Kindness and Technology

September 9, 2008 | 50 comments
By

“I seriously doubt whether there will be anyone in the celestial kingdom who is not kind.”
“An important measure of our efforts for the celestial kingdom is how we treat others.”
(Elder Jensen, Regional Conference meeting, September 7, 2008).

Elder Jensen’s talk for the Utah/Wasatch County, Utah regional conference meeting last Sunday was inspiring. He told two powerful stories, one about his disabled brother. Neighborhood children took his brother’s ice cream cone and let a dog lick it before returning the cone to the innocent child and laughing as he continued eating it. The cruelty of some makes me cringe. Elder Jensen’s other example of unkindness was a woman who bore her testimony and commented how grateful she was that Heavenly Father “trusted” her to raise her three children. Perhaps she did not know that there were couples unable to have children in the audience or perhaps she simply did not consider what her words implied. She likely did not mean to be unkind, yet she still hurt others.

I wish my short re-telling of a few quotes and his stories could come close to conveying the message and Elder Jensen’s sensitivity. I don’t know how anyone could walk away without feeling dedicated to being more kind and compassionate.

So I was a little surprised to receive a demanding email from a student today because all my students should have been attending the same regional conference. But I wasn’t too surprised because demanding, bossy, insensitive, and/or rude email is relatively common. In fact, when my colleagues and I get together, we inevitably discuss pushy students. One teacher’s solution is to print a copy of the email, call the student in for a conference, hand the paper over, and invite the student to read the message out loud. To date, no student has been able to make it through his/her email message, no matter how short. That tells me that sometimes it is the form of the message that makes the difference.

Of course, it’s not just BYU students and email. It’s blogs and text messages and IMs and whatever else we can figure out how to work. The casual familiarity (read: rudeness) bred by technology is almost too cliché to discuss. But I’m wondering why we do it. I’m just naïve enough to believe that most of us are trying to be kind and charitable, so why does that all break down when we use technology?

All I’m saying is that I would never walk up to a casual acquaintance, introduce a volatile topic, and proceed to argue my point vociferously into the ground, name-calling and mud-slinging if need be. I wouldn’t do it to a friend, either, and certainly not to someone whose name I didn’t even know. We’re trying to be good people, right? Then why is it so easy to be mean online?

For what it’s worth, it turns out that the email didn’t come from one of my students. A young BYU freshman wrote a demanding, bossy email to an unknown library instructor and somehow mistakenly replied to the entire faculty of freshman writing courses. Does it make it better or worse that the rude student didn’t even know the person to whom he was writing and, in fact, ended up sending his message to close to 40 people he doesn’t know at all?

50 Responses to Kindness and Technology

  1. Bro. Jones on September 9, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Role models and parents can set the standard for young folks, no matter the medium or technology. From the moment my teenaged sister had access to a cell phone and e-mail, I insisted 1) that she always use plain English instead of l33t/AOL speak (e.g. “what r u doin 2nite?”) 2) that she always be polite in her messages. It’s stuck so far–keep your fingers crossed.

  2. Ellis on September 9, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    It is easier to be rude to someone who is not present. I think people get carried away with the emotion of the moment or their utter cleverness with words and don’t really think about an actual person being the recipient of what they have written. It might be a good rule of thumb to let a particularly passionate message to rest for at least a 24 hour cooling off period before sending it off.

  3. Brigham Daniels on September 9, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    The fact that the freshman sent the rude email to 40 faculty members only makes the story better. It is not just that it is easy to be rude in using technology, it is also easy for others to recognize/spread the word that you are being rude. As a kid, I used to wonder would it would be like to have the Book of Life opened at Judgment Day. I have to suspect that for many of us, before we even get to that Book, we first are going to have to peruse our email correspondence.

  4. Hans on September 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Is this not true religion? For our critics who criticize us or our culture for fringe beliefs or “hypocritical” mormons in Utah, this is in essence in what we believe in, being kinder and better. To hold us to a higher standard when we are still human is what gets me. We should be trying to be kinder but we all make mistakes. If we all, non-LDS included, were trying to be kinder to each other, the world would be a better place.

    Agree with you and the lack of ettiquette with technology. I can’t even browse through political blog comments without cringing.

    The funny thing about second story mentioned is that I have been the couple who couldn’t have kids while the person in priesthood bore testimony monthly about how nice it is to be a father. I admit it is part that I need to have thicker skin to not get bugged by that because he is not ill-meaning, but still doesn’t make it enjoyable either.

  5. quin on September 9, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    We are told that we will have to account for every “idle” word in the day of judgment. Text messages, emails, internet posts-all of it.

  6. Marianne on September 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I think that the written word, composed conversationally and in haste, lacks the necessary context and nuance. It’s so easy to do it so fast. More time would be spent on a formal letter, written by hand (or even typed). But it’s the combo of speed and casualness that kills.
    This kind of thing is so normal for students these days it’s like having a perpetual paper-cut, but he’s a freshman, he’s young, and it’s completely possible that it’s just never occurred to him that words do, in fact, matter. You’d be doing him a favor if you sent a reply that he might want to take note of the tone of his message and how it sounded to the unintended audience. He might hate you for it now (but that might keep him out of your classes, a bonus), but he’ll be thankful later!

    Hi from Durham, Brigham! [wave]

  7. ed42 on September 9, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I place the blame for this problem directly at the feet of government – public schooling in particular. Students are generally not taught to be logical (for logic will defeat most government programs), but they are warehoused and conditioned to be rude and thoughtless as a matter of survival.

  8. joshua madson on September 9, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    Elder Jensen’s talks are always refreshing and among my favorites.

  9. Rick on September 9, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Not that Elder Jensen is the topic of this post, but fwiw, Elder Jensen was briefly the mission president for my son who has a learning disability. He has made the effort to follow up with my son since his mission, and we sense that his inquiries are very heartfelt. In my experience, he has a remarkably Christ-like demeanor.

  10. CS Eric on September 9, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    I hate to admit that I find myself on the other side of this post. This morning I sent an email to a group of people, characterizing a senior official’s suggestion as a “stupid, stupid idea.” In my defense, it really was a stupid idea, and part of the reason I wrote that is that this guy is so mollycoddled that I doubt many people tell him when a stupid idea is stupid.

    To the other topic of the post, Elder Jensen is my favorite non-FP or apostle GA. He is the real deal.

  11. Cameron Steinbusch on September 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I absolutely love Elder Marlin K. Jensen, I too wish he would become an Apostle so we can see more of him and his Christlikeness! I recall Elder Hartman Rector Jr. in 1989ish saying something being nice and being saved.

  12. quin on September 9, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    While I agree with ed42 to a point that peer situations have a great deal of influence on the youth, I can’t absolve myself of the responsibility to teach my own children how to be polite, kind to others, etc. It is not the government’s job to teach my children how to be Christlike or logical, it is mine. It is not the school’s job to instill a thirst for truth and real knowledge in my children, it is mine.

    My children attend public schools that teach respect for others. These expectations are expressed in school rules which are displayed in priority locations and their individual classrooms have rules and expectations too. On the front of my children’s Elementary School Handbook its motto reads: “I am here to learn. I will do my best. I will respect and care for others. I will be a responsible member of my learning community. What I do today will make a difference”. My son’s Jr. High includes “Respect for self, Respect for others, Respect for School property”.

    We are given stewardship over our children and are expected to teach them by example how to treat others and how to become more like our Savior, as well as how to repent and apologize when they act in opposition to that.

  13. jjohnsen on September 9, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Jensen rocks.

  14. JA Benson on September 9, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Kylie, Thanks for the reminder.

  15. Kylie Turley on September 9, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    Bro Jones (#1) and quin (#12), I agree. We’re trying to work with our kids on being polite, too. The problem is that now I have a two-year-old who comes screaming to me every time her brother (5 yrs) is “rude.” Trust me, it happens way too often!

    Good advice, Marianne (#6). I was about to do just that when I discovered that a co-worker beat me to the punch. I’m sure you are right about him not realizing the tone of his message. Perhaps I should remove the name, print it off, and use it for an example of “audience awareness” for the rest of my students.

    Hans (#4), I think you got it exactly right. We should probably listen to Elder Jensen’s remarks when we’re the ones speaking/writing and to Elder Bednar’s talk (about not getting offended) when we’re the ones listening/reading. We want to be as sensitive as we can but also not take offense when offense wasn’t meant (or even if it was, I guess).

  16. Ray on September 9, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    I also cannot blame anyone but myself if my children have not seen an example of meekness, mercy, charity and compassion by the time they leave my house.

    Fwiw, I have a comment policy that I try to follow consistently. Every time I type a comment, I re-read it prior to submitting – trying to see how I would react if it was being submitted by someone else. I generally re-read it again if I am responding directly to a comment made by someone in particular – and I try always to re-read it at least twice if I am “correcting” or “criticizing” a comment.

    Almost every time I have failed to follow this practice, I have regretted it. Again, fwiw, I read this comment three times and made at least three minor changes to it prior to submitting it in a couple of seconds.

  17. queuno on September 9, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    Far be it from me to question Elder Jensen … but was it *really* unkind for someone to feel gratitude at being entrusted with a responsibility like children? Does a trust received imply that other who have not received that trust are untrustworthy?

    Maybe that specific example works better in the context of a talk on not being offended…

  18. queuno on September 9, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Can I defend technology a little bit?

    The corollary to “sometimes we say things we shouldn’t say, because we’re online” is “sometimes we’re a bit more brave to say things that SHOULD be said, because we cloak ourselves in the shawl of asynchronous anonymity, that we might not say otherwise.”

    It’s all in how you use it.

  19. Jeremy on September 10, 2008 at 12:14 am

    If we elected apostles I’d campaign heavily for Elder Jensen. (And not just because he’s an avowed and outspoken democrat, though that certainly doesn’t hurt in my book…). I especially appreciated his taking the time to read and reflect on Carol Lynn Pearson’s text for “I’ll Walk With You.” Not many things bring me to the verge of tears, but his talk did.

  20. Jonovitch on September 10, 2008 at 1:00 am

    Luke: “Is the Dark Side stronger?”
    Yoda: “No, no, no… quicker, easier, more seductive.”

    Jon

  21. Kaimi Wenger on September 10, 2008 at 10:14 am

    Good post, Kylie, and a good topic. Thanks for this post.

  22. sister blah 2 on September 10, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Just chiming in to say echo the adoration of Elder Jensen. His talk on friendship is imho one of the best conference talks ever, and he has consistently lived up to its level since. One thing that I love about his talks is that they have an uncommonly candid and personal edge. It is a style more common to women speakers I think, but he pulls it off outstandingly.

    Also, as an occasional instructor, I love the idea of asking students to read their angry missives aloud!

  23. Marc Bohn on September 10, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I wonder if it is less the casual familiarity bred by technology and more the distance created by it. Same sort of scenario could be played out for our driving habits… and I’m as guilty as anyone. I’ll sometimes vent and treat other drivers on the road in a way that I never would in a face-to-face setting.

  24. queuno on September 10, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Wick Allison from D Magazine has posted a thoughtful comment from a reader, after a rash of vitriolic commentary on the FrontBurner blog.

    http://frontburner.dmagazine.com/2008/09/10/no-name-calling-on-frontburner/

    I like this bit:

    I just like being irreverent or funny or insightful or dueling with words. It’s what writers and independent thinkers do, and at its best what the blogs offer. A free-form forum democracy of humor, snipe and snark opinion. But without some standard of decorum it’s no place for a writer to sharpen his craft. It just becomes a place where anonymous predators sharpen their claws.

  25. Mormon Paleo on September 10, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    I agree with Marc Bohn (#23), Ray (#16), quin (#12), and Ellis (#2).

    I sometimes long for the time (before I was born) that we knew how to be polite and how to converse. I think there was a time when discussion and conversation were so well-developed as cultural practices they became an artform. Now, I am discouraged by the decreasing quality, frequency, and substance of so many of our conversations, and the general misunderstanding of how to talk with people in any circumstance.

    We don’t really know how to talk with people, partially because we don’t anymore (TV, internet, etc.), and partially because many of the formerly traditional conventions are gone.

    What are the implications for interactions that are necessarily face-to-face, like much of missionary work and home teaching, for instance? To me, they are not good.

    Maybe I should stop sucking on lemons, shrug my shoulders, and just go with it.

  26. queuno on September 10, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    What are the implications for interactions that are necessarily face-to-face, like much of missionary work and home teaching, for instance?

    I’ve found that email and instant messaging to be great tools to employ with home teaching.

    And when someone I home teach (or else am friends with in my ward) puts a comment on Facebook suggesting that they’re having a rough go of it, I can drop them a note or place a phone call, if it’s more urgent.

    The internet didn’t kill civil discourse, the internet users killed civil discourse (if I can go NRA-ish on you…).

  27. queuno on September 10, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    In fact, I’d LOVE it if my home teachers could figure out how to consider options OTHER than the face-to-face drive-by each month.

    (Our ward has been experimenting with novel home teaching approaches, that have been at least tacitly blessed by stake and general authority visits. I really should get off my butt and write a guest post for someone about it, because it’s a topic that needs revisiting — how to home teach in the 21st century.)

  28. KLC on September 10, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    queuno’s quote in #24 reinforces my own theory about rudeness on public fora. From the first time I went online almost 15 years ago I noticed a self consciousness about most writing done in internet conversations. There is an audience out there and most of us can’t resist the chance to play to it at least once in a while. So, many comments take on elements of stand up comedy: stream of consciousness riffing on nonsense and minutiae, feigned outrage, foul language, heavy sarcasm and emphasis on the absurd.

  29. Lupita on September 10, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    We’re trying to be good people, right? Then why is it so easy to be mean online?

    This is actually quite fascinating. Obviously there’s no excuse for unkindness and, unless that freshman has serious problems, I highly doubt there was true malintent behind it.
    Thoughtlessness seems to be the real problem. On Sunday in our ward, another young mother said something in a similar vein that could’ve been quite offensive. While I completely agree that it’s important to not be so easily offended, it’s equally vital to at least attempt to think before you speak/type.
    That being said, sometimes calling it as you see it makes it extremely difficult to avoid any whiff of unpleasantness.

  30. Kylie Turley on September 10, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I sometimes long for the time (before I was born) that we knew how to be polite and how to converse. I think there was a time when discussion and conversation were so well-developed as cultural practices they became an artform. Now, I am discouraged by the decreasing quality, frequency, and substance of so many of our conversations, and the general misunderstanding of how to talk with people in any circumstance.

    And, as a writing teacher, I would add in how to write. Of course I require multiple drafts, so the “thoughtlessness” Lupita (29) talks about is hopefully weeded out by the final drafts in my class. As Ray (16) suggested, re-reading things a few times sometimes convinces us to tone them down or re-phrase.

    And I think that is the problem with much technology today–the very format encourages us to NOT think slowly or methodically. Just click “submit.” Think about it later. And for some reason, not thinking means saying something more harshly or rudely than we otherwise would have. I wish my initial instinct was always the kind and thoughtful response, which would then make the instantaneous nature of technology a non-issue, but, apparently, it’s not.

  31. Tatiana on September 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I guess technology can be whatever you make of it. I’ve met some of the best friends of my life online, all of them overwhelmingly kind people. I also met my future son online and was lucky enough to adopt him in his time of need. I think if anything I may be kinder online than in real life since I read over my posts before I hit Submit. Would there was a submit button on my mouth sometimes. =)

  32. NOYDMB on September 10, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Ah, old people reminiscing about the good old days. Propaganda, or wishful thinking?
    Or is it simply a way to defend their inability to adapt…. Hm.

    From my readings of old works, people have not gotten any meaner. Just more honest.
    They’ve all always had these feelings, but instead of lying about how they feel they now express it.
    It may be true that it’s less helpful, but we should argue that, not simply accept and assume it to be true.
    You may believe, “Not all that is true is useful,” but I hope you all see the irony in it. I certainly do.

    FWIW, I think you treat a student rudely to force him to read an email to the class.
    I also think Jenson was RUDE to say someone else was rude to say we was happy to be a parent.
    Jenson was assuming, that everyone in the church takes the converse (which is NOT the logical conclusion) of the person’s statement to be true.
    This is a BAD, BAD, example for a member of the 70 to set for the church or for our children to learn.
    While we should be sensitive, we should also give people the benefit of the doubt, and not automatically assume they were saying something that they weren’t obviously saying. And if I get the chance, I’ll tell Jensen that.
    Just so you all don’t get too far on your high horses about how everyone else is rude (and you aren’t).

  33. Ray on September 11, 2008 at 8:59 am

    #32 – It is rude to point out that there are better ways to say things in order to avoid hurting someone? It is rude to remove all information that might lead someone to recognize who said it and instead use the generic form to teach a lesson? It is rude to teach a parable about people acting badly – like many of Jesus’ parables did?

    Sorry, that’s one I just don’t understand. I also don’t understand the statement about what you see as Elder Jensen’s assumption. I didn’t see that assumption in his words at all. Please explain it a bit more.

  34. Kylie on September 11, 2008 at 11:21 am

    #32–I wouldn’t, nor would my colleague, have the student read the email in front of the class. No need to compound a mistake by making another one. I think you might have missed the part about calling the student in for a one-on-one conference.

    As far as your concerns about Elder Jensen making assumptions: I’m sure I didn’t do his statements justice. He was very considerate of both the speaker and the listener. He pointed out that the speaker certainly didn’t mean any harm but could have been more careful in her choice of words.

    So, essentially, I agree with you about giving people the benefit of the doubt. We shouldn’t get offended by the unintentional thoughtless remarks of others. I think Elder Jensen was just saying that we should try to be kind. Comment #4 said it well: “The funny thing about second story mentioned is that I have been the couple who couldn’t have kids while the person in priesthood bore testimony monthly about how nice it is to be a father. I admit it is part that I need to have thicker skin to not get bugged by that because he is not ill-meaning, but still doesn’t make it enjoyable either.”

    I also think you make a good point about the historical fallacy–assuming that the “old days” were always better (or worse) than today. People were probably about the same as they are now. They just might not have said it. So it seems like you are raising an interesting point about hypocrisy. Have you read Elouise Bell’s “When Nice Ain’t So Nice”? She argues very persuasively that “nice” is definitely not nice when it covers hidden anger and passive-aggressive stuff.

  35. warno on September 11, 2008 at 11:23 am

    #32 — Whoa there NOYDMB! I thought the examples the poster reported Elder Jensen to have used were very apprporiate. He pointed out two very different types of unkindness: the first was express (and fits your description of “rude”), the other was definitely not “rude” but still could cause unintended pain. Too much of our discourse and examples revolve around the first type. It’s relatively easy to avoid cussing someone out or being intentionally cruel but it’s quite a bit harder to achieve what Elder Jensen believes in necessary to enter the celestial kingdom. A kind person does more than avoid being rude, a kind person has a heart that is sensitive to others and avoids causing unnecessary pain. That seems like the very definition of Christ-like to me.

  36. NOYDMB on September 11, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Kylie, I’m very glad to learn I misunderstood your sentence (maybe I just misread it). I thought you were having the student face the class rather than just the professor. What you described in 34 makes total and complete sense.

    I recognize that Elder Jensen may have expressed it better than you did. I just think we should be careful with unkind when intent isn’t taken into account. Foolish, poorly worded statements should not be classified as unkind unless there is some intent.
    While we’re talking about foolish, poorly worded statements, Let’s add.
    “I love being married. I highly recommend it.” Said by a newly married person to someone single. It’s simply not needed. Why not just say “I love being married.” No need to recommend it unless someone asks for a recommendation. Again, not an unkind thing to say, unless MY assumptions are taken into account, but certainly foolish, and poorly worded. People say stupid things all the time, I just think that part of the church is not being on a constant witch hunt to find ways to go inactive and get offended. We currently have one new member who really turns in a resignation slip once a week, only to come ask for it back.

    Elder Jensen’s other example of unkindness was a woman who bore her testimony and commented how grateful she was that Heavenly Father “trusted” her to raise her three children. Perhaps she did not know that there were couples unable to have children in the audience or perhaps she simply did not consider what her words implied. She likely did not mean to be unkind, yet she still hurt others.

  37. StillConfused on September 11, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    If yoiu are going to be rude (which I find to be immature) doing in a private meeting with the person you desire to offend. Emails and texts can come back to haunt you.

  38. StillConfused on September 11, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    If you are going to be rude (which I find to be immature) do it in a private meeting with the person you desire to offend. Emails and texts can come back to haunt you.

  39. Kylie Turley on September 11, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    Thanks for clarifying NOYDMB. As you suggest, I hope everyone doesn’t label me “unkind” for all the foolish, poorly worded things I say. You are absolutely right about not being on a “constant witch hunt to find ways to go inactive.” We all say dumb things, and if we go looking to be offended, we doubtless will find someone (or many someones) ready to oblige us. My original question was whether technology helps us say more foolish, poorly worded things because of its instantaneous, yet distant nature. What do you think?

  40. Dennis on September 11, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Excellent post, Kylie.

    Having seen Elder Jensen’s post, as well being an advanced writing instructor at BYU (who occasionally receives the kind of emails you mentioned), I resonate very much with your comments.

    I’ve been meaning to write a similar post on my blog, along with an “Open Letter to Everyone I Have Offended Online.”

    Now I can just link to you and write the letter … Ugh.

  41. Rand on September 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    NOYDMB #36 I think I hear you. Kylie, I think you make a good point. But I do take exception to Elder Jensen’s ideas. I actually think our society, especially in the church, hold sacred the right to be offended. Yet, I believe it is impossible to be offended without first passing judgment unrighteously. We still usually side with the person who has judged others as being offensive. I think our responsibility to kindness extends beyond the desire not to offend, to the yearning not to ever be offended. It is much easier, and much more troublesome, to try to not say anything anyone can find offense with, than it is to stop passing judgment on others that leads us to choose to be offended.

    Christ was not, to my searching, ever overtly “kind” to anyone in the NT. From the woman who asked him to heal her child that he called a dog, to the apostles, who when they roused him from sleep full of fear, having spent the night struggling mightily to keep the boat afloat. He was direct, factual, and blunt; not what we usually consider “kind”. I think we should be more cautious about choosing to be offended. Then, I believe, we have greater cause to repent.

    Of course kindness is a standard operating procedure. But this obsessive need to be so careful in what we do, say or sometimes think, that we can’t cause offense, which I believe is impossible, because there are those who will always reserve that protected right to be offended.

    Brigham Young said it best when he said, “He who takes offense when offense is not intended is a fool.
    He who takes offense when offense is intended is a greater fool.” According to Brigham, do we all adapt our behavior to accommodate a fool?

  42. nita on September 14, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Thanks, Elder Jensen is one of the GA’s i especially enjoy listening to as I had the chance to meet him at the close of my mission.

    I had readthat story of the icecream cone in one of his previous articles, I believe in the Friend. How sad that kids would do that to his brother. It made me want to get his brother and family an icecream cone. If my memory is correct, in the current Friend there is a story by a lady who writes how her younger sibling w/a disablitiy was made to drink out of the toilet bowl. Very sad people would do such. I have worked/volunteered w/those w/disabilities since I was in my mid-teens and think it is beyond sad that kids would treat others in such a way.

    As for the story of someone sharing their testimony about being trusted due to Heavenly Father enabling them to have children, THANK YOU! I have also heard a similar statement in our testimony meeting though I know the sis who said it didn’t mean offense.(she has several grown children and she expressed gratitude that the Lord trusted her enough to allow her these children.)

    At the time, it made me, a never-married person in my late 30s and thus w/o any children feel like am I less trusted as I do not have kids/spouse? I have thought about it every now and then but find my own chances to “feel” that Heavenly Father trusts me. For example, I can feel He trusts me due to my callings or work responsibilities ( I work w /the elderly many of whom are frail) Even the sis who had made that comment had shared a very personal trial w/me and I felt trusted that she would share that info w/me. Also it helps to realize there are many bad parents there (ie those who abuse kids,etc) and that simply having children does not mean one is totally trustworthy in terms of treating them in the manner in which Heavenly Father would like for them to be treated.

  43. no-man on September 16, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Elder Jensen’s talk was the best I’ve heard in years. I hope it becomes available somewhere. That talk alone has given me a sense of hope about staying in the church that has been missing for several years.

  44. wayfarer on September 16, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    I\’ve not heard Elder Jensen\’s talk,but speaking as someone cursed with a particularly thin skin i have recently decided to take responsibilty for myself and stop acting so damn immature.It doesn\’t help anybody,least of all me and I have rarely met the person who intended to offend me.How much energy have I wasted being hurt by people\’s humanity?No-one is a mind reader and it\’s way time I exercised a little charity towards the thoughtless and too busy and distracted to think about every word they are saying-like my husband ,family,neighbours,visiting teachersetc etc.All those people who\’s job i have considered it to be to keep me happy and to think about my feelings.Turns out they have other things to do.Kindness is wonderful,but so is forgiveness.Hope this does not offend anyone.

  45. wayfarer on September 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    I\’ve not heard Elder Jensen\’s talk,but speaking as someone cursed with a particularly thin skin i have recently decided to take responsibilty for myself and stop acting so damn immature.It doesn\’t help anybody,least of all me and I have rarely met the person who intended to offend me.How much energy have I wasted being hurt by people\’s humanity?No-one is a mind reader and it\’s way time I exercised a little charity towards the thoughtless and too busy and distracted to think about every word they are saying-like my husband ,family,neighbours,visiting teachersetc etc.All those people who\’s job i have considered it to be to keep me happy and to think about my feelings.Turns out they have other things to do.Kindness is wonderful,but so is forgiveness.Hope this does not offend anyone.

  46. wayfarer on September 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    ooer-sorry about thatx4-that may be my first and last appearance.Quick,someone say something kind or I may go off in a huff.

  47. Tatiana on September 16, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    wayfarer, welcome! Please don’t go. I agree with you about kindness and also about forgiveness.

  48. Kylie Turley on September 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    So do I. Your comment, “Kindness is wonderful,but so is forgiveness” sums things up fabulously.

  49. dug on September 16, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    My wife, who has taught part time at BYU for 16 years, has been complaining more and more often (and she\’s not normally a complainer) about electronic interaction with students. Well, she\’s not crazy about the communication abilities of many students, but according to her, it\’s getting worse, especially when it\’s electronic. Students fail to even open an email properly, they rarely actually address her, and simply begin demanding or ranting.

    She takes your suggestion to heart, and will now save the offending missives and make them part of future syllabi, to educate future students how to properly communicate (and not) with a professor.

    And I agree that Elder Jensen\’s talk was wonderful. It has been the basis of our last two family home evenings. I wish I had a transcript.

  50. nita on September 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    If anyone does get a transcript, please do share a link.
    My understanding is no one is allowed to transcribe talks in the multistake regional stake conferences.

    Would his office be able to provide a copy??