Judge Not

I'd like to talk about judgment today. As members of a church with a well-established doctrine, Mormons can sometimes be very certain that their interpretation of  a given element of the religion is the correct one. In other words, we can all be a bunch of Judgy McJudgersons. It's hard enough to be a good person, but when voices from all over are telling that you're doing it wrong, it gets to be downright miserable. I've noticed that that the tendency to judge (one another and ourselves) has come to a head on several blogs authored by LDS women. 
Anonymous commenters throw around quotes that are often incomplete (or incorrectly cited, in some cases) to establish that they are in fact in the right regarding a given issues. The truth of the matter is, it doesn't matter if the whole quote is presented or not, I'm bothered by this assumption that because *I* understood something a certain way, *EVERYONE* should understand it that way. The point I’m trying to make here is that we each personally interpret the doctrines of the church as they are presented to us. I think each of us is probably imperfect in our interpretation, but I hope that we all do it with the guidance of the spirit.
In March of 1998, Elder Dallin H. Oaks gave a wonderful devotional at BYU regarding judgment. He differentiated final judgments, which we believe will be left entirely to Christ, and intermediate judgments. He then explained that “to be righteous, an intermediate judgment must be within our stewardship. We should not presume to exercise and act upon judgments that are outside our personal responsibilities.” 

In the end, I think that a lot of us in the church (and probably outside of it) spend an inordinate amount of time judging each other for highly personal decisions. I have been very guilty of this myself, but it’s something I really desire to change. Having been judged harshly for my decisions (and some circumstances that are beyond my control), I recognize that it’s better for me to say, “You know what, I don’t agree with the way you’re doing that, but I probably don’t have all of the information that you do.”

How do you feel about judgment and judging others? Are you as guilty as I am? How do you change this? 


Jena Nicole said...

This is an especially interesting post to me and hits close to home.
When I became inactive, it was under a guise of mistreatment and misinformation on the parts of some of the priesthood holders in our ward. Not to say I didn't have my own set of mistakes and issues, but I felt as if the branch was not a safe place to handle these issues, partially because of my concern for the way I was being judged.
During this time there was also a change of hands in the presidency of that same branch. Rumors were improperly transferred, files misplaced and again people made judgements about me without ever having known me, met me or spoken to me.
So, when I finally went to the current branch president to discuss having my records removed from the church (literally years after becoming inactive), he threatened to excommunicate me instead, based on a rumor he'd heard among some of the membership. And, while I had previously gone through the motions of repentance with the previous branch president for that sin, I was being threatened by someone who had no facts regarding my situation based on something he heard from an uninvolved party.
I verbally reprimanded him. He made a weak apology. But, the damage was done.
He had stepped outside of his authority. He had a hand in damaging whatever might have remained of my faith in the church, and that was his first time meeting me.
I think you're right when you say that judgement is sometimes better left to Christ, or at least those that have been entrusted with that authority.

Señora H-B said...

Jena - Thank you for sharing your experience. I can imagine that your experience was incredibly painful and frustrating. I'm glad that we're still friends, though, and that we don't judge each other for past mistakes. :)

Jena Nicole said...

Mrs. HB,
There is noting I could judge YOU for.
You're impeccably non-judgemental, at least in my own experiences with you.
I find that the women of the church are far less likely to be judgemental than the men... Which, is kind of an odd think to think. Because, generally it is women that get the bad rap for judging others.
It's all a patriarchal conspiracy to keep women from taking over the world... ;)

Señora H-B said...

Aww, Jena, you're too kind. I have my moments of being a Judgy McJudgerson. But it's usually about fashion or decor, not life choices. ;)