Thursday, July 31, 2008

What Makes a Person Good?

This morning, while blow drying my hair, I was pondering on the question: What makes a person good?

This thought came to me because of several life examples through family, friends, and acquaintances. Let me give you two of them to better illustrate my inquiry. (Keep in mind, I mean no harm. I still love BOTH people mentioned, no matter what.)

1. I have a friend that attends the temple every week with her husband. She attends church regularly, reads her scriptures, I assume she prays. She has and executes her calling exactly, doing the best that she can. She and her husband constantly volunteer to do service and work for other people. She is very wealthy and often helps family members and friends in need. She sounds pretty good, right?

Well, she is also a gossiper...and not just a little bit. She talks poorly about other people all the time. BUT, she does it in a nice tone, because we all know that if you say something rude, but with a sweet voice, it doesn't count as being mean. She is also unbelievably fake and judgmental. Sometimes I can't even stand to talk to her or her husband when they approach me, or the opportunity is presented, because I can just feel that they do it out of pretense and don't really care. Even Cody, without me mentioning anything to him about it, noticed after 30 seconds of meeting them.

2. I have another friend that is not active at all in anything religious; she was raised LDS. She doesn't really like god because of certain life experiences. She is 'promiscuous' and got pregnant right out of high school. She drinks like a fish...haha. She does not read scriptures or even care. Why would she? She uses vulgar language. She is very brash and politically incorrect. She has a tattoo. She has done drugs. She has no real problem with occasionally watching inappropriate movies or looking at inappropriate magazines (you know, with people wearing no clothes).

She is also one of the most caring people I know. She would do anything for me, willingly and without a second thought. She rarely speaks negatively about friends or family. She is sensitive to people and their life situations. She never judges. She always remembers my birthday, haha. She is incredibly forgiving. She makes you feel good about yourself when you are around her. I love her very much.

So now the question begins...What makes a person good? Is religious activity and service a measure? What if you only do it so that other people see or out of obligation? If you do things out of obligation, are you still considered good? OR does it count more if you act from the heart and not obligation? If you break commandments of god, does that make you a bad person? Out of those two examples, who is the better person? Why?

I am sure these questions have no concrete answer or the answer will change depending on the person, BUT I am still curious what you guys think.

So tell me...What makes a person good?


The Price Family

I think that they are both good people but I would prefer to be around the second person. Its what is in the heart that is eternally important. That person sounds more like a "friend" It seems that in life all the things that we "do" isn't heavily weighted as much as the person you truly are. With the first person when you leave after an encounter with them you don't know if they are talking crap about you or not. I have friends who aren't "living the gospel life" but they are my closest friends because they are REAL and they don't worry what everyone will think and make up excuses for being imperfect.


My guess is that person 1 thinks they are good or maybe even better than person 2. I am sure people will think person 2 is better. But I also bet that there are several people just like person 1, although they would never admit it, and they feel like they are doing pretty well for them selves.

My final answer is that neither are good people for different reasons. 1 just might think they are, while 2 might not. If that makes any sense at all :P

Cody and Hanna

So you are saying that the first example might think they are a good type of person by doing all of those good things, while the other might not. BUT that other people will think the second example really is thought to be a "good person"?

Isn't it weird that people would allow themselves to act differently than what they consider to actually be good.

Our Blog Spot

Oh, it's for sure the soul, the core that "makes a person good" to me. I have seen people put on a show far too often, only to know the "real" side of them is far more ugly. It's such a turn off. It almost back fires all "good things" they have done, to not even qualify as good anymore.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think I am one hundred percent good in either aspect, but I think if you were to "measure the goodness" of someone, the inner is going to mean more than the outer doings.

Brother and Sister Harker

Sounds to me like person 1 hurts many people in her path and person 2 only hurts herself. I agree with the last post, in my experience with people it is their core soul that makes them a good person.

Brother and Sister Harker

I forgot one more thing. It seems as though people like #2 learn from their mistakes eventually and they are a better person for it. They also do not hide their mistakes and sometimes they know they are wrong. People like #1 seem to think they never make mistakes and people who do are really beneath them and this is what makes them a not so good person. They also never admit to being in the wrong (this is like my mom). Did that make sense?

Durrant Family

Marjorie P. Hinckley said, "We are all trying to do our best. My best may not be your best but it is my best". Maybe they are both good but in different areas and are still working on the others.

Cody and Hanna

I really like that quote Julie.


I agree with Julie. Some people are good because they are obedient and striving to live in a way they believe they are good. But, alas, none of us are perfect. So, each person in your example is striving to live in away they believe is good. And, both are striving to achieve something good in their life and they base their strivings on from where they "touch the elephant.." If you don't know that parable, you should read it. I think it is appropo to your question.

Durrant Family

I like your questions! They make one think.