Monday, February 27, 2012

To Whom it May Concern:

After much consideration, I have decided to opt out.

Of WHAT? {You might ask, and that, my friend, is a very valid question. But as with MOST things I share on here, we need a little - okay, or a lot of- back story. So here goes...}

Let's start here.

I have a really huge ego.

Not with regard to my physical appearance per se {as many of you know, I have come to terms with the fact that I'll never have hair like Julie Duncan or eyes like Chantel Taylor...etc. I've accepted it. Bygones. I'm not all that and a bag of chips. Got it. Moving on.}

Not with regard to thinking I'm super talented. {Anything I can do, someone can DEFINITELY do better. And in most cases, much, MUCH better. Accepted. Fact. Done.} It's really become a non-issue for me.

But I fear that my ego may be rather "HUGE" in terms of intellect. And no, that doesn't mean I think I'm smarter than everyone, not by a long shot. But what it DOES mean is this:

I really struggle with the fact that a HUGE section of the population of our planet thinks that my membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is grounds for dismissing me as a sheep-y/lemmingish/brainwashed/unable-to-think-for-herself-idiot who only lives as she does because she is too stupid or scared to live her REAL truth.


Lola + Mormon = Idiot.

I have a huge problem with it.
This is where the ego comes in.
And this issue has really reared its ugly head in the past few weeks.

What I'm going to share next is VERY embarrassing for me, so, be nice.
{OR, feel free to point/laugh/make fun of me to your friends, but just don't tell me you did...kay?}

 I grew up in a family filled with scholars, lawyers, successful entrepreneurs, and {yikes} even a few politicians. I grew up in a home where we debated social issues over the dinner table, and believe me, if you jumped into one of these conversations, and didn't bring your A game, you were eaten alive right alongside the meatloaf and green beans. As a result, I am fairly type A, and don't tend to wither in a heated argument.

However, the older I've gotten, the more I have come to realize that nobody likes a pompous know-it-all who shoves "their truth" down everyone else's throats, and won't let others get a word in edgewise. I know better than that. It's just not fun to be around those types.

SO, that being said, I DON'T KNOW how I got sucked into it, but the past little while, I have been frequenting anti-Mormon/pro-Mormon/everything under the sun websites and having discussions in the comments sections and forums. I've read hundreds of negative, hateful comments from people who are certain that Mormons are the most idiotic group of people to ever come into being. According to them, it's no mistake that only one small letter makes the difference between "Mormon" and "Moron."

Fun stuff.

It gets more embarrassing.

I spent HOURS of my precious time {hours of it!}sometimes well into the middle of the night, writing huge comments in response to some of the things I was reading. I then spent HOURS the next day responding to responses to my response to their response, to my response, and...yeah. I told you it was embarrassing.

Despite the fact that these conversations were respectful,
my life started to feel icky.
I was exhausted.
I was exasperated.
And of course, no good came of the discussions.
How could it?
People are going to believe what they are going to believe.
They just are.

So why was I taxing/wasting my precious resources in the name of arguing with someone who thinks that I am a brainwashed idiot?

I could have taken a nap, or heck, gone to bed before 3:00 a.m.
I could have made cookies with my children.
I could have watched a movie and made-out with my husband. {Don't tell him that this was third on the list, I can't help it if naps and cookies are POWERFUL shhh.}
I could have taken a shower and rubbed peach/grapefruit body wash into my skin until the hot water ran cold.
I could have given myself glitter toes.
I could have read an entire book. A good one. An uplifting and educational one.Or one about owning chickens {something I still dream of at least weekly}.
I could have written emails to people I adore and thanked them for being amazing people and blessings in my life....

But INSTEAD, I spent HOURS of my day and night, not showering praise and attention on my children and all of the good people that bring joy into my life, but rather, authoring massive "comments of futility" {as I now like to call them} to a person who thinks I am a brain-washed idiot who cannot think for herself. I also spent HOURS the other day in a conversation with a close relative hoping to help her understand a portion of what I believed so that she would stop operating under the assumption that I am the world's biggest idiot. And she would have NONE of it. I spent all that time trying to appeal to people who don't {and never will} respect me INSTEAD of spending that time where it counts. So. Embarrassing.

Utterly embarrassing.

POINTLESS I tell you!!!

Talking about politics and religion in social situations is taboo for a reason.That reason may very well have something to do with this: 

It gets people all sorts of worked up, it creates ugly feelings between friends, and in the end,

None, whatsoever.

Facebook is becoming such a MISERABLE place to be in the shadow of the Presidential election coming up this November. Yuck! People are at each others throats, and everyone has some big, glorified opinion, and many people so carelessly disregard those opinions, and boo. Just boo. And hiss. And boo again. I've only posted a very few things, and in retrospect, I'm sorry that I even posted those. Politics is so beyond choosing the lesser of two evils at this point, and it's laughable that any of us are trying to make a savior out of one man and a Judas out of another.

They are all Judases - duh. How do you think they got into such high positions? You think it was all kissing babies and waving from convertibles? No. They each sacrificed more than a sacred cow {or 60} to get where they are. YET, we have found a new sport in supporting them.It's like we're all lining up in the school yard and cheering on the 5 biggest liars/bullies/scumbags in the place.

But guess what? This isn't a school yard. We're supposed to be grown up and know better by now, but we've just created a bigger "playground" for ourselves and all of the unspoken rules that governed us in high school govern us still. We're saturated in unconsciousness...and we don't even know it.  How CAN we know it, when we are this unconscious?

Worst of all, we're damaging relationships we have with GOOD people in defense of complete losers.

Should we care about who the next President is?

We should educate ourselves and make the best possible decision by voting for a candidate that most closely resembles our values and ideals BUT we shouldn't allow all of this election garbage to turn into a facebook ego feeding frenzy where we are damaging our relationships with people who actually matter.

I can honestly say I have lost a lot of respect for some people over the past few months. Not because of which candidate they are backing, or because their beliefs differ from mine, but because of how I have seen them treat close friends and family members while defending their own candidate or tearing down the candidates others have chosen to support. It's classless, mean, and tacky, and I certainly hope that Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Barrack Obama have time in their busy schedules to fill in the holes left where your friendships were lost in their glorified defense. None of these men care about you, so it's unfortunate that you've decided to destroy worthwhile relationships in the name of supporting them.

And yes, we should talk about the issues. We should be able to share why we support a candidate, but we can do it with a little decency. People mention politics and the gloves come off and manners fly out the window. It's sad and unnecessary, and I am sad to say that I have been party to it on more than one occasion.

But it stops now.

I have yet to get into a huge debate with someone over ANYTHING and have them come away from it saying "Well golly Laura, I never thought of it that way. You done gone and changed up my mind for me!"

{Okay, to be fair,  it's actually happened a few times with very specific friends who are profoundly open-minded and honestly seek to understand. I have also had my mind changed by them quite a few times, when they've shared a perspective I hadn't taken into account, but I've found that this is the exception and certainly not the rule.}

People either diligently seek to know the truth, or they don't.
They either look outside of their own conditioning and question the values society has laid before them, or they don't.

And that's that.

I'm embarrassed that I have allowed myself to care about whether or not anti-Mormons think I'm stupid.
I am embarrassed ANYTIME I allow "what someone thinks of me" to matter in the least, because when I care about something like that, I am operating purely from a state of ego.

And yes, some may say that it's only natural that I care about what others think, but I didn't come here to be "natural." I don't think I dreamed of an earth-life where I could tiptoe around and hope to please everyone with my abilities to appear intelligent and likeable. I didn't come to earth in hopes of winning the world's biggest popularity contest. I came to learn how to love and be loved.

My purpose in life is not to make atheists believe that I'm smart.
My purpose in life is not to garner their respect.
My purpose is to love them as they are.
My purpose is to love everyone, ESPECIALLY those whose beliefs differ from mine.
My purpose is even to love those who are almost impossible to love.

If I can do that, I will have really accomplished something in this life.

When I pray for missionaries in the field, I pray for them to be led to people who are seeking truth. I do not pray for them to be endowed with the power to change the hearts of hardened anti-Mormons or atheists. That would be pointless. Many of them are "past feeling" and more importantly, God gave them agency, and no one {including God} can change their hearts, because God is bound by His own laws and will not revoke agency - even if it means bringing someone to "exaltation".

Forcing someone to "choose the right" has always been Satan's plan, not God's. So if I wouldn't expect missionaries to change the hearts of those who have no interest in changing, why is that something I would expect of myself?

And why, would I waste so much of my time doing it?

It can only be chalked up to a momentary lapse in judgement....and BOY did I get sucked in for a bit.

But I am grateful for that experience because I have learned from it.

I choose to believe that people are good, and everyone is doing the best that they can with where they are at. Unconsciousness is so rampant, and I feel like I'm walking around in the fog of it SO OFTEN, but in these short moments of clarity, it's nice to find peace.

I, for one, will not be participating in political garbage discussions on facebook anymore... because I have all the ingredients for chocolate chip cookies in my pantry, and therefore, will ALWAYS have something better to do.

I won't be worrying about the salvation of anti-Mormons...because their salvation is theirs and theirs alone, and I have a hot husband and a whole list of good movies I want to watch with him.

I won't be worrying about whether or not atheists think I'm stupid... because I know what I know, and I have felt of God's love so intensely and supremely, that it has touched me to my very core, and I will never deny it, or explain it away. I will never deny the peace {tangible, real peace}that I feel when I am in the temple.

It is beyond understanding for some, sure, but that doesn't diminish it.

The only time I haven't felt peace in the last long while is when I have looked to the world for approval. When I seek to be understood and embraced by the world, things get if-y in a real hurry. No acceptance from an outside source can compensate for the peace I feel inside when I trust what I already know.

Bear testimony and share your light with THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING IT. But don't cast your pearls before swine. Take it from someone who knows - it is exhausting and fruitless labor.

I, for one, am opting out of the argument. Permanently.

I only get 24 hours in a day. I'm no longer willing to waste them in political debates on facebook or in detailed arguments in religious forums.

I have so many better things to do. You have so many better things to do.
We could be eating hot cookies, people!!!!
Hot. Cookies!
 {Right from the oven. With milk. And people we love. Why would we choose to do anything else, really?}



BriAnn said...

Amen and Amen. Glad there is someone else out there who feels this way. I'm eating cookies with my toddler as we speak.

sostinkinhappy said...

Love this, Lola. Love. Love, L.O.V.E.

For what it is worth, I think you are one of the smartest (and funniest) chicas out there on the 'net. Just let your light shine, Lola-girl, let it shine. (And stop visiting those websites - make some puffy alphabet letters instead!

Nisa said...

Oh man! If I could have read this two years ago, when I went through this EXACT same thing with the EXACT same results... Ah, but reading it probably wouldn't have taught me as well as going through it myself.

There are so many lines in here I just want to copy and paste and quote again and again. You're awesome, Laura! Love ya!

stin said...

Agreed! Thanks for this post. It is always good to be reminded of what matters most!

Katie--the amazing one, not your other friend named Katie. She's amazing, too, but not the same Katie as me-- said...

Thanks for sharing your experience.
A word to the wise: remember that the others participating on these comment boards, in these forums, on these websites, and even on facebook are just as impassioned and opinionated as you, otherwise they wouldn't be spending hours doing the same thing as you. All people are at different levels of truth and understanding. What one accepts as truth/knowledge is very personal. Respect that. You won't change someone's mind overnight. They have to take new thoughts and ponder them and let time lead them to the truth. I have had very strong opinions of my own that have molded and changed throughout the years as I've become more learned and aware. Others opinions along the way helped to change my understanding, but it never happened instantaneously. Don't be afraid to share your insights, but don't let someone's ignorance or contrary opinion cause you grief. You are responsible for whether or not you take offense at another's words or get riled up at what you perceive to be stupidity. Have patience. They will come around or you will come around.
In the mean time, live a life full of passion, because with that passion comes fulfillment. Be grateful for your experiences and knowledge and look forward with delight to the opportunities for mature conversations where differences of opinion can be shared in a respectful manner.

Amie said...

I LOVE this post and feel the EXACT same way! I have cousins on facebook that insult our church and they don't even understand our beliefs! It's SO tempting for me to defend it and make them feel stupid sometimes. :) When they make their comments, it makes me feel yucky all that day, but I know I'd feel yucky for weeks if I fought back. I just ignore them and sometimes delete them from my wall. Maybe the best way to get through to them is to be kind and love them anyway and they can see that I'm a normal person just trying to make the most out of my life like anyone else. P.S. I want warm cookies, but I'm on a diet. Wahhaaaa!

Lindsay said...

This was so great! I agree, there are SO many good things we can do with our time. And Satan would love nothing more than for us to waste our time with pointless crap.

the Lola Letters said...

Katie - I agree. But I am just taking it one step further. I really don't believe much good {if any} comes from debating spiritual truths. Ever.

And that's what those forums do. At least, that's been my experience.

People are completely on their own paths, and though my comments and discussions were respectful {as were theirs, for the most part} they were still pretty much pointless.

I really just feel that I will be happier in choosing to love and accept people as they are. I also feel like I'll be happier loving and accepting myself for who I am, and not trying to prove anything to, ever again... if that's possible.

And yes, I REALLY DO enjoy having in-depth discussions about the beliefs of others. It helps me understand more about who a person is and where they come from. My brother brought a roommate home for Christmas one year who was Taoist. It was awesome getting to know him and learn more about what he believed. We had some very enlightened conversations. I think that is always a good thing.

I know this post sounds a little sassy and angry, but that anger is directed at myself. It was a little scolding that I had coming, and it felt good to get it out! ;)

You're exactly right. People are on their own journey, and doing their own truth-seeking, and if it just so happens that their earnest, sincere seeking leads them into my life, I will gladly share what I believe with them, and I will also gladly listen as they share what they believe with me. But I won't do it in a forum. And I won't try to help someone who thinks I'm a moron...stop thinking I'm a moron. Cause really, it doesn't matter what other people think of much as my ego would beg to differ. :)

Katie--the amazing one, not your other friend named Katie. She's amazing, too, but not the same Katie as me-- said...

I definitely know the feeling. I wasted practically an entire Saturday caught up in the comment section of a newspaper article on an education reform topic. My experiences had led me to certain ideals that were not embraced by the majority of the other posters. Although well articulated, my arguments were discounted and even disgraced. Some comments on my posts were even quite hateful. The consensus was that I was delusional because of my ideals; however, my beliefs, knowledge, and passion was based on the experiences I had. But it was evident that this was far from the experiences these others had encountered.
By the day's end, I was disgusted by what became very evident was a poor use of my time. You came to a similar conclusion. Like you, I would've much rather been baking cookies all day.
And finally, I do hope that there are people who are lead into your life or cross you path. I don't doubt that you will be able to share with them your knowledge, experiences, and passions in a way that can be appreciated.

Barbaloot said...

I know what you mean---it's very hard to not defend yourself and your beliefs when you are threatened, but it just isn't always productive. I've thought before that no one is really going to change my mind, so what makes me think I can change theirs? The important thing is to be civil and that's rarely possible. I saw an atheist on Fox News yesterday talking about Santorum and he was very respectful. He didn't say mean or hurtful things, he just pointed out the differences and how the beliefs impact decisions. He was neither for or against Santorum---just discussing. It'd be nice if everyone could do that. But since we can't, we'll just have to make the best decisions we can.

I just put a somewhat political picture up on my blog---but not for discussion---just for fun. In fact, I made sure to tell people I didn't want to discuss politics at all:)

S Soumphonephakdy said...

I love that you are willing to accept and love people for who they are. I think all people should have respect for other people's beliefs. I grew up Mormon. I do not follow anymore. There are many reasons but that's not a story for this time. Two of my sisters still follow and I definitely have a lot of respect for them and their husbands. Lately, I've actually been going to the Buddhist temple with my husband's side of the family. Although, I don't believe that either, I realize that all religions have great lessons and morals that are taught. I respect anyone that is devoted to their faith and that uses it for good in their lives.

the Lola Letters said...

Barb - Totally! I LOVE political cartoons, and I don't mind when people share them on fb or elsewhere. It's their right to share and say whatever they want on their personal web space. It's just when people are rude, or get worked up and start getting personal that I take issue with it...and even then, I'm not going to make it my problem anymore ;)

I also love listening to discussions that are intelligent and respectful. Some VERY intelligent people I know are atheist or agnostic, and they have interesting insights, and I think when we just respect people for who they are, and make a sincere effort to look at something through someone else's perspective, we're happier and probably wiser too.

I came to the exact same conclusion you did. I KNOW what I know, and no amount of discussion with an atheist is going to remove that knowledge from me. So why would I think that my "arguments" are going to change what an atheist knows? Pointless.

It's my job to be kind and to be a good friend. That's it. And I'm excited about that responsibility. Life will be a lot happier when I stick to what my true responsibilities are.

Now, I'm off to go check out your cartoon! :)

the Lola Letters said...

S Soumphonephakdy - I think that is AWESOME!

I really respect that you live and let live. I have quite a few friends whose family members have left the church, and they now busy themselves tearing down and mocking the Mormon faith on facebook. It is SO HARD for these friends who feel that they are constantly being mocked and attacked for living "their truth."

Mocking a religion openly on facebook is just a cowardly, passive aggressive way of calling a huge group of people idiots... without the consequences of having to own that attack. The same goes for people posting stuff that insists someone is an idiot for NOT believing.

I think the fact that you don't feel the need to attack others, even though you personally have chosen a different path, speaks to the fact that you really are balanced and at peace with yourself. A very wonderful thing!!

Live and let live. There's a lot of power in those words.


gledyfam said...

Thank you for this post! I have been reading your blog for some time, and love it. I have also got a little caught up in others' opinions about us mormons. I so appreciated reading this today. I love your honesty, and your awesome ability to word things in a way that explains all that should be explained. I struggle with that! Keep the posts comin'

Spencer 'n' Kristi Corbett said...

Good for you, Lola. Hey! Read this book "FIRMLY PLANTED IN MID-AIR." It basically goes over how people with beliefs and stick with them are fading away . Yeah, you know--people with morals--and that more 'n' more it's the 'right' and 'smart' thing to be firmly planted in mid-air where. I should read it again. During these elections, I get all worked up, too, and it takes everything I've got to stay out of the way and have my own peace of mind that I'm not an idiot, either. ANyway, good luck with opting out forever.

Kathy said...

Well written. Enjoy your new found freedom.... I am not Mormon, but some of my best friends are. And they don't even hold it against me. ;-) I sure enjoy your blog.

S Soumphonephakdy said...

Hey. I wrote a blog post and referenced this post. I linked it in my blog. I hope you don't mind.

~j. said...

Love this. Love you. Love that comic.