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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.


Melanie Jacobson said...

OH MY GOSH. This is EXACTLY what I've been thinking. I was seeing it so often to the point that I was thinking, "Wait, did I mess up on what I was supposed to get from that talk?"

I'm so glad I'm not the only one thrown by this.

I myself probably need something stronger than the vinyl of the "Stop it," by the way. I'm thinking tattoo.

Beth Freestone said...

Yeah, it is kind of funny how certain talks and phrases attain instant "pinability". I also have Find Joy in the Journey decor--I loved that talk! I do like the "Stop It" quote too. Short and to the point. Easier said than done! Miss you Girlfriend!

Jill Campbell said...

My vinyl print will be--JIll, don't judge others because they sin differently than you. Then I will stick on the insides of my glasses. If I can find them.

Oh BTW thanks for posting something. I was getting bored.

Alyssa said...

Oh my gosh! I have been struggling with this all week! What really gets me is that I've seen it presented as a quote attributed to Uchdorf (no I can't stop to check the spelling). It drives me crazy because he never claimed to make it up, but people are crediting him as if he did. As much as I like him I dislike that everyone went gangbusters for the talk and started quoting it in vinyl ten minutes after he left the podium. There were so many great talks from conference, I'm wondering why this one "stuck".

It ranks up there with "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it" wherever that came from. Ok, maybe I need to make my own blog post about it instead of using your comment section.

Unknown said...

Bethie -- I miss you too! I am going to make up my own printable of Stop It. Except it will be Stop It Damn It! And then I will just hold it up every time my kids do something that annoys me.
Who am I kidding? I better just hang it up so my arms don't get tired.

LisAway said...

Thank you! I keep seeing people with that quote and think, "wait, the point is that someone who WE might reject or ridicule should have that bumper sticker. Us? We shouldn't care one whit what others think of us. Worry about how you see others and do your best to be good. Period." Really. I thought that a thousand times in the last week. :)

Wonder Woman said...

I have been thinking EXACTLY the same thing. I love the quote, but as it pertains to me not judging others. Not telling others not to judge me. I feel like hanging that quote in my kitchen would be excusing all the sinning I do. And as much as I love that thought, I don't think that how Elder Uchtdorf wants us to apply it.


Wonder Woman said...

*meant to put a winky next to the comment about excusing my sinning. It was a joke. ;)

Becca said...

Saturday afternoon I saw the first of my new favorite: "President Benson: Do It. President Uchtdorf: Stop It. J. Golden Kimball: Damn It."

Liz said...

I was thinking this was strange too, but thought I was the only one. As my family sat in our jammies watching this talk really got my kids attention. They are ages 6 to 10 so that was quite amazing. We took the message to mean "Stop it with no excuses." So if you are fighting with your brother you should just stop it and not give me a ten minute justification of why you needed to fight with your brother (or gossip or judge). I guess the other quote kind of misses the point of that for me.

Angela Cothran said...

I had no idea people were doing this! We can be a bizarre bunch. It is funny because I remember the bumper sticker from the talk but that is't what I took away from the over all talk. What can I do to be kinder, less judgmental, and more Christlike? Is't THAT the point?

Karen M. Peterson said...

You are definitely not the only one. I was thinking the same thing. It's a great quote, but too many people completely missed the point.

Kelly Bryson said...

Thanks for the different perspective. I live in a different world in SC, though, bc there are definitely times when I feel judged (and judging by some of the recent election results I'm not imagining this.) I think both "Stop it" and "Don't judge me because I sin differently than you" are just fine! Move out to the "mission field" and you'll likely feel better:) We still do some vinyl letters, but it's not an epidemic:)