Sunday, October 31, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
I obviously know who you are. Again, I appreciate your feedback and have thought deeply about what you have shared. Please know that my recent posts have not been directed at any one individual. They have been the result of observations in the world around me over the past numerous months. I sincerely love you. The plain fact is, I miss you.
I will clarify a couple of points and then let my comments and your comments stand for what they are (obviously you can feel free to make any additional comments you wish to make). First, narcissistic personality disorder is a disorder of the character or personality of an individual with a pervasive pattern of traits (mentioned in part I) across various domains of life that cause significant impairment. Nevertheless, as with many mental disorders there is a severity spectrum. Someone with this disorder may actually appear quite functional in many aspects of their life. I used an example of what the disorder may look like to illustrate the meaning of the word, with all of its nuances. Often the word narcissism is used interchangeably with the word arrogant or egotistical in common language, but I think it is really quite a bit more than that. However, in talking about intellectual narcissism I switched and was not talking about a diagnosable condition, which is why I repeatedly referred to traits, tendencies, and characteristics. In fact, I even said that often the person with intellectual narcissism from my observation does not necessarily exhibit that narcissism in other areas of their life. I was using the word to express an attitude and a presentation exhibited by some. If this was, or still is, confusing or unclear, I apologize.
Second, I did not suggest that anyone who "merely" disagrees with "my" prophet is an intellectual narcissist. Nor did I suggest that people who get PhDs, use sophisticated vocabulary, or rely on something other than prophetic authority to find truth are intellectual narcissists. It is important to note that I was obviously speaking to a Latter-day Saint audience. I suggested that people who love and inflate their intellect, their degrees, and their vocabulary and use them to put themselves above the revealed word, the prophets, and sometimes God Himself may be intellectual narcissists. I also suggested people with an excessive focus on the intellect at the expense of the spirit, who then use that gift to tear down others and vaunt themselves may be intellectual narcissists as well.
Third, you have implied in your comments here and in your comments in a previous post that I am somehow opposed to truth discovery in any form other than "prophetic authority". This is not the case. I happen to believe in truth from any and all sources from which real truth may sprout. I find doctrines and practices rooted in truth from science, Buddhism, Native American traditions, Catholicism, and many other sources beautiful, miraculous, and profound. I have no qualms with seeming discrepancies. The world is not black and white. I have personal faith that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole. What I take issue with is the rejection or criticism of truth, no matter its source and no matter its target. Just because I generally write about truths as expressed in Mormonism does not mean that I reject truth from other sources, as long as it is truth. Each person must find that truth for themselves. I may disagree with their methods and their conclusions (and, I believe, should be able to express that) but that does not mean I do not appreciate their efforts. I may even make judgments about their methods and conclusions but I try hard not to make judgments about them! I admit that this was not expressed well in the posts, thus creating an "us vs. them" feel. I have learned for next time.
Fourth, I love President Uchtdorf too! :)
Fifth, I absolutely agree that perceived righteousness is an invitation to pride. Is there pride in me? I am full of it. I pray daily that I can root it out of me and be truly humble. My faith invites me to a conversion of the heart, to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. That's what I want more than anything in the world. I do not want to be a hypocrite who self-righteously performs checklists and adheres to "cultural doctrines". I do not just "claim" to direct these posts to me - I DO. Are there narcissistic traits in me? Without question. I'm working on that as well. Is there a beam in my eye? There are probably a few. I do appreciate the reminder (that is not sarcastic - I really do).
Sixth, while I disagree with some of the conclusions you have come to in your life, and it appears that you disagree with some of mine, please give me the benefit of the doubt that I have not "forgotten" that "one must depend on God himself and the spirit to decide what is right despite what that authority figure says". I know and trust that your conclusions have not come from a place of malice or ill intent. I know that there has been significant struggle that has brought you to where you are. Please know that it is also excruciating spiritual and emotional struggle that has brought me to where I am. You suggest it is "easy" to "decide that one particular man speaks for God". But I would like to offer that sometimes it is actually quite difficult. It is ONLY because of God and the Spirit that I have taken the path I have taken, independent of any other. It is the personal witness to my mind and heart that has led me to faith, when it would have been significantly more "easy" to go elsewhere. It is the wonderful comfort, the reassuring grace, the unmistakable testimony that has come from Him in the midst of my own suffering that has brought me to want to follow Him and His servants, imperfectly as I do.
I ask for your forgiveness for any offense I have caused in this discussion. I express my love and my desire for eternal friendship.