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Social Networking: Blessings, Curses, and Cautions

Over the past year, I ?ve joined the social networking crowd and gotten back in touch with people as far back as elementary school. It has been wonderful! People who I haven ?t seen in thirty years are suddenly back in my life, and it has been so much fun to catch up with everyone and to see their families. As I ?ve looked at everyone ?s profiles, it has reminded me of the great influence many of these people have had in my life. I found one of my first piano teachers, who was a woman I absolutely idolized. I never told her that when I was a kid, but finding her now all these years later I am able to tell her that my love for music largely started with her, and that I have gone on to be a piano teacher myself. I consider it a blessing in my life to be able to get back in touch with people from all periods of my life – people I was very close to at one time but lost touch with, people I didn ?t know extremely well but have come to know better now, and yes – even a few Mormon Mommas who I now consider to be my friends too!

Do you find that some things that can be great sources of good can also be great sources of evil? You could say that about the internet in general of course, but I want to speak more specifically about social networking sites.

In the past few months, I ?ve had a couple of friends who have made the very sad decision to end their marriages and even abandon their children (as in moving out-of-state without them) after reconnecting or meeting someone on one of these sites. This week, I ?ve heard of two more. All week long, it has been bothering me and I ?ve been contemplating this post and what to say about it. I have a lot of questions.

First, I wonder why LDS women seem especially susceptible to this? I have lots of non-LDS friends on these sites, and they haven ?t left their families. Yet four LDS women I know have. I know it ?s not just in the church that it ?s happening, but I guess I was naοve enough to think that LDS women would know better. Our lives are so centered on our families and children that it seems incomprehensible that this could even happen. Do we think we are above ? it happening to us, and that makes us particularly susceptible when old feelings from a past flame or new feelings from an exciting new guy arise?

Regardless of WHY it is happening, what can we do to prevent it? Do we not become friends with anyone of the opposite sex that we had a past relationship with, or a pining for, or who we might not even know in real life but we find attractive after meeting them online? Do we not become friends with men at all, other than family members?

After this happened to my first friend, I started asking myself what I should do to stay as far away from this temptation as possible. I wondered about getting back in touch with men from my past – should I, should I not? I personally have not become internet friends ? with any men (all my internet friends are Mormon Mommas!!) but there are several men I ?ve either dated or had the proverbial crush on who have found their way into my circle of friends on my social networking sites. For what it ?s worth, here are some things I ?ve decided for myself. I ?d love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Do I accept friend invitations from men from my past? Yes, under certain circumstances such as a fairly casual relationship, or something that clearly ended and I ?ve never regretted it. Would I accept an invite from someone I ?d been engaged to, or didn ?t want to end things with but it happened anyway? No, I think that ?s just too dangerous – too many buried feelings there that can easily come right back to the surface once you start getting chummy again.

Once you are friends, how much do you share with them? Are private messages okay? What about entering a chat session with them? For me, I say no. Anything that you would say in public to them should be enough, in my opinion. Chat sessions just get too ?well ?chatty. And chatty can lead to flirtation, and flirtation can lead to gee, I really liked this guy, and my husband is boring me, and he ?s gone all the time, and this guy is giving me attention ? ?.and that leads to trouble, my friends. So I say just avoid it. No chats, no private emails. Sure, post a hey, how ?re you doing? Darling family! ? on their public page, but other than that, really what is the purpose? If we do engage in flirtations like this – why? Just for a little titillation in our lives? What are we going to do when the person on the other end starts telling you their marital problems, or that they are divorced? What about when they say, “hey, I’m only 3 hours away, let’s get together for lunch!” It’s just tempting fate too much to even start down that path.

Perhaps you feel differently one way or the other , I ?d love to hear what you think.

I don ?t want to blow this out of proportion, but I will not be surprised to hear church leaders speaking more about this to women in the church. Where the topic du jour is avoiding pornography for the men, for the women it just might become watch the amount of time you are spending on these things and how you are behaving yourself while there. ?

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Seanette July 9, 2009, 4:52 am

    My husband and I have agreed that friendships with members of the opposite sex are OK, as long as there’s complete openness and honesty, such as making sure the other spouse meets the friend if possible and keeping each other informed about such acquaintances. I have no desire to violate my marriage covenants, and am 99% sure my husband doesn’t either.

  • jt July 9, 2009, 6:32 am

    That is sad to hear about divorces due to facebook (is there really anything as ubiquitous as facebook?). I had not heard of such reasons for divorce in my circles but can see that it could happen. My wife has some men from the past as her FB friends (one a boyfriend) and I have a few women as FB friends from high school. I agree that private messages, chat, etc. would not favor fidelity. I can seee that even the public “What’s up?” could lead to something more private. I’m not sure what the best answer is for these situations but I do believe that feelings from high school days or those coming of age years are pretty strong. For instance, when I hear a song that I haven’t heard for decades that is from those times it can trigger a vivid recollection of a specific feeling, place, event, mood, etc. that is very powerful. The memory is very real and very strong but has been more or less forgotten or filed away for many years.

    As a side note, we also have a 13 year old boy and a 10 year old boy on facebook. We have all other websites blocked on their computer but the 10 year old was able to find a significant amount of inappropriate material by facebook searches.

    My wife is the one who insisted I get a facebook account and my opinion is that there is some good to it but all in all I wish it could all be undone and that we could go back to the way things were last summer…”facebook-less”. To me the reward is small and the risk is to great. Mind you, the risk may not be a high probability but would be a very high consequence.

  • ksjarvis July 9, 2009, 6:39 am

    A friend of mine told me only a week ago of there being two women in the ward she grew up in having an affair with someone that they reconnected with on Facebook. I was shocked. I had never even thought about that possibly happening. But her comment to me about it was that she just knew that when she first signed up for Facebook that there would be lots of people using it to have affairs. Seriously? That thought never entered my head.

    My husband and I though have a joint account and so I don’t think that either of us have anything to worry about because we can easily see who our friends are and who we communicate with. I am not friends with any past boyfriends, because well, I don’t have any! I was friends with lots of different guys but never really dated anyone seriously until I met my husband. We are friends with one of his past girl friends, but I think that she has now become a better friend to me than to him, so I don’t think I have anything to worry about.:bigsmile:

  • sngrant July 9, 2009, 8:11 am

    I think that the problem is not so much with being on Facebook. I moved a couple times through high school and it has been great to get back in touch with some great friends from back then.

    I think it is most important to focus on the relationship with our spouse. If you are not happy with your marriage you are in a position to be tempted. You need a strong marriage to withstand the temptations.

    Another thing to look at is your own personal spirituality. Are you reading your scriptures daily, praying morning and night, etc. The closer you are to the spirit the more in tune you will be to the warnings of the Holy Ghost.

  • facethemusic July 9, 2009, 8:20 am

    Great post Angie! And welcome to jt, Seanette and sngrant!

    I too can see how things like FB can be like a petrie dish for affairs. But I also know that these things aren’t the ’cause’– they’re merely the method of the inital connection. And I seriously doubt these people were actually having their cyber affair ON the site. It’s the private ‘chat rooms” and the exchanging of phone numbers and private email addresses where (I would imagine) any “feelings” are exchanged and really developed. The social networking sites are the place where one might first FIND the connection and start chatting– but that could happen just from someone doing a engine search on someone’s name and finding an email address.

    3 of my 5 previous boyfriends have contacted me– and NOT through Facebook. Of course, this was BEFORE FB, but they ALL found me the same way. I’d posted on a genealogy site for my maiden name– so a simple search of my first and maiden name was successful for them. In all three cases I got an email– “Hi Tracy, it’s been a long time…. found your email address on the genealogy website… blah, blah, blah” But in each instance, I told my husband about the email BEFORE I responded– I didn’t want to respond if he was going to have an issue with it. When he said he was fine with it, I emailed them back and the first thing I did was ask if they were married and if their spouses KNEW that we were chatting, and told them it was very important to me that their spouses DID know. Of course, I had no way of knowing if they were telling the truth, but I made it very clear I WANTED them to know. Then, as we exchanged a few emails, I was sure to tell them that I was happily married with 4 kids, still very active in the church, etc, and as the intial “catching up” came to an end (the catching up was complete and any further chatting would either have been reminiscing on the PAST or discussing “new” stuff, current politics or whatever) I let them know right then that even though I realized our conversation and intentions were completely innocent, that we should probably end the back and forth– if for NOTHING ELSE than sparing the feelings of our spouses who might begin to feel jealous or a little worried).
    So in each case, we exchanged 3 or 4 emails and that was it. And I haven’t heard from any of them since then. And of course, now that I’m on Facebook, they could easily do a search for me there and find me. If they HAVE searched for me there, they haven’t contacted me– and that’s probably because I was so clear from the beginning when they found me by my email address.

    I think the affairs come in because people “entertain” the idea. I understand that they may START OUT innocently– but EVERYONE knows when they’re even BEGINNING to have ‘wrong’ feelings. I don’t believe for one minute that any of your friends didn’t KNOW or recognize those “butterflies– oh wow” feeling the very SECOND they began to have them. The problem is that instead of turning away, they ENTERTAINED IT and went back for more.
    They KNEW when they were having private conversations they shouldn’t have been having. They knew when they were sharing private marital information they shouldn’t have been sharing. Any “private” conversations they were having– through chat devices or over phone, etc were probably all HIDDEN from their spouses. So they KNEW darn well they shouldn’t be doing it.

    I guess my point is– people who are willing to do ALL the things NECESSARY for an affair— entertain inappropriate feelings, lie, hide things, be sneaky, are going to do those things regardless of whether social networking sites exist or not. But it’s true that they certainly make it EASIER to make the connection.

    Oh– and just as an aside– I’ve been able to do more missionary work through FB, than I have in YEARS!!!!
    Half of the time I spend on FB is having gospel discussions– my friends from highschool ALL remember that I’m Mormon– they’ve ALL expressed how much they remember my example, our conversations and they FREQUENTLY– I mean once or twice a week ask me SOMETHING about religion– what I think about a spiritual issue, what I believe about faith vs. works, baptism as a necessity, the gay marriage issue, what temple marriage is all about, how politics and religion relate, forgiveness after an abortion– you name it. So for me, it’s been nothing but a very GOOD thing.

  • agardner July 9, 2009, 9:49 am

    Wow, welcome all of the new faces! Seanette, I have to ask…is that your real name? And if so, did you live in Oregon about 15 years ago? I knew a Seanette there, and it’s not a very common name!

    You have all said many things that I have been thinking. I don’t think there is any way a “facebook affair” will happen if you are doing things to strengthen your own marriage, being open with your spouse about what communication is going on in your internet circles. Tracy, I agree with you that social networking is not the cause, it’s only a vehicle to get there.

    What is it about these sites that make it so easy though? For example, one friend (the one I was closest to before she whacked out) has had trouble in her marriage a few times over the years. She’s very narcissistic and selfish, and I would say the relationship was “rocky” for awhile. But suddenly when she’s on facebook she starts talking with all of these guys, sometimes even pretty openly flirting with them right there on her “wall”. Some of the comments these men would make were really disturbing to me, and I talked to her about it and told her that some of the groups she was joining and some of the comments I was reading were concerning me. I can only imagine if this was happening on the public end, what was going on privately? I noticed her number of friends just kept growing exponentially, and many of them were from other countries. I asked her how she knew all of these people and she said it was games on the internet. Before this all wrapped up, she “unfriended” me because I was asking questions, but before long I heard that she was going to another country to meet one of these guys, and shortly after she got back, she filed for divorce. More than anything, I love her kids and I’m heartbroken about what she’s putting her family through. She was in the YW presidency in her ward at the time, but no longer attends church.

    I guess my point is, this most likely isn’t going to happen to those of us who are maintaining openness and honesty in our marriages, or working to build a strong relationship…but it’s the perfect vehicle for those who aren’t. Would they still have an affair or seek an old flame out if there weren’t facebook? Maybe, maybe not. I do think it makes it especially convenient though.

    JT, I have to say that I really agree with you about the powerfulness of old feelings, and we need to acknowledge that and be very careful about how we are conducting ourselves with someone who brought out those feelings in us at one point in life. I was a month shy of 27 when I married, so in 11 years of dating I had dated many guys and even been serious with a few. I’m friends on facebook with many of those men now, and they are exactly the ones who I know I have be very “superficial” friends with. If they brought out the feelings in me then, they could probably do it again if I’m not behaving myself!

    Honestly, I don’t get the meeting someone entirely new on the internet and starting a relationship at all. That seems much more like a “seeking it out” situation, and I could never for the life of me imagine starting a relationship with a guy I’ve never met, who lives half way around the world. But I can see how if the perfect storm comes together (difficulties in your own marriage, weakness in your spirituality, blast from the past looks you up, you start out casually talking which leads to more in depth conversations and re-stirring of the old feelings, and suddenly you’re talking about meeting up again) social networking can make it very convenient to cheat.

    I also have to say – Tracy, your points about doing missionary work and such are exactly why I titled this post the way I did. I have found facebook to be an incredible power for good in my life. I’ve met up with so many people who were dear to me, and they are able to see what I believe and we can talk about that. And there is something to be said just for finding people who you care about and having an easy way to keep them in your life. I consider it a blessing to have this available. We just have to be careful.

  • Tinkerbell July 9, 2009, 2:12 pm

    Good post and topic. I have to make a confession. I’ve been interested to see how a few of the guys I used to date turned out. My high school sweetheart married a friend of one of my best friend’s. I occassionally hop links to look at their blog (don’t leave comments or make contact). I googled one guy and found an article with a picture of him (wow, has he aged!) About a year after I moved into this house, I found the address of an old boyfriend in a box of memories. I met him while I was in CA and he was in the navy. His parents were from Texas. It turns out that his parents live/lived a few miles away from me! I practically drive by his house on the way to church. We had more of a friendship than a romantic relationship, so I asked my husband if I could send a letter to the house to say hi, but he never answered, so I assumed it was no and never did. I did google him, however, and found a picture of him with a girl he brought back from his tour in Japan (they are married). I’m just interested to see what they ended up doing with their lives. Does anyone else feel that way?

    But, I have to be really honest. I was thrown for a loop last year when I ran into my most recent ex before my husband at the temple. We were both there with our spouses. We had dated seriously, broken it off, remained friends and started to get close again before his mission. I met my husband right around the same time the ex went into the MTC. I knew it was right with my husband, so I just cut off contact with the ex until I sent him a “Dear John” letter. I never heard back. And then, 10 years later, we walked into the same temple at the same time. We spent a few minutes talking at the entrance, and he said, “If we come out at the same time, let’s talk more”. My husband had an amused look on his face the whole time – sort of, “It’s cute that you guys are excited about seeing each other, but she’s going home with me”. It was awkward doing the endowment with his wife right behind me and him just a few seats away. My husband and I waited a few minutes afterward, but then we took off. Of course my husband said, “Well, you’re a lot prettier than his wife”, and the next morning asked, “So, did you dream about him all night last night?” to which I could truthfully answer no. But, I admit that I thought about him A LOT the next few weeks. It really threw me off. My biggest question to myself was, “Did I make a mistake?” My husband and I got engaged really fast (within a month of meeting) and I never gave the other guy a “chance”. So, I was wondering if I made a monumental mistake in my life. I went back and read my journal from that time in my life. I listened to songs from that time. I pondered about it a lot. It didn’t help that I was pretty miserable. I had just talked to my husband about feeling depressed and not being happy with where I was at in life a few weeks before. I even emailed a guy friend from around that same time period who I have kept in contact with off and on (more of a friendship) because I just wanted to hear him say how great it was to hear from me! Anyways, after about a month of confusion, I finally figured it out: I missed ME! Not the ex in the temple (even though he is smoking hot and made my heart flutter just looking at him) I know that my husband is my eternal companion and who I love and want to spend my life with. But, I really miss me and the flirty, sassy, smart, teasing girl I used to be. I liked all the attention I got. And I realized that I kind of want to be that person again. Being a mom of almost five is BORING sometimes. So, that is my answer to why I think it happens. I think that women might go that route to reconnect for the way it makes them feel – like they are young and attractive and exciting again.

    So, what did I do? Nothing. I realized that about myself and got over seeing him and recommitted to be a good wife and show my husband how much I love him. I don’t have a Facebook or MySpace or any other social networking account, and I admit that this is one reason why. I don’t really want to reconnect with a lot of people (particularly past men from my life). I’ve kept in touch with my good friends from high school, college, business school, first town after that. I’m mildly curious about others, but not enough to reconnect. I was kind of scared at my natural reaction to seeing the ex. I felt attracted to him, and I haven’t felt that about anyone else since meeting my husband. I don’t want to reconnect with him on Facebook or anything. He’s a great guy and all, but if my husband had those feelings about another woman, I wouldn’t want him anywhere near her either.

    Oh, and while i was going through that, I read that it is normal for people to at some point in their marriage wonder if it was a mistake – even in a good marriage. So, I didn’t feel like such a freak. And, I decided that even if I had come to the conclusion that it was a mistake to get married to my husband, I still wouldn’t do anything different. Not fair to make him or my kids pay for my mistake. They deserve a good life with a loving mom/wife. But, still glad that I knew deep down my husband is the one for me. :bigsmile:

  • Seanette July 9, 2009, 3:56 pm

    Yes, that’s my real first name, and yes, I grew up on the Oregon coast (moved to California in 1994). As a matter of fact, Gardner is my mother’s maiden name.

  • Seanette July 9, 2009, 3:57 pm

    You can find me on Facebook (last name is presently Blaylock), on Twitter (@FelixAndAva) or e-mail (seanette@impulse.net).

  • Alison Moore Smith July 9, 2009, 5:53 pm

    Welcome jt, Seanette and sngran!

    You can find an affair anywhere if you are open to it. Sad.

    I have one FB friend who I dated in college. (I think that’s all.) But when I ran across him and friended him, I looked for his wife and friended her, too. He’s a great guy and I love being reconnected, but didn’t want his cute wife to be bothered. They live in Hawaii and Sam even dropped by to see them on one of his trips there. (We didn’t when we took the family–thought that might be overwhelming!)

  • facethemusic July 9, 2009, 9:52 pm

    I think that women might go that route to reconnect for the way it makes them feel – like they are young and attractive and exciting again.

    Tink– I think that’s EXACTLY right. They WANT those feelings again– but the truth is, the felt that way because they were BEING ‘atrractive and exciting”. The guy “makes them feel” that way because he’s RESPONDING to them, but to RESPOND to you, you have to have DONE something first.
    So the CURE to wanting to have those feelings again, is to BE THAT WAY with their spouse again. Instead of putting on the charm and flirting with other men, they should be doing it with their husbands.

    As I indicated before, I think alot of this comes from the kind of “vibes” we put out. When my ex-boyfriends contacted me, I had no reason to suspect that their interest in re-establishing contact with me was for any other purpose than merely wanting to know “whatever happened to Tracy”? Did she get married? Is she happy? etc. I mean let’s face it– when you’re in a relationship with someone and become close, ending the relationship doesn’t mean that they could be stoned to death and you wouldn’t care. I know for me, my main concern was “are they still active” – (all but one of the non-members I dated joined the church– including my husband. πŸ™‚ Of course I hoped they were happily married, had children, etc– but my main thing was “I hope they’re still active”. And I honestly felt like that was their intention in searching me out… not to run off and have an affair, but just to answer ”what ever happened to Tracy”. Of course, as already said, that innocent intention could turn not-so innocent. But BECAUSE of the way I handled it– if any of them DID have any intentions of resparking a romance, they learned from my first response that that was NOT my intention and that I had first checked with my spouse and wanted THEIR spouse to know too. Then after catching up, I wished them well in the future, wished them continued happiness and said goodbye. That “vibe” of “hey– don’t even think about it buddy” was clearly understood by them.

    But back to the “good” FB and other resources can be– I hope you don’t mind if I post this. Something my 14 year old son posted on his FB “status” the other day sparked a GREAT discussion and some great missionary work that’s continuing to progress. Many of the “friends” my son has on FB are friends from the Catholic school he’s been attending and he noticed a “trend” coming from his Catholic (yet not very “observant”) friends. The “vibe” my son’s post put out, should make it very obvious to ANY girl that THIS isn’t a guy who’s going to entertain any inappropriate advances. I’ll remove any last names for their security. And remember, except for myself at the end, and one other adult, this conversation is all happening between a bunch of 13-16 year olds. James is my son.

    James: is asking his non-Mormon friends to quit cussing and to think about what they put on their pages. Whatever you put on your pages shows up on mine. I don’t want F-bombs on my page, and I don’t want to know when your losing your virginity either. Plus, my little sister is one of my friends, and I don’t want her seeing all that stuff either. If I have to drop friends from my FB list, it won’t be my own sister.

    Aaron at 9:14am July 6
    WOOT!
    GO JAMES!

    Mr. Ort at 9:22am July 6
    God bless you James Keeney. “Those that be with us are more than they that be against us.”

    Aaron at 9:23am July 6
    You are a true example of the Lord!

    Carol at 5:49pm July 7
    I deleted all my bad friends

    Campo at 7:22pm July 9
    what makes a word bad? its not like kids arent gonna be hearing it later in there life, and also its not like you can shield it for the rest of theyre lives.

    Cassidy at 7:26pm July 9
    Is true.. They will hear it later. And God made bad words.. So it’s kind of just a part of life that you have to live with.

    Campo at 7:27pm July 9
    god made man,man made languages, languages made bad words= therefore god made bad words. aka words that do go so well in public unless apprioate with the situation your in

    James at 7:29pm July 9
    well its not necessarily hiding yourself from the words but you should be in the world, not of it

    Cassidy at 7:31pm July 9
    That didn’t make sense. Be in the world and not of it..? We are all in the world. And you can’t stop people from being who they are or doing what they do.

    Campo at 7:31pm July 9
    like if people want to make out during a movie…LET EM!

    James at 7:36pm July 9
    it means if you cant help be around the bad stuf but that dosnt mean you should join in

    Campo at 7:37pm July 9
    sooo we shouldnt make out during a movie?

    Mr. Ort at 7:37pm July 9
    It’s not a matter of stopping people from being who they are. It’s a matter of choosing who you want to be. James is saying that he is a person who wants to avoid foul language. I agree with him 100%. He is asking his friends to respect that. So…do you respect that or don’t you?

    James at 7:38pm July 9
    no campo becuase that can lead to somthing more

    Campo at 7:40pm July 9
    i totally respect it mister Ort, but there are filters on facebook, if he is concerned about seeing foul language on his or his sisters site i suggest that would be the numero uno thing to use

    Mr. Ort at 7:41pm July 9
    Cool, thanks Campo. Where does he find those filters, do you know?

    Aaron at 7:41pm July 9
    God made man with free agency, did he not? Therefore, God did NOT make foul language, but rather MAN corrupted their OWN language.
    Now you choose; corrupt or clean?

    Cassidy at 7:42pm July 9
    I do respect that. I was trying to prove a point and I did. And so did he.

    Mr. Ort at 7:43pm July 9
    Excellent point Aaron. Excellent clarification.

    Cassidy at 7:44pm July 9
    Alright. I like both you people. You are great! You should be like on a Mormon show teaching people!

    Mr Ort at 7:46pm July 9
    I think I can see why James likes you and calls you his friend, Cassidy. Very sweet and very silly. : )

    James at 7:46pm July 9
    we should, that would be funny

    James at 7:47pm July 9
    like a good neighbor your mormon is there

    Cassidy at 7:51pm July 9
    Hah. πŸ™‚ Thanks! I am gonna dd you! I love Mormons!!!!

    Aaron at 7:54pm July 9
    Lol! That would be cool! We could do a video chat and record it, then YOUTUBE!!!!!!!

    Cassidy at 7:56pm July 9
    Well do it! I’m not kidding! You guys are great speakers! My neighbors are Mormon and they tell me stuff about their religion all the time. I think it’s awesome. The only thing is.. how do you stand going to church for like 4 hours..?

    Mr Ort at 7:58pm July 9
    It’s only three hours. And, I guess you just get used to it. lol

    Mr Ort at 7:59pm July 9
    The secret is to eat a decent meal right before you leave for church. : )

    Cassidy at 8:00pm July 9
    Alright. Well I am going to go to church with them soon so I can experience what it’s like. πŸ™‚

    Mr Ort at 8:02pm July 9
    Good for you! You’ll have a great time. Young Women is fun. So I’ve heard. Never been there myself, mind you.

    Aaron at 8:02pm July 9
    AWESOME! Do it and you will love it! Trust me!

    Cassidy at 8:04pm July 9
    Okay. I’ll get back to you guys and tell you what I think of it because you guys ate cool! Lol.

    Tracy at 8:45pm July 9
    I think the most important thing here , even more important than a debate over what makes a word “bad”, is that James considers all of you to be his friends– GOOD friends. And he asked his friends for a pretty simple thing.To be careful about the language you use in statuses since they show up on his page also. He didn’t know about the blocker that Campo suggested– that was a good suggestion and now he can use it. But you guys are his friends “outside’ of FB, too, where the only “blocker” is your own self-control. Avoiding the use of foul language and avoiding being around it are things he has committed to as a part of his religious faith. It’s important to him. That might seem silly to some people– and that’s okay. But if worrying about “bad words” is only “silly” to you, but “important” to him, then as his friends I hope you’ll remember, at LEAST around him, to respect something that’s important to him, even if it isn’t important to you. That’s what friends do. πŸ™‚

    Tracy at 8:48pm July 9
    And James– thank you for watching out for your sisters. That’s what makes you an EXCEPTIONAL big brother! Alot of boys don’t do that!

  • agardner July 9, 2009, 10:39 pm

    Wow, I can’t believe how small of a world this is. I think you must be the Seanette I know. If so, I was one of the missionaries who taught you and Merrill. Sister McQuivey. I’m going to go find you on facebook!

  • ksjarvis July 10, 2009, 6:39 am

    Wow! That is so wonderful. I really hope his friend Cassidy does go church and finds out how wonderful it is. I hope my children stand up for their standards just like your son as they get older and face these kinds of situations.

    Anything really can be used for good or used for evil. It is our choice how we use things. I love that the Church has official Facebook pages and even twitter sites. The first time I noticed that at the end of some of the news articles from LDS.org they have a little thing that says “follow us on twitter” I think I fell off my chair laughing, but it just goes to show that they see these social networking sites as a place to do missionary work too.

    Our Bishop and YM/YW presidents also have facebook pages and use them to create pages for the different activities and send out special invites to the youth. I think it is terrific!

  • agardner July 10, 2009, 8:35 am

    Tracy, your kids always inspire me. They (and you) are such examples on how to stay strong in a crazy world. Facebook can be a good thing!

    Tink, I think you really pegged some of the reason these reconnections are so common. We want to return to our “old” selves. Back to the time when we were thinner, cuter, our time was more “ours”, guys chased us. It makes us feel good about ourselves to think we could return to those feelings. I think this is why we really need to exercise caution in how close we allow ourselves to get with people from our past. It’s just safer to keep it on a very casual level with an ex, or even someone we just had a crush on or whatever, because those feelings so easily come to the surface and return us in our minds to our youth.

  • jennycherie July 10, 2009, 9:05 am

    Posted By: ksjarvisOur Bishop and YM/YW presidents also have facebook pages and use them to create pages for the different activities and send out special invites to the youth.

    I admit, I have long wanted to create a page for fans of Mahonri Moriancumer. . . a fan club of sorts πŸ˜‰ but what would we do? We can’t follow his tour dates or look for his next book to come out or compare our favorite Mahonri Moriancumer pictures so. . . where is the “forlorn sigh” icon?

  • jennycherie July 10, 2009, 9:06 am

    Posted By: facethemusicJames: is asking his non-Mormon friends to quit cussing and to think about what they put on their pages. Whatever you put on your pages shows up on mine. I don’t want F-bombs on my page, and I don’t want to know when your losing your virginity either. Plus, my little sister is one of my friends, and I don’t want her seeing all that stuff either. If I have to drop friends from my FB list, it won’t be my own sister.

    I was cheering when I read this! I hadn’t seen the follow up conversation which just makes it even better!

  • ldsmusicwriter July 19, 2009, 11:32 pm

    I first got facebook because my nephew was leaving for Afghanistan, and I was told that he was going to keep in touch with facebook. When I first got on, I was spending large amounts of time on it. I talked to a therapist about facebook after I was through the initial “addicted” phase (1st two months). He said the reason people like it so much is because it is validation. You put what you are doing or thinking, and people say stuff about it, or cheer you on, or compare notes. You put a picture, and people comment and tell you you look great….It’s a place where you can always find someone who is interested in you, if you have enough friends, and if you don’t have enough, you can always get more.

    I can honestly say that I experienced some negative things with facebook, but I hope I have gotten it all under control. The personal aspects anyway. I have addictive tendencies, I admit. πŸ™‚ Facebook has been an emotional roller coaster, and other people have commented that same thing to me. For me, there was a terrible moment when I decided to contact a girl I was good friends with at Ricks college. She was a returned missionary and had married in the temple and had three children. When I got a look at her profile, she was an outspoken, in-your-face, foul-mouthed, liberal lesbian. I have gotten discouraged at how many old friends are gay now and don’t have anything to do with the church. I think the number is especially high because I was in Theater. Sometimes I have to stop and count the people who are living right because it starts to look like the others outnumber them. The funny thing is that some of the “wayward” friends have shunned me. They’ll accept me as a friend, but they won’t talk directly to me or answer my messages. It’s strange! Is it because they think I will look down on them? Or is it because I am disgusting to them because I am conservative? I wonder.

    There are also some very positive things for me, though. I don’t want to give it up because of the family connections–I have almost 80 friends that are family members. I love keeping up with what everyone is doing, and the babies, and children’s accomplishments, etc. I have had some very insightful late night chats with a teenage nephew of mine who opens up to me more than he opens up to his parents. I have had several chances to give him my opinion and form a trusting relationship with him, and that is very valuable to me, and his parents! I have also done the same thing with a troubled friend of my daughter’s. Speaking of my daughter, that is another reason why I got facebook in the first place–because she wanted it, and I was checking it out before we consented. She is spreading the gospel on facebook as well, as a positive example of an unashamed follower of Christ.

    I think you have to have rules for yourself that you will not bend. And if you already know you are vulnerable (depressed, unhappy in marriage, feeling unbeautiful, bored), you should be VERY careful, or avoid it. I think a joint account with your spouse is good, if he will go for it. Mine is not interested in the least!!!

  • agardner July 20, 2009, 11:01 am

    ldsmusicwriter, thanks for your comments and welcome to MM! I agree with everything you said. I think what your therapist said is really true, it’s instant validation. I too have been discouraged by some of what I have seen there, I guess getting back in touch with people from our past can bring some of that out. I was especially disheartened to see that several of my friends from the mission are not active in the church anymore (at least I assume not, since they will make comments about drinking, use bad language, or post pics that they are obviously not wearing garments in). That’s not facebook’s fault though! πŸ™‚

    I appreciate your comments!

  • Tinkerbell July 20, 2009, 1:20 pm

    He said the reason people like it so much is because it is validation. You put what you are doing or thinking, and people say stuff about it, or cheer you on, or compare notes. You put a picture, and people comment and tell you you look great….It’s a place where you can always find someone who is interested in you, if you have enough friends, and if you don’t have enough, you can always get more.

    I have to admit this is another reason why I don’t really want to get on Facebook and am not too into personal blogs. It seems that a lot of my friends who have blogs do it to be validated. They want to post something and have you say, “You are the greatest mom in the whole world! You are so beautful! You are so skinny”. I think this is why I find the SeriouslySoBlessed blog so funny. I guess I prefer interactive communication. I don’t want to spend all my time telling other people how great they are, and then put up stuff to prove how great I am and have people tell me I am so great. I would rather interact and commiserate and find things in common to discuss. I like to compliment others and build them up (and I like receiving it myself), but I don’t like that blog/myspace/Facebook format.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 20, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Welcome, ldsmusicwriter!

    I love FB.

    I have two friends there (one from high school, one from college) who are gay–and I met both in performing arts venues. We just keep our discussions about other stuff. I don’t comment on their partners or half-naked men’s square dancing events (what is up with that???) and they don’t comment when I vote for traditional marriage. :bigsmile:

  • facethemusic July 21, 2009, 12:09 am

    Welcome musicwriter! Do we know each other ? (I’m Tracy Keeney). Are you on the LDS musicians list?

    He said the reason people like it so much is because it is validation. You put what you are doing or thinking, and people say stuff about it, or cheer you on, or compare notes. You put a picture, and people comment and tell you you look great….It’s a place where you can always find someone who is interested in you, if you have enough friends, and if you don’t have enough, you can always get more.

    Hmmmmmm… that’s probably very true in many ways—but a LOT of the communication I have and many of my friends have is alot of back and forth discussion about an issue or concern where there’s alot of disagreement/debate etc and not at all a bunch of back-patting. — not any different than what happens here. And isn’t almost ALL communication with friends the way the therapist described FB? I’m not sure what the difference is between me going walking every morning with Jennycherie and telling HER what I did the night before, or what’s been on my mind, or what I’m making for dinner that night, or saying that same stuff on FB. The only difference is I’m telling ALL my friends, and the response isn’t immediate or in person.

  • ldsmusicwriter July 28, 2009, 1:41 pm

    I don’t think we have met, Tracy, but I looked you up and listened to some of your music. I am probably not on the lds musicians list because I don’t know what that is. I’d like to talk to you more about music sometime.

    The counselor stopped at the part about validation. I added the rest after pondering what kind of an experience it had been for me, personally. I guess if you aren’t someone who needs validation, then it wouldn’t be that for you. That’s something I have always struggled with, so naturally, facebook was a place where I could seek for that in an unhealthy way. To anyone else, it probably wouldn’t have appeared unhealthy, but it was what was going on in my mind and my emotions that told me that it wasn’t good for me. I didn’t want to give it up because of the family connections, so I just had to change my mindset and get it under control. The first thing I did was delete all of the pictures of myself that were retouched. That was a good day! πŸ™‚

    Your facebook friends sound like a different group than mine. I don’t have a lot of discussions with people on FB on anything very significant. There is a lot of “good job, sorry to hear that, good luck, hang in there, that’s great,” and so forth. Twice I have posted something political because it was pushing me over the edge, but only two people have commented on those things. I think most of my friends aren’t on facebook for that kind of thing.

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