Sunday in Outer Blogness: Exciting Discussions Edition!!
This past week there were a number of exciting topics that hopped from blog to blog — demonstrating that we’re all connected, and a discussion can hop over the boundaries separating the various LDS-interest communities!!
That was itself one of the topics, of course: why/how different LDS-interest communities maintain different types of boundaries — and the discussion itself provided plenty of self-referential illustrations. For example, true to form, despite playing a key role in starting the discussion, I have not done a great job of keeping up with it. After finishing this SiOB, I’ll try and read all of the discussion threads — here they are for reference: Fortresses or Keeps, Declining Sunstone and Bloggernacle Safe Zones, Declining Sunstone: An Argument Against Bloggernacle Participation By The Faithful, So why did I talk at Sunstone if Im a TBM?, Sunstone and safe zones!!, The Argument, and An Argument For Bloggernacle Participation by the Faithful. This included a bit of a sub-topic on whether Wheat & Tares is a bunch of apostates and generallywhat they’re about. (If you’d like to know about or help shape our site philosophy here at MSP, see our civil discourse category.)
Then there was the strange case of Daniel C Peterson getting sacked from paid apologetics. Ms. Jack provides the timeline of events. Some have discussed the CoJCoL-dS’s Machiavellian strategy of sending DCP to do its dirty work and then leaving him as a scapegoat when his reputation reached toxic levels. Intriguing remaining questions include: Who leaked the embarrassing internal emails? And how does John Dehlin have better GA connections than DCP?
The third one was Mormons marching in Pride parades!! This one has sparked some disagreement, yet has been constructive, I think, in terms of people looking at alternate points of view. J G-W posted a video on why he’s marching in Gay Pride as a Mormon:
By contrast, Kiley explained why she was more comfortable marching with the Unitarians:
I have refrained from commenting on the Mormons that have been marching in the various PRIDE parades across the country. I tend to believe in the old adage that if you dont have anything nice to say you shouldnt say anything at all so I have not commented but as I see facebook groups and discussions organizing the Mormons who have marched I dont feel like it is the same as the Unitarians this morning.
I feel like many of the Mormons who are marching are gay Mormons who are caught up in the strange space between gay and Mormon, and many are ex-Mormons or liberal Mormons who are not even accepted by the church in the first place. Im sure some actual card carrying, worthy Mos marched but it does not feel the same to me. It feels more political than sincere. I hate to look down on people attempting to do a good thing, but you cant look down your noses at me believing Im going to be healed in the next life and say that marching in the parade is supporting me and loving me. It is not the same as the UUs…
Mormons weren’t the only controversial figures at Pride. Personally, if I were to arrive in Minneapolis in time, I’d have a hard time deciding between donning my fMh t-shirt and marching with the Mormons or donning my Minnesota Atheists t-shirt and marching with the atheists. I’d probably try to do both. 😉
On a related note, there are still some discussion ripples from last week’s topics of gay parents and mixed-orientation-marriage! ProgExMo analyzes Josh Weed’s post in terms of the way his choices were limited. The feminist Mormon housewives are running a series of personal stories of MoMOM experiences, and Dad’s Primal Scream poses an interesting question:
See, I can imagine lots of scenarios where it appears to help the man socially, religiously and such but it does no such thing for the women (although it still does significant harm spiritually to the man). I cant think of 1 benefit of such an arrangement for her that wouldnt be better with a straight man.
Still, is there a type of woman who is naturally attracted to gay men?
Is there a type of woman who is more likely to marry a gay man?
The recent personal story by Maren Stephenson about leaving the church with her atheist husband has left some discussion ripples as well!! Notably this Christmas lights metaphor making an oblique accusation of spiritual immaturity that we responded to back in the classic 2008 Main Street Plaza piece Grayer Than Thou. Runtu provided a great round-up and analysis of the online discussion.
The most interesting response (?) though may perhaps be the one that came from the CoJCoL-dS in the form of an Ensign article encouraging Mormon women to love — not leave — atheist husbands!! Good!! Fewer good marriages ending in divorce, and fewer people using threats of divorce to pressure people to pretend to believe. It’s a win-win solution for the church as well since the last thing they need is more divorced ladies with kids looking for providers to marry them. Seriously, being a single adult woman in the CoJCoL-dS has to be one of the circles of hell. Not to mention that the more the believers treat a mixed-faith marriage like the ward pity case, the more attractive it looks to follow the non-believing spouse out the door…
Then there was an interesting article about the CoJCoL-dS’s most sensitive topic: money!! Specifically, the fact that tax-exempt status represents a government subsidy to religious organizations. (And when they break the rules they don’t even get investigated.) See here for a counterpoint and here for a timeline of the finances of the CoJCoL-dS (and corresponding secrecy). The author makes a point that I think deserves wider attention from churchgoers, namely that if you make rules that make religion into the perfect cover for corrupt behavior, people will use religion to cover corrupt behavior, ultimately damaging religion’s reputation:
What this means is that donations to religions are largely unregulated. In our discussions while investigating the subsidies to religion, we realized that religions would be the ideal way to launder money if you were engaged in an illegal enterprise.
Then there were some mini-themes, like poetry. In the department of debates, we have a challenging question for Christians and 10 challenging questions for atheists!!
And don’t miss this week’s grab bag!! Read one of the most entertaining pieces I’ve seen on (the late) President Hinckley and spin. See what Chino’s crazy relatives are up to!! The Book of Mormon Musical is brilliant unlike so many questionable musicals kids perform these days. A little bit of economics vs. Conservapaedia. Comparing Mormonism’s embarrassing step-child to that of the Pentecostals. Amusing titles of BYU master’s theses. Illegal immigration is personal. Sad jokes vs. hugs! Are Sunday School answers all created equal?
Happy Sunday and happy reading!!! 😀
Whoo hoo! You linked to my poem about fireflies event though it had nothing to do with Mormondom. 😀
Here’s a Mormon-related poem, set to an all too familiar tune. http://youtu.be/SEVE1rRlJas
That was an interesting article in the Ensign, wasn’t it?
There seems to be a running debate about whether the person who wrote it is actually the wife of a disaffected spouse, or if someone on the Ensign’s staff was assigned to write something summarizing the issue from the point-of-view of a faithful member who’s married to a doubter/dis-believer.
Naturally. I like to highlight what interesting things members of our community are up to when they’re not talking about Mormonism. 🙂
I think it’s both. Believers married to disaffected spouses are hardly difficult to come by…
Thanks for the mention!
Thanks for writing an interesting anaylsis! 😀
I wouldn’t say that losing your faith is equivalent to having one bulb in a string of lights go out, thus ruining everything. I would say that losing your faith is like having the entire string of bulbs blow up in your face. Or watching as one by one, every single light goes out, until you are left with nothing.
That “Christmas lights” metaphor was wrong on so many levels. Let me count the ways:
1. I have been reading exit stories for years, and I don’t know of a single person who would call that an accurate metaphor for their deconverstion experience. It was specifically invented to dismiss and belittle other people’s experiences. As such, I think I’ll use it as one more exhibit in my Sunstone panel “Who gets to say what former Mormons are like?”
2. If it’s not true that the church stands and falls on the whether JS was a prophet and the BoM is true, can you please start by telling that to the GA’s and lesson manual writers, as opposed to exclusively using this marvelous insight to tut-tut the people who believed them?
3. Re: The logic behind this loss of faith Joseph Smith was a fraud, therefore the religion that he founded is bogus, and ones entire experience as a Mormon is bogus is actually just the reverse of how many Mormons approach their faith.
Regardless of whether “many Mormons” don’t approach their faith with this type of logic, I certainly wouldn’t fault someone for logic like “If Joseph Smith was a fraud, than maybe that means that I should stop donating 20+ hours a week and 10% of my income to the church he founded.”
4. Also Re: The logic behind this loss of faith Joseph Smith was a fraud, therefore the religion that he founded is bogus, and ones entire experience as a Mormon is bogus is actually just the reverse of how many Mormons approach their faith.
Just because the CoJCoL-dS is not what it claims to be, that does not mean that my my personal experience as a Mormon was “bogus” and no longer a valid narrative within the grand narrative of Mormonism. My experience is my experience. Former Mormons have a right to interpret their own experiences themselves, they don’t need you to (derisively) do it for them.