[Ed. note: mmiles continues to grace us with her guest presence]
A few months ago my friend called. Over the phone she said her husband had gone to the bishop to ask if he was still worthy, ready to surrender his temple recommend. The sole reason for his query? They were filing for bankruptcy.
“Are your parents here?”
“Well, don’t take these papers down.” And with two pounds of the staple gun, he was gone.
NOTICE OF FORECLOSURE
The papers glared at me as I moved closer to read the small print, documents in a bundle my sixteen-year-old education couldn’t understand. A few hours later my mother’s cheeks were wet as she removed them. Breaking this law seemed small compared to the moral failing of filing for bankruptcy.
My father watched as the Elders Quorum President drove round the corner. He waved,” my father hollered hopefully into the house, “maybe someone would come now. Did they forget?” It would take the whole day to move his wife and twelve children from Bountiful, the land of plenty, to West Jordan, Utah.
The silver and red U-Haul backed up across the spring lawn to the front door could not be missed. Hours went by. No one. Brother Hansen from across the street stopped by and helped for an hour and 1/2 as my father loaded (with the help of a few of us capable teen daughters) the massive truck. His eyes grew bluer and clearer as they filled with tears. My mother sobbed as she did the final cleaning amidst caring for her 3-month-old-infant. There came no Relief that day.
“Why was it any of their business?” my mother had lamented in the evenings leading to this day as we hurriedly prepared to move into a house my grandparents had purchased and put into a trust for our large family. There were rumors, rumors that had gotten back to us. Good members of the church didn’t want to assist us in doing the irresponsible, in filing for bankruptcy, in denying the basic tenets of gospel principle. They didn’t want to enable us in our lack of self-sufficiency. They, of course as they do in Davis County, were doing God’s will.
I don’t blame them. I grew up surrounded by a loving and generous ward, but cultural mores sometimes became a stumbling block, preventing good people from realizing larger and greater capacities to care. Sometimes wedding receptions went unattended, and baby showers were left bereft of well-wishers, when an unholy bride became pregnant before the wedding bed.
The shame of home foreclosure is fading now. The angst my friend experienced over his own worthiness was assuaged by a good bishop. Still sometimes I hear members a little less kind. Sometimes I see people I judge to be less than ethical in this housing mess. Amidst the multitude of moral dilemmas of a fallen housing market, I’m not sure what is right in each situation. I’m only certain that it’s critical that we act compassionately, strengthening feeble knees, and lifting up the hands that hang low.