Thursday, January 10, 2008


After a year or so of blogging, I am just now starting to notice the competition going on between bloggers. (too bad, the honeymoon has ended)

Individuals that have left the LDS church or on their way out are doing their best to prove how right they were to leave by telling the rest of us how shitty the church is because it lied about some piece of history or how it hides the real truth about its doctrines.

(last time i checked, the church is not human and it cannot lie)

and the TBM's are doing their best to prove that what they believe is true, (a la numerous GA quotes and scriptures) and "it's the best way to true happiness" and" if you only did____you'd know."

(last time i checked on this one, you can't prove spiritual knowledge)

sorry to say this but....

who gives a shit who's right? ONLY YOU DO!

Instead of trying to compete with each other and prove you are more right, take a step back and see that you can both be right. One can believe that Joseph Smith saw God and that families can be eternal via temple sealings and that the LDS church is the only true and living church on the planet but what you believe doesn't make the next guy believe and it doesn't make it true for him because you have the "truth."

And one can have issues with the LDS church. You can hate its doctrines, disbelieve its history and feel that you were lied to, duped and tricked. You can be hurt and angry but it doesn't mean that I was lied too or I was duped. It doesn't make me a fool fool or blind because I am not angry.

That kind of thinking is condescending, rude, thoughtless, passive/aggressive and ultimately unproductive for both sides. Nobody wins, nobody learns and you don't make friends trying to out- do each other.

So here's the real gist of what I am getting at: People on both sides are way more concerned with an individuals output--what was said on the blog, what decisions were made, how she handled this or that-- and way less concerned with the human emotional element that is the cause to the actions.

It's time to take a step back folks. The people on the blogs are just that-- people. and they have a variety of reasons for staying, leaving, doubting and believing. Argument is good, disagreement is good but for everyone's sake, see them as people living a life, just as and often times, more difficult than the life you are living.


  1. Sorry if I've come off that way. I've tried really hard to be inclusive. Alas, I'm really sorry. And I hope you know that I don't think you're blind or stupid.

  2. Breathtaking profundity. Thank you.

    sarah l

  3. dearest lessie,

    this post isn't about anyone in particular. in fact, you didn't register in my brain as I was putting this together (one of those 15 min rants)

    i had read a couple of other blogs yesterday in which posters slam one side or the other (we see this all of the time) and then I read g's post about her son and little friend and it got me thinking about the competition to prove your side is right.

    add to that our discussion the last couple of days on "food & drink" and I was fuming.

    please, your apologies are not necessary. you are inclusive and you are very sensitive to those of us that are trying to remain positive despite our frustrations.

    I hope I have done the same courtesy to you and other's. please let me know otherwise so I can correct the behavior.

    don't worry about my feelings, i am more concerned with being kind to others.


  4. food and drink and jet plane contrails in the sky... so much to FIGHT over!

    did you have a chance to read kiskilli's piece over at ZD's on stages of faith?

    her's is kinda the master's dissertation version of this down and dirty four-letter-word version (or the other way around, depending on how you look at it)...

  5. i did read it and i'm not quite at a 10th grade reading level yet so I will have to go back and read it again.

  6. just a thought I had while I am cleaning my house, thinking about your post... I understand why people get angry at the church. the church, through it's leadership and membership, requires a lot of the individual- lots of time and money and belief. And it requires these things as necessary for salvation. It is very natural, when one starts to doubt that those things are in fact necessary for salvation, to not feel at least some level of anger for all (perceived or real) time and money and heart and soul taken.

    different people react differently to this. for a million reasons, their innate personality being one of them.

    I'm not saying this excuses some of the disgusting incivility out there surrounding the church... Just saying I understand a tiny bit where the anger comes from.

    and wishing there could be a little better communication between the groups.

    but humans are pretty messed up (and not just 4 yr olds)

  7. did i come across as not understanding why people are hostile towards the church? i hope not. i totally understand both sides.

    i was watching "eternal sunshine of the spotted mind" last night and when joel (jim carey) has to give his reasons why he wants to erase clem (kate winslet) from his memory. As he is talking about why... he starts listing reasons, petty things too. and as he does this, he's becoming more and more hostile towards her. he's just mean and vicious, picking on every little thing she did.

    but then you see later, as he's desperately trying to hold onto his memories of her, that he didn't really feel that way, and he was using the words or the "reasons" to justify his decision.

    so looking past joels "output" (what he said) he was nothing more than hurt by clem and I think he attempting to hurt her back in hopes it would take away some of his pain.

  8. one of my all-time favorite movies.

    and cake is one of my favorite bands. how can we have so much in common?

    mel, you know, i have some hostility toward the church. but it's not really about feeling lied to or betrayed, though i understand that feeling. it's about the constructs i feel they have created that are damaging to relationships and progress for some people, and particularly the self-righteous exclusion from the world it promotes through its "one and only truth" and "chosen people" paradigms. i've been very careful to avoid calling the church a fraud or accusing the authorities of lying (though i won't say i may not have done so in a lost moment). i think that's counterproductive to action. i agree with everything you said, and i don't feel in competition with others to prove that my truth is the true truth because i'm a truth relativist now, for the most part. and i also think that what people do with their truth is relative, and nobody is better than anybody else. i struggle with various aspects of religion in general and church in particular because i truly do believe that they can have a profoundly negative psychological affect on some people - such as the emotional blackmail contained, by default, in the eternal marriage doctrine. some people don't recognize that blackmail or don't feel it themselves, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist for others or that it isn't occurring in others' psyches. i know you've said several times that you don't understand the hoopla over polygamy or questions about priesthood authority, but that doesn't mean that others who see a destructive patriarchy enshrined in those dogmas are wrong or bad for worrying about it. and if you find goodness and joy in the church where others see devastation and horror, that doesn't make you wrong. it just makes you different, but just as worthy of respect and consideration.

    i do feel that what you said must be directed at me at least a little bit, and that makes me sad. when i left the church i did so with the very conscious, definitive choice that i would not denigrate it, or throw around accusations, or even waste one ounce of energy on concern about it. and yet i have. i haven't concerned myself with debates about its truthfulness or not - but rather with truthfulness WITHIN US. but it's true that i've had moments of angst about the church and frustrations, particularly when i see others struggling so deeply with the same issues i worked with, and suffering, as i see it, needlessly. because at my core, melanie, i don't believe the church is true, in the way that they posit it, as the only truth, as the best and the brightest, as the church that christ would visit if he were on earth, blah blah blah. i just don't. but i DO believe that it is *a* truth, for some people, a code to live by, a path for them to be on that brings them happiness. at my core, i don't care what people believe so long as they aren't hurting other people - and that's where my struggle with the church comes in, because i DO believe that it hurts some people. that doesn't mean that i've set it up as an enemy, that the shrill arguments against it make sense to me or that i feel a need to take it down in some way. but it does mean that i feel some enmity toward it, i don't deny it. i try to maintain neutral language, but sometimes i do throw tantrums about it, as you know.

    you know what? i'm just rambling and making no sense. i'm going to shut up now.

  9. see folks,

    this is the kind of dialogue i hope to see amongst adults.

    where both sides can be at odds and yet, still see that there is good in the other side.

    good comments chandelle, thank you for them. now I will go back and read them again becuase there's some nuggets of wisdom (at 23? i'm jelous, my head didn't come out of my as until i was 45)

    TO THOSE THAT THINK THIS WAS DIRECTED AT YOU: i didn't have a particular person in mind however, if you feel it was aimed at you, perhaps there is good in that? I don't know. most times, when i am offended on the blogs, i try to see what the other person is seeing. i guess it acts as a check on my ego. and that's alwasy good.

    (but then some people are real buttheads and don't get my attentions)

  10. how can we have so much in common?

    it's easy, we are looking for them.

    i wish more people could do the same.

  11. You just barely noticed the competition?

    We are a navel-gazing, egotistical, competitive bunch of people, religious beliefs aside. I think it's the nature of blogging that it attracts those stubborn, smart, iconoclastic people and invites contention.

    I love Kaimi Wenger's quote: "Never attribute to malice that which can easily be explained as misunderstanding."

    Sometimes even I, the soul of restraint, I forget that I'm speaking to a living breathing human being and making my point becomes paramount.

    I usually wake up in time to save the relationship.

    Good point, though :)

  12. No, I didn't think you were singling any of us out specifically. I was just saying, if I've come across that way, I'm sorry. I was just visiting with a friend/mentor of mine today and found myself again complaining about the church. It's difficult to leave the church alone. Especially when most of the people you know, know you in that context. And when you had so much invested in it. But I've also read some of the comments you're talking about and it does get icky when the battles rage.

    I liked your point about the other side suffering just as much if not more than oneself. But I think it's that suffering that causes emotions to go so out of control. Each side has a lot invested in being right sometimes, and it becomes a matter of having one's suffering validated. Because no one wants to suffer in vain.


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