Orem, Utah —
With awareness around the dangers of tolerance use growing, The Utah Honeypot takes a closer look at how this seductive element lures Utahans and especially Utah teens into its trap.
Brooklynn Snow might look like a typical Timpanogos High School student, but underneath the exceptional scholastic record, varsity letters in both basketball and volleyball, and her state championship in debate, Brooklynn hides a secret—she’s trying desperately to escape the trap of tolerance.
“It started out with small stuff,” Brooklynn explains. “At first, I was just hanging out with my friends listening to their ideas, but it just kind of spiraled out of control. I mean, I used to be really strong; if someone had an idea that disagreed with my beliefs, I could just ignore them or maybe feel bad for them since they obviously didn’t have the spirit to guide them. Then one day, I thought to myself, ‘It can’t hurt to just listen to someone else’s ideas.’ Everything unraveled after that.”
Brooklynn’s story isn’t unique. Every year Utahans watch loved ones fall into the trap of tolerance. Tolerance may appear exciting or exotic, but it’s exactly this kind of excitement that entraps people in its web.
Brooklynn elaborates, “That’s how it gets you. One minute you’re secure in your own worldview completely free from doubt, and the next, you are taking classes in comparative religion … because you want to. I mean listen to me, I just used the word ‘worldview.’ It really is a battle every day.”
Shari Orchard, a life coach from Orem warns that while tolerance may seem like an innocent fad, its dangers are real. Tolerance can lead to interracial dating. It can also lead to ineffectively shunning gay family members to the point where they might develop healthy levels of self worth making it nearly impossible to shame them back into acting like you want them to.
Orchard suggests that parents set a firm example of intolerance to help strengthen their children’s commitment to conformity. “We had a Presbyterian family move into our neighborhood, and we made it a point to avoid them. I mean, if our kids had seen us welcoming them, they could have assumed that it’s somehow OK to be Presbyterian. Thoughts like that could lead to them questioning our church and land them in hell, not to mention how awkward family gatherings would become.”
Luckily, the tolerance trap starts with small things so there are warning signs: Making friends with people who have differently colored skin. Using empathy or any language with phrases similar to: “I understand where you’re coming from,” “I never thought of it like that,” or “what an interesting point.” If parents or loved ones see behavior like this, they should act quickly before they end up with a son in a liberal-arts program or worse, a mixed-race grandchild.
Brooklynn offers this advice for others who might be battling tolerance, “You know it’s never too late. I thought I was past the point of no return. At my lowest, I had stopped watching cable news and was trying to see the world without filters. I had friends who weren’t white. I started studying Spanish without any intention of traveling to South America in order to share the joy of being more like me—I just wanted to understand my Spanish-speaking friends better. I even befriended an actual lesbian. Tolerance numbed me to the godly fear and hatred I should have had towards her. It made me forget that her only reason for being was to turn me into a lesbian too and drag me to hell with her.”
Brooklynn and those like her can escape the tolerance trap through treatment and by surrounding themselves solely with ideas that reinforce their own beliefs.
Two types of treatment are typically the most successful. Tolerance addicts can choose from a fear-based approach that employs mind-altering drugs and intense cable news exposure to drill fear of gays, non-white ethnicities, and political outliers into the minds of patients in order to help them produce automatic fear responses when confronted with people who are different from themselves. This fear should lead to unquantifiable hatred, the hallmark of successful detolerance therapy.
Those seeking a more holistic approach can work to develop artificial love for people with differing backgrounds which allows them to feel profound pity for anyone who doesn’t yet believe exactly as they do.
Brooklynn’s success is an inspiration to others trying to escape tolerance, “Now I’m happy again. I didn’t think I could be, but now I know that other people aren’t as happy as I am because they don’t have the truth, and that makes me feel really good.”