Date: August 09, 2018 05:14PM
I appreciate Cheryl wanting to support hurting people here, as she has done for as long as I've been around. It takes energy to reach out to others and selflessness to recognize another's need, especially when challenging stuff exists in one's own life too.
It may not occur to some readers to differentiate between discussion posts and the I need support ones. Sure, people need to accept that to a certain degree they get what they get when they put themselves out there but I see that as being more appropriate for a discussion thread than a support one.
Too, it pays to realize and remember that many here are adjusting themselves to a new life after Mormonism and/or religion altogether. Many of us are negotiating our way out of situations that challenged us at the time and may be ongoing. Especially, here, to an even greater degree for those with family members still in Mormonism and/or who live in the belly of the beast. For me, with no LDS family and being far, far away from the spires at Temple Square, Mormonism recedes with little effort on my part and few reminders. In fact, if I didn't keep clicking on RfM it would be down the memory plug hole long since, likely. Others have lifelong family, business and living associations with it so obviously that keeps it in the forefront for them.
So, there are folks here going through crisis, hardship, shock, questioning, trauma, illness and multiple mega losses. There are many who are through that (or never experienced the deeper challenges during or post moism) but stay around to help support newbies and others. There are some who love discussions, history, doctrine and analysis more than this is my life or help me topics. A big fat messy mix, in fact.
I try to recognize the "support" threads vs the "discussion" threads and react accordingly. Someone in crisis, for instance, isn't going to be helped by, nor can they process, a treatise on the evils of Mormonism or a slap in the face diatribe about what they should do, how they should feel and how stupid it is to worry about it or be hurt or upset or waffley with decision-making. It's not that helpful, for instance, to state abruptly that someone should just leave their spouse and kick up their heels and be happy forever. Emotions, obviously, are in play. And feelings. And promises and commitments and family matters. And our individual experiences, needs and personalities.
As Eric, Board Founder and Owner, repeatedly says: This board is not for formal apologetics (in fact, professional apologists need not apply) nor for supportive statements about the Mormon Church by anyone. That's the mandate. He never said it was about being "fair" to FAIR et al.
It's not is a question of being fair or balanced, as if this is a debate class and we have to be sure to give both sides of the question.
Mentioning religious beliefs in general here is allowed IF we phrase it in terms of what we personally believe and/or if we recount our own experiences. An example that comes to mind is that recently I have been talking more about my time as a JW. I have made some statements about the people (not the organization) that I loved and said that in the early stages I enjoyed being a JW. That is OK ground to cover. I *cannot* get away with writing warm and supportive comments about the JW organization or, obviously, encouraging anyone to check it out. It might bug some people but it's not against board rules and people can always quit reading.
But with Mormonism, even in general discussion threads (where nobody's asking for support and gentle approaches) does it make any sense, in view of this board's purpose, to make positive comments about the program or the leaders? It would be like me saying that I had numerous bad experiences with the WatchTower Society (JWs) but hey, at least I learned some good public speaking skills. (So that makes their sketchy history and ongoing abuses OK?) Or with the LDS Church, if I say I disliked it but I sure enjoyed their annual picnics (extreme example, couldn't think of anything else, only went to one picnic, hated it).
So for anyone expecting the majority of comments here to be "fair" or positive or balanced or to think we're duty bound to give both sides, wrong.
And I too, like Cheryl, wince sometimes when "tough love" type remarks are blurted out onto a thread where gentle support is more obviously what is being requested or needed.
There's lots of threads. Plenty for everyone. Too, we can always break off from a thread and start our own if a post or comment somewhere has prompted us to take things on a tangent or if instead of directing our disagreement or strong feelings towards a particular OP we can make it more abstract. We can accomplish the same thing without being unsupportive in someone's thread.
I'm not advocating dancing around in slippers. I'm speaking now of the threads/posts where someone is needing assistance or a kind expression of support - which is what Cheryl is referencing. It would perhaps be more useful all round if we could focus more on the other poster and not on expressing our ire at the Mormon Church in adamant or angry terms that come across as railing against a poster in need.
As I said, I try to bear in mind if a post is primarily for discussion or else for support. That usually governs how I respond. Hopefully, it's usually fairly easy to tell from the subject line.
And yeah. People are not always going to be logical, lucid, listening, approachable or ready to learn, change opinions, alter overnight their values, behaviour, entire life. But we can care and chat and suggest and just say hi anyway. No lectures or arguments needed.
One of the hardest things may be to learn not to tell others what to do. And stop with the judging. Humans just seem to naturally react that way though. And then you add the religious element on top. Oy vey, as AmyJo says. (And yeah, I don't know how to spell that).