Regrettable decisions…

The other day, I was messing around on YouTube and I noticed that I was getting suggestions to watch videos by Dhar Mann. I don’t really know who Dhar Mann is… I can only surmise after watching a couple of his videos that he’s some kind of guru who teaches people to be kind and compassionate and gets people to attend his talks by giving them money.

Interesting that this video was shared during a time when people are being encouraged to socially isolate…

Don’t get me wrong. This video is, overall, sharing a good message. I have been in Chelsea’s situation, although I’m not nearly as big as she is, and no one was ever that overtly nasty to me. It happened to me about eleven years ago, when Bill and I were in Germany the first time. We went to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, because Bill had to go to a conference at the Edelweiss Conference Center down there. I entertained myself by taking “field trips” with the tour service.

Although I had been on the tours before, prior to that summer trip, we had always visited in the winter, and the tours were a lot less populated. Consequently, I was surprised by how packed they were when I took them during that week we were in Garmisch. Every seat on the bus was taken, except for one by me. Some guy sat next to me and barely made eye contact with me all day. He seemed to radiate hostility, just because he didn’t get to the bus early enough to get a seat with his family and he had to sit next to me. I remember thinking he was a major asshole. I wondered how he would felt if some random guy treated his wife the way he treated me that day. And, just because I’m admittedly not always such a kind person myself, I wished for him to get a flat tire on his way home.

Anyway… since I watched the above video, I see I’ve been getting more of Dhar Mann’s stuff on YouTube. They all seem to have the same theme and use the same actors. The mean bitch in the above video plays a selfish, skanky homewrecker in another video. Dhar Mann presents scenarios that depict people making selfish, short-sighted, mean spirited decisions that bite them in the ass later. Or the characters gain new perspective somehow when new information comes to light– things are not always as they seem.

Oops! Richard got caught with his pants down. That actress plays “bitchy” very well.
But she’s not bitchy in this one.

I can kind of relate to the video below. I can see why Evelyn’s ex divorced her. She’s nasty and vindictive. But when the ex husband gives his ex wife a bit of perspective, she simmers down and the video ends on a (probably unrealistic) optimistic note.

Cindy is probably a much nicer stepmom than I would have been, though.

Evelyn is nicer than Ex is, by a very long measure. Ex literally hates me. She wishes me ill. For a long time, I pretty much felt the same way about her. Now, I’m at the point of not caring about her anymore. I never thought I’d get there, but Bill’s ability to reconnect with his daughter has “softened” my heart somewhat. I still think she’s awful for alienating her children and using them as weapons. I still think she’s done a lot of reprehensible things, not just to Bill, but to her own offspring and even her current husband and other family members. But I don’t think about her very much anymore. I think karma has had its way with her… and that’s kind of what Dhar Mann seems to be preaching in his many YouTube videos. They’re kind of cheesy and simplistic, but they convey good messages, on the whole.

Being kind is a good thing. I think it’s better to be kind and understanding whenever possible. On the other hand, sometimes it’s necessary to be less understanding and kind. You don’t have to go out of your way to screw someone over, but you can be assertive and let people experience the natural negative consequences when they do something shitty. Sometimes, that’s the best way to teach people how to behave. My husband is one of the kindest, most considerate people ever, but if you cross his red line, there will be consequences. Fortunately, it takes a long time to get to that point. You really have to mess up on an epic scale. And he’s never nasty about it, either. He just defends himself, as anyone who’s made a living fighting wars will do. People are fooled by him because he’s so nice and accommodating, but he’s had a successful career as a soldier. When it comes down to it, he will do what soldiers are trained to do.

Dhar Mann’s videos are obviously very popular. He has a lot of followers and a whole lot of videos that show how it’s best to be kind and decent. Sometimes, there’s stuff you don’t know about going on that makes a person seem one way when they aren’t really that way. On the other hand, sometimes a hat is just a hat… and a hate is just a hate. And you don’t have to be nasty to combat it, but you shouldn’t be expected to turn the other cheek for that kind of treatment. Paybacks can be a real bitch.

One more for the road… Another bitch getting her ass handed to her for being a bitch.

“I won’t be doing that…”

I’ve mostly laid off of reading RfM lately. I’ve had other things on my mind and, quite frankly, since my husband’s daughter finally started speaking to him again, I find myself less angry with the Mormons. I mean, I still don’t like Mormonism, but I am less obsessed with reading about it now than I was. Still, I like to visit RfM sometimes because it’s a nice community full of intelligent people and sometimes the stories there are just flabbergasting. Ex Mormons are still some of my favorite people.

Yesterday, I read a thread written by a guy who complains that his bishop ordered him to cut his “locs”. My guess is that the dude has dreads and that doesn’t go with Mormon culture. So the bishop, perhaps a little drunk on his own perceived “power”, tells the church member that he needs to always be ready to pass the sacrament or give blessings if he’s “called to” service. The “locs” are reportedly not appropriate for the “priesthood”. Because the bishop has been bestowed “power” over his ward, he thinks he has the right to dictate how church members style their hair.

The poster reports that now he’s “depressed” because it’s taken him a long time to grow out his locs and he likes them. Moreover, he’s intimidated by the bishop and doesn’t want to confront him because the bishop can get kind of “mean”. I’m sure being “mean” is one way the bishop consistently gets people to do his bidding. Being an overbearing asshole has probably worked very well for the bishop. People tend to do what works. Unfortunately, a lot of people would rather cave in to other people’s demands than tell them to pound sand.

I think this is the kind of thread many RfMers live for reading. I’m sure a lot of former church members have found themselves similarly “directed” by church authorities. More than a few of them probably felt the same way the poster felt: intimidated, depressed, powerless, and defeated. However, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, you always have the power to “go home”. Most of the time, another person’s power over you is an illusion that exists only for as long as you allow it. Being assertive is hard, but being someone’s doormat is ultimately much harder in the long run.

The dreadlocked poster got plenty of supportive responses, mainly from people telling him he needs to develop a spine. I have to agree with the other forum members. Um… hello… I get that religion can really do a mental number on people, but when it comes down to it, the bishop has no right to demand that someone cut their hair. It’s a church, not a prison, although some people might feel like they’re in prison when they sit through a sacrament meeting, especially on fast and testimony Sunday. Faithful members tolerate sitting through hours of boring church meetings, expectations of how they should dress, wear their hair, and even what underwear they put on. They put up with bishops asking them about their sexual habits and preferences, or worse, they let the bishops ask those questions of their children. And if you have any free time, church leaders are liable to ask you to give it up for the church, so that you get no rest, no time to think, no extra money to use for making your own life better. Too many people are willing to tolerate it so that church leaders are emboldened to ask for more.

One person related the story of a guy he knew– former military– who had been really stressed out to the point of exhaustion and illness working at a high powered job. He decided he needed to stop working so hard, so he eventually stepped down from his stressful job and took an easier position with fewer hours. The bishop, noticing that the member had a lot more “free” time on his hands, tried to demand that the guy take on a very demanding calling that would eat up as many as twenty hours a week. Keep in mind, callings are not typically paid. The guy, no doubt bolstered by his years in the military, told the bishop to back off. He said he’d quit taking orders when he left the Navy and that he was a volunteer in the church. The bishop needed to treat him like a volunteer and stop issuing orders. Like most bullies, it turned out that the bishop was, deep down, a coward. He backed off, and the guy got to enjoy his downtime.

So take that, Bishop Asswipe.

I was heartened to read all of the helpful responses to the dreadlocked guy’s dilemma. He seems young and inexperienced and, if he grew up in the church, he’s probably been conditioned to accept bossing from purported authority figures. One thing that should happen when a person comes of age is learning how to say “no” to people and recognizing that if you’re an adult, you have every right and responsibility to act like one and chart your own course. I liked that another member, a long time nevermo poster like me, advised the guy to look his bishop in the eye and said, “I won’t be doing that.” Other people told him to simply leave, which is always good advice when one is dealing with an abuser.

I was fortunate enough to grow up going to a church that didn’t make a lot of demands of its members. My parents were involved because they wanted to be involved. My dad enjoyed being in the choir. It was a source of great pleasure and pride for him. My mom played organ, but she was paid to do that job. Anything above and beyond their service was appreciated by church leaders and not expected. I was never forced to have one on one conversations with church leaders about private subjects like my sexual habits. I never had to wear special underwear, avoid any substances, visit other people in their homes or let them visit (and spy) on me. Some people might be perfectly fine with allowing these intrusions, but I’m not. I’m just glad I was never in a situation where I felt forced to allow them, particularly if I was paying for the privilege.

Frankly, if it were me, I think I’d be tempted to look the bishop in the eye and say, “You should see my pubes!” Then, when his mouth drops open and his eyes widen in shock, just walk away, never to return to clean toilets or pay 10% on my gross income. Unfortunately, I never seem to come up with these zingers at the right time. Such is life.