Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mo Pas

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.


  1. One of the things I least like about being raised in the church is how much I was taught to be judgmental. It's really awful. I learned it from my mom who doesn't think she judges at all. I still see it creeping into my life rather often. However, I used to not see it at all. At least now I'm learning to be sensitive to it and am changing to be much more open and accepting of people. I really like the change.

    I'm assuming your girlfriend wasn't raised in the church. I'm curious what she thought of the exchange.

    1. I mostly learned it from my mother, too. Even though I've been out of the church for a while, I still catch myself holding on to certain preconceptions from time to time. But I like the change too.

      My girlfriend has never been Mormon, but I've told her plenty of horrible details about the church. She tends to keep her opinions to herself around my family for the sake of peace. After we left, I mentioned what my sister had said and she knew what I was going to say before I even got halfway through saying it. She interrupted with an "I know, RIGHT?" She was pretty appalled by my sister's tactlessness.

    2. The "better than thou" attitude is pretty appalling and is very difficult to see from the inside. I wonder at what point we have to call people on it to point it out. Obviously certain situations wouldn't be the right place to do it, like for example the one you were in. However, stating or insinuating that a person is bad because they don't live the same rules or standards you do is just plain wrong. I'm not a big scripture guy, but I think this one is good advice for everyone. Ironically, I think my mom, by far the most judgmental person I know, is the one who would quote this or at least read it to me.

      2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
      3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
      4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? (New Testament, Matthew, Matthew 7)

    3. That is a good scripture, and it nails human nature.

      I'm noy sure the situation I was in was the wrong situation to call someone on their judgment. Being that disrespectful of a stranger makes a little more sense to me, but being that blatantly insensitive about a family member or someone whom you know well IN THAT PERSON'S PRESENCE should earn you a rebuke of some kind.

      One of these days, maybe I'll have the courage and the skill to tactfully call my family on their bullshit. I can dream.