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Support or Illusion


I've been frequenting the ex-moron reddit now for a few weeks, and I have a complaint. It isn't about something of which just the ex-mormons in this group are guilty. It's a problem with many who are trying to be socially acceptable and "nice". It comes down to what "being supportive" means. Some seem to believe it means being sympathetic to the point of telling someone whatever they want to hear.

For a mother of a mass murderer this means saying, "It's okay honey, they really did deserve to be killed. Anyone who would pass you on the street without saying, 'hi', absolutely deserves whatever they get." Clearly, this is ridiculous. This is supporting the delusion of the person, not fostering a correct view of reality. I have believed for a very long time that an accurate and complete view of reality is hugely beneficial to everyone over the long term. If true, then sparing someone's feelings at the expense of fostering an unhealthy or incorrect view of reality, is not doing them any favors.

The ex-moron reddit group contains many who are angry at the Mormon church, because they feel the church has knowingly duped them. Whether this is true or not seems to be irrelevant to them. They want to be free to be angry and to voice that anger on reddit. While I can understand their anger, I don't think it's justified. We all have the ability to test the teachings of the Mormon church, or any church, to discover whether their doctrines are correct and produce good results in people. No one was, or is even capable of, preventing the ex-mormon redditers from doing this. The reality of the situation is that they have no one to blame but themselves for having been "taken advantage of" by the church. They were the ones who either did not bother to find the truth or let other people in their lives pressure them into not finding it.

It is not that I'm not sympathetic. I can sense the pain they are so obviously experiencing. It is just that it is better to realize that we should be more diligent in discerning the truth than it is to blame our lack of understanding on someone else. When a person realizes that he is the problem, he can take the first step toward solving it. As long as he insists on blaming someone else for the problem, he cannot do that.

Unwillingness to see ourselves as the source of a problem perpetuates other problems. It means refusing to see ourselves clearly as fallible human beings. Not until we truly recognize ourselves as fallible do we begin to accept ourselves as we are. And accepting ourselves as we are, paradoxically, begins the process that leads to being impervious to the sorrow that could otherwise come when others point out our weaknesses in order to help us to come to a more correct view of ourselves. This is why "being supportive" by telling a person what he wants to hear actually has the effect of causing him more pain in the long run. We are not being kind to a person in the long run by hiding his issues from him.

I'm sure that many people will decide that I am a horribly unkind person. A person doesn't have to be unkind to avoid pandering. Kind ways of telling people things they need to hear do exist. Questions can be asked that lead a person to eventually see the problem for himself. Or, if you have no idea how to do this tactfully, you can just be silent. Then, at least, you avoid worsening the person's problem by telling him he has no problem.



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