Blogging For The Lord, or at Least I Thought I Was...

I had a really interesting experience the other day... I had a commenter on one of my threads over at hubpages.com, who happened to be a member of the Mormon Church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This member also made sure that I knew that 'she' was active in the Church, as I am, but would not do what I was doing.

I bring this up because I was somewhat surprised as to why she took the time to comment on my article. Her main issue was not really the topic at hand, but that she felt I should not be writing about the Mormon Church LDS Church online and purporting to have authority in some way to do so -- which I don't.

Perhaps what took me by surprise was that after the one comment was made and then I responded to the comment, this did not seem sufficient to this person. In fact, another post was made, which I did not approve. I emailed her privately to let her know that I would not post her new comment and proceeded to tell her why...

Unfortunately, this angered her greatly and basically - she felt that I was squelching her comment. She felt that I was picking and choosing what I posted and most importantly only those post that would support my writings only. What upset her also was the fact that she felt I was unteachable to her strong opinions and counsel. She even let me know that from her perspective and my responses - it was clear that I had not prayed about her counsel.

I am not sure why I am blogging about this experience, except for this one fact - and that is, that I did not like finding myself on opposite sides of thought, with another member of the Mormon Church the Church, let alone a woman or sister in "Christ"!

Yet, it is apparent that good people who believe and claim to be one - really can have different ways of interpreting a thing - that you would assume should be clear to both. The question then arises... is one of us right? If so, then one of us is wrong! Can there be two ways to interpret a thing... and both be right? Particularly where the gospel of Jesus Christ is concerned. This sister felt quite critical of my online writing about Mormonism. I think that she felt that I was taking it upon myself to preach the gospel with no authority. Her concern was that I would more likely do harm that good. It seemed from her lengthy comments to me that her position was don't do anything, thus no harm is done. It was her opinion that brief interaction with nonmembers was all that is appropriate for members to have with nonmembers and then we should send them on to those with authority and keys.

In other words, from what I could tell that she was saying - was that I was completely out of control in my writing about Mormonism in such an open way. In more words... how could I possibly think that I had a right to teach about the Mormon Church the LDS Church, while I had absolutely no authority?

I did post the link to the talk that Elder Ballard gave at the Hawaii BYU Campus a few months back, where he encouraged members to talk about the gospel online... She was not impressed, said she was aware of the counsel, but still felt it her responsibility to let me know that I had misinterpreted the counsel.

As I have thought about this encounter with this Mormon woman, I wondered if this had anything to do with the fact - that she herself was not comfortable with speaking and teaching about LDS beliefs? Perhaps not, as she seemed like she was a very bright woman overall. She most certainly had the ability to communicate her displeasure with my actions. But, there is really no question that we simply had a difference in opinion.

My feelings brought me over to the general topic in the Church about Emma Smith. Women in the LDS Church, and good women - find themselves on opposite sides of feelings about Emma - and yet, we all have the same information.

The problem I see with both of these situations, is that I am bothered by the fact that one member would in a sense attack another member of the same group. I felt that this approach to the situation with my Mormon woman friend and women in the Church generally, in regards to how they feel about Emma Smith - must respect the heart and passion of one another. To find ourselves divided openly, and being critical of one another, was very disconcerting to me personally.

I feel that the last thing we want to have happen within the Church, as we are all in different places with our testimonies and how we interpret different parts of the gospel of Jesus Christ, etc... that we strive to understand one another, thus we learn and grow together versus apart.

I really hope that as the kingdom roles forward, and we find that as members we have differences in what and how we live and understand Mormonism - that we will keep in mind that differences do not always signal that one is right and that one is wrong.

Diversity with one another should help us to understand and realize that differences can exist amongst good members of the Church. I believe that when we as members find ourselves looking at other members of the Church - and don't feel that what or how they are doing Mormonism is the most excellent way - nonetheless we remain one.

In this unity, we are united in our overall effort to move the work of the Lord in our lives and in the lives of others. If we can embrace this type of attitude with one another, not seeing the need to judge or be critical of one another - then perhaps we might find that what we are not initially comfortable with - there can be comfort. What another brother or sister has to teach, say or think on an issue - actually does have merit.

In this way.... we truly are the children of God and it is evident to all who may be observing and searching to know truth.



tDMg
Kathryn Skaggs

Note 2/21/12:  For some strange reason this post, that was originally posted back in April of 2008, got posted as new, TODAY! I have re-dated back to original month and year.  For those who have commented, thank you! Even though this incident was quite a while back, these types of instances continue to occur on occasion. I love my readers here on WBMW and your support and encouragement of what I do here, is why I continue to do it!  Hugs to you all! : )

*And now, today, 2/22/12, I see this post has been picked up by LDS Living Magazine! LOL And because of this I am going to do a bit of editing on the use of "Mormon Church" a term that is currently, not cool.

**And may I also add that I don't like the title that I gave this blog post written nearly five years ago!  Sigh. ; )

LDS.org: Sharing the Gospel Online
"Learn how to share the gospel of Jesus Christ online using social media, blogs and other channels."

16 comments:

  1. You're doing the right thing and doing it well, Kathryn! Keep up the good work. Your message can be a shining beacon to many who are searching for the Light.

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  2. Oh the joys of dealing with our fellow saints. I am kind of surprised that you were surprised by this. The church is filled with all types of folks who's beliefs lie across many different spectrums.

    However, the worst are usually those who are convinced of the absolute correctness of their own personal beliefs. This person sounds like the type that condems half her ward for not keeping the sabbath day properly and considers the other half too 'holier than thou' for keeping it better than she does.

    The only real truth lies in acknowledging the incompleteness of our own understanding and our need to constantly rely on the grace of our Savior to make up the difference.

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  3. I think you expressed yourself very well! I often read your blog, but don't comment :) you do a wonderful job of expressing your testimony of the Gospel and helping to strengthen other through your opinions and expressions. You often give food for thought and a different perspective on things. Please don't be discouraged because of one person. Keep blogging!

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    1. Glad you took the time to comment today. I appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.

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  4. What another member of the church has to say does have merit, that is why we are given the opportunity to give talks in Sacrament meeting. We are given a topic and we put it together as we are inspired by the spirit. I felt this other person was trying to give you a hard time and I was sorry that you felt you had to defend to defend yourself against that. I enjoy your blog and your testimony. Keep up the good work.

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  5. I've realized fairly recently that the ways I feel about certain things are probably the way *I* should feel about them -- my personal revelation -- not advice for anyone else. So, I'd guess maybe it's not her thing to be sharing the gospel on line. She probably has other things she needs to be doing. In your case, sharing the gospel on line is obviously something you've felt inspired to do, and you should go with it. The problems happen when we push our "personal revelation" onto someone else thinking it's the same for all, when it's likely not.

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    1. Good thoughts Emily, and you're probably right. Although for the most part, I think I try to be a general voice for Mormon beliefs versus promoting my own ideas. I think we need more members willing to share our basic beliefs with others, online. : )

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  6. Like all of us on this planet, members are no exception to the description that we are imperfect beings here to learn and develop our characters and be better. This interaction doesn't surprise me but reminds me that just because we are all members of the church and active, people assume that we would all think and respond in the same way. Not so, as we come to understand things according to where we're at in life, how much we are regularly studying the scriptures and all that entails, prayer, pondering and the effort we make to understand the counsel we're given. Some people are studious in their efforts to learn the doctrines of the church, others lean on their own wisdom and ignore the counsel given by brethren and in scriptures. We are counselled in scriptures to know the word before we preach it. And beyond that instruction, the rest is about sharing the word. We come into the church with a diverse background of different levels of scripture studying and worship and faithful practice. Don't stop doing what you're doing to further the work of the Lord and help people know more of Christ. If she doesn't wish to do the same, and interprets it differently, respectfully agree to disagree and discontinue any further contact. She needs to sort out her communication style and I don't agree with her position at all.

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    1. I have certainly learned more, about how true this is, over the last few years of writing about Mormonism, etc... and expressing my personal opinions online. It would be interesting to check back with her and see if she would express the same feelings to me now. As you say, we all grow and change through experience. : )

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  7. There was a time when the Church did not want the members to do much on the Internet regarding LDS things, even asking people to take their LDS specific sites down.

    But in 2007, the Church realized that the anti-Mormon forces were arrayed on the Internet in such a way that the Church by itself would not be able to keep up. So Elder Ballard asked members to be involved in friendly ways. Here is a link to his talk.

    I often have to refuse comments on my blog. Sadly, I'm forced to moderate the comments, as I've gotten some very impertinent comments, spam, and often "counsel" as you have received. You cannot satisfy everyone. I don't even bother emailing people that I've refused comments on, as all it does is dredge up such animosity.

    It is your blog, and you have the right to decide what comments will be published or not. That sister is equally free to write her own blog, and complain all she wants regarding stuff.

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    1. So I've heard. But you are right, each of us, as members, are free to speak our minds, whatever that may be. I did mention that article in this post, of which she was not impressed, and have linked over to it. Thanks.

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  8. I got here from LDS Living and I'm glad I spent a few minutes reading the article and the comments. I thought the title captured the idea of the article very well. I for one have a high regard for those who have the courage to open their mouths and speak of things that are important. This person who seems to think that only the full time missionaries should be teaching the gospel, seems to have a spirit of fear and not of faith. Fear isn't a bad thing unless it paralyses you into doing nothing.

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    1. Thanks for popping over! I truly believe that that Lord needs more members willing to speak up about our Mormon faith and share our beliefs with others. I know that many are hesitant, but I can testify that He will lead and guide us along the way. This has certainly been my experience, as one who does not consider herself an expert -- but willing.

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