Monday, June 8, 2009

BYU–Idaho Pharisees miss the mark

I love BYU–Idaho. Weekly devotionals, an unparalleled (and somewhat idiosyncratic) dating scene and prayer before classes — you just don’t find this kind of environment in very many places. “Another great day at BYU–Idaho” is possible every day if you’ve got the right attitude.

But what is that right attitude? It might be more elusive than you think.

When you live in perfect little LDS bubble, some people tend to develop perceptions of righteous that are — I’m going to be honest here — hypocritical, Pharisaic, and somewhat skewed.

Remember last summer? Scroll’s letters to the editor were rampant with angry comments on several topics that shouldn’t have merited the heated discussion that followed.

I’ve chosen examples from last year so as to not offend more people than is necessary to get my point across, but if you peruse recent letters to the editor and listen to conversations on campus — anyone remember the Naked juice controversy last semester? — this kind of Pharisaic misinterpretation of the standards of the Church is ever present and thriving.

What happened last year was this: The Sun Shack, a student-operated eating venue on campus, had an advertisement that featured an attractive, modestly dressed young woman with ketchup smeared on her face. An angry student wrote to Scroll decrying the evils of such a provocative ad, and then the dam broke, flooding the email inbox of Scroll with responses, both in the negative and the affirmative.

That same semester, a headline reading “Little shop of horr … uh, flowers” — obviously a clever play on the musical “Little Shop of Horrors” — drew similar frustration from people who somehow interpreted the “horr” in the headline to mean something totally different. (Oddly enough, the connection didn’t even occur to most of us. What does that say about the mind-in-the-gutter factor of those who were offended?)

I’d like to think I try to my best to live the gospel, but that doesn’t mean burdening others with my own grossly inflated view of spirituality. When someone does that, we miss the mark with our attempts to make up rules and standards or impose our exaggerated standards upon others.

I’m not perfect, but that’s my point: nobody is, and maybe we should concentrate on real issues before we allow our need to feel spiritual interfere with feeling the Spirit.

No comments:

Post a Comment