We had what seemed an uneventful Lesson 3 with the young missionary, and a much older member of the church. Who is this, and where is the other young missionary? As was explained, it was a missionary split, meaning one young Elder (how about that for twisted terminology) was in the field in our area and the other young Elder was in the field in another region. As I already learned the established practice requires not one by two to teach the lessons. So we met another (male) member of the church to assist the young missionary with the lesson for that evening.
As the lesson was finishing up, the other young missionary and another older (male) member of the church entered the room. They took seats behind us. I didn't think much of it until as the lesson finished up, the talk was then directed at Arthur that he was to have an interview with the Bishop. Or maybe it was we were to have an interview with the Bishop. I heard body language more than I heard words from the men in the room, (by this time I'm in a room with 5 other men), seemed to me to be uncomfortable in the message they were delivering to Arthur. I turned to them (why are they sitting behind us and talking to us from behind, it is not a comfortable setting for me), and stated that this was beginning to have a punitive tone to it, is this intended to be a punitive action. They quickly reassured me it was not, nothing like that, and the church was eager to have us as members.
Arthur went silent for a moment or two, and I was trying to ascertain where this turn in events was headed, when the young missionary giving the lesson mentioned the word excommunicate. Now I really was puzzled, and annoyed. Explaining that Arthur was not excommunicated, but had gone through the process to request his name be removed from the records, I could feel the male energy surrounding me as one of growing discomfort. Mine, Arthur's, theirs. Arthur, coming out of his initial reaction, could see where I was going with my questions, could hear the men all trying to respond in reassuring us that they did not know the nature of why we were being asked to interview with the Bishop, but that it was standard operating procedure in this kind of situation (name removal) which really amounted more to talking over each other and was not at all reassuring. Arthur advised them that this was doing little good at the moment, and that we needed time to be with it, which at least ended the not so reassuring reassurances. Arthur then advised them and me that he was recalling something about the process that he had forgotten to remember and to go ahead and set up the meeting with the Bishop, but that for this evening, we were concluded with our time there.
We all left, and when we were in our car and driving home, Arthur explained to me his experience of instances where an interview with the Bishop was called for and that he was comfortable, okay with it. I was still puzzled about the interchange of the two actions, requesting name removal and ex-communication as not being the same thing at all. He continued to try to put me at ease (I suspect putting himself at ease as well).
He said we would simply meet with the Bishop tomorrow (Sunday) after the church meetings and he was confident/comfortable it would go well, and that it was more a matter of procedure than a problem.
I did gather my composure, put my rising anger to rest, and decided to leave it in Arthur's and the Sacred Spirit's hands. Arthur being the one experienced with these matters of church protocols. I have been a member of other churches, most recently we are confirmed in Episcopal church, and I can't imagine a scenario where there would be a halt to the proceedings while we had a formal interview with the Priest. But then, I already know the LDS church does things differently and they do have this male priesthood thing going on. I'm actually rather struck in somewhat of amusement that I was in a room with 4 men who seemed to be code talking to Arthur while trying to reassure me, the newcomer woman.
Where are the women, I keep asking, because for the most part I find myself trying to converse with males who seem more intent with quieting me than hearing what I have to say. Tomorrow then, we'll learn more.