Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Who I Want to Be Like, Part 1...
I'm not going to use his real name, even though most of you who read this blog won't know who he is. It's not a guessing game or anything, and where he did nothing wrong he'd probably be ok with me using his name, but I want to be careful, just in case.
I met this man while on my mission. I served in his ward twice. It was my first area, thought I didn't really get to know him until I returned a year later. Let's call him Eduardo.
When I returned his wife had started cooking meals for my companion and I and another set of Elders. When I walked in my first day back she said hello, then, "We had another Elder Crosby here about a year ago. Was he your cousin?" I said that that was me. She responded, "No, you can't be, he was nice and fat." It took a while to convince her that I was the same guy. When Eduardo came in he said hello and gave me a big hug. He recognized me right away.
It didn't take long for me to notice that while Eduardo was a returned missionary, he didn't participate at church. He never gave talks, never gave the prayer, nothing. I found out that he had been excommunicated. I didn't ask what had happened because, well, excommunication is a private matter. Later on I found out the story.
Eduardo had been a member of the Stake High Council. One night he caught the Stake President stealing tithing money. Eduardo called the president on it, so the president excommunicated Eduardo. Obviously this was an abuse of power, but when someone came to Eduardo's defense, that person was also excommunicated. I don't know how many years this lasted. I would assume more than five, because Stake Presidents typically serve about five years, and I think Eduardo was waiting it out.
Even though his excommunication was completely unjust, Eduardo followed the rules. He didn't participate in church, didn't take the sacrament, didn't wear his garments. What he did do was go to church every Sunday. He paid his tithing, albeit through his wife. He didn't complain or speak ill of the Stake President.
He would often get asked to pray, or explain the meaning of a passage of scripture. He would simply decline and say he couldn't.
His oldest daughter turned eight between the times I was there first and the second time. She wanted to wait until her dad could baptize her. I think she was almost nine before her parents convinced her to be baptized, that it was going to be a long time before her father could perform that ordinance.
I cannot imagine the pain Eduardo experienced on a daily basis. He was always cheerful, never bitter. In his situation it would have been so easy to get angry at the Church, to decide that he just didn't want to be a part of it anymore.
I cannot fully express my admiration for Eduardo's Faith and Humility. He is the personification of long-suffering. He loved having the missionaries in his house on a regular basis. He took the time to help my companion and I when we were having troubles. He waited patiently for the time to come when the records were corrected. Those records have long since been corrected. He is even more happy and prosperous than ever before. He hasn't let his ordeal change him. He never let his faith waiver. He knew that everything would be made right. And it has.
I want to be like him.