I like most people I meet. I instantly trust most people I meet. And I genuinely assume the best of most people I meet. So on the rare occasion when people let me down, it’s pretty disappointing. But I’ve always thought people were worthy of my high expectations, and honestly, I think most of my friends and family have done better than my expectations, which is probably why I give people so much credit.
But lately, in the wake of a new scandal, people have really let me down. not just letting me down a bit, but letting me down a freakin’ lot. And I really find myself frustrated. So frustrated that I have to stray from my usual lighthearted posts and rant about it.
So just a few days ago the LDS church decided it was time to excommunicate the leader of the group Ordain Women. While I wasn’t particularly advocating their cause, I have already written about how I don’t mind what they’re doing, because change in the LDS church has always come through people drawing attention to issues and needs (you can check that out here if you would like) And I felt like, as long as they were civil (and they always have been) then who am I to tell them to stop. Many of their ideas/requests are pretty reasonable (as one blogger points out very effectively in a recent response to an attack on the group) even if the notion of allowing them to have every demand they make is too hard for some Mormons to swallow. Either way I thought excommunication of Kate Kelly was an extreme step to take, and I thought it would have terrible shock-waves both inside and outside the church. (and this is to say nothing of the fact that, coupled with other excommunications, and church discipline, this situation has me feeling glad that I chose to keep this blog anonymous)
It definitely has. And the waves it’s making are not even a bit positive.
A rift has grown seemingly so large now between the “good, faithful” members of the church, and the “heathen rabble rousers” who support Ordain Women’s cause. Get on any blog or news article supporting the churches mission and you will see countless posts with the attitude of “good riddance! We don’t want you and your evil ideas!” I’ve seen more than a few comments about how these women are furthering the cause of the devil and other absurdities so hard to stomach. It has been seriously painful.
It wouldn’t hurt so much if I didn’t have such high expectations (especially) for the people of my church. Look, Mormons. You don’t have to like what Kate Kelly is doing. If you support the decision of the church to excommunicate her, fine. But don’t cheer that someone has been metaphorically “kicked out of the kingdom.” Whether she deserved it or not, this is not a happy moment, and if you’re happy that she was, then you don’t understand the purpose of your church. Not even a bit.
Which is not to say that OW supporters haven’t slung their share of mud. I had a serious foot in mouth moment yesterday. I have many friends and family who support OW and their cause, and I have many friends and family that support their church. On the one side, people’s emotions are running high, feeling betrayed by a church that recently told them that it’s okay to be in the church even if you doubt it’s doctrines/teachings. They feel like the church, with this excommunication, has effectively said “It’s okay to have doubts… just keep them to yourself.” So naturally their response has come with a little emotional charge to say the least.
Of course, here I am, always trying to smooth over the situation. I have conversations on both sides of family and friends, hoping they’ll tone it down and be a little more empathetic. Of course it didn’t take long for that to blow up in my face.
I confronted one person over Facebook yesterday (that was my first mistake. Shouldn’t I know by now to never have a serious conversation over Facebook, even if it is through private messages), requesting that one family member tone down the rhetoric they were posting. Of course, right in the middle of our conversation, another family member (who I also had recently talked with) posted something completely diminishing Kelly and Ordain women, and while the article itself wasn’t awful with its tone, the comments section was again filled with seemingly self-righteous members of the church who are more than happy to toss Kelly under the bus if it means they can act like this issue doesn’t matter.
suddenly the conversation turns from me trying to make a point to me trying to save face…
And then I’m like… why am I defending the church? Sure, there are a few members sad about the situation, but overwhelmingly it seems the lack of sympathy for fellow member’s struggles is… well… disgusting, to be honest… I can’t think of a better word to describe it.
This of course speaks to another post I wrote awhile back about How I’m always stuck in the middle, wondering why neither side can come to an answer, and why, in the end, both sides hate me. Because in the end, I’ve told both sides “WHY CAN’T YOU JUST BE A LITTLE MORE SYMPATHETIC!”
And then I’m the jerk…. Sigh…
These issues are so complicated. And, as usual, instead of taking a serious look at their complexity, most people are just ready to write off the other side as a bunch of rabble-rousers, or worse, as apostates, (or, if you stand on the other side, as ignorant sheep).
Ultimately, my only solution: come to the blog and rant about it. It probably won’t help anyone. It certainly won’t make me any friends, since I’m criticizing both sides here. But at least it makes me feel a little better.
What do you think? I’d love to know if you think I’m crazy, or stupid, or whiny (I probably am all three of those things.) If you have thoughts, don’t forget to share them!