Subject: Perfection
Date: Sep 10 12:27
Author: Elder George Carlin

I thought the following quote was insightful:
"Perfection is man's ultimate illusion. It simply doesn't exist in the universe. There is no perfection. It's really the world's greatest con game; it promises riches and delivers misery. The harder you strive for perfection, the worse your disappointment will become because it's only an abstraction, a concept that doesn't fit reality. Everything can be improved if you look at it closely and critically enough - every person, every idea, every work of art, every experience, everything. So, if you are a perfectionist, you are guaranteed to be a loser in whatever you do."
- David Burns, M.D.

I feel this encapsulates the unhappiness of so many Mormon people I know. They get this charged drive for "perfection" each week in their wards. This psychological need to be "perfect" was also taught by Jesus himself who said "Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." "Perfection" is such a subjective and abstract concept that people never quite feel they measure up and ultimately end up feeling inadequate and depressed.

Compounding this, "The Church" frowns on critical thinking, so that many of it's followers never develop the ability to reason or think logically or critically...a developed skillset that could possibly help pull many of them out of the wallows. These organized groupthink BUSINESSES need their members to be beaten down, so they can end up being able to control them into getting what they want out of them (e.g., money, labor, money, company, money, etc.).

This is one of a multitude of reasons that I am not a Mormon, a Christian, nor a believer in organized religion. The only church I will join is Timothy's Beer Church.


Subject: " Perfection" the Mormon yardstick that measures Your "Eternal Guilt"........
Date: Sep 10 12:34
Author: dja

.......and degree of necessary, accompanying, punishment.


Subject: Re: The myth of "perfection"....
Date: Sep 11 03:56
Author: Hap E. Heretic

is the "stick" the Mormon church beats you with.

At least that's how it felt for me.

All that "Be Ye Therefore Perfect" nonsense drove me into several nervous breakdowns, and I know, firsthand, why Utah is the anti-depressant capital of the world.

I can't tell you how much more serene I feel without that stupid, perfectionism "monkey" on my back 24/7.

It is an impossible standard, and perhaps the most pernicious aspect of Mormonism.


Subject: "Perfection"......where 'future' Gods and wannabes can sit in judgment over the Lesser Mortals.....
Date: Sep 11 10:06
Author: dja

.....and self-righteously beat them into submissive Obedience.


Subject: A memory from my youth [ancient history]
Date: Sep 11 10:38
Author: Alonso P. Farquardt

I had always dreaded report-card day. That's when I was chewed out for being so lazy and disobedient etc. My TBM father could be rather frightening even when he wasn't beating me with the special "spanking belt" on my bare behind.

Anyway one day I had brought up a grade from a C to a B. It was the subject that I got chewed out about alot. I was proud and happy to finally have something praiseworthy to show to Dad.

When Dad got home I showed it to him. He said, "Do you know what a B means?"

I said, "Yes!" and turned the report card over where the letter grades were defined, "B means 'above average'".

"No," he said, "It means you didn't do something you were supposed to do."


Subject: "If you're a perfectionist, you're guaranteed to be a loser." Harsh.
Date: Sep 11 11:06
Author: anon

What about a gymnastics perfect 10? What about a perfect score on a test? What about putting together the perfect outfit, or giving an interviewer the perfect answer that lands you the perfect job?

Where I think where the idea of perfectionism goes wrong is to imply that "perfect" is an unchanging state. A perfect 10 on a gymnastics routine from the 1940's would be a 5 today, because people just keep improving. Part of this improvement is people trying to achieve a "perfection" that exists in their own minds. But once someone achieves "perfection," (for example, the four-minute mile), it immediately becomes obsolete. Now someone must run a 3:55 minute mile. And when that record is broken, they must run a 3:50 mile. Ad nauseum.

I think it's okay to "strive for perfection" as long as your feet remain grounded and your perspective is a little more clear. I think people who have a solid sense of self-worth can afford being perfectionists, and what's more, I think most of us are perfectionists in certain areas, about certain things in our lives.


Subject: Harsh but true. Perfection does not exist.
Date: Sep 11 13:20
Author: BadGirl

I don't care if you put a number on it, it still wasn't "perfect" -- somebody can always find a way to "improve". Perfectionists always feel like losers deep down, and will be eternally frustrated.


Subject: Perfectionists don't always feel like losers deep down.
Date: Sep 11 13:44
Author: anon

I understand that if someone is striving for an ideal that is unachievable to them, they will be frustrated a lot. But if their goals, which they can label "perfection" are within their reach, then they're not going to feel like losers. They're going to feel proud of themselves when they achieve their goals, and it's going to spur them on to more goals.

It's about perspective and realistic perception. If you have those things, you can aim for a "perfect" score on a test, or a "perfect" gymnastics routine, and you're not going to be wallowing in self-loathing.

Absolutes like "you're GUARANTEED to be a loser" aren't helpful to anyone.


Subject: But they're AFRAID of being losers if they're not perfect.
Date: Sep 11 14:40
Author: BadGirl

So maybe that's a better way of putting it.
It can also be an obsessive-compulsive thing...


Subject: Some are, some aren't.
Date: Sep 11 15:01
Author: anon

Some of the world's top CEOs are perfectionists. It's possible to be a perfectionist and not have something seriously wrong with your psyche. If you're a goal-oriented, driven kind of person, that's not always a cover-up for being insecure or having a catastrophic fear of failure. It's just a personality trait.

What happens with the Morg, is that the Morg is oriented toward assuming all its members have this personality trait, when in fact, few actually do. There's nothing wrong with being goal-oriented, just like there's nothing wrong with not being goal-oriented. But when you're not goal-oriented, and you're forced into an environment that is, an environment that only rewards you for continual goal-hunting -- goals that aren't even your own, but are made by someone else, and therefore might not even be desirable or attainable to you -- that's where the problem comes in. That's where the feelings of never measuring up, of "perfection" being a pipe dream, etc. come from. It can be really detrimental and negative to many people's personalities.

But some people thrive on that kind of thing, and that's OK too.


Subject: Being "goal-oriented" is NOT the same thing as perfectionism.
Date: Sep 11 15:36
Author: BadGirl

Read my post about the creative orientation, where the goal is to create what you envision. Not to be "perfect" by some arbitrary standard.
I doubt that too many top CEO's are perfectionists. That kind of thing bogs a person down and keeps them from true achievement.


Subject: Google "Martha Stewart and perfectionism."
Date: Sep 11 15:59
Author: anon

She's one example. There are hundreds of others. Perfectionism does not ALWAYS bog a person down. It does not ALWAYS keep people from achievement.

And what's this Morg-like idea of "TRUE" achievement? Is there false achievement? How do you know if one of your achievements is "true," do you fast and pray about it?


Subject: And you do. Everybody hates Martha Stewart.
Date: Sep 11 16:38
Author: BadGirl

She doesn't sleep, she fills her days with mindless arts and craps. She's like a Stepford Molly!
At least she was savvy enough to make a lot of money at it.
But it's quite obvious she has problems.

I seem to have trouble getting you to understand that there is a difference between being a creative, goal-oriented achiever, and a perfectionist.
Maybe we just aren't using the same definitions for words.


Subject: I completely understand that there's a difference.
Date: Sep 11 16:45
Author: anon

However, I don't believe that the difference is that "creative, goal-oriented achievers" set their own goals, while perfectionists do not. That seems to be one of your points, and I disagree.

I do agree that the Morg sets goals for people and then condemns them for not achieving these goals, whether or not they're valuable or realistic for the people in question.

However, perfectionism is not defined by only using outside ideals set by others. Most perfectionists do, indeed, set their own goals and standards of achievement.

Also, perfectionism is not a popularity contest. Whether or not "everyone" hates Martha Stewart is beside the point. You doubted that there were CEOs who were perfectionists, so I pointed to one who is, and who claims that her perfectionism has helped her achieve great things.

Is it possible for someone to become so obsessed with how theyr'e NOT measuring up, that they miss out on seeing the great things they've done? Sure. Is it possible that someone's perfectionism can become a negative, never allowing them to be satisfied? Of course. But that isn't ALWAYS the case.

If you can't see that perfectionism is not ALWAYS, in every instance, a negative that doesn't allow people "one true achievements," and makes them "losers is all that they do" (like the OP's quote implies) then it certainly isn't me who has the complex.

Personalities are not that black and white, not that cut and dried. We're all capable of different things, we all view the world differently, and what makes you unhappy might make someone else fulfilled.


Subject: Wow, you are out in left field. Sorry you have a complex
Date: Sep 11 16:29
Author: BadGirl

about the word "true". OK, I will accommodate you and use the word "real". Real achievement is when you create what you set about to create. It is not based on somebody else's rules or expectations or standards. Only your own.
Totally the opposite of "morg" anything.


Subject: What we should be striving for is to create what we want
Date: Sep 11 13:21
Author: BadGirl

to create -- what we have envisioned. Not "perfection", which is some mythical external ideal that does not really exist and is not very useful.


Subject: All Subjective
Date: Sep 11 14:59
Author: AxelDC

Gymnastic is a judged sport, so all scores are subjective.

You can get a perfect score on a test, but that doesn't mean you have perfect knowledge of the subject. It just means the prof made the test easy enough for you to get 100%.

The "perfect outfit" is in the eye of the beholder, as is the "perfect answer". One interviewer may love it and another think it is hokey, lame, stupid or annoying.

Unless you have an objective standard by which to judge, perfection just means that you meet the expectations of the reviewer.


Subject: Precisely!
Date: Sep 11 15:09
Author: anon

"Perfection just means that you meet the expectations of the reviewer."

Well-said. And with most perfectionists, the reviewer is themselves. Perfection does not have to be a universal, objectively measured, structured set of parameters. Have you ever had the "perfect" day? What would the "perfect" vacation be for you?

As long as the perfectionist himself is the one in charge of what that means (and has a realistic perception of what's attainable for him), there's nothing bad or wrong with being a perfectionist. Some people find that kind of thing inspirational and motivational. I would be very hesitant to say that "all perfectionists are guaranteed to be losers in all that they do." That seems to drastically over-simplify and stereotype perfectionist-type personalities.

If something works for you, and makes you feel happy, great! If not, ditch it and try something else, but it's silly to assume that what is toxic to you is toxic to everyone across the board. That's all I'm saying.


Subject: That's not perfectionism. When you define your goals yourself,
Date: Sep 11 15:38
Author: BadGirl

when you define success yourself, that is a creative orientation.
Perfectionism is like OCD.


Subject: Perfectionism, like any personality trait, has its good side and its bad side.
Date: Sep 11 15:57
Author: anon

My sister is a musician. She sets her own standard of "perfectionism." What sounds fine to me will make her wince with displeasure. She's a perfectionist when it comes to music. Just because someone else didn't set her standard for her doesn't mean she's not a perfectionist. She will play the same song (on her violin) over and over again until she feels it's "perfect." She has defined her own goals, and yes, she's a perfectionist.

OCD-like behavior can go hand in hand with perfectionism, but it doesn't always. Perfectionism is not always a bad, negative trait.

What's wrong with you people that you can only see things in terms of black and white? There's not just one side to this issue ("Perfectionism is BAD BAD BAD all the time!").


Subject: Honey, I'm a musician too, so I know this one from the inside.
Date: Sep 11 16:41
Author: BadGirl

I think we are just defining our terms differently.
There is definitely no such thing as perfection in music.
But "perfection" in one's own mind is simply making the music sound as you have imagined it should sound in your head. That is success.
And it will have to be enough for you, because if it is not, you will ultimately drive yourself crazy or at least never be happy. And there is no point to life unless you are happy.


Subject: Re: Perfectionism as psychological defense mechanism
Date: Sep 11 11:56
Author: 3X

If one is "perfect", does "perfect" work, has a "perfect" life, etc then one has immunity from criticism.

This forms the basis of the "force field" with which TBM's surround themselves and their sect: "My church is perfect - therefore anything negative uttered about the church, anything negative revealed about the church, will just bounce off of me. It's irrelevant; the church is purrfekk."


Subject: A very thoughtful entry.
Date: Sep 11 13:47
Author: monkeywrench

This is the snare the church uses. Join the LDS and get perfection in the CK (after you die). You are so right. Perfection is unattainable. Why not just enjoy this ride called life??? I hope the Buddhists/Hindus are right about reincarnation. I wouldn't mind taking what I've learned and having the opportunity to improve in the next go-around. My girlfriend dumped me because I'm a non-member. You'd think she'd be happy. Not!!! She tells me she's sad about everything. That quote by Dr. Burns gives me the warm fuzzies.


Subject: Perfect = insufferable bore
Date: Sep 11 14:55
Author: AxelDC

How could their possibly be the "perfect person"? By whose standards?

People have different ideas about what they want in a person. One of those is also endearing imperfections that remind us that they are human and loveable.

Someone who is "perfect" would probably be an insufferable bore. He would be incapable of relating to other people, and probably also unable to specialize in his interests and career enough to be successful.

That doesn't mean we should file down our rough spots, but this ideal of perfection is imperfect and flawed from the start.


Date: Sep 14 17:13
Author: Not Telling

Matthew 5:48 should be "Become ye therefore perfect" rather than "be ye therefore perfect." "Perfect" here means "spiritually mature." Sanctification is a process of overcoming with the aid of the Holy Spirit.


Related Topic:  500.  Be ye therefore perfect -- and mentally ill


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