Criticism as Loyalty
Due to recent events that have been discussed by many more capable than I, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be ‘loyal.’ Does loyalty mean support? Giving resources? Defending against smack talk? Are being loyal to individuals and being loyal to a group different things? And, most importantly to me right now, does criticizing an organization make you disloyal?
I am going to be honest with you all; I for sure have criticisms of the LDS church. There are things I disagree with, things that are upsetting to me, policies that I think are stupid, but I still feel loyal to the Church. It’s like when you have a crazy relative that drives you up the wall. It is alright complain about them yourself, but as soon as anyone else points out their flaws, you leap to their defense. It’s a curious paradox that I do not quite understand.
At any rate, I am not convinced that criticism is always bad or disloyal. It depends on the motivation. I read somewhere once (and I feel silly that I can’t remember where) that criticism that is rooted in concern is an act of loyalty; criticism rooted in bitterness is destructive. I think that is where I am right now. The church is important. It formed me in many, many ways. It does a lot of good for a lot of people. So, for now, my criticism comes from a place of concern. Maybe I’m wrong about things, but maybe I am right. Maybe my thoughts and concerns, if they were heard, would help make things better. Maybe yours would, too. Wouldn’t it be better to explore the criticism and see where it goes? If it is bad we can drop it; if it is good, we will all be better off.