Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Thoughts - Family, Mormonism and Bishop Dave Kelly

January 1,

I am now 33 years old. I have been married to my love for a decade. I have 3 beautiful children with #4 on the way. I am happier than I have ever been but can see room for improvement. That being said, I think some changes will be required.

Regarding this blog, I think it has run its course. Initially it started out as a fun way to share funny YouTube clips, music and family updates. Well, I can post YouTube clips on Facebook (which I am also bored with). Very few share my tastes in music so why bother with that. And you can find family updates at my wife's blog site.

Then my blog morphed into a sort of online diary that was open to public eyes. I went through a sort of crisis of faith and turned to my blog as a way to find others in the blogosphere who were hopefully experiencing what I was going through or to find support from those who had already passed through and remained faithful church members. I also used it as a way to explain my dilemma to those who thought I was inventing issues to justify my desires to sin.

(My friend, The Faithful Dissident, posted something awhile back that I had been compiling but upon seeing her post decided that I couldn't improve upon it and deleted my drafts. It shares many (not all) of my concerns with Mormonism.)

Alas, neither goal was really actualized. I found that most who communicated with me were on either side of the extreme. I found family and friends who refuse to deal with "deep doctrine," church history or inconsistencies in doctrine and, hence, couldn't realize why I was perplexed since there is not one iota of doubt that could possibly be found in Mormonism if I would just read scriptures, pray and get in line.

On the flip side, I mostly found those who had walked my path and, ultimately, decided Mormonism was ridiculous and typically were bitter and resentful towards the Church. They saw conspiracy in every Church movement and ascribed evil and/or malicious intentions to Church leaders.

I don't really fit into either category. Either way, the blog hasn't helped. I'm preaching to the choir on one side and alienating family and friends on the other. It was not my intention but I have a fiery personality and regularly call a spade a spade. I think debate brings healthy dialogue and progress but I realize not everyone wants further knowledge and understanding or progress. Some people are content with tradition and status quo.

As a friend or family member, I will respect that...on an individual case basis.
As a father, citizen and human being, I will always stand up for principle and integrity.

So, speaking of principle and integrity, I have an amend to make.

It's been roughly six months since I took Bishop Kelly's public remarks to me and posted my response to him as a blog entry. While it didn't generate much public commentary, my email inbox was aflame. The very next day, I had some regret and felt like maybe it wasn't the right thing to do. I reread my original post, his comments, and my subsequent reply. It all seemed to fairly accurately portray my emotions and opinions.

As I've had a couple of months to reflect, I see now that my emotions may have gotten the better of me. Not that I disagree with anything I said, just the approach. I portrayed Dave Kelly as an uncaring ego maniac, drunk with the presumptive power of his local authority.

I'm sorry Dave that it's taken me six months to see that. Dave Kelly is a great man. As I reflected on what I knew about Dave, a story of true Christian service came to mind.

Years back, there was a widow in our church ward who had a very old kitchen floor that desperately needed to be replaced. She bought the floor boards and Dave organized the extration and installation effort. Unfortunately, if memory serves right, not too many people showed up on the morning of the task.

By the time I got there he already had a game plan and though we ran into a few difficulties, he was cheerful and joking throughout the entire day (as he frequently is). And this was by no means a rush job, he was a perfectionist and wanted it done right or not at all. This much I do know, he was the first one there and the last one to leave.

I always admired him for silently practicing the gospel instead of being one who simply gave lip service.

I don't suppose his criticism was any different than anyone else in my life at the time. I'd already heard it from many sources that I was obviously a sinner who just needed to repent to gain the clarity I desired. He just caught me at the tail end when I'd reached my breaking point.

While we will continue to stand apart on doctrinal issues, it was wrong of me to question his intentions. Here is a man who spends 40+ hours a week voluntarily serving the people of his congregation. The Dave Kelly I knew would do so with the purest of intentions. They are lucky to have him serving as their shepherd.

My best wishes that all will have a successful and happy 2010!

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. ~Dr. Seuss


Scott said...

Am I incorrect in inferring that you will no longer be blogging? I hope not, I have really enjoyed your spin on things, and the healthy debate it often inspires.

Whether it be political or spiritual it has been fun, and while most of my posts take issue with some of your assertions, I actually agree with much of what you say.

So if this is the end, thanx it's been a fun ride, if not, bring it on!

T.J. Shelby said...

Scott, I really haven't decided what place, if any, blogging will have for me in 2010. The "spin" and healthy debate can always continue via email or facebook walls (I think that I will continue my sharing of videos of shame starring Glenn Beck).

I've always appreciated our friendship and ability to have those debates...of course, I never attacked the sacred cow that would end our relationship: the Lego obsession. Ha ha ha ha.

I just can't keep doing the same thing (blogging about my doubts and disagreements) and expect different results that what I've been getting. I'm no closer to reaching a decision than I was when I started.

Jrodius said...


I'm sure it goes without saying that I have always enjoyed reading your site. Whatever the topic.

I'd love to continue to read your site, but I totally understand your position of feeling like your are spinning really quickly but not really going anywhere.

If you do decide to stop writing here, my offer from a year ago, when we were both starting out sites, still stands. You are always welcome to write at my site as little or as much as you like and even anonymously if you wish. Hopefully it doesn't come to that.

T.J. Shelby said...

Thanks Jared, I may take you up on that.