I have a few free minutes, as my father takes a nap and my grandmother works the rosary over. So, why not blog a little, eh?
The thing I've been thinking about over the last few minutes is the nature of hypocritical thought and discourse. This is something that bugs the heck out of me, although I am of course a hypocrite. Examples of my hypocrisy are listed below for your convenience.
- I regard spitballs and corked bats as the seventh and eighth deadly sins (I'm too lustful for it to be that big a deal :), but see no problem with diving into pitches or tricking soccer referees.
- I believe that anyone that attempts to physically intimidate me is morally bankrupt and deserves whatever I do to them, while my attempts to do the same are simple "gamesmanship".
- I keep essentially no commandments, while I've covenanted to keep them all.
Only the second example strikes at the core of what I really hate, which is applying different spiritual standards to others than you do to yourself. I'm generally pretty good about this, although sometimes I slip up. I'll provide a story that might illustrate this pretty well.
I know a gentleman that always crushed on the "top-tier" girls in the ward. Pretty, smart, spiritual (or at least two of the three), and "Ted" wanted them. Ted was quite overweight, not real active, and not so churchy. As you might expect, none of these girls were interested in him. One of the girls described a date with him (which she was trapped into and cried over the day of the event) as the longest hour and seventeen minutes of her life. Some time after this, Ted bemoaned the fact that none of the girls liked him. We got the "nice guys finish last" routine about how it's only the pretty guys that got any action. I then exploded, shouting, "Ted, if they're so horrible, why do you only want the pretty ones?"
P.S. Ted has now moved on to like other girls that aren't so desired, so this has been eliminated to an extent.
I am not a physically attractive man. I do reject some women based on looks alone. This is not hypocritical because I think women should be able to reject me based on my appearance if they so desire (and I'm certain this has happened). It is not immoral for this to happen. Rather, it's about taste. I'm not attracted to you, I don't have to date you. You're not attracted to me, you don't have to date me. It isn't hypocritical to want something you don't have unless you think that anyone that wants the same thing must be horrible for rejecting you.
Thus, with that long-winded introduction, I get to the point. I don't know if I'm a bigger hypocrite or if I've got a legitimate gripe for disliking the hypocrisy of a few folks in the ward. Probably the biggest blow-up over this occurred when myself and my roommate (the one that isn't our esteemed co-blogger) were watching an R-rated horror flick. A young lady in the ward came over and we got into a big argument over the film. I'll admit now that we probably baited her a bit, but we were ticked off that she was "concerned about our spiritual health" because we were watching R-rated movies. Especially since she came by immediately following an extended viewing of "Alias", which might be the most violent show on network TV. This has been fixed and I no longer harbor hostility over the matter (I think), but I still see her as the "Alias-watching violence judger that hates beards because the bishop told her to but refuses to follow his counsel to live a G-rated lifestyle" girl. And my desire to hang out with her has been essentially zero since that event. Not entirely or even mostly because of this, but it's a big factor.
Another girl that we know is concerned that I apply the same hypocritical logic to my own judgments of others. I don't much like spending a lot of time with the members of the ward and am often vocal about this around the house. She was there for one of my rants on this topic and basically argued that I'm no different from Violence-Judger since I judge Mormons before I know them at all. I took offense at this, arguing that it's much different because I don't get in their face about it or think they're horrible for not hanging out with me. Basically, I claim that not all judgments are created equal and that they're not that relevant when they're not pushed in anyone's face, especially when they're not eternal judgments, but decisions about time allocation. My questions for you all then are:
1) Are you bothered by perceived hypocrisy? If so, what kinds? If not, why not?
2) (With regard to the specific case above), is my offense (if it is one) the same as that of Violence-Judger (if it is one)? Explain. I'm not looking for "who's more horrible?", but for whether these are the same or different sins or issues.
3) How can we not be hypocritical, as imperfect beings? What makes hypocrisy uniquely irritating (if indeed it is)? What distinguishes hypocrisy from imperfection.
A friend once argued that the reason that hypocrisy is condemned in the scriptures is because a hypocrite is, by definition, falling short in some area of personal righteousness. I'd suggest that the scriptural and prophetic injunctions to be an example of the believers suggest that this view doesn't take into account the effect of hypocrisy on others. I believe that this effect primarily consists of hardening the hearts of the nonbelievers, failing to meet the obligation to promote the faith, and more or less pissing people off, making it hard to feel the Spirit or charity of any kind.
How do you folks see it?