My Spotify Wrapped for 2022

You can tell a lot about a person and what they're going through by what's on their Spotify Wrapped at the end of the year.

Me? I was surrounded by large numbers of toxic people who viewed it as their personal mission to tear me down. At work, at church, on the internet, and in my personal life. The lesson for this year has been to change the things I can no longer accept. And if I can't? Then those people don't deserve to be in my presence. It truly is that simple.

So if you ever find yourself in a similar position, this one's for you!

Being Denied the Sacrament During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Year Later

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will be familiar with the saga of when my former bishop rescinded access to sacrament administration for those social distancing from Church at home. Since that was a year ago and Twitter is on the brink of functional collapse, I wanted to pull those screenshots and tweets from Twitter for the sake of historical preservation.

There will come a time when church historians will document the COVID-19 response of the Church. The apologists, as they always do, will try to paint the experience in rosy colors, as if ordinance administration wasn't a genuine source of conflict between members and leadership, that the tactics used by leadership were always respectful and never resorted to manipulation. That simply isn't true.

I also shared my feelings on this experience as it was happening on The Cultural Hall podcast, link here for those who are interested.

31 Oct 2021: 

Email sent from my former bishop rescinding home administration of the sacrament.



3 Nov 2021

The challenging of my wording, "denied" vs "limited"

This distinction became a source of contention between my husband and I because I fully believed and understood that we were being handed an ultimatum to either return to church in person or go without sacrament administration. He was choosing a more generous interpretation that implied that we would simply have to request permission for sacrament administration each week from now on.

From that same thread:

Anyone who would try to coerce me back to church through the outright manipulation of an ultimatum has the audacity to just say "No."


4 Nov 2021

From the attending thread: "Nothing. This response gives me absolutely nothing in terms of a workable solution. Just a patronizing pat on the head before slamming the door right in my face."

7 Nov 2021

"Update: Husband took the more diplomatic approach and asked nicely if he could administer the sacrament at home today. No response. You know, because there was never any intention of giving us an alternative. That's how ultimatums work."
From the same thread:
"Being in the Church is such an emotional roller coaster. What am even supposed to do with a group of people whose capacity for incredible love and terrifying indifference is so all over the place?" 

9 Nov 2021


20 Nov 2021

"At this point, I feel like I'm documenting something that a church leader in the future is going to try to claim never happened."

My response:

"For a church that had the stones to tell me to my face, without flinching, that the most Christ-like woman I have ever met wouldn't be allowed to come to my sealing, they sure are full of moral cowardice when it comes to enforcing COVID-19 restrictions."

10 Dec 2021

11 Jan 2022

"Update from my Bishop: As it turns out, using ultimatums to force three wards back into a petri dish of a church building full of unvaccinated, unmasked people is *checks watch* killing people right on schedule."

15 Jan 2022

"Thou hast played a stupid game, by which thou shalt win a stupid prize. COVID 19:22"

3 Mar 2022

"Update: I reached out to my Bishop when the crisis standards of care were activated *for the second time* in Idaho hospitals to try and get Sacrament Meeting authorization in my home. I also changed my tack and tried to help him see me as a person."

That last paragraph where I'm randomly talking about boats are in reference to the ward themes they've been using during the pandemic.
This was the email I received weeks later, after the crisis standards of care had already been lifted, which only happens once enough people in our state have died to reduce the number of people in our hospitals to make room.

"I have a long history of reaching into heaven and pulling what I need out of thin air. I can make my own miracles. John the Baptist lived on honey and locusts in the wilderness and so can I. But that doesn't mean my deprivation was holy, Bishop Cutler.
Depriving me of what was my right to receive is not God's work. You will stand accountable before God for how you sent me away hungry and thirsty from the Feast that isn't yours to deny. May God be merciful to you in that day, Ryan. You will need it."

28 Aug 2022


"This tweet brought to you by the letter P, the number 3, and the fact that the worst bishop I've ever had just got released."

A Year Later

I've been in the Church for sixteen years. That's officially half of my life in the Church this year. From here on out, I will have been a part of it longer than I ever lived without the Church in my life. And if you had told my younger self that I'd be in a situation like this, I wouldn't have believed you. In those days of my tiny branch who went out of their way to show me so much love and support, I frankly would've found it impossible to believe that members of the Church could be capable of this kind of mean-spirited, self-defeating behavior.

As a result, I have just sent my new bishop the following ultimatum of my own. If putting people into unrealistic, unreasonable positions based on a personal refusal to be flexible is the new normal in the Church because of COVID-19, then so be it.

This is the email I just sent to my current bishop, requesting either home sacrament administration authorization or a boundary exception to return to our previous ward:

Hello Bishop Firkins,

You and I haven't had the opportunity to become acquainted yet. My husband and I moved into the ward in the midst of COVID-19 lock downs last year and have been social distancing at home. I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself, since this is likely the only kind of interaction we're likely to have for some time.

My name is Heather Collins. I'm a convert to the church and I'm actually hitting a major milestone this year. I'm passing my 16th year as a member of the Church, which was how old I was when I joined. From here on out, I will have been in the Church longer than I was ever out of it as a non-member.

I've been through a lot in my experience in the Church. I was the only member in my family to join the Church. They didn't support my decision to be baptized. I went to BYU against their wishes. I served a mission without their support. I got married in the temple without them being there. And now I live on the other side of the country from my whole extended family.

Being a member of the Church has been a difficult, lonely thing for me. I put on a brave face for a lot of people, but it's seldom that I ever speak to anyone who understands what my life has been like. I don't regret one second of it, you understand. However, there are plenty of times when I have wished that it could've been easier, or at the very least that the people around me could've appreciated the ways I struggle more than they have ever had to do to keep the Church in my life. I do it because I love my Savior. I do it because I love this community. But it's always deeply frustrating to me when my journey of discipleship has already been more difficult than some people could possibly imagine, and yet they still don't see the ways that they've made the journey harder for reasons I can't pretend to understand.

Bishop Cutler and I had several heated disagreements about home sacrament administration. It has been a year since he officially rescinded home sacrament administration for us, or it will be as of tomorrow. He gave us an ultimatum to either come back in person or to go without the sacrament, which has been the most malicious and harmful interaction with a bishop I have ever had in my sixteen years of church membership. He said and did several things that have hurt me deeply, for which he has never taken any ownership or made any attempt to apologize. It has been a struggle to hold onto my faith without the support of the ward family who was supposed to be there for me, and quite frankly, hasn't been.

We were previously in the Boise Idaho stake in the Castle Park ward, just on the other side of the river. I have had more loving contact and support from the members of my previous ward over the past year, even when I'm out of sight and presumably out of mind, than I've ever had from anyone in the Winstead Ward. At several point when my prayers needed answering, when I needed the reminder that God still knows me and cares about me, it has been them, not anyone from the Winstead Ward, who has shown up for me. Whenever I run into them in public, they tell me how much they miss me and appreciated me, even though they haven't seen me for several years now. They never miss an opportunity to remind me that I'm still a part of their ward family, even though they don't see me anymore.

So here is my request: something in this situation needs to change. Either you rescind this ultimatum for home sacrament administration for those of us who are still social distancing at home, or give my family the boundary exception to return to the ward that knows we exist and still cares about us, who will take care of us in ways the Winstead Ward never has. Either let us receive the blessings we are worthy to receive or let us go back to the ward family who already knows us and will take care of us.

We've been punished for not returning to Church in person for long enough. We are not going to expose ourselves to COVID-19 to receive the sacrament. It's inappropriate and abusive for anyone to put us in that position, to have to choose between our physical and spiritual health that way. If you're firm in the same resolve as your predecessor to continue putting us in that position, just let us go back to our previous ward. We certainly have no opportunity to bless others, or to be blessed, in this current arrangement, so it is unlikely we would even be missed.

Thank you for your time in reading this email. I look forward to receiving your response.

Best wishes,
Heather Collins

15 Nov 2022

I received a phone call from my bishop in which he genuinely wanted to connect with me and have a conversation about how to best support us. He approached me with genuine concern and a desire to be helpful. I almost forgot what that felt like, it had been so long.

We have been approved for sacrament administration in our home for second and fourth Sundays. He expressed a greater desire to have us embraced and loved as part of the community, since that's clearly not the experience we've had. He validated my feelings and never once made me feel like a burden, or like I was being difficult. The best in Mormonism always seems to boil down to a "how can I help?" attitude, and that's what I found in my new bishop throughout that conversation.

I'll be the first one to admit that I'm a person who instinctively matches and magnifies energy. If you come at me with love, kindness, graciousness, and concern for my well-being, I will match it and magnify it tenfold. Likewise, if you come at me sideways with an agenda of inconsideration, inflexibility, manipulation, and animosity, I will also match it and magnify it. I have been the mirror for many people who never figured out that the reason they don't get along with me is because they don't like the aspects of themselves they see me reflecting back at them.

Because second Sunday just happened, I can look forward to taking the sacrament again next weekend. I can finally put this unpleasantness behind me and move on from this, which is all I've wanted this entire time. And it was such a relief to have a meeting of the minds with someone who has the exact same objective.

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