Being Judgmental

In the mothers day thread I’d made note that no one that I knew seemed to really get up with the kids. Now I felt somewhat bad about that since a few people took that as being critical of the particular choices their family had made, even though both parties were happy with the decision. Now I didn’t intend it to be taken that way. It was more that it seemed likely there were problems helping wives if every wife “coincidentally” didn’t want the husband to get up. Not a problem with any one family, but perhaps with the community overall. However as I realized how it was taken I became a little reflective on whether I was being unfairly (and unrighteously) judgmental.

Now I do know that many people outside of the Church have criticized us, as a people, for sometimes being too judgmental. Even in the Church I notice many bringing it up as a problem. (At BYU Rameumpton and Pharisee jokes were rampant – typically always about the “other guy.”)

Here’s my question. How can we be reflective of our community and of actions we worry about without being judgmental? Or, almost as bad, communicating to others inadvertently that we are judging them.

29 thoughts on “Being Judgmental

  1. I think that is really hard to do online, because you can’t hear how things are said and often one doesn’t read everything before jumping to a conclusion that something was meant as a judgment.

    Part of the problem is that we are often too sensitive and perceive a judgment where truly none was intended or where no reasonable person would have felt judged (whatever that means…)

    And then, of course, is the problem that we probably are too judgmental a lot of the time. If anyone can come up with a solution to Clark’s question, I will be the first in line to hear how you do it. I always have problems sounding judgmental, even though most times I do not feel like I am judging.

  2. I tend to think that sometimes we’re oversensitive about being judged. Particularly when our case is something of an exception to the norm, we ought to be careful about not assuming judgmental attitudes on the part of others.

    Of course, that doesn’t do anything to help the problem of being judgmental itself. Maybe we simply ought to be aware that our comments can potentially be seen as judgmental. Just recognizing that there are caveats to claim can go a long ways in warding off offense.

  3. You couched your original statement in such as a way to show that you understand that it was the decision of some couples and your respect for such. With that qualifier, I think it was very legitimate to encourage other men where there is not such a written or unwritten agreement to do more of their share. In your statement, you also pointed out that you feel you do not do nearly enough showing that you were not being boastful.

    I often contemplate on the nature of being judgmental. On the one hand, being judgmental serves a role to help keep society in tact. The fear of others’ reproach may keep people in check. Those painful states, the whispering, the backbiting can be quite a deterent. I know that people should do right based on higher principles than fear of punishment. However, some people are at that basic level.

    However, for those who have fallen short(as we all do at one time or another), the painful judgments of others may keep them from completing the repentance process at least for a time. They may find it too difficult to go to Church where they may feel that they are treated coldy. They may withdraw and compound their sins in isolation.

    I realize that you were talking more about sins of ommission.

    I think there still needs to be much movement to change our culture. I agree a woman should be the heart of the home. I also feel the husband should be the primary breadwinner and ideally a wife should stay home. I know this is not always possible and that sometimes a wife needs to also work.

    However, this division of roles does not mean the division of labor that exists in our homes is fair and balanced. Even a stay at home mom can benefit from a break and a helping hand from her husband. I think a woman will have a stronger identity if she is not seen solely as the servant of all the family members. She should have her alone time and time to cultivate her mind. There was an excellent article in the Ensign recently about staying home and being smart. The service mothers render is beautiful. However, by others doing their part we show that she is appreciated.

    I saw an episode over a year ago where a wife who was staying at home would become so flustered if she did not get all of her tasks completed. She was upset if her husband carried the laundry basket upstairs. Dr. Phil told her that she was measuring her worth in her household by what she accomplished. He said because she was staying at home she felt she was only worthwhile if she completed her chores. I saw her face appear so soft and meek as he told her that she was of worth just for being her. He said that she did not have to prove her worth by those external evidences. I wonder how many women who willingly take the division of labor to carry the full load of domestic responsibilities do so because they feel that is a measure of their worth.

    I know that sometimes a woman does not want her husband to help because she likes things done a particular way. I think it would be good if she would learn to accept things not always done to her specifications. Many men give up because they feel that whatever they do is not good enough. However, once again if a woman really wants to assume all responsibilities and is capable of such then I think that may be a good decision for that couple.

    I know this is quite a lengthy post. I hope that I reflect the utmost respect for the noble role of motherhood. Happy Mother’s Day!!!!

  4. Jordan,

    I feel offended by your post. It seems you are judging people who are judgmental and that’s not really fair. I can tell by the tone of your typing that you are really just being sarcastic. Typical lawyer. BTW, what do you have against hypersensitive people anyway, huh?

  5. Eric,

    No need to be judgmental of my judging judgmental people, because I’ll be the judge of that. As a modern scribe, you’re a gnat-strainer for sure. You probably eat whitened sepulchres for breakfast. Now stop it.

  6. Jordan:

    But you should see the size of my phylacteries!

  7. I worry sometimes about being judgmental — my roommate pushes my capacities to the limits at times! But I think maybe I can judge righteous judgment and still be faithful, without being “judgmental” in the adjective sense: I don’t presume judgments and I try to make rational, sensible judgments with the spirit.

    None of this has helped with the roommate :(, but it’s fun to talk about!

  8. Tricky issue, Clark, but certainly one that deserves more discussion in LDS circles. I think the easiest and most effective way to avoid giving offense (individually and collectively) is to pay attention to our own vocabulary and remove inadvertently offensive terms from our public speech. A few I can think of off the top of my head: Lamanites (applied to Native Americans), gentiles (applied to other Christians), apostate (applied to other churches), girls (applied to women), anti-Mormons (applied to just about anyone). I think the GAs have actually done pretty well on this point in recent years–in Conference talks they are really quite circumspect in their references in a way they were not a few years back. Sooner or later, the general membership will catch up to them.

  9. I feel like I’ve had a long road in learning to be non-judgmental (I’m not there yet) and have thought about this a lot as a parent. I worry about creating this tendancy in my own children as I stress the values I want them to embrace. It’s only natural for a child who’s been taught that smoking is bad to make assumptions about someone they see smoking. I’ve been very grateful to have people close to us who live differently than we do so my children see them doing the things we’ve taught them not to while also loving them and knowing they are good people. I’ve also promised myself I would never point to specific people and say things like “she is dressed immodestly, don’t dress like her.” Is that enough though? What else can we do to help ourselves and our kids avoid the judgmental pit-fall? Perhaps that’s why church leaders have tried to focus us more on the doctrines and less on applications?

  10. Did I even answer the question that you posed? Probably not. Sorry!

  11. Dave, I agree regarding language. Although to be fair, knowing what others find offensive can sometimes be tricky. I recall back in the days of dating that some women would be offended being called girl, because they were *women*. Others were offended being called woman, because they weren’t *old*. It made the life of a man often quite difficult. (And, for the record, feel free to call me boy or young man)

    However that’s not really what I was getting at. The bigger issue is what someone mentioned above. How do we reform and improve our society and community without giving offense? Can it be done? I don’t just mean the problem of miscommunication. Rather, it seems to me that we have to speak in generalities, but for any generality there are exceptions. And those exceptions often take offense.

    I agree with the person who said we ought be slow to take offense. But I recall back in my single days the ever present topic of when I was getting married. The people weren’t intending to be offensive. And I didn’t take it as such. But it sure got old and annoying fast…

    Sometimes we can consciously think, “that ought not bother me,” but it still does.

  12. I figure you judged us because my husband doesn’t up with babies. But then I judged you by thinking you must be poor parents for not training your baby to sleep at night.
    We’re even.

  13. I’ve been at playgroups where the conversation turns to “my husband doesn’t even hear the baby cry” and it gets nods around the room.
    Then I would pipe up, “I don’t even hear my husband’s alarm go off in the morning.” And then all the moms have to admit that their husband, without complaint, wakes up and goes to work before his sleeping wife and sleeping children have to get up (most husband’s have about a 45 minute commute).
    Well, except if a baby happens to be nursing at that time.
    In fact, except for the first few months after a baby is born, my husband gets at least an hour less sleep per night than I do.
    How fair is that?
    My husband, being the sweet guy he is, would often let me sleep in on a weekend morning when the kids got up. I, being the equal minded woman that I am, would let him sleep in the other weekend morning because he had to get up so early during the week.
    Where are the posts of easing a father’s burden? He goes to work. He is gone all day. He feels the pressure of being the sole wage earner for our family.
    Marie Osmond may have made PPD famous for being jealous that her husband gets to go to work and she’s stuck home with the kids, but how many husbands aren’t just a little wishful for a day with a teething child vs. whatever least favorite task they had to perform that day.
    My husband honors me and appreciates me and what I do as a mother and wife. I recipricate and realize that while I was frustrated with our children and making dinner seems an impossible task, he sat through rush hour traffic on a crowded but and then walked home in the pouring rain (uphill, though only one way).
    This morning, he brought me my one year old who, because she is teething, woke before he left. She and I happily cuddled in our bed and he left to go to work. At least its a downhill walk in the morning and it doesn’t really rain all that often here in Seattle.

  14. SHould be BUS
    he sat through rush hour traffic on a crowded BUS and then walked home in the pouring rain (uphill, though only one way).
    Sorry for the poor proofreading.

  15. JKS, thank you for your comments and they made me think.

    I think that a woman knows when she is respected. There are different ways of showing this and not all ways are the best for each woman or family. I see that many woman would feel awful knowing that their husband may not have the mental acuity that he needs at work because of being sleep deprived.

  16. Jesus Christ himself would be thought “judgmental” by many of those today who are critics of his church and people. I don’t think there is anything that we can do to avoid being labeled judgmental. Those who feel guilty of sin will feel that we are judging them even if we say nothing at all.

    Fortunately, it doesn’t matter what others think of us. The only thing that matters is what God thinks of us. If our hearts are filled with charity towards others, God will know it. What they think doesn’t matter.

    I am often thought to be “judgmental.” That doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that I am occasionally self-rightous. And I know that when I am self-rightous, I am not being charitable in my heart. If I understand the scriptures correctly, a lack of charity will cost me my eternal life unless I repent.

    Undoubtedly most of us could be more charitable, more generous in our opinion of others. If we honestly work on that, I don’t think we need to worry about how we are perceived.

  17. Someone may want to edit my remarks. Bear in mind my perceptions of how someone may perceive me may be totally off base, but I want to say something to illustrate a point. In another thread, I spoke of how being demure can be effective when disagreeing. I think some people have derogatory feelings about people who are demure. Also, they may think they grew up in these idealistic homes where everything is 1950’s happy day style. In reality, I think I am a nice person by nature. However, I think much of me is truly repressed. I had to learn the skills of passivity at the hands of a father who could be a mad man at times. Generally not physically violent but so stark raving mad breaking things and screaming profanities that make your stomach go into your throat. If they so much of think you have the wrong look on your face, they go bizerk. They are not always like this by the way. I modeled my behavior after my mother who can be spunky at times but all the lights go out on her face when my dad is in a full blown episode and she complies with his madness. I think people often judge people for staying in abusive homes. Let’s see why would I in my thirties possibly still live in this enviroment. Well, let’s give a quick run down for anyone that I am judging may possibly care. I joined the Church at 19. I thought that I needed to stay at my house to offer moral support to my little sister who was still in high school. At one point, when I was preparing to go on a mission, I considered moving out but did not think I could really stand the person who I was going to move in with. I know nothing would compare to the abuse that I sometimes experience so go figure that mentallity. Another of the factors that I will relate is that I would have had to take the bus to work, which I usually did anyways but this was a lot further from my home and I would have to transfer. Okay, go on mission and am told to only stay in home two weeks by someone so parents do not get thumb on me. Then, I come home and someone else who I trusted said that I needed to be an example to my parents and stay as long as I could stand it. Little did I know that in the midt of staying as long as I could stand it that I would suffer a debillitating nervous breakdown from which I have not yet fully recovered. I cannot take care of myself. Once when I was considering moving out somebody very glibly made light of how long I had stayed. He did offer to help financially but said I could probably stand to be in my home since I was suppposed to graduate in just a few months. I was at the end of my straw as the abuse was at a pretty high peak at that point, not the worst ever. See he had judged that I had stood it before so I could stand it still. Well, he did offer to help out financially if I needed it. However, I looked around my YSA ward and saw how people do not lift a finger generally for one and another and knowing my state of mental illness know that nobody will give me the level of help that I need. The fact that most of the people that I called as a visiting teacher supervisor had a zero per cent reinforced this notion. I did not graduate that semester. I dropped a couple classes. Well, that was my fault as I am such a perfectionist. Also, my mental illness makes it easy to over-extend and very hard to go places so scaling back helped me cope. Then, a couple sememsters or more when I did graduate, my mom wanted me to stay to help with what would be an expensive winter due to heat costs. Other factors that kept me hear was my feelings of obligation to my grandpa with dementia that just lived a block and a half a way. I often helped take care of him though I was really out of my element. My parents have relied on my income throught the years and I hate to deprive them of it. My mom takes care of me. Yes, some may call it enabling but severe learning disabilities and all the years of mental abuse coupled with mental illness have made me loose independence skills. Why I am afraid to even open a refrigerator. Paradoxically, I do hold a job though it is not without mental duress. I am doing better but by no means well. I used to dream sombody would rescue and offer to take me in and help me get skills. Now I am not so sure that I can learn those skills. My dad is usually nice these days although there have been a few incidents within the last month. Yet, nothing to the level before so far but one never knows when it is a volcanoe that they live with. Times can be good and then wham! Well, at least the worst of times of fleeting. Judge me all you want, but you do not know me. Not from such a blissful life, but still happy compared to most people at this point in my life.

  18. Blissful, thank you being so open. Your story is a powerful reminder that we can all do better in helping lift the burdens those around us are struggling with. I hope things continue to improve.

  19. Clark and olivia86,

    You’ve both made the point I tried to make in the comments to the other post much better than I was able to, and without giving the offense that I did. Bad Dad, JKS, etc., please note that my point was not that what my husband and I do is right and anyone who does otherwise is wrong, just that I believe parents should raise their children together, and that husbands and wives should work together (under whatever arrangement seems most fair to both of them). If you’re happy, and there’s no resentment, then you’re probably doing what’s right for you and your family.

  20. Blissful, thanks for sharing that. I’m sorry that on top of all your problems, you’ve also dealt with feeling judged. I hope things work out for you. Good luck with all you’re doing.

  21. Andrea, I know I am probably very bizarre because I like to keep changing my identity. Of course, the fact that I am revealing this defeats the purpose. However, I will change again in a moment. I get to much out of this forum to go away all together. Yes, there have been some very hard times when I was in survival mode. In fact, the period right before my mission may have been the all time worst, which I think really effected me entering the field as missions are stressful enough without coming straight out of a terrible environment. It is funny because at that time I had scarce told a person. A lady that I visit taught that I came from the ideal home. Despite the often severely violent episodes at times at home, I was blessed so often to feel a great deal of peace at that time. I really had an amazing amount of happiness much of the time. That did not mean that I was not scared when someone was breaking things all around me. By the way, I want to mention what I think was the worst advice ever to me. When my dad hit me in the forehead repeatadily with his palm of his hand when he was mad that I accidently broke my blasses, somebody who I thought would help me said that I just need to hug him and tell him that I love him. I called another person around that time who I thought would help who was big in some anti-pornography unit that puts posters up against pornography. He said to call someone else in a nice way. He lived close to me and I thought maybe they would offer that I could live with them. No, people just pass the buck. I really have trouble asking people for help—–way too much rejection—way too many glazed over eyes. Anyhow, things are going good most of the time now. The episodes are not nearly as high on the richtor scale of the last few weeks. Well, I know I am blessed to live in this country and have an education. I have a lot of friends although I usually only see the ones that I work with in person and then only at work. I have a lot of online friends too. I certainly am not a person to be pitied. That does not mean that I do not wish to be rescued still. I know that makes people uncomfortable. It is always easier to pass the buck. I hate it when people tell me to make a decision because I am so afraid of making a wrong move and falling to pieces. Well, hopefully things will stay as good as they are. I know this is an intelluctual forum and not about helping people. However, I do not want to be so open on forums where I have established identities. I do not expect anybody to have any advice for me. Well, I will be around.

  22. Allison, thanks so much for complimenting me. Little things like that mean a lot to me. I have this complex that people generally ignore me. Anyhow, I do not remember any overly offensive remarks by anybody on the thread. I did not go back and reread because I thought it was better. That way you can know that nothing sticks out in my mind at this time. If there was something flagrant, it would have probably jumped out at me. I have an ultra-sensitivity to offensive remarks. I even have to turn the channel if the Waltons get too heated. Even with an ideal mom like Olivia and a great dad like John Sr. life was not always perfect. PS I know it is a fictional series although the characters were largely based on the real life brothers of Earl Hammer–hope I got that right. My point is that people often have a much harsher opinion of what they wrote that what reality bears. Give yourself a break!!! Take care!!!!!

  23. My promises to everyone that I will not dredge up my past anymore. I know that has the tendency to make people uncomfortable. I am glad that I did it though and have no regrets because there are things that I want people to be aware of in hopes that they may be more sensitive to others in the future. So this is blissful and several other identities saying, hey I know that was not cool of me to use this as my own sounding board and soap box. Sorry Clark that you thread had to be the one that I made a mess of things. I really am a lot more normal than I come across. Also, I am not a very bitter person. I do have my moments though. πŸ™ Oh I should add, if you want to find out about how people are judgmental acquire a mental disorder where people think that you should either a) snap out of it b) are seeking attention c) pray and expect a miracle—which does happen at times but not always on our timetable d) therapy–did that and found there are no magic cures although I never had therapy focused on abuse and think that may be a good thing—if only it were not so hard to go places e) take meds-I am very prone to being a zombie though I must confess I have not taken drugs for years so who knows if there is a new one that would be the ticket f) move out of abusive environment—see above comments as to why it is not practical Then, there are those who have been so patient and sweet with me. I really am embarassed to show my face at Church as delusional as I was at one point. I have always been made to feel welcome even by those that remember me when…… Well, many of these same people knew me before my mission when I was able to be a good example and was a lot more spiritual. I like to hope that they would still be so nice even if they had not seen me in my better years of my early twenties. I’m sure some of them would still be so nice as they are that kind of people. I am not saying that I am above reproach and that people have never said things that were warrented. I try to concentrate on the sweet and realize without the bitter comments that the sweet would not be so precious, timely, understanding, profound, and empathetic. Are you thrilled that I am wrapping this up. I know I have monopolized way too much of this and other threads about me. Thank you for listening. That is all I really can expect on an anonymous forum such as this. Blissful leaves you with much love. Of course, I will be around still and hopefully only bringing love.

  24. Ryan, you will be the last person that I address in regards to my comments. Hey, that was cool of you to say. Maybe I should not have went on and expounded quite so much. I really get on a roll! I am not really going through a lot at the moment. Most of the time I just go through the motions with my ocd. My home situation with a few exceptions now and there has been very good for the last several months. We even made it through very stressful seasons including a wedding and holidays without any major episodes so maybe things will never be as bad again. I hope my saying this is not breaking my promise not to dredge up my past anymore. Well, I really must work on not being so self-centered. I know many of you may have had difficult pasts that you do not seek to make public. I also know that everybody has trials. My Visiting Teacher has so many trials as well as some of my good friends. I wish that I were better so that I could be of more use to others. However, I know of a young lady who suffered oxygen loss to her brain and lost much of her short-term memory. I also have had a lot of experience with people with dementia. So I do not take for granted the ability to formulate thoughts in what is hopefully a logical procession. Yes, I have felt judged at times and that hurt. Many people have felt judged for so many reasons. I knew a lady who had cancer who had somebody tell her that she caused it to herself due to her emotions. Somebody else quickly remarked to her that was ridiculous as she would not wish that on her worst enemy. I am glad that I have outlets for my frustrations. Please, nobody else feel that you have to say anything to address me. I am glad for those who did as you can imagine it would be painful to feel ignored after sharing so much. Well, I imagine some of the blogs here are having quite a party about now in DC. I wish I were there! However, I am happy you all can mingle.

  25. You know it is so easy for me to change my addy. I have not tried it as it would be unethicical, but I wonder if I could take an existing name and use it. That is a scary thought. I will not reuse any of my addy’s here again including olivia86–one of my favorites πŸ™ but it is still my online name at for my public journal so it lives on–my name is not olivia btw, will never use any addy that I have used before. I will get one addy–a brand new one– and probably just stick with it as I have nothing else to divulge. I really wanted to say what I had to say. Although I am not nearly as bitter as before, it helped me to say what I feel. In fairness, I want to say my first 12 years were so ideal as my parent did not manifest such behavior then. Even after that, there were lulls between the bad times. Even the worst of times have been fleeting. When they are over, it is in a way like they never happened because the person acts like everyhting is normal and we do not generally discuss. PS I know this is not an advice forum. I respect what the blogs here do. I hope my compulsive tendencies have not made a spectacal of things. My sincere apologies.

  26. I’m unclear what the issue is here.

    We have to use good judgment in some issues, that should be a given. I would substitute the word condemn. We need to be careful who we condemn.

    That being said, if I take a stand, and it offends someone, so be it. I get sick of being politically correct. I don’t make a conscious effort to offend people, I don’t try to be a jerk, in fact, most people are surprised when I get my back up because I will bend over backward not to offend, to empathize and understand, to give them their human-ness. But there’s a point where everybody needs to grow up.

    Was the question about dads not getting up in the night? I’m sort of lost. I must have missed something. Sorry if I’m off topic.

  27. Blissful (and other names you are using),

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. Your comments in number 24 are similar to the experience of my wife, who has a mental disorder brought on by serious mental, physical, and sexual abuse. The church here has turned on her for the same reasons you share: she hasn’t “snapped out of it”, she is just looking for attention, she should have more faith, and she should take meds that turn her into a zombie. Unfortunately, the abusive situation she really needs to leave is the local branches and district. In my own personal experience, the church had been a place for comfort and support,in her personal experience, it was and is a very dangerous place.

    It is easy to write about, but not without a lot of bitterness. I hope you can find peace. We are still looking.

  28. Alamojag, with my mentall illness I have been fortunate to have a lot of support from two different Bishops. One was during the onset and he called me once personally and said that as a Bishop he would do anything that he could to help. My decision to take meds was mine although after I said I would, he seemed to think it was good idea given the seriousness of my condition. I think the meds may have done some good in helping me have less bizarre thoughts. They may have also helped get me out of a deppression. I do not think I have been depressed for quite some time. Yes, my ocd can be a major affliction to me, but mainly it keeps me from going places more than anything. There are occassional meltdowns but nothing like before. My current Bishop has also been very supportive of me in my condition. I have never had a Bishop or member of Bishopric that did not make me feel welcome at Church. I often do feel peace and comfort. It has been a long road. One thing that I have held on to is the quote, “Hang fast to hope.” I have friends that have gone through severe abuse and were able to recover through counseling from LDS Social Services. Some people take longer than others for recovery. We cannot put a timetable on things. One thing I can say about the drugs though is that they never stopped my thought processes altogether. They were more sedative in nature, but I felt guilty for feeling sedated. My two friends that have been healed are strong members of the Church. I think there needs to be much more understanding of mental illness and abuse in society as a whole. Fortunately, we have come a long way and there are many humane people there to assist the mentally ill. If it would help your wife to talk with me, I would be happy to be of assistance. I hope so much for the both of you too to have peace and know the good of this life.

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