Friday, May 30, 2008

Mocking

By Rebecca Talley

My oldest daughter in high school has been particularly ridiculed this year for being LDS. When she chose to leave her health class because Planned Parenthood was going to present its pro-abortion platform, she was harassed. When she makes comments about what she believes, other students make fun of her. Toward the end of the school year, she was sick and tired of all the bullying simply because she chooses to live the gospel.

In Lehi’s dream we learn about the tree of life. We read about the path with the iron rod as well as the large and spacious building where others are in the attitude of mocking those who cling to the rod. It’s important to remember that those who are mocking are in the large and spacious building, not on the path to the tree of life.

Sometimes, we might feel justified in mocking or ridiculing those who are not living the gospel. We take on an attitude of self-righteousness and snub those we feel aren’t worthy of our attention. While it is true that we cannot lift another unless we are on higher ground, it is the attitude with which we choose to “lift” others that matters. When we exercise compassion and remember that not everyone has had the blessing of the gospel in their lives, and even more, those who do have the gospel may not have had the same experience or learned the same things, we can more effectively lift others. When we are mocking someone, we have lost the opportunity to teach him the truth.

My son was involved in theater in high school. Most of the kids in the theater group chose to live their lives differently than my son and while he didn’t agree with their choices, he still loved them as people. A small number of kids in theater were involved in a religious group that repeatedly told the other kids how they were going to burn in hell because of their choices. The accused kids would then come to my son and ask questions about what he believed. Many of these kids told my son how much they appreciated that he never judged them or condemned them, but loved them despite their choices. He was also told on several occasions by these kids that if they decided they wanted religion, they would come to him because they knew he truly cared about them.

We do not like to be ridiculed for our beliefs. We, as a church, have endured years of persecution. People do not understand our beliefs and as a result mock us for them. Others with different beliefs also do not want to be ridiculed. While they may make choices that we understand are breaking commandments, we need to keep in mind that we are all in need of repentance. None of us live our lives perfectly. We make mistakes. We break commandments. We all need the atonement.

Instead of condemning those who don’t live the gospel, we should concentrate on teaching them the true path to happiness. We can only do this when we love them and we can only truly love them when we don’t mock them.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for reminding us of how we should always treat other people. Unfortunately, I think the Golden Rule is pretty much ignored nowadays.

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  2. Wow, Rebecca, I'm sorry your daughter experienced so much ridicule. Good for her for being so strong. ONe of our duaghters experienced similar frustrations...and strayed from the path for a bit. It was so scary. She's doing great now...and sealed in the temple to her sweetheart...and all because someone served her as an angel. Rather than ridicule her, that person challenged her to return and be worthy of the things she knew she really wanted.

    Thank you for your great reminder to all of us.

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  3. Dear Rebecca:
    Your blog hits the spot. Sometimes we ridicule those we are closest to. Often that is when irreparable harm happens. I hope we will all take more care in the words and actions we take.
    Margaret

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  4. Ahhh! I have so been there and done that. Being ridiculed for living my beliefs pretty much summoned up my 6th grade year. Tell you're daughter that believe it or not, there will be times that she looks back on those experiences and be glad they happened. (Or at least glad that she stood up for what was right despite the ridicule.) She will be blessed for her valiance and the people she most admires in the scriptures will admire her for her strength of character.

    Can you email me your address? I want to send your daughter something.

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  5. Thank you for your comments. I keep telling my daughter that it is worth it to stand up for her beliefs and she knows that. It's just hard to keep taking it day in and day out. But, in the end, she'll be stronger for it.

    I'll email you Janette, thanks.

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  6. I wonder what would happen if when we are being ridiculed for personal or religious beliefs, we reply, "I have just as much cause to ridicule you for your beliefs, but I choose not to. Would you really like me to change my mind?" Of course we would have to have a forthright, truthful, logical, well-thought out rebuttal ready--one that would explain our beliefs without belittling. I don't think I would have been able to do it as a teen, but today's teens are so far above what I was. Who knows?

    At least we might say that to ourselves, and thus build up our own strengths.

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