1412-1413: When A Mormon Bishop Falls In Love with a Single Mother – Matthew & Elizabeth Shakespear
March 29, 2021
Part 1: What Happens When a Mormon Bishop Loses His Faith – Matthew & Elizabeth Shakespear Pt. 1
Part 2: What Happens When a Mormon Bishop & Single Mom Fall in Love? – Matthew & Elizabeth Shakespear Pt. 2
What happens when a Mormon bishop falls in love with a member of his congregation? How could this happen?
What situation would make a divorced single mother returning to Mormon church activity fall in love with her married bishop?
In what ways does the calling of Mormon bishop, including both excessive time demands on the Bishop and the practice of one-on-one “worthiness” interviews with single women, put excessive strain on bishops, their marriages, and their families – making infidelity more likely?
Should divorced single women (or anyone for that matter) seek life counseling from a Mormon bishop? Are bishops trained and qualified to do life counseling?
How could a bishop and a divorced single mother come to believe that they were both engaged in a God-approved polygamous relationship? Does a story like this help us better understand the Chad Daybell / Lori Vallow story, or the Joseph Smith story?
What happens when a Mormon bishop loses his faith, while he is serving as bishop? What type of pressure does that put on the bishop, his wife, and their family?
What is it like to be viewed as “the mistress” in a public relationship that is viewed as scandalous (i.e., a Mormon bishops falls in love with a ward member, loses his faith, asks to be released, and the entire ward/stake knows)?
What happens when a Mormon stake president is forced to release a Mormon bishop early? What types of pressure does this situation put on the stake president, the ward, the bishop, and the bishop’s family? How does the Mormon church handle such situations?
If you happen to fall in love with someone who isn’t your spouse mid-life, how do you decide whether to stay in the struggling or failed marriage to improve it vs. leave the marriage to seek greater joy/fulfillment? Is there ever a time to “cut your losses” in a marriage and move on, or should most/all marriages be preserved at virtually all cost?
Can 2nd marriages work, with all the complexities of divorce, ex-spouses, step-children, etc.? Or are they generally doomed to fail?
How in the world do you ever heal from a lifetime of trauma as a Mormon? Is healing and growth possible? If so, what are some resources that can be helpful?
Today’s epic two-part Mormon stories interview with Matthew and Elizabeth explores all of these questions, and much, much more. Buckle in for a 7+ hour in-depth interview.
I promise you that you will not be disappointed with these two strong, vulnerable, inspiring humans.
Part 1 Timecodes:
00:07:48 – Matthew’s Mormon story begins
00:16:47 – Orthodox Mormon family & upbringing
00:19:11 – Mormon Priesthood Legacy
00:20:52 – Teenage exploration into sexuality
00:32:01 – “Journey to have a testimony”
00:37:39 – Studying Evolution in College 00:42:27 – Matthew’s Mission
01:05:19 – Marriage & children
01:23:52 – Preaching against masturbation
01:34:41 – “Mormon Bishop Roulette”
01:44:58 – Being over-worked as a Bishop with a full-time job, wife and 6 children
Part 2 Timecodes:
00:02:28 – Elizabeth’s Mormon Story Begins
00:10:03 – Parents divorce & her unique exposure to Mormonism
00:12:24 – Experiences with pre-marital sex
00:14:49 – Married & divorced at a very young age
00:16:36 – Pursued Buddhism & other passions, stopped attending LDS church
00:17:24 – Second Marriage, first child, & second divorce
00:19:45 – Tried to re-consider Mormonism
00:24:57 – Ex-husband’s battle with substance abuse (father of her daughter)
00:27:28 – Moved back to her hometown & began attending again
00:32:59 – Elizabeth’s experience compared to an orthodox mormon upbringing
00:41:50 – Pity and Judgment from members of the church
00:48:58 – Elizabeth & Matthew’s stories converge
00:52:54 – November 2015 policy & awareness of issues in the church
01:04:26 – Matthew & Elizabeth are introduced
01:13:56 – Girls Camp experiences
01:19:36 – Interviewed for Stake President
01:30:53 – Personal revelation & making callings as a Bishop
02:02:02 – Matthew’s feminist awakening
02:09:53 – Issues that bishops are not trained to handle
02:16:59 – Depression & emotional trauma from difficult ward counseling
02:26:06 – Bishop Welfare Council
02:36:33 – Emotional intimacy begins to form
02:46:40 – Matthew’s testimony begins to crack
03:30:52 – Created “meaning” to rationalize the connection they felt to another
03:46:02 – Emotion vs. Logic in Mormonism
03:51:07 – Matthew expresses his doubts to the steak president
04:02:46 – Matthew tells his wife he wants to divorce
04:34:25 – Because he gave up the priesthood, Matthew’s children lose their trust in him
04:40:43 – Elizabeth being perceived as a “home wrecker”
05:02:58 – Being released as Bishop
05:14:07 – Matthew send his church resignation letter
05:21:13 – Closing questions & remarks