disturbing to me is that I was ready to listen to his counsel. I was, really. It was DH who scoffed at it, who didn't give it a second thought because he knew that we had prayfully and faithfully set up a plan that was best for us, and that this bishop had no business telling us what to do. I'm glad that I have a husband who knows who is responsible for receiving the revelations for his life, and when counsel from a bishop is counsel from God, and when it is counsel from a guy who has had to deal with too many hormonal driven singles. I'll keep you posted on the job. Who knows? Maybe I'll hate it, and want to quit. But at least I have that option.


Blogger annegb said...

Which goes to show that bishops surely aren't infallible. I always take my bishops with a grain of salt, especially since now they are kids I had in cub scouts.

I never want to work, but now I have to go to work to pay for Buttgold's wedding.

My reasons for not working are selfish ones, I am lazy and I like to be home alone. If I liked working, that would have been my choice and mine alone.

Now, if anybody comes to Cedar City after November, look for me at Wal-Mart. I will probably be the aged greeter.

Congratulations, Heather, on your job. I remember feeling elated at "getting the job." :)

9/27/2005 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs. M said...

Heather, I love that you are so qualified that you were offered a job when you snapped your fingers. I love that you held out for the "long" 7 month engagement when you were mostly separated. (I think every great love story has a separation.) I love that your DH put off law school for a year so that you could finish your graduate degree. Bishop Bubblehead had probably not encountered anyone like you and your future husband when he gave you that counsel. I hope that he'd be delighted to see how well things are working out for you and your family. You GO, girl!

9/27/2005 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger kris said...

Thanks Heather, I really enjoyed reading this post.

9/27/2005 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Michelle said...


Congratulations on the job! Whenever I hear about someone successfully combining mothering and a career, I feel excited and hopeful.

I was in my first year of grad school the year we were engaged too. Now that I'm almost done, years later, I worry about how I/we can find flexible job options. I often think about careers I could have pursued that would have allowed more options for part time flexible work. How much should those considerations make a difference in what women choose to study? I always bristled at women who got a degree in family science "to be a better mother", but can see how pursuing a career in investment banking (no matter the talents or interest) would be hard to combine with mothering. (Frankly, I see a problem in combining a career like that with fathering as well).

I can't believe the nerve of your bishop though.

9/27/2005 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Sue M said...

Good for you Heather!

9/27/2005 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Ana said...

Congratulations, Heather! I hope things work out wonderfully with your new job and that you find lots of support from others. I have been pleasantly surprised at how positive people have been since I started working full time just over a year ago -- even in the Church. That's a good thing.

9/27/2005 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

Congratulations on your new job.

My husband and I had a similar experience - we got engaged last October while he was starting a job in Washington D.C. and I was finishing my last year of grad school in California. We got married in May and are still living apart while he works in D.C. and I work in California. He is going to quit his job and move to California in the spring.

I didn't take any flak from people at church, but one of my aunts really laid into me one day. We feel good about the choices we've made and my job will allow me all kinds of flexibility in the future that I never would have had if I didn't finish school or if I took a job in D.C.

9/27/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Nate is called to be a bishop (which is not unlikely based on what I know of him from his posts) or you are called to be a bishop (which is less likely given current church policies, but based on your posts I would be happy to sustain you if I were in your ward), I'm sure he or you will give better advice than you got from this bishop.

However, I'm also sure that both of you will occasionally give some bad advice along with the good, and that which ever of you happens to be the bishop's spouse at the time will hope that the recipient has the sense or luck to ignore the advice and also the capacity to forgive your spouse.

9/27/2005 02:57:00 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Way to go, Heather O.

Yes, I sometimes wonder where some bishops get their inspiration. You can't choose your own bishop, but you can choose when to listen (i.e., when what you hear matches your own inspiration and enlightenment). Nice that things worked out so well for you.

9/27/2005 03:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Nate Oman said...

It seems to me that the point of having inspired church leaders is not that they are always inspired, but that they are inspired enough to get the job done. (Incidentally, being inspired enough is no small feat! It is something worth celebrating even if we have to give up on inflated notions of infallibility or omniscience.) This means, however, that sometimes counsel should just be treated as counsel and ignored when it is dumb.

9/27/2005 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

I had a devious thought when I read your story..Namely, "Maybe he wanted you to get mnarried by December so he could hit some numbers that the Stake President was pressuring him for." But I'll just keep that little thought to myself.

9/27/2005 04:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During my service as bishop I felt that most people who wanted to talk to the bishop, got most of their comfort from "talking" to the bishop, "listening" to the bishop was not usually what was wanted or needed.

I felt I was most effective by listening, asking questions and offering comfort and consolation. I tried only to give advice when specifically asked for it, and even then, to make it clear that the hard decisons were (gratefully) the member's decisions to make, not mine.

9/27/2005 05:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Bishops have had bad role models from their early years. A Bishop's job is to teach a kind of spiritual "self-reliance". I use the word in quotes but I mean to say that people shouldn't look to their leaders for life decisions. Boyd K. Packer has preached a lot on this. Bishops need to teach people how to get their own answers and that is often just using logical processes and then asking the Lord for a confirmation.

Don't be too hard on him. Wait until you are the RS president or your husband is the Bishop. What goes around comes around.

Take it from me! I am currently serving as a Bishop and every trouble maker that comes in the office is the image of me. It serves me right.

9/27/2005 06:04:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always said, what makes the church function is personal revelation and free agency. I rest my case.

9/28/2005 12:52:00 AM  
Blogger annegb said...

I think Nate would make a wonderful bishop, not the least because his wife would be terrific.

The only problem is people would have a problem understanding what he's trying to say most of the time.

9/28/2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...


That is very true and very funny.

9/28/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

"You haven't explored any alternative educational options at all."

What, like your "Mrs" degree? I'm glad you found yourself a good man who obviously knew (and still knows) what was best for the both of you. You're very lucky. (I found the same thing, but in a nonmember. Lovely all the same.)

If I were in your position, I probably would have told the bishop off. But, then again, I never did like anyone telling me what to do with my life. =p

9/28/2005 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Maren said...

Thank you so much. I needed to hear someone say just these sorts of comments. Good luck with your new job.

9/28/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Andrea Wright said...

Heather, congrats on your job -- it sounds like an ideal arrangement and opportunity to put your training to good use.

I, like you, would have taken the Bishop's counsel very seriously. Ultimately you and Nate had to make those decisions and it sounds like it all worked out.

Perhaps, I'm extremely naive, but I have great hope that your Bishop counseled you with what he felt was right. Perhaps it wasn't particularly inspired, but hopefully well-intentioned.

You should have just explained to the Bishop that you'd promise to keep your clavicles out of Nate's sight until the big day 7 mos down the road. :)

9/28/2005 09:52:00 PM  
Blogger Us said...

Hey, I think I had the same Bishop in my singles ward!!! Only that one felt the need to share my mistakes with other people in the ward. Boo to him I suppose.
I am excited to maybe return to work soon. Part time wouldn't hurt my family and I'm quite miserable without it sometimes. Good for you!

9/29/2005 02:39:00 AM  
Anonymous ESO said...

I agree that your bishop was probably well-intentioned, but isn't this scary?

I knew a man who had MARRIED a virtual stranger because his bishop had told him it was importnat to do it THAT DAY. I knew him right after the marriage, so I don't know how it turned out.

9/29/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

Heather, I don't suppose you could come to Northern UT to work. We need a really good speech P.

You're great.

There are MANY...Bishop Bubbleheads. I could delve and delve on this subject, but I will spare you.

Listening to the Lord, following the promtings of the spirit, is just as you need to do. I am glad you found your own way.

Good luck..to you.

9/30/2005 10:30:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...


You're going to have to elaborate on that comment. Explain it to me. Someone married someone he didn't know because the day was more important than the person? Did the bishop think the end of the world was coming?

And how did he find a stranger who was willing to marry him? They must have known each other a little, yes?

I am intrigued...please elaborate.

9/30/2005 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger Bryce said...

Hmm... my wife was discouraged by her bishop from going on a mission. She persisted in her desre, and eventually went, and that's where I met her. So I suppose that bishop knew something that wasn't evident at the time, namely, that my wife's dream man was waiting for her and she would have to delay going on a mission.

Or maybe not, and I'm just lucky.

9/30/2005 01:53:00 PM  
Blogger Goochie said...

Congrats Heather! I love working & being a Mom. Granted, it keeps me really busy, but I'd rather be busy.

10/03/2005 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous JKS said...

Well, there is no way to know exactly how things would have worked out had you followed your bishop's "counsel." Perhaps things would have still turned out well.
I'm happy for you that you found a job you may enjoy and will work with your schedule. Good luck!

10/04/2005 01:12:00 PM  
Anonymous ESO said...

Wiz (sorry I am so slow)--An acqaintance was at church with the man and the bishop called him in, then her in, then the both of them and told them they should get married immediatly (as in, that very day) or something bad would happen ("something" was never explained). Both of these people had faith that Bishop was truely inspired and I hope, for their sake, that it was true.

10/06/2005 03:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is just plain bizarre. These people were not previously dating at all???

10/06/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger dede said...


This is not completely off subject, but kind of. Add to the fact that you don't know me and this feels rather weird. But I am going to ask anyway.

My son (age 3 1/2) sees a speech pathologist 1x/week and has for the last 6 months. He is progressing, but slowly. She told me today that he is going to need years of therapy (fine, I already figured that), but she also thinks his tonsils might have something to do with his problem. They are huge, I will give her that.

So I immediately called my pediatrician who saw him and said that they are big, but it isn't something he has ever noticed before and therefore thinks this is new. He also says that there is no evidence of a link between enlarged tonsils/adenoids and speech delay unless hearing is altered (which it isn't in my son's case).

He did give me a referral to an ENT, and I think I will take him. I have also spent hours "googling" for info, but nothing concrete. So I am asking everyone I know for advice. And even though I don't know you (I do know and love your older sister if that means anything to you) I am asking for your professional advice, if you don't mind.


10/06/2005 07:28:00 PM  
Blogger janet said...

As another mom who chose to finish grad degrees and have children. I love the stimulation I get from working with people in the mission field and raising my 3 kids.

I like the part-time opportunities (worked full-time in the past until #3 came along). I try to respect the wishes of mothers who stay at home - but balance with my own needs. In my case, I help another LDS Mom by paying her for part-time care of my 2 school age children.

We respect scheduling issues to. Unfortunately in our ward, our SAHMs tend to think they can schedule/cancel activity days at a moment's notice, but for my sanity I like a little lead/planning time.

Keep up the good work! Try not to judge other LDS mom's for their decisions... guess it's between us and the Lord when accounting time comes around.


9/09/2006 11:48:00 AM  

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