My girlfriend and I visited my parents recently. My sister and her husband were there. While it was nice to reconnect with them, some of the conversations can range from mildly uncomfortable to downright untenable.
My sister, who is slightly Facebook-phobic but has a sparsely updated account (mostly at her husband's behest, I suspect) was discussing the family members who she's friends with on that wonderful social media site that everyone loves to hate. She said she was tired of our aunt's constant political posts, which I could understand. And then she moved onto our cousin.
My sister disgustedly described our cousin's updates. "She posts such horrible pictures of herself all the time," she whined. "She looks awful. She's clearly not active in the church. I'm sick of seeing it."
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
First of all, where does my cousin get the audacity to post pictures reflecting her own lifestyle on her personal Facebook page for anyone who has willingly accepted her friend request to see? Am I right?
Now, I don't have this cousin on Facebook, so I can't be certain, but I'm pretty sure she's not posting snapshots of her heroin needles and her dildos. I'm guessing it may be some tattoos and maybe some pictures involving alcohol or cigarettes from a night out with her friends. It's simply astonishing what people can choose to be disgusted by and horrifying how easily people can mentally elevate themselves above their peers based on non-substantive offenses.
This, of course, is a perfect opportunity for some self-referential irony, considering how disgusted I am with my sister's judgment and how much I think I'm better than she is because of it. But I think an important difference is that I'm a "victim" of her judgment. She acted so abhorred by the non-Mormon lifestyle while she was sitting five feet away from her obviously non-Mormon brother. Classy move, sis.
I don't really hold it against her, because everyone says stupid stuff from time to time. But I do consider it further evidence of the closed-minded judgmental worldview fostered by a lifetime of Mormon indoctrination. My sister's hurtful, insensitive comment just makes me hate the church that little bit extra.
I think this kind of stuff is happening more often these days. I think everyone in my family is getting a little exhausted about dancing around the ex-Mormon elephant in the room. Filters between brains and tongues are wearing out, mine included. I don't really know what that means, but I hope it leads to more open and more useful discussion.
I don't know. I guess we'll see.