What I find sad & funny at the same time is having people say to me, “I know, that you know the Church is true!”
The immediate reaction of my ward members was to believe & spread the message around ward that I had had a nervous breakdown! I don’t know how or who started it, but the Stake President came down to the ward a couple of weeks after I resigned and berated the ward members for not sustaining me! I was told he blamed the members for allowing me to become over-worked and stressed & they were to blame for me reacting like I did!
Now let me categorically state that though I was stressed it was only through the emotional trauma of discovering I had been deceived for 46 years of my life!
I did not have a nervous breakdown, & it wasn’t caused by the members not sustaining me!
What’s funny is that the rumour of my nervous breakdown started within the same day that my letter to the members about my resignation as bishop arrived on their doorsteps.
I attended Church the very next day to grieve with the members of my ward & to express my love & appreciation to them in person.
But the Area Presidency had decreed I should not be allowed into the chapel if I tried to attend!
But there I was! In the flesh, with … no hint of a nervous breakdown!
They had, apparently, been told to use their discretion about letting me in. So I was allowed in after having a very stern warning in my old bishops office by the ex-Stake President who had been assigned in place of the current Stake President, who was on work business elsewhere.
The ex-Stake President warned me not to talk to anyone & to leave before the end of the Sacrament meeting. I was also to be chaperoned by my 1st counsellor
Their plan failed when, as I was walking out of the Chapel, my 13 year old daughter, who had attended with me, told me that whilst I was being distracted in the bishops office the 1st counsellor on the Stake Presidency had announced to the ward my suspension as bishop without having told me it was going to happen!
I was LIVID!
So I went back into the chapel to be met by the ward members as they left the meeting!
I was able to fulfil my plan of expressing my love & appreciation to them.
Then one member actually slapped me in the face, twice! Saying, “You silly, silly boy! You know it’s true!” Then shook me, as if to say, “Pull yourself together!”
I questioned the statement made by the ex-Stake President about not letting me enter the chapel by saying, “I have every right as a member of the public to enter a building for public worship.” The ex-Stake President (with no priesthood authority over me, he was then serving as Stake YSA couple, with his wife) replied aggressively that they had every right to ban anyone they liked from their buildings and how dare I question their authority to do so!
At this point in my ‘apostacy’ I had no respect for their, or his, authority whatsoever, so he no longer frightened me like he used to!
I said I had every right to meet my friends, my brothers & sisters, people I had known my whole life, to express my love & appreciation to them for the years of service together!
He got on his high horse, & whilst gesturing with his hands in an angry way by banging them together, he said, “This is not the time & place for you to do this, you WILL NOT use the Church as a platform for your own agenda!” He repeated himself twice, to add to the effect! 😉
“Now that you’ve left the Church you have no rights!” he said.
I said, “I’ve not left the Church I’ve just resigned as Bishop!”
He replied, “It amounts to the same thing, if you resign as bishop you cannot remain a member of the Church! You should know that Steve!”
Well, I suppose the Church could interpret my show of love & appreciation as threatening!
99% of the members wanted to express their appreciation & love for their bishop at this time of grief.
We were able to hug & console one another, which totally embarrassed the Stake Leadership at the time, but it was just a normal, human show of emotions.
But unfortunately normal human emotions were seen as threatening by the leadership at the time. Their reaction was fear!