Or, words and phrases we don’t need.
Have you ever listened to a presentation or speech and realized that you are hearing so much jargon and hype that the words themselves have become meaningless? In my field of work I’ve listened to so many sales pitches which promise to synergize a new paradigm that will enable us to leverage technology so we can hit the ground running at the end of the day that my eyes now automatically glaze over. The words are used to obfuscate rather than enlighten, and their very presence indicates that the speaker isn’t serious about what he is doing.
When LDS people teach lessons or talk among themselves about their beliefs, we often use our own buzzwords. My task here today is to give two of them a thorough beating. Those words are 1)astray, and 2)inappropriate.
Let’s deal with inappropriate first. The reason this word is useless is because it is employed to cover anything and everything. First-degree murder is inappropriate, and so is leaning back on your chair and everything in between. This word doesn’t describe anything that is objectively right or wrong, it just tells us that the speaker disapproves of the action to which it is applied. It allows us to be lazy and not directly spell out why we object to something, we just need to say it is inappropriate. Then we expect everybody to pay attention as if our pronouncement came down from Sinai on tablets. And another thing. I hate to say this, sisters, but the Relief Society is the biggest offender here. Whatever it is that renders you genetically incapable of holding the priesthood must also impel you to say “that’s inappropriate!” when you see a kid with his shirttail out. Let us cease and desist from this practice immediately.
When somebody goes astray, what does it mean? Has he stopped attending church? Quit paying tithing? Given up on personal prayer? Left the church entirely? I have no idea and neither do you. Our working definition of someone who has gone astray appears to be someone who disagrees with us.
I’d like to hear which buzzwords you think need to be granted emeritus status, and why. Bonus points to anyone who can explain the origin and meaning of the idea that God would never allow the prophet to lead the church astray.