Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Forgetting What It's Like Not to Know

Fast food years are like dog years.  I've worked a long canine lifetime in fast food.  And I've been with the same company the whole time, doing pretty much the same things and following pretty much the same routines and procedures.

I've noticed lately that, when I'm training someone on any kind of task, I often skip steps.  I'll explain steps one, three, and six of a process and not even consider that explaining steps two, four and five would be necessary.  I've done the task a thousand times and I've forgotten that, if you've never done it before, you might not realize the necessity of those few steps that I'd assumed were matters of common sense.

I've forgotten what it's like not to know how to do things.  I've been there too long, and too much time has passed since I was new, untrained and pretty much clueless.  I struggle to relate to the frustrations of some of my newer employees as they fail to grasp my cursory and incomplete explanations of what they are required to do.

I think I'm at that point with this whole Mormon business, too.  I've been an "inactive" member for almost five years now (Maybe I should call myself an apostate, that has an air of finality to it).  I'm struggling to understand just how so many people (for example, my family members) can continue to believe what, to me, is quite clearly a load of crap.  I've forgotten what it's like not to know that the church isn't true.  I've forgotten what it's like not to consider that possibility because of the depth of my emotional, spiritual, social and familial investments in the church.  I can't understand why if I list four of Mormonism's truth claims that are patently false, my parents don't shake their heads and say, "Wow, you're right, it's all a lie."

The concept that I think I need to wrap my brain around is that the truth staring one person in the eyes is facing away from somebody else.  Just because I can see it clearly doesn't mean someone else can.  Similarly, what's clear to other people may not be clear to me.  For example, some of my coworkers have recently informed me that I've developed a habit of being extremely condescending to people I don't like.  I didn't realize I was doing it until it was pointed out by someone else (or multiple someone elses).  That doesn't mean anybody involved is stupid--it just means that someone's perspective has limited his ability to see what others have a much better vantage point of.

I guess this is kind of a follow-up to my musings on intelligence and stupidity.  Maybe by trying to step back and consider the angle from which my family sees their religion and trying to remember how it was when I was at the same angle, I can forgive them for being what I sometimes term "stupid."  Maybe I can be less angry with them and more...I don't know...patient?

Maybe I can reconcile my respect for their intelligence and my disgust for their religion.


  1. It's really difficult to even tell family members of our unbelief, because i know they won't understand why we don't believe. To them, belief in the church is a no brainier. Hey, I just realized something. They're right! I don't understand how a thinking person can truly believe after they study the facts, but that doesn't change the fact that they won't even consider our position. I think they fear it.

    1. Definitely. And I was so entrenched in that fear and that determination to not consider an alternative to the church that I wonder how close I could have come to being a lifetime member. There's probably a lot of other versions of me who are faithful, tithe-paying, self-loathing members somewhere in the multiverse!