Pastors, Reverends, Priests, Bishops, and Other Faith Leaders, You Are Failing Your Flocks

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DO NOT make assumptions. This is how some in the flock get lost or become neglected. Don’t assume they are okay. Don’t assume they don’t need help.

The proceeding may seem harsh and heavy-handed to some. But it needs said.   It is the absolute reality for many.  Many in the flock of Christ have been lost, abused, and neglected in the past two years in the name of zero covid. They have been voiceless, too afraid to speak. Or utterly ignored and dismissed. I have cried with them. Been frustrated along with them. Confused along with them. And very few of ecclesiastical authority seem to care.

I will speak for them. I will put my name to their crying desperate voices and advocate for them, and for their children. I honestly feel I will be damned if I don’t.

This is not pointed at any one specific person or denomination. Several faith leaders of every major christian denomination have a problem. And this post is directed at them.

Some in your flock don’t trust you. “In what regard?” They don’t trust you to listen. They don’t trust you to care. They don’t trust you to stand up for them.  You are equal to feckless politicians who triangulate every possible decision and take the path of least resistance.

We know you are human. Imperfect. Subject to human nature, just like us regular folk. Many of you have families, anxieties, depression, many worries, and many responsibilities. We’re not blind to this. There is a great spiritual and emotional need, and if you can’t fulfill that need for your flock, then it may be time to let someone else do it. There is no shame in putting your own family first. This is a biblical mandate.

But if you can handle the needs of your flock and the needs of your family and other spheres of life, why are some in your flock feeling completely lost and/or neglected with you as a shepherd?

Many believe the past two years of covid have created many problems and divisions. No. The past two years of covid have exposed, or magnified, already existing problems, deficits, rifts, and divisions. And when some members of your flock came to you for help, you failed them. Some of you fed their fears, making them worse. And some of you dismissed their fears and concerns as irrelevant, making them feel neglected and unwanted. And some of you facilitated in creating tribes, completely separated from biblical values. And perhaps most egregious, some of you broke confidentiality.

Some of you have told the members of your congregations to do very specific covid related actions, and tied Christ’s name to those actions. This has disturbed some in your flocks, because these proclamations came with no scriptural citations specifically mandating such deeply personal actions. You have made these proclamations with zero nuance or acknowledgments of conscience or personal situations. You made it an either/or. either you are with Christ and will do this, or you are against Christ if you don’t do this, with none of it based on specific scriptural mandates.

Is it really “loving your neighbor” to guilt your flock into doing something which violates their conscience, makes them feel deeply uncomfortable, or simply isn’t right for them?

Accusing some in your flock as being “political” merely because of the basic family and health decisions they make is insulting beyond words. It is dismissive of their concerns, worries, foresight, and needs, and assumes their motivations are impure. This needs to stop. You need to listen and not assume. With no scriptural citation mandating certain covid actions, some in your flock don’t feel comfortable doing certain covid related things because they have concluded it would be supporting a lie, supporting fear, supporting unethical or unjust actions, or they simply feel it is wrong. Such motivations should be appreciated and valued, not maligned. And if they are becoming truly political, find the non-political motivation behind it and focus on it. You will find admirable traits in them, and they will feel heard.

Please understand this: whether you like it or not, if you shut down your church or limited services at any time in the past two years, some of your flock feel you think of them as non-essential. Unimportant. They needed you and their church to help them, but you denied them this help. If members of your flock feel this way, DO NOT dismiss these feelings. Do not excuse your decisions. Do not blame the government. Otherwise, the members in question will NEVER trust you again. For anything.

Some of your flock are deeply concerned about the increase of government control in our lives. Civil rights being violated, ignored, belittled, etc. Government officials not following written law. Due process being completely abandoned. And they get no help or comfort from you. They aren’t asking you to save the world. Nor are they asking you to endorse candidates or certain government policy over the pulpit. Sometimes they merely want you to acknowledge the world doesn’t make sense. Or they want acknowledgment evil is real and is going after the family unit and affecting children.

And yes, some would love if you would speak at school board meetings and testify how covid restrictions are negatively affecting children. We are watching and paying attention on who is silent about this. Loving parents tend to not trust people who are silent in the face of child cruelty.

Prior to covid, many in your flock who are civic minded took note of government intrusion into religious matters. They have witnessed and sometimes experienced first-hand the corruption in government. They have witnessed the erosion of religious liberty. And they have witnessed the sometimes hostile attitude of governments towards churches and the hostility and attacks on long-established eternal Biblical values. And then in March of 2020, you suddenly were in lockstep with the same government.

You need to know this is very unsettling for some in your flock. Shattering in fact. They don’t expect or want you to raise arms against government, they aren’t anarchists or revolutionists, they merely don’t trust government to always do the right thing, and when you precisely mirror everything government says and does, it does the opposite of building trust.

Some in your flock are deeply frightened about what the future holds for their children. They are deeply concerned about what the past two years have done to children and their mental health. They see with their own eyes how the hell of the past two years has damaged children. You don’t even acknowledge these concerns. And who did Christ show particular favor towards? Children. DO NOT dismiss the concerns of loving parents. You will lose trust. Referring to children as “resilient” is insultingly dismissive.

Many many members of your flock who are in the demographics least likely to be impacted by covid have been the most affected by covid restrictions and mandates. Lives and livelihoods have been destroyed in the past two years. Their small businesses shuttered. Life’s milestones canceled. Celebrations canceled. Childhood irrevocably altered for the worse. Innocent smiles forcibly covered. Education halted or impeded. Children being taught they are nothing but disease vectors.  Newborns being torn from covid positive mothers. Elderly parents being forced to die alone. Residents of long-term care facilities being forcibly isolated. Expectant fathers not being allowed in the ultrasound room. Mother and father not being allowed to be together as the mom is dealt tragic news about their unborn baby. The father not being allowed to be present while his wife has a DNC. Young children not being allowed to visit sick parents.

And you have been completely indifferent to these ghoulish policies and expectations. Your silence is deafening. All in the name of zero covid. Or, you have been silent because those higher up in the hierarchy of your denomination have suggested you need to not speak out and to simply do what the government says, regardless of the needs of your flock. Sleep well. Your flock is hurting and need your defense, but you can have solace knowing you complied with someone who is completely unaware of and indifferent to the needs of your flock. What do your flock need you for? You’ve made yourself irrelevant.

Again, you aren’t expected to save the world, but to defend your flock. We have seen a very scattered few pastors speak at school board meetings, city council meetings, state legislature hearings, etc. You have a voice of authority. Use it or lose it. “But if I speak out against covid restrictions, it will alienate those who are very scared of covid. And I don’t want people to die.” Fine. You’ve made zero covid and covid death avoidance your primary goal as a shepherd. Sleep well. We’ll somehow figure it out without you.  We don’t want people to get sick, or die, either, but the primary mission of the church is not death avoidance.  Christ already conquered death.

We don’t matter to you, and we haven’t in a long time.

From where is all this coming? My interactions with members of several denominations over the past two years. Because they have felt unwanted, isolated, and abused, they have naturally found others who feel the same way. Others to gain support and empathy, because they aren’t getting it from you or your flock. And in some instances, they are completely rejected by you and your zero-covid flock.

I have spent hours upon hours listening to people who have felt completely isolated, abandoned, abused, and neglected. I testify of the ultimate need of Christ in their lives, and the spiritual tools necessary to gain and Keep Christ, but they need support from others. They need support from you. But they don’t trust you. Because you either stoked division or do nothing to stop division. Because you made the facemask as a mark of righteousness with no scriptural support for it. Because you made the vaccinated clean and the unvaccinated unclean. Because you closed your church in a time of great need. Because you ended sobriety support groups. Because you stopped youth gatherings. Because you think it is more important to wear facemasks and promote the vaccine than to teach the words of Christ. Because you have been indifferent to the suffering caused by covid restrictions. Because you don’t care about the suffering of children, the demographic least affected by covid.

I have developed friendships with many neglected people of different christian denominations. Helping talk some out of suicide. And sometimes failing at this. Many of us have screamed for pastors to help. To start support groups. To get back to normal. Hold regular services again. To talk about the last two years of hell. But you think it is more important to follow the ever changing whims of the CDC or other government bodies. Or maybe you are afraid of litigation if you show any hint at not trusting public health guidelines. Or, you are using the government as an excuse for your own covid fears. If this is the case, step down, resolve your fears, and let someone else shepherd. You cannot protect your flock from covid without ignoring scriptural  mandates.

Some people who feel deflocked are single moms with no one. No godly man to listen and spiritually support them. They are alone. Some are widows. Alone. And don’t care one bit about covid, but do care about being isolated.

Some have been jabbed, as the result of your proclamation accompanied with the name of Christ, and then experienced adverse events. Some developed neurological issues, heart issues, menstrual issues. Some became paralyzed. Some sadly had miscarriages. Some tragically died. And you know what some of you faith leaders said to these suffering children of God? “It couldn’t possibly be the vaccine, because the vaccine is a blessing from God.” So, it is all in their head. You don’t care. You are blind to the reality in front of you. You were wrong. The jab isn’t proper for everyone. And now some in your flock don’t trust you. That’s a problem. Well intentioned or not, you have caused their faith to be shaken and fractured.

Some of these people were promised by you, if they wore a mask and got jabbed, they wouldn’t get covid or spread it to loved ones. Promise broken. They got sick, some quite severely, while unjabbed family and friends fared the same, or better. And they spread it to others.  So now they are faced with the reality of their once trusted pastor being a liar, or they have sinned or failed in some way making them unworthy of the blessing of such a promise. They now have no pastor to trust, or they feel they deserve the misery and risks of covid.

One friend had a teen son, deeply hurting as the result of no social interactions for months. No school, no church, no youth meetings. My friend begged his faith leader for help. Begged him. Do some kind of an in person youth gathering. Anything. The pastor empathized, but ultimately pointed to covid restrictions created by government. And now my friend’s son is dead from suicide. The pastor can sleep well knowing he obeyed the government. My friend can’t peacefully sleep at all because no one cared enough to help his son.

Another friend, just recently, buried her elderly mother. Her mother died alone in the hospital. My friend tried desperately to persuade her pastor for help to convince the religious hospital admin to change covid policy, but he wouldn’t. He didn’t want to go against the upper hierarchy of their denomination. He can sleep peacefully, knowing he didn’t risk rocking the boat. My friend has the horrifying phone calls from her frightened dying mother to remember. She now wants nothing to do with her church. Because zero covid took priority over everything else.

Last year, On Facebook I posted a news article about the jabs possibly affecting menstrual issues and causing pregnancy problems. Over the next two weeks, women of varying ages contacted me. They were profoundly thankful someone had shared the article. Many women. All who were convinced they experience adverse events post-jab, related to their cycles and pregnancies. Some had had miscarriages. Their doctors were indifferent. Women who are mothers, or who are planning to be mothers, take their fertility very seriously. And to have their doctors dismiss such issues is incredibly calloused and beyond stupid. These women were definitely not heard by their doctors. They had felt abandoned by the healthcare industry.

But even more upsetting is the following. As a married man, it felt rather uncomfortable having discussions with women about their cycles and pregnancies, and the subsequent emotions. So I referred them to their faith leaders. Without exception, dozens and dozens, they told me their pastors didn’t care. Their pastors were zero covid. And some were told by pastors it wasn’t caused by the vaccine because the vaccine was from God. The gas-lighting was endless for them. I did not handle this disappointment well.

I have lost track of the number of struggling christians of which I have interacted, who have had suicidal ideation, committed suicide, or who have been affected by suicide. Several have returned to drink, or other vices. The one thing in common with all of them: they didn’t trust their faith leaders, or their faith leaders weren’t helping at all. This is a common cry of disappointment from them: “My pastor cares more about obeying the government than helping the flock.”

They are not advocating for lawlessness. They merely want you to stand up for them. And if the government won’t let you, then you need to decide what to do about it. Because the apathy and silence will only damage your divine mission.

I know many pastors and faith leaders have done an admirable job in the past two years. Some of your flocks are divided at no fault of your own. But what have you done to show you care about everyone’s struggles? What have you done to mend rifts? Have you told your flock vaccination status will not affect their eternal salvation? Have you said getting vaccinated is not a religious ordinance? Have you told your flock the facemask is not a mark of righteousness or unrighteousness? Have you told your flock to stop badgering one another about the jab or the facemasks? Have you told your flock to stop treating others as mere disease vectors?

Talk to your flock. Find out if any in your flock have felt those things I have mentioned throughout this writing. DO NOT make assumptions. This is how some in the flock get lost or become neglected. Don’t assume they are okay. Don’t assume they don’t need help. Don’t assume they are feeling a certain way because of A, B, or C. Some people have a hard time expressing their frustrations, feelings, and thoughts, especially if things have been percolating. Be patient. Ask follow-up questions. Apologize. Seek reconciliation and forgiveness. Know for some, certain silences from you in the past two years can be incredibly disappointing to some in your flock.

Also know this, several in your flock who are silently obeying covid restrictions want the restrictions to end.  Today.

Literally hundreds, some in person, some through writing, have expressed this to me: “I hate the covid restrictions. I’m not scared of covid. The masks do nothing and I hate them. I got jabbed and still got covid. But I can’t say anything in church or to my pastor because I don’t want to be accused of going against God. I don’t want to be accused of not caring. I don’t want confrontations.”

They are not okay.

They bite their tongue and suffer in silence in the ways mentioned throughout this writing. They feel alone and isolated. Abused and neglected. Their mental health is declining. Their suffering, concerns, frustrations, and fears do not matter to you. And they know it.

Everything isn’t going to magically be fixed if and when covid restrictions are lifted.  These people have two years of isolation, abuse, and neglect affecting them.  Whether you like it or not, trust has been lost.  Churches have failed.  Shepherds have lost some from the flock.  Don’t blame the lost and abused, they’ve dealt with enough gas lighting for the past two years.

I can say with surety, for some of you pastors, it will be easier to conquer Everest than gain back lost trust, especially if the lost trust involves children in some way.  Seek to gain it back anyway.

Most importantly to many of them, the suffering and mental health of their children don’t matter to you. Clearly. They know this because you have never publicly defended their children in the past two years. They have come to you in tears. Pleading for help with their children’s mental health, development struggles, and spiritual well-being. And you have dismissed the concerns “Because covid… Because the government… Because the church higher-ups… because some are still scared… children are resilient… this too shall pass… covid rules and restrictions are so easy if you just stop complaining… blah blah.” You may as well say “I don’t care, and I’m not going to do or say anything about it.”

They want a leader, not a platitude dispenser.

Don’t like what has been said? Well, it is absolute reality for many. Make it right, or risk losing your flock.

Are you a pastor of The Church of Zero Covid, or a pastor of The Church of Christ?  Are the ever-changing CDC guidelines your text, or the eternal words of God in holy scripture.?

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25 thoughts on “Pastors, Reverends, Priests, Bishops, and Other Faith Leaders, You Are Failing Your Flocks”

  1. Thank you.

    My former pastor was this way. Gave a 45 minutes sermon on the glorious vaccine. promised in the name of Jesus if you got vaxed, you wouldn’t get covid. Rolled up his sleeve to show us all the vax band-aid. Not once in the sermon did he quote the bible. He got covid 4 months later. I haven’t been back, but last I heard he lost over 50% of his congregation.

  2. My church didn’t hold services for over a year. 3 suicides. And the damn pastor did nothing. Everyone got covid anyways, but no one died from it. By the time he started services up again, most people didn’t bother going.

  3. My SIL had a miscarriage 1 month after he 2nd dose of Pfizer. The only reason she got the vaccine was because her faith leader told her to. No regret or apology from him. Now she is having all sorts of menstrual issues.

  4. I think several churches are petrified of lawsuits. I think money has become their guiding principle. One of the many many reasons I don’t trust large churches.

  5. Mormons are some of the worse. I went to one of their open mic meetings a few Sundays ago. Everyone masked, some double masked. All coughing uncontrollably. Some old lady got up and talked about how great masks are and she loves her church for keeping her safe from covid. Not a great recruiting message. I’m not going to join if I have to wear a ridiculoous face diaper and then praise it later. I know several mormons who hate the masks, but they wear it just to get along. some think it is just stupid, but don’t ever say anything. Weird control they got there.

  6. i would never go to any church who did not require vaccines passport

    if you care about others you need to get vaccine to stop others from getting sick you are selfish if you donnt do it and dont love neighbors dude.

  7. I’m done with church. Best friend’s daughter attempted suicide and their bishop was so not caring about her struggles prior or after. Like you said, zero covid was all that mattered. If ministers don’t defend and help the flock when things are really tough, all they are good for is telling bible stories and platitudes. Useless.

  8. I HATE it when pastors say wearing a mask is just a simple thing and a loving thing.

    It isn’t simple for some people. I hate stuff on my face. It makes me very uncomfortable. And I would get pounding headaches after wearing a mask for more than 10 minutes. I hated going to church because of it. So I stopped.

    I don’t wear them anymore. I refuse. I tried going back to church and was the only person not with mask covering their faces. The treatment I got from others was thick with judgement and hate. The youth pastor told me I was a murderer. Found a different church which wasn’t mask nazis. Happy again. But I miss the old relationships from people who used to treat me as a friend.

    For someone to cover their face is deeply personal, as it covers their individuality God gave to them. It is not a pastor’s right to ask someone to cover their face and pastors should never make someone feel guilty for not putting on a mask.

    And wearing a mask is not loving. MASKS DO NOT STOP COVID!!! They haven’t stopped covid anywhere in the world for the past 2 yrs. It is a failed experiment.

    1. I agree. On all of that.

      But I don’t agree pastors should have the goal of zero covid. Don’t be reckless, but don’t be a spokesman for the CDC and big pharma. Focus on actual scriptural mandates and stop talking about the jabs and demanding masks. Everyone knows the risk and how to protect themselves.

  9. After summer of 2020 i swore I would never support organized religion again.
    I am disgusted how christians have been treated by their own pastors.
    Treated as unclean even though they have no symptoms.
    Called ignorant because they don’t trust CDC.
    Called bad christians because they know masks don’t stop covid.
    Told to not come to church when church was very needed.
    Some churches have vaccine passports which is very much not what Christ did. He wnet to the sick and diseased and ministered.

    So many pastors are cowards.

    Many catholic friends have disavowed the pope and their priests because they turned their churches into pharma propaganda buildings. Christ would have whipped them out.

    I am so mad. So many christians now feel betrayed.

  10. Thankfully my pastor hasn’t said anything about masks and the vaccine he has only asked that we respect the decisions of others and left it at that.

    However he did shut down for several months and He later apologized for it.

    I already respected him, but my respect for him increased ten fold. Every one could easily tell he was very regretful

    I thank god we can trust him. I know lots of friends who stop going to church because of bad pastors.

  11. Yup. Lots of pastors stand up for worldly standards, while no longer standing up for family and biblical values. I doubt any major church will still be standing when the end comes. They are all turning woke and christians assume their leaders have some pure pipeline to god when they are really just going along with WEF, the UN, or other corrupt governments. Money money money.

  12. Masks are required at my church and 80% of people have them below their nose. They only wear to comply and don’t believe they do anything. Theater.

    1. I think that is the reality of most churches which require masks. Very few people actually think they do anything of value to prevent spread and infection.

  13. Sitting with our reverend in his office, my husband poured out his soul to the reverend, expressing all his worries about the children in the community. My husband is very perceptive and he had noticed the dark change in many children, several in our church. Our reverend actually laughed at my husband, telling him children are very resilient and not to worry. My husband sat in silence fora moment and then left without saying a word.

    Two weeks later, a 16 year old boy in the community shot himself in the head and died.

    Children are suffering in silence. They are not OK.

  14. My buddy and I were both in the same alcoholic support group sponsored by our church and they canceled all meetings for over six months. It was pure hell but I made it, staying sober.

    My friend though succumbed after three months of no group meetings he later lost his job, got kicked out of his apartment and lost visitation rights for his 3 sons. I don’t feel right attending a church who treats hurting people they way they treated us, especially how they treated and neglected my friend. They were totally aware of what was going on. My friend feels rejected like a failure and completely unwanted by God.

    Words are cheap from pastors who hide away at the first sign of danger. Damn cheap.
    We now know who we cant trust.

  15. I’m done with church. What’s the point? They don’t even think of themselves as essential. They were all too eager to close their doors, and did nothing of relevance to try to get them open up again.

    We are on our own. churches are led by pharisaical cowards who don’t even follow the bible. We can’t depend on anyone to care. They are now an extension of governments.

  16. I’m LDS, but no longer attending church, save the first part of sacrament meeting. I want to be valued for being a daughter of God, not valued for wearing a mask or getting vaccinated. I couldn’t do it anymore.

    Hearing ward leaders talk about those who don’t wear masks and who don’t get the vaccine made me sick to my stomach. Called them faithless , apostate, bad examples, un christ like, weak, selfish, etc. They did this in ward council. Then at regular church services acted all nice and chummy to the people they badmouthed behind their back.

    Many leaders in the church do this. It is disgusting, and it is wrong. I have never felt so alone and in such a dark place because I now know I can’t rely on my church leaders to treat people inn a loving way. It is wrong. Absolutely wrong.

    I was in the primary presidency, overseeing the care and instruction of the children. The entire presidency and I spent hours and hours praying, reading scripture, and consulting with parents about how best to do our job, and my bishop shot us down every time. Every suggestion. It was do it his way or no way. Mask all the time, even for the young toddlers.

    Primary classes became nothing but 45 minutes of mask enforcement with no real gospel instructions. I told the bishop I was out. I was just a figure head. He can find some other puppet to be a mask enforcer.

    This really brings to mind my grandmother’s stories of the church in Germany right before WWII. Church members were told to be chummy to the Nazi government and support them. They had to stop teaching much of holy scripture because of the jew connections. President Grant would happily visit Germany and praise the Nazi government. I think there may even be a picture of him having dinner with Nazis, with the swastika in view.

    Even with all the atrocities of the Nazi government, and the treatment towards jews, my church still supported the Nazi’s. One man, a member of the church, who spoke out against the Nazi government was excommunicated because of it.

    I am worried the church is again headed down a very dark path of segregation, blind obedience to government, and refusal to say or do anything about evil spreading in the world.

    1. I know of many people who are doing the same as you, leaving after the sacrament, or after sacrament meeting. Many feel unneeded and unwanted by the church they have been a part of their entire life.

      I didn’t know of the excommunication, but I knew someone in the church was executed by the Nazi’s for being critical of the nazis, and there is no documentation the church tried to help the man.

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