Are Right-Wing Mormons More Likely to be Annoying than Left-Wing Mormons?

During a recent conversation among LDS friends, I bemoaned a certain type of LDS churchmember that I find deeply “annoying.” I used this word in a very specific sense. I described as “annoying” certain right-wing Mormons who seem unable to conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church. I know you know the type I’m talking about.

One of my (conservative) LDS friends interrupted me, conceded that this Mormon personality type exists, but insisted that “left-wing LDS members are no less likely to be “annoying,” as they are equally prone to the same vice.”

I strongly disagreed with this statement. I admitted that the existence of “annoying” left-wing LDS members is possible, but insisted they don’t really exist much, if at all, in the real world. And by this, I didn’t just mean that annoying liberals are rarer than annoying conservatives in sheer number — this is too obvious to dispute, since LDS liberals of all sorts are much rarer than LDS conservatives of all sorts, whether annoying or not. No, I actually meant that given an equal number of LDS conservatives and LDS liberals, you are likely to find the annoying quality I abhor in the first group in much, much larger quantity than the second.

Am I right? Are right-wing Mormons more likely to be “annoying” in this way than left-wing Mormons? Is the political/doctrinal confusion I’m pointing to more prevalent on the Right than the Left, even when you control for numbers? You can argue this is a supremely uninteresting question, because to answer it is merely to identify oneself politically. Thus, LDS right-wingers will likely be sensitive to the claims of annoying left-wing Mormons and see more of them, while Mormon left-wingers will likely see only annoying LDS right-wingers, for the most part. On this view, to answer the question is merely to provide information about your own political preferences and biases. However, I disagree with this view. I believe one can answer this question definitively without resorting to a mere consultation of one’s own political allegiances.

Meet “Mormon Joe.” Joe is American, and he has certain strongly-held political views, located somewhere on the (U.S.) political spectrum, nevermind where. In order for Mormon Joe to be “annoying” in the particular sense I am describing, two conditions must obtain:

1. Mormon Joe must find himself in an environment where a large number of other Mormons share his political views.

2. Mormon Joe must have at least prima facie grounds for convincing himself that his political views are mandated by LDS doctrine.

With respect to (1), because Mormon political liberals are a relatively uncommon breed, it is much more difficult to find them anywhere in large numbers. Even in places like Seattle or Cambridge — both places I have lived — Mormon lefties may be more numerous and vocal, but they still don’t obviously outnumber their right-of-center brethren. So, Mormon liberals congregated in one place and numerically exceeding their political foes are relatively rare.

Why does this matter? After all, one doesn’t need ideological comrades to hold any particular political view! But remember, we’re talking about political views being confused with LDS doctrine. Congregating with like-minded souls is important (even if not absolutely essential) for this problem to fester because congregation lends itself to the sort of ideological groupthink that causes people to forget that not everyone thinks like they do, or that causes them to imagine their views are more representative of the larger LDS population than they really are. And if you’ve convinced yourself that everyone (or most everyone) in a class shares a particular trait, you’re more liable to conclude that the trait is an essential, defining attribute of the class. Thus, since politically liberal Mormons can’t as easily congregate in mass without considerable effort, they have less opportunity to engage in this sort of groupthink or delusion. Meanwhile, for LDS conservatives, opportunities abound.

With respect to (2), LDS conservatives can turn to a host of past General Authorities, Apostles and even Prophets who have made public statements that seem to jive with the political positions of U.S. conservatives. Thus, it is easy to interpret such statements as LDS “doctrinal” statements (and to do so wrongly, in many cases). Mormon liberals may be psychologically prone to the same errors (I suspect they are, as a class), all things being equal, but in the real world they have less opportunity to err, since the Mormon historical record gives them much less material with which to work. (And if a politically liberal Mormon does indulge this tendency anyway, he is likely to be quickly disabused of his notions by his many ideological foes at church).

In short, the conditions necessary to the festering of widespread right-wing Mormon “annoyance” are present, while the conditions conducive to the festering of left-wing Mormon annoyance are largely absent. Political/doctrinal conflation is asymmetrical within LDS culture. Even when we look at the two groups per capita, the conservatives are more “annoying”. And Mormons of all political persuasions should be able to agree on this. Even LDS conservatives.

Personally, I think this is all fairly obvious, but apparently not everyone does, so I thought it was worth spelling out.

Comments

  1. Are Right-Wing Mormons More Likely to be Annoying than Left-Wing Mormons?

    Yes.

  2. I’m with Rory.

  3. By the Rules says:

    But we’re right, right? We have chosen the Right, so we can stand on the Right hand of God, etc, etc

  4. Julie M. Smith says:

    I so appreciate this post today.

    From an interview with Elder Jensen:

    “He repeated an anecdote told by prominent LDS Democrat Oscar McConkie about his father’s recollections of a church leader telling a congregation during a Sunday morning meeting to “sign up to be Republicans.”

    At that time, Mormons favored the Democratic Party because it was less stridently anti-polygamy than were Republicans.

    When members of the flock returned for an afternoon session, the Republican sign-up sheet remained blank, Jensen said. “Brothers and sisters, you have misunderstood,” said the church leader. “God needs Republicans.”

    “And Oscar said his father would wink and say, `And you know, Oscar, those damned Republicans think they’ve had God on their side ever since,’ ” Jensen said.”

    Source: http://www.utahcountydems.com/content/view/178

  5. I think it depends on the world view that you bring to the conversation. Generally its the “other” side that we find annoying. Additionally, the manner in which you present your view, or have the view presented can determine the annoyance factor. i.e., being an pretentious snot can make you seem annoying pretty quickly. I don’t mean to say that this post was presented in that way, but I am saying that subjective factors such as the perception and presentation matter a great deal.

    Based on my experience, I think liberals are just as likely to be annoying.

  6. Let’s just make this clear. As defined here by Aaron B.,

    I described as “annoying” certain right-wing Mormons who seem unable to conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church.

    just simply does not exist on the left side of the political spectrum. There are plenty of annoying liberal Mormons (and I’m sure some, if not many, will wish to consider me that), but the annoyance of the liberal Mormon does not arise from the inability to conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church. Let’s just make sure that is clear. Liberal Mormons do not tie their religious beliefs to a political ideology in the hopes of expanding that political ideology through the logical fallacy of appealing to a higher authority. That’s what is so annoying about right-wing Mormons (fewer these days). For the conservative right-wing Mormon, the world view is based on an Imagined Community of like-minded thinkers and (more importantly) believers. This Imagined Community will not include even other Mormons who may believe differently. It is highly nationalistic (though that word doesn’t describe the scenario as well as Imagined Community does).

  7. Yeah, Morgan, you need to read my post more carefully. I am using the word “annoying” in a very specific way. I’m not using it in the general way that people typically do in conversation.

    I debated titling this post differently, because I knew there was a chance people would read “annoying” differently than I’m intending them to. But I chose not to because (1) the current title is slightly vaguer (read: more inflammatory!), but more importantly (2) I couldn’t think of a short word that would be understood as “inability to conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church.” So I just went with “annoying” and then defined it in the text. Can you imagine how long the title would have been if I hadn’t? Sheesh, it’s already long enough. :)

  8. No, I found your definition annoyingly narrow. I tried to cast a wider net, otherwise it seems this thread involves little more than another excuse to point out how people you disagree with are dumb (or annoying). I tried to point out how it goes both ways for a variety of reasons beyond your definition.

  9. Right-wing Mormons are more likely to be annoying.

    Left-wing Mormons are likely to be more annoying.

  10. Aaron,

    I actually kind of agree with Morgan on this one–I think your post is clever, but ultimately is kind of a strawman argument if the purpose was to create an actual debate about this (if that’s not your purpose, then forget I said anything). The fact is, you’ve set up a victory for your argument by employing a definition of annoying that is borderline tautological: Of course people who (according to conventional wisdom, anyway) use religious beliefs as a political motivation (hence, “religious right”) are more likely to believe their political beliefs are in harmony with their religious beliefs.

  11. I think it is rare to find people on the left who view their political beliefs as mandated by doctrine, because they are so used to be silenced by the masses of Mormon Republicans. That said, I tend to lean left, and I do so largely because the way I read the gospel, its principles seem more in line with the left.

  12. Thanks Scott, you articulated so much better than me what bothered me about the post. And in case anybody mistakes my tone, I still enjoyed the post a great deal.

  13. So if, say, someone painted of a picture of Christ holding the US Constitution that would be a confusion of the gospel and politics like you are describing?

    Yes that pretty much takes the cake in “annoying” as you’ve defined it.

  14. SteveP,
    Please. It was not Jesus. It was Aragorn, Son of Arathorn.

  15. I described as “annoying” certain right-wing Mormons who seem unable to conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church.

    In my short stint of political blogging, I encountered several very liberal (self-proclaimed socialist) Mormons who want socialism because they feel it fulfills Christ's commandments (ie. the United Order). Isn't that an inability to "conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church"?

    I think your argument presented here likely proves that right-wing Mormons are more annoying given the current set of circumstances. However, the potential for both to be equally annoying is likely the same (or, at the least, you have not proven otherwise).

    In just general terms of "annoying" (not as you defined here, but just in the "get under your skin, drive you crazy" annoying), I think the answer to your question Are Right-Wing Mormons More Likely to be Annoying than Left-Wing Mormons? depends on who is answering it. I find Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann get-under-your-skin, nails on chalkboard annoying, but I find Glenn Beck tolerable. Based on a recent FMH thread, I am going to venture that others find Glenn Beck to be the height of annoying.

    Loved your #9, Ardis.

  16. Ardis,

    Ouch.

    Stephanie,

    I am a liberal socialist not because of the United Order or because Christ commands it (though reason does dictate it). :) I do not think anyone can claim that God officially endorses their approach to political economy.

    However, I do not think that my political and economic views are contrary to the teachings of the gospel.

    I tend to agree with Aaron of the main issue of the post, though a lot depends on individual style.

  17. Yes. Conservative Mormons tend toward this form of annoyance far more than their Liberal counterparts.

    Mo Cons have brother Beck, Mitt Romney, KSL radio, parallels to mainstream evangelical zealotry, and the wresting of LDS doctrine to foster uber Americana/prosperity theory behind much of modern conservative values.

    Mo Libs have Harry Reid, the late President Faust (who 99% of Mormons don’t know was Utah Democratic party leadership), a social minority position, the distrust of secular liberals, and the inherent complexities of a multicultural worldview.

  18. So glad I stopped by!
    Christ with the Constitution?
    Time for more haiku?

  19. Sorry, Chris; present company excepted. :)

    Lest anyone think I was just going for wit, I mean that conservatives have more opportunities to be annoying by Aaron’s definition for the reasons that others have outlined.

    But when politically conservative Mormons falsely assume their political ideals are identical with gospel ideals, it’s usually out of ignorance; I can roll my eyes and be somewhat tolerant of their mistakes. Politically liberal Mormons who go too far in bringing their politics into a gospel setting, on the other hand, are usually fully aware of what they’re doing — they know they are bucking the crowd and choose to be vocal about it anyway. That little element of “I know I’m being offensive and I don’t care” can make them more annoying than the innocently annoying conservatives.

    Everyone on either extreme can avoid this problem simply by agreeing with me on everything. I’m always right and never go to extremes.

  20. Yes.

  21. “Everyone on either extreme can avoid this problem simply by agreeing with me on everything. I’m always right and never go to extremes.”

    Ardis,
    This is my policy and I find it works remarkably well.

    Aaron,
    I have met a number of LDS liberals who have argued that the scriptures explicitly endorse some forms of social welfare and social justice. I think that can be read as a form of “God is on my side” that is comparable to the annoyingness of which you speak.

  22. Aaron, I think this is context-specific. I (and other liberal types I’ve observed) am prone to the same sort of annoyingness in the few places where presumably like-minded Mormons are gathered. It just happens less often than weekly Gospel Doctrine class.

  23. I can’t figure out any way of answering the question that will not be annoying to somebody, so I have decided to abtain entirely.

    Is that annoying?

  24. Amen to what Kristine said. I could be annoying a lot more often if given a weekly venue in which to preach my liberalness to the choir. :)

  25. Liberal Mormons are less “annoying” as narrowly defined here because they have less faith in the Scriptures and the leadership of the LDS Church that develop and define the doctrines. That said, they often use them in the same annoying way as “right-wingers” when they use religion. They just use it less because they believe less in authority.

  26. jettboy,

    I am confused. Were we talking about being annoying or being a smug, pretentious arse?

  27. Is there a difference?

  28. Yeah, the “God is on my side” take is annoying but the “have some more faith and vote BLANK because that is what good Mormons do” crap is HELL-to-the-Niz-O annoying. Sorry Jettboy, but you are helping prove Aaron’s point.

  29. I love object lessons.

  30. I don’t know how much you paid Jettboy to illustrate your post, Aaron, but he deserves a raise. That comment was perfect.

  31. In order for Mormon Joe to be “annoying” in the particular sense I am describing, two conditions must obtain:

    1. Mormon Joe must find himself in an environment where a large number of other Mormons share his political views.

    I don’t think this is necessary. A political liberal Joe may have a reading of the gospel that he knows to be outside of the mainstream, yet still consider that reading to be “LDS doctrine.” If he does that, he is then just as able as a conservative to be “annoying.” He can confuse his political beliefs with what he believes to be LDS doctrine, he just doesn’t believe that a reading of the gospel needs to be widely accepted in order to be correct.

    2. Mormon Joe must have at least prima facie grounds for convincing himself that his political views are mandated by LDS doctrine.

    It seems that the Book of Mormon could be read to provide such grounds. Joe would have to disregard a lot of teachings of past leaders but that’s not much of an obstacle for those intent on being annoying.

    I don’t know the answer to the question in the title of the post. I do know there are some “annoying” liberal Mormons. How many times have you heard someone say that they are Democrats because they are Mormon? Harry Reid said it at BYU recently. I haven’t heard it much in real life, but I’ve read it several times online.

  32. Aaron,
    I like your post and I agree. I think there has always been a “Left-Wing” among the Mormon ranks, Kind of a “Mormon Underground”. They do not agree with the mainstream but cannot say much about it without risking becoming one of “those people”.
    There were those early saints who did not inform their non- Mormon neighbors that they were going to be destroyed. Not as annoying.
    There were those who stood up to polygamy, just did not agree with it and did their best to continue in the faith.
    Not as annoying.
    Today it is still the same; Right-Wing is still pushing absolute obedience and letting everyone know they are wrong if they are on the left. What happened to personal revelation?

  33. I have no idea. There is no way to study this question. Its a sword that cuts both ways. Harry Reid though apparently believes that he is a Democrat because of Church doctrine per his talk at BYU a couple of years ago. I am sure you can find lots of LDS voters who think the same about either party depending on how they vote.

  34. CJ Douglass says:

    Aaron – the “annoying because of numbers” observation is spot on. Living in NYC for the past 6 years has made me less liberal. On the other hand, a woman in Vernal once told me that if Pres. Faust was a Democrat – she “hopes he repents”.

    Political dominance is annoying wherever you go.

  35. Molly Bennion says:

    Gratefully, I have no idea. It’s been so long since I was in a ward in which politics was discussed much at all that I’m obviously out of the know. In my inner city Seattle ward (one probably split down the middle politically) I find people extremely sensitive to the reality that we do make our political decisions based partly on religious conclusions so if our conclusions differ, we may see each other as morally lacking. We really don’t want to intimate that our brothers and sisters are morally lacking. I also think the people in my ward know we make those decisions only partly based on religious conclusions. However righteous we think our politics (and we all think we’re in the right), we also make those decisions based on our varied understandings of human nature, economics, psychology, culture, history, even doctrine, our personal experiences, etc. We’re a very diverse ward and we know we come at politics from wildly different angles. We avoid the subject unless we are in private conversations with people with whom we share trust–not necessarily identical views–just trust.
    What I find mildly annoying and a little amusing is the assumption of some conservative Mormon friends that I must agree with them or my liberal Mormon friends that I must be firmly in their camp.

  36. Most Annoying Steve says:

    As Aaron’s most annoying Steve in the nacle and definitely laissez faire, he may be on to something. But as much of a nacle bully I’ve been to both big gov libs and social cons, I perfer to avoid political discussions at church. It all kind of gets in the way of praising Jesus.

  37. Straight up… if we are hazarding even numbers I believe it is an equal split. Liberal Mormons can believe that doctrine backs their opinion as mentioned their is a belief that social gospel is commanded by Christ and others. One can also appeal to comments by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young about socialism of sorts.

    Secondly, I have found a tendency among the Gay /Lesbian Mormon community to use Christ and Joseph Smith to argue against political conservative ideas.

    I also see the Ezra Benson approach a lot coming out of the early part of the century. I have never found it all that disconcerting except in Sunday School and on the Blogs where more extreme examples of both can be found ;)

  38. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I love how this blog post seems to assume that the influence of the Bloggernacle in shaping the political views of current and future liberal Mormons pales in comparison to the socializing pressures of the wards where they attend. Even if we are creating an imagined community in this online space, perish the thought that ideological groupthink is being perpetuated in these Mormon corners of the Internet. Apparently the fact that so few members resist what they are taught at church is all the proof we need to believe that the political brainwashing works best in our Sunday talks and classes.

  39. Sterling,

    huh?

  40. Sterling,
    That may be true, but we hate the scriptures here. Instead, we seek only to align our political will with that of our dark lord Ken.

  41. Jettboy provided the perfect response for the smug Liberal Mormon to look down on the non-liberal Mormon; however, he is correct. Liberal Mormons are successful at divorcing the Mormon (Christian) idealogy from their leftwing political agenda. (Reminds me of the Catholic I overhead saying, “Who is the Pope to tell me how to live my life?”) But we don’t really need to argue about abortion, the solemnity of man/woman marriage as outline in the Family Proclamation, or even the erosion of civil liberties, because, frankly, that would be uncomfortable for our Mormon friends who support a left leaning ideology.

    They usually annoy the rest of us as they attempt to suggest that Jesus taught government should force the governed to support the needy, rather doing so of their own free will and choice. As if those on the right would refuse or hate the needy. Generally speaking, lefties of all stripes probably embrace this idea because generally they are so selfish they don’t make contributions to help the poor and will only do so with a government mandate. (I do mean that generally, because I suspect the lefties in this forum are generous without compulsion.) So they cling to this Jesus says love everyone idea as if they are the only ones who believe it, to the point it becomes one of the few portions of the gospel they can fully embrace. Therefore, it is the Liberal Mormon that is more annoying.

    Posing the question reminds me of an experience my wife had. While luxuriating on the lake in the boat of his in-laws, a young newlywed thought he brought a new concept as he suggested recycling cans. My wife let him know that in this state we know about and do recycle. Then he got in her face and said, “I’m a democrat, do you have a problem with that?” Daring her to have a problem with that, I guess. She replied, “You’re from Utah, right?”

    So, I find that most annoying, and I find most of those types come from SLC.

  42. Sterling Fluharty says:

    Just saying that if we ignore the existence of blogs like BCC, I think we can all agree that liberal Mormons are “relatively uncommon,” “difficult to find,” “outnumber[ed by] their right-of-center brethren,” and rarely “congregated in one place.”

  43. So, um, Aaron–at some point were you going to let people know that you are among BCCs most politically conservative permabloggers? Or should we just let Jettboy and Brian keep talking down to you as though you’re one of us eeeeevil libruls?

  44. Fair enough, Brian. I hate everything good and holy in the world and personally want to punch your mother in the mouth. Have a nice day.

  45. Jettboy on steroids.

  46. Sterling, I think BCC is not nearly as liberal as it is reputed to be, and frankly, there’s not a ton of political discussion here, so it would be hard to know for sure.

  47. More seriously, Sterling, I believe that the people who know such things argue that there are about 500 people who regularly congregate on the bloggernacle. If you compare that to all the followers of testimony blogs, mommy blogs, and so forth, I bet we’re running even or worse. I really think ya’ll are overestimating the online influence of liberal Mormons. Meridian far outpaces us in pageviews (or I think it does. Anybody know for sure?)

  48. Also, what Kristine said. I’m not actually liberal, I only play at it when people irritate me.

  49. Would anybody support a claim that BCC is conservative, either politically or socially? I read things here — outright celebrations of the gay protest around Temple Square following Prop 8, support for gay marriage, belief that women should and will one day hold the priesthood in precisely the same way as men do, and claims that apostles really, no, really oughtn’t say the things they do because they’re going to hurt somebody’s feelings — that I don’t hear in any other Mormon venue, either online or IRL. Not that I seek out that conversation, which I don’t doubt is going on elsewhere, just not among people who like to think of themselves as more or less mainstream Mormon.

    In the context of Aaron’s definition, that, to me, is at times exceedingly annoying left-wing discourse, and justifies BCC’s liberal reputation.

  50. Thomas Parkin says:

    I’m done with being annoyed. ~

  51. Sterling Fluharty says:

    Interesting. Despite how our conservative brothers and sisters in the church label us liberal, many of actually have liberal Mormon anxiety. Maybe it is the gaze of secular liberals that leaves us feeling we are “not nearly as liberal.”

    A Google site search tells me that 815 posts at BCC use the word liberal. And the site meter at T&S gets a little over 1,000 page views per day. So is the online community of liberal Mormons making waves or is it actually inconsequential? Or should we be asking less about our online influence on others and more about the impact we have on each other? I think liberal politics suffuse much of what gets written at BCC, but I am probably sensitive to it because I was raised as a conservative.

  52. Banned Steve says:

    AP,
    In regards to deleting avant guard comments or banning participants, BBC is very very conservative, even more so than M*, unless Geoff B is having a bad day.

  53. Sterling Fluharty says:

    lol, I am falling out of my chair

  54. esodhiambo says:

    Yes.

    But is it totally preposterous that people would make personal political decisions based on their ideas of morality? I think that is natural. I think the religious right and left simply emphasize different aspects of their religion. The right say they take guidance from modern prophets (ETB et al) and the left say they take guidance from scripture and Christ. People tend to find it annoying when their coreligionists basically tell them they are all wrong and that their questionable politics make them bad people.

  55. Ardis,
    Those things don’t necessarily align with political liberalism (which is the point of axis of discussion in this post). However, I don’t think that folks here have ever claimed to be predominantly politically conservative, just that they aren’t singularly politically liberal. There is a difference.

    Sterling,
    The word count is superfluous. I don’t self-identify as liberal politically because I am not a liberal in the modern sense (and honestly may not be much of one in the classical sense). My personal political alignment is much more with the Crunchy Con movement at the moment, but that’s only on days when it can be pinned down. But all that is neither here or there. Brian and Jettboy are offensive because they are actually arguing that affiliation with a given political movement is a determinant of worthiness. I seemed to be implying the same. That’s just silly. While I can only speak for myself, I take what I hear in church very seriously and seek to apply it in my life. The implication that liberal mormons are actively seeking to disregard what the brethren have taught is insulting to them and should be insulting to anybody who hears it.

  56. “You seemed to be implying the same” is what I meant. But read that Freudian slip however you wish.

  57. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I think we are fulfilling scripture by having both liberals and conservatives in the church. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  58. Ardis, I’m new around here–do you have links to those posts? Thanks.

  59. Does anyone know what the very first post at BCC said?

    Despite the “auspicious beginning,” I don’t personally believe that the current output at BCC lives up to the liberal reputation it has obtained over the years. There is an enormous difference between saying that “BCC is liberal” and that “BCC has liberal bloggers.” Before I joined BCC, I thought it was 100% liberal to the core; although there are some crazy wacko socialists (Hi, Brad!), the political spectrum among BCC’s bloggers runs the gamut.

    Without question, one of the most important realizations of the past 8 months (since joining BCC) for me has been the way we Mormons so often and so erroneously conflate religious and political liberalism. Steve Evans’ recent post addressed this to some degree, but I think it really deserves more attention in the future.

    That said, I certainly believe that conservative opinions are more likely to be made fun of at BCC if a liberal-minded admin is on duty. This is because liberals have no actual charity unless the government mandates it. (Did I get that right, Brian? Jettboy?)

  60. Scott–do I even need to point out that that post was written by a CANADIAN?! What does some foreigner know about “liberal”??

  61. Andy,

    Keep in mind, these are posts written by individuals, not posts written collectively by all the bloggers as a statement of group opinion.

    -Support for Gay Marriage

    -Prop 8 rally

    -For women & the priesthood, you’ll have a harder time pinning anything specific down, though the topic does come up fairly frequently.

    -For telling an Apostle not to say certain things, good luck. I have no idea what Ardis is referring to on that one, though she may have some specific post in mind.

  62. Kristine,

    That post is personally one of my favorites at BCC–mostly because I have read all the archives in recent months and have very much enjoyed seeing how that first post and declaration has totally, completely, and without question failed. People can say all they want about BCC being a liberal monolith, but it just isn’t true. It can be very liberal on any given day, but when taken as a whole, there is so much faith and orthodoxy pouring out of the seams here so as to render any such claim meaningless.

  63. Also, everyone failed to get the sarcasm.

  64. Failing to get the sarcasm can get to be a habit around here.

  65. Me too, evidently!

    That said, sarcasm or not, my opinion is that BCC has changed considerably over the past 6 years from a blog that appeared to be pursuing the role of liberal monolith into a blog with some liberal bloggers, and slightly fewer conservative bloggers, but generally just a bunch of people who dislike bad reasoning and grammar/spelling (except you, SteveP).

  66. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I think it is interesting that some BCC administrators assuage their liberal Mormon anxieties by inviting less-than-liberal Latter-day Saints to become BCC bloggers. Some of us probably wonder if a better litmus test might be a poll of those of us who comment, rather than a tally of those who post.

    Thanks for the link to Steve’s essay. I didn’t read past the intro and picture the first time. I love being Mormon. And forming connections with those of differing viewpoints is part of how I see us knitting our hearts in unity and becoming a people of one heart and one mind.

  67. “I think it is interesting that some BCC administrators assuage their liberal Mormon anxieties…”

    You’re assuming rather a lot there.

  68. I think it is interesting that some BCC administrators assuage their liberal Mormon anxieties by inviting less-than-liberal Latter-day Saints to become BCC bloggers.

    Yeah, that’s not at all what I meant to say, if that’s what you thought I was implying.

  69. Sterling Fluharty says:

    Oh, the way that BCC and T&S recruited conservative bloggers this past year wasn’t a deliberate attempt to increase market share and stay competitive in the Bloggernacle once Elder Ballard inspired thousands of Mormons to start their own blogs?

  70. BCC recruited conservative bloggers this year? What the crap are you talking about?

  71. Liberal or conservative, BCC’s the only LDS hang that’s hip enough to side blog the church of Saint John Coltrane.

  72. Fake Daniel says:

    place holder

  73. (that was me, Nate. Hat tip to gst, of course.)

  74. And for the record (Scott #65), it’s true, I love bad reasoning.

  75. Au contraire, AB.

    1. Mormon Joe must find himself in an environment where a large number of other Mormons share his political views.

    I find the opposite situation to be a thriving breeding ground for annoying people in both camps.

    2. Mormon Joe must have at least prima facie grounds for convincing himself that his political views are mandated by LDS doctrine.

    I see equal opportunity (and taking of that opportunity) here as well.

  76. Sterling Fluharty says:

    I don’t have any firsthand knowledge. I am just going by impressions and recollections of what was publicly posted on the blogs. And maybe, I sadly admit, I was conflating BCC and T&S. But if you want to tell about the politics of BCC authors and how that was a factor in their selection, I am sure we will be all ears.

  77. Sterling,

    I can assure you that nobody at BCC has ever asked about the politics of an author before inviting them. Frankly, I’ve been shocked a few times, when people’s politics have become apparent after they’re aboard.

    Your hypothesis is 180 degrees wrong.

  78. As basically a Libertarian I find them all annoying. I find the Utah product particularly annoying, and that general falls into the Rabid Survivalist Mormon category, which you don’t include. But my own ramblings might amuse some of you on both sides of the argument.

    http://wp.me/F3iD

  79. Sterling,

    We all became permas in the exact same way as the earlier permas did–we paid Steve lots of money to ride his tricycle for MS.

  80. Sterling Fluharty says:

    My apologies. Your blind selection sounds interesting. Maybe it will be more democratic someday.

  81. Nope–Steve is an absolute tyrant, and unlikely to change :)

  82. Sterling,

    You may be conflating BCC and T&S. I joined T&S this year. I’m pretty sure it was due to my conservative bona fides.

  83. Obviously I was not properly vetted.

  84. Sterling, it’s not blind to everything, of course. It works like this:

    Perma 1: Hey, that person seems cool
    Perma 2: Yeah, they should do a guest post
    Perma 3: Hey, that guest post didn’t suck
    Perma 4: Yeah, they should do another guest post
    Steve: Put their name in the sidebar, whether they like it or not.

  85. Sterling has it all figured out, T&S is definitely courting conservative readers this past year. Just look at the evidence: Banishing their most vocal and consistent conservative voice, and replacing him with pretty pictures? Recruiting notorious conservatives like Rory Swensen? It’s plain as day.

  86. Nobody asked me about my politics.

    I’d also caution that posts on select topics–gay marriage, women and the priesthood–do not necessarily translate into a “conservative” or “liberal” worldview. People can feel strongly about a particular issue without adopting everything that comes with those labels, especially since those labels are so much in flux right now. I think BCC is above all a blog with many thoughtful people who like to look at data before adopting political positions.

  87. We chose Natalie because her optimism is so cute ;)

  88. Sterling Fluharty says:

    This transparency is so refreshing. But I am sure readers are still wondering how you estimate the fame and fortune that permas will bring to BCC.

  89. :)

  90. Natalie is correct, I asked her about her politics a while back.

  91. As has been pointed out in this blog, politics can be as personal as religion itself. When political views are attached to worthiness it cuts even deeper.

    Some Mormons forget that Utah used to be extremely Democratic. Eventually there was a call from the pulpit for members to sign up in the Republican Party to bring balance to the force.

    The state of Utah is an interesting example of confusion in religious conviction mixed with politics. Members of the church are strong advocates of education and many students make use of government subsidies for educational purposes. Then they vote against the parties who are trying to make to make that same opportunity for education available to more Americans.

    another example is that recently Utah was named the happiest state in the U.S. (http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/the-happiest-states-of-america/)
    However for the last 10 years Utah has maintained one of the highest suicide rates of young men in the country as well as the highest use of anti depressants. There are many references but here is one anyway (http://mormonism.suite101.com/article.cfm/utahs_high_antideprresant_usage).

    I doubt I will ever see it but I would like to hear something in GC about a moderate line rather than being silent about a dogma that seems based on something left over from the cold war.

  92. Natalie B. says:

    http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/266.html

    Another irony someone pointed out to me is that on average Republican states actually receive more in federal spending than they pay, so they in some sense are “subsidized.”

  93. StillConfused says:

    I find that the Right-ers speak as if their way is a foregone conclusion. That is annoying. But the Left-ers speak as if they think they are more enlightened, which is equally annoying. If I had to be put in a box, I guess it would be pro-business Libertarian – but generally I find all political discussions quite annoying very quickly

  94. alextvalencic says:

    I typically read all of the comments before leaving my own, but this time I wanted to leave a comment first. So if I repeat what anyone has said, I apologise,

    My observation has been that no, right-wing Mormons are not more frequently of the annoying sort than left-wing Mormons. Nor do I feel that lefties are more frequently of the annoying sort. My observation has been that the annoying sort exist in equal proportions across the spectrum.

    To put this another way, I have met many Mormons who insist that Some Political Issue is totally supported by the doctrines of the Church. These issues are all over the place, but they all feel certain that the church teaches it.

    I don’t think this is an issue of where an individual falls on the political spectrum. It is an issue of an individual not being able to separate personal conscience/agency from church policy. They feel that, since they exercising their agency in a particular manner, that choice must be aligned with church policy.

    In reality, there are many choices which we make that are choices between good and good, and the Lord really doesn’t care which choice we make in these cases.

  95. I think right-wing Mormons (inside the USofA) have an easier time taking for granted a connection between their politics (mostly just old-fashioned Rocky mountain post-1960s conservatism) and LDS doctrine than liberals do. This is due largely to the fact that most of the Mormons they encounter tend to share their political views and take for granted the connection in pretty much the same way. This also means that they aren’t used to having their political views openly challenged by co-religionists to the same degree that American left-wing Mormons are. This also means that when conservative Mormons do encounter challenges to their political ideas from other Mormons, they are probably more likely to take it as an aggressive, personal attack.

    The extremely brilliant, conservative legal scholar Michael McConnell has argued that life on most university campuses does a disservice to most liberal students because it deprives them of the opportunity to learn to defend their political beliefs. Conversely, this can be an enormous benefit to conservative university students. It also means that college-student liberals are roughly as annoying as Mormon conservatives. In my experience, this is typically the case.

    Having said that, while I know many, many LDS conservatives who probably, on some level, associate their political beliefs with Gospel Doctrine, the only ones I know who actually consider political positions to be an even remote litmus test for worthiness are bloggers. Even the really strident Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity fans (at least the ones I know personally) may seem surprised to learn that I don’t see particularly eye to eye with them politically, but they’ve never questioned my righteousness or faithfulness.

    I personally think that our political beliefs and ideals are processed along such tribal, primitive, and unenlightened neural pathways that it’s hard to extrapolate much of anything about a person’s character or moral fiber from their voting habits.

    Except Jettboy. You, sir, are a bounder and a cad.

  96. Except Jettboy. You, sir, are a bounder and a cad.

    Brad, I man-love you.

  97. Glenn Smith says:

    I find this comment from Elder Ballard helps me be patient with political opposites.

    Transcript of Interview with Elder M. Russell Ballard
    “”””Does your Church support political candidates?
    – newsroom.lds.org
    We as a Church do not get involved in political candidates of any persuasion. The reason we don’t is because we have Republicans and we have Democrats and we have Independents and we have Libertarians and we have on and on and on who are faithful Latter-day Saints. So the Church is politically neutral, but we teach our people that it’s our duty to seek out and find good honest men and women of value, with values and virtue and honestly and integrity and encourage them to run for office and then to use their agency to vote for whomever they choose. The Church does not tell anyone how to use that agency, but as a principle we have an obligation as, as citizens of our countries wherever we happen to live, be it in the United States or in other countries, to do our part to find good honest people to lead us and that’s just part of our doctrine, but we are politically neutral and we are not telling our people to support and to back any candidate. “”””
    Can you define for me what a US liberal is? And what a US conservative is? Firm definitions, for the purposes of this discussion, would do well to solidify your arguments.

    Our Canadian liberals promote anti-family policies, they crawl in bed with the socialists at every opportunity (even steal their thunder). Sometimes, our conservatives make deals with the devil, as well. You guys should try living with a minority government in a multiparty system.

  98. I think Christ would condemn division and contention between left-wing and right-wing Mormons.
    If you aren’t willing to deal with those who disagree with you with charity, without insults and assuming bad faith, without getting hot and bothered about recieving insults, and without badmouthing any of the prophets, or apostles, or even fellow saints who have not or do not share your political opinions, then you’re not following Christ.
    Who is the bigger demon, Glenn Beck or Harry Reid? Maybe neither of them is a demon: they are both human, and probably both mistaken in some of their genuine and sincere beliefs.
    Following Christ ought to take precedence over your political opinion, whatever it is. I don’t think God much cares about who is more annoying or who is annoying more: I certainly don’t. We are all commanded to cease contention and strive to become one.

  99. Aaron Brown says:

    I am away from home on a very slow computer, so I’m not going to be able to say much until tomorrow. For now …

    Morgan (8), I’m sorry but you’re simply not understanding my post. You simply need to read it again. CAREFULLY.

    Scott B (10), you’re also not understanding it. You only see a tautology because you imagine my use of “right-wing” equals the specific definition of “religious right” that you’ve set forth. But it doesn’t, so your critique of my post fails.

    Kristine, I wasn’t going to out myself politically; more fun to be falsely accused of being a doctrinaire librul! But that hasn’t happened in the thread, so I guess I’m being coy for nothing.

  100. Aaron Brown says:

    Brad, it’s hard to disagree with anything you say.

  101. My paraphrase of D&C 98:23-24
    If someone one annoys you, you probably had it coming. For one cause or another.

  102. Right-wing Mormons are more likely to be annoying.

    Left-wing Mormons are likely to be more annoying.

    Ardis for the win!

    I see ‘both sides’ using LDS doctrine to justify their positions. Since the leaders have said that there is truth in different political parties, I think it’s dangerous to adhere too closely to any political party and somehow equate that or justify it with doctrine.

    I also agree with comments that the division on these things is damaging to us as a people.

    My husband and I were talking today about how it’s sad that politics (red/blue, anyone?) and sports (red/blue, anyone?) can sometimes bring out the worst in us.

  103. I also agree with comments that the division on these things is damaging to us as a people.

    p.s. That said, I think that having different viewpoints on issues can be a good thing, if we actually seek for solutions that involve counseling and listening and seeking for truth that may include bits and pieces of both ‘sides’ (and sometimes new, different ideas beyond either ‘side’).

  104. All I can say is we should love one another and try to be united. I’m not sure what this post really does to further either of those goals. I think people who really get into this kind of topic aren’t above the problem, they are part of the problem.

  105. Aaron — You’re wrong. I am more annoying than either set for being both too liberal and too conservative at the same time.

    Or did you forget that?

    Although I think that’s one of the more verbose and reasonable sounding trolls I’ve seen in a while. Points for that.

  106. Confutus,
    I like what you’re saying, except that bad faith is exactly what motivates people to say that Dems ignore the brethren’s counsel. It is saying, “I am more righteous than you and I’m not ashamed to point it out.” I would be interested in other proposed meanings though. We may actually be dealing with a failure of charity on my part.

  107. #72 is not me. I’ve got someone who apparently has a man crush on me who created his own blog to copycat mine. His link will lead you to a fake blog and not to mine. The change is slight

    thegoodemocrat.wordpress.com is his fake site.

    thegooddemocrat.wordpress.com is mine.

  108. I have been told a couple of times that you can’t be a good Mormon and support Obama. I have seen many incidents where Harry Reid was criticized for being a Democrat (ie–how can he be a member in good standing and still vote for…)
    I have never heard the same said about Bush, Reagan, McCain (well, actually, SteveP had a post a while back about McCain, but I’m pretty sure it was a parody), or Romney.
    However, while conservative bigots do exist, the majority of conservative members, while perhaps surprised when they hear I lean liberal, do not question my faith because of it.

  109. “the majority of conservative members, while perhaps surprised when they hear I lean liberal, do not question my faith because of it.”

    Obviously, you have not been blogging enough :)

  110. John C,

    Might I paraphrase what you said as, “Confutus, but the other guy’s started it.”

    Why don’t you finish it.

    Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? -The Sausage King of Chicago

  111. Kristine and John C., your comments are the intellectual equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?” You can’t really engage.

    Furthermore, John C. you wrote:

    “Brian and Jettboy are offensive because they are actually arguing that affiliation with a given political movement is a determinant of worthiness.”

    Huh? I missed that, could it be your defensiveness is creating make believe arguments? I did not write that.

    I guess this thread is just another liberal Mormon echo chamber.

  112. Brian–read again. I acknowledged that liberals can do the same thing.

  113. 107: Wow, Daniel, that’s about as ugly a fakery as I’ve ever seen. Not that you comment that often on Keepa, or that troll-Daniel follows you there, but I’ve programmed my spam filter to trap any comment containing the fake website link.

  114. “Except Jettboy. You, sir, are a bounder and a cad.”

    How Christian of you. I bow to your superior intellect and spiritual enlightenment.

  115. That’s all I seek.

  116. John C.
    If it’s not their call to judge your righteousness on so little evidence as a political disagreement, it’s equally not your call to judge theirs on so little strength as your own mind-reading abilities.

    No one likes to be accused, whether the accusation is true or false. I have found it a difficult, but often revelatory exercise to stifle my own hurt feelings and try to understand how someone else could possibly think as they do.

  117. Mark Brown says:

    I agree with that National Review-reading conservative Republican, Aaron Brown.

    Lefty Mormons have to learn quickly how to communicate their beliefs and navigate the minefield between them and their conservative co-religionists. This forces them to become more adept at explaining themselves than almost all Righty Mormons. Therefore, they tend to be less annoying in conversation.

    Or, what Brad said.

  118. Mark Brown says:

    And Jettboy has a valid point.

    Conservative Mormons are much more likely to say “Well, that’s what God wants.” They don’t need secular reasons and they see no point in debating something that the Almighty has already decided.

    But it doesn’t make them any less annoying.

  119. Aaron B (99),

    I’m willing to entertain the idea that I misunderstand what you meant, but not really willing to entertain the idea that I misunderstand what you wrote. I also think you misunderstood what I meant, but I can see that it was my own lack of clarity in explaining my opinion.

    In particular, you stated the definition of annoying as:

    [an inability (or tendency, I would say)] to conceptually distinguish between their own deeply-held political preferences and the doctrines of the LDS Church.

    I called your question as to whether or not this tendency is more likely to be found among left- or right-wing Mormons a strawman because of the data that comprises my own personal experience–that’s all any of us can do, right? I know lots and lots of left-wing Mormons, and I know lots and lots of right-wing Mormons.

    However, with the exception of 1 or 2 people in this thread, I’ve never heard a single one of those left-wing Mormons describe their political views as related in anyway to some particular element of Mormonism–they often cite Christ’s words/actions in the NT as justification for various social programs, but Christ isn’t Mormon-specific, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison.

    On the other hand, virtually every right-wing Mormon I know, from my parents to my neighbors growing up, to my past and current ward members in multiple states, at least on some level, ascribes their political views to something more intimately related to Mormonism. Whether it be zeal for Ezra Taft Benson or someone else, all of these people experience a mild joygasm every time they see some GA quote decrying the “evils of the dole” in the priesthood manual. These people are somehow ignorant (as someone above mentioned) that Faust was a Democrat, because it doesn’t square with their perceived Politics of the Restoration, and they just can’t comprehend it. Tax policy? Tithing is flat, so should taxes! Welfare? People should be self-reliant! The Constitution? It’s hanging by a thread, and we must pull it back from the brink! Environmental policy? Jesus will return before Joseph Smith tastes death, so what’s the point?

    This need not be the case for every right-wing Mormon, but it has been for a significant proportion of those I know.

    Finally, I did not set up a definition of “religious right” at all–I tried merely to point out that the term “religious right” refers to some subset of right-wingers who espouse political views that are heavily influenced by their religion. It seems reasonable, then, that people who are most likely to be influenced by their religion in the voting booth are most likely to conflate religious doctrine and political views. In my estimation, that describes most right-wing Mormons I know. Thus, I called your statement a tautology because most of the right-wing Mormons I know well not only do conflate their politics and religion, but do so openly and intentionally.

    You yourself hit it on the head in stating that “this is all fairly obvious.” You’re right–it is obvious!

  120. I recently saw ECS or ESO (I always get them mixed up) castigate m&m for not living up to her baptismal covenants because she wouldn’t support gay marriage. Something to do with not mourning with those who mourn, I think. I don’t think this is an isolated example; in the same context, I’ve often seen people pull out the “judge not that ye be not judged” line, as though that ended the inquiry, a practice which I find particularly annoying, regardless of who uses it.

    I guess what I’m trying to say here is that to me, neither side seems to wear the white hat.

  121. Dear Brian,
    “Liberal Mormons are successful at divorcing the Mormon (Christian) idealogy from their leftwing political agenda. (Reminds me of the Catholic I overhead saying, “Who is the Pope to tell me how to live my life?”)…lefties of all stripes probably embrace this idea because generally they are so selfish they don’t make contributions to help the poor and will only do so with a government mandate.”
    Are you saying that I misinterpreted this? I took it to mean, “Liberal Mormons ignore the Brethren and liberals in general are big fat hypocrites (present company excluded to some degree), making them less righteous than conservative Mormons like me.” I would be happy for you to offer an alternate explanation of your intent.

  122. Confutus,
    I’m not mind reading, I’m word reading. If I am misinterpreting their actual words that they wrote, I am happy to be wrong, but I need some evidence aside from their basic denial. As it stands, I think a plain reading of their text indicates that they think that liberal-leaning Mormons are less righteous on general than conservative Mormons. They haven’t said anything to dispel this misinterpretation (if that is what it is) and they have said a lot to confirm it.

  123. Aaron B,
    Also, in light of my 10 & 119, don’t interpret any of this to be anything more than me simply agreeing with your original position that the righties are more annoying.

  124. I remember Ed Firmage writing in a book a few years back (okay, 20 years ago), that to link the gospel with political movements is to falsely link the eternal gospel of Christ with the institutions of men that have their ultimate ends as historical footnotes, and not as eternal principles. Or words to that effect. I am trying to unlink my political feelings from gospel principles, with somewhat limited success, and recognize them as truly the philosophies of men, etc, etc.

    That being said, I can only agree with Aaron that probably due to their numbers and apparent acceptance by the majority, the right wing political true believers are more annoying than us left leaning folks, if only because there are more of them, and we hear them more often chanting the same refrain ad nauseum. I know personally that I can be just as annoying on occasion, but I find myself thwarted because there are only three or four of us in my ward, so we generally get drowned out. That plus my wife has a sharp elbow.

    One of my first experiences after discovering the bloggernacle three years ago was a personal attack on my worthiness by Jettboy, in pretty much the same tone of voice he used here in this thread. Nonetheless, I am still active in the church, and fulfilling callings, and apparently so is he. I imagine that both of us might be in for some big surprises once we move on to our next estate.

  125. Ardis

    #113,

    Thanks. :)

  126. Daniel–I deleted the comment and blocked him from commenting here. Sorry for messing up everybody’s number references from 72 on. Maybe one of the smarter admins will put in a placeholder. [done]

  127. Thanks Kristine.

  128. Aaron — Perhaps is some of the confusion between what you said and what people are hearing to be found in your discussion of right-wing and left-wing, rather than merely right and left?

    Curious.

  129. Actually, I think there is some confusion from my failure to define what I mean by “doctrine”. By “LDS Doctrine,” I was meaning “the official, authoritative teachinigs of the LDS Church”, rather than “the teachings of Christianity” or “the teachings of the scriptures.” I think my argument works better if you use the 1st definition, rather than the 2nd. Frankly, I think most Mormons of whatever political persuasion probably expend at least some effort telling themselves that they’re views are at least consistent with (if not absolutely mandated by) true Christian principles. But the tendency to assume that official, authoritative church teachings are supportive of one’s political views is much more lopsided I think, for the reasons I’ve given.

    When I have more time, I’ll to get back to Scott B’s comments, as I think the distinction I’ve just drawn is relevant to addressing what Scott has said.

  130. Bring it, Fatty.

  131. John C.

    You can interpret it that way if you like. I provided a fairly specific hypocritical example of how the left generally supports wealth redistribution by the government, because they are less likely to make charitable contributions (i.e. lefty presidential candidates who begin or step up significantly their charitable contributions as they prep for a run at the White House).

    What I mean by divorcing the Mormon (Christian) ideology from their leftwing political agenda, is that liberal Mormons look the other way when it comes to the planks within the political party they are likely to align themselves. Your interpretation was, “Liberal Mormons ignore the Brethren and liberals in general are big fat hypocrites (present company excluded to some degree), making them less righteous than conservative Mormons like me.” The last phrase is yours not mine.

    I do think yours is an interesting position considering the multitude of posts at BCC complaining about the Church’s position on gay marriage. To reject the position on gay marriage is to reject the Proclamation on the Family, which is to reject the counsel of the Prophet. So where does that leave the liberal mormon? I don’t know. I made no judgement about worthiness. Which bring us to another annoying liberal Mormon response, “Stop judging me! Waaa Waaa Waaa” Usually worthiness is considered within the context of a temple recommend interview. I suppose somehow liberal Mormons, like Harry Reid have figured out a way to do things like sponsor a bill that funds abortions and still consider himself within the Mormon Orthodoxy. There are clearly some gymnastics going on in this regard.

    In summary John C., you were the one that made a connection to worthiness, not me.

  132. Brian,
    Please show us the multitude of posts at BCC complaining about the Church’s position on gay marriage. Please. Pleeeeeeaaaaasssssee show me the multitude of them.

  133. Brian: DUCK!

  134. Um, folks? A number of BCC posts have taken positions or made statements opposed to the official church stance on Prop 8.

    Kevin: “You all know me and know that I did not favor Proposition 8. I was sorely disappointed when it passed”

    (http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/11/08/excavating-a-sense-of-pride-over-certain-aspects-of-the-prop-8-win/)

    Brad: “I personally believe that gay marriage does not threaten families.”

    (http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/11/12/prop-8-redux-afterthoughts/)

    David K: http://bycommonconsent.com/2008/11/08/pictures-at-a-demonstration/ (among others)

    John C.: “I am pretty fundamentally supportive of the expansion of equal civil rights to all committed, long-term relationships. I believe that allowing for civil gay marriage will likely result in the strengthening of marriage as an institution in America overall. If I was in California, I would be strongly tempted to vote against Prop 8.”

    I’m sick of digging up links, but I can say for sure that there are additional statements from Russell, JNS, me, and I’m pretty sure Ronan and Kristine. And probably John Hamer.

    Compare this to wards in California with massive investment in Prop 8, letters to the editor, individual member blogs, facebook pages, discussions.

    Sometimes the critics are right. The descriptive claim that “in matters of Prop 8 and same-sex marriage, BCC (and T&S, and the bloggernacle as a whole) is not in line with general church membership” is exactly right.

  135. Brian, let me be a little more specific since it might look a little funny for me to ask for a demonstration, given that I was the one who volunteered such a piece of evidence last night (see 61). You are absolutely 100% correct that some individuals at BCC would, if given the opportunity, vote in favor of gay marriage. No one is denying that. The folks at BCC who might vote in favor of it may even be in a majority–crud, I blog here, and I don’t even know the honest answer to that question.

    I live in SoCal, and was right in the middle of the Prop 8 fight last year. I hated it. Everyone I know hated it. I still supported the Church, despite my own political preferences, and if asked to do so again, I will likely support it again. I can’t explain myself, and have long since given up trying, honestly.

    Many of my friends opposed the stance the Church has taken up to this point. Some of them opposed the Church, as well for taking that stance. I am so very grateful that the Church made it abundantly clear in each and every letter sent to California members during 2008 that such a position was ultimately a personal decision, and that agreement was not required to be a member in good standing. (If some zealous local leaders decided to say otherwise, then that is regrettable and embarrassing.)

    You say that you didn’t say anything about worthiness, but you did. You said that those who took a different stance “rejected” the Prophets. You then point out that worthiness is determined in temple recommend interviews. Last time I was interviewed, sustaining of the Prophets was a TR question.

    You made a statement about worthiness, Brian–just own it. You also declared a rejection of the Prophets on an issue for which the Prophets themselves explicitly do not demand compliance.

    I am likely more conservative than any of my co-bloggers at BCC, and while they tease me about more or less everything, I know they value me as a friend and don’t question my heart or my commitment to do good in the world. I am truly embarrassed when other more conservative members of the Church, with whom I share much in the way of political or religious beliefs, ride in here to BCC on their moral high horses and tell my friends they are unworthy, they reject the prophets, that they are selfish, and then ultimately claim that they haven’t said anything about worthiness.

    Please go now.

  136. “liberal Mormons look the other way when it comes to the planks within the political party they are likely to align themselves. ”
    Brian,
    If you aren’t calling liberal mormons unworthy, what are you calling them? Are you implying that worthy members should engage in this behavior? That all Mormons of all political bent should feel free to ignore the word of God’s prophets when it suits their political need? You seem to be making a claim that you aren’t considering the worthiness of those with whom you disagree, but you certainly seem to be accusing them of behavior I would consider unworthy (such folk wouldn’t even pass the temple recommend interview for obvious reasons). At present, I’m positing one of the following explanations: the implications of your words are the complete opposite of your intent, in which case you need to write much more clearly than you currently are; you mean to say that all men are unworthy hypocrites no matter what their political leanings, a position closer to the one I hold but a little too Calvinist for me; or you are in deep, deep denial about your own meanings.

    I don’t even know why we’re arguing. You’ve already conceded that I’m right. On that front, I’m happy to engage you whenever you want.

  137. I suppose somehow liberal Mormons, like Harry Reid have figured out a way to do things like sponsor a bill that funds abortions and still consider himself within the Mormon Orthodoxy. There are clearly some gymnastics going on in this regard.

    Are you suggesting that there exists, somewhere, a “Mormon Orthodoxy” according to which it is wrong to fund abortions? Once you’ve furnished evidence for such a fundamentally outlandish claim, you can move on to defending an assertion only implicit in your comments: namely, that conservative Mormons don’t engage in the kind of intellectual gymnastics you ascribe singularly to liberal Mormons here (e. g. immigration, anti-discrimination in housing and employment, hate crimes, etc.). The kind of pompous, self-righteous (non)arguments you’re presenting here have led to the rather unexpected result of my having a new-found respect for Jettboy.

    As an aside, it’s worth pointing out that the statement of personal position Kaimi quoted in #134 was part of a post in which I attempted to argue that even people who found the political and sociological arguments against gay marriage unconvincing or erroneous could still believe that Church leaders were inspired in their decision to oppose it.

    A few respectful, carefully-worded personal statements of differing opinion is a far, far cry from a “multitude of posts at BCC complaining about the Church’s position on gay marriage.”

  138. John C.,

    I’ll overlook your condescension and suggest one more time that you go back and reread what I wrote to see if you can find me mention worthiness, or even an implication. This last response of yours is exactly one of the annoying liberal Mormon traits I pointed out. “Don’t Judge Me! Waa Waa Waa.” Or “I’m a democrat, do you have a problem with that?” You are clearly super-sensitive and I suppose in someway looking for more orthodox Mormons to somehow validate positions you embrace, but with which you are not entirely comfortable. You brought worthiness up and made a connection, not me. If what I wrote made you feel unworthy in some way, that is not my problem.

  139. Brian, in what convoluted universe does accusing someone of rejecting the counsel of the prophet not implicate their worthiness (even if you don’t technically use the word “worthiness” in the accusation)?

  140. I’ll put it differently: claiming that accusing someone of rejecting prophetic counsel does not have bearing on their worthiness is not a very, ahem, “orthodox” position…

  141. I should have been more clear in my comment. I was reacting to what seemed like an overstated rejection of the idea that BCC posts have not complained about the church’s position on SSM.

    I am certainly aware that posts by John and Kevin and others (and me!) have carefully tried to take nuanced middle-ground positions. I appreciate that approach, and I personally think that it is a good idea.

    However, I think that nuanced middle-ground positions (as much as I like them) are clearly on the left end of the spectrum. Statements from church leaders have not been nuanced middle-ground, they have been wholehearted support for Prop 8. And even as people like me have tried to carefully avoid actively opposing the church’s position, we are clearly outside of the mainstream on this.

    The official FP letter said, “We ask that you do all you can to support the proposed constitutional amendment by donating of your means and time to assure that marriage in California is legally defined as being between a man and a woman.” Did I do this? No, I didn’t. I don’t think that any of us did. We are outside of the mainstream on Prop 8 issues.

    That’s all I was trying to say. To the extent that critics make that sort of descriptive claim, I think they are correct.

    I apologize if I mischaracterized or implied any mischaracterization of any other person’s substantive views.

  142. Scott B.

    Isn’t everything a personal decision? I suppose you could be a person who doesn’t believe in the Resurrection, for example, and still pass a TR interview. Does it make you unworthy? Someone could doubt the authenticity of the Book of Mormon, that wouldn’t make them unworthy, would it? Everything is a personal decision. David O. McKay said Mormons don’t have to all believe the same thing. As if there is a test for membership.

    I’m not going to own an accusation thrown at me by a paranoid, but if it helps you make in-roads somewhere go ahead and keep writing it.

  143. Brad,

    See #142.

  144. Brian, that’s a perfectly legitimate response to #s 139 and 140 (though, it could still be argued that your position, which I share, is less than orthodox…). That said, I’d still appreciate a response to the points raised in #137.

  145. Kaimi, I’m fine with the claim that some of us are outside of the LDS mainstream on this or that issue. That is, as it happens, an accusation I am personally willing to own. But it’s still not at all the same thing as a “multitude of posts at BCC complaining about the Church’s position on gay marriage,” against which Scott’s #132 seemed directed.

  146. Steve Evans says:

    What Brad said. Kaimi’s description is fairly inaccurate, as he ought to have known. It’s not Brian-level off, but it’s off.

  147. Brian,
    You’re right–it’s all a personal decision, and only you can decide for yourself whether or not you’ve peered into the souls of men and judged their whole person–or even their actions alone–righteously.

  148. I blame Google Wave. I thought that I was ordering Chinese take-out, but instead I posted a comment at BCC. Hey, I’m still figuring this stuff out.

  149. If we’re going to talk about our stands on gay marriage, let’s at least take stands on a related issue of profound importance:

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2006/06/02/pimp-my-eternally-gay-marriage-poll/

  150. Brian, if that’s all you’re hearing Scott say, than you have a hearing problem. I recommend you get that checked out. You can start with this website:

    http://www.locateadoc.com/doctors/ent.html.

  151. John C.

    My point is that if someone suggests that your political views are out of line with the teachings of the prophets and so are you, the best response is not to claim that they are unrighteously judging you. Even if it looks very much like they are.

    I saw the three-to-twelve year old version of that when I was growing up. “You’re not doing what Dad told us”. “Neither are you, so you’re just as bad”. This cycle of charge and countercharge created a lot of bitterness and hard feeling. It never solved a single thing that I ever saw, and I saw a lot of it. Yes, and I was a participant too, until I started to seriously think on Matt 3-5. Even then it wasn’t easy to get out of the cycle.

  152. While we’re tallying apostate-and-not posts, I would like to note that I wrote a post in support of Protecting Marriage, and using firearms to do so. If that’s not conservative, what is??

  153. You’re right Cynthia. You win the Sarah Palin Award for righteous female badassery. Congrats and good luck.

  154. Brian,
    I have to say that your take on personal worthiness is bold and innovative, but I think it goes too far. I happen to think that one’s decision to reject the counsel of the Brethren has some effect one’s personal worthiness.

    At this point, I would like you to pause and consider a couple of things:
    1. I, like you, disagreed with Aaron
    2. Of the people who disagreed with Aaron, only a select few (yourself included) were assumed to be acting in bad faith. There were similarities in their approach. Open your eyes and consider how that first comment sounded to the complete strangers with whom you were discussing things on the internet.

    Confutus,
    Right back atcha, dude. Keep it real.

  155. Stephanie says:

    Speaking of Sarah Palin, DH came home last night and looked at me a little weird and said, “You look like Sarah Palin”. I looked in the mirror, and yes, I did! With my hair swept up and my glasses and my make-up a bit smoky, I really did resemble Palin. (um, so can I have an award for righteous female bada*sery, too?)

  156. “To reject the position on gay marriage is to reject the Proclamation on the Family, which is to reject the counsel of the Prophet.”

    I am not a proponent of same sex marriage.

    I realize that those who oppose same sex marriage can find implicit support in the Proclamation on the Family. But I do not see that governmental recognition of same sex marriage (or civil unions or domestic partnerships) is explicitly addressed in the Proclamation.

    The only statement with respect to governmental matters is the last sentence, as follows: “We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”

    While the Brethren have decreed, outside of the Proclamation, that governmental recognition of same sex marriage would not strengthen, or would weaken, heterosexual marriage and family, the Proclamation itself does not state that.

    If the Brethren were to reverse the opposition to same sex marriage, it would not be difficult to reconcile the change with the Proclamation.

  157. Did some one make this comment already?

    This statement is necessary but not sufficient to define annoying:

    2. Mormon Joe must have at least prima facie grounds for convincing himself that his political views are mandated by LDS doctrine.

    In order to be truely annoying, Mormon Joe must think that anyone who disagrees with him is in opposition to God and should be cast out or excoriated.

    There are plenty of lefties who read socialism into the D&C and the New Testament but who do not condemn to hell all those who do not believe in socialism. However there are many righties, including bishops and stake presidents, ready to excommunicate the prop 8 disbelievers.

  158. 1. Liberal Mormons are those who use the Word of Wisdom to justify their vegetarianism, and who hate BYU.

    2. Conservative Mormons think Max Hall is Edward.

  159. Conservative Mormons forget that there is an entire world of members who live outside Utah or the USA, who don’t even know what Republicans or Democrats are…

  160. You know, for every Liberal Mormon who rejects the position on gay marriage, which rejects the Proclamation on the Family, which rejects the counsel of the prophet (which lived in the house that Jack built), I could raise you a Conservative Mormon who, by agreeing with and defending the Bush Doctrine of preemptive war, rejects D&C 98. Which is more annoying? Whoever’s most sanctimonious about why they’re going with the political answer rather than the doctrinal one.

  161. “Conservative Mormons think Max Hall is Edward.”

    Well I think that Jacob is classless, that his fans are classless, and that his wolf pack is classless.

  162. What I find obnoxious are the muttered, yet discernible phrases spoken during a lesson that the mutterer believes reinforces a certain political view or demonstrates how a certain politician is evil reincarnate.

    I’ve found in a certainly unscientific record the mutterers are extremely conservative.

  163. So for being so late to the conversation with this key contribution, but I believe that I have a bumper sticker that’s somewhat helpful on this topic:

    http://www.zazzle.com/in_many_contexts_what_would_jesus_do_is_not_bumper_sticker-128912001567604920

    That particular slogan is endorsed by Nate Oman, and I urge all of you to buy it. Thank you.

  164. Sorry

  165. All you had to do read the lds pro and con sides of Prop 8 to see that both are equally annoying.

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