Sunday, February 11, 2007

Situational Disobedience

Today we had Stake Conference, rather than regular church. We had several excellent talks, but one really jumped out at me. Sister Richards mentioned something she calls "situational disobedience." I've heard her use this phrase before, and as before, it really hit home with me. "Situational Disobedience" is when we choose the situations or circumstances in which we blatantly, or maybe just subconsiously, choose to ignore commandments of God. Some call this being "a la carte" religious. We pick and choose the parts of religion we want to obey or acknowledge. Or we say I will be good in all things, except for this one thing. What gives us the right to say we know better than God in this one situation or instance?

It has brought me to think more about something that has now happened twice in my life. If you know me, you know I never cuss. There are a few words in my vocabulary that I use to express feelings upon occasion, but as a general rule, I do not cuss. Nor do I cuss another one out. In the workplace, particularly my last 2 workplaces, cussing was completely common and normal amongst my peers. I know that it was noted that I choose not to cuss because of the frequency with which people would apologize for cussing in my presence. This both amused and complimented me. At the job prior to this one (the 911 job) it was almost overwhelming to me how foul the language around me was. In the last night at my job there the proverbial poop hit the fan. Everyone around me was swearing, and things got nasty. In the course of things a person I really really strongly disliked chose to break all protocols and rules and did something to get intentionally in my way, and kept me from doing my job (in a 911 situation, that's a pretty bad situation). I responded with a very well placed and physically impossible swear word. And I got written up for it. It was humiliating to me that me, the good little Mormon girl, was getting written up for doing something everyone else around me did on a regular basis. I quit my job that night. But before leaving I asked why I was written up for it. The answer was at first "because it is against protocols." I pointed out that it was the one and only time I have ever cussed and yet everyone else did it regularly. Their response? Yes, but you knew it was wrong, and therefore meant it to be offensive. That couldn't have made me feel more guilty and worse. And made me realize that no matter what, I would always be held to a higher standard, even by people who have no idea what that higher standard is.
Something similar happened recently. A few weeks ago I used the same choice word in a directive. And was written up for it. I consider pretty much everyone involved in that situation to be a hypocrite at this point in time. Again, it is a word used commonly by everyone else that was in the situation. But obviously, I haven't spent my entire career writing up co-workers for their choice in language. And yet, the one time I use it, what do I get? Because I know that all of those people are reading this, I have this to express. If it is a word that obviously I consider to be abhorrent, and personally choose to never use, how upset must I have been that I did choose to use it in that setting? There are 2 sides to every story, and I know that in the past few days, my story has not been heard out in the least. And I am not going to express it beyond these thoughts.
But I do want it to be said and noted that I do choose to not speak in certain terms. And in the only times I have ever expressed myself that forcefully, I meant it. However, all things being what they are and have been, and in what I am learning now about "situational disobedience," I think it is safe to say, I won't be sinking to that level again.


  1. Wow! That is seriously unfair.

    It's as if they dismiss everyone else because they can control themselves... but you have exhibited control... so when you lose it it's a bigger deal.

    I find myself in a similar situation. A few co-workers have gone to hireups saying they were offended by what I can only say are my opinions. or a subject I brought up. (something as benign as... I don't like new construction homes and new suburbs actually make my skin crawl if I'm stuck in them!) And as a result, I'm labeled as 'difficult to work with.'

    Okay. Maybe I SHOULD keep my opinions to myself... but seriously... who is offended by opinions? Don't be offended by opinions, be offended by facts!

    The fact is, if I went to higher ups saying I had to sit through dinners listening to them talk about all their premaritial sex... and how they used to /and /or still get high.

    The last one could actually cost them their jobs!!!! But I figure if they are not high on the job, it's not my place to tell on them. Sure it makes me uncomfortable, but I just blow it off. Why then do my opinions rank high enough in importance to jeapordize my career?

    I feel for you sister!

  2. I meant they CAN'T control themselves... oops, typo!

  3. Thanks TRS. I'm glad someone knows what I'm talking about!


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