Monday, January 25, 2010

We Are the Masters of Our Own Journeys

I know a man who was gloriously happy after he joined the Church. He truly was. He had been a judgmental person before his baptism; he recognized that tendency and was trying to change - and the Church was helping him. Then he had a run-in with another member over a family issue. Frankly, both of them were correct to some degree, but neither of them would see the other's point.

This man allowed his conflict with the other member to send him back to his former judgmental self. He accused the other man of being a hypocrite (which, to a degree, was valid), but he failed to see the hypocrisy in his own stance and actions. Today, this man hasn't been to church in years - and he is miserable, having returned to his "natural" self. In the meantime, his actions have had a terrible impact on his family, who also were incredibly happy at the time of the spat.

My point: It is one thing to do what you feel is right for yourself and your own children; it is another entirely to actively seek to shatter the happiness of others - to challenge their beliefs in a way that is as "blind" as you accuse them of being. My friend was happy (truly happy) while he was in the Church; he now is miserable - and it's not the Church's fault at all. It is his responsibility, and his alone.

We are the ones who are responsible for our own destiny / fate / outcome / lives / whatever. I have no problem whatsoever with others living and believing in any way they choose, according to the dictates of their own consciences. Anyone who focuses on trying to help others understand what they believe without attacking the beliefs of those others has not crossed any taboo line; anyone (Mormon or not) who focuses on attacking someone else rather than explaining their own beliefs has crossed such a line. I try very, very hard to stay behind it but still cross it sometimes. Crossing it is human nature, and it is part of what we are told to try to overcome. It's a constant battle, but it helps to recognize the nature of the battle.

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