Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Like It Or Not, Gossip Is Real and Cliques Are Too

My fellow brothers and sisters... my answer to this growing plague which causes ones enthusiasm to dim is simply this...Gossip is evil and it exists and it hurts and it won't be going away anytime soon. People will continue to pass judgment and hold onto their cherished judgments made about you even even many seconds and minutes after you have partaken of the sacrament making promises to strive more diligently towards perfection. People in your wards will have their favorites and cliques will continue to exist. You will either fit in or you won't and at times, you won't fit in with ANYONE.

You may also feel as though the ward membership has only the power within themselves to only tolerate your presence vs provide the Christlike version of charitable fellowship and this, above all else, may cause your hearts to sink into despair and hopelessness. It hurts to feel alone or feel like you are outcast or that perhaps you don't fit in or that you don't belong. It hurts when people would rather talk with someone else than they would like to talk to you.

"One day you will prove to them all that they were wrong and God will prove to you that he was right about you all along." Now what do I mean by that? Well if you know your heart and that you are striving to be 'pure of heart' then you have no need to fear. God doesn't need permission by any of your ward members to allow your entry into heaven, PERIOD!

Turn to the Book of Mormon with me to "Jacob Chapter 3:1-2 and read the following:

1 But behold, I, Jacob, would speak unto you that are pure in heart. Look unto God with firmness of mind, and pray unto him with exceeding faith, and he will console you in your afflictions, and he will plead your cause, and send down justice upon those who seek your destruction. 2 O all ye that are pure in heart, lift up your heads and receive the pleasing word of God, and feast upon his love; for ye may, if your minds are firm, forever.

Are people really just sometimes acting like jerks? Possibly. We don't know their past or their upbringing. If you dare, ask them some questions to find out more about them. It is often revealing to discover just how it is that they were brought up. Continue in those conversations by stating how you understand a little more about them and thank them for that insight. Then do your best to lock away their secrets. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right?

I testify to you, brothers and sisters, that it is not part of the natural man to think well of others and no matter what society you are brought up in, people are taught to shun that which they do not understand and we as a human race are not very teachable when it comes to how one ought to be treated and how to treat one another plain and simple. Judge not lest ye be judge. If you feel that you have been ostracized or ignored or loved less than what you are deserving of then join the club. People do have their favorites. It's also human nature...it's also ugly.

There's really very little we can do about this looming plague over those who are members of the church as it is also a plague upon humanity. Wards may have the same attendance percentages and similar rosters of like-minded people for many o quarterly reports. Your Elders quorum presidents will cite Home Teaching numbers and about reactivity and perhaps one soul or two will find his way through the labyrinth and regain his zeal for obedience to the Lord's commandments and begin to once again strive towards the heavenly goal while moving on up in the straight and narrow path. One day, my brothers and sisters, you WILL prove to the world that they were wrong about you but only if you have the intestinal fortitude to say this: I have ONE being that I need to be faithful to above all and that is faithful to the Lord and savior, Jesus Christ, first and foremost. Then you have a responsibility to your family and those you have stewardship over. (Including your home teaching families and those who are recipients of your service included within your church responsibilities and callings.) The important thing to know is that God loves you. You do NOT NEED the approval or fellowship of ward membership. I personally have not had my worthiness come into question by the bishop enough to talk with him about anything however I assume that it is possible where my own behavior may have gotten me into trouble. I am a bit 'boorish by nature' and being thus endowed (also described as being a bull in a china shop) I may have done, said or behaved after a manner which could have been offensive towards others. Que sera sera.

Brothers and sisters, do also as Jacob suggests that we do at the end of his record by 'being wise' as well as humble. Charity faileth not and he who is possessor of charity, at the last day, will have so much more the advantage over the brother who chose to participate in gossip or 1-upsmanship or any other behavior that signifies, "I am better than you because..." and perhaps they've got a full laundry list of GOOD and VALID reasons as to why they are better than you! Believe NONE of them. They may or may NOT have made better choices than you but if one of their choices was to think himself or herself as better than you, then they've got something wrong for 'all are alike unto God and God is no respecter of persons. God will not hold a sword over your neck with a vengeance. Jesus Christ will have compassion on they who have compassion on others. One day, not only will every 'knee bow and tongue confess' but part of this confession is where people will come to you and plead for your forgiveness on how you were treated. They will not need this forgiveness for their own entry into heaven for Jesus Christ has ALREADY paid the ultimate price and providing for us our atonement assured.

Some gossip is founded on truth, on partial truths and upon lies. The best way not to participate in gossip in your wards is to set the example. For example, if a new person comes into the ward and you've had the chance to talk with them and fellowship with them, then count your blessings if they are potentially one of your future, enduring friends. However, if another ward member decides to ask you questions about them, simply say this, "I don't know much about those guys so you'll have to go and talk with them yourself." Shift the responsibility of 'getting to know a new ward member' onto their shoulder because it is not up to you to do so. If they have something opinionated to say about them or perhaps they want you to agree on their assessments about them, then I suggest to you that you do one of the following: Excuse yourself from the conversation by politely saying, "I don't know enough about them to have an opinion about the matter." or simply say, "Well I suppose that's one way that someone could see them as being..." but reserve the right to get to know them yourself.

Brothers and Sisters... I testify to you that God loves us and he is keenly aware of how we're being treated or how others may have perceived or continue to perceive us as being. The important thing, above all others, is that you trust in the Lord. He will set things right and if at ALL necessary, he will send down justice upon those who seek your discomforts and want you to feel less than worthy. God teaches patience and he teaches humility. People will come up to you, in your lifetime, and tell you that they are sorry. Forgive them frankly and receive them as one of your friends wholeheartedly for you must... if you want to be numbered among they who are blessed of the Father in the last day.

I write these things and do so in the name of Jesus Christ, my redeemer, amen. Below: This was my rant but I decided to start over. If you enjoy reading and getting more in depth with the way I view the world, then read this unedited rant below. Otherwise, the article is done.

You decided to come back to church for the first time in forever and/or possibly you've been there for a while and haven't found your crowd. People go about their business and hustle off to class and yet, something feels missing. There hasn't been any fellowship. You sense something is missing but you just can't put your finger on it. It is my hope to write but a few words that if taken in the proper spirit can help save you from a downward spiral that could lead to bitterness and further inactivity and disenfranchisement from the church. For all of those who have felt lonely or outcast or for those who didn't feel like they belong, then perhaps this message is for you. A week or so goes by, and you begin to talk with someone at a mutual activity and their conversations with you are robotic and brief until you politely excuse yourself to then see that same ward member strike it up with one of their buddies giving handshakes with gusto and happiness. "What just happened?" you ask yourself. Did my breath offend? Did I let my hair go a bit too long before cutting it? Have I done something to offend the flock and I now begin to feel ostracized because perhaps something has been said concerning you either real or perceived that may or not be true? I have been the member of a ward for some time now and perhaps part of this is an editorial but in the end, or in the blog, I'd like to possibly answer some of those burning questions that I sometimes ask myself by also being the member of a ward family. We sure are an assortment of many different personalities both positive and negative. Before I begin making assumptions and then concocting solutions for assumptions both real or imagined, let me just clear the air and spell this one out for you clear as crystal. Gossip and judgment happens in the church PERIOD! Cliques are formed and judgments are made about you as to where you ought to belong. It's just human nature. It's not your fault or theirs, it's just how we are naturally bred to be. Even in the book of Mormon, it is discovered how the people would divide themselves into classes. If you want a fantastic read about Mormon's understanding on how the latter days would look like, then 4th Nephi is a very good read. It talks a lot about this. Now Mr LDSLIFE, you might be guilty of passing judgment upon others...beware on how you judge...and the measure in which you judge shall be added unto you etc etc... I get that. This is why I wish to tread somewhat carefully on the subject because whether I have all rhyme and reason or not, it seemeth me good to at least elaborate on my own experiences and then we'll let history decide whether they be of truth or may they be from out of my own imaginations. So once again, for all of those who have felt lonely or outcast or for those who didn't feel like they belong, then perhaps this message is for you and I believe that it is paramount that you read these words before considering to spend any length of time apart from coming to church and apart from renewing the covenant that you made with the Lord in being baptized because above all else, this must be observed. (I will explain a bit more what I mean by this below.)

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