In general, I like to think of myself as a positive person. I am all about “Count Your Many Blessings” (Although I do insist that be done in your own head. Nothing is more annoying that someone actually listing out loud all the ways their life rocks while mine is slowly sucking wind. Keep your joy-joy to yourselves, folks.)

This morning I thought of a new reason why I am glad to be a Mormon. (As a side note, have you read “Why I Stay”, a book of essay’s about interesting, smart Mormons and their reasons for staying in this sometimes crazy-making church? Annegb recommended it here awhile back and I am very glad I got. It is a gem of a read. Two thumbs up.)

My ‘count my many blessings’ good thought on this Sabbath morning is, “As a Mormon, I don’t have to move to get away from my bishop.” Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I have moved a lot during our 26 years of marriage and there have been a few times where we openly acknowledged that getting away from a dysfunctional ward leadership was a perk of packing up. But we haven’t ever moved solely to dump a church bishop who was making our lives hell. No matter how pompous, annoying, or whatever, I have always been able to comfort myself that bishops come and ago and occasionally I might have mentally done the math to count down to the 5 year average that most Mormon bishops serve.

Thank goodness we aren’t Amish. They have it tough. My Old Order Amish friends (meaning no electricity, no indoor toilets, no central air or heat, no cars, phones or computers) tell me that in their church, when a congregation needs a new bishop, the menfolk nominate a handful of men and vote from that list for their new bishop. The bishop serves FOR LIFE. As in, until he leaves this earth. That is a long, long time to be in charge of judging and guiding the lives of an average 100 people. Usually it is fine, the Amish are an amazing people who know their religious rules and accept them. Usually.

I know one Amish family that has recently sold the farm they have lived at for over 35 years and left the community they both grew up in rather than accept the rules imposed by their bishop. Apparently their bishop over the years had become so strict and unyielding that it was worth it to leave their extended family, their grown children, grandchildren and the only town they knew, They moved to another state and started over in different Amish community. It was a shock to their congregation and town. Amish don’t make such a public display of disapproval. It just doesn’t happen.

For all my mini-footing stomping about this and that, at least I don’t have to move to get away from my bishop. That is something to be grateful for.

PS. Our current bishop is a great guy and I haven’t even once done the math on his length of service. I’m fine if he stayed our bishop for a good, long time. Really. He’s fabulous.