Yesterday someone I don’t know wrote about the deep chasm that exists between unbelieving me and my faithful LDS wife. This person spoke of my beliefs as “toxic” and coming from “the darkest of places and times.” Conversely, this anonymous stranger described my wife’s beliefs as “a firm foundation” and “precious pearls.” At first reading this, I thought it was a bit harsh and judgmental and smug (well, it was that, actually), but it made me think of how easy it is to misread when something is in print, and you’re not talking face to face.
The person wrote as if, being married to me, my wife would be confronted by “criticisms and doubt … from day to day.” I wonder how this person came to believe that. If nothing else, I have tried in my personal and family relationships, to avoid criticism and attempting to sow seeds of doubt. When I had my initial epiphany regarding the truth of Mormonism, I wanted so badly for my family members and loved ones to understand, to know what I knew. But I soon learned that it isn’t my place to proselytize people to my point of view. Sure, I will share what I have learned when asked, and I post things that are interesting to me, but I have consciously avoided telling people what they should believe.
In short, I’m content to respect and honor my wife’s beliefs, and she respects mine. Chasms form when we don’t communicate with each other, when we allow our differences to obscure the love we have for each other. And no, I’m not just talking about my marriage. That’s how it works in every important relationship in our lives. When we start seeing other people as toxic or dark, we build walls between us, and we imagine that they are sowing criticism and doubt or pushing their beliefs on us. When we start seeing people as agendas, that’s when the chasm becomes wide and deep.
I don’t know this person who has so roundly criticized me (and by extension my wife). But I’m glad I don’t view the world the way he or she does.