Thursday, December 03, 2009

Goodbye to mormonblogs

Recently (as in, this morning) a group of conservative-minded individuals who run The Spirit of the Law was removed and banned by the administrator of mormonblogs, a blogroll with supposedly LDS-oriented leanings.

The reason given was because of constant "screeds" against the sitting, duly-elected President of the United States.


Essentially the same thing that those on the left did for the past eight straight years against the sitting, duly-elected President of the United States.

Back then, it was claimed to be patriotism. Now, apparently, it is un-Christlike.

The other reason is that the "Spirit of the Law"vians supposedly claim those who disagree with them are "unworthy" members. (Of course, the fact that if this claim is ever made, it is after the name-calling has already started from the other side.)

I am, frankly, amazed at the narrow-mindedness from a blogroll that applauds open-mindedness.

I suppose I should not be too surprised, however. In the past, I have considered asking for my blog to be taken from the mormonblogs blogroll because I have not really been wanting to be associated with some of the more common blogs on that site.

Now I am considering it again. To ban that blog for fairly reasoned, although sometimes overly-passionate, question-and-answer commentary is amazing. Especially considering the screeds I have read concerning George W. Bush prior to the election, the ramapant militant feminism, the (apparently) commonly-held ideals by many of the bloggers on the blogroll that you should not agree with the Prophet or the Brethren on anything (regardless of whether you have prayed about it or not) because that is simply blind obedience....

Shall I go on?

The common, popular blogs all use fairly reasoned, although sometimes overly-passionate question-and-answer commentary. I have frequently seen some of these blogs, or their readers, question the worthiness, or spirituality of anyone who "tows the party line."

It appears that, to be listed on Mormonblogs, it is OK to question the Gospel, the Prophet, and the US President so long as you disagree, disagree, and agree respectively. It is OK to question and drip venom, so long as it is against the approved targets. Politics is OK to discuss, so long as you have the approved politics.

That kind of "open-mindedness" is A-OK in their book. Any others need not apply.

(I should not paint with such a broad brush, I guess. There are a few harmless blogs that actually attempt to spread the Gospel, or a missionary message, and for those I am grateful. It is simply too bad they are swallowed up in the dank morass made by the others. There is a reason I have not visited for months and intend not to visit the blogroll any longer.)

Of course, if the "banning" of the website gets rid of some of the small number of lunatics (who are, I suspect, the ones who have complained to Ms. Angela at the blogroll) then maybe it is a good thing. I suspect several of them were simply using multiple aliases to seem to be a larger and more vocal group. I recommend all of my readers who are so-inclined to check out The Spirit of the Law and make up their own minds.

I had considered requesting removal of my blog in the past. But nope. I am no longer considering it.

It has been done. Apparently freedom of speech only slants one way on mormonblogs.

Good luck with your own favorite screeds, Angela. Hopefully they will keep you warm at night.

No hard feelings.


Angela said...

Political discourse is welcome. Calling people unworthy to be Mormons because they disagree with a blog's hate-filled rant is not. Hating political opponents is one thing - hating your fellow Mormons is another. That is the only reason we've kicked a blog to the curb in the last year - for intolerance directed at other Mormons.

We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. Good luck in your endeavors.

James said...

Thank you again for your support IM. I realize that with our blog, many will disagree. I realize that, however, I don't think I realized that the Obama left mentality had penetrated as far as it had into Mormon culture as it has.

Fact of the matter is, with the blog posting in question, I took Obama and the church at their word and made application of it. I do realize that there are the occasional posts, not always by myself, that push the passionate principle barrier as you have appropriately stated. However, I find no fault in individuals feeling passion and having strong opinions on issues that matter to them.

So for what it is worth, I thank you for your support and hope that in the future, mormonblogs learns a good lesson about hypocrisy and to not be so afraid of people with opinions.

Iguana Montana said...

@ Angela:

I can appreciate where you are making the distinction. However, I again have to call into question your review of the websites included in your blogroll. There are numerous who call into question the worthiness and spirituality of those who do not think as the blog-authors do.

Unfortunately, these all seem to be self-proclaimed "New Order Mormons'" blogs rather than so-called "True Believer Mormons".

I guess if that is the slant you want, that's up to you. But I would take a close look at the name of your blogroll, and may want to change it to NOMormonblogs.

Just a thought.

Good luck to you too.

Iguana Montana said...

And I take exception to the characterization that The Spirit of the Law calls people unworthy because they disagree.

I amm not sure that has ever happened. If I am wrong, I welcome correction. My guess is that if it has, the finger pointing and name calling was instituted by a visitor to the blog, not one of the authors.

"Hating" I suppose is in the eye of the beholder. If the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, well... whose fault it that?

Anonymous said...

The only thing I call into question here is are we being Christlike in our reactions to this? Saying things like "it must have been the other side that started it" or "well, they've been doing the same bashing for the past 8 years" hardly seem Christian. Plus, removing our voice from something because we think it's too skewed in one direction will only make it more so. Perhaps I'm wrong here, and we are all indeed examining the beams in our own eyes first, but it often does not seem that way in these types of conversations.

James said...

On our blog, we have never said that someone is unworthy because they disagree with us who write on it. The only distinction that has been made to worthiness is those who support or agree with doctrines, teachings, or practices that are contrary to the teachings of the church. In the case of that post the two topics were homosexuality and abortion. Two topics that the church, Obama, and the democratic party have been clear on.

Additionally the post gave the church's own policy regarding the treatment of individuals who are in violation to this covenant. It is the church's judgment - so if you find fault with that, then there are larger issues at stake here.

The venom that you have because of one persons opinion seems to display a seared conscience. It isn't becoming you Angela.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, this is a bit difficult to communicate and perhaps I don't really understand. All I meant about being "Christlike" was that it didn't seem very kind, patient, charitable, etc. etc. to respond to something with a counter accusation. It is a defensive posture, IMHO, and while I have no problem with that--it is expected i suppose in blogging--I would hope that we can at least first point out our own flaws or contribution to the problem. If I'm totally out in left field here, then I apologize.

Perhaps my mistake is that I'm preaching up the wrong tree, and we could all go about our merry way without any further need to complain about who's on what aggregator, or who is the hypocrite, etc. I agree with you, if you find a place to be muddy, by all means don't stay. It is a difficult balance especially in the CoJCoLDS because there is such an amazing and personal avenue for individual faith, as well as a great community, but often it seems that online we spar a lot over things. That I suppose is the mud I wish I could resist. ;)

Angela said...

Titling a post "Can you be a temple recommend holder and support Obama?" is intentionally inflammatory and doesn't accurately reflect either the church's stance or that of many worthy members. I can appreciate that your post was personal opinion, and that my disagreement may have been a knee-jerk reaction.

I do not review all blogs on a regular basis (as you correctly guessed), but I investigate complaints. I respect your right to disagree with me on this. I wish you the best.

Iguana Montana said...

Something happened to a previous comment. I've reposted it below; this is what spurred the last reponses from shenpawarrior and Angela.

What, pointing out hypocrisy is an unChristlike act? Really? Even giving Angela then benefit of the doubt, and saying that she does not read all of the blogs on the blogroll at her website, it is a sudden and seemingly-knee jerk reaction to what I suspect was complaints from one or two individuals (who have been long-time rabblerousers on the Spirit of the Law).

If you are going to hold James to this standard, you better be checking all the other blogs on your site before claiming that you would immediately remove another website for similar activities. I have seen much intolerance for fellow members on other blogs at her site. That is all I wanted to point out.

And as for "removing my voice"? I suspect my removal would have been coming soon at any rate. The feedback I get from a great many who link from that blogroll is negative. I get very little return readership from that blogroll, which leads me to believe that my thoughts and standards are not shared by others who frequent that blogroll. And yes, it may make it skew that much further in the other direction. However, I do not necessarily want to roll around with pigs simply because my sopping up the mud makes the sty that little bit much cleaner.

I am not perfect. I have character flaws. But choosing whom I will and will not associate with seems to be my choice. And, I believe, choosing one's associations wisely seems to be a principle that is taught to the youth, young adults, and adults in the Church.

Again, I do not harbor any ill will to Angela or other bloggers who use her site. It simply no longer meets my needs to be associated with the website.

James said...

Angela, the title of the blog was to answer a previous comment on a previous post that was to that effect. And while the title was chosen to grab attention if you read the post, the conclusion of the article was to show that alignment with Obama alone is not a violation of temple worthiness.

You keep harping on this being inflammatory but I took the time to dispel that thought within the context of the post. I very clearly make this a post about those two issues and not about Obama in its entirety. I feel like a broken record, but apparently that fact isn't coming through.

By the IM, Angela's blog "Mormon Matters" has singled you out and attached your site to this whole bloated mess. Apparently it is okay to be dismiss out post for being inflammatory towards other Mormons, but it is okay for her blog to make an enemy out of us. in case you want to check it out here.

Iguana Montana said...

Shenpa and Angela:

Thanks for your contributions and reasoned responses. Believe it or not, I do welcome the exchange of ideas and sharing of opinions. I would welcome either and both of you back to my blog at any time.

Shenpa is correct: somehow LDS blogging seems to get very contentious at times. Often it's the NWO vs. the TBM, but other times it seems to be more a mutual mistake of terminology or expression.

That is one reason that religion and politics are both difficult topics of discussion in any group larger than one person. Religion and spirituality are such a fundamentally personal subject that it can quickly escalate into flame wars and name calling. Ignoring another person is not always an option, and most responses tend to ignite a war of words.

I will be the first to point out that I have a hard time keeping my knee from jerking in such circumstances. I feel as strongly about my beliefs and testimony as the next person; I have had a family member tell me that my testimony was wrong.

That hurts, let me tell you.

In real life, it is easier for me sometimes to simply walk away from the discussion or steer it in another direction. It is face to face and interpersonal. There is more reason and cause to be "nice" to each other. In the blogosphere, I am too tempted to simply set the flamethrower on "flambe" and pull the trigger. We all react differently and I don't pretend that my methods are any better than another persons'. We're all different. I am as passionate about some topics as James is about others.

It is also easier in the blogosphere to make a mistake--sometimes my brain gets ahead of my typing and I think that I've made a point clear when, in fact, all the discussion and reasoning took place in my head and only the bald assertion came out of the keyboard. It is also easier to offend because you cannot hear the tone in a typist's voice. My sarcasm gets me in trouble quite a bit when I text or instant message because no emoticon really conveys my mood/tone completely.

Shenpa, I will admit that I may have been wrong in trying to deflect and place blame elsewhere. I did not mean to imply that my response to the issues was justified because "someone else did it first"--I guess it was closer to, "I am a cockroach, but make sure you get the other cockroaches too." That still does not necessarily make it right.

I would certainly like it -- as I think we all would -- if we could simply discuss the gospel and keep it civil. The fact remains, however, that because it is such a personal topic, there will almost inevitably be hurt feelings on most subjects.

But then, maybe I'm too cynical. Maybe I need to work on that as well.

Johnna said...

To me, making rhetorical use of the temple recommend crosses the line.

Iguana Montana said...


There goes my knee again.

Apparently readers of the other site only want to inflame the issue.

It is unfortunate, because -- honestly -- I have had a very enlightening and reasoned discussion with Angela via e-mail. I now know where she stands and (I hope) she knows better where I stand. We have, I think, shaken hands and made up. In all fairness, Angela does not show up as the author of the post on that other site. I am willing to give her that consideration. I respect her position and think she respects mine. As she has said, at least the other site is letting my words -- and the SotL's words -- speak for themselves, rather than the alternative. So I have a little consolation.

The comments from the readers of that site, however, have so far lived to my expectation. I've already received several fairly hateful comments. And, I am sure, will receive some hateful, sarcastic, or snide comments on that other site about "censorship" or an inability to take criticism.


I never intended a controversy or crisis of any import. I simply posted my feelings and opinions. For now, as far as I am concerned, the controversy is over.

James said...

Thank you for your patience IM, and frankly I am surprised that this little controversy has gotten so out of hand. The posting was not meant to inflame but to simply share an opinion I felt was in support of church doctrine.

I take offense to the Mormon matters posting only so far as this is fueling fires. If the issue is something that is inflammatory and derogatory towards Mormons to begin with, then why propagate it on the internet after the blogroll owner shut it off from her directory? If there is disagreement with the post to the extent that you don't want it in the directory, why have it on the blog unless to provide further platform to bash the opinion of another Mormon? If it is a valid discussion then why shut us out of blog directory?

That is what I have a problem with. The mormon matters article itself under its own merits is fine. People can say what they want. I just don't understand how you can think it is a subject okay for your blog but not then say that it is not approved to be on your blog listing? It is a double standard that I am having a hard time with.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate your responses. This whole thing is starting to feel like much ado about nothing.

The "flambe" is unfortunate. We all seem to like drama, and many of us like to bring the torches...

Anonymous said...

Angela: I hated to see the blog delisted. Don't you think "hate-filled" rant is a bit strong, considering the complainee's rant about the blog. I mean she used "WTF" and encouraged everyone to blacklist mormonblogs. It just seems to me her response was equally challenging. As for intolerance directed at Mormons, Harry Reid drives us up the wall, and we've said so on our blog. Do we get delisted because of this opinion?

Bruce Nielson said...

If the owners of this blog that were involved with this incident are still around, I would like to talk to them. My name is "Bruce" and I can be reached at millennialstar. (i.e. Hopefully you can figure out my email address from that, or else contact me by posting a comment on one of my posts.