Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Unrighteous Dominion in the Skies

Dear Magdalene,

I've been wanting to write to you about authority for several days now.  We had an interesting event, you and I, on the airplane coming home from Utah.  An encounter with "authority", per se.  We had a bossy flight attendant who didn't know how to use manners, but ordered everyone around for even the littlest of things.

We learned that just because someone has "authority" doesn't make them right.  You had to use the bathroom after this woman pressured you into drinking a whole can of soda, which was meant to be a treat, not a chore.  You drank it, and once the seatbelt sign went on to land the plane, you had to pee.  Of course, you had to wait at least 10-15 minutes, while the plane seemed to circle around and around, for fear of the monster flight-attendant reprimanding you... and me.

When you started crying because you were afraid you couldn't hold it, and the plane had landed but not yet made it to the gate, we got unbuckled and walked two steps toward the bathroom before the flight attendant scolded, "What are you doing???"  She demanded you and I get back in our seats.  I tried to explain your predicament.  She declared we were breaking the law and FAA regulations.  She declared this twice, insisting again we get back in our seats.  I warned her you might pee your pants.  She didn't care.  She said that was your "choice".  

Is this "unrighteous dominion"?  Using a position of authority to insist that someone who does not hold that authority do something contrary to common sense, common respect, or common decency?  To bully someone into drinking a full can of soda, insisting they follow a law meant to protect them, and then humiliate them with a potentially very embarrassing situation?

I supposed I should have told you to go ahead and pee on the seat.  Maybe we could've been arrested for indecent exposure for all I know.  I took the lady's name, but after sleeping on it, I realized that being "consumer avenger" like I used to be wasn't worth it.  Writing the airline a nice long letter of complaint on why I think this woman is poorly representing the company would've been my normal routine, but after learning what I have learned this past year, and realizing that this could very well be a test for me, I realized it would be better to forgive this poor power-greedy woman, and pray for her soul.  Satan accuses.  Jesus forgives.  I made my choice, now it was time to follow through for once.

Maybe she never owned "power" as a woman.  Maybe she feels inferior, so she uses this false "authority" to domineer over others so she can feel like a better person.  In the end, it doesn't matter much anymore to me.  But it does matter as a lesson for us in unrighteous dominion.

In D&C 121, it talks extensively about Priesthood power, and this very same concept.  While it applies specifically to those who hold the Priesthood, I believe it applies to all human beings in any position of authority.  We know when our "control" is wrong, when it's domineering, condescending  and abusive.  Insisting others keep our secrets, manipulating them, harassing them or other kinds of subtle control are just as evil as outright demands and abuse.  Guard against it.  And if you have to be subservient, pray for the one inflicting the evil.  They need your prayers more than you need to hold the anger and resentment that they foster.  You're better off letting it go.

Love you!

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