Saturday, December 22, 2012

Learned Arrogance

I want to talk about learned arrogance.  What I mean by this is that many members of the church get an attitude where they will act as if they have it all figured out.  They will act like they have the answers, and unless you agree with them you are someone to be pitied.  They have the "truth," and they are just waiting until you humble yourself to see it.  There are several things wrong with this.  One, it is the wrong attitude to have, even if you do have all the answers, no one will listen to you if you take this arrogant attitude.  Second, once you have an attitude of knowing everything, you are not likely to ever learn anything more.  Third, even if Mormonism were truth, no one would have sufficient understanding to be able to take this position with anyone else.  Finally, it is completely out of line to assume a teacher/mentor position with someone else without prior consent or position of authority to do so.

I want to take each of these in turn.

First, no one will listen to someone with this attitude.  If I act like I am better than you because I have all the answers, that I have things figured out and you just need to get on board with the program, or that I have some privileged knowledge or position that you are completely missing, then you almost automatically assume that I am wrong.  You have no reason to trust my position, and my attitude would just be poisoning any benefit you get from my position.  In actuality, my arrogance has no bearing on the truthfulness of anything I say, but people will automatically distrust because they will dislike my attitude.  I am, of course, using the "I" only metaphorically.

Second, you are not likely to learn anything anymore.  You have all the answers, what more could you hope to learn?  You already know it, nobody else can tell you anything.  This is essentially what many of these people will communicate implicitly.  How do you expect to learn anything, even about your own religion, if you are so cock that you think everyone else doesn't have it quite as figured out as you do?  This brand of arrogance leaves me disgusted.  They are so sure of what they know that they don't leave any room for error, to the point of treating other people poorly (perhaps not intentionally) just because they disagree.

Third, no one knows enough to be rightfully this certain.  There are these elements of faith that Mormons talk about, but when it comes down to it, there is no way for them to truly know.  I know most of them will argue this, but when it comes down to it it simply just doesn't work out quite that way.  To be able to appropriately take this stance with someone, you would have to have a similar situation as a parent with a toddler.  The toddler thinks they know the way the world works, and the parent just kind of knowingly says "haha, you will learn someday."  To have one adult take that stance with another?  That is ridiculous.

Finally, to assume a teacher/mentor role with someone without permission is the height of arrogance.  There are times when we relinquish this role to others, such as a professor when we are taking a class, a parent, or even ecclesiastical leadership, but it is an invasion of personal space to have someone simply take this role on themselves.  However, it is practically encouraged for church members to do this with non-believers.  "Teach them the gospel, tell them how it is, bring them to Jesus."  This is inappropriate and distasteful.  If you are Mormon and reading this, please don't do it, if you have done this in the past, please stop.

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