I was reading in the Priesthood lesson manual “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith” the following from Joseph Smith himself:
“There is a superior intelligence bestowed upon such as obey the Gospel with full purpose of heart, which, if sinned against, the apostate is left naked and destitute of the Spirit of God, and he is, in truth, nigh unto cursing, and his end is to be burned. When once that light which was in them is taken from them they become as much darkened as they were previously enlightened, and then, no marvel, if all their power should be enlisted against the truth, and they, Judas-like, seek the destruction of those who were their greatest benefactors.”
Recently, my sister sent a somewhat arrogant e-mail to my parents telling them of her beliefs in response to their Christmas letters. Disagreeing with them on some things is okay, but throughout the message she was telling them they were wrong and clinched it by asking them to take her off their “proselytizing list.” The above quote struck me as I remembered the hurtful way she treated them. In a way, she is seeking the destruction of her greatest benefactors.
My sister was stalwart in the gospel at one time. She had convictions and so on. When her son tragically died, many latent problems came to the surface in her marriage and it fell apart. Even after that, she still was strong in the gospel to a certain extent. She remarried in the temple, but that didn’t last. She is now remarried to an apostate and seems to have bought into all of his arrogance and deceptive reasonings. However, whether she is right or wrong on any given principle, is not the point. She was hurtful and arrogant, telling my parents they are wrong and she is more “enlightened.” When someone begins to treat good people badly, they are covering for some sin—some form of betrayal against themselves or what they know is right. Mom and Dad are good, well-meaning people. They are not perfect, no one is, but they are deserving of respect, because they are trying their hardest to do the right. They can get “preachy” at times, but it is never personal or aimed to destroy or hurt—and there are times where being “preachy” is the only practical way of conveying important information.
My sister’s ideas may have merit, and she certainly has every right to “preach” them, but to convey them in the form of a personal rebuttal and attack was not called for—unless she falls into the category Joseph Smith is describing above. Then it is only natural.