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Heckled In the Modern Day

I was minding my own business, awaiting the arrival of the rest of my family from church today, I was home with #5. In rushes #4 and then two that aren’t mine, and then #3. The not mine were the Primary President’s. We live within walking distance to the church and friends like to see if they can beat their parents here in order to “play” until they are gathered in the family vehicle. Next to arrive is the Primary President and then #2, along with two others from a different family, and then #1. Where is hubby you ask? Bringing up the rear.

PP has a shocked look on her face and adrenaline is visibly present. She passes some benign information (I was recently called as the Primary Secretary as it’s something I can do from home without affecting the Sunday runnings too much) said information can’t possibly be the reason for the excitement. She’s ready to spill and I am ready to listen.

“Someone just yelled, “Joseph Smith is not a Prophet” repeatedly while driving past the church! He started yelling it at all the children walking to your house and didn’t stop until he was past the church.”  I said, Seriously?!” Stupid, I know. Who would make something like that up? In my defense I was surprised and it just sort of came out. That’s lame too isn’t it? Anyway, She at least had the presence of mind to yell, “You want to bet?!” 

All the children gathered to discuss the situation. I can’t say they were shaken, more like confused. The general sentiment was,”What a waste of time to yell mean things out your window at people you don’t even know that haven’t ever done anything to you.” Whether it was mean or not is certainly debatable. Necessary or appropriate, I don’t think so. To make matters even more interesting, the boys were shot at with nerf guns on the way home. It’s unclear if the two events were related, but it’s mighty suspicious in my book. They have been walking to and from church, weather permitting, for almost 18 months now. Nothing has ever happened before.

I am not sure how anybody even knows enough about our little Branch to be able to time a drive by combined with a heckle. At first I was just caught up in the moment. Now that it has settled for a bit, I am a tad bit unnerved by the whole thing.

{ 8 comments… add one }

  • Tracy Keeney October 15, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Some people are just obnoxious. Obviously, this guy is one of them.
    The friend I go walking with every night was able to go to Utah and attend a session of conference last week. She said she was surprised by the number of times people drove by shouting obscenities and other things similar to what your kids experienced.
    What’s mind boggling though, is the pointlessness in doing so. NO ONE is going to be swayed from their belief in the church and it’s teachings just because someone shouts “Mormon’s are going Hell!” or “Joseph Smith is not a prophet!” out their window. Not even a child. All it does for a kid is spook them a little bit and make them think the shouter is “mean” and a “bully”. And the thing is, the shouter KNOWS that. Do they think for one second that by shouting “Joseph Smith is not a prophet!” or “*#$% you Mormons!” as they drive past the conference center, that ANY of the members who hear them are suddenly going to stop and think “Joseph Smith isn’t a prophet? Oh! Well then heck, I’m gonna go home, have a beer and watch the game.” Of course not. They know they aren’t changing minds. They REALLY ARE doing it JUST to taunt, and be mean and nasty.
    In the end, they’re just wasting their time and their breath, and making themselves look like bullying idiots. It’s to their own condemnation.

  • Angie Gardner October 16, 2012, 7:42 am

    I am hoping these are of the teenage trouble-making set, but probably not. Having encountered this type of person at events in Salt Lake, Nauvoo, Manti, and other places I know that many of them are adults. Sad that anyone would actually devote a second of their life to this kind of thing, but it happens.

    I remember reading in my great-grandma’s history how when her family joined the church in Switzerland, some townspeople would come out and follow them to church, heckling them along the way, sometimes even throwing small rocks and such to get their attention. Nearly 70 years after the fact, she wrote about this in great detail in her history, so it definitely stayed with her (she was a teenager at the time). I’m sure the hecklers would be pleased to know that it had the exact opposite outcome that they had hoped for. It made her strong. It made her realize what she was willing to sacrifice for her beliefs, and it made her want to come to Utah and gather with her fellow saints, which she did (on her own as an 18-year-old…amazing to me). Raised a family of 11 children who for the most part are still in the church (well, their descendents…most of her children have passed away now). Hecklers fumbled that one.

  • Amy Lockhart October 16, 2012, 8:22 pm

    Angie:
    I am almost of a mind to round up a heckling crew on a regular basis if I could ensure the kind of result your great grandma had. Thank you for sharing that! I think I just might have to make this into a Family Home Evening lesson …

    FYI, it was a father son duo (or at least that’s what it seemed to those witnessing).

    Tracy:
    Great points there. I’ll let you know if there are any “strong drink” and sports parties as a result!

    “They know they aren’t changing minds. They REALLY ARE doing it JUST to taunt, and be mean and nasty.”

    This makes complete sense, but part of me is left wondering, why. I mean what is the benefit? I guess the basic adrenaline rush could be enticement enough, but on this small, and seemingly targeted scale, (as opposed to a large gathering of saints at an event) it seems some other motivation might be involved.

    Doesn’t it seem that they would want to know they were causing pain/harm if that were the driving force?
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Absolute UncertaintlyMy Profile

  • MB October 16, 2012, 11:32 pm

    I live next door to a couple of good neighbors who are lesbian. In the past they’ve had their door blanketed in the middle of the night with post it notes saying they are going to hell and calling them to repentance, and they’ve had their tires slashed. So has the gay couple around the block.

    There are some people who just seem to think that their confidence in or their anxiety about their moral or intellectual superiority gives them license to attack or belittle others. Doing so in a drive-by or quick rush-in rush-out manner gives them a sense of power and accomplishment without having to engage in conversation with the people they attack. It makes it so that they can imagine that they’ve been successful and congratulate themselves about that without ever having to stop and see that they haven’t been. And it reduces the ones they attack to non-entities in their own minds, which makes attacking them easier to do. It’s a cowardly and immature way to act. Unfortunately the adrenalin rush that they get from doing that can be intoxicating to them.

    So sad.

  • Amy Lockhart October 17, 2012, 7:48 am

    Thanks MB. I have a post waiting in the wings that I hope you will weigh in on …

    It is incredible what the ego can foster. Superiority is most certainly a product of an ego encouraged by pride. I find it interesting that pride often comes from a place of feeling inferior, for whatever reason. The result being an intense need to be “better” and prove it whenever possible.

    Adrenalin is a powerful drug indeed.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Absolute UncertaintlyMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney October 17, 2012, 3:56 pm

    A seriously BRILLIANT assessment and conclusion MB. Very well said!

  • pardonthedust October 18, 2012, 9:25 pm

    This kind of thing happens all the time. Every temple open house I have been to has had protestors and I hear it happens at General Conference regularly, too. I say just ignore.

  • Oregonian November 2, 2012, 12:49 pm

    the title makes it seem like amy thinks most people dont get heckled today. where do you live that you dont deal with this? we deal with it almost daily. and if you read the news you see it all the time too. look at romney.

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