Monday, November 16, 2015

Some Thoughts On Shame

It's been a tumultuous couple of weeks in the world (especially if you live in Paris, Beirut, Japan, Mexico, or Baghdad, or if you are LDS) and after a couple of weeks of watching my Facebook News Feed, I have a some advice:

1. Shaming people for mourning a place they have long since loved and wanted to visit (or have visited) is unkind. Yes, we should be mourning for Lebanon, Mexico, Baghdad, and Japan too, but bullying people into mourning other places is not going to make them want to devote the energy into it.

2. Shaming people for not knowing about other disasters is also unkind. Blame the media, and while you're at it, just remind yourself to signal boost other such tragedies next time and ask others to do the same. I wish I had known about Beirut. I didn't. I frankly don't have to time to dig through stories because I'm a public school teacher, coach, director at a nonprofit, Sunday School teacher, blogger (hey!), and a bunch of other things. I wish I had the time to find every tragedy and mourn. I don't.

3. Shaming people for sustaining the policy and LDS Church leadership is also unkind. I understand the desire to accept what someone else thinks is best and I know plenty of people who have prayed and felt peace in regards to the policy. I don't know what that means; I have not felt it, but I will not be cruel to those who consider it a non-issue at this point. This is not their battle I suppose.

4. Shaming people for questioning the policy and LDS Church leadership is also unkind. While we're talking about it, I'd like to point out that questioning is not the same as apostasy. We have been encouraged as Saints since Joseph Smith, Jr. was prophet to seek for our own understandings. We are to follow our own hearts and minds and no one else's. Don't treat me or anyone else like we are some terrible tares awaiting the flame. In case you have forgotten the parable, the wheat and the tares grow together. Who are we to guess who is who?

5. If you believe me to be a hypocrite about all this, I am. I can't pretend I'm not guilty. I have done a fair amount of shaming in my life, but I am aware of it, trying to move past it, and aiming higher in the future.

Shaming is not cool. Quit it. Please.