Announcing the inaugural recipient of the Deseret Dingleberry award: Mark Paredes

Deseret DingleberryA month or so ago, there was a discussion over at r/exmormon about establishing a set of awards that would be something like a Mormon Razzies.

I was tasked to make it happen, but never did. After reading so many winning Brodie Award entries and getting to know our X-Mormon of the Year a little better, I was feeling downright upbeat and in no mood to kick off a contest to identify and pillory our silliest detractors.

But now that I’ve noticed this gem, I think I’ve found the missing motivation to launch our latest award program:

“Regular readers will note that comments from anti-Mormon bigots have been deleted from this site. I figure that if they have something to say to Jews, they can get their own blog.” — Mark Paredes

Apparently, according to Mark, leaving comments like the one below makes me an “anti-Mormon bigot”:

The Mormon replacement rate is negative in the US. According to the Pew U.S. Religious Landscape Survey the replacement rate of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has dropped to 80%. That means that for every five members who leave Mormonism behind four new converts join the Church.

Notice the bigotry? Neither did I. The only thing objectionable about that comment is that it was copied-and-pasted without attribution from Hellmut’s 2008 post.

But Mark deleted it anyway.

So, here’s what I figure, Mark: I don’t comment on your blog because I have something to say to Jews, I comment because I have something to say to you. Deleting comments simply because they bring contrary opinion or unsettling facts is plain rude, and equating reasonable disagreement with anti-Mormon bigotry is a frankly pathetic tactic.

Perhaps not surprising behavior from a Mormon who so humbly presumes to lecture liberal Jews on how to remain relevant, but insulting enough that I’m happy to return the favor by recognizing him as the world’s first Deseret Dingleberry winner. Mazel Tov, Mark!

P.S. Going forward, I hope this prize could be wielded awarded for “the most outrageous, offensive, malevolent, crazy, or excessive statement or claim.” Kind of like (OK, exactly like) The LaBarbera Award. Actually, come to think of it, I’m surprised Mark didn’t win a LaBarbera for his work on Prop 8, which he has described as “the biggest battle in my lifetime.” Heh. The Mormons may have won that battle, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that they’ve lost the war. No wonder Mark’s so grumpy.

Maybe he’ll cheer up when he finds out what he’s won.

tl;dr: Mormon blogger pens advice column for Jews, cites bogus statistics, deletes corrections, wins a prize, Mazel Tov!

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14 Comments

  1. 1
    chanson says:

    While I felt the Deseret News taxonomy of unbelievers was insulting and condescending, it’s nothing compared to Mark’s treatment of Judaism:

    As a member of one of the fastest-growing faiths who wishes to see more Jews become active in their communities, I humbly offer several suggestions for making liberal Judaism more relevant and meaningful to people who are voting with their feet to abandon organized Judaism.

    etc.

    And that brings me to another odd thing that struck me about his remark:

    Regular readers will note that comments from anti-Mormon bigots have been deleted from this site. I figure that if they have something to say to Jews, they can get their own blog.

    Mark has demonstrated (through deleting your comment) that his loaded language above is a pre-emptive excuse to delete disagreement. And if he wants to insult the Jews, far be it from me to meddle. But I can’t help but think some Jews themselves might find his article objectionable. They’re people too, not just a target for people to preach at from their various blogs.

    You know I am not terribly inclined to pass out booby prizes from MSP (in keeping with our policy of civil discourse). Yet this guy in particular has actively opted out of even the pretense of two-way discussion….

       1 likes

  2. 2
    philomytha says:

    Wow, there’s a stunning amount of arrogance in his post. “You’re irrelevant. So be like me instead.” Everybody knows *something* about Jewish culture, but there are just as many Mormons in the world as there are Jews (at least on paper, and thanks to the holocaust) and a lot of people don’t the difference between us and the Amish, if they’ve even heard of us. So who’s more relevant?

    And then there’s this:

    Here a word must be said about preaching (usually liberal) politics from the pulpit in the prophetic tradition. When LDS prophets speak, millions of people hear what they have to say. Almost all of their talks deal with how to become closer to God and to others, and they do not preach politics from the pulpit (though they do preach morality).

    WTH??? Liberal politics are just as much about morality as conservative politics are. You know, love your neighbor, take care of the poor, all that sort of wickedness. At least when you stop thinking “morality” is all about sex.

       1 likes

  3. 3
    Chino Blanco says:

    P.S. I’ve taken this discussion to r/judaism and I expect we’ll collect a few interesting comments there.

    At the end of the day, I suppose this is less about Mormon-Jewish dialogue and more about Mark being incapable of sustaining his argument without the crutch of bogus Mormon growth numbers.

       0 likes

  4. 4
    Seth R. says:

    Yeah, I’ve seen this guy’s advice-to-Jews column before. I always found it a bit presumptuous to be perfectly honest. Every time I glance over his stuff, I ask “who made you consultant for Judaism?”

       2 likes

  5. 5
    chanson says:

    Chino — Haha, that is too funny over on r/judaism — inasmuch as anyone there is interested at all, they’re simply discussing whether or not it is good advice. And here I was so sure they’d be offended!

    With a TBM writing this obliviously arrogant piece in the first place, and the exmos swooping in to call him a dingleberry for it, I can’t help but think this helps to answer that eternal question: Why do people like the Jews and dislike the Mormons? I think Nate Oman has some good answers in his his article, but he doesn’t quite capture the whole problem… ;)

       0 likes

  6. 6
    Chino Blanco says:

    Chanson — If my antics strike you as symptomatic of a problem that Nate’s post neglected to mention, please, spell it out. ;-)

    In the meantime, maybe it’s just my knee-jerk Mormon cultural cringe, but all I’m saying is — when David Archuleta and the MoTab are the best answer we’ve got — we might do well to stop touting ourselves and allow a moment to appreciate Leonard Bernstein and Markus Baur.

    ETA: By the way, if you’ve got kids, this is an amazing box set.

       0 likes

  7. 7
    Chino Blanco says:

    Speaking of Leonard Bernstein, did you ever feel you wanted something more than anything else in the world?

    But finally something breaks in your head, and you cry.

    Pretty emotional stuff, isn’t it?

       1 likes

  8. 8
    chanson says:

    Chino — Nah, just playful banter.

    Actually, when it comes to criticism, there was a really interesting and relevant recently on A Motley Vision:

    Spencer W. Kimballs The Gospel Vision of the Arts is admittedly ubiquitous in discussions of Mormon art and media, and it is usually cited for his predictions of remarkable future accomplishments, for instance that Mormon-themed masterpieces should run for months in every movie theater, cover every part of the globe in the tongue of the people, written by great artists, purified by the best critics. But while LDS filmmakers, in this case, have reason to rejoice in this prophetic benediction, it is my firm belief that the most important point is the final one, that the best critics must purify our films and, by extension, other media.

    And not necessarily just in the arts. When criticism is warranted, it is generally beneficial. (i.e. On some level I feel like the faithful ought to appreciate their loyal opposition, even if I know they never will. ;) )

       0 likes

  9. 9
    chanson says:

    p.s. Those are amazing pieces!

       0 likes

  10. 10
    Chino Blanco says:

    Prophecy, fulfilled.

       0 likes

  11. 11
    patriotboy says:

    Paredes writes:

    Not long ago I ran into one of the most well-known figures in the LA Jewish community, a man who is probably on a first-name basis with every major community leader and rabbi. I told him that I had visited many synagogues, but had yet to find one with a spiritual service.

    How arrogant. As an exmo atheist with a Jewish wife, daughters, and grandson, I regularly attend the tiny reform temple in our small town. The services there are regularly “more spiritual” than any Mormon services I attended.

    Paredes reminds be of Brother Boehner, the regional representative who’d often speak at our stake conferences. Boehner always professed a great love for the Jewish people, usually after condemning their wickedness for killing our savior.

       1 likes

  12. 12
    Chino Blanco says:

    You know, as it turns out, we’re having a decent discussion over at r/judaism.

    Here’s the link:

    http://www.reddit.com/r/Judaism/comments/frsjo/mormon_blogger_offers_free_advice_to_his_jewish/

       0 likes

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Hellmut says:

    Sorry for missing this post. I always appreciate it when people use good demographic figures. Thanks, Chino!

    By the way, some 4,000 people have read the analysis now, not too shabby for an academic exercise.

       0 likes

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