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Tea Party

So I was invited to attend a tea party at a friends home. This friend is LDS, and so were all the people invited. She was very careful to state that it was herbal tea and all the herbs came fresh from her garden.

I don’t drink tea. I am not claiming doctrinal authority. I just know that I am not comfortable drinking tea, herbal or otherwise. I decided to go to support my friend, and be with other friends. I knew that it wouldn’t be a big deal if I declined the tea because these were LDS friends, surely they would understand. Turns out I don’t know much.

I was the cause of some pretty serious feather ruffling. I didn’t stand up and yell, “No tea for me, it’s in the WOW you know!” I simply said, “No thank you, this water is fine for me.” I might as well have yelled for all the contention that was born of my choice. I didn’t say another word. The nightmare swirled around me and I was trapped in a storm with no eye. I smiled and listened. I stayed as long as I could, and until it wouldn’t look like I was leaving to empty the tear buckets welling behind my eyes. 

I meant no harm. I felt no judgement towards any one of the people there. I still don’t. I am just stunned that it wasn’t okay for me to not drink tea.  What if my reasoning had been medical? What if I was allergic to a component of the tea? What if I just didn’t like tea, herbal or otherwise? Why is it more okay to decline tea at a tea party because of provable or justifiable reasons, rather than to politely decline because, for me, it’s a part of the WOW? Which, by the way, I never even stated. All that was blamed on me was a result of assumptions on the part of others. No one even asked me why.

At what point does it become my business how another person interprets scripture or doctrine? The simple answer is never. But it is a bit more complicated than that most times. Of course it’s never my business to pass judgment on another for their interpretations or actions, but where is the civility and respect for mine? How do we navigate the road in between doing what is best for us and not upsetting those that choose differently? I haven’t a clue.

It seems that the more I settle into doing what is best for myself and my family, the more other people are offended. It’s not even that I am saying anything about what anyone else is doing. It’s about being me and participating in conversations. Sharing an experience, or answering a question such as, “What do you do?” has gotten me into lots of trouble lately. I take people at face value. If they ask me a question, I will answer it, honestly. If I have been invited to participate in a conversation, I will share my thoughts and feelings on the matter, honestly. How that is translating into defensiveness on the part of others and passing judgement on my part, I am baffled.

There was a “moment” during RS where the whole thing was cleared up. Herbal tea is just fine and in no way a part of the WOW. Those that say otherwise are mistaken in their interpretation of scripture. There are some things that people try to make doctrine for all. That was not my intent, at all. That is not the business of anyone but the Prophet and Apostles.

For me, herbal tea is still not okay, no matter what the RS President said in defense of her friend.

{ 34 comments… add one }

  • Alison Moore Smith September 28, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Let me just start by saying that I’m THRILLED this is NOT a political post!

    Why is it more okay to decline tea at a tea party because of provable or justifiable reasons, rather than to politely decline because, for me, it’s a part of the WOW?

    This statement is the key, I think, to the problems you encountered.

    I hate herbal tea. It’s nasty and, pretty much, worse than dirty water. I would have gone to the party and I would not have consumed the stuff. And I promise, no one would have cared. (I know, because it has happened many times.)

    But I suggest that, somehow, you weren’t the ONLY one who knew you were declining because of an implied Word of Wisdom connection. And that’s why they took umbrage at your refusal. Because, obviously, other Mormons ARE implicated by your refusal.

    It’s one thing to say “herbal tea is still not okay for me” and quite another to say “for me, it’s a part of the WOW.” Because it’s not. There is no regular WoW and then a different specialized Amy version.

    Herbal teas are NOT proscribed by the WoW. Tea is “an aromatic beverage commonly prepared by pouring boiling hot water over cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant.”

    There are numerous real teas (black, green (YES YOU DIETERS!), white, oolong), but the other “teas” are using the term to mean “infusions of fruit or herbs made without the tea plant, such as rosehip tea or chamomile tea.”

    In my mind, saying water infused with peppermint is contrary to the WoW is on par with saying beef broth is.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…The Power of September 20thMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart September 28, 2012, 3:48 pm

    “It’s one thing to say “herbal tea is still not okay for me” and quite another to say “for me, it’s a part of the WOW.”

    Ah, tis true. Except, This is the only place I have ever “said” either of those things. Neither of those statements have been uttered from my mouth or written by me anywhere before this post. I guess now the cat is out of the bag.

    I realize that my interpretation is controversial. Hence my decision to keep it to myself all these years. Who knows what possessed me now. We’ll blame it on the evil internet. :)

    The “moment” in RS was more than just a clarification by the RS president. It was a heated debate (in which I did not even participate) that was apparently born of my “rudeness at the tea party”. My refusal of the tea apparently “inspired” others to speak up. And let me just restate that I said nothing about refusing the tea. I simply said that water was fine for me.

    Let me also state, for the record, that my use of the word inspired above is a quote (by the RS Pres.) and I do not agree with its usage in the context chosen.

    “There is no regular WoW and then a different specialized Amy version.”

    I would tend to disagree. When I study the scriptures I have a notebook with me to record whisperings of the spirit. As I was reading the WOW several years ago, I felt the spirit communicate to me that I was not to partake of tea of any kind and that it would be important for me to remember this. At that point it became a part of the WOW for me. To this day I do not claim to know what it means. I just know that it was clear as day and I reread it occasionally just to make sure. I am absolutely aware that this is personal and not doctrine.

    “Because, obviously, other Mormons ARE implicated by your refusal.”

    How is that exactly? This is what I do not understand. If I choose to say no thank you, water is fine, how does that implicate anyone, mormon or otherwise? What is it even implicating? I understand how it would happen if I made a statement about it or claimed doctrinal authority in some way. I didn’t.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Train for the Right RaceMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart September 28, 2012, 4:12 pm

    “In my mind, saying water infused with peppermint is contrary to the WoW is on par with saying beef broth is.”

    And there’s the kicker. I didn’t define tea, nor did I declare anything wasn’t on par with the WOW. I was an LDS person in a room with a bunch of other LDS people and when I politely said no thank you this water is fine for me, it was war and apparently I had fired the first shot.

    The assumption could have been, “Oh she must be allergic.” It wasn’t. Not even close. The assumption was judgement toward others on my part.

    Turns out there were many there that felt uncomfortable but didn’t feel like they could refuse given the authority of the person holding the party. The “tea” drinkers took offense. The hesitant “tea” drinkers felt coerced, and were told they should educate themselves before deciding to come to a tea party. It was really quite ugly.

    It really has nothing to do with tea (or beef broth) and everything to do with why any of us feels the need to be in anyone else’s business.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Train for the Right RaceMy Profile

  • MB September 28, 2012, 10:43 pm

    Oh my. What an uncomfortable and unhappy experience. So sad. Please come move into my ward any time you like. The ladies here are a lot nicer about being okay with each other’s exercise of agency.

    In the meantime, “How do we navigate the road in between doing what is best for us and not upsetting those that choose differently?”

    Live the way you think you should live, smile sweetly, say something tongue-in-cheek about yourself if needed and then then change the subject by asking diverting, interested questions about other unrelated things in their lives if people get alarmed, and learn to love like Jesus.

    Aiming for that is what works for me when I’ve been in groups like your tea party.

  • Amy Lockhart September 29, 2012, 8:08 am

    Thanks MB, I’ll be right over :) Seriously though, this was in a previous ward that had many, many problems.

    I was actually wondering if I caused the problem by being too quiet. After Alison’s response I thought about what might have happened had I said something brilliant rather than keeping silent.

    It just didn’t come to me then. I was so shocked because I was SO sure that my friends would not take offense to me doing what I felt was best for me, regardless of the reasons behind it. I couldn’t think of anything that would “help” so I just remained silent and took the heat. It seems a tricky balance to figure out, when to speak up and when to just let it all play out around you.

    Alison, in reference to your comment about this not being a political post. Wouldn’t it have been a hoot if I would have said, “In protest of the uprising of the “tea party”, I shall not be drinking tea of any variety.” Now that fall out would have been something to witness!
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Train for the Right RaceMy Profile

  • Sharon September 29, 2012, 11:35 am

    I am not comfortable with tea of any kind either. And my book group has had tea parties but their were other things to put in our tea cups, like spiced cider or hot cocoa and the delicate eats were always way more important. The tea party dress up clothes all took the attention away from ‘tea ‘. You would have fun with us.

  • Sharon September 29, 2012, 11:36 am

    I should add there was not any tea invited.

  • pardonthedust September 29, 2012, 1:03 pm

    After all these years I think I will speak up.
    When someone makes a post that makes everyone in their ward look bad and them look good, I am suspicious. Because I have never been in a ward that is so bad with the exception of the one shining example of good. I just do not believe it.
    I think there is more to the story and I wish we could hear what it is.
    Thanks for letting me comment.

  • pardonthedust September 29, 2012, 2:17 pm

    Can someone tell me how to get a post cleared for viewing?

  • Alison Moore Smith September 29, 2012, 3:00 pm

    To me it’s one of the “Dr. Laura Moments.” You can expect people to act they way they usually act. As I read your comments I see two possible scenarios:

    (1) Your ward is comprised of two groups:

    (a) a bunch of hateful, irrational, nosey, bossy, overbearing, manipulative, intimidating people — including the RS president who scares the beejeebers out of everyone

    and

    (b) a slew of pantywaists who can’t stand up for their personal convictions in the face of peer pressure

    OR

    (2) Your refusal to drink the tea was much more revealing of your actual thoughts than you imagine. In other words, your completely benign refusal, wasn’t so benign after all and when everyone assumed your motive, they assumed correctly.

    I wasn’t there, so I can’t tell you which. But those are the only two I can think of that makes sense of the situation you describe.

    What throws me into camp #2 is that you keep saying things like, “I was so shocked because I was SO sure that my friends would not take offense to me doing what I felt was best for me, regardless of the reasons behind it.”

    So, if they are so unhinged, why didn’t you figure that out earlier?

    Amy, personal promptings (even while reading the WoW) don’t change the WoW. The WoW isn’t *your* rule, it’s a general church rule. You may well have a “never drink tea” rule that applies to no one else on earth, but since the WoW is a rule for general membership, conflating your inspiration with general church rules isn’t helpful and, in fact, probably led to this kind of misunderstanding. Even saying, “part of the WOW for me” is going to cause problems, probably over and over again. And I can’t think of a reason to cause that problem.

    I have lots of friends and acquaintances who are vegetarians or vegans. But only ONE who has claimed that it was revealed to her that it’s part of the WoW for her. I don’t give a hoot if people don’t want to eat meat, but when they start extending the WoW to mean things it doesn’t, it’s a problem. Maybe she was inspired to stop eating meat. But that doesn’t change the WoW itself.

    I was inclined to give examples of personal revelation being used as addenda to particular general rules to show the problem, but I think we can all think of those on our own. “That’s part of the 10 commandments for me” or “that’s part of the baptismal covenant for me.”

    If I choose to say no thank you, water is fine, how does that implicate anyone, mormon or otherwise?

    As I said, because you’ve conflated the actual WoW with your claimed personal revelation. They aren’t the same and people know it. So it causes problems.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Finish 2012 StrongMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith September 29, 2012, 3:08 pm

    Welcome, pardonthedust. :) The first time a poster comments, it has to be cleared by me. After that, your posts should post immediately. How long it takes me to send the first comment through is a matter of how busy my schedule is! :)

    Glad to have a long-time reader commenting!

  • Tina Crowder September 29, 2012, 4:11 pm

    Hot drinks/fluids are not good for the body in any shape or form…they can cause esophageal cancer/throat cancer and can destroy the natural flora in our stomachs and intestines. This goes for hot cocoa, hot soup, teas, coffee, hot wassail, etc. Looks like Joseph Smith was a man before his time.

  • Alison Moore Smith September 29, 2012, 6:17 pm

    I appreciate the info, but it’s still not part of the WoW. “Hot drinks” were clarified, by revelation, to be coffee and tea.

    The revelation part wasn’t about hot whatever. It was about coffee and tea, only.

    Like I said above, if people want to forgo hot stuff, I have no problem with it. Eat everything ice cold for all I care! :) It’s the WoW linking that is problematic.
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  • Amy Lockhart September 29, 2012, 6:30 pm

    pardonthedust:

    “When someone makes a post that makes everyone in their ward look bad and them look good”

    I am not sure how you got this from what I wrote, but I will certainly watch that from now on. It was a fairly large ward and I would say that about 1/4 of the RS was at the tea party. That is hardly everyone else in the ward except myself. There are quite a few of those ladies that I am still good friends with. I don’t consider those that I have not remained in contact with any less good or worthy than I consider myself.

    “the one shining example of good”

    It was certainly not my intent to portray myself in this light. In fact I didn’t think my post was of the good/bad variety. I felt completely comfortable attending and not partaking of the tea because I expected others there not to take issue with it. I didn’t care one iota that they were going to be drinking tea. I wouldn’t have gone if I felt that way.

    I didn’t then, nor do I now, consider myself better than anyone in attendance that day. I feel the same way about all the fall out that came as a result. I was the catalyst, but not because I thought I was better than anyone else. Nor was it because I claimed to be living a higher law or more correct version of the WOW. It was because I made a different choice and that was not okay with others.

    “I think there is more to the story and I wish we could hear what it is.”

    Thanks for asking. There’s always more to every story. In this case there was a great deal of history that I was not privy to. I was fairly new in the ward (about 4 months) and this type of thing had been happening with this same person for a long while. I found out long after the fact that her parties used to include decaffeinated coffee among other things. She was released as RS President due to her unwillingness to stop certain practices she felt were justifiable. The scuffle in RS was an attempt to calm the seas by the RS. She stated that her main motivation was to clear her friends name before she clarified things.

    I completely understand why there was a clarification needed. My act brought old wounds to the surface. I am still unclear why I was accused of being judgmental and uneducated, as well as used as an example of rude behavior. I was blindsided and it was very unpleasant to go through. It could very well simply be the fact that I chose to remain silent in the whole thing. Hence my earlier comment that I wonder if I should have been vocal in my reason for sticking with water. I’ll never know.

    The one thing I do know is that I really would have appreciated it being a non-issue when I politely declined the tea.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Train for the Right RaceMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart September 29, 2012, 7:35 pm

    Alison:

    “Amy, personal promptings (even while reading the WoW) don’t change the WoW.”

    I never stated otherwise. In fact I clearly stated that I am absolutely aware that this is personal and not doctrine. I also stated that I have never uttered a word about any of this to anyone before now. That includes to my husband who is an herbal tea enthusiast. We have a tea kettle sitting on our stove 24/7. It is personal and I have kept it so on purpose, specifically because I see how it could be problematic.

    The scenarios you presented are certainly viable options. Scenario 1 seems quite extreme. Perhaps that is how my post came across. It wasn’t my intent. I suppose I would be grouped with the pantywaist crowd if that’s what we are going with.

    I can understand how you would gravitate toward scenario 2 only if you have come to the conclusion that I am a complete liar and have actually verbalized (other than here and now) my personal feelings about tea and the WOW. I really did just say no thank you this water is fine.

    “because you’ve conflated the actual WoW with your claimed personal revelation. They aren’t the same and people know it. So it causes problems.”

    How have I conflated the WOW? What people know it, other than the readers of this blog? Unless someone stole my scripture journal before the tea party I have no clue how anyone would have known anything other than I was sticking with water. I suppose there’s always telepathy. Exactly what problems does it cause? The only problem I see is others being offended and therefore defensive due to a perceived passing of judgment on my part. But again for what? They didn’t know.

    If you read my comment to pardonthedust you will see that there is history there. None of that history had anything to do with me. Was I just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Should I have worn my big girl panties and spoken up loud and clear with a declaration on what exactly was and was not tea? At the time I didn’t know.

    I couldn’t have said anything profound or smart. I could have shared my “claimed” personal revelation, and I was not going to do that, specifically so there would not be any implications due to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of what I said.

    Should I have declared myself a nitwit and unable to hold my pinky in proper tea drinking position? I honestly don’t know if I could have done anything, other than not go or accept the tea, that would have kept me out of the line of fire. I wasn’t trying to be offensive or judgmental in any way, and yet that was the perception. I was not taking tea and that was not okay.

    I have not, nor will I ever link anything to the WOW. Can you show me where you think I have done so? I am having a hard time understanding how you are getting that from me.

    “So, if they are so unhinged, why didn’t you figure that out earlier?”

    I was new to the ward and area. All seemed well in the land of newly made friends and acquaintances.

    “you keep saying things like, “I was so shocked because I was SO sure that my friends would not take offense to me doing what I felt was best for me, regardless of the reasons behind it.””

    I said it that way because that is how I associate with others. I assume that whatever you (the collective you that is) are doing is best for you. I don’t really care why your choice is different than mine. Naive as it may be, I assume that people see me the same way I see them. It was not so much a literal statement as everyone knew the reasons behind my declining tea. It was more a statement to illustrate the confusion on my part as to why it wouldn’t be okay for me to do something different and not have it be a “thing”.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Train for the Right RaceMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney September 29, 2012, 10:29 pm

    Wow Amy, sorry things turned out the way they did.
    One of the things I’ve learned over the years, is that there are an awful lot of people who will AUTOMATICALLY feel judged and take offense when someone else lives a stricter standard than they do (and note– stricter doesn’t necessarily mean “higher” or “holier”.) Of course, there ARE people who get on their high horse and get all sanctimonious about it– but not everyone is that way. We’ve had several experiences with a particular family who could NOT leave their personally revealed version of the WoW at home – so we heard all about the “no soda, no white flour, no refined sugar” probably during at least one meeting every Sunday. But there are MANY people who embrace a stricter version of the WoW, a stricter version of dress (particularly with bathing suits), a stricter standard for media, etc who merely LIVE their standard without feeling the need to declare it.
    You are one of those who I greatly appreciate– you made a choice to live an even stricter standard than what the Church generally practices, but you just LIVE it. You don’t go around preaching it like it’s the gospel. And– as you experienced on this occasion, you don’t even have to make your standard known– you don’t have to SAY it, or even show it by facial expressions or body language. If people even ASSUME your standard is more strict (which, in this case, it turned out that they were correct– but really– that doesn’t even matter when you get right down to it) they will automatically assume that by the very act of living that standard, you’re “judging” them.
    I suspect they figured out it immediately when you declined the tea and said you’d stick with the water. Yes, there could have been other reasons as you pointed out– allergies or whatever. But generally speaking, people usually SAY they’re allergic to something when somebody offers it to them. I have the feeling that the minute you declined the tea and said the water was fine, that the minds in the room immediately analyzed and reinterpreted your statement– and what they HEARD was
    ” no thank you, I’ll stick with the water and let you sinners endulge in your herbal tea” even though you said nothing of the sort.

  • Tracy Keeney September 29, 2012, 10:32 pm

    that should have said “interpreted”, not “reinterpreted”
    Well– no, actually, I guess it should have said “misinterpreted”! :)

  • Amy Lockhart September 30, 2012, 7:07 am

    “But generally speaking, people usually SAY they’re allergic to something when somebody offers it to them.”

    Excellent point. I had not even considered that. And given the company I was in, I can clearly see how the automatic assumption would be that of “what does she think she knows that we don’t”. My very act of attending was in a sense supporting tea drinking and then to not partake it was as though I was screaming in people’s faces.

    Interestingly enough, I wrote this post about this past experience because I recently declined an invitation to another tea party here in my Branch. I have a built in excuse right now with my baby, so the “tea” things didn’t even have to come up. I don’t want to have to keep avoiding these types of situations and I really have no clue how to go about it without offending others.

    Do you think that automatic, as you referred to it, has something to do with the act of comparing ourselves to others. Say for instance we were all amazingly comfortable in our own skin, would the same assumptions of judgment be so prevalent? This comparison problem seems to be everywhere and quite problematic in many ways.

    I know when I feel judged it’s usually because I have “noticed” something about someone else that is different than what I do or have. I have come to recognize that when I feel defensive, I need to take a closer look at myself and understand a bit better what exactly I am not feeling so comfortable about.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Train for the Right RaceMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner September 30, 2012, 7:35 am

    I was going to say almost the same thing that Tracy did. It can be really problematic when someone makes a different choice – not because they are preachy but because if someone makes a different choice we somehow tend to think they are judging ours (seems like we had a similar discussion recently with Sabbath Day observance).

    Some of the nuances of the WOW are even trickier than most things because they have been gray areas in some people’s minds (not sure why, because everything has been pretty well clarified) but the caffeine thing is a good example.

    It’s kind of funny to me how people will nitpick regarding their little “pet” philosophy. If someone had passed up meat, for example, because they had already had meat several times that week and wanted to use it sparingly as the WOW says, would they be judged the same way? I highly doubt it. Even if you didn’t voice your reasons but just passed it to the next person when it came around, no one would say anything.

    It’s almost like the ladies involved here were saying, “Oh Amy, didn’t you get the memo? Drinking herbal tea is fine, and therefore you must do it to show that you are educated about the WoW.”

    “I know when I feel judged it’s usually because I have “noticed” something about someone else that is different than what I do or have. I have come to recognize that when I feel defensive, I need to take a closer look at myself and understand a bit better what exactly I am not feeling so comfortable about.”

    Yep. For some reason we have this mistaken idea that a different choice means you think everyone else is a sinner. Can’t quite figure out how so many are making this leap.

  • Amy Lockhart September 30, 2012, 11:01 am

    Tracy : ““no soda, no white flour, no refined sugar””

    I wonder what that family would have said to a member of our stake leadership a couple of years back when he professed to having a goal of a 50 gallon drum full of peanut M&Ms as part of his food storage plan. I want to be at his house on apocalypse day for sure. I say fine if you want to stay away from that stuff, but leave me my sugar please :) Anyway, just a funny.

    Angie: Do you think the comparison issue has anything to do with the leap? More specifically, a sort of self-judgment/guilt that is imposed upon others in the form of accusations of judgment. I guess what I am wondering is that if there is nothing amiss with you (collective) then what’s the big deal …
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart September 30, 2012, 11:17 am

    Angie:

    “It’s almost like the ladies involved here were saying, “Oh Amy, didn’t you get the memo? Drinking herbal tea is fine, and therefore you must do it to show that you are educated about the WoW.””

    That was definitely the vibe I got at the time and the words (though not exact) were spoken later during the clarification moment in RS. That’s what I really don’t get.

    I liked your meat example, mostly because it shows the ability for subjective interpretation of the WoW very well. I had a major meat lover tell me that sparingly meant not at every meal of the day. He chose to abstain from his beloved for breakfast (usually) and then devoured it at will every other moment.

    Who am I to say that sparingly doesn’t mean that? I personally eat very little meat, but it actually has nothing to do with the WoW, I just don’t like meat. I didn’t feel the need to try and save him from his interpretation either.

    I agree that most things have been clarified, but there still seems to be room for gray area in there. I guess my whole point is, what does it matter where the gray area is or isn’t. If I choose to live in the gray area, and not tell you that you need to be there with me, then can’t I just be cozy in the gray?

    Just to clarify, that statement wasn’t meant to suggest that I believe the herbal tea issue is in the gray area. It was a general statement.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart September 30, 2012, 11:20 am

    Would anyone believe me if the advertisement on the sidebar at the moment is for an educational course on all things tea? I just had to chuckle :)

    Randomly, how do I become educated on what symbols equal which emoticons. I’s like to diversify my smiley on occasion. Thanks!m
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • MB September 30, 2012, 4:46 pm

    “I know when I feel judged it’s usually because I have “noticed” something about someone else that is different than what I do or have. I have come to recognize that when I feel defensive, I need to take a closer look at myself and understand a bit better what exactly I am not feeling so comfortable about.”

    True of many of us. I would add that when I am under stress and also feeling unfamiliar or unsure of my surroundings then my tendency to feel judged increases dramatically. It sounds like you were in a new location, with a new group of people, and with, perhaps, all the stress of a young family in your daily life. Each of those would add to my sense of vulnerability to being judged and more prone to feel personally rejected if someone disagreed with me.

    It sounds like the pain of your experience may have been particularly exacerbated in ways that it would not have been if the conversation had occured amongst a group with whom you had already established familiarity and common experience. That’s good for me to remember when there’s a new face in our midst.

  • Angie Gardner September 30, 2012, 4:52 pm

    Amy, yes I think there is leaping involved. First, there is the leap that if someone chooses something different than you do that they think your choice is bad (i.e. assuming that someone is judging you when they are not at all – they are simply making a different choice). Second is the leap that if someone has chosen something better for themselves then you should choose that too (this is judgment on a more personal level, I think). This is where you start to doubt yourself perhaps, when no one else is doubting you (at least they don’t think they are…maybe you think they think they are haha)

  • Angie Gardner September 30, 2012, 4:55 pm

    Haha…Freudian slip! I meant to say if someone chooses something *different* not *better* (hiding head)

  • jennycherie September 30, 2012, 8:41 pm

    so. . . .have I told you all about the sister who used to be in our ward who would bear her testimony about drinking coffee for medicinal reasons? Good times.

  • pardonthedust October 1, 2012, 2:10 pm

    Amy when I asked to hear the rest of the story, I meant from someone else. Your story is very one sided and I think it is not a good use of the Internet to write articles to put down your fellow sisters.
    You make yourself look so innocent and everyone else look crazy. You say you did not mean it to sound like that but all you have to do is read it.

  • Amy Lockhart October 1, 2012, 2:53 pm

    pardonthedust: “You make yourself look so innocent”

    Innocent of what? I made a different choice without saying a word (or feeling anything remotely resembling judgment towards another. My choice was used as fuel for a nasty back and forth and there were hurtful statements made about me. I wasn’t involved in what took place between the tea party and the RS clarification, plenty more went on that I purposely stayed out of. During the clarification moment in RS there were more statements made directly to me and about me regarding my choice to not partake.

    Like I said, there was history there that I was not privy to and I am sure that made all the difference as to why the reactions were so harsh and my choice started a war of sorts.

    “and everyone else look crazy.”

    Crazy how? I wouldn’t characterize anything that was done as crazy. Harsh, rude, and hurtful in some cases, yes. Overreacting and assuming judgment, yes. Not crazy. The situation was difficult for sure. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me how I had been so offensive. Turns out I wasn’t and there was a pot of emotion ready to boil over. It didn’t take much and I get that. It doesn’t mean the situation was any less unpleasant or hurtful at the time.

    “I think it is not a good use of the Internet to write articles to put down your fellow sisters.”

    I wholeheartedly agree. I have done nothing of the sort. I don’t see the put downs anywhere. As I stated previously, I am friends with all of these people, though I do not remain in contact with a few since leaving the ward years ago. I have had this discussion with all parties involved, either individually or in a group setting.

    The reason for me having those conversations was to discover if I did or said something I wasn’t aware of that I could correct. To date, no one has provided me with anything other than I did not take the tea when offered. Hence my confusion as to why it’s not okay to make a different choice. Even given the history, it seems I could have been afforded the ability to make a different choice and have positive assumptions as to why, rather than negative.

    “You say you did not mean it to sound like that but all you have to do is read it.”

    I have read it and I don’t see what you see. Maybe you are adding something I did not write. Maybe I understand things differently than you. I have said it all before to the people involved and I am confident that any of the sisters referenced would have no problem with my representation of the situation.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner October 1, 2012, 8:46 pm

    Just an observation, but it seems like the trend in the church is to judge those who are perceived as judging others (whether they are really doing so or not) more harshly than we do those who are committing obvious sin. Lots of sympathy for a lot of things going on (and I’m not necessarily saying their shouldn’t be) but not a lot of sympathy for making a different choice.

    Not judging others also includes not judging those who we might think are judging too much, right? Or am I wrong?

    It was kind of funny in RS one day, one of our young single adults (who just got her mission call) said regarding Elder Uchtdorf’s “Stop It” talk something along these things, “When I first heard him say to stop judging others, my first thought was ‘yeah, I know a lot of people who need to stop. Oh. Wait.'” (laughter fills the room)

  • Alison Moore Smith October 2, 2012, 11:22 am

    The reason for me having those conversations was to discover if I did or said something I wasn’t aware of that I could correct. To date, no one has provided me with anything other than I did not take the tea when offered.

    Amy, as presented, of course there is nothing anyone can point to that you could have done differently. But, understand, since you’re the one posting the story — and you don’t recognize any problems with your behavior — you couldn’t possibly have the perspective to have written those things in the first place.

    My position, as I’ve said repeatedly, is that either a huge number of the members of that ward are really just nasty (in which case, there is nothing to discuss, some people are just nasty) or you really, truly, honestly, did say or do something that set people off.

    I realize you don’t think you did. I realize you feel disrespected. But if you really want to know what could have been corrected — as you say — then at least consider the possibility that you did something offensive, even if unintentionally. If you can’t consider that, then the “reason” for posting is moot.

    I’ve met lots of nasty people in my life. Seldom have I seen large groups of hateful, hurtful adult LDS women. I’ve refused all sorts of things for all sorts of reasons in LDS settings (including herbal tea), and I’ve never had people jump me collectively. I’ve also witnessed hundreds of episodes where people sincerely thought they did nothing problematic, but lots of other people thought they did (including me).

    If the “point” is to get insight on a situation — and not just “out” the people you thought were rude to you — I see no other alternative than to consider the possibility that you did more than you think you did. (And that’s coming from someone who offends people on a regular basis.)

  • Amy Lockhart October 2, 2012, 3:13 pm

    “If the “point” is to get insight on a situation —

    That was the point, but perhaps my storytelling was a diversion from the situation I was hoping to get at.

    “and not just “out” the people you thought were rude to you”

    I don’t feel I outed anyone here. I used no names, nor did I disclose any geographical information that would alert others to possible identity. I have also stated that I am friends with these people.

    Honestly, the narrative side of the post was simply to illustrate a scenario in which perceived haughtiness equals rash judgment and often leads to much bigger things than were ever intended.

    This was not a pity me post in which I hoped to sting the big bullies with my put downs and “outing” of their behavior. I sincerely don’t see how that is what comes across either. Conversely, I see that it has for some. It’s not looking like there is anything I can do about.

    “huge number”

    I am unclear how any type of number, abstract or concrete, has been attached to what I wrote.

    “I see no other alternative than to consider the possibility that you did more than you think you did. ”

    Excellent point. The thing is, I have. I pointed out in a previous comment that I have had this very conversation, with all parties involved. No one was able to give me any constructive criticism. Even people who later admitted to not being comfortable in the situation still maintained that knowing it’s a tea party means you drink the tea, anythings else implies it’s not okay for others to drink it. From all anyone involved could tell me, the very act of sticking with water implied enough on its own that my politeness in the matter did not factor in.

    Also previously stated, I am confident the history played a huge role in how everything played out. I am not saying this type of thing would happen at every tea party ever involving LDS people. I would also add that my ignorance to the history had a lot to do with how I was affected by others behavior.

    Again, not trying to demonize anyone, just putting it our there that it would have been nice had I been afforded the benefit of the doubt, rather than assumed to be sitting in judgment of those drinking tea. And yes, I have “put it out there” to those involved.

    “at least consider the possibility that you did something offensive, even if unintentionally”

    I have, hence the conversations with the parties involved.

    ” To date, no one has provided me with anything other than I did not take the tea when offered.”

    This statement of mine is not in reference to MM readers. It is a statement of fact regarding the actual people involved.

    “But if you really want to know what could have been corrected — as you say ”

    I did. I asked the people that could have given me that information; the parties involved. The intent of my post was not to seek a dissection of mine, or others actions, understanding that would be nearly impossible to do. Again, it was a narrative meant to illustrate the types of situations that I have seen, or been a part of, with increasing prevalence. But of course, I understand that anyone can comment on any part of what I wrote, however they see it.

    None of the people I am referencing are nasty, those were not my words. It was an uncomfortable situation that I did not understand. I understood better upon learning the history behind such events in that particular ward, and with that particular host. I am unclear as to how I could have done anything differently to avoid hurting others. Those involved were unable to give me anything to work with. I think they are the only ones that could have. I remain weary of these types of situations so many years later, because I am concerned about offending others that graciously invite me into their home.

    “large groups of hateful, hurtful adult LDS women”

    Again unclear how large made it into the picture here. Hateful is a very strong word and I would not use it to describe the actions of any of the women involved. I never believed that of any of them. There actions were hurtful, but it is my responsibility to determine how that affect me. I would not consider any of them intentionally hurtful. Defensive, yes. Intentionally seeking to cause harm, nope.

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on if you think there is a tendency to judge others when a *perceived* “higher ground” is taken by another.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart October 2, 2012, 7:25 pm

    That’s wary, not weary. Although I suppose that might apply sometimes too :)
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith October 2, 2012, 11:11 pm

    Amy, sincerely, I can’t follow this. You said:

    The reason for me having those conversations was to discover if I did or said something I wasn’t aware of that I could correct.

    Yet, you insist that (1) you did not do or say anything you are not aware of that could be corrected AND (2) no one else (either witnessing or not) can point to anything you did or said that could be corrected.

    So how can the reason you state possibly be the reason?

    I would be interested to hear your thoughts on if you think there is a tendency to judge others when a *perceived* “higher ground” is taken by another.

    In all candor, I think THAT is the point of the post.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Finish 2012 StrongMy Profile

  • Amy Lockhart October 3, 2012, 7:22 am

    “you insist that (1) you did not do or say anything you are not aware of that could be corrected”

    I do know what I did and what I said. I have taken those things I might have been unaware of to the people that were involved. Just taking them at face value. Not one of them has noted anything other than the fact that I didn’t take the tea. I specifically asked about things such as body language and tone of voice, among others. Again, the history played a role in how things were perceived.

    “(2) no one else (either witnessing or not) can point to anything you did or said that could be corrected.”

    What I said was, that wasn’t the point of my post. I also said that I realize that anyone who wants to can point to whatever they want, however they see it. I am trusting in what the people involved told me and weigh comments against that information.

    “So how can the reason you state possibly be the reason?”

    That was the reason for the conversations with the individuals involved. It was not the reason for this post.

    I have gained insights due to this post that I am grateful to have. Still not sure if any of it helps ensure I am not stepping on toes of gracious hosts and their company. It seems to me that often there is a preconceived notion or idea that would be difficult to overcome no matter how polite or carefully chosen words and actions are.

    “In all candor, I think THAT is the point of the post.”

    I thought my responses to comments had made that more clear than some saw in my original post. Care to weigh in?
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…The Blessing of InequalityMy Profile

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