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Friday, April 6, 2012

Stop It!


I have been too busy cutting words from paper to put any words on paper (or screen, if we want to get literal here). Plus, this other thing called life kept getting in between me and my blog. But I'm back, ready to share the profound wisdom you've all been missing from me.

Are those crickets chirping?

Okay, so "profound wisdom" may be a little optimistic. So let me just tell you what's been on my mind this week. And I'm sorry if it sounds like ranting. That's how my mind works. And, also, it's going to get a bit Mormon-y up in here. You've been warned.

For the not-so-Mormon among my fair readers, twice a year we have what's called a General Conference wherein our prophet (yeah, we've got one of those. Because we're all Old Testament like that), apostles (we get a little New Testament too), and other "pastors" speak to us in four two hour sessions on the first Saturday and Sunday of April and October.

One of the best parts of this conference is that we get to go to church in our pajamas. Because it's in our family rooms. Or wherever else we keep the TV. So I spent much of my weekend (okay, I confess, only Sunday morning) watching this conference. Which is always awesome and uplifting, so I'm bummed I didn't get to watch more of it. I heart DVR though, because it's got it all saved for me.

Anyway, one talk I did hear is this one, The Merciful Obtain Mercy by President Dieter F. Uctdorf, which rocked. Totally. Like I wanted to hold a lighter up and sway back and forth. And so did a lot of other people who heard it. But that's not how we really work here in the LDS church. We sit and listen and don't even "amen" until the end of a sermon. And clapping? Forget about it.

But.. we do take snippets of what was said and post, pin, tweet, and sometimes even vinyl it (I've got a vinyled sign myself that says "Find Joy in the Journey", so no judgment here).

So the most popular quote from this conference seems to be one that comes from this part of President Uctdorf's talk:
This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:
Stop it!
It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, “Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.”

Now if you're thinking it's the Stop It! part that's getting all the attention, you're wrong.

It's that last quote. The one from the bumper sticker: "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you."

Which is an awesome bumper sticker. And now, thanks to the magic of technology, you can go to various LDS websites and print out a cute copy of it that looks like you scrap booked/crafted it yourself. I'm guessing you'll be able to purchase a darling sign with it the next time you're in the craft section of Deseret Book. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But here's my problem(s) with it:

1. I feel sorry for that guy with the bumper sticker. He found an awesome mantra and then the exact audience (I'm assuming) it was intended for went and adopted it as their own. Not only that, but they cuted it up too.*

2. When we post/pin/vinyl this, who are we doing it for? Are we asking other Mormons not to judge us? I'm just wondering, because we are good at talking about sin in the abstract--like how to avoid it or overcome it--but not necessarily at talking about the sins we're struggling with. We tend to try and keep those on the down low.

3. If we're posting/pinning/vinyling this for people outside our own religion, that makes even less sense since a) we usually try to put on a picture perfect face for them and b) what we consider to be sins a lot of other people don't.

4. If we're going to reduce the words of an apostle to a memorable quip, it seems like Stop It! is both easier to remember and better encompasses the message of his talk. 

Anyway, maybe I'm over-thinking this. And I'm not blind to the irony of my writing a judgmental post about people misusing a quote about judging others.

I guess the thing I'm really struggling with is how to skip over the whole pin/post/vinyl thing and engrave this message on my heart. Because that's really where it needs to be written.

* Just because I don't like the cutesy printable of this quote, doesn't mean I don't love this site and all the other printables it creates. It is a fantastic blog.