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Put Down the Gavel

My friend posted on her blog an article about being a single LDS woman. Both ladies made many good points I will not reiterate here. Instead, I would like to discuss the motivation behind these posts: judgment. And judgment applies to all situations, not just to being single. In fact, once one of these women gets married, the judgment won't stop. The next nosy question she will be asked is, "When are you going to have children?" Then, "When are you going to have another child?" Then either, "Why aren't you going to have more?" or "Don't you think you have enough?" Then there will be comments and questions about her parenting choices and so on.

Elder Neil L. Andersen shared this example in his October 2011 general conference talk:
President J. Scott Dorius of the Peru Lima West Mission told me their story. He said:
“Becky and I were married for 25 years without being able to have [or adopt] children. We moved several times. Introducing ourselves in each new setting was awkward and sometimes painful. Ward members wondered why we [didn’t have] children. They weren’t the only ones wondering.
“When I was called as a bishop, ward members [expressed] concern that I did not have any experience with children and teenagers. I thanked them for their sustaining vote and asked them to allow me to practice my child-raising skills on their children. They lovingly obliged.
“We waited, gained perspective, and learned patience. After 25 years of marriage, a miracle baby came into our lives. We adopted two-year-old Nicole and then newborn Nikolai. Strangers now compliment us on our beautiful grandchildren. We laugh and say, ‘They are our children. We have lived our lives backwards.’”
Brothers and sisters, we should not be judgmental with one another in this sacred and private responsibility. [emphasis mine]
Whatever happened to minding our own business? We may feel that our questions are just out of curiosity, concern, or compassion, not judgment, but the motivation doesn't matter. Unless we are family or friends who the person chooses to talk to about his or her personal life, unless we have received a distinct prompting from the Spirit to address a sensitive subject with the person, unless this person is doing something clearly harmful to him- or herself or others, then their business is not ours.

Let us first worry about our own salvation before we "help" others with theirs. Let us put down the gavel and stop doing the Savior's job. He is the Judge; we are not. He knows the full story, He sees the complete picture; we do not. The best things we can do are pray for and love the person.

Challenge: Next time a judgmental thought or comment pops into your mind, dismiss it. Remember, our divine identity supersedes all others, so let us think of and treat each other as the beloved children of God we are. Then we will be able to get to a place where we don't even have judgmental thoughts to dismiss.


[rachel] said…
Thank you for posting this. As someone who is currently unable to have children of my own, I appreciate the thoughtfulness of this message. I am still struggling to accept my situation, and I think one of the more difficult parts of this stage of my life is having to explain myself to other people. I know they mean well, but the questions and comments others ask bring up feelings that I am trying so hard to reconcile and shake up a reality that I am praying every day to understand and accept. Thank you.
DAD said…
People should have as many kids as they are physically spiritualy and emotionally able to if they can . God will be with them if they seek His involvement. for those who have not been blessed yet - the Lord knows your feelings and will bless you eternally with posterity
Miss Keesh said…
Thanks for your post! Sorry it took so long for me to finally read it. It's wonderful! And I agree that the judging needs to stop. Did you know Sis Patricia Holland cried every Mother's Days during the first 3 years of her marriage because she had difficulty conceiving, and only sisters who had children would get flowers (Elder Holland added "Thankfully that has changed")? Hope all is well!
Anonymous said…
I like this article.
It reminds me of how much Heavenly Father loves each us eternally.

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