Monday, August 24, 2015

I Take Offense!

You've all seen the opinion articles/blogs telling people how they should view life or how the author has chosen to view life.  Then, of course, there's the backlash where someone takes issue with something that was said. 

Don't get me wrong, free speech is a wonderful thing.  You have opinions.  It's great that you are able to share them.  Keep going.  But I, for one, am a little frustrated with how offended people get.  So yeah, I'm being a bit hypocritical.  I'm telling you not to tell the internet you're offended, while telling the internet that I'm offended by you.  Hey, I never said I was perfect.

A common argument I hear in these offended rebuttals: You can't judge me or tell me what to do!

Truth.  The guy/gal writing the article will have very little say if any at all at your judgment day.  (I haven't actually been judged yet, so I don't quite know the format).  What he/she thinks about your outfit will be completely inconsequential. 

Truth, no one can tell you what to do... sort of.  God gives us commandments.  His word comes to us through a line of authority.  The prophets, apostles, and local leaders all have stewardship over you.  Ultimately, though, you make your own actions. 

So why does this no good, jerkface, opinion writer have a right to say anything about the way I live my life? Surprise surprise, we all live on this earth together.  The whole idea that our actions don't affect other people is completely false.  We all affect each other.  When we're in a grouchy mood, we spread grouchiness.  When we're cheerful, we spread cheer.  When we're sinning and we refuse to acknowledge it, we're spreading darkness.  The article writer can't make you change who you are, but he/she can make a comment about what he/she sees in society. 

I'd like to note, that often times I find the original article somewhat uplifting.  I may not agree with everything, but I can see the author's view for a better world.  Then the rebuttal is filled with anger, hurt, and disgust.  It makes me angry and annoyed.  It drags me down. 

Yes, you're allowed to be offended.  Some things really should offend people (like killing babies - abortion should offend more people than it does).  But I feel like there are a lot of things that people let offend them, when they could actually improve their lives if they softened their hearts a bit. 

I feel like in general we have become a people that refuses to listen to authority.  We refuse to obey.  Unfortunately for people who think like that, the path to Heaven is through obedience.  Christ himself did as His father commanded.  It HURT a LOT; but he did it because he saw the ultimate good behind it.  If we want to be more Christlike, we should be a bit more humble before we take offense.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Right to Rule

I find the concept of leadership absolutely fascinating.  I feel like I talk about it a lot, but that might be just in my head.

Lest ye call me a hypocrite, I will say that I am not claiming to be a very good leader.  I just got released as Relief Society President this last week.  Whereas I should feel relieved that I no longer have such a strenuous calling, instead I feel like a total failure.  Well, not a total failure.  One of my main goals was to not ruin our ward or our relief society.  We never had any fighting matches or resorted to playing hang man in relief society, so I would say that it was a success.  What, you say?  That wasn't a necessary worry?  Irrelevant.  Praise me for my accomplishments.  But I digress, this isn't about me.

Azula from The Last Airbender states to Dai Li leader Long Feng, "I can see your whole history in your eyes.  You were born with nothing, so you've had to struggle and connive and claw your way to power. But true power - the Divine right to rule- is something you're born with.  The fact is they don't know which one of us is going to be sitting on that throne and which one is going to be bowing down.  But I know.  And you know."  Long Feng concedes, "You've beaten me at my own game."  Azula then responds, "Don't flatter yourself.  You were never even a player."

When I watched that for the first time, Azula  won me over.  She carries herself with power.  She knows what she wants and how to manipulate people to get it.  I left that scene thinking that Azula knew what she was talking about, and I was aching to be able to copy her words down so that I could ponder on them later.

Now I look at those words and I wonder at their accuracy.  I think it's the way she said them more than the actual words that affected me. She was the fire nation princess.  She was born into power.  But we know from history that divine right to rule based on lineage is rather bogus.  There have been many strong kings with weak sons.  Or righteous kings whose sons ruled in wickedness.

Azula herself becomes a weak ruler when she loses her trust in everyone.  Her friends betray her and Azula starts to see betrayal behind everyone's eyes.  All the paranoid dictators of the past share this sentiment.  When you stop trusting those around you, you become weak.  You might be able to keep control, but at a terrible cost.  Thus an element of leadership that surpasses that of "Divine Right" is the ability to trust and be trusted.

My question is are people born with leadership capabilities?  I think the answer is yes.  So then I ask, Can these be learned?  Again, I think the answer is yes.

There are people who thrive on being leaders.  I think about those running for president as we speak.  Some of them look like they want power and recognition.  Some of them actually look like they want to help the country.  Some of them are egotistical.  Some of them invoke respect.  Some of them I just barely heard of yesterday.

Now think about prophets.  Isn't it interesting how God chooses leaders?  Moses had a speech impediment as did Enoch I believe.  And yet, rewind.  Moses was raised Egyptian.  Born a Hebrew slave, he grew up with the world at his fingertips.  Being born into privilege is not bad.  It's also not necessary.  God will raise who he wants to be his leaders.

Personally I think Heavenly Father wants us all to learn to be leaders of some sort.  Obviously not everyone is given the same opportunities.  A lot of emphasis is put on families.  We are each encouraged to become spouses and then become parents.  Learn to work together and use that joint effort to raise a family in righteousness.  At church we are given callings.  Isn't it fascinating how we bounce around the hierarchy.  Last week I was responsible for every sister in the ward.  This week I have responsibilities over only two girls that I visit teach.  Bishops get released and become part of the congregation.  No one is more important than another.  We each take our turn being a leader and being a follower.  From both positions we learn more about ourselves and our relationship with God.

So by now you're probably wondering if there is a point I'm trying to make.  Not really.  I just find leadership fascinating and I wanted to talk about.  I'll probably talk about it again because I like it.  I want to be better.  I want to be more trusting and more trustworthy. I want to lose some of my wishy washiness.