Why Are People Judgmental?

By: hawkgrrrl
May 31, 2011

A few months ago, I was at a work dinner chatting with a colleague, also a Mormon (a previous bishop), and we were talking about some colleagues whose behavior we didn’t approve.   Some of our co-workers from another department (probably sales) were drinking too much at a work event which resulted in some rather unprofessional behavior.  I was rolling my eyes, and my friend was clucking his tongue like an old Relief Society dowager.  He confessed to me that he feels he is really judgmental sometimes, and he wondered why he is like that.  While I don’t normally consider myself to be a judgmental person in general, clearly we were both feeling judgmental of the same behavior in this case. 

Unlike my friend, usually when we ask why people are judmental, we’re talking about “other” people.  Judging others happens when we observe something – a behavior, something they have said, a style of dress – and then we infer the reason for that; we make a conclusion about the other person based on that observation.  The conclusion may or may not be accurate, but of course, we assume that it is. 

We all go through life making judgments.  If we didn’t make judgments we would never get anything done.  Judging is a learned behavior; we learn the unwritten rules of the society we live in.  Babies don’t judge, but they also don’t have good judgment.  Without judging we could not avoid danger, we couldn’t decide who was trustworthy and who was not, and we could never make any worthwhile decisions.  Judging only becomes a problem when we judge people inaccurately, excessively or as a means to feel better about ourselves.

No matter who we’re talking about, others or ourselves, there are a few simple reasons people are judgmental and what we can do to counteract each:

  1. Jealousy / envy / resentmentWhom are we judging?  Usually someone whose choices differ from ours.  We secretly wish we could do the thing the other person is doing.  We blame them for taking the easy way out or for not “towing the line” like we have to.  We resent their freedom to do the thing we wish we could do.
    • To counteractOwn your own choices.  Don’t be a victim.
  2. Fear of rejection / feeling threatened.  Sometimes this might be a fear of others rejecting us for being the “odd one.”  Sometimes we are insecure about our own standing and judge others to distance ourselves from those we deem to be a risky attachment, someone we don’t want to be associated with.  The latter is probably what was happening in the situation with my work colleague; we felt that those colleagues were a poor reflection on us by association.  We wanted it to be clear that we were behaving professionally, even though we were sitting in the same (increasingly loud, attention-getting) area.
    • To counteractThe coolest kids are the ones who don’t care what anyone else thinks.  Have enough self-esteem to be confident without tearing others down.  Keep your sense of humor, and don’t take yourself so seriously.  The truth will out.  People who matter will judge you on your own merits, not due to your associations with others.  And you may influence people to make better choices if you are more open and accepting.
  3. Misjudgments / hyperbole.  Sometimes we draw the wrong conclusions about someone based on their behavior because we are unfamiliar with different customs, mannerisms or beliefs that drive behaviors.  We misjudge based on that misunderstanding.  We assign incorrect motives based on a lack of familiarity.
    • To counteractBroaden your horizons, get to know more people.  Question your assumptions about what is acceptable behavior. As the teacher says in The Sure Thing:  “Talk to people whose clothes aren’t color-coordinated.”  Learn to recognize your own cultural biases.

Are Mormons more prone to being judgmental?  Maybe for the following reasons:  Mormon lifestyle choices are more restrictive than average (although muslims have us beat hands down - don’t like garments?  Try a hijab or burkha.  We’re lightweights, I tell ya.), Mormons are often the socially odd ones so we are no strangers to feeling awkward, insecure and rejected (no coffee, no tea, no drinking, no premarital sex, no sleeveless blouses – try coming up with an adult, professional explanation for some of these that doesn’t make you sound like a religious fanatic or like you are judging others for things the majority of society doesn’t think twice about), and lastly, some Mormons are very isolated, even deliberately limiting their social circle to those who are like-minded and like-valued (living in total isolation certainly implies you are judging others as “untouchable.”  You don’t want to catch their unrighteous cooties).

And yet, we preach charity.  We preach reaching out to the 1, not just chillin’ with the other 99 sheep.  We preach dining with publicans and sinners, harlots and vagrants.  (That work dinner I mentioned included all of those!)  At least in theory we preach these things.

One more reason people are judgmental that I haven’t listed is that gossip and judging others binds us together socially.  When our own biases and stereotypes are confirmed by someone else, we feel we are part of the “in” group; someone understands us and has validated our perspective.  While this feels good at the time, it’s also limiting to have your own opinions reinforced, especially if your judgments are inaccurate or unnecessary.

When have you felt judged by someone else?  When have you been judgmental?  Do you want to be less judgmental?  Do you feel church makes you more judgmental or more charitable?  Discuss.

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84 Responses to Why Are People Judgmental?

  1. miskky on May 31, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    “Babies don’t judge”….
    We must act in order to live (even babies). To act there must be alternatives. In the face of alternative we must have values and make value judgments. Being judgmental involves the use or exercise of judgment and to make moral judgments.

    I think Mormons are taught that the way to judge is as plain as the “daylight is from the dark night”.

    The human failure in judging is not that we judge but that we seem to have difficulties separating what to judge and what not to judge. We are to judge behavior but not the “Thou” that is exhibiting the behavior.

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  2. Victoria on May 31, 2011 at 6:39 AM

    I think you meant hijab, not habib (which means sweetheart).

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  3. mark gibson on May 31, 2011 at 7:27 AM

    Good post hawk.

    I’ve noticed since becoming a member that LDS members seem to be far more offended (and judgmental) when the transgression is coffee instead of one of the many others.

    I’ve read several “the mormon drank the coffee” in the context of not setting a good example, but never “the mormon smoked a cigarette” or whatever.

    Is it because we are almost alone in our rejection of it, and what about the use of sports drinks which may be more harmful?

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  4. Paul on May 31, 2011 at 8:10 AM

    Hawk, great post. And great questions.

    I remember so well my insecure HS days when I “improved” as I tore down those around me.

    Your counteractions are on the money: Own your choices; don’t take yourself too seriously; broaden your horizons.

    When my children were younger we often had the discussion about the difference between a person’s being bad because he smoked or smoking’s being bad.

    I have only very rarely been asked to explain my choice not to drink alcohol, coffee or tea (even during five years living and doing business in Asia).

    I think until we grow up a bit spiritually we will believe that church makes us more judgemental simply because it points clearly to acceptable behavior (and, by implication or explicitly), makes clear unacceptable behavior.

    There is a difference between judging behavior and judging people. And there’s a difference between quietly judging behavior choices and making them for ourselves, and loudly condemning the choices of others. I can’t figure out the value of loudly condemning others or their behaviors.

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  5. Will on May 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Hawkgrrl,

    “Without judging we could not avoid danger, we couldn’t decide who was trustworthy and who was not, and we could never make any worthwhile decisions. Judging only becomes a problem when we judge people inaccurately, excessively or as a means to feel better about ourselves”

    Well said. Extremely well said and consistent with the JST of Matthew 7:1.

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  6. hawkgrrrl on May 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM

    Victoria – corrected, thanks! I dated a guy from Morocco who used to call me habib. That makes a lot more sense now. :)

    Paul – doing business in Asia as a non-drinker seems to mean that I have to prove my toughness through alternate methods in China, such as eating really disgusting food.

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  7. Paul on May 31, 2011 at 8:38 AM

    HG #6: LOL. To be sure, being an American made it so I never got deeply questioned (except by my boss in Taiwan — when he had a few drinks he’d ask me if my god would damn me for taking a drink…).

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  8. Jeff Spector on May 31, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    We are making a comparison between ourselves and the other people. In some cases, we judge ourselves superior and in some cases, inferior because of our own choices.

    But, I suspect in general, we are more judgmental about ourselves and we tend to be our harshest critic.

    Even those who seem to have the most ego are afraid of something about themselves.

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  9. Andrew S. on May 31, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    One thing I wanted to say (pretty off-topic) is that I love the asides that are written in blue italicized text. I burst out laughing in a school library computer lab when I read “probably sales”.

    I definitely felt judged by a few people afterward…but I’d probably be judgmental in the same situation (if I were one of the people disturbed.

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  10. mcarp on May 31, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Wow, I just came back from a family gathering in which judgmental was the color of the day. My youngest brother left the church 20+ years ago, but married a Peruvian woman a few years ago and she wanted to have their son baptized in the Catholic church. So, they needed to have their wedding (which was done at a justice of the peace in Peru) blessed by the church.

    So, he invited everyone to the ceremony — the wedding and baptism combined. Apparently, he told someone he was surprised that anyone from his family would even come. That’s sad, but given some of the comments I hear really grated me.

    For instance, “Well, I’m happy for them, even though they are going to hell.” Wow, someone is channeling Bruce R. McConkie. Lots of comments about the church building itself, “I could never feel the spirit here.”

    It really made me sad.

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  11. Jacob M on May 31, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    I’m way more judgemental online than anywhere else. It’s too easy to point out someone’s stupidity in a comment without considering about how that person’s thinking arrived at that comment. (I hope that line made sense.) As for the church, I think Paul is right on. I will just add on to that by saying that “growing up a bit spiritually” is tremendously difficult to do, hence the many times we (individually & collectively) indulge in judgementalism.

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  12. Jeff Spector on May 31, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Mcarp,

    ““Well, I’m happy for them, even though they are going to hell.””

    That’s an odd thing for an LDS person to say since we don’t really believe in hell per se.

    ““I could never feel the spirit here.” ”

    Not because it might not have been there…..

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  13. CatherineWO on May 31, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    There are a couple of things in the Church that I think really contribute to a judgemental attitude. One is the church-sanctioned judgement of worthiness interviews, starting with 12-year-olds and lasting the rest of our lives. The other is the teaching that this is the one true church, so therefore all the rest are false. I have not idea how to get around these.

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  14. Mike S on May 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I think we are “trained” to be judgmental inadvertently if we grow up in the church. Examples:

    - There is nothing inherently “wrong” with wearing a bikini, but some people teach that it is somehow against the law of chastity or some moral code. It is therefore only natural that people internalize that and judge someone else wearing a bikini as “immoral” or somehow less.

    - There is nothing inherently wrong with drinking a glass of wine with dinner and it is actually probably healthy for you. Through “not a drop” talks and lessons, etc, we are taught from a young age, however, that drinking alcohol is “wrong”, so it is natural for someone raised in the church to judge someone who drinks.

    - Etc.

    I do think that judgment goes both ways, however. Consider our foundation story: God appeared to a boy; an angel gave that boy gold plates that became the Book of Mormon but you can’t see the plates because the angel took them back; that person later married a bunch of women, some who were quite young and others who were already married to other men; etc. I’m sure others judge us a bit wacky as well.

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  15. Frump on May 31, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Jeff:

    “““I could never feel the spirit here.” ”

    Not because it might not have been there….

    Not totally sure what you’re getting at here… but if you’re saying that the spirit can’t be felt in another religious building, then, well, I might remind you that the Spirit is inexhaustible and can be (and is) felt everywhere/anywhere we want to feel it.

    That being said… I tend to think that Mormons are more judgmental than most other people/religion. That is largely because we preach the following:

    (a) We’re a people set apart, a peculiar people.
    (b) We have easily identifiable righteousness standards (Word of Wisdom, clothing – i.e. business attire at church, white shirts, etc)
    (c) We have monthly testimony meetings where the majority of the testimonies are about how grateful we are to be a member of the “one and only true church” while non-members, well, they aren’t.

    So, even though we like to step back and say how charitable and loving we are (even going so far as keeping tally of and publicizing how much we give), we have many, many beliefs which reinforce just how special we are. And, that specialness grows and grows until the brighter day when we know with every fiber of our being just how elect we are.

    It then follows that others are measured by our standards and they inevitably fall by the wayside as we trounce our way to the Celestial Kingdom where everyone else will be our servants.

    I remember listening to a Sunstone presentation that told the story of an area authority/general authority who related to a congregation the thrill he had of hunting and killing both a lion and a “rare Roman antelope” while on safari in Africa. This authority then mentioned how grateful he was to have had the moral strength to turn down the devil’s elixir (i.e. an alcoholic beverage) while at dinner that same night with his safari-mates.

    You know we’ve reached a special point in history when we can celebrate killing both a “rare Roman antelope” and lion while touting our teetotaling nature. [You can listen to that conversation here at this Sunstone presentation]. What a peculiar people indeed.

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  16. Will on May 31, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    “I think we are “trained” to be judgmental inadvertently if we grow up in the church.”

    That is a judgemental statement; and, not true.

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  17. LovelyLauren on May 31, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I think that we judge others negatively because we need to validate our own actions as somehow superior. I know I do this when it comes to taste in entertainment. I probably roll my eyes at you if you think that screamo is a superior art form because I need to believe that my taste is better.

    Think about the “mommy wars.” Find a forum where a mother spanks her child on occasion and those mothers who subscribe to the “gentle discipline” philosophy go nuts. Despite the fact that many children who were spanked turned out fine, those mothers who do not have to believe that what they are doing is better for their child and women who do spank are therefore bad mothers.

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  18. Mike S on May 31, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Will:

    That is a judgemental statement; and, not true.

    1) What is judgmental about it?

    2) Why is it not true? If not learned in the Church, why do some people in the Church look down on someone with a glass of wine for dinner? It certainly isn’t something learned from society as it is acceptable. Is there somewhere besides the Church that I am missing where members learn this?

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  19. Will on May 31, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Mike S.

    You’re making a judgment that the church teaches its members to make unrighteous judgments—to judge people and not actions. Ironically, your judgment is an unrighteous judgment. It is simply not true. In my judgment it is not the intent of the Church. The Church, in my judgment, teaches what HG was proposing

    “Without judging we could not avoid danger, we couldn’t decide who was trustworthy and who was not, and we could never make any worthwhile decisions. Judging only becomes a problem when we judge people inaccurately, excessively or as a means to feel better about ourselves”

    I don’t know what the church has taught you, but this is what I have learned: It teaches me to be honest in my business dealings. It teaches me to be morally clean. It teaches me to avoid harmful or addictive substances. It teaches me to be faithful to my spouse. It teaches me to put my family first – even over my faith. It teaches me to honor my parents. It teaches me to forgive. It teaches me to love my fellow man. It teaches me to love God.

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  20. Douglas on May 31, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    The subject is like the discussion about “discrimination”…NONE of us really do it, and yet, it’s supposed to be a good thing to have “discriminating” tastes…
    As others have pointed out, we should feel free to judge ACTIONS, but not necessarily SOULS…the latter is left for the Saviour. The ACTIONS we judge to learn, and most important, teach our charges, especially our children. Yes, LDS folk tend to get a “superiority complex” from time to time, but largely most are, if anything, too quick to judge themselves harshly.
    There comes a point where we have to defend ourselves and/or our loved ones against aggression or obnoxious behaviour. That is not unrighteous JUDGEMENT, but use of common sense.
    Case in point: on a recent business trip, I joined with my co-workers in a nice Mexican restaurant on the RiverWalk. They had a few margaritas with dinner…I had my “nearly beerly” (goes down well with Mexican food). Since I could only chow down half of what was served, it was a good excuse to say that I had to go back to the hotel room with the rest of my dinner. The rest of the gang wanted to hit a cantina (what else does one do in San Antonio in July?) and further wet their whistles. Some might interpret my refraining from further socializing as being “stuck up”, or “judgemental”, but I saw no further point in hangout out in a bar and paying three bucks for a Coke unless there was a crying reason to hang with the gang.
    As the late SWK once said, we can have styles all our own. That alone doesn’t make us better, but it makes us obedient and hopefully a good example.

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  21. miskky on June 1, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    By the look of some of the comments about what “the Church does”, it may be getting blamed for the misinterpretations and misunderstandings of some in the membership as to what is the mission of the Church and what is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how members should relate to both….

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  22. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    Frumpy,

    “““I could never feel the spirit here.” ”
    Not because it might not have been there….

    Not totally sure what you’re getting at here…”

    Simple. Just because someone doesn’t feel the Spirit is not an indication the spirit is not there. If that person that Mike described was sitting there being all judgmental about this couple is a house of worship, perhaps they are not entitled to feel the spirit there.

    It does not mean the spirit was not present. Only that that person did not feel it.

    Personally, I have felt the Spirit in other houses of worship and sometimes not.

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  23. hawkgrrrl on June 1, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    Jeff – I agree about feeling the spirit in lots of places. I thought that both Westminster Abbey and Notre Dame were very spiritual places, but a friend said they found Notre Dame “devilish.” When I asked what they meant by “devilish” they meant that the organ music sounded spooky and it was dark inside. I find the song “Follow the Prophet” to be creepy – all those minor chords and the Fox News lyrics in the second verse. Brrrr!

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  24. Paul on June 1, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    Oooo. I think we need to hear a chorus of Primary children sing Follow The Prophet in Notre Dame…

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  25. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    Hawk,

    “I find the song “Follow the Prophet” to be creepy – all those minor chords and the Fox News lyrics in the second verse. Brrrr!’

    Brilliant!

    I loved Notre Dame! I also felt a very strong spirit in the Church of the Nativity, but not the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

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  26. Cowboy on June 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    One of the roles I serve in my business endeavors is to provide consulting on various business processes – hiring and employee placement being one of those things. There is wealth of research on predicting “succesfull hires”, though there is tremendous variability one what that is exactly. A constant however, is interviewer attitudes. Most interviewers (managers, employers, and people for that matter) consider themselves above average in their intuitive abilities to measure people up and make predictions about their behavior. In fact most indicate that their ability to “read people” is a particular strength they possess. However, when these same interviewers decisions are studied, after controlling for sampling error, regardless of industry their mean success prediction rate is about 15%, with only a few points plus or minus on the standard deviation. Still, even when confronted with this data, many managers are emotionally reluctant to give up their intuitive processes in favor of scientifically validated alternatives that yield better outcomes.

    Anecdotally I think this a characteristic of all people, not just hiring managers – though admittedly I reach this conclusion largely out of self-reflection. We are each psychologically invested in our intuition for reasons that go beyond practical experience. While it is impractical to think every decision can or should be made with rigor – our character assesments should be generally more thoughtful than they usually are. Intuition serves us well when confronted by bear in the woods, but generally can be detrimental in social interactions.

    Lastly, while our propensity for judging others is universal to mankind (a assumption I hold), our religious or ideological belief structure often becomes the filter through which our tendency to judge becomes manifest. So while Mormonism (or any other religion) may not be the cause, we are often guilty of allowing it to be a facilitator of our intuitive instincts.

    The only real way that I have been able to make head-way in overcoming this tendency (though I don’t hold myself out as the perfect model) is to acknowledge that inspite of my emotional attachment to my intuition – I’m probably still wrong.

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  27. Paul on June 1, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Cowboy, interesting observation. In my company we have taken great pains to focus in interviewing on behaviors rather than personality for the reason you cite (interviewer bias). Whether we succeed or not is open for debate (for the same reason).

    But it seems to link the comments above that suggest that we ought to judge behaviors (mostly our own) against gospel standards and not people.

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  28. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 9:59 AM

    “Whether we succeed or not is open for debate (for the same reason).”

    The human element is always critical to every situation. In a hiring situation, I have always asked myself is: “is this someone who I could work with?” That plays an important role. Because interpersonal skills are important.

    I remember a situation where I was interviewing a guy and within 15 sec I didn’t like him. Something he said or some body language thing just triggered a negative response in me. I couldn’t wait to move him to the next person. I didn’t care about his background or education or nothing at that point.

    We didn’t hire him. And not just because of me. I was one input.

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  29. Gomes on June 1, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    @ Will (#19):

    “I don’t know what the church has taught you, but this is what I have learned: It teaches me to be honest in my business dealings. It teaches me to be morally clean. It teaches me to avoid harmful or addictive substances. It teaches me to be faithful to my spouse. It teaches me to put my family first – even over my faith. It teaches me to honor my parents. It teaches me to forgive. It teaches me to love my fellow man. It teaches me to love God”

    All good platitudes which fall, unfortunately, way, way short in real life. I’ve seen you mention that you:

    “My objective is to make as much money as I can … I will profit as much as I can on every deal I make and I don’t see a problem with that at all.”

    AND…

    “My philosophy has always been to find a job where you can make as much money as possible…”

    So, allow me if you will, to judge your behavior:

    (A) “Making as much money as possible” is synonymous [in my book] with grinding the faces of the poor. [Scroll down to where it starts, "The group leader of my high priests..." and read on for a few paragraphs for something to read on that matter, though I don't endorse it as 100% true.] No matter how you rationalize that decision (i.e., “I make as much money as possible to spend more time with my family”), the result is the same.

    (B) If your adherence to a “morally clean” lifestyle puts you in a position to judge others – in any way – then I’d suggest that “morally clean” is actually an unclean lifestyle.

    (C) If you belief that your religion teaches you to both forgive and love your fellow man, then the words we proffer on this blog are an indicator of how short our behavior falls from those precepts.

    Dogmatism and orthodoxy breed little else but self-righteous attitudes. Maybe it’s the result of the ease at which we can comment here on the internet, but I would be shocked if you used the words you use [not necessarily in this post, but many, many others] in a public setting where people are sitting/standing in front of you. That’s just me.

    Will, if you would, go here and listen to the first 10-15 minutes of this interview, especially the part about morality being the enemy of religion… then tell me where he’s wrong or right.

    For those not wanting to listen: is morality [i.e. teaching and focusing on morals in religion] the enemy of religion?

    Here is a quote from that interview:

    “Morality is the enemy of religion. The more you talk about morality the more people sink into despair. … the more you judge, the more they sense you’re judging them. The more they’re always measuring themselves against what they think are other people’s expectations, the more despair they get. Except for the real dumb people of the church who believe they’re living up to these moral standards and they become arrogant. So you generate a syndrome of arrogance and despair from which there is absolutely no escape, except [through] the gospel of Jesus Christ … ”

    So perhaps judging is a two-way street from which we suffer: we judge others based on our morals AND we feel judged by others based on their morals.

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  30. Cowboy on June 1, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Paul:

    I agree, hiring for behavior is better than personality – largely because of the variability of that I/O professionals have noted with personality. More importantly however is the matter of “how” does one interview behavior. I am not at all opposed to the interview process – but hard analysis on behavior is hard to assess intuitively in the false enviroment of the interview. How energetic, for example, is an employee going to behave on the job – and how can you measure that in the unrelated task of an interview? It is a difficult thing for a seasoned psychologist to determine intuitively in a short interview, let alone a multi-hat wearing manager of a production line.

    Now that’s not to say there won’t ever be any kind of warning signs – but generally an interviewer is going to have to infer more than what the experience truly warrants. Obviously if a candidate shows up to an interview drunk, you have some good reason to expect more of that on the job. However those kinds of experiences aren’t the norm.

    Jeff:

    Of course your challenge is – “what is the human element” exactly? I agree that potential for synergy is highly important – but how do you know.

    Secondly, and this is particularly relevant (both in terms of legal implications and relevance to Hawkgrrrl’s post) what is your criteria for knowing “whether you can work with this person”. Obviously companies have to be very cautious about EEOC compliance – and some of those personal hangups or “signals” that turn us off could easily be spun as EEOC violations. Using Hawkgrrrl’s example, what if instead of a business meeting – it was a New Hire orientation retreat for mid-level managers. Are we upset that the obnoxious candidate was just that “obnoxious”, or is it possible that we are at least exacerbating our dislike with the fact that additionally they don’t share your religious values regarding abstinence from alcohol? These are all points to consider – when in reality, when it counts, this person may be a valuable team member – and their even pleasant once we can adjust to the cultural diversity. Still, as your comment illustrates, a decision was made in 15 seconds – and you sought concensus for your bias, though admittedly you are not even aware of the specific qwirk that discouraged you. What can you really learn in 15 seconds. Still that is exactly how decisions are made in a hiring situation, which likely has many parallels to quality of intuitive judgements we make about people in other settings. Remember, these hiring managers have only about 15% probability in determining success – so how could can this method of judgment be.

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  31. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    Cowboy,

    I should have been more clear. I do not remember what is was that caused me not to like the guy (white guy, I might add). I knew what it was at the time. I think he said something that just ticked me off.

    I never had a problem with EEOC stuff, so that was not an issue for me. in fact, I have probably hired more women than men over the years.

    But, if that is bad, just think about the resume process. We read resumes and make a decision if a person is qualified or could be successful doing the job based on a piece of paper. That part always bothered me more than the F2F interview.

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  32. Cowboy on June 1, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    Yeah Jeff, I actually wasn’t trying to suggest that you are racist, sexis, or “any manner of ist” – just that it does occur generally. I’m sure your fair (sincerely).

    Also, I agree with you that the resume leaves companies wanting as well. There is no universal “best process” – it largely depends on the type of job, the job market, and a variety of other criteria. If one is going to do any kind of behavioral analysis as Paul mentioned, then they should absolutely be using a job-fit survey(or one of the many “fit” kinds of survey’s). I’ve seen great results with these tools, with the significant exception that most people who work exclusively in these “tools” tend to fall into the old trap of “when you’re a hammer everything looks like a nail”.

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  33. Mike S on June 1, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    There is something to “impressions” for lack of a better word. I hired my first medical assistance literally because she said she liked to buy Stephen King books on eBay when I asked “Have you ever bought anything online?” (NOTE: This was 8 years ago when it wasn’t as common). I didn’t have any other questions in the interview and my portion literally lasted 60 seconds. And she worked out great.

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  34. Mike S on June 1, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    #19: Will

    It teaches me to be honest in my business dealings. It teaches me to be morally clean. It teaches me to avoid harmful or addictive substances. It teaches me to be faithful to my spouse. It teaches me to put my family first – even over my faith. It teaches me to honor my parents. It teaches me to forgive. It teaches me to love my fellow man. It teaches me to love God.

    I agree those are all good qualities taught in the Church. They are also by no means unique to the church, but are good qualities taught in many Christian faiths, as well as other belief systems such as Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. Even many atheists ascribe to the same qualities (although perhaps not the last sentence).

    If that’s all we consciously or unconsciously pick up in the Church, there wouldn’t be a point to this post. All people judge others, in or out of the LDS Church. But, for the point of this post, there IS a certain judgment that occurs BECAUSE of our upbringing.

    - The basis of the missionary program is that no matter how good someone is, or how much they help others, or anything else, their belief system is ultimately NOT ENOUGH to save them in the highest reward. Unless they eventually accept OUR CHURCH, they will ultimately be limited. That implies a certain level of judgment. Period.

    - There are unfortunately many who judge others, both within and without the church, on non-doctrinal superficial things. Men on the color of their shirt on Sunday, or the length of their hair, or a tattoo or earring, etc. Women on wearing pants to church, or wearing something elegant that shows her shoulders, or having an extra set of earrings, or a tattoo, etc.

    - Some people judge others, both in and outside the Church, for having the same cup of coffee or glass of wine that our own prophets drank.

    - Believe it or not, there are even people in Utah who decide which friends their children can hang out with based on whether they are members or not.

    These are all things that are judgments made by people in the Church that are a direct result of being members OF THE CHURCH. They certainly are not done by everyone, and they certainly are not officially condoned or taught by the Church (except for the missionary one), but they ARE reality.

    And to suggest that my saying this is an “unrighteous judgment” is incomprehensible to be. It is observational in nature.

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  35. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Cowboy,

    “If one is going to do any kind of behavioral analysis as Paul mentioned, then they should absolutely be using a job-fit survey(or one of the many “fit” kinds of survey’s)”

    I’ve been through and used that behavioral stuff as well. “Discuss a time when….” It is one methodology.

    Sometimes gut feel is better.

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  36. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    “- There are unfortunately many who judge others, both within and without the church, on non-doctrinal superficial things. Men on the color of their shirt on Sunday, or the length of their hair, or a tattoo or earring, etc. Women on wearing pants to church, or wearing something elegant that shows her shoulders, or having an extra set of earrings, or a tattoo, etc.”

    Do you really have any idea of how many people at Church are really like this? You consistently ascribe this attribute to a “majority” or “most” or “many” members of the Church and call them doctrinally insignificant. In some cases, they are an outward sign of someone’s commitment to a particular standard. People outside the Church are not held to that standard. Members inside the Church decide for themselves which standards they choose to uphold, both inwardly and outwardly.

    I guess I am bothered by the fact that you seem to make some members of the Church seem so intolerant. Some are, that’s a fact. but I do not think it is as widespread as you allude to.

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  37. Cowboy on June 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    I’ve seen a lot of passionate discussion as to why “gut feel is better”, but I’ve never seen anything real solid in terms of research – however I have no doubt that “gut fee” feels better, which is why I think most people percieve that it is better. And I think that’s the point of being “too judgemental”. When we break it down, it is nearly impossible to not make judgements, as decision making is the single greatest activity of every persons life. What we are really saying when someone is “too judgemental” is that they judge too quickly, and we do that with confidence. The name we give that confidence is “gut feeling” or intuition. It’s about as elusive as a testimony – which interestingly enough, when I am working in Utah – is not all that far from many an interviewers paradigm. I have had more than one hiring manager in Utah volunteer that they try to feel what the spirit is telling them about a candidate. With no exaggeration, in one case in which I am intimately aware, the error factor on the spirit cost the company thousands of dollars. The point is, we have tendency to form opinions instantaneously, but we ought to be aware of the pitfalls inherent in such processes. The best way to do this is not to dismiss your intuition outright – but to recognize that it is a premature determination you have arrived at based only on a little information.

    If you wanted a theological support to this, I could justify this position with the Mormon belief on Christs atonement. If we respun the language just a little – Alma 7:12 would state simply that Christ was put into a position of having complete awareness (information) on each persons circumstances – enabling him to hold righteous judgement and administer succor. In short, even the whole concept of the atonement derives its force from the fact that Christ does not make hasty 15 second decisions about people, and call it a “gut feeling”.

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  38. Will on June 1, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Mike S.

    Observational in some, but not a prescribed objective of the church, it is not even implied, insinuated or a remote penumbra.

    The church does not teach me to look down on someone for drinking coffee; it simply has a word of wisdom. The church does not teach me to look down on someone for inappropriate attire, piercings or tattoos; it simply has dress standards. The church does not ask me to treat someone as a second class citizen for same sex marriage; it simply asks me to support traditional marriage. The church does not encourage me to disassociate myself from people of other faiths; rather, it encourages me to befriend and proselyte to good people of other religions.

    Implied in your commentary is that the church endorses and teaches, implicitly or otherwise, such judgment practices. This is simply not true. Your judgment about the church as a whole is unfounded. It may be found in some of the members, but is not a directive from the Lord or his church. Your assumptions are wrong. Your criticism is not valid. Your judgment is lacking – it is unrighteous. You need to repent.

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  39. Will on June 1, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Cowboy,

    Where have you been! It’s been a while since we went the rounds.

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  40. Cowboy on June 1, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Hi Will:

    I’ve been around, but thanks for noticing!

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  41. Will on June 1, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Cowboy,

    Thomas has disappeared for the past few months. It is not nearly as entertaining without you two.

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  42. Mike S on June 1, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Will. We actually agree. I stated in #34: They certainly are not done by everyone, and they certainly are not officially condoned or taught by the Church (except for the missionary one), but they ARE reality.

    But apparently my observations of what I have seen around me are not valid. Fine. I’ll “repent” as you say I need to do. I’m sure no one in the church looks down on others for drinking alcohol, having a tattoo, wearing a bikini, etc. No member has ever felt judged by other church members for being “different”. No missionaries have ever judged someone for rejecting their message.

    I’ve been completely wrong and off-base. The whole point of this post was whether Mormons are judgmental. My comments that perhaps there is some basis to this lead to me being judged. I heard comments that I am guilty of “unrighteous judgment” and “(My) criticism is not valid. (My) judgment is lacking – it is unrighteous. (I) need to repent.”

    So, it appears it’s not even worth talking about this subject if comments don’t “toe the line”. And ironically, this proves the point of the post.

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  43. Heber13 on June 1, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Don’t judge me as a fanatical, weird, cult-like, non-christian mormon.

    But please judge me as a honest, moral, clean, trustworthy guy.

    Don’t judge me as stupid.

    But please recognize me when I do great.

    Don’t judge me as an outsider or different from the group.

    But thank you for including me in the group (although that implies there is a group where there are still others outside of “us”).

    I agree life is full of judgments. We just don’t like the negative ones about us. We yearn for positive ones.

    Mormonism teaches we will all be judged, no exceptions. We just often forget that it is left to the Great Judge. The rest of us need to focus on our lives, not others’.

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  44. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Mike S.

    “So, it appears it’s not even worth talking about this subject if comments don’t “toe the line”. And ironically, this proves the point of the post.’

    Pick up my marbles and go home? really?

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  45. Mike S on June 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Jeff: Have you ever known me to do that? :-)

    It’s just that when a discussion starts going in circles and expressing an observation gets turned into a call to repent, I lose interest. I know some people “double down” and continue the argument back and forth ad nauseum, but that doesn’t really appeal to me.

    So, I guess, yes, in this case I have nothing else to add. But I’m not really going anywhere.

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  46. Will on June 1, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Mike S.

    “And ironically, this proves the point of the post”

    Indeed it does. Quote the WHOLE sentence – it reeks of contradiction—juxtapose the first sentence with the last sentence as follows:

    “These are all things that are judgments made by people in the Church that are a direct result of being members OF THE CHURCH.“

    A direct result of being members OF THE CHURCH – how else can this be taken, but as a systemic problem with the Church. This is an unrighteous judgment of the Church as a whole.

    “They certainly are not done by everyone, and they certainly are not officially condoned or taught by the Church (except for the missionary one), but they ARE reality”

    We agree with this sentence.

    “I’m sure no one in the church looks down on others for drinking alcohol, having a tattoo, wearing a bikini, etc. No member has ever felt judged by other church members for being “different”. No missionaries have ever judged someone for rejecting their message”
    This is a tirade about a select few, not the church as a whole. Make up your mind: is it the church breeding this judgmental behavior or it is a statistical anomaly inherent in any faith?

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  47. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Mike S,

    “Jeff: Have you ever known me to do that? :-)’

    I just detected that in your rather sarcastic answer. :D And besides, what do you call it when someone uses the same examples over and over again.

    all in love and respect…..

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  48. hawkgrrrl on June 1, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Another friend (who was a bishop at the time) specifically pointed out a very pretty, athletic non-LDS neighbor who was washing her car in the driveway on a hot day while wearing a bikini. He made sure his girls knew that he thought (his words) that “she looked ugly” and “bikinis make women look ugly.” I asked him what he was going to do when his girls realized that he was a liar (if they didn’t already). To me, that was an example of being judgmental with the theoretical benefit of teaching, and I have seen several members take that approach. What do these poor parents do when their kids realize that people who drink alcohol, coffee or tea sometimes live into their 100s? That some very conservative religious people wear sleeveless dresses and aren’t sluts?

    The discussion about the job interviews is an interesting one. In the book Blink (Malcolm Gladwell), there is a case study about college students evaluating their professor. The study showed that whether they did the evaluation at the end of the course, two weeks into the course, 15 minutes into the first lecture, 2 mins into the first lecture or – get this – after only 2 seconds of seeing the professor for the first time, the judgment was always the same. People made a decision about the professor that quickly, and they stuck to it through confirmation bias through the rest of the course. It doesn’t mean it’s right, but it does mean it’s very hard to believe it’s wrong.

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  49. FireTag on June 1, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Heber 13:

    Excellent point.

    Will:

    If people of the church make judgments that are not made with the same frequency outside the church, and you don’t think those judgments reflect the teachings of the church, doesn’t that at least imply a systematic quality control problem in church teaching?

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  50. Will on June 1, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Firetag,

    No. At least not unrighteous judgement.

    For the past several decades the church has been well received. That will change. It will dramatically change. It will change because of the false judgements that it is judgmental. Like the prophets of the past, we will be scorned and persecuted for our judgemnents/beliefs,

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  51. Paul on June 1, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Will, it seems you did not understand Firetag’s question. (Or I did not understand your answer.)

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  52. Will on June 1, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Paul,

    Prop 8 is a good example. Members that supported this proposition were judged to be judgmental. They are judged as homophobic for standing up for traditional marriage. All sorts of false accuations were thrown our way for standing up for what is right. For what is good. For what is decent. We supported the prophet. For this we were judged as homophobic. We were judged as uncivil. We were judged as haters. We were judged as being old fashion. We were judged to be out of step with the norm. We were judged as having a quality control problem in our teachings.

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  53. Jeff Spector on June 1, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    Hawk,

    “To me, that was an example of being judgmental with the theoretical benefit of teaching, and I have seen several members take that approach.’

    I think it is important to teach our children our values as they stand alone. Without the value judgment placed on folks who do not believe as we do. While it is OK to compare, there should be no judgment placed upon it.

    However, if, for example, a person, such as you describe in the Op drink to excess and demonstrates bad behavior, I think it is perfectly acceptable to point that that behavior is not correct and here is why. That drinking can lead to that kind of behavior.

    I think your Bishop friend was out of line and probably had a bit of lust going on there. If not, he might not been a human male!!!! :)

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  54. FireTag on June 1, 2011 at 11:27 PM

    Will:

    You did NOT understand my question; I referred to judgments BY church members of non-members or members when you asserted that the act of judgment did not reflect church teaching.

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  55. Mike S on June 2, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    #49 FireTag:

    For what it’s worth, I understood your question and absolutely agree that there is an increased frequency. If I give any examples or expound further, however, I’ll be judged unrighteous, so I’ll stop there.

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  56. Paul on June 2, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    Mike & Firetag,

    I also found your question intriguing, Firetag, and think a similar question might be asked of many conservative religious organizations.

    One of the key issues (from my view) is whether the gospel teaches that behavior, the church teaches that behavior or the culture teaches that behavior. And that leads us to the age-old question of the influence of the church on the culture (since the church does not influence the gospel as the gospel is a fixed point).

    And Will, since you put a stick in the eye of the Prop 8 question, I think from what I’ve read, that there were also mainstream members of the church passing plenty of judgement against people, not behavior, in that debate. But I know that only anecdotally from what I have read, so I could be wrong.

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  57. Jeff Spector on June 2, 2011 at 9:14 AM

    Mike S.

    “If I give any examples or expound further, however, I’ll be judged unrighteous, so I’ll stop there.’

    I think we have a good handle on your examples by now…..

    Firetag,

    I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Gospel teaches against unrighteous judgment, so it can be a new cultural thing brought about by the conservative movement within Mormonism.

    Because ya’ll know that I think Joseph Smith was quite the progressive in his day.

    And helping the poor and needy in not a high priority on the conservative agenda. But judging them unworthy of assistance is.

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  58. hawkgrrrl on June 2, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Will: You said, “They are judged as homophobic for standing up for traditional marriage.” Some Mormons are homophobic, as are some people of other faiths. Standing up for traditional marriage is the positive spin on what Prop 8 was, but in reality it was pitting traditional marriage against non-traditional marriage. And non-traditional marriage fought back. “All sorts of false accuations were thrown our way for standing up for what is right. For what is good. For what is decent.” Some traditional marriages are not right, good, and decent. So are some non-traditional ones. And the opposite is true as well. “We supported the prophet.” Bloc voting is always viewed with suspicion by the opposing political position. “For this we were judged as homophobic. We were judged as uncivil. We were judged as haters. We were judged as being old fashion.” Some were uncivil, some were haters, and some were old fashion. But those who wanted to be able to marry were fighting against some things that were real and some that were emotional as well. Those upholding tradition and status quo aren’t the only ones who had an emotional stake in the outcome. “We were judged to be out of step with the norm.” The norm in California maybe. “We were judged as having a quality control problem in our teachings.” Having used the SS manuals, I have to wonder about this one.

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  59. Jeff Spector on June 2, 2011 at 9:30 AM

    “Some Mormons are homophobic”

    Some people are everything you can possibly think of.

    Ultimately, what does that mean. We can always find something to disagree with. Even if we agree.

    I agree with you, But….”

    Painting people with a broad brush because of “some” is not accurate.

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  60. Frump on June 2, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    The church does not teach me to look down on someone for drinking coffee; it simply has a word of wisdom. The church does not teach me to look down on someone for inappropriate attire, piercings or tattoos; it simply has dress standards. The church does not ask me to treat someone as a second class citizen for same sex marriage; it simply asks me to support traditional marriage. The church does not encourage me to disassociate myself from people of other faiths; rather, it encourages me to befriend and proselyte to good people of other religions.

    Implied in your commentary is that the church endorses and teaches, implicitly or otherwise, such judgment practices. This is simply not true. Your judgment about the church as a whole is unfounded. It may be found in some of the members, but is not a directive from the Lord or his church. Your assumptions are wrong. Your criticism is not valid. Your judgment is lacking – it is unrighteous. You need to repent.

    And you need to repent of some hard headedness. Just sayin’.

    As to your list of issues which you so easily sweep under the rug, hoping no one will look… inherent in some of our (LDS) teachings are teachings which tell us how peculiar, special and set-apart we are. One of those is the modern day interpretation of the Word of Wisdom.

    Whereas Saints in the 1800s (and early 1900s) could drink coffee without any feelings of sinfulness, today Saints think of coffee as something that is a sin to even smell in the grocery store. Whereas some apostles had issues with alcohol and alcoholism even through the early 1900s, today we view beer as the devil’s elixir (even though, from an ingredient/health standpoint, it’s 1000x better than your Diet Coke or Pepsi or you-name-the-soda).

    With that comes judgment about people. If a non-member drinks a beer, or we see people dining with a bottle of wine, we make assumptions about those people. If a member drinks a beer, or thinks that wine of his own make is acceptable, he’s called before church courts and is viewed as an apostate.

    Take me, for instance. I was brought before (someone had met with the bishop and informed him of my beliefs) my bishop simply because I believed that there was no inherent sinfulness in drinking beer or wine. That was it. That was all I stated. My bishop proceeds to tell me about his friend who left the church because he liked wine and deliberately labeled his behavior as “apostasy.”

    If that’s not judging AND setting up a standard whereby we judge people for what they do, then perhaps it’s time we Mormons take a fresh look in the mirror.

    So yes, implicitly or otherwise, the Church ™ does advocate such standards.

    Want another example?

    Take this story, about a Stake President who was released within 30 days of not following orders from above him

    “I was also in a bishopric a few years ago with a very good man as a stake president. We had a member of our ward that was suspected of being aligned with a member in another ward and another state, who was excommunicated for apostasy. After interviewing the ‘suspect.’ he reported back to the Salt Lake GA that the person was not an apostate. He was told to proceed with a disciplinary council anyway. He refused and was released within 30 days.”

    We don’t need the details to conclude that there is an implicit backdrop of judgment going on at all levels of the church.

    I entirely agree with #49 in that the frequency of judgment I see in the Church ™ is greater than that which I see outside the church.

    Take this from Will:

    “Prop 8 is a good example. Members that supported this proposition were judged to be judgmental. They are judged as homophobic for standing up for traditional marriage. All sorts of false accuations were thrown our way for standing up for what is right. For what is good. For what is decent. We supported the prophet. For this we were judged as homophobic. We were judged as uncivil. We were judged as haters. We were judged as being old fashion. We were judged to be out of step with the norm. We were judged as having a quality control problem in our teachings.”

    There are some non-members who judge members that way, yes, but you entirely overlooked the other situation: that of members judging other members.

    Take those members who didn’t go along with what the Church did on Prop 8… some were excommunicated, others viewed them as apostate for not following the brethren in every word and deed and some were viewed as apostate for merely raising a voice that contradicted the leadership. And, still, there were others who were shamed into going along with it (even and especially if they disagreed) because they knew what would happen to them if they said anything that contradicted church policy. Seriously, there are LOTS of members who face persecution and judgment at the local level by other members, to wash that away as if it’s extremely rare or doesn’t happen is to be oblivious to what’s going on.

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  61. FireTag on June 2, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Jeff:

    One of the most surreal experiences of my church life occurred in about 2006 as I sat in a theology forum sponsored by the CofChrist where I was giving a paper. In the presence of the prophet and several members of the 12 — who had JUST had to announce major cuts in the church budget and reduce ministerial staff — the panel on stage proceeded to berate the cruel Bush administration for not increasing funding for the poor at even a higher rate than it actually was. I’m sure the Prophet was just unimaginably callous about having to acknowledge economic realities.

    Promising to help the poor with someone else’s money is easy. You only get points in heaven for delivering your own wealth to the task as efficiently as possible.

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  62. Jeff Spector on June 2, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    Firetag,

    An interesting situation that would probably never occur in the LDS Church.

    Having said that, we render unto Caesar in the form of taxes to the state. We, unfortunately, have less say on how it is used. One can argue the fairness of the obligation of the amounts we are asked to pay.

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  63. FireTag on June 2, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Jeff:

    Funny story:

    “Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, for I was hungered and you fed me not…”

    “Lord, when saw we thee hungered and fed thee not?”

    And the Lord looked at those on His left hand and said, “Verily, I say unto thee, when thy check bounced.”

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  64. Jeff Spector on June 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    ““Verily, I say unto thee, when thy check bounced.”

    :D :D

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  65. Will on June 2, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Firetag,

    “Promising to help the poor with someone else’s money is easy. You only get points in heaven for delivering your own wealth to the task as efficiently as possible.”

    That should go down as one of the single best statements ever posted on any blog. It should be stated that way in the scriptures. That is just excellent.

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  66. Will on June 2, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Hawkgrrrl,

    “Standing up for traditional marriage is the positive spin on what Prop 8 was, but in reality it was pitting traditional marriage against non-traditional marriage. And non-traditional marriage fought back”

    Fighting the words of the Lord declared through his Prophet is not new, it has happened since the beginning of time. What’s your point?

    “Some traditional marriages are not right, good, and decent”

    And?

    “Those upholding tradition and status quo aren’t the only ones who had an emotional stake in the outcome”

    Who cares if anyone had an emotional stake in the outcome? What should matter is what God thinks. What we think is irrelevant. We should try and conform to what he thinks; and, for those of us in the LDS faith he has made himself clear on this issue. For those of us who believe in divine revelation and who recognize the proper authority, God has made himself clear. He has communicated his will through his duly authorized representatives. There is no ambiguity. There is no grey-area. The Church’s (and I feel the Lord’s) stand on this issue was signed by both presiding Quorums. All 15 members signed the document. It is not the opinion of one, but of all members that we in the LDS faith recognize as Apostles and Prophets. It is doctrine. It should be recognized as such. It should be practiced as such. It will be judged as such.

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  67. FireTag on June 2, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Will:

    Sorry to so quickly burn up my capital from #65, but the D&C I read says that “Monogamy is the basic standard on which Christian marriage is built.” Nothing about either multiple spouses in this world, and nothing about their gender.

    Being born in apostasy saves so much time. :D

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  68. Chino Blanco on June 2, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    When have you felt judged by someone else?

    Just a few minutes ago, as a matter of fact. I left a (clear, calm, cogent) comment over at Mormon Matters and it was removed within 30 seconds. Ouch.

    In their latest podcast, one of the guests held up RfM as an example of “angry exmormons” and I wrote a comment noting that there are many other better exmormon venues online, e.g., iamanexmormon.com

    And for that I’m deleted?

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  69. Chino Blanco on June 2, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Sorry for the drama. To MM’s credit, my comment has now been restored and all is right with the world.

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  70. PT on June 3, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    Will:

    “Who cares if anyone had an emotional stake in the outcome? What should matter is what God thinks. What we think is irrelevant. We should try and conform to what he thinks; and, for those of us in the LDS faith he has made himself clear on this issue. For those of us who believe in divine revelation and who recognize the proper authority, God has made himself clear. He has communicated his will through his duly authorized representatives. There is no ambiguity. There is no grey-area.

    Tell me again, because I haven’t seen it, where was the “revelation” in Prop 8. Neither the Church, nor the leaders nor anyone “official” that I have seen have declared reception of a “revelation” in the manner the Lord himself has proscribed in the past.

    The Church’s (and I feel the Lord’s) stand on this issue was signed by both presiding Quorums. All 15 members signed the document. It is not the opinion of one, but of all members that we in the LDS faith recognize as Apostles and Prophets. It is doctrine. It should be recognized as such. It should be practiced as such. It will be judged as such.”

    Unanimity has no bearing on whether or not it’s the Lord’s will. Sure, we might teach that, but historically there’s very little support to that notion. The mind and will of the Lord is far more distinct than what you set forth here.

    While we tend to think that taking the Lord’s name in vain is when we swear or so “Oh My G@d” or something like that. In actuality, taking the name of the Lord’s name in vain is when we say that the Lord’s will is such-and-such when it’s not or there is no “revelation” in the matter. And, with the whole Prop 8 thing, there has simply been NO revelation presented to the Church as such.

    Back in the 40′s, church manuals were espousing the same beliefs you’re sharing here. In one of those “documents” issued by the General Authorities it was stated in part:

    …He [Lucifer] wins a great victory when he can get members of the Church to speak against their leaders and to “do their own thinking.”…

    When our leaders speak, the thinking has been done. When they propose a plan — it is God’s plan. When they point the way, there is no other which is safe. When they give direction, it should mark the end of controversy…. (June 1945 Ward Teaching Lesson, Improvement Era 48:354)

    When an official from the First Unitarian Church saw the above, he fired off a letter to President George Albert Smith who had just become the new president of the Church in November that same year. Quoting earlier Church brethren he pointed out as to why this was not the doctrine in times past of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that he was very concerned as to the spiritual well being of Church members from such a statement, especially as some had come to him expressing their concern. To be corrected by an official of another church with quotes of earlier Church brethren was enough to cause the President George Albert Smith to go against his predecessor and admit in reply that it was not Church doctrine then or now and that it would be corrected. He said:

    …that the passage quoted does not express the true position of the Church. Even to imply that members of the Church are not to do their own thinking is grossly to misrepresent the true ideal of the Church, which is that every individual must obtain for himself a testimony of the truth of the Gospel, must, through the redemption of Jesus Christ, work out his own salvation, and is personally responsible to his Maker for his individual acts…. (George Albert Smith Letter to Dr. J. Raymond Cope, Dec. 7, 1945)

    He cited Joseph Smith’s statement:

    If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for the truth will cut its own way. (History of the Church, 5:498)

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  71. Paul on June 3, 2011 at 9:47 AM

    PT, in fairness, the Zomorah discussion does little more than describe the way in which the revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants were received, recorded and published. It does not effectively offer any prespcription that all revelations must be so received.

    Will #66: The issue of the OP is not whether someone has an emotional stake or not. The issue is whether the church leads its members to judge others.

    Your #52 confuses the question that Firetag asks, and cites the judgement that church members felt from opponents of Prop 8. And I think you’re right: plenty of chuch members felt judged during that period of time — those who supported Prop 8 by non members who did not support it, and those members who did not support it by members who did.

    What your #52 and #66 fail to do is to address (except by your example) the question of whether the church teaches us to judge others.

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  72. George on June 3, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Paul:

    “PT, in fairness, the Zomorah discussion does little more than describe the way in which the revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants were received, recorded and published. It does not effectively offer any prespcription that all revelations must be so received.”

    That may be true, but I’ve enjoyed that discussion a LOT more than saying that something 15 people signed is, by effect, “pure revelation”, doctrine and binding.

    Based on what Will states (as a good example of an orthodox member), he doesn’t have to come right out and say it: the judging is inherent in the Church by nature of our teachings.

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  73. Cowboy on June 3, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    PT –

    I think you are splitting hairs over what constitutes “doctrine” in Mormonism. The D&C lay’s out some guidelines that very few Church leaders have adhered to. What I have alway’s found so interesting about that G.A. Smith story was that implicitly we accept his more palatable correction to “…the thinking has been done” quote, under the premise that the G.A.Smith is now speaking, so end of discussion.

    On to Proposition 8, on the Nightline broadcast, Elder Ballard(with Elder Cook sitting beside him) stated in defense of the Church’s position – “We know the voice of the Lord”. I don’t know what the distinction is for “official” voice of the Lord vs “unofficial” voice of the Lord, but this was an as-matter-of-fact declaration from Ballard.

    I’ve never been impressed that G.A. Smith was “correcting and error” as much as he was issuing a knee-jerk quality control response to a statement that would have been bad for business. Find me one example where the “Saints” are encouraged to voice their disagreement with the Prophet. We are always encouraged to “get our own testimony” THAT the Prophet is right about some issue, but never to find out if…mabey he’s wrong. When it came to Proposition 8 we were told essentially that we are all entitled to our personal positions on the matter (as though that is something the Church could control anyway), but that we should refrain from public disagreement. As far as I am concerned a that general position is right on par with “once the Prophet speaks, the thinking has been done”.

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  74. Paul on June 3, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    George, I suppose if it were the signature of any 15 guys, then I might agree with you. The fact that a faithful temple recommend holding Latter-day Saint sustains those 15 men as prophets, seers and revelators encourages us also to accept their “official” word as sanctioned not only by the church, but by God. That we can seek personal witness of their role and of their counsel bolsters that position.

    I maintain, however, that the gospel does not teach us to judge others, though the culture of Mormonism likely does. We are taught to judge behaviors, particularly as we consider what behaviors we will display. That said, it is clear that there is a fair amount of judging in the church (and out of it) just as the OP observes.

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  75. Jeff Spector on June 3, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    PT,

    “Back in the 40′s, church manuals were espousing the same beliefs you’re sharing here. In one of those “documents” issued by the General Authorities it was stated in part:”

    You presented this somewhat out of context. I have the original article so I went and read the whole thing.

    The first line of the article says:

    “No Latter-day Saint is compelled to sustain the General Authorities of the Church.”

    The article is really about that. That when we raise our hand to sustain Church leaders we are under an obligation to listen to their counsel and heed their words.

    If we accept them as God’s messengers to his people, then a line such as: “When our Leaders speak, the thinking is done. When they propose a plan, it is God’s plan” makes more sense. That is the actual context of the article.

    Now, I do agree that it can be misconstrued and needed to be clarified. but it in no way was meant to imply that members not ever think for themselves.

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  76. George on June 3, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Jeff:

    “That when we raise our hand to sustain Church leaders we are under an obligation to listen to their counsel and heed their words.

    If we accept them as God’s messengers to his people, then a line such as: “When our Leaders speak, the thinking is done. When they propose a plan, it is God’s plan” makes more sense. That is the actual context of the article.”

    It seems as though you’re arguing that the one-time (or annual) sustaining vote is a rubber stamp (and in our LDS culture it is) which promotes one in leadership/hierarchy to do whatever they want (even when well intentioned) knowing that members think the one time sustaining vote is good forever.

    Sustaining them, simply put, does not mean that we have to listen AND heed anyone’s words no matter what. I can sustain leaders even when I disagree with them AND even when I don’t heed their words. If their words are laced with ignorance or false doctrine or vanity or anything else, there is no obligation for me to heed their words simply because they are in a leadership position.

    A sustaining vote, then, puts me under no such obligation as you assert. And, our contemporary version of sustaining is vastly different than it was in the early days of the church. To assert differently, as you do, is to rip “sustaining” out of context and place it firmly in an idolatrous nature of leader worship wherein “the thinking has been done.”

    If you’re still not amused, perhaps this article will help wherein the law of common consent is discussed – candidly – and applied to our day.

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  77. George on June 3, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Cowboy:

    “On to Proposition 8, on the Nightline broadcast, Elder Ballard(with Elder Cook sitting beside him) stated in defense of the Church’s position – “We know the voice of the Lord”. I don’t know what the distinction is for “official” voice of the Lord vs “unofficial” voice of the Lord, but this was an as-matter-of-fact declaration from Ballard.

    I’ve never been impressed that G.A. Smith was “correcting and error” as much as he was issuing a knee-jerk quality control response to a statement that would have been bad for business. Find me one example where the “Saints” are encouraged to voice their disagreement with the Prophet. We are always encouraged to “get our own testimony” THAT the Prophet is right about some issue, but never to find out if…mabey he’s wrong. When it came to Proposition 8 we were told essentially that we are all entitled to our personal positions on the matter (as though that is something the Church could control anyway), but that we should refrain from public disagreement. As far as I am concerned a that general position is right on par with “once the Prophet speaks, the thinking has been done”.”

    Good points, though I agree with the G.A. Smith idea not because he said it, but because it aligns with my mind. Maybe that’s a selective approach, but I chaff at the assumption of comments like Will’s and Jeff’s and others that we can’t disagree with someone in leadership simply because they hold a temple recommend and have attained some hierarchical position that defines who they are.

    That said, perhaps Ballard is merely toeing the company line, but when I read comments like Eyring’s from last conference wherein he stated [I can't access LDS.org right now to link it because the server is down] that if we presume to speak in the name of the Lord enough, then we just might surprise ourselves how often we do speak in his name, I shake my head.

    We have a culture where we assume that the voice of the Lord is had in statements by men no matter what they say, simply by virtue of their position in the Church. It’s the same infallibility the Catholics believe, only packaged in a different cloak of “trust me or you’re an apostate.”

    A good friend of mine once told me, which echoes your observation, that we pray to get confirmation that the leaders are right… and if we get a different answer, then we’re wrong and need to repent. The thinking has been done, I just need to fix my faulty wiring systems to get the same answer.

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  78. Paul on June 3, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    George, for me it is not about the hand-raising ceremony (although I happily participate in that ritual, and have had some remarkable spiritual experiences in the process), but it is in the act of sustaining by supporting and following the counsel of those prophets that is important.

    In other words, if I accept that those men are prophets, seers and revelators, as I sustain them to be (in GC, Stake Conference, Ward Conference, and temple recommend interviews), then it would behoove me to listen carefully to their counsel and to do what I can to get on their side of the council.

    If I don’t really sustain them as prophets, but only recognize that they are figureheads who have risen to the top of a merit-based hierarchy (or some other form), then I suppose I would be far less likely to work to get on their side of an issue.

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  79. DS on June 3, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    The terms “prophet, seer and revelator” come from scripture where the president of the church is to “be a seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet, having all the gifts of God.” (D&C 107: 92.) The way this is read in the church today is that any person who holds the office of President of the High Priesthood is ipso facto a “seer, a revelator, a translator, and a prophet.” Meaning the office defines the gifts.

    What if that is not the intent of the scripture? What if the scripture means, instead, that a person who is these things is the only one to be called to the office? That is, unless the person “be” such a person possessing these gifts, he is not and cannot be the President? Such questions are not even possible to be asked today. They are, according to the current reading of that verse, evidence of weak faith and evidence someone is headed for apostasy. Therefore a discussion about this verse’s meaning and possible differences of meaning are excluded and no other view is possible to be discussed.

    President McKay did not get a testimony of the church until sometime after he had been called as an Apostle. President Hinckley, when asked about revelation, said “I don’t know that we need much revelation anymore.” President Packer has defined revelation as when the presiding authorities reach an agreement. President Nibley (a counselor in the First Presidency and Hugh Nibley’s grandfather) said if an angel were to appear to him he would jump out the window. There are other examples, but the point is that there are many statements which have been made by the highest authorities in the church which contradict the popular myth that the Lord has and does regularly appear to, meet with, and speak face to face with the presiding authorities. Despite this, there are people who presume the Lord is in the weekly meeting in the Temple, every Thursday, telling them how to run His church. In contrast, President Young said when he asks the Lord for guidance and then he receives nothing, he will make his best judgment and proceed. And the Lord is bound to sustain him in his decision, since he asked for guidance. That approach is healthy, and allowed President Young and others to move forward. However, it is one thing for men of good faith and decency, who are making honest and worthwhile efforts to manage the church to have our prayers, faith and confidence; and quite another to assume these men quote the Lord with their every breath. As a church this subject is just not discussed. As a result those who suspect that the brethren are making great efforts and are good men, but who may not have had an audience with the Lord are kept from asking the question. When a Gentile reporter has the impertinence to ask such a question, they are rebuked and told things like that are sacred.

    A Prophet of God is not required to have seen Him. A prophet can and has been inspired to speak for the Lord by the inspiration of the Spirit. But when the scriptures use this phrase “and the word of the Lord came unto me, saying…” This formula assures the listener that the words which follow originate from the Lord and not a good and honest man’s best advice. All this has happened in the past and therefore you cannot discount a prophet’s calling because the word of the Lord comes by the Spirit, rather than from a personal visitation. Visitations are rare. However, the calling of a prophet in scripture was not institutional. The Lord was directly, personally and individually involved. Moses was told by the Lord, directly, as the Lord stood in a pillar-cloud at the door of the tabernacle.

    When the Church was led by a president (from the death of Joseph Smith until 1955) there was no cult of personality around the church president. He was the presiding High Priest over the High Priesthood. When the title shifted, things began to change. Today a discussion about this process is not possible because the subject matter is too charged.

    The difference between good men doing good things in good faith, who are entitled to our support in their calling and efforts on the one hand, and a prophet of God whose words are questioned at the peril of eternal damnation on the other hand is the overwhelming difference which now plagues the church. We cannot have a discussion that questions the wisdom of church policies, procedures or decisions. When even obvious mistakes are made, people who notice are not to speak of it, and if they do they are told that they are weak in the faith and on the road to apostasy. Criticism is essential to a healthy mental state. Without feedback and criticism you cannot raise a normal, healthy child. Try raising a child to whom you lavish only praise, and to whom you say, without regard to how bad, poorly or evil an act they commit: “You are inspired! You are right! It was good of you to have done that! God Himself inspired that act!”

    What you would raise up would be a monster. Without criticism and challenges to decisions made, no-one can ultimately become anything worthwhile.

    We have a church in which those who love it the most, and whose perceptions may be the keenest, are required to take a host of questions, suggestions or criticisms and never give them voice. The only negative feed-back must originate from either outside the church, or if inside they are cast out because they are weak in the faith and on the road to apostasy. This was the inevitable evolution from the cult of personality. It is still unfolding. It will progress in a funnel which narrows over time until, at last, when the work has been fully completed, we will have a Pope who is infallible. Not because he is always inspired, but instead because he holds the keys to bind on earth and in heaven, and as a result God is bound by whatever he does.

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  80. Cowboy on June 3, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    George we make a number of assumptions because we have this obscure revelatory hierarchy in the Church that advances the idea that these men speak for God. There is a wide variance on the message which lends to the idea that even though they say that, they really don’t speak for God. To defend against that observation we then say, yes but they are both Prophets and men. Sometimes they speak for God, sometimes they don’t – but since we don’t have a really clear way of determining when, we have to use faith and follow the spirit. There are so many obscurities and abstractions in there that it leads to believe that even if these men were actually Prophets, they’d still be of absolutely no value to mankind.

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  81. Jeff Spector on June 3, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    Cowboy,

    ” but I chaff at the assumption of comments like Will’s and Jeff’s and others that we can’t disagree with someone in leadership simply because they hold a temple recommend and have attained some hierarchical position that defines who they are.’

    Never wrote that and do not think that. Of course, you can disagree. I was just pointing out that the article wasn’t quite what PT represented.

    I know the sentiment you are referring to and I do not subscribe to it.

    If the Prophet told you to jump off the roof…..”

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  82. Jeff Spector on June 3, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Paul,

    I do agree with you.

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  83. hawkgrrrl on June 4, 2011 at 7:49 AM

    I should also add, in answer to my own question in the OP that in my personal experience, church makes me less judgmental of others, not more judgmental. It does that partly by presenting me with so many different types of people. I have many opportunities to be judgmental of them, but given the setting of our acquaintance, it’s a reminder not to be.

    The hard part I have about not judging people is that I’m so often right, it’s hard not to sit back and relish my rightness. Such is the burden I bear.

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  84. Tachyon Feathertail on June 19, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    Some people simply are victims. Less choice is involved in life than I thought there was.

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