OPINION – “You seem like you have a particular axe to grind with people in the Mormon Church,” a colleague said to me on the Perspectives Morning show last week.
I told her she had me all wrong and what ensued was one of the better discussions we have had to date in my tenure as a regular guest on the show.
We were able to find some common ground and, from a vantage of mutual respect, engage in some rigorous and meaningful dialogue. Oh that our elected officials and would-be elects could do the same.
You see, I recognize that by living in an area of the country where the predominant culture to speak of is Mormon, it is incumbent on me to yield some to assimilate. I am under no impression whatsoever I am being asked to join or leave although I have had some interesting discussions with those folks in the shirts and ties.
And while I do not share in their faith, I hold them with endearing regard as that which they are to me regardless of religious affiliation: Friends, neighbors, and colleagues. And I would add the word “trusted” to many of them.
But there is this uncomfortable matter I must address.
I face a conundrum of sorts when the subject of religion presents itself much like I do when the topic of cable television comes up.
Someone will ask me if I have seen one show or another; and when I explain that we do not have cable, and find it a betterment for our family that we apply ourselves to having more engaged and enriched relationships in our family, I am by default saying to my cable-subscribing friends they may be doing it wrong – that I do not approve.
Hence, the difficulty. How do I hold fast to my own convictions without giving offense?
I think a step in the right direction begins with what my colleague and I found ourselves able to do. We opened the door to the notion that the questioning of our own convictions does not have to mean that the intrinsic value of the person is in question at all. Quite the contrary I found, as I found myself on the receiving end of some scrutiny as to my intentions when I write on matters which include observations of the predominant culture here.
I sensed this person was asking in earnest and really cared to know. I sensed she was secure enough in her own convictions to hear that I simply did not agree. In point of fact, my ideas on the subject flew in stark contrast to hers and yet I walked away feeling that the forging of a relationship was in place.
I am often heard saying that we are not friends until we have been in a fight.
I do not mean by this the senseless brutal confrontation of a fistfight but rather the discord or disagreement that everyday life often presents in friendships.
My trust, if you will, in my relationship with a friend or colleague is solidified when I am confident ours can endure a disagreement, an insult, or a betrayal. That in some fashion, we are able to exercise some requisite humility and find ourselves, on the flip side of discord, still friends and better for having an authentic experience.
If I am waxing a bit sentimental to what you are accustomed to here, fear not. I have much vitriol for the nefarious and will be opining on matters of consequence soon.
But, I think in light of some personal challenges of late, that recent discussion, and the absolute awe and respect I have for this community coming together in time of crisis – like the flood in Santa Clara – I find myself compelled to tell this community I consider you friends; and I hold it a privilege to write for you and raise in your mind questions that perhaps you did not know you had.
And, to you, my community, I am grateful to have been embraced in this capacity. It is a charge I do not take lightly.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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