Do you know what last Sunday was? It was three months since May 30th.
May 30th is very significant to me. Sunday, May 30th, 2010, I skipped sacrament meeting as usual and then went to Church and taught my Sunday School class of 12 and 13 year olds.
The lesson went well.
I ended it by giving each of them a full size candy bar.
The I skipped priesthood, which I've been doing for almost 2 years now, and went home.
At noon I returned to the Church.
I waited outside the Bishop's Office for almost 40 minutes.
Finally he had an opening and invited me in.
He chatted a little about my training and such - fluff really.
And then he asked if I had made a decision about baptizing my daughter.
I've shared this before, but the deal was this... I haven't had a temple recommend in over 2 years. It wasn't a problem when I baptized my son. Beginning in 2009, I exercised my right, not to hand over 10% of my income to a corrupt organization.
Not paying into the coffers seems to be the big problem, although he hid it behind, my not having a recommend.
He wanted me to pay tithing in order to be allowed to baptize my daughter.
It's eerily similar to this and I think borders on extortion as well.
I told him that if I paid, I would compromise my integrity and would thus make myself unworthy to have a recommend anyway. I don't think he got that, because he brought the discussion back to tithing.
I didn't give him anything to work with, even though he tried to dig as much as he could to determine my real concerns.
Finally he asked if he could do anything for me.
I told him that I felt it best that I take a break from the Church for a while.
He gave me a long speech about coming to sacrament to resolve my concerns, and then said that as a favor to me, when the ward talked about me behind my back, he would tell them that he was working with me on my problems. He also said they would only do this because they loved me. I think it was a veiled threat, appealing to a desire to conform which I lost a while ago.
I handed over my manual, told him that my teaching partner was covering the next week, and after shaking his hand, I walked out of the building.
I had to go back in to watch my daughter getting baptized by someone else a few weeks later. It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. But aside from that, and a couple of cub scout things, I haven't set foot in the building again.
So it's been 3 months of freedom from Sunday services.
Maybe I'll wait until a full year passes before I throw the party though!