Mormon bishop disguises himself as homeless man to teach congregation about compassion
Although he received a few wary looks, Bishop Musselman walked onto the stand stood behind the pulpit and began thanking people for the kindness they showed. He talked about some money he received, and said he wanted to give a portion of it back as a token of his appreciation. He asked where the bishop was so that he could give the money to him. When no one spoke, Bishop Musselman took off his wig and glasses to show that he was, in fact, the ward’s bishop.
“It had a shock value that I did not anticipate,” Bishop Musselman said. “I really did not have any idea that the members of my ward would gasp as big as they did.”
After the services, Bishop Musselman texted Starling to let her know how the disguise played out. Later that day, Starling shared the experience as well as pictures documenting Bishop Musselman’s transformation on Facebook.
“Social media is such a powerful tool for spreading ideas,” Starling said. “People are sharing that it has really touched them, and it has caused them to think again and look at things in a different way and maybe change their mind about the way that they treat people and to endeavor to look beyond the face, into the heart.”
The comments and private messages Starling has received on her post about Bishop Musselman’s experience have proved to be meaningful to her as well.
“I used to dream (that) the pinnacle of my career would be to work on a film and the film would get nominated for an Academy Award of makeup. You know, that would just be the ultimate achievement,” Starling said. “But I would have to say that somebody writing a Facebook comment saying, ‘Thank you for sharing this. It’s changed my mind. It’s changed my heart, and it’s changed the way that I’m living,’ that’s worth more than all of the Academy Awards in the world to me. It really is.”
Bishop Musselman’s takeaway from his experience is not one about human faults; rather, it is of people’s desire to improve.
“I learned that more people want to be better than I had originally thought,” Bishop Musselman said. “I learned that we don’t know what happened to an individual, and so we can’t and never should try to judge.”
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