A Broken Man

When I was about 12 years old, my mother arranged for my sister and I to play our violins in sacrament meeting at church. We got to sit up on the stage where everyone could see us because we were part of the program – I thought it was very exciting. Our violin teacher, a funny old man with a hairpiece played with us. He was a beautiful violinist. He was also not a member of the church. Everything went well until the Sacrament Hymn. I don’t remember what hymn we were singing, but it was a common song, and one that my teacher was familiar with, even though he was not a member of the LDS church. He stood up and began playing his violin along with the hymn – It was beautiful. After about 10 seconds, the bishop stood up and asked my teacher to stop playing. You could see the old man’s heart break. He lived for the violin and on his first visit to an LDS church, he was made to feel that his violin playing wasn’t good enough.

This is my earliest memory of opposing actions taken by the church. I couldn’t believe they asked him to stop playing. I don’t know why they asked him to stop…. tradition? policy? personal preference of my then-current bishop? I don’t know. But beginning that day, I realized that the church would make decisions, policies, declarations, or take actions that I would disagree with.

Although it seems like such a small incident, it had a large impact on my life. I was always taught to support the church leadership no matter what decisions they made. How do you reconcile, especially at the age of 12, when an individual you’ve been taught is a representative of God makes a statement or takes an action that you disagree with on a fundamental level? No part of my soul could believe that God objected to an old man playing a violin along with a hymn. How could I support a local church leader that did? small potatoes, perhaps… but what about the next time it happens?

1 comment to A Broken Man

  • I think this is a beautiful story.
    It breaks my heart.

    I believe the LDS Church to be true. But I too sometimes disagree with certain choices made…and at those times feel the disconnect inside.

    Truly it's amazing that God will allow us to see such misrepresentation (of Him) for what it is…and learn from it…and ultimately be benefited by both the good and the bad that we see.