I’m talking with a friend, and our conversation meanders to include a mutual acquaintance. And then somehow I’m listening to an issue she’s had with that person, and I nod, and say “mmm-hmmm,” and “that’s too bad,” and attempt to change the subject. But I’m both uncomfortable saying out loud “I don’t want to hear you criticize this person; if you’ve got an issue with her, it’s your issue not mine,” and I’m also uncomfortable joining in the critique. Silence feels like betraying one friend; speaking up feels like betraying the confidence of the friend I’m listening to.
The words you speak…or forward…or type.
Commandment #9: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” While this is one of the less popular commandments, in the age of the Internet it is one I constantly find myself remembering. Especially when into my inbox pops some hearsay email claiming something eye opening, or purporting a giant conspiracy, or an apostolic revelation or dire warning, or a highly political treatise that has been written with a slant that distorts the actual circumstance or intention.
We’ve all read them, seen them. Some are so downright obnoxious you can’t even get through the first sentence. Really, if it says “fwd:” in the subject line it almost assuredly wins an instant ticket to my deleted items box. Maybe it’s the result of grad school paper writing conditioning, but my first thought is always, “Don’t quote unless you can cite!” The source had better be first generation because if it didn’t come from you originally, like that story about your aunt’s friend, my alert warning goes off—flags rise, lights flash, sirens blare—and it automatically gets designated as fiction.
For the love of Snopes, really, if you can’t confirm it, how do you know it’s true? And if it’s not true, then it’s somewhere between gossip, at best, and a flat out lie, at worst—and your name is on it.
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
“I wish you hadn’t told me those things about *Michelle,” my husband said as we drove from the Cheesecake Factory. We would meet up again with Dave and Michelle at the movie theater. Two days earlier Michelle had explained in painful detail the feud she was having with someone else in the ward as we walked through the neighborhood. I found the squabble petty and Michelle self-absorbed. So naturally I came home and related the details, and how amazingly ridiculous it all was, and Michelle’s part in it to my husband. I was delighted when he agreed with me.
We had our stake conference this weekend. Usually, I get almost nothing out of Stake Conference, as trying to keep two little kids sitting in a pew for 2 hours must qualify for one of Dante’s seven circles of hell. But this time, I was called to speak in the adult only Saturday session, so I got to get up close and personal with the podium, and actually heard what others had to say.
I love our Stake President, too. He is down to earth, direct, and teaches simple doctrine. Last Saturday, he said that one of his bishops was concerned about what he hears his ward members talk about.