You are right and I am wrongBy: Stephen Marsh
I know, you think I got it backwards from the famous book:
But seriously, how often do you look at something and conclude the other person is right and you are wrong?
I bring this up because I learn the most, and am the most open, when I consider the possibility.
For example, my bishop was doing something I categorically disagree with. Rather than having an argument, I listened and really benefited. He was right, I was wrong. Because I listened, I came away ahead of where I would have been if I had not listened.
I listened to him because I know he cares and is trying hard to do the best he can. But I’ve listened to many people, and changed my mind or learned from them, without always having that belief (that they care about me), it just makes it easier.
I’ve heard many things in my life, and said many things. But the thing I probably have not said enough of is “you are right and I am wrong.”
I remember the first time I really changed up my thinking. Of course that was a time I had a void, rather than an opinion, but it affected me strongly.
It had to do with feminism. I’d been reading feminists who insisted that no man could be a feminist unless he was castrated, though, honestly, the only good man was a dead one. Not too entrancing. They were convincing me to abandon anything that smacked of feminism.
Then I read Brigham Young. He preached sermons on how women could be as good of doctors, lawyers, accountants and business owners as men. The only thing Young felt that women did not do as well as men was dig ditches. It fit well with Joseph Smith’s sermon on how the difference between a Philadelphia doctor in a carriage and the slave digging the ditch it rides next to was only education and opportunity. From thinking about those sermons, I became converted to egalitarianism. The equality of all and the importance of letting people be judged on their merits, not their sex or skin color, and of giving all access to education.
Since then I’ve tried to be open to learning what is being taught, but seems hidden from me. I had read a number of sermons from the 40s and 50s about how women are not property, but should be equal partners. It was obvious from the context that the audiences were not getting the point. I started wondering just what sermons are being preached today that contained points I was just not getting. What was hidden from me because I was just too blind to see it.
I’m curious. In your life and learning, what are the times that you realized that you were wrong and others were right and how did that affect your thinking. Did it matter if the others were friendly or hostile and what other messages they combined with the core messages they were trying to communicate? How have you thought about things since? What do you think you were blind to, and now see? What am I blind to now?