in Personal Stories

Why Not Clear His Name?

Business name tag

You might be able to guess which way this post is going from the picture I’ve included, but maybe not.

In the beginning, I was very frustrated that my husband wasn’t more interested in cleaning up his record and clearing his name to be representative of who he is now. At first glance, a clean slate makes so much sense!

John, however, was looking at things from a much deeper perspective. You see, cleaning up a record and clearing his name are two very different things.

To those who are not inclined to believe that, through Christ’s Atonement and the power of true repentance, a person really can change, John’s name will never be clear. To those who wish to believe their holy grail of scientific findings that are half a century old and not look at the “preponderance of the evidence” in John’s life, he will always be suspect. To those who overlook his usual patterns and behaviors, any innocent action on his part could be dangerous.

It’s a sad truth about human nature, and human nature is just as rampant in the church as outside of it.

So, if John were to go through the civil and ecclesiastical processes of having a clean record, he actually becomes more vulnerable. The rumor-mongers still have their stories, and this move looks like he is angling to sneak back into a position where he can prey on the unsuspecting. His name actually becomes blank and allows others to write whatever story suits them all over it.

Instead, the choice to leave the records in place becomes a protection. Sure, there are positions in the church that he may never hold, but he can serve and magnify his calling in those that he does hold, and that is all the God requires. There are job he will never seek, but his skills are versatile enough that we never have to worry about him being able to find a good job.

It can be a bitter pill to swallow, and I have tasted the bitterness in my throat more than once. Over time, though, God has taught me to rejoice in the good around me and trust that, through our faithfulness, we will enjoy His protections. Any trial or trouble that we do encounter can also be overcome if John and I work together and remain faithful to the gospel we both know to be true.

I have also learned to trust John’s method of walking in faith, which is almost a polar opposite to mine. I jump into action, trusting that God will stop me before I mess things up too badly. John, on the other hand, holds his original course, praying and seeking answers as he goes. He changes course when he is directed by the Holy Spirit. It’s a good lesson for me, and I’m learning to assess circumstances to see if I can plow ahead, or if I need to wait and follow John’s pattern.

So, that’s why we leave everything in place. Clearing a record won’t clear his name, nor will it change the opinions of those who choose to believe the worst about my husband. In the meantime, we both enjoy the protections of knowing that he can safely avoid circumstances which would cause the suspicious to raise their eyebrows.

It works.

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