I haven’t had any gossip either, except from the non-payer themselves. I’ve occasionally had people tell out of the blue that they didn’t pay tithing, and I didn’t know what to say. I’ve also had the missionaries be a little loose about investigators and new members, maybe because I help out a lot with missionaries so they see me as an insider, part of the club (this may explain Kaimi’s experience when he was in the EQ–the other local authorities saw him as an insider).
Anyway, Kaimi’s differing perceptions reminds me of something interesting I’ve noticed. I talk with my more liberal friends and they’ll start mentioning how people were always backbiting in their growing-up ward and judging people and making ridiculous claims about the church, and church authorities made them apologize to the ward for drinking coca-cola on an activity and their bishop would criticize crippled members for receiving church funds while the Bishop himself wallowed in conspicuous luxury. And so forth. And these people are ambivalent about the church and church authority.
Me, on the other hand, I grew up in solid wards with people who served hard and humble. I trust the church and church authority.
I wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg. Do we “liberal” and “conservative” Mormons get that way because of our experience? Or do our ideological leanings lead us to dismiss some things as aberrations and others as the central case of authority and organized religion? If its the former then how great the responsibility of our wards to show our youth that Zion is a better and not a worser way.