The Bishop’s Pawns

Okay, Janet needs to bitch. Apparently, she also needs to say stuff in the third person. She better stop before someone decides to tell her to shut up.

Here we go.

I mentioned a few days ago that the water heater went kabloo-ey and needs to be replaced. I also mentioned that we were asking for the Church to help us get it. They came up with a compromise of sorts. They told us that they would buy 2 weeks worth of groceries and we would buy the water heater. Oh, and we’d also have to show up for church this past Sunday.

At church, which my mom was unable to go to because she was too sick that day, the Bishop told my dad (who isn’t a member of the church) and me to go home, write out a grocery list, and he would give it to the Relief Society President to get the food for us. (Relief Society is the hour long  session where all the women who don’t teach the little kids go because God Heavenly Father says we’re not allowed in the Priesthood meetings. Men are allowed to go to RS meetings, though.) Anyway, the President of the Relief Society is the same woman who tried to toss antiques, family heirlooms, the piano, and, oh yeah, baby pictures of me out on the street last year. I’m pretty sure she is also responsible for tossing out my childhood teddy bear. So even if I had had a favorable opinion of her prior to last year,1 2 I haven’t had one since. I knew that because it was a woman who didn’t understand that not everyone is just like her, we probably wouldn’t get the stuff we made the list out for.

I. Was. Right.

Of course, my being right does not mean that I want to do any sort of happy dance. This is not a joyous thing for me. I had hoped that even if she got the wrong things, she might actually get things that we could eat. She didn’t. And she definitely didn’t get 2 weeks worth of food. She probably didn’t even get 1 week worth.

My mom is on a low-sugar, low sodium, and sometimes low-potassium diet because of her diabetes, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Unfortunately, that sort of diet can be a bit expensive. If you factor in that I’m also try to start eating foods that will help me get the Sjögren’s symptoms under control, not to mention that some foods cause me to be sick because they contain preservatives and other items (which, depending upon the ingredient, cause migraines and/or screw up my gut) and then factor in my dad who eats certain foods because of his own whacked out system, then you would understand that certain foods are just not appropriate and cannot be eaten at all.

Now before anyone says that my aunt was right and that we really are greedy leeches and the scum of the earth because we asked our church for help and, as a part of their own compromise, we expected them to get foods that we could actually eat, I need to reiterate that we get these foods because we have to. And we get them when we buy groceries. I’m thankful that the church offered to help, but the help that they are giving sucks.

Let’s start with lunchmeat. They got us two pounds of turkey for two weeks. Most days, I use a particular type of turkey for one or two meals. This is the main way that I get protein every day. My mom uses a different brand of turkey and other lunch meat for her salads and for her sandwiches. My turkey has fewer preservatives in it, which keeps it from giving me migraines as frequently and as severely as turkey from other brands.3 Mom’s turkey is reduced sodium (420mg of sodium for 2 oz.). The turkey that was purchased for us has very high sodium (550 mg for 1.77 oz). If she were to eat this turkey, her blood pressure would go up. That could cause more damage to her kidneys or it could do something worse, like cause a stroke. If I were to eat this turkey, I would be making and eating sandwiches in a darkened bathroom.

My mom asked for at least 2 half-gallons of almond milk for her cereal, since she has trouble with regular milk. She got 1. The RS President was able to afford to get all the cereal on the list, 6 boxes of name-brand cereal, but she couldn’t get the milk to eat it with. I asked for nectarines, but I got grapes instead. Grapes have a history of badness with me, so I have to be careful about eating them. My dad asked for oranges because he eats an orange every day after he eats dinner. He got no oranges.

The woman got us other things we didn’t ask for or want. For example, she got us a 5 pound bag of rice. We had 4.5 pounds of it already. We didn’t need it. She got us 10 cans of green beans. They weren’t reduced sodium canned green beans either. They have 400 mg per serving of green beans. That would mean that my mom would have to use her dinner allotment of sodium solely on green beans. She would be spending the next two weeks eating canned green beans. Oh, and 10 cans would mean we were eating 10 different meals in the next 2 weeks with a side of green beans. Most things we asked for, she didn’t get or she got something similar, but the similar thing wasn’t something we could eat. I get that they didn’t have to help, but it seems like the least that they could do is get the right stuff, especially since it was repeatedly explained on Saturday and Sunday that we had reasons for purchasing certain (more expensive) foods. If they couldn’t afford to help or just didn’t want to help, then they should have just said so. It’s okay to tell someone no when they ask for help. It is not okay to endanger my mother’s life by ignoring (whether on purpose or accidentally) what was communicated to you multiple times. If it was just food that would make my life more unpleasant, it would be one thing, but to buy food that could potentially kill my mom? No, that’s not okay. Why is it that every time they end up “helping”, it feels like they’re just flipping us off? If I thought it was an honest mistake, I wouldn’t feel so pissed off about it. Obviously, I don’t think it was an honest mistake, so that makes me pretty fucking pissed right now.

Instead of them buying $400-$500 of food, they got maybe $100 of it, so my parents still have to go grocery shopping this week and next week. When Sister Compassionless told me why she hadn’t got all we asked for, she said, “The Bishop told me only to get what would be necessary to get you guys through 2 weeks. And Kroger didn’t have some of that stuff.”45 So much for that “help” they offered. I guess that we can borrow against my life insurance policy to get the water heater. How fun. I just hope we’re able to pay off that loan.

Oh, and most of the things we asked for were on sale this week at the store that the foods were purchased at. There’s really no excuse for purchasing what was basically the food bank special.6


  1. I didn’t because she has given talks during Church on how the world is basically going to end because Obama is President. 

  2. She has also given other talks about how people who don’t have their food storage done for at least a year aren’t good people. 

  3. The brand that was purchased has given me severely bad migraines before. 

  4. The Bishop told us that the Church would cover the $400-$500 number. 

  5. Kroger does carry the foods we asked for, since we buy our food there every single week. 

  6. If you buy food for the food bank, I would really recommend that you donate food for people on special diets as well as staples. Somehow whenever we’ve had to use food banks to get food, we get a lot of food that could make people with certain health care conditions get sick. So try to remember the people with diabetes, Celiac Disease, kidney failure, heart disease, allergies to peanut butter, etc. 

About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.