Do you remember last week when I told you that I went on a serious Facebook defriending spree?
In that post, I mentioned briefly a Facebook message that I received from someone which sparked the whole dramatic annihilation of so many on my friends list.
The person who sent that message to me was an extended family member. The details don’t matter. But there were two parts of his rather long emails that bothered me. Big time.
Sorry, don’t mean to rant, but I’m totally drunk on cold medicine right now and I just feel a need…
First he said:
“You’ve made it very clear for a long time that you are going to do what you want no matter what other people think.”
Second (referring to other family members):
“I’m not the only one who feels this way.”
I think it goes without saying that nobody likes to find out that other people, and people they care about, are discussing whether or not their life is acceptable, douchey, or on “the right track.”
I mean give me a break. I already know that to my big Mormon family I’m about as hell bound as they come.
In the Book of Mormon, there’s a story of a young man who goes around spreading falsehoods to the masses about religion and life and heaven and hell. He leads many people away from the church in his efforts. His name was Alma.
I always read that story when I was in the church and thought, wow, what a dill weed. If anybody deserved to be smitten with leprosy or brain eating maggots it was that guy. I mean… look what he’s doing to the souls of others!
Now I look at that story and I think, that’s a man who had his own convictions, and he stood by them. He wasn’t a dill weed at all.
In the story, his father the prophet prays so hard that an angel of God smites Alma the Younger to the ground, knocks him out cold for a few days, and helps him have a change of heart through tortuous and painful repentance. Alma wakes up and becomes one of the greatest prophets and missionaries ever known.
It’s kind of a cool story, I won’t lie.
And I know that to a lot of Mormons, including my family members, I’m a modern day Alma the Younger, pre-angel, and definitely not scripture prophet potential. To many of them (who I love dearly and who I believe love me), I am someone with a big voice who is using my voice and my platform to purposefully spread mistruth and drag others away from God’s only truth. A lot of them pray, I bet, for me to have my knock-em-out moment with an angel and realize my own faulty ways.
I get that. I’m okay with that.
Those are their beliefs and I’m not going to fault them for those beliefs. The church and its teachings are sacred to them. We all have the right to believe our own truths and live our own truths.
I do, however, have a problem with two things. First, the inability to appreciate that I live and speak my convictions, even when those convictions are different than theirs. Second, the inability to see only me, instead of a very different version of me wrapped in the blankets of their own version of right and wrong.