The Bananality of Mormon Studies: A Personal Encounter

Tother day: during a jaunt through a simmering intellectual salon called Facebook, I learned that by adding a flavored pudding mix to ones banana-bread dough, why, the resultant increase in relative moisture renders the final product altogether de-light-ful. Here I too strive by way of personal anecdote and even cultural analysis to add something like that secret pudding mix secret to the banana bread that has become Mormon Studies; or is it reversed? To the Mormon Studies that has become so much banana bread, I mean to say, I hope to mix insight into how it has become rather moister of late, and not, you see, because some priest has cast it upon the waters. Anyway.

Now, that metaphor has some leftover utility, just like spotted bananas my kids sneer at, unless concealed by cake. What should we do with all these belearned Mormons, many with post-graduate education, and many more graduates of professional schools, eager to learn lesser educated Saints how to acquire the baubles of intellect and without concealing the garish flair of faith. These green bananas, lets say. Become a Mormon Scholar! Or, a Mormon who studies Mormons and or Mormonism, historicosociologotheologiphilosophically speaking. Grow ones Faith, and even get published was the basic premise when it all started.

The vast majority of practitioners of Mormon Study are amateurs, I mean to say. Green. And what of it, elitist schmuck, is not this the Age of the Amateur? Indeed. Having devoted the better part of my adult years to the actual study of Mormon culture, language, and history, having even got a PhD for my troubles, from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, let me explain why the Amateur is, in fact, an agent of the Correlated Fruit Company, otherwise called the Corporation. Some call it, wrongly, The Church.

A personal account, then. Before nightly slaving away on the index of my dissertation, I was by day employed to conduct media research for a subsidiary of the Corporation, for the Presiding Bishop, the CPB for those in the know. I worked at the COB, the Church Office Building. I was to assess the cultural and spiritual effects of media produced in the Audiovisual Department. Sounds exciting, I know, but peel back the peel. It was a miserable job, in no small part because I was warned never to do any actual work (or thats how I recall it now), and before I was laid off in December of that year I was creating online surveys that measured the impact of a training film designed to teach Temple Engineers how to check the batteries on smoke alarms. Really.

So, I ended up teaching college for a few years. Then I became a convenient plug for gaps in the departmental budget. Removing me, that is. Yet, while Visiting Assistant Professor I managed to knock out not only a draft of a book about the way grammar shapes speculative imagination, but also got several chapters deep into a novel concerning an 1880s polygamist baseball club in Utah Territory. And I wrote what eventually was titled The Book of Mammon.

Again finding myself unemployed, I dutifully twisted the work into something utterly unpublishable, unning [sic] man and book alike. Sent the manuscript to a Mormon publisher, just to be sure no one would indeed ever publish it (or read it, if published). Thanks but no thanks. I sent the MS to a few friends, and some rather liked it. Having recently dealt with another editor at a quasi-academic press who suggested I play up the coltishness of the religion (I doubt colt was a pun), and another copy editor who changed an academic essay to read antipolygame where I apparently misspelled anti-polygamy, why, I bethought myself, who needs these guys? So I decided to wait, pretend youre a bishop in the Church of Academia, OK? I decided to publish the book. Myself. It feels good to confess that sin. I illustrated it, designed the cover, and so on. Called it an independently published book in hopes that it might borrow something of the cachet of independent film.

Copies were sent to prominent persons of high rank in Mormon Studies Circles. Some held high seats in Bloggernacledom. One replied that though it was fucking brilliant, I had written a book that should never be published. Professional suicide was kindly given and probably fair prognostication. Others ignored it. One threatened to quit a particular blog if a review ran. An undergraduate said it was full of hubris. A legitimate scholar wrote a review, or rather, a review that warned, though I am an Angry Man, and it an Angry Book, Mormons should give me an ear nonetheless. This reviewer forgot to mention that the book was about the culture and recent history of the Church Office Building, where I also worked; but that theme was, I suppose, an oblique sentiment silenced by throbbing invective. A friend with rather better social skills proposed the review not be posted, anywhere. MSM bore similar non-fruits. Mammon was, of course, rejected as altogether unsuitable for discussion at the liberal Salt Lake Tribune, on Utah Public Radio stations, and other media outlets apparently uninterested in the corporate side of Mormonism. I mean, who cares what really goes on in the headquarters of the religion of the majority of Utahns? Here the bananas took on a distinctly yeller, or maybe just jaundiced, cast.

Andrew Ainsworth at Mormonstories.org kindly interviewed me for four hours, and MSP also posted an interview. Then, the big break. The portal keeper at Patheos.com invited me to submit an essay, off-the-cuff and not too academic, scrying the Future of Correlation. It was for their upcoming Future of Mormonism series, and as I had a (apparently unread) dissertation on the history of Correlation, I was deemed both faithful and credentialed. The essay was sent on a Friday at deadline, its author hoping the Portal Keeper would post it without a glance. I heard nothing other than thanks, and waited until Monday for it to post. Would they really post an essay that suggested the LDS Church would become virtual religion, its Prophet updating His Facebook Status to read Prophesying? The Editor, Supervisor of the Keeper, suggested that day I revise the essay because it was too oblique, and perhaps a bit sly for the presumed readers. Revised, dumbed down, lamed up, altogether crippled of humor, the revised essay was marched out. Much more in line with the others, Editor replied, great work, just a little copy-editing. Next day I was told the essay was too much an angry one-sided rant, its tone not at all in key if it was to sing with the choir there. So I revised, counseled the work, twelve-stepped it, resubmitted. Nothing. Perhaps, I replied, you might indicate the offending passages? No. Perhaps the employment of the Portal Keeper as a half-educated Priestcrafter in the Church Education System has something to do with the sudden turn to tone as the essays irresolvable and unspeakable problem? Editor replied that s/he knew not of what I spoke. I sent a link to the CES catalogue wherein Brother Keeper was listed as teaching Book of Mormon this fall at the local institute. That was the end of our dialogue. Perhaps the authors bio was finally glanced at, and Mammon was noticed. The banana had shown its spots.

So? In the essay about The Future I suggested that online venues not directly funded by the Corporations widows mites would increasingly self-Correlate; that is, conduct discursive surveillance and patrol the borders of the sayable. Why? Correlation is a term for a genre whose contours shift, and thus whose pragmatics as we say in anthropology, whose social effects, are measured in practical ways every Sunday, every home teaching, every FHE. What is appropriate is vaguely defined, and that means those with cultural power get to say what is Correlated; failing that, what is not offensive to ones neighbor, real or imagined, can be the measuring stick of Correlated.

What can be said about Correlation is also likened unto the phrase Mormon Studies. It has no definition; it has only defenders of an undefined ideal. An ideal even more dependent on uses of language, under assault by imagined enemies: Anti-Mormons, and The Overly Faithful (TBMs?). All three are merely projections, stereotypes, from discursive acts disseminated by identifiable outlets (e.g., ULHM, Deseret Book, Dialogue), and in the future I hope to read an excellent dissertation on their interdependent development. Each genre offers medicines for venal diseases contracted when ones mind lingered too long in a dark alley, the back pew, or some frottageal dorm. Each genre of Mormon discourse seems to engender more disbelievers in, than converts to, its cause. Thus further self-correlation is prescribed, and reactions emerge.

Mormon Studies is something like a half yellow, half green, prematurely spotted banana, when unpeeled reveals bruising enough to be inedible but to the desperatest of apes; or to be no banana at all, but something merely bananal. It is the ape of academia, the hooting jackanapes of the Corporation, and the jack-in-the-box of the AntiMormon. Verily witness the trinity, three in one, one in three. A mystery, without shape or form, passions or art. Like The Church, a name tossed about but which in practice names nothing tangible; only a way that is neither straight nor narrow, but curved and yellow, not forever durable but rather set to expire three days from the date of purchase. These are slogans. Tweet away.

I mean to say this: The name Mormon Studies apes on Cultural Studies, but does so without the architecture of its better angel. There are no tenured professors to train the next generation, rigorously but fairly in the ways of serious analysis, research, and writing. What of the much ballyhooed Chairs in Mormon Studies, or Masters Programs? Chairs are the enemy of Mormon Studies, for Chairs are given to professors preferred by benefactors; the market holds sway there. Without the protection of tenure, and a funding source independent of the subject studied by the Chaired, such positions are to Mormon Studies what Swiftboat Veterans For Truth are to documentary film. Masters Programs without terminal doctoral degrees are akin to banana trees genetically modified to bear no fruit. Look good in a greenhouse, but dont punch the ol meal ticket.

So Mormon Studiers have three options. First, cozening by the Corporation. Need I even say this option merely extends the work of Correlation already done freely by so many bloggers, editors, and essayists? Seekers after COB should sign up with CES and be done with it. There can be no middle ground where God is thought to punch in and hold conference calls; get in line or get out of the way, a social key easy to carry about in such places.

Second, part-timering the Mormon scholarship while buttering ones bread with serious work in other fields: lawyering, selling, knitting, whatever. This is often good enough for God, as Book of Mormon prophets, at least, ate bread earned by sweat rather than got by taxation. But. Half of ones heart being given to a work grows only half-hearted work; no matter how many late nights and early mornings one devotes, it generally remains a hobby. Perhaps one blogs while pursuing degrees in some distantly related fields or paying occupations, attends or even presents at some conference that is not General but nevertheless faith-promoting. The damage done by hobbyists can be seen at the MHA, for example. Tiny obsessions, perhaps ones great-granddaddys milch cow versifications, are allowed so long as they do not disturb The Narrative chanted by the Church History Department and its echoers. Sure, a little controversy is required, but nothing that would question the basic purity of the journal, the conference, or the blog. Hobbyists believe that sincerity, pluck and pure determination supplement a lack of training, earned craftsmanship, and the need for total sacrifice to the discipline. Thus Correlation emerges while hobbyists remain, content to lead lesser Weekenders.

Third, attempting to write serious scholarship with an eye single to Mormonism. Sound promising? Give D. Michael Quinn, no meager scholar, a call. I was asked by a dean during a job interview if I was a Mormon; he being Evangelical noted certain facts on my CV. I was told by a colleague too, that if I only downplayed my research on Mormonism, my attendance at the U of Utah, my last name, I would be on the tenure track. Despite millions spent on PR, Mormons remain a most despised religious group, equally so on the Left and the Right hand. We should content ourselves with the knowledge that the Spirit of Contention flees when these opposed parties slander Mormons. Replace the word Mormon where it occurs in daily conversations around the nations campuses and offices with the word Jew and one has grounds for censure. Otherwise, chortles ensue.

If you can convince academia that Mormons are legitimate subjects for study, and that you can do it without preaching or cryptoconverting, you are a better scholar-actor than I. Or you are clearly not Mormon, say, B. Carmen Hardy, one of the few outsiders who doesnt try to write as an insider (Jan Shipps, anyone?) and who also does brilliant work. If you can convince the Utah State Legislature that your proposed major leading to advanced degrees in Mormon Studies is worth funding, despite the subject-independent stances necessarily taken by your students, your program is already DOA when it comes to respected scholarship. Outside Utah all of Utah is Mormon, and that means rejection letters. Your graduates will adjunct in your department.

There are no options, I mean to say, for Mormon Studies. Its a genre, not a discipline. Mormon Studies is now the ghetto of Correlation, for it is cheaply built (relative to the Corporations expenses) and far away, and not offensive enough for a pogrom. It is often an auxiliary of the Public Relations Department, and getting at the Truth is not really in their job description. Just like the word The Church, or Correlation, it too has no single referent. Thus it gains sense only as a tool: to slap with, to lament its impotency, hardly visible but when extending already existing Powers. It is a word for Unofficially Correlated, for Hobby, for Woefully Nave, and the reasons are obvious. The only groups with real interest, that is, interest enough to pony up for scholarship, are the Antis and the Corporation (and subsidiaries like BYU). They have interests in the conclusions reached, they imagine converts come from your pens. Mormon Studies is a word for not-quite-passionate-enough to be Anti, not quite self-referential enough to be faith-promoting. So, whats the point, you might be asking? Not about this essay, I assume that was asked some time ago, but the point of Mormon Studies?

Bananas pair well with milk, but never with meat. Another slogan, perhaps, but theres religion for ye. The point of Mormon Studies? Just as the phrase refers to many distinct discursive practices, the purposes are likewise varied. To create a faith that seems free of official propaganda, or a community where the mind is valued, in short, to design a falsely secular solution to spiritual malaise; to change the course of the Church, that is, until one gets a Red and High Seat; to enrich the gospel with unofficial resources (Hegel, Whitehead, or Peirce, anyone?) that are all too easy to Correlate; to write a navel-gazing thesis; to be a big fish in a small pond (Given this, let me mention Bakhtin/Kant/Foucault, but not face any terrifying thoughts); to revise our History in the image of the Present (Kathleen Flakes inconceivably championed pamphlet on the Smoot hearings and train rides thereabout provides plenty of evidence contradictory to its thesis, and even captions a photograph of the Joseph Smith Memorial as, ironically, raised to the memory of Joseph F. Smith (pictured, no less; see p.113).

What can be the effect of Mormon Studies? Until a generation of tenured scholars cranks out research read by students in the discipline, and then by natives who may squirm, and journals and Chairs are independent of benefactors, subscription or donation; until there is evidence satisfactory to academia that Mormons can write without ulterior motive about Mormons and Mormonism, the point of Mormon Studies seems to be: to stroke ones ego where Church has left it unattended, or after unattending oneself from Church in mind or in body, to convince oneself that a community, any community, cant be wrong. Either way, call its seed Correlation.

Meat doesnt go with bananas; Cain made an offering of the field, Abel grilled fresh lamb. See where bananas got Cain? The gods, says Roberto Calasso, prefer the incense of burned flesh, and savor the salt wrung in our devotions. So let us return to my personal tale. The Book of Mammon exists, and that is enough for me. Its no masterpiece, but its pretty good, I think. Sorta complex. Id like people to read it, sure, but not people who have in interest in saying it says something it dont say. It aint about bureaucracy, or validating Weberian typology, or an angry hypermasculine rant, or confirming the Divine Mind in Correlation. Its about numbers; how numbers change things, make new things possible, like a new religion. It speaks to believers in some sort of Mormonism who cant seem to find much to believe in at Church, and gives a few reasons for why the Spirit has apparently fled; or to non-believers whod like to learn and laugh at the same time. Whatever. However, the book reveals fractures I never discerned before.

Before my experiment to publish independently, I believed the blogs independent from the Corporation. In truth their dependence is all the greater because the relationship to Official Mormonism, qua Correlation, remains uncertain. Mormon blogs are the eager beaver awkward and paranoid summer intern at the Corporation, trying extra hard because never convinced it will be asked on board, thanked, appreciated. The hard fact, obvious enough, is that blogs are no solution to the structural problems of Mormon Studies; in fact, blogs make its realization perhaps impossible, creating props for the closet unbeliever, stumbling blocks for others, and costuming in priestly robes the Bananarama called, wrongly, The Church.

In the spirit of Mormon Studies at its most facile, let me paraphrase Derrida, who said maybe tongue-in-cheek that weve reached a point in history where only the Messiah can save our asses. In a more defiant spirit, let me mention the opening scene of Thomas Pynchons Gravitys Rainbow. Pirate Prentice after pissing, without a thought in his head and waiting in vain for the German rockets to hit his flat in England, enters a bananery, among the pendulous bunches, among these yellow chandeliers, this tropical twilight. . . . There follows banana mead, banana omelets, banana casseroles, mashed bananas, banana blancmange, waffles, sandwiches, kreplach, croissants, oatmeal and jam, all banana; a sharing of the conjurors secret and more plainly, in the high intricacy of this communion eaten by pals, it is not often Death is told so clearly to fuck off. Until Mormons fear extermination, and this from someone other than our own determined, best of intentions People, Mormon Studies will remain another loaf of mealy bananality. Wrap in foil, share with neighbors; a gesture, bland and not offensive, a gift sometimes welcome; but lacking the good priestly rites, a quickening charity, leavening of flesh and heft of sacrifice that would send its image knocking, knocking on heavens door. Saint Peters first question? Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you just happy to see heaven?

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91 Comments

  1. 51

    [...] review is in response to a recent blog post D. Smith put up in which he critiques the enterprise of Mormon Studies. Smith casts a highly [...]

       0 likes

  2. 52
    Hellmut says:

    Thanks for your response, Daymon. There are a lot of little lessons that would be eye openers to many of your readers if you unearthed them more carefully.

    If you are after an understanding audience, your material provides for tremendous opportunities.

       1 likes

  3. 53
    Daymon says:

    Hellmut,
    I’ve written a 1000 pages. If they can’t get it after that, is a blog post going to help?

       0 likes

  4. 54
    chanson says:

    Daymon — I love your work, but I just want to say this before TT does: Sometimes cutting it down to a single blog entry clarifies 1000 pages. That’s why academic papers have abstracts.

       1 likes

  5. 55
    Daymon says:

    TT (or FI),
    You bonobos are always good for a larf!
    I’ll notify your keeper to up the banana rations, for you don’t even seem to understand a simple request to ask a question. What exactly is your problem? I mean, other than stupidity? A grudge? Didn’t get into the associate of arts program at Utah Technical College?

    Why Not:
    1. get into a graduate program
    2. write a dissertation about the true history of Correlation
    3. teach anthropology for a few years
    4. publish in peer reviewed journal
    5. accomplish something, anything, intellectually
    6. at a minimum, learn to read
    then we can have talk like adults.

    Translation for Bonobos:
    TT = Fucking Idiot (who can’t even get his initials correct)

       0 likes

  6. 56
    Daymon says:

    chanson,
    I would, and I agree about abstracts, but then Zealots Without Knowledge would lay some lame attack on the summary, saying I didn’t provide evidence. I can’t seem to educate them in the basic parameters of intellectual discourse, and that makes any other effort a waste of time.

       0 likes

  7. 57
    chanson says:

    Daymon, I just hope I’ve misinterpreted, and you’re not calling TT a fucking idiot. Let’s calm down and talk about this in the morning.

       0 likes

  8. 58
    Daymon says:

    Alright, maybe he’s just an idiot.

       1 likes

  9. 59
    Daymon says:

    I simply asked him to respond with a counter-point, and he tells me to write something that he responds to. I think he thinks he’s me, and that he’s written something I can respond to. There’s nothing more to say to him.

       0 likes

  10. 60
    TT says:

    Haha! This is awesome! I couldn’t have asked for a better meltdown.

       0 likes

  11. 61
    Chris H. says:

    “Ive seen more anger on this thread from the FPR crew than anything Ive ever read in Daymons work.”

    Chino: Would you like to reconsider you assessment? Particularly since the only anger from us was from me….and it was not aimed at Daymon.

       0 likes

  12. 62
    chanson says:

    TT — Can I ask you nicely to save the gloating ’til morning too? ;)

    Let’s all have a nice dinner with the fam, and we’ll be ready to have a reasonable discussion soon. :D

       0 likes

  13. 63
    TT says:

    chanson,
    Deal. :) Thanks for everything!

       0 likes

  14. 64
    Daymon says:

    Let the chimp have his bananas.

       0 likes

  15. 65
    wry says:

    I have been trying to follow the original post and the comments, but it all feels like a insider conversation. I can’t understand any of it.

       1 likes

  16. 66
    Chino Blanco says:

    TT, Daymon, Chris H. – MSP is a little cramped for space at the moment. As much as we’d love to host a dick-sizing contest, FPR has already proven itself the better venue for that sort of thing, so please take it there. And keep it there. Cheers!

       1 likes

  17. 67
    MoHoHawaii says:

    Unlike most people on this thread I’ve actually read Daymon’s dissertation. You know what? It was real. Real scholarship, real information, real analysis. It wasn’t faith promoting and it wasn’t an attack on belief; those issues were entirely outside of its scope. This kind of (dare I say) professional scholarship is a … contribution. Scholarship matters. It gives us information and insight that we would otherwise not have.

    I don’t see a meltdown here, but the gulf that separates apologists from historians seems to be as wide as ever, and I give thanks for professional standards in fields like history and anthropology.

       2 likes

  18. 68
    Daymon says:

    Thanks MoHoMawaii,
    You don’t know how good it is to hear that someone has read it, and saw it as a contribution.

       1 likes

  19. 69
    John C. says:

    I didn’t realize that we were discussing Daymon’s dissertation. I certainly didn’t realize that Daymon was discussing it. I have never heard anything bad about Daymon’s dissertation (even in the criticism of his contributions here) and I assume it is good/worthwhile. Should I have time and inclination, I am sure that I will happily read Daymon’s dissertation and gain insight from it.

    That said, I still think that he is behaving like a jerk and his behavior here and at FPR is unconscionable.

       0 likes

  20. 70
    MoHoHawaii says:

    You’re certainly welcome; I have full confidence that you have a banana of impressive length and girth. Chino’s contest isn’t needed.

    Now here’s a request: please write blog posts here. I want to read them.

       0 likes

  21. 71
    Chino Blanco says:

    Between his previous comment #39 on the first page and his later one at #17 on this second page (yes, MSP has a ‘unique’ comment numbering system), MoHoHawaii has twice now pegged my own response to Daymon’s work – the only difference being that I have taken the plunge and bought and read The Book of Mammon. I enjoyed it.

    That said, Mammon‘s style would be familiar to anyone who has read Daymon’s guest post here. Which is why – love it or hate it – what Daymon has offered up here is an honest effort, an unabashed caveat emptor from an author who admits his sly ways upfront but refuses to play coy.

    In other words, if you enjoyed reading his post here, you’d probably like his book. And if you didn’t, well, there are less zany permutations of Daymon to be found free-of-charge here and there that would deliver many of the same insights, sans the sort of anecdotes, asides, madness, fantasies and outr outbursts that – for better or worse – mark his fiction as something other than a dissertation.

       0 likes

  22. 72
    g.wesley says:

    The characterization of TT and Daymon as representatives of the apologist/historian split (in #17) very much surprises me. I think it’s far too sweeping and wish that the issues could be discussed without it. Like I said of the approach of the opening post, I think it actually makes things worse, not better. Though at this point, matters are probably well beyond discussion, if indeed discussion were ever a possibility.

    I read through the opening post twice and with care. How much I understood is debatable, of course. I am nonetheless puzzled by the repeated insistance that in order to comment (meaningfully) on this post one must read hundreds if not each of the thousand pages of the author’s other writings.

    To Daymon, I was sincere when I said on FPR that I hope you find work, especially as you mention being a parent.

       0 likes

  23. 73
    Daymon says:

    g.wesley,
    thanks for the good wishes. I didn’t mean that this blog post requires the context of my other writing, but only that if one would like to understand where I’m coming from regarding Correlation, those resources will fill a gap that I have left open in this post.

    Too often a summary description of a work is attacked as if it was the actual work, as if because this response mentions a book, one can respond to this response as if critiquing the book mentioned. It’s an interesting discursive slippage which I plan to address in future writing on the prevelance of amateurs who insist they do Mormon Studies.

       0 likes

  24. 74
    Chris H. says:

    How do you define (or describe) this “amateurs”? This has been tripping me up.

       0 likes

  25. 75
    Hellmut says:

    I don’t think that TT is an apologist. That’s not the problem.

       0 likes

  26. 76
    aerin says:

    I had to go back through and read the original post(s).

    I think Chris H’s question (74) about amateurs is an important one, however. When is someone an amateur, exactly (particularly in post modern terms)? The modernist interpretation is that a person is an amateur until they’ve studied, published, obtained a phd, etc. I don’t know that postmodernists respect the canon of western knowledge, or institutions.

    Am I claiming that Daymon is a postmoderist? Yes. Daymon, please feel free to correct me if I’m mistaken.

    One of the issues brought up in the fpr post (hope it’s okay for me to post about it here, I could post this there, I suppose) is one of individual or free will. In a postmodern context, there is no free will. Every person is a construct, a product of their society and genetics.

    Before people’s eyes glaze over as I mention postmodernism, I suppose I will say, I would not take everything Daymon writes here at face value. I wouldn’t take it personally. I don’t think it’s meant personally. I’m not attempting to put words into anyone’s mouth here, but that’s my take. It’s really not about where someone got their phd – to my mind, that’s part of the “joke”.

    I don’t always agree with or even understand postmodern philosophy, but trying to fit a postmodern essay or book into a modernist framework usually does not work. It just doesn’t.

    From my very limited exposure to Noam Chomsky, Daymon’s choice of “the Corporation” is also very telling. Why can’t some of Chomsky’s ideas about corporations be applied to the LDS church (and other churches)? Chomsky also talks quite a bit about how his message can’t be reduced to sound bites, and how various news outlets won’t allow him to share his ideas. I can see some parallels here.

    Perhaps I’m the person who’s not getting it, but that’s my perspective.

       0 likes

  27. 77
    aerin says:

    PS. I misspelled “philosophy” in my prior comment. I can’t figure out how to edit comments through wp – any suggestions are appreciated (chino). Thanks.

       0 likes

  28. 78
    TT says:

    aerin,
    I think that this is actually a quite thoughtful comment and really does raise the key issues that are at stake here. If I may, I’d like to clarify a bit. I am not sure that what is at stake here is a debate between modernist notions of freedom and subjectivity and postmodernist notions of constructedness, but rather a specific debate within what we may, for the lack of a more precise term at the moment, “postmodern” accounts of human subjectivity, especially when it comes to thinking about how we talk about religious subjects.
    In a way, my critique is actually a critique of species of modernist thought that sees religious subjects as lacking agency, and that one only possesses agency to the extent that one resists religion. In this narrative, religion always means a lack of agency, a privilege which is only given to the non-religious or those who reject certain aspects of religion.
    Some of the theorits that I mention in the FPR post have been particularly influential for me for thinking about the question of “agency,” like the later Foucault, de Certeau, and especially Butler. One of the most interest uses of this kind of theory is Saba Mahmood’s _Politics of Piety_ and Muslim veiling and Western feminist assumptions about “agency” in relationship to that practice.
    Using the term “agency” in a Mormon context obviously gets you into a whole host of assumptions about the theological uses of this term, and the way it is often politicized in right-wing political uses by Mormons. I could have been more clear about my uses is about a specific debate about the question of “agency” within the context of cultural and historical situatedness.

       0 likes

  29. 79
    Chino Blanco says:

    Hi aerin – fixed. You have to be logged on in order to edit. Here’s the URL for the login screen:

    http://mainstreetplaza.com/wp-login.php

    Pls let us know if you need anything further.

       0 likes

  30. 80
    Chino Blanco says:

    By the way, TT, I’m curious about something:

    You guys run a hit piece on John Dehlin, and it stays up.

    You follow up with a hit piece on Daymon Smith, and it stays up.

    But then, when you finally get around to attacking a truly despicable character, the post comes down.

    Funny how that works.

    h/t The Bloggernacle Back Burner

    Oh SNAP, did Google catch that post FPR? If youre going to call out a racist prof do it. That PubHubSubBub pushes things out to Google Cache (and reader) far faster than your un-post button.

       0 likes

  31. 81
    Chris H. says:

    FPR didn’t run a hit piece on Dehiln, I did. Just to clarify.

    My other post was put into draft by me because I am trying to sure up some sources. Pretty sure I do not need hit piece advice from you.

    Why is #80 addressed to TT?

       0 likes

  32. 82
    TT says:

    Chino, it is because we are FI’s. :)

       0 likes

  33. 83
    Chino Blanco says:

    Well, you’re certainly masters of distraction and the dogpile. I intend to invite Daymon back to MSP for a second installment and I look forward to a better discussion the second time around.

       0 likes

  34. 84
    Chris H. says:

    “Well, youre certainly masters of distraction and the dogpile. ”

    Damn straight.

       0 likes

  35. 85
    WhineyLoserman says:

    Oh my… I lost my job cause I’m a whiney blowhard. I think I will just post a whiney, obtuse, self-absorbed and bloviating screed against everyone and anyone who I might have ever run across… and then wonder why my professional life sucks like a self inflicted chest wound…

    whine whine whine….

    I just wish I could get a PhD in whineyness and then I could complain about how there’s not enough studies about me and my whineyness and self absorption.

       0 likes

  36. 86
    Hellmut says:

    Don’t feed the troll.

       0 likes

  37. 87
    chanson says:

    My other post was put into draft by me because I am trying to sure up some sources.

    Good to know the scoop on that one! I was intrigued by that piece as well when I saw it in my RSS reader. I’ll be interested in reading it when and if you get more sources.

       0 likes

  38. 88
    Chino Blanco says:

    Just happened to check the MSP twitter “inbox” and would like to ask: Is this necessary or productive?

       0 likes

  39. 89
    John C. says:

    As ever, sigh.

       0 likes

  40. 90
  41. 91

    patio furniture Kelowna…

    The Bananality of Mormon Studies: A Personal Encounter » Main Street Plaza…

       0 likes

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