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Question

 

Gramps,

In an LDS group, someone posted a picture of them in front of the temple and the baby is “flipping the bird”.  Obviously the baby doesn’t know what it’s doing, I get that.  She wanted quote ideas to put on the wall with it. I said it wasn’t appropriate to put on display.  I was then called out for being judgemental and lacking humor.
My question is how do we go about standing up for respecting the temple and standards without casting judgement on others?

Abigail

 

Answer

 

Dear Abigail,

Sometimes when someone says “Don’t judge me” that’s code for “I know I’m doing something wrong.” Think about this.  Have you ever heard someone say, “Don’t judge me, but I pay my tithing in full every year?” What about “Don’t judge me, but I’m faithful to my boyfriend and I attend church every week?”  I’m very sure you’ve never heard anyone saying that. What you usually hear is “Don’t judge me, but…” and then they say something that is sometimes (key word, sometimes) sinful. Often times people are afraid of judgments because they’ve done something wrong and deserve to be judged appropriately.

It’s true, no one is perfect. We all make mistakes and we all have lapses in judgment. Even the prophets are not perfect and they’ve made mistakes before too. It sounds like the parents of the baby were trying to be funny but instead they came across as rude and insensitive to LDS and our beliefs. You are not the only one who finds this in poor taste, and it is no reflection whatsoever of your sense of humor. Don’t let others push you into the “I don’t find offensive things funny, so I have no sense of humor” way of thinking. You can have a very well formed sense of humor and still stick to your morals and values.

While we personally should respect the temple and what goes on in there, it’s impossible to force our view on others. Some people, (LDS or not) will simply not behave in such a way that shows respect to our temples and our beliefs.  You are absolutely free to judge them. You are also free to tell them your judgments. Unfortunately though, they don’t have to listen to you and it might damage the relationship that you have. Finding the balance between defending our values and letting things go is an incredibly hard thing to do in life. Usually as we get older we find it easier to discern between expressing ourselves and swallowing a sometimes bitter pill and keeping our mouth shut, even on controversial issues and inappropriate behavior. Since it takes time to gain that experience, perhaps the best thing you can do when deciding how to respond to such situations is to slow down.  Let your emotional reaction have time to play out and then cool.  Afterwards, ponder and pray about whether to respond, and how to respond in a way which includes love for the people involved.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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