The Reality Is…

This post is a vent, and I’m sorry, but it’s important to me to air it right now. The Case study assignment last week was about Ben and his pornography problem. The complication in the case is that his temple wedding is two weeks away.

Here’s my argument. It states very clearly in each of the case studies that the scenario is based on real problems from real students. Why are we so insistent on bringing about old pain for those whose real lives mirror these scenario problems? I answered all of the questions listed in the study prefaced by this: “Assuming that the temple date is not moved and that Sierra remains blissfully unaware of Ben’s actions…”

What I wanted to do was answer in a very angry way. I can tell you exactly how Sierra will react and feel about Ben’s problem. Are we so naive in this church to think that this is a one time occurrence and that bringing it up again wouldn’t cause a painful remembrance for the real-life Sierra’s of the situation?

In fact, I have found many of the case studies or other quiz questions to be offensive in their innocent, ignorant, judgmental way. Do these “what-would-you-do-if…” situations cause us to look down our noses at the offender and the victim and ask us to sit in the “holier-than-thou” throne of self-righteousness? Because that’s how I feel. I know what the right answer is, and I know how to deliver it in essay form, backed up by the Proclamation and by authoritative commentary.

But it’s not real. Real is the paralyzing sadness that comes from betrayal. Real is the embarrassment felt while sitting in a pew, knowing that you are being whispered and gossiped about, even though you did nothing wrong. Real is learning to cope with the experience, and then have someone else shove it right back in your face prompting you to judge the situation with fresh, objective, cheerful opinions, with the pretense of preparing you for a future in which you might be faced with a similar, tragic event. -Blech!

The truth is, I am not a naive 19 year old. And the truth is, I am struggling. But nowhere else have I experienced this kind of inexplicable underdeveloped opinion of reality. I remember what it was like to be hopeful, to have my life before me full of possibilities and dreams. I do not wish to squash that out of anyone else either, but I do hope that if we’re supposed to be learning from one another that some kind of forbearance can be had by addressing situations that are not only real, but aren’t completely disparaging, either.

If I were to voice this feeling out loud, it would be that I feel alone. Constantly we are being told what to do to avoid the sin or the sinner, but no one ever talks about what to do when we get hurt by things that make folks uncomfortable to talk about. I search for advice in books, but none talk of what I’m experiencing. Only that I should have avoided it in the first place. Well, guess what, ya’ll! I didn’t make these choices! I did my part! Now what? You can openly discuss in Sunday School about the struggle you endured when you felt grief at the loss of a loved one, or when your parents divorced, or at the loss of a job…but I can’t share the struggle I endured when I felt grief because of a betrayal. What I am asked to do is simply forgive. Not talk about it, not let on that I am hurting, just forgive. I don’t know how to do that.

I love Elder Holland’s words toward the end of the video posted above. He understands these difficulties and the road that each of us are asked to travel. He speaks of the road to becoming a disciple, and perhaps I don’t know what that truly means, either. My hope is that these topics can be approached differently, is all. My real desire is to attend my religion class and not feel like it is a place that I have to lie, or pretend. Let’s have an honest discussion for once, instead of one predisposed to perfection!

Is that something that can be talked about?


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