Thursday, November 13, 2008

My feelings are hurt and I need to vent

Again I apologize for not keeping this blog updated as often as I should. I am putting the finishing touches on Book Three (as yet untitled) of the Duty Series so that is my excuse (this time). But I wanted to take a few minutes out to express my feelings about something that upset me and made me sad. It wasn't the economy or Proposition 8 backlash or any of the important things that are going on in the world today. It is because I got my missioanry son in trouble with his mission president.

Tommy set up the website before he left but since his email time is so limited on P-Days I compile the emails he sends me to create the 'letter'. I then post it on the missionsite. I have always been cautious to edit what he says (since he is talking to me) but apparently I wasn't cautious enough. He and several other missionaries (along with the senior missionary couple) went on a hiking trip in Ethiopia about two weeks ago. Tommy sent me an email with a lot of details about the adventure and I posted it (almost verbatum) on his website. I also posted the pictures he'd sent on his memory card. Some were silly - like one of him holding a bat and another of him and his companion standing on a rooftop. But I thought they were cute and I was posting them on an obscure mission website - not the Evening News...

Anyway, this Monday when I was emailing with Tommy he told me that he'd gotten a call from Pres. Christensen. The president said he had gotten an email from someone in America complaining about Tommy's website - and the last letter in particular. He had read it and agreed that it was 'over-the-top'. He had also browsed the pictures and felt that some of them showed immaturity. He asked Tommy to remove several pictures and edit the letter about his mountain climbing adventure.

Now, let me say right here that none of my hurt feelings are directed toward Pres. Christensen. I support him completely and in retrospect I can see that the letter wasn't uplifting and that some of the pictures showed questionable judgement. I wish more than anything that I could go back . . . but I can't.

I'm hurt that whoever read the letter and thought it was objectionable wrote to the mission president instead of me (or Tommy). And I'm SICK that Tommy got in trouble over it when I was the one who made the posts.

Tommy was very kind about the whole thing. He said it's okay and he even thinks the president still likes him! I feel very chastened and fixed the website immediately. My brother reminded me that in order to repent I had to go through all the R's of repentance - but I can't seem to get past Regret.

My husband wants me to close down the missionsite all together. I'll ask Tommy how he feels about it on Monday - but there's a good chance that's what we'll do. It makes me sad because I had a lot of fun maintaining it and I felt like it was a great way for others to share in Tommy's missionary experiences. But there is room for error (obviously) and closing the site would eliminate the possibility for future problems. So unless Tommy feels strongly about keeping it - the missionsite will be a thing of the past. And hopefully my guilt will be too (eventually).

There, I do feel better!

I hope something good will come out of the whole experience. I'll try to be more cautious in what I say (and write) and I'll try not to judge others too harshly. We all make mistakes and we can all be forgiven. Tommy forgave me for putting him in an awkward position with his mission president. I'll forgive the anonymous person who - either with good intentions or not - created the incident. So maybe when it's all said and done we're better people!!!! (But I'd still take it all back if I could)



The Ackers said...

I love to look at Tommy's site every week and get his updates so I sincerely hope you won't close the site down. I agree that any grievances with the site should have been taken up with you or Tommy.
You're a good missionary mom and he's a great missionary!!!

The Green Family said...

I hope nobody calls this website in to the mission president too... since you pretty much just did it again!!! Hakuna matata madre


Jessica said...

Say what?!?
Now who would think the site was immature? Someone is jealous. Just kidding.. I don't know.. I love reading his letters and I get on every Monday. They should have been a man/woman and taken it up with one of y'all though.

Julie said...

Can we keep the site and have a password, so that only those of us who think it's wonderful can read it? The website has kept me up-to-date with Tommy and his adventures!

bejoy said...

I like to hear about your missionary son, Tommy. I hope you decide to keep your website going. I also enjoy your blogs.

---An AZ Reader

The Ackers said...

There are too many haters out there...even in lame Mormon country. It goes to show, some people just need a good beating about the head, neck and chest area.

I have an idea. Write a snitch character into one of your books and then have Ms. Eugenia beat them to death with her purse.

Keep doing what you do BBG. We all know you are the supreme missionary mom on the earth today.


Holly said...

Mrs. Betsy Green
I am awfully sorry about your experience with your son's mission president. However, I would like to comment, on a lighter note, on the third book of "Duty" that you mentioned you were working on. I just finished the second book, Above and Beyond and I am dying for the third one! At least it is coming out in March and not a year from now. I can't wait to find out what will happen between Dane and Savannah! I was totally shocked the booked ended the way it did: so suspenseful! While I am commenting on your amazing books, let me also say that Hearts in Hiding is in the top 5 of my all time favorite romance novels and I absolutely love it! I read it all the time. I am in love with the town of Haggerty as well. I also really love Until Proven Guilty. So good! Thank you for your efforts. You are amazing. Have a great day!

MomR said...

It's too bad that someone couldn't let well enough alone and it's also too bad they didn't contact you or Tommy instead of President Christensen. It seems to me that that someone had to know you all personally to know which mission and President to write to.

My oldest son has two missionaries out and his wife has a list that she forwards their e-mails to. Maybe you could do something like that. I know it would probably have to be a looong list to cover the people who would/could check into your missionsite.

I hope you are over your regret soon and are able to move on to the other 'R's'.

Tristi Pinkston said...

Oh, I'm sorry to hear this! I too wish that whoever it was had talked to you and given you the chance to make it right without making it into such a big deal.

CMalone said...

I know you don't know who I am, but I wanted to tell you I just found your books and I love them. I've read both of the "Duty" series books and hunger for the next one. As the previous lady commented, the ending of book two left me frustrated and anxious.

Anyway, just a small comment on your son's web site. Although I have not seen or read about his P-Day experiences, I do know about Mission Presidents and their expectations--as I also served a mission and was on my President's hit list. I'm sure I broke the sister missionary mold when I served.

I know that missionary's conduct should be above reproach and leave nothing for anyone to pick at. However, just as Prop 8 just about leveled us here in California, so anything we said and did as missionaries was a personal reflection on the Church that we served.

I think--well I don't understand the complainer but, he should have taken up his complaints with you or your son. But that's neither here nor there. The mission president's concern was for the image of his missionaries and for the church in that area. It's like being under glass for the world to scrutinize.

I just feel badly for you and the hurt you are experiencing. Let me just say that I love your work and look forward with baited breath for the next installment of the "Duty" books.

Be of good cheer!

Lott said...

Avid fan +1 here. I was checking on the publication date for the next Duty book & your website led me here.

I think we have all but 1 or 2 of your books. The first one I read was Copycat & loved it. My now 17-year-old son loves to read and was searching for something so I lent it to him. He was hooked as well. It's something we share... a thorough enjoyment of your books.

Just reading about your missionary puts a pit in my stomach as my son will go in a couple short years. How will I cope? Good luck in all things & keep writing!

Shelley said...

Having enjoyed the SAME THING regarding the missionary site and pictures I have for our missionary, Thomas, I can COMPLETELY sympathize with your grief and frustration.

Having said that, whomever took the time to complain to his mission president about something so trivial (which members of the church who have had missionaries in the field would TOTALLY understand!) needs to get a life!

People are jealous or feel somehow if you are doing something like this for your son that it is a form of bragging without taking one thought into their heads for family members at distance and the desire to share YOUR missionary's experiences with them.

While I can't tell you not to post to his website anymore, I can tell you that you CAN password protect it and also that making "mistakes" of any nature is simply the price we pay for living.

Hang in there and remember that there will be opposition in ALL things, even something as simple as a website to support your son.