I have often said that it our own insecurities that fuel our need to judge others.These insecurities when combined with other insecure individuals can hit a fever pitch within communities who share a similar belief. Communities wherein are found a dominant religion are more subject to this fever pitch than others. My comments are centered around the state of Utah and the LDS faith that are dominant in that area, yet I know that the same holds true in other communities where any religion is dominant.
I have wrestled with this post much over the past months. I have been prompted many times to write regarding this subject yet have great trepidation in doing so. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I live in the Salt Lake Valley. My faith in the teachings of the Church are secure and firm as I deeply understand the principle teachings of our church, yet I find tremendous disappointment in the vast insecurities of both the members and former members and their incessant need to judge, shame and ostracize others.
One rule in this post, there will be no toleration for any negative attacks towards this church or any other religion in the comments of this post, they will be removed. This is about individuals and their own insecurities, not a church.
I have heard it said that we should treat others as we would treat our Savior Jesus Christ. That we should love one another, serve one another and lift one anothers burdens. If that being so, if we cause harm in any way to another are we not guilty of violating this? Would we have also participated in the crucifixion of Christ if our actions today towards others hurt and destroy?
In a society with a dominant religion, many people feel that in order to fit in that they must belong to that particular faith. While many would argue that is not the case and that those members are warm, loving and welcoming people, I disagree. As a member of that dominant religion, this is simply untrue.
Anyone reading this blog knows and understands that my life simply does not fit with the ideal Mormon home and family. I have personally experienced and felt the cruel, harsh and painful comments, actions, and judgements of those with “holier than thou” attitudes towards others. If it were not for my deep testimony and belief in the teachings, I would have left this church years ago based upon the actions of those in the community.
I see this happen regularly within our community, where those who struggle in life due to circumstances created either by others, fate or themselves, who have trials sometimes too much too bear are ostracized by the very people whom you would think would practice what their church teaches and “love one another” even as Jesus Christ loves each of us.
My experiences from coming home from my mission onward to today have created empathy within me to see others for who they are, not who anyone thinks they should be! The church teaches that one of its missions on earth is the perfecting of the saints. Perfecting is a process as no one on this earth is or ever will be perfect. That one perfect individual, our Savior has already come and no one else will ever be perfect. Perfecting requires work and time, not the here and now.
So with that clear principle, why do others in communities with dominant religions judge those who are not perfect? Why are so many ostracized, criticized, shamed or belittled for not being perfect? For being different? For not believing? and why is it that those who choose to leave the church become worse than those within in their attacks and persecution of others?
The answer is personal insecurity. Those who shame, judge, criticize or ostracize others are deeply insecure that others may find that they too are not perfect and therefore find themselves subject to the same unrealistic standards they force upon others. Ones they know they cannot possibly live up to. They misdirect the attention from themselves towards those who are different or struggling in some way to avoid the self reflection within themselves, as they most certainly would be repulsed by what they see staring back at them when their own standards are applied.
So if you are one who finds the need to comment, avoid, shame or judge others who are different, look in the mirror and see what true hatred and animosity looks like, If you stop your kids from playing with someone who is of a different religion, avoid those with tattoos, smokers, coffee drinkers or drinkers of alcohol; if you invite one family and not another to the neighborhood barbeque because they are different or not a member, if you wave to one neighbor who attends church but look away at the one who doesn’t then STOP IT! Stop crucifying others and start living what you profess and begin to replace your own personal insecurities with love and compassion.
Are you the Pharisee or Sadducee within the church who pressed for Christ’s crucifixion or the sinner believing in Christ and his redemptive power to heal? Would you have crucified Christ? What do your personal actions in how you treat, talk, and respond to others say about you?
The person you are directing your judgment towards, avoiding, shaming or ostracizing more than likely understands love, empathy, compassion and service greater than you ever could. All Christlike qualities. I for one stand with those who have felt betrayed, scorned, ridiculed, shamed and judged within a community for a life given and not chosen.
As we find our path and choose our way in life we do so within our own abilities and control. We accept and move forward in life with those things we cannot control, such as illness and other peoples choices.
What we see in others is a reflection of what we see in ourselves.