Friday, April 14, 2006

The Stake Patriarch Strikes Again

I'm not sure whether I should be LIVID or ashamed of myself.

This morning as we were walking to the Metro we see our favorite ( and I mean that in the most SARCASTIC way possible) Stake Patriarch running towards us. Sheldon assumed he was late for the Metro and that is why he was running. WRONG. He was running to catch up with us.

He says, " Are we still friends?" and DH said, "Sure, of course we are." So Stake Patriarch (SP) says, "Friends enough that I could ask you to help us out again?" and DH ( thinking the SP is joking) says, "sure, but it depends on our schedules." SP says, " What? You would put your schedules more important than helping us?" And DH, starting to catch on says, " Well, yes." SP says, "We're going out town again and could sure use your help. We'll be gone about 11 days." DH says, "Well I guess it depends on when it is." SP says, " We have the plane tickets I'm not sure of the exact dates, but sometime during the 4th of July." Which, ironically is when I have been telling DH that we should go to Philadelphia for the 300th B-day of Ben Franklin.... So I mentioned that and SP made some silly remark which I didn't hear... actually I didn't hear much of the rest of the conversation because I was trying so hard to not start crying.....

I DON"T UNDERSTAND THIS MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The ONLY time he ever talks to us is when he wants us to do something for him. This is the THIRD time he has asked us to do his paper route. 4 days nearly sent me to the hospital for back pain. 11 days just might very well KILL me.

As LDS do we draw a line? What is the difference between serving with all your heart as the Savior did and then just plain getting used? Is there such a thing?

Recently a sister in our ward called me and asked me to help her come prepare for a 1 day trip. She has a 2 year old son. Her husband was working in the yard. But she called me and asked me to help her, "clean the house, make the child's food, pack, etc...." At first I could not believe that this woman would call me and ask me to do this. I went and helped her for an hour, and it really wasn't that bad. I ended up only cooking food and watching the 2 year old. But I have to admit I was a little ashamed at being so hesitant to serve. I read a book by some LDS author entitled "Love is a VERB" and the book talks about service and how we show love through our works. The author said, "Service is never at a convenient time for us, otherwise, would it really be service?" And I understand her point. But where do we draw the line? Or do we? Would Christ have drawn a line? I don't know.

But for now, I am researching Philadelphia. If anyone wants to come, you are more than welcome.


At 4/14/2006 11:53:00 AM,

Oh, my goodness! It was funny the first time, sad the second, and INFURIATING the third. At least to me, and I just read your blog. What is up with the "your schedule's more important than helping us?" Um, YES. You aren't dying, you aren't poor, you aren't in dire need--YOU ARE GOING ON VACATION. Sorry, but that just doesn't register on my "service scale".

Seriously, what would Jesus do? I'm not sure He would have plowed a farmer's field while the farmer sat in his house with his feet up. And that's kind of the type of thing this SP is doing.

I'm not sure why this is ticking me off so badly this morning...but I really don't think you should be his unpaid servants anymore. Er, I mean I don't think you should help him anymore. And let him know (nicely) why you won't. 

Posted by Keryn

At 4/14/2006 11:59:00 AM,

Exercise your right to say no. 

Posted by danithew

At 4/14/2006 02:13:00 PM,

Have you clearly communicated your desire not to do the paper route with your husband? It sounds like he was doing the accepting and you were doing the serving.

An appropriate answer to the SP's question of "are we still friends" might have been, "If your definition doesn't include needing something from me and only asking me that question when you do" 

Posted by Craig S

At 4/14/2006 03:21:00 PM,


Last time the stake patriarch asked me to "help" him, he called and asked if I could help him ordain his grandson to the office of deacon. I was surprised by the invitation, but said yes. He thanked me, and then it got strange.

Then he said, "okay, well, it should probably only be Saturday and Sunday. I already have the plane tickets, so this is great".

And then I was confused... until he explained that when I committed to helping him ordain his grandson, what he meant was that I would deliver his newspapers while he left the state.

He later admitted to using subterfuge and asked if I had any other "gullible friends" who he could talk with.

At 4/14/2006 09:50:00 PM,

My wife and I are experiencing similar problems in our life, though on a somewhat smaller and different scale. The underlying question, however, is the same: Where do you draw the line between service and getting taken advantage of?

My wife pointed out some interesting examples from Jesus’ life that I wanted to share:

When Jesus fed the thousands, his apostles told him not to, but he still performed the service. He recognized that the people had a real need, they didn't have time to get food and get back. He fed them. However, he didn't feel the need to continue feeding them for the rest of his life; they were to be self sufficient. Even as they clamored after him, on two different occasions, he left them to be alone. Once traveling into the mountains and once onto the seas.

Could he have stayed and served them and healed them and fed them? Yes. Instead he drew the line, cut them off, and let them take care of themselves.

There is a huge difference between someone being in need of help because of an emergency, and someone being in need of help because of conscious choices they have made.

I think that the situations in which we are required to render service, are those in which there has been no premeditation on the part of the person seeking help. Events resulting from acts of God, or situations arising when good plans go awry.

You choose to leave town for 11 days for recreation? You may lose your job. Those are the breaks. Either way, you are the one that has to deal with the problem. You can't pawn it off on someone else under the guise of "service".

Furthermore, its time to bring the bishop or stake president in on this one.

The SP isn't asking a non-member friend to cover for him - no one else in the world would see that as service, it's just doing his work. He's targeting members for a reason.

At 4/15/2006 02:05:00 AM,

I most definately agree that you should exercise your right to say no. Service is great until it becomes slavery. Ths guy (patriarch or not) is clearly a leech.

Like the old proverb says, "You can give a man a fish and he can eat for a day, or you can teach a man to fish and he can eat for a lifetime." Clearly this guy never learned how to fish.


Posted by Ian Cook

At 4/15/2006 11:42:00 AM,


Maybe he did learn how to fish, and that's why he needs the break from the early morning paper route... to do some early morning fishing...

At 4/17/2006 10:36:00 AM,

I'm so glad that I have some back up in this. The more I think about it, the more I think that all of your comments are right on. It is ridiculous and I am not going to take it anymore!

Thanks for your comments!! They are truly appreciated.

At 4/19/2006 06:33:00 AM,

Bless your heart. Tell him no, you can't do it, and doesn't he have more important things to do, such as helping you? One reason patriarchs don't have other callings is so that they don't offend anyone.


Posted by Stephen M (Ethesis)

At 4/22/2006 09:11:00 PM,

If the SP had been doing it as a volunteer service, I could understand asking someone to help out during a vacation. But asking you to do something for which he is *getting paid* and not sharing the profits with you is *theft* in my book. Even without the the despicable dishonesty before with the ordination 'help' or his 'boys' the first time, this really blows my mind. (that he would acknowledge that subterfuge and ask for your recommendation for others to dupe is galling)

Before he even gets to the asking next time, I hope No! gets interjected in the conversation quickly.

There is no shame in avoiding being taken advantage of =)


Posted by Téa

At 5/07/2006 11:55:00 AM,

How can I get in touch with this man to direct him to this blog? Then he'll know how you feel and won't bother you. Win/win!




<< Home