Names and identities have been invented and caricatured as necessary.
Miller is a member of the church. He magnifies all of his callings, does all of the so-called “standard primary answers” (reads the scriptures, prays, attends his meetings, fasts, etc.,) He is seen around his ward as a beacon for what youth should be doing. Sure, he might have a few rough edges; no one’s perfect and certainly not Miller. But it might seem, to the unseeing eye, that Miller is generally on the “right track.”
Miller has a problem, though. He’s utterly miserable. Throughout all of his searching and reading and fasting and praying, he’s learned the scriptures up and down and can preach them to anyone, but they haven’t pierced — for whatever reason — to one person that also matters: himself. He is perpetually unhappy, but he endures to the end. He has faith that one day, even if it’s the day of a death that he has driven himself to, his desire to believe and his endurance will be well recognized. The emptiness and darkness in his life that he has manually filled at the pain of his being with righteousness and the tiny bit of faith he can muster…he hopes that that emptiness will be permanently filled.
The members of his ward who know his struggle, people like his Bishop and his Stake President, commend him for his tremendous struggle, but also commend him for his impressive resolve and obedience — which selflessly ignores all the cries within to give up to do what he can intellectually assent is correct. In truth, they are somewhat baffled that someone who has had such experiences can at the same time be so spiritually unfulfilled.
Del Kante is also a member of the church. Del Kante is a strong believer; his life has been touched through many spiritual experiences; he can say he knows the church is true, that Jesus is the Christ, that the Prophet speaks to God and that the revelations he receives are genuine. Unofficially, he is inspirational at preaching the gospel, because he can speak from the heart. Those who hear his words can feel some of the spirit too.
Del Kante has a problem, though.
While he does speak to others about the glories of God and the good that the church has done for him and shares the gospel with others, he does so in an unofficial capacity because he has severe worthiness issues that prevent him from meeting the standards for missionwork. Beyond severe sexual indiscretions, which are enough on their own, he is furthermore unrepentant. He’s enjoying his life way too much, Lord and all, to come to repentance. He has been disciplined several times and perhaps might come the big one.
Those in his ward who know his struggle, people like his Bishop and his Stake President, have called him to repent of his tremendous struggles, to commend him for his experiences of Christ and the Gospel but to call on him to act upon what should be a true conversion — to reconcile his spiritual experiences with actual changes in his lifestyle to magnify and uplift those spiritual experiences. In truth, they are someone baffled that someone who has had such experiences can at the same time not be humbled to repent.
OK, so here’s the fun part. I guess you don’t have to call it “judging” if you don’t want to think of it like that, but…
- What should Miller and Del Kante do? What might you suggest?
- How should each go about doing what need be done?
- Can you think of anyone like these individuals (obviously, these are caricatures, so de-exaggerate as necessary)?
- What do you find most tragic about Miller’s case and Del Kante’s case?