So I was invited to attend a tea party at a friends home. This friend is LDS, and so were all the people invited. She was very careful to state that it was herbal tea and all the herbs came fresh from her garden.

I don't drink tea. I am not claiming doctrinal authority. I just know that I am not comfortable drinking tea, herbal or otherwise. I decided to go to support my friend, and be with other friends. I knew that it wouldn't be a big deal if I declined the tea because these were LDS friends, surely they would understand. Turns out I don't know much.

I was the cause of some pretty serious feather ruffling. I didn't stand up and yell, “No tea for me, it's in the WOW you know!” I simply said, “No thank you, this water is fine for me.” I might as well have yelled for all the contention that was born of my choice. I didn't say another word. The nightmare swirled around me and I was trapped in a storm with no eye. I smiled and listened. I stayed as long as I could, and until it wouldn't look like I was leaving to empty the tear buckets welling behind my eyes. 

I meant no harm. I felt no judgement towards any one of the people there. I still don't. I am just stunned that it wasn't okay for me to not drink tea.  What if my reasoning had been medical? What if I was allergic to a component of the tea? What if I just didn't like tea, herbal or otherwise? Why is it more okay to decline tea at a tea party because of provable or justifiable reasons, rather than to politely decline because, for me, it's a part of the WOW? Which, by the way, I never even stated. All that was blamed on me was a result of assumptions on the part of others. No one even asked me why.

At what point does it become my business how another person interprets scripture or doctrine? The simple answer is never. But it is a bit more complicated than that most times. Of course it's never my business to pass judgment on another for their interpretations or actions, but where is the civility and respect for mine? How do we navigate the road in between doing what is best for us and not upsetting those that choose differently? I haven't a clue.

It seems that the more I settle into doing what is best for myself and my family, the more other people are offended. It's not even that I am saying anything about what anyone else is doing. It's about being me and participating in conversations. Sharing an experience, or answering a question such as, “What do you do?” has gotten me into lots of trouble lately. I take people at face value. If they ask me a question, I will answer it, honestly. If I have been invited to participate in a conversation, I will share my thoughts and feelings on the matter, honestly. How that is translating into defensiveness on the part of others and passing judgement on my part, I am baffled.

There was a “moment” during RS where the whole thing was cleared up. Herbal tea is just fine and in no way a part of the WOW. Those that say otherwise are mistaken in their interpretation of scripture. There are some things that people try to make doctrine for all. That was not my intent, at all. That is not the business of anyone but the Prophet and Apostles.

For me, herbal tea is still not okay, no matter what the RS President said in defense of her friend.