I’m following a couple of interesting conversations on various blogs and Facebook groups, and I have some thoughts.
The main conversation: modest dress. For those unfamiliar with the LDS tradition, we have a pretty Puritan approach to dress. No bare shoulders, no short shorts, no low-cut shirts (though I violate that one all the time…it’s one of my only assets, my decolletage…). Up to a certain point, it’s more culture than doctrine. For that matter, both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon probably have more of a problem with Marc Jacobs and Burberry than with sleeveless shirts.
But I’m not going to debate the whole modesty issue. No, the more distressing part of what I’m seeing is what the Internet has done to discourse. Shrill. Tunnel-visioned. Judgmental. And worst of all in many cases, it creates a mob mentality at a much faster pace than actual mobs with torches and pitchforks. It makes me want to just shut off all communication.
I like having conversations. But what I’ve seen lately (and I include myself in all of this) is an inability to listen. And especially in matters of politics and religion, the dialogue becomes “If you don’t agree with me, you are wrong.” And on issues of religion, at least what I’m seeing in my religion, wrong means sinner, unworthy, going to hell. I’m okay with being wrong. I’m not okay with someone implying that my politics or approach to religion is putting me on the fast track to eternal damnation.
I teach the adult Sunday School class and this year we are studying the Book of Mormon. Here’s what it hitting me most, and what I can’t adequately express to my ward because I don’t want to be accused of being political at church, but most of the problems with the people in the Book of Mormon were not always between believers and non-believers.
The problems were with the believers factioning off within themselves, purposely excluding other believers for a variety of reasons. And it’s still happening today. On the Internet, in church buildings, even in families.
Today, the problem isn’t liberals or conservatives or the Internet or the gays or the Kardashians.
The problem is us.