Way back when- I played Julie's music on the radio. I didn't know Julie is now Dr. But that's awesome. I was thinking what a great article this was and how succinctly the points were being made and how professional it sounded before I was aware of your credentials. I enjoyed this though. Especially the part about the standards we should measure against ourselves and not others. I forget that sometimes. Thanks for the reminder. I've often used the "don't choose to be offended" line as a measure on others. I'll stop and think about that from now on and be more considerate when I perhaps do offend. Joseph Smith once was quoted as telling a woman who had been offended by someone, that he often looks in his heart to see if what the person we are being offended by, might have a point..? I always found that wise counsel. I wonder if she was offended by that? :)
It has been several days since the article, which I loved, came out but I would like to make some comments. I have quoted Brigham Young on the quote about being offended many times, although I always add I don't know if it originated with him or he was quoting someone else! This article brought out some excellent points not the least of which is not always is being offended a bad thing, and also don't use "You're choosing to be offended," as some sort of trump card to be offensive! I also would like to say I enjoyed the comments by Sherilynn, about comments another person had written. I agreed with you completely Sherilynn!
I met a man who had been married for 60 years. I asked him how he managed to stay married for so long. He said that first thing in the morning he just apologizes to his wife for anything stupid that he might do or say during the day. It sounded like good advice. Apologizing in advance doesn't give you a license to be offensive but most often I think I am clueless that I have offended my wife. Apologies are good if they are followed with some thoughtful behavior change. Just sayin.
This is perfect! I have always wondered at the unfairness of one person spewing all sorts of garbage at another person and the recipient then being expected to not take offense. We should all be offended when someone is treated poorly and it's on the offender to learn to improve his behavior. To follow Elder Bednar's counsel I think means we don't allow the actions of another dictate how we live the gospel, participate in His true church, and pursue our course as a disciple of Jesus Christ. It doesn't mean I have to accept someone's garbage or that it won't cause me pain. I just need to choose to rise above it. The Atonement helps us do exactly that.
It seems to me that Elder Bernard's talk was in response to how people react, not how they feel. If, in the 30 questions post, you responded by saying, "So when they asked me such a sexist question, I slapped them in the face." OR " I disavowed the Church," there might be some grounding for a close friend or relative to explore the offense with you and say, "Are you sure you're not choosing to be offended?"
People are going to offend us. That might make us angry or hurt or depressed, but only we can choose how to react to it, whether that be by confronting the individual, forgetting the offense, or letting it fester within us and breed negativity.
Fantastic! I really think it's important when someone is offended to use it as an opportunity for self-reflection, to see if our behavior was offensive. Our church as a whole could stand a little more self-reflection. Thanks for your insights!
Dr. Hanks, Thank you! Your insight is so helpful and I appreciate your ability to broaden some of the viewpoints that are unhealthy in our culture.
We are listening and changing for the better with each article you write! Please continue!
My thanks also, Sister Hanks! I so appreciate the doors you open for healthy dialogue as well as the opportunities for introspection. I greatly appreciate these articles.
An excellent article, and I could burn your ears with stories of some of my colleagues at BYU who "chose to be offended."
You use the word "incidences." You mean "incidents." No such word as "incidences" exists, and so you would do well to eliminate it from your professional vocabulary.
I offer this suggestion out of a simply polite concern for your professional reputation.
And of course you won't take offense.
I've been waiting for a beautiful article like this! Choosing not to be offended is different than our automatic reaction to something. I grew up in an environment where we took offense to many things. As an adult, I've had to really work on not being offended at everything. That being said, many times my automatic reaction is still to take offense. I want people to understand that I'm trying, even if it doesn't seem like it all the time.
Eve, with all due respect, your comments are exactly the type of behavior this article was addressing. You state, "I prefer, now, to save my energy to fight the real fights, and not just my many perceived injustices." This language dismisses the topics Dr. Hanks has chosen to tackle--topics that she is concerned about largely because, through her work as a therapist, she sees LDS members with problems tying back to these very topics.
It's a-okay if the issues that Dr. Hanks chooses to speak out on are not ones you'd opt to invest your time and energy in. But just because something is not a problem for you personally does not mean the issue doesn't exist for other people. Might those people eventually come to feel that they were making mountains out of molehills? They may. Or they may look back over their life and see their Goliath. It's not up to us to judge other people's trials, hurts, or imperfections but to work on our own shortcomings and help lift burdens and comfort others as we all press forward on our own personal journeys.
Nicely said! Thanks.
Great article; thankyou! In my experience too often people, particularly in the social media forum and non-LDS, use the 'you choose to be offended' as an excuse to use offensive and foul language with impunity. Woe betide those of us who request the absence of foul language!
Thank you for this article. Having endured many, many years of verbal and emotional abuse, I well recognize the abusers cry of "You are unforgiving and intolerant" if the victim points out their offensiveness. Victims are charged with being unforgiving if each act of abuse is not treated as though it never happened. They would have you believe that forgiveness means forgetting it ever happened and thus, each account stands alone. And each time they say "Sorry" should act as an eraser, as if it never happened. So, if this is the case, they can abuse you every day, every hour, every week, for years on end, and the problem is never theirs..... It is your inability to "forgive" and more importantly, "forget" In other words, it becomes the victims problem and the victim is to blame.
Society's political correctness is a huge evil of the day, made to make others feel guilty, so that they can continue their own agenda. It is why tolerance is the big issue. Satan has masterfully twisted the laws of justice until truly, the world now sees abusive people as good and the victims of their abuse as evil.
My father counseled me long ago to avoid the phrase, “You are being defensive”. The reason he gave was that you are unfairly backing the person into a corner—there is no response the other person can give to that accusation that could not be labeled defensive. So you are dismissing the other person’s feelings and perceptions without offering any desire to further understand and discuss their viewpoint. Similarly, the counsel to choose to not feel offended is a principle God would have us apply to ourselves. But I would suggest that He never intended that principle be used to justify judging, marginalizing or being insensitive towards others.
Brillant and Thank you! This part resonated with me so much. "It seems that all too often, the “choosing to be offended” card is used to judge, invalidate someone else’s experience, to shame or chastise him/ her, and perhaps even to effectively end discussion. It can also be used as a shield to avoid self-reflecting on whether or not we’ve acted offensively and need to make amends. It can be used as a weapon of judgment or minimizing another person’s experience. Here are some ideas to consider in effort to expand our thinking about this important phrase:
“You’re choosing to be offended” is counsel to apply to ourselves, not to apply to others"
I loved Elder Bednar's talk when I first heard it because it was wise counsel to me. Something I definitely needed to hear. But now, whenever his talk is brought up it makes me cringe because it seems like it is used as some kind of weapon in a war that pits member against member.
Thank you again for being a voice of reason.
I once was deeply hurt, to my soul, by someone I thought was a friend. I wasn't offended by something someone said or did, I was 'rocked to the core'. So much that I actually started feeling that I was just no good. I don't think that is counted as 'being offended' or 'taking offence'.
Thank you, Sister Hanks. I have read every article that you have written for Meridian Magazine. You bring up some good points. I do not have the ability to know what's in other people's hearts I only know how your articles come across and it does, indeed, seem as though you go out of your way to be....well...offended. Only you know if you truly are, but I do believe that is how your articles come across. I know how that is. I look back now, and see that I made so many mountains out of molehills. I prefer, now, to save my energy to fight the real fights, and not just my many perceived injustices. And I truly mean no offense.
Julie, another great article. Thank you. I've always hated church lessons that focused on not taking offense, when I think a more valuable lesson would be on consideration and thoughtfulness. God gave us the fight or flight response as a tool for us to use to protect ourselves from physical, mental, and emotional harm. Being "offended" is often and innate,reaction to damaging rhetoric.
Thank you, Dr. Hanks! Understanding the distinction you make between applying that counsel to yourself vs. using it to judge others. When someone says something that is blatantly offensive (like someone suggesting that no one is sadder about others' suicides than they are, completely dismissing the loved ones of the deceased), it just adds insult to injury when they follow it up by saying "being offended is a CHOICE you're making." It's like being told "Don't choose to be angry" right after you've been punched in the nose; you may be able to choose how to respond, but if you're not angry, something's seriously wrong. Thank you for validating the feelings of so many of us.
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