My post on women and the priesthood stirred some interesting and heated debate on social media. This has been an interesting, good, and difficult experience. I hope I learn a few things from this. First, the interesting and good is the fact that there was a wonderful conversation that started with people from all sides of the issue. I LOVED that! It was also great for me to have my voice heard and to feel I am being an honest person about my views.
The difficult comes from some of the less-than-respectful things that were said on both sides. I guess when emotion gets involved people say disrespectful things. I feel I tried to be really fair and open, but in the end I lashed out a private message someone sent me that basically implied that I misunderstood God and may have made a mistake by marrying my husband since he “obviously” is making bad choices and leading me away from the one true path. That was incredibly offensive to me, and I lashed back. This came after trying to explain over and over that I was looking for understanding, not agreement, but he was not interested in understanding my position and debating it at a civil level, only in saving my soul. He also stated that he had seen all the issues my husband is worried about and they all had answers, but that Ricardo looked the wrong places, and he urged me to not be led astray by my spouse. Well intentioned as he was, his message was offensive. I can think, I can read, and I have my views for a reason. You can disagree with me, but don’t talk down to me and don’t insult my spouse because you think you know everything!
I feel justified in feeling angry at what he said, but now part of me wishes I hadn’t debated with that person at all because now a friendship is damaged. He is a good guy. Much like other people I know, he sees things in black and white, and sometimes states his opinion as obvious fact. I know Mormons who do that, I know ex-Mormons who do that, I guess everyone probably does that from time to time.
I suppose my expectations were set to high. I can’t expect to post a controversial topic on Facebook and expect that people are all going to be nice and respectful during the dabate.
That leaves me with a dilemma though. I want to share my ideas and my changing views since I think they are good ways of looking at life. I want to hear different ideas and think about the things people have to say on all sides. I really like this! On the other hand, I don’t want to ruin friendships and have well meaning people talk down to me like I am a lost child. And I certainly don’t want people to decide NOT to talk to me anymore because I have different ideas than I used to.
I’m a pretty understanding person, or I try to be. I don’t think I take offense easily since I try to see what they are saying from their perspective as best I can. But I am sensitive, and when people are saying hurtful things and no matter how much I try to explain myself, they stick by those hurtful things–it hurts! I do care what people think about me and I want people to like me because I believe I deserve to be like and I try to be likeable. Somehow I have lucked out in the past with having this ideology pan out very well. I guess this is my first encounter with people who simply do not want to understand me, only change me and tell me I’m wrong.
And it kinda sucks.