Friday, August 7, 2015

On Your Knees

Wow, what a bizarre train of experiences this week.

Episode 1

Yesterday after a long discussion with my mother, she asked me to point out something we ought to do differently at church.  One simple idea I had was concerning the ordinance of the sacrament.  I believe it would be wise to follow the instructions in the scriptures, which indicate we are to kneel.

We spent the next several minutes with her objecting to kneeling, and saying she does not feel any closer to God when praying on her knees vs her backside.  She has bad knees, so I understand.  But I stressed the point that when we kneel, we are being subservient.  We are humbling ourselves.  I could not think of any human to which I had ever got down on my knees in front of.  It is an act of submission, and it is a big deal, especially for an ordinance we are to conduct routinely.

Episode 2

My oldest son was at Scout camp this past week.  He turned 12 in July, and has never been to a "12 year-old" scout activity, technically, although he's been pretty active with the younger scouts.  He showed up at camp on Monday with the rest of the ward boys, and they seemed to have a pretty good week.  Tonight the rest of our family showed up at camp for "Family Night" and observed a pretty cool Order of the Arrow ceremony, which is a group gathering for all the Scout troops at camp, and they offer awards for exemplary service, various badges, and congrats.  There is also a part at the end which is very ceremonial, and new scouts who are inducted into the "Order of the Arrow" are essentially called out from their packs to join this special group.

{I will admit the experience had me toggling between extremes of approval and disapproval.  I'll save it for later, after sitting on it awhile.}

The boys in each troop earned their given awards at this ceremony, and after an hour or so we were dismissed back to the individual troop camps, where more congrats and edifying of the boys was done.  Our troop didn't earn many awards at the ceremony, as most of our boys were very young, so the leaders wanted to boost their self esteem a bit, since other troops earned the bulk of the awards.

After roasting a s'more for myself and my kids, we started heading for home, which meant we got to walk through a very large, open field in the dark.  I turned on my flashlight on my cell phone, and as it lit the way, my young son noticed he looked like an alien in the shadow.  So he began dancing around like a little monster.  There were some boys walking on a pathway about 80 feet away or so, who noticed, and began laughing and commenting on him.  All fun, right?  They must not have realized we could hear them, because one of them dropped some seriously profane language, directed toward my son.  I called out and asked him to please watch his mouth.  I had 3 young kids listening, and scouts ought to be considerate, especially with language and courtesy.  Presuming this would be moderately well received, seeing that Scouting is big on honor and respect, I didn't expect to see my husband put our duffle bag down and start hustling towards the boys like he was going to bust some chops.  I told him twice to stop, and he did.  I didn't need to break up any fights.

"What did they say [that got you so upset]?" I asked him.

"That they're going to find that b**** and s**** her in the middle of the night."

Whaa---???  I then took his place and began running after the boys, who had begun hustling off a few moments before when they realized a big dude was after them.  I don't know what was going through my mind, except that I did not want to be an accuser, but someone had to call the behavior to someone's attention, and immediately.  When they realized my flashlight was after them, they began running back to their site, which was near our ward's.

Upon finding the boys, I found one who said the words and 2 who were alongside him.  One teen pretended to be the Scout leader, when I asked who the leader was.  I left him and asked around and eventually found the real leader, a tall, lean man with a white beard.  I told him what we had heard, and he was NOT pleased.  He found the boy with the foul mouth, and while turned away from me, received a confession that it was him with the language.  This is where the eye opening comes.  He insisted the boy apologize to me and my son (who he had been mocking), and he refused.  The leader apologize to me, saying he was "profoundly sorry" (and also likely embarrassed) for the boy's actions, and was just beyond disbelief.  He then turned to the boy, and commanded him to get on his knees and ask for forgiveness for his actions.  I do believe my mouth dropped a bit, when the teenager (probably 14) got on his knees, and said, "I am so, so sorry."  He looked like he was about to cry, kneeling in front of myself, my son, his leader, and his whole troop.

What happened next was not really worth repeating, beyond to say that my heart broke for this boy.  I assume there is no leadership at home.  I assume he is watching violent or explicit content videos, if not porn, where it is completely ok to say such things to women.  Perhaps he is being molested.  Perhaps he is involved with a gang.  Perhaps all these boys were.  I asked one of the boys which troop they were part of, and recalled that their troop had won zero special awards at the Order of the Arrow ceremony.  They were perhaps from an inner city church.  This isn't what we hear in the country.

It horrified me to have a young boy on his knees in front of me.  I expected nothing like that, and felt horrified on his behalf.  I did not want him humiliated, and it seemed unChristian to do so.  However I understand the need to teach him, especially as a scout, but more as a respectable human being, that it is never, EVER acceptable to tell a woman you're going to find her and rape or assault her.  NEVER.  EVER.

I begged him in the short time I was there to please don't ever speak to women like that.  To the random reader, I beg of you too to never speak to women like that, and teach your children to respect women, and men.  It horrifies me to think of any young man growing up in a home or even on the streets where such behavior is modeled.  And what's worse, is to consider that these were just words uttered to a stranger in the dark of night.  The truly horrific part is that there are grown men who treat women, or other men in this manner.  To speak the words is beyond vile.  I have never heard such things in my life.


Boys, please don't speak to women that way.  Men, please don't think you will have any standing whatsoever to ever treat a woman, much less any human, with that much disrespect.  God will forgive, and begs us to repent.  I was heartened by the seriousness with which the boy's leader handled the situation, as well as disheartened to wonder what this boy will go home to tomorrow, when this is all said and done.  I beg the God will protect and heal him and his heart.

After all that is going on with the Boy Scouts of America, and all the uncertainty I've had regarding Scouts for my children, I will say that more than ever, I am convinced that Scouting IS a good program, and while perhaps imperfect, for some kids, it is probably one of the few spaces out there which provides increased modeling of what it's like to be a man.  I am not convinced that the Church is the best outlet for implementing a Scouting program (I'll save that for another post, perhaps), however I feel content to say that I feel completely convinced after tonight that it would be better for us to lend the organization our prayers, rather than detract from it as I have in the past.  It is better to wrap an imperfect organization in our arms with love and prayer than to tear it down.  I will attempt to do more of that with both the Boy Scouts and the Church, however imperfect.

And to my mother.  I have no words to express how intensely I feel that seeing one on their knees in a position of begging does indeed demonstrate both humility, respect, and submission.  Absolutely humiliating, and rarely done to other humans.  I can understand why Nephi was so put off when his brothers got on their knees in front of him.  It is not comfortable to be in a receiving position of such attention, and I would submit that such things ought to be held in reservation for God alone.  Perhaps it is telling that men, when proposing to their future wife, will get down on one knee in an act of pleading.  There is more symbolism in the knees than we have any idea of.  


  1. I've thought about this and for me I think the biggest thing is to be able to take the sacrament as a father which presides over his family in their own home to worship the Father. Just like Lehi over his family.

  2. I've thought about this and for me I think the biggest thing is to be able to take the sacrament as a father which presides over his family in their own home to worship the Father. Just like Lehi over his family.


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