One of my major concerns with the Mormon church is the use of a lay clergy. These are non paid local members that are "called of God" by the higher ups in the organization. This creates some interesting dynamics in locals congregations. I must be honest, I think most local leaders, such as bishops and stake presidents, are really good people doing their best. They are dedicated and will sacrifice anything for God. Now I must be clear, in the Mormon church, God=church. One cannot have a relationship with God without a relationship with the church and it's leaders. So when a bishop is spending up to 20 hours a week doing church duties away from his family, occupation, hobbies, etc.., he really believes he is directly serving God. This is done at the expense of family members and personal interests. I remember David McKay's quote about, "No other success can compensate for failure in the home". I wonder if he was including the Mormon church in that thought? I personally know men who have served as bishop for 5 years, then got called into a stake presidency for 10 years followed by a calling of stake president for another 10. That is 25 years of service for the Mormon church.
Let's do the math. Now to be fair, I will lean more to the conservative side of 10 hours/week for church callings. 25 years =1304 weeks. 1304 weeks at 10 hours a week =13,044 hours. 13,044 hours/24 =543 days. 543days/365=1.49 years of that mans life is spent building a business. This business is a corporation, The Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is slave labor for the company. The church not only expects this, but makes a member feel guilty when they don't "tow the line". I thought it was a volunteer organization?
In this example of my friend, I'm not including any personal study time, family home evenings, family scripture study, ward social functions, driving time, home teaching etc...Almost 1.5 years away from a family. Not to mention, that same leader wouldn't be attending church services with his family, so his wife would be a single parent getting their children ready for church.
The only return this individual may get is the respect and adoration he receives from local members and family. We have all been in awe of our stake president or bishop. They are the best and most worthy, we are told. They have proven themselves and God personally has chosen them to serve Him, in that capacity. These "humble" men have direct communication with God, we are taught. Sadly, some wives feel their self worth is tied to their husband's callings in the church. So if their husband never gets the nod, they wonder what is wrong with them.
For certain burdens or sins we must go through their authority to receive forgiveness from God. These are men who may be a plumber, a financial planner, a dentist, etc. They have no clinical counseling training, yet they are giving out advice and counsel to members, major life altering decisions. Let's be honest, probably the two major concerns members deal with are sexual and financial issues, and these leaders are giving this advice to adults down to children. In what universe is it okay for a stranger (with no formal training) to sit in a closed door room and ask very personal and invasive questions to a teenager, child or even adult? Am I the only one who sees a problem with this scenario? And all this at the expense of their personal development and relationships.
"Family isn't it about time..."