Monday, April 06, 2015

Let me explain ... no, there's too much, let me sum up ...

Okay, where to start?

Forget that, I'll catch up later. But right now, I'm just going to restate some of my thoughts that I've put on Facebook.

I first linked to April McMurtrey's blog post, "President Monson, I Sustain You" because, while I was stewing a bit about how irritated I was about a certain-group-who-won't-be-named-here-to-avoid-giving-them-more-attention's choice to go to Conference solely to oppose the sustaining of President Monson, his counselors, and the twelve apostles.

If you're not familiar with this at all, here's what I'm talking about in a nutshell:
We have the opportunity during the Saturday Afternoon session of General Conference to, no matter where you are (listening in person at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah; at home in your pajamas [that's me ... unless I've gotten showered and dressed by then], listening to it in your car, etc.), have the opportunity to show by raising your right arm to the square/raising your right hand that you covenant to help and support [whoever the is being sustained] to do the work of God/fulfill his/her calling.

Now, if you're opposed (because you have knowledge that an individual is unworthy due to sin/s or some other legitimate reason that needs to be brought to the attention of those calling him/her), you have an opportunity to show that. Whoever is conducting that bit of ward/stake/general business will ask, "All in favor, show by the raise of the right hand/usual sign. ... Any opposed, show by the same sign."

(I'll admit that, when I was little, I wondered why it was the same sign. I figured that maybe people should raise their LEFT hand ... but now that I'm aware that it's a COVENANT, using the right hand makes a LOT more sense. ... Yeah, I was a weird child. ... That hasn't really changed.)

SO ... back to General Conference, when President Uchtdorf (second counselor in the First Presidency), asked for "any opposed?"

A small number in the Conference yelled, "OPPOSED!" (apparently, they also raised their hands AND stood). And they did that for the sustaining of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

President Uchtdorf kept his poise. "Your vote is noted." and "Please meet with your Stake President after the meeting is over." And he made sure to emphasize by the same sign, since that group apparently wasn't listening.

Now, I don't know what these individuals have gone through. I don't know their stories. I don't know if they've chosen to discuss whatever is troubling them with their bishops/branch presidents or stake presidents. I have no knowledge of any of this.

But, what I do know is that they chose, planning in advance, to be disruptive in a solemn gathering. And I'm trying not to be offended that they were rude to those in the meeting and (some of) MY leaders.

I was very glad to read Sister April McMurtrey's Christlike response and her personal plan of action.
As I posted on Facebook:
I'll admit that I'm a bit irked at what I really hoped was some drunk frat-boy prank at Saturday Afternoon's session at LDS General Conference ... though it wasn't. It was, unfortunately, real.
However, this gal's blog post is just about the perfect response to the situation. I should try and follow her example. (Though, I did tell my kids if they EVER chose to act in a manner as disruptive, rude, and selfish [Zoƫ's addition, actually. My kids are awesome], that'd I'd be SORELY disappointed in them. Because there are proper ways of giving a dissenting vote. Yelling at a religious event is NOT one of them.

Well, there were quite a few comments on that. Most were in agreeance that these individuals ACTED in an inappropriate manner, that regardless of whether or not they felt that they were being heard or not, there are other, more mature ways to show their disapproval of how the church is being run.

Then it started to veer off-course. I have one friend who seems to feel that it's her duty to fight everyone's battles. She (rightly) stated that we should love these individuals, that all they need is love and support.
I see that's the main point of her statements and she's right that we NEED to love them. But regardless of how they feel unheard at present, there's always a choice in what actions we take. And, since they decided to take THIS action, I feel that they're shooting themselves in the foot with that.

As I told another friend who underwent a horrible attack (as in, she was left for dead afterwards, but she lived through it), and was judged harshly and has since left the church due, a lot, to the treatment a lot of people gave her. That, and since she's a rather outspoken individual (which I love about her), she often felt that she didn't have a place in the church. (I'll be writing something about that in another post ... but, really, EVERYONE should feel welcome here. Jesus didn't sent folks away. Neither should we.) ... BUT, as I told her:
And, I have to say, our church is a sadder place for not having awesome people like you in it.

"But that's our loss. Because we, as a people, have not done our duty in successfully making our wards places where you and many others feel nurtured, protected, appreciated, and loved.
"We need to be better. It's a hard truth ... but that doesn't mean that it's not true."

And I'll stand by that. The gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect. Its followers, even including its leaders (as they'll readily tell you themselves!) are not. Nelson Mandela said, "I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying." ... and THAT is what we are. We are trying. And, as we were told in this General Conference, we need to give others credit as they try. If we don't, we're a church of latter-day hypocrites.

Eventually, thanks to Michael's stepping in with this lovely comment below, things settled down a bit.
I feel this post as veered past the original intent which was to respond in a more Christlike way. To forgive and to show mercy even we disagree or are hurt. The post was not meant to attack others or for others take offense. I hope we can forgive all those have wronged us and be forgiven for the offenses we have caused. I hope all those who continue to respond to this post will remember those principles.
And I did my best to soothe any still-ruffled feathers with this:
I very well understand that many people have issues with the church and its leaders and all ... but I firmly believe that civil discourse is the best way to handle this. Taking actions that are rather rude and disruptive can be alienating, which definitely does not help one's cause, no matter how much in the right one might be.

Maybe that's why I respect Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. and, heck, Martin Luther ... (Luther himself was quite a rabble-rouser, if you think about it. But he did his best not to disrupt the meetings that occurred inside the church building.)

But, like I told my friend, Brooke, a lot of what I think really needs to be written in a post ... so I know what one of my week's projects is going to be.

And thanks, everyone, for your input. I love you all ... and I want you to love each other, too. Part of the wonder of this world is that we DON'T all feel/think exactly the same. Learning to love each other and learn from each other (even if it might JUST be learning patience with them) is really, truly vital.

And I understand that dealing with a text-only based platform, like comment-sections, can be really limiting without the inflections and other non-verbal cues that are present in face-to-face communication and vlogging. So, I just ask -- for the future -- please try to read each comment (especially those that you might feel are wrong or accusatory) in the kindest tones of the sweetest child that you know. Because I know all of you ... and you are all very wonderful (and NOT just because you flatter me ... as much as I do eat up that praise. :P).

I just want you all to leave this comment threat without any bad feelings towards each other. We often don't completely understand each other ... at least not at first.
(Have I told y'all the story of Michael's and my first argument? We still reference it, since it was quite hilarious. We were both correct, just about different aspects. Which, really, is quite applicable to life, when you think about it. :P)

So ... yeah.

I don't know what to do ... and I could just apologize for everything. Ever.

But, thanks to Sunday Morning's session of Conference, I'm feeling a lot better towards my fellow men and women.

Especially since I bit the bullet and went full-on "here's how I feel. Amen." as you'll read in the next post.

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