There is something you should know about me: I'm not perfect. I know, I know - it must be very disillusioning for you, as it is for me. I do have some shortcomings and weaknesses that I wrestle with. You know, the kind of thing you keep to yourself.
I have a temper. Yes, I get angry. I am not always a model of decorum and patience. Now, don't leap to the notion that I am some kind of crazy-angry person. My anger is somewhat contained. I have never thrown anything at anyone in anger. I have never punched a wall, or a door, or a person in anger. (I admit, I have slapped a couple bottoms in anger.)
I guess I have never been so angry that the anger overpowers my innate laziness. The idea of patching drywall, or picking up pieces of broken plates that resulted from my tantrum just doesn't seem worth the effort, and is totally beyond my comprehension.
The words that would more effectively describe my manifestations of anger are words like "contempt", "disgust", "irritated", "ridicule" or "scorn." Yeah, those aren't happy words. Rather than express my anger physically, I tend to do it verbally - which can be just as painful for the person on the receiving end.
Again, please don't assume that I walk around ranting and raving all the time - because I don't - and I am much better than I was when I was younger. But I will acknowledge that I do get angry every now and again - which is more often than I should. And how do I know that? Because there exists a complex mathematical formula that defines exactly how often it is acceptable to be angry. Here is the formula:
Anger Acceptability Formula
0 = Acceptable
>0 = Unacceptable
It is unacceptable to get angry. Ever. Period. (This formula does not only apply to the word "anger". It also apples to mad, rage, fury, contempt, fury hate, etc.)
I know, everyone is different. And if you are one of those different people, then your formula can be adjusted to read like this:
Anger Acceptability Formula
0 = Acceptable
0+1 = Unacceptable
Sadly, I find myself on the >0 side of the formula, and it troubles me greatly. Apparently I am not alone. Just last April, in General Conference, the topic of avoiding anger was brought up by several big-league speakers:
Etc. Yes, all of these are from the last April Conference. Obviously, I share this problem with a few others out there.
Back in 2007, President Hinckley gave an entire talk in General Priesthood Conference about anger. (Here) One thing that all these talks have in common is that anger can do great damage, and should be avoided.
In the Joseph Smith translation of Ephesians 4:26, Paul asks the question, "Can ye be angry, and not sin?"
Anger is a sin. It isn't a "personality trait," or a "coping mechanism." It's a sin. God has asked us not to succumb to it, and the Holy Ghost leaves us when we do. That, my friends, is a sin. It is something we have to overcome. We have to beat it.
Perhaps if we looked at anger more like a "sin", and less like a common response, we might catch ourselves more often. Maybe we need to change some of our wording, and remove angry and mad from our vocabularies, and replace them with something more accurate. For example:
"You get in here and pick up your towel. I am so sinful at you!"
"I am so unrighteous at your Mother right now."
"Those stupid politicians make me so sinful!"
"My son's schoolteacher makes me feel so unrighteous!"
"You had better get your chores done, or you are gonna have one sinful Father to deal with."
"I've got to vent to somebody. I have so much sin inside I'm going to explode."
You get the idea. I know I do.
This topic is important to me, for reasons previously stated, and so I am going to spend several posts digging in, and learning more about it and how to fix it. You are invited to join me. However, if I say something you don't like, you have to promise not to get unrighteous at me.
Since there will be multiple posts that head off in different directions, I plan on moderating the comments, so that we stay on subject. So, if your amazingly profound comment doesn't show up, don't get sinful about it - maybe you are just too far ahead of the rest of us.