13 July 2007

What, Exactly, is That Supposed to Mean? Part 2

My mom (Hi Mom!) is always amazed when two people who were married in the temple are getting a divorce. Similarly she is amazed a man who served a mission has been convicted of child abuse, murder, or any other heinous crime. To me, the only thing that these statements (“married in the temple” or “served a mission”) indicate, is that at some point, those people declared themselves to be worthy of being in the temple. That’s it. We can't know if these people were ever truly worthy to be in the temple. (Remember the one woman who married a man in the temple, only to come to find out six months later that the woman was in fact a man?!)

I love that the Church leadership leaves this question of worthiness to us. I love that when the Stake President asks me if I’m keeping the Word of Wisdom, a simple “yes” is sufficient; no blood work necessary. I love that we're not required to bring our W-2s to tithing settlement. Rather, the bishop asks if we’re full tithe payers, we give an answer, and that's it. But I just want to scream when newspaper articles, items on local news, or stories (a.k.a “gossip”) include the qualifiers that so-and-so was a returned missionary, because really, why does that matter?

I would like to believe that calling someone a “returned missionary” does say something about that person. I would like to believe that saying a couple was “married in the temple” says something about that couple. (This doesn’t mean that I think serving a mission and a temple marriage don’t mean anything, by the way). In fact, it saddens me that these types of statements really don’t say good things to me. But should they?


Amber said...

I hate that anyone uses labels or accomplishments to describe people. I understand it to a certain extent. But when someone at church asks if my husband is an Eagle Scout, and finds out that he is not, I don't like feeling a huge wave of judgement come upon me. Yes, that's right everyone, my husband is not an Eagle Scout! GASP!

erin said...

I can't believe your husband isn't an eagle scout. the shame you and he must feel!

but honestly, this is another great example. i'm sure it's close to the same thing women get if they didn't get their YW recognition award.

Gretchen said...

These qualifiers are really obnoxious. To me, the only thing they do is provide me with a frame of reference. If someone says, "And, he was a missionary! (gasp!)" it usually only proves that they should probably know better. If they aren't -blank- then I dont' automatically assume that someone has sat them down and had that oh-so-important "don't be an idiot" talk. Now, having served a mission, I realize that many many people who serve missions really DON'T know any better (despite having had that talk repeatedly). Which is why they eventually end up committing heinous crimes.

But we've been trained to think the best of people so we think that their calling/accomplishments might mean that they should have a clue - when sadly they don't. It's not fair, but it will always happen.

holly said...

Yeah. I agree. Labels are just human nature, a way of categorizing and boxing things up, understanding an issue? But not very accurate, as you've pointed out.

linda said...

funny article i just read that solidifies your point! Sorry so long!

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (ABC 4 News) - A former Utah man was killed in Virginia Saturday over an apparent love dispute with a member of his fiances' LDS ward. Todd Rogers, 31, grew up in Salt Lake City.

Fairfax County police arrested 41-year-old John P. Bloxham and charged him with Roger's murder.

According to an article in The Salt Lake Tribune, Roger's father, David Rogers, said his son had planned to announce his engagement to his girlfriend, Carrie Johanson, on Sunday. Bloxham and and Rogers were driving home together Saturday night from Johanson's house.

The Tribune article says Bloxham and Johanson are co-workers at the U.S. Census Bureau, and according to David Rogers, Bloxham is an Elders Quorum counselor at her ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Fairfax County police say Bloxham and Rogers began arguing in the car when Bloxham pulled a hand gun and shot Rogers several times. Police say Bloxham fled the scene, allowing Rogers' car to crash into a parked car.

Police found Rogers as they responded to a hit-and-run call. Rogers was transported to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he later died.