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Author Topic: A personal thread.
Geraine
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I know I said I was going to become a lurker here and not post anymore. The problem is I can't tear myself away from this forum. Though I have been involved in many passionate, heated debates where I find myself getting worked up and stressed out over an internet forum, I find that I can't stay away.

I started thinking about why I get so frustrated, stressed, and angry. A couple of weeks ago, it finally hit me.

I wasn't being honest with myself.

I was raised in an extremely conservative household. I had extremely conservative church leaders. I started listening to talk radio because I didn't like any of the music that was played.

I don't think I was brainwashed, I just had a world view that I inherited from others. It wasn't really my own. I took what was told to me as gospel. Anyone elses opinions were not simply different, they were wrong. The LDS church teaches self reliance and personal responsibility, and this contradicted everything I thought I knew about welfare, government assistance, etc. (The LDS church has a welfare program, though I believe it is run very well)

A couple of weeks ago I was speaking to someone in my ward who is a Democrat. Somehow the issue of abortion came up, and he said he was pro-choice. I asked how he could possibly be pro-choice when the church is against abortion. He said that while he may be personally against abortion, it isn't up to him whether or not to make that choice for someone else. He said the gospel teaches us not to judge, and he wasn't going to judge someone for their choice. That was God's job, and He would sort it out.

Well that made a ton of sense to me. Who am I to judge someone and the decisions they have made. I do not know that person's situation or what they have gone through.

I recently found out that my mother in law had an abortion when she was young. She lived in Albania during communist rule, and there were severe punishments (prison time and even possible death) for having a child out of wedlock. Not only this, but everyone related to you would be looked down on, making it difficult to find a job. She feared for her life and the reputation of her entire family, and she made the decision to go to a woman's house and have the baby removed. She could not get the procedure done by a doctor, as abortion was illegal.

I have since questioned some of the other things I have believed and preached for and against, and have found that I have been looking at them based on what other people have told me. I haven't been thinking for myself.

Because of this I have also come to realize that I have been mean, nasty, and an outright jerk to some of you here on the forum. I want to apologize to all of you, with specific apologies to Orincoro, King of Men, kmboots, Rakeesh, and most of all to Samprimary.

I want to let everyone know that I am trying to improve the way I think by looking at all sides of issues, not just what I was taught or told. I know it will take time, but I ask that you be patient with me. Any suggestions would also be welcome. I'll get there eventually. Even though I still not may agree on certain issues, I hope I can be better informed and civil when I do post.

tldr; I've been an uninformed, childish poster over the past 10 years, sorry about that, I am trying to improve.

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kmbboots
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Thanks for sharing that, Geraine. It takes courage to both rethink long held opinions and to talk about it.
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Geraine
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I appreciate your response more than you know. It was extremely difficult for me to share this, as I've always had difficulty sharing my feelings with others.
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Belle
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Geraine, I went through a very similar struggle with the death penalty debate. For years I considered myself pro-death penalty and when questioned would spout what my step dad had told me as I was growing up. Looking back, I can see he was a racist and a jerk, but hey, I didn't question that at the time.

When I began to honestly question it, and look at it without the blinders on, I realized I could not in conscience ever truly support the death penalty, for several reasons which aren't necessary to re-hash here.

It does take courage to rethink things and realize that you need to make your own decisions and stand on your own beliefs, even if those around you don't necessarily share them or agree with you. It is, however, one of those journeys most mature people take. Good luck on the journey. [Smile]

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SteveRogers
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I will commend anyone who can look at their worldview and reevaluate it completely. That's very brave, and it takes a lot more bravery to share that part of your journey with other people. Thank you for your bravery. [Smile]
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Rakeesh
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For what it's worth, while I have sometimes been annoyed well past what is reasonable with your posts on political grounds (being subject myself to some of the same kinds of flaws you mentioned in your post), I don't remember ever thinking that you, personally, were even half as bad as you (seem to be) describing of yourself.

Put another way, I don't feel like I'm owed an apology by you, Geraine, since I'm sure I've given as good as I've gotten in the past, but I'll say thanks for giving it anyway.

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BlackBlade
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Good for you Geraine! Having gone through a similar realization myself, I heartily endorse reevaluating everything you believe (systematically of course) and trying to pick out the stuff you believe just because somebody told you to.

I doubt that when you have, that we will suddenly agree on everything, even though we are both LDS, but it's just so refreshing to actually have "Your own convictions" (like having your own testimony neh?) than to have somebody else's.

I'm impressed you shared what you did, I do hope this leads to better conversations here and elsewhere down the road. [Smile]

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AchillesHeel
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It takes a lot maturity to recognize ones mistakes and failings in how they have treated people, it requires so much more of a person to say it aloud and invite judgement.

Good luck on this little journey you are starting.

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advice for robots
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It takes a mature outlook to come forward of your own accord and seek to right any wrongs you've caused without being prodded to do so. Props to Geraine for not only having the courage to take his licks but for raising the bar here at Hatrack on that kind of community-building behavior. (Or what AH said above.)

Hatrack is a valuable community and has been integral to helping me acquire and hone my own perspectives on many issues over the years. I haven't admitted it often here, but I've modified many of my own stances thanks to the arguments of many brilliant jatraqueros who have graced this board, be they gracious or galling in their manners. I have also taken what I've learned and tried to spread it where I think it's needed.

I hope we'll all continue to be humble enough to accept correction and to change our own approach whenever we see we're wrong (which we all will be from time to time). It's not always about winning the argument. That's a good lesson to remember.

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happymann
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There is much that I've grown up with that I've reevaluated and changed my opinion on. However, there are also a lot of things that I've evaluated in my life and felt that I was taught correctly. This becomes difficult when I talk with my siblings whose beliefs and thoughts have changed in different ways as me and still consider me "brainwashed" (or some such) because I haven't changed my ideas on certain things.

So, while I'm glad that you've changed your opinions on certain things based on personal experience, I believe it's also important to realize that some people maintain the beliefs of their parents based on their personal experience as well.

Disclaimer: I am not talking about any specific thing you've cited, but merely stating generalizations. Hopefully it makes sense.

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Geraine
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I really do appreciate all of the support. I love this community. It is the online community I have belonged to the longest, and though people come and go, there are some that have been here for a very long time. I'd like to think that if you took us away from the forum and the computer, we could be people that visit and are friends with one another.
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Kwea
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Good to see you back. I love this place, and keep coming back too. I've had a lot of debates here that have helped shape who I am, and will always be grateful for this place.

It isn't the same as it was, but it is still one of my favorite places on the web.


We don't often agree on things, Geraine, but I am glad to see you back. [Smile]

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narrativium
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
I'd like to think that if you took us away from the forum and the computer, we could be people that visit and are friends with one another.

This is very much true. I still keep in touch and meet up with people I met through this forum, who no longer post here.
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Kwea
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Same here. One of them is one of my best friends, actually.
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Jake
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Yep, me too. Some of the friends I'm closest to IRL are people I first met on here.

Interestingly, I could easily have met my wife on here. She considered joining, years ago, and lurked a bit, but never ended up biting the bullet and registering. When I mentioned something about Hatrack on our first date, I was floored when she said "Oh, you're an OSC fan, eh?" (or words to that effect).

Geraine, I love this thread, and have a lot of respect for you for starting your journey of self discovery.

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kmbboots
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Isn't meeting people on the internet dangerous? I would never do such a thing.

BTW Jake, when are you and your wife coming to Chicago again? It has been too long.

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Bokonon
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Just remember, you new opinions aren't necessarily right (and certainly not right in some cases) either.

You should feel free (and guilt-less) to revisit old stances and re-adopt them.

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twinky
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
Yep, me too. Some of the friends I'm closest to IRL are people I first met on here.

++

And, you know, my girlfriend.

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