Signs, appearances, and blogging

Although our distant Mormon past encompasses fascinating tales of Mormons manipulating their appearances to protect their community, contemporary Mormons often look (perhaps too much) at external appearances to measure others’ degrees of compliance with mainstream Mormon standards.  It is by no means uncommon to check if fellow Mormons wear garments, to measure each other by the color of our shirts or the length of our skirts, or even to guess if the family in the picture is Mormon.  In short, we care a lot about being able to measure people’s reactions to us or their ideas based on outward signs and appearances that let us know if they are Mormon.

While these habits can undoubtedly lead to painful consequences when we wrongly judge or exclude others, they are also quite useful, especially to a community that often feels “persecuted” by outsiders.  Like any other status symbols, these telltale signs let us make swift, efficient judgments that help us navigate our society when we lack time to closely examine each person we encounter. They play crucial roles in helping us assess the backgrounds of the people we meet so that we can better respond to them and weigh their ideas.  But these signs that play such a large role (for good or bad) within our lives in real space are missing in the Bloggernaccle.

Mormon blogs, like other digital sites, pose fundamental security problems and disrupt our ability to measure each other’s status as Mormons.  In a space where many authors are semi-anonymous, it is difficult for many readers to evaluate a writer’s intent, background, and credibility.  Often, it is simply impossible to know whether the writer is active or inactive, a member or the church or just a friend, male or female, trustworthy about sources or not.  It is equally difficult for writers to evaluate their readers’ intentions and identities.

In a space where we cannot accurately gauge the identities of those with whom we interact in what nevertheless feels like a community, new anxieties and opportunities are thereby introduced.   On the one hand, with often nothing to evaluate community members with other than the words they write, we develop a trust that their words reflect their “true” identities to an extent that we might not in other places.  We might therefore find people becoming more uneasy with reminders that blog posts occasionally borrow from fiction than we might where it is easier to draw a line between a person and the fiction they write.  We might worry more about people who invade a community with intentions that we don’t like.  On the other hand, placing weight in people’s words while not being able to see other identity markers enables us to know people and religion in ways that are not possible in real life church settings–males and females talk more freely, more attention is paid to texts and history, people in all stages of church activity can mingle.  Despite all the potential for people to masquerade on the blog, interactions in the blogging community often feels more genuine to me than the ones I have with Mormons in traditional settings.

What are your thoughts about how the inability to verify identity in blogging communities might change or disrupt the reliance we place on identifying each other as Mormons in real space?  How does this identity problem change what kinds of writing we produce on blogs?  What creates credibility in anonymous bloggers or detracts from it?

Note: Please limit this discussion to how these issues play out in current Mormon blogs, not in ones that have been laid to rest!

Comments

  1. I’ve been thinking about this more lately, perhaps it was all the interviews I heard for the book “Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives.” It made me remember how I drew on Jon Hamer’s Milk Strippings post and as a class member, made it a major factor in my Sunday School class that week. Jon’s great and all, but was that really appropriate?

  2. This one time, at BoH…oh, never mind.

    “It made me remember how I drew on Jon Hamer’s Milk Strippings post and as a class member, made it a major factor in my Sunday School class that week. Jon’s great and all, but was that really appropriate?”

    Why would it not be?

    “What are your thoughts about how the inability to verify identity in blogging communities might change or disrupt the reliance we place on identifying each other as Mormons in real space?”

    I actually know a lot more about the views on the Church and its doctrines (and in many cases, personal histories, of people in the nacle than I do of people in my ward. After all, we never really talk about that much regarding our personal faith stories and views on various issues of doctrine in church. We do that in the nacle all the time. So yes, there’s more anonimity of a certain kind online, and there’s more potential for total anonimity, but I trust what Kevin Barney says about any given gospel subject a lot more than anyone in my ward.

    “How does this identity problem change what kinds of writing we produce on blogs?”

    I don’t think it changes the kind of writing we produce. I think the kind of writing that you get on blogs is pretty much understood by everyone who has been around the nacle for more than a day or two. What the anonymity issue does is create more possibilty for outright hostility and rudeness in the comments than you would ordinarily see in real life interactions.

    “What creates credibility in anonymous bloggers or detracts from it?”

    Anonymous bloggers have no credibility. Period. Credibility comes as you learn about a bloggers personal history and credentials. Until you know a few things like that, there’s no reason to accept anything they say.

    That’s not really very different than real life interactions. You don’t automatically give credibility to someone just because you notice they are wearing garments, but you might once you know more about their background. It’s much more likely that real life appearances can detract from credibility rather than enhance it.

    A good example would be someone trying to have a serious scriptural discussion while wearing a mini skirt and a tube top. It may be a snap judgment, but I just can’t ever take Steve Evans seriously when he dresses that way.

  3. Stephanie says:

    All you need to know about me is that I am one hot babe. I look 21 but have 5 perfect children. Seriously.

  4. Eric Russell says:

    I generally skim/skip comments from noobs and anons. Credibility comes with time (assuming, of course, that one is actually seeking it.)

  5. Steve Evans says:

    What Eric said.

  6. I think even with time, sometimes we too easily can keep others trapped in a box we have created for them based on the image we have in our minds from their words, or on different roles we may end up playing in online dynamics. This doesn’t just happen with anon bloggers, imo. I try to remind myself often that there is still so much I don’t know about others, even those whose words I have read for years now, and even those whom I have met in person.

    That said, I have felt a strong connection with so many people through just their words. And some of my dearest real-life friends have been found online.

    Despite all the potential for people to masquerade on the blog, interactions in the blogging community often feels more genuine to me than the ones I have with Mormons in traditional settings.

    I think honesty and charity can help build credibility and increase ability to communicate. For whatever reason, it’s often easier to write behind a screen than be honest in person. That is both good and bad – -the honesty is good, but if we only do that behind screens, I think we sell ourselves short in real life when we don’t do this more with each other in our church relationships (and of course in family, etc.). Could Elder Bednar’s words apply here about being careful that electronic life doesn’t replace real life in our wards? Reminds me of an awesome post Steve wrote here a while back about how, ultimately, our real-life interactions need to have a place of priority.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

  7. Bogolubov says:

    I’m curious about the statement that anonymous bloggers should be disregarded. Does that mean the entire post on depression should be ignored?

  8. #8- That’s ridiculous, and you know it. The depressions series is comprised, as publicly stated in the intro, entirely of BCC permas. Because of what BCC is, and the credibility earned through time and due diligence, BCC can do this. If we were a brand new blog, and did not have relationships with our readers, I doubt the series would carry the weight it does.

  9. First time commenter at BCC here (I think).

    There are many reasons I enjoy the bloggernacle, and one of them is because I feel comfortable expressing ideas and opinions that I would feel completely uncomfortable expressing in Church. For example, it would be quite uncomfortable both for me and for other class members were I to discuss speculations about universalism in Sunday School. I can do that honestly and openly on the internet, and I can take time to word myself the way I want to.

    It’s somewhat like a secret ballot. I can express my sometimes unorthodox opinions without worrying about how my ward members will look at me.
    It is liberating.

  10. Mommie Dearest says:

    I always read noobs and anons, and judge what they have to say at face value. Unfortunately this can lead to getting caught in a troll’s trap from time to time. I have learned by sad experience to sit on my hands and observe for a while.

    The depression series is something of a phenomenon, I think. Does it get more hits than usual?

  11. Bogolubov says:

    Hi Tracy M –

    Perhaps my miscommunication is an example of the problems this post is attempting to illuminate. The statement I was referring to in comment number 2 is very explicit: “Anonymous bloggers have no credibility. Period.” which I took to mean no exceptions. My question was an honest one.

  12. Natalie,

    “We might worry more about people who invade a community with intentions that we don’t like. On the other hand, [this]…enables us to know people and our religion in ways that are not possible in real life church settings”

    Worry not. These posts are the only way for people like me who will never meet you in real life church settings to get to know you, so thank you for graciously allowing me to invade your community. Young missionaries, for all their zeal and optimism, are not the best vehicle to get past the stereotypes. Until the depression posts, I never even thought that Mormons could be depressed! I never knew there was the slightest intramural angst or disagreement about SSM. I never knew about the whole lime jello fetish.

    At times I do feel like an interloper. Maybe I am projecting: if I were straight and Mormon, would I find this level of access on a non-Mormon gay blog? Probably not. The feeling of camaraderie at BCC makes me wonder why the same is not possible in my own real-life relationships.

    At other times, I suspect that the almost obligatory niceness of BCC (enforced ruthlessly and not without irony by those with the bannination stick) is really not so very different from the killer one-line zingers laced with self-righteous rage with which I have ended many a blog post or comment elsewhere: shibboleths both, the better to gauge the intentions and street-cred of our interlocutors (or would that be interscriptors?), just as an animal that sees only movement might charge at nothing in hopes of flushing hidden prey. With such well-honed defenses, BCC need not fear the “fundamental security problems” that poseurs might pose. Authenticity is a hard think to sustain. I always sign my comments in the hope that people will come to give me the benefit of the doubt on my intentions.

    The hope of belonging, tinged by the fear of being rejected: these are the emotions that make me ever vigilent for the appearance of signs that I might be overstaying my welcome. Until that time comes, thanks again for letting me crash the party.

  13. I agree with #7 m&m. While there is a risk that the relative anonymity will embolden some to ‘flame’, my observation is that it also encourages people to speak more frankly about ideas and concerns than they might otherwise do in a less anonymous setting. In that way, the anonymity may be helpful if it encourages honest questions and expressions of thought.

  14. Bogey: Tracy’s answer was an honest one, too. The authors of the Depression Series are not “anonymous bloggers”, as the introduction to that series made clear. If you can’t understand that difference, then you don’t know what “anonymous” means. We know those authors. We don’t know anything about some yahoo who blogs or comments under an unknown name not linked to any explanatory source. Can you see the difference?

  15. I can express my sometimes unorthodox opinions without worrying about how my ward members will look at me.

    Isn’t this potentially a bit of a self-perpectuating problem, though? (Not picking on you here…just a general comment/question that I have been thinking a lot about lately.) If we never give our ward members a chance to understand what lies beyond our Sunday faces (even though, granted that Sunday meetings may not always be the best place for such discussion), we sort of continue and contribute to what people sometimes complain about — that sometimes our wards may not feel like a safe place or may feel be as genuine or whatever.

    The kind of time and investment it takes online to be able to create a space where there is some ability, familiarity, and safety to share is not insignificant. I wonder if we really put that kind of investment into our wards what they might be like, too.

    Of course, some challenges just necessitate anonymity and that adds a layer of complexity to all of this.

  16. I don’t disagree with you m&m. It is a self-perpetuating problem if we never express differing viewpoints in Church. I try on occasion when it feels appropriate to do so, but in my current situation (younger than most people in the ward and new to the ward) I simply haven’t yet established myself as someone worth listening to.
    Two Sundays ago I openly, but respectfully, disagreed with a brother in EQ on a minor and non-essential doctrinal point. In the moment it felt important to do so, but later I felt that I may have crossed an invisible line and somehow caused unwanted tension. Maybe it was all in my head (my wife thinks so, no surprise). I’d love to have honest and open discussion about the doctrines of the kingdom in Church, but my few attempts have not gone well.

    And lest I get passed over as an anonymous yahoo noob, I’ve linked my name to my blog this time. :)

  17. Peter LLC says:

    If you can’t understand that difference, then you don’t know what “anonymous” means. We know those authors. We don’t know anything about some yahoo who blogs or comments under an unknown name not linked to any explanatory source.

    Correction: You and a handful of Socs know those authors. But many commentors at the BCC are Greasers and don’t know them from Bob Sheldon. And I believe you put too much stock in self-censored “explanatory sources” as a means of overcoming internet anonymity. You could sign every post with your alma mater, your iPod playlist, and a picture of your favorite desert and you’d still just be some yahoo on the internet. The problem isn’t pseudonyms, it’s that we don’t interact IRL.

  18. Natalie B. says:

    #10: I actually wrote a paper in graduate school about a 19th C debate over whether newspaper/journal articles should be signed or not and to what extent that decision made the author more or less socially responsible. The debate drew explicitly on analogies to debates over whether the ballot should be secret or not.

  19. John Mansfield says:

    Anonymity is a minor factor compared to two others that I consider much greater:

    1) Frequent written communication by its nature is content rich. The fraction that is taken up with “small talk” is much smaller. Line upon line of text have to communicate something. Most of my courting of my wife occurred by mail. (No anonymity involved.) Spending a couple hours at desk composing thoughts brought out more about us than a couple hours sitting together did, especially in the early stages.

    2) Those communicating with one another in these Mormon web logs have nothing else they are trying to take care of together. We’re not working out a budget or planning who will take care of a thousand boring things. We’re just writing about what is on our minds; that is our only dealing one with another.

    Observing that second factor particularly has led me to try digging a little deeper in my communications with my fellow ward members, to bring up in conversation weird thoughts that don’t merely deal with the immediate tasks at hand. The results have been mixed.

  20. I wonder how long it will be before we are able to comfortably accept that relationships formed online are just as real as those formed “in real life”… I began having this argument with my mother back in the early-to-mid-90s and it has never changed one bit. Folks will say, “Oh, but you can never be sure who these people online really are.” I respond, “Can you ever be sure anyone is who they say they are? Have you seen ‘The Truman Show’???”

    I have no problem accepting the credibility of statements made according to my own judgement call. I have to do this in face-to-face interactions, as well. We all have to make these calls, and although Fox Mulder would have us do otherwise, we have to have trust in some people.

    As far as being anonymous goes, I used to be part of the camp that believed it was important to have a handle/pseudonym online. I eventually decided that, with the advent of social networking, there is enough out there about me already that if someone wanted to track me down, they could. I suppose it is possible that a future employer could stumble upon my writings here and be displeased, but I’m a small business owner already, and any jobs I get teaching will be based on my credibility as a teacher, not as a Mormon. Furthermore, I have no fear of members of my ward/stake seeing my comments here. I frequently share the same things in Bishopric meetings, EQ, and even in my Primary class (although the last there is always adjusted to an age-appropriate level). The only thing that makes life difficult for me when I want to cite an anonymous person, or a pseudonymous person, is that it is really awkward to say, outside of online forums, things like, “As I once heard ‘Purple People Eater’ say…” But I respect others’ desires to stay obscure.

  21. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 13
    Getting to know a few Mormons in the non-cyber world would make your participation in the Bloggernacle more meaningful, Dan. I’m not suggesting you join the Church in high school and then leave after a year or so (oops), then develop a lifelong interest in Mormonism (OK, so I am odd). But you might consider attending a Sunstone conference or a Bloggersnacker. Hang with some Latter-day Saints and you will find a delightful, vibrant subculture quite different from the one you and I are used to. You will also understand why “obligatory niceness” is the norm here on BCC. This probably is the edgiest place in Mormon culture, believe it or not.

    I agree with everybody else’s comments that long-term participation under the same moniker makes a big difference. Don’t you ever wonder what some of the people in here actually look like??

  22. Peter, I’m going to call you Ponyboy from now on. And for the record, my favorite desert is the Gobi. I think that says everything about me that anyone needs to know. And I believe you put too much stock in interaction IRL. Just seeing someone’s face doesn’t mean you know who they really are. We have a lot more info about many of the people we interact with here than we do about many of the people we see in real life.

  23. Natalie, I think the concept you are searching for is “signaling.” The idea comes out of information economics, describing how, in an asymmetric information environment, individuals possessed of a certain desirable trait or property will invest in a (costly) signal to inform others (who otherwise might have no way of discerning these traits) of the signalling parties’ possession of that trait or property.

    Blogging certainly displays assymetric information. I think mainstream Mormon bloggers can signal their orthodoxy by the links on their sidebar, by the formality, informality, or rudeness of the language they use (“Elder Packer” versus “Packer” versue “BKP”), by the care or laxity with which comments are monitored, and by the post topics selected or avoided.

  24. Bogolubov says:

    Thanks MCQ for pointing out the fact that I am indeed a simpleton. I had forgotten that the distinction between anonymous sex and pseudonym sex had already been clearly explained to be by what’s her name at that one place.

    while there clearly is a distinction , I’m not sure it’s relevant from a practical standpoint. You know the authors, but I don’t any more than they know me – a situation that wouldn’t change in the slightest even if I used my real name or vice versa.

    I quite enjoyed the posts regardless and never doubted their authenticity in the first place. Perhaps some day the same courtesy will be extended my way.

  25. Steve Evans says:

    Maybe, Bogo, but I wouldn’t count on it.

  26. Peter LLC says:

    We have a lot more info about many of the people we interact with here than we do about many of the people we see in real life.

    True. For example, yesterday I learned that a certain Bryce makes one of my relatives laugh. At least that’s what she said. For all I know it could be wishful thinking. That said, I’m all about reign shadows.

  27. Some, nay many, of us have tried to dig deeper in our own wards, and have met with varied success or have crashed-and-burned. The relationships we have via the bloggernacle is different, in my experience, that relationships forged in other online areas.

    There is a depth of discussion that is brought out here, and over time, some deep and meaningful bonds have are formed. I may not have ever sat at a table and broken bread with MikeInWeHo, but I certainly know more about him, (and like him better) than some folks in my own family.

    There are literally dozens of names like Mike. And a great many of them have made the jump from online to real-life friends. This has enriched my life in ways I never anticipated, and to a depth that constantly surprises me.

    I refuse to accept the suggestion that I could achieve the same level of communication with my ward if only I tried harder. John Mansfield and Alex Valencic both make important points.

  28. MikeInWeHo says:

    Aaahhh, shucks. Thanks, Tracy. I’d gladly trade you for a few of my relatives as well.

    OK, now I’m motivated. We’ve got to have a SoCal bloggersnacker for the L.A.-area folks here. For a while now I’ve had this idea in my head of taking over the back dining room at El Coyote some evening. It would be just ideal, and you could all get to know Margie Christoffersen to boot.

  29. Antihero says:

    As a dedicated lurker and occasional commenter, I feel that I can see some of the relationships that exist among the core group of bloggers for BCC. Like others, I think that I do know more about your beliefs, ideals, etc, as a group than I do of my own ward. What this has done, for me in particular, and I am sure for a ever-growing group of lurkers and occasional readers, is given us the ability to attempt to answer questions we have, to commiserate with someone who may have the same difficulties we do, to openly discus matters that you may fear to with members of your own ward. What I love is that this is how I feel it should be. I want to choose who I discuss many subjects with. I don’t necessarily want to discuss many of these topics with members of my ward, and locales like BCC and others allow me to be involved with topics I am interested and people whose ideas I have come to either respect, enjoy, or disagree with, of my own volition. I appreciate the freedom to come and go, to disagree and agree, and to know that as long a I do not make a troll of myself I can be welcome.

    Wow. That’s the longest response I’ve ever written for a blog.

  30. Antihero, we could almost cut and paste that into our Comments Policy. :) Thanks for finally commenting.

  31. Just out of curiosity, in the context of this discussion, or perhaps in general, do we consider bloggers to include those who write the OPs as well as those who only comment? Or are those who comment considered a different category? How does the term perma-blogger fit into the mix?

  32. MikeInWeHo says:

    Perma-bloggers have the glory of the sun. People who write guest posts have the glory of the moon. Commenters have the glory of the stars. People banned by Steve Evans go to Outer Bloggness and are never seen again.

  33. Joining the conversation at a blog is a little like sitting down at a banquet already underway. There is a dynamic, personalities, and a conversation already well-established. The fact that the newcomer doesn’t understand everything being said in not the fault of the people already partaking. A newcomer with manners understands that s/he must sit a moment, get the bearings, and listen the temper of the table. Then, as they join the conversation, they try and do by adding something to the already streaming discussion, and the others at the table will likely notice and engage, and thus social grace happens.

    If the newcomer sits down at the banquet and loudly proclaims, after no social niceties, that this conversation is dumb because they don’t know what is going on, you can hardly blame the people already engaged with one another for ignoring the rude person. If the person then loudly complains that no one is listening to them, you can hardly blame the others for barely glancing in his/her direction. And perhaps tossing a blob of mashed potatoes in their general direction.

    You see, the people already partaking of the banquet have invested time and energy to create a feast. They have sat quietly and gotten to know one another. They have organically gotten to know one another, and they welcome new voices. It energizes everyone to have new opinions and new ideas. The table is large, and there are many different conversations going on, and there is room for everyone.

    But if you stand up on your chair and proclaim the feast lame, and the people rude because no one responded to your initial tepid foray in the melee, most of which no one even heard, you will have food pelted at you, and then the conversation will resume. Without you.

  34. MikeInWeHo (29)
    SB2 and I were actually supposed to host one this coming weekend in the OC, but we seem to have forgotten about it. We will repent. Announcing it here–with a more official announcement forthcoming:

    BCC SoCal Bloggersnacker: Coming in March/April 2010. (suggestions for dates are welcome)

  35. I’ve actually met and made a couple of valuable friendships via commenting here the last 3 years or so. People I have actually met in real life.

    But I don’t get to see them every day, and that more frequent interaction is what makes this so interesting and helpful. I feel that I know many of you, even though I really don’t know you at all.

    At the risk, though, of alienating myself here, don’t kid yourselves if you don’t think that BCC commenters and permas don’t both display BCC cultural markers, and look for them in each other. Noobies often get a rough treatment if they don’t display some of those desired markers right off the bat. I was lucky, and got a nice treatment in the beginning here, but got nailed by Jettboy elsewhere. So It’s no mystery why I comment here and at about two other blogs normally, and not at many others. As a commenter, you get to know where you are most welcome in a big hurry. We still look for virtual “garment lines” and the tell tale signs of “lefty cool” here. BCC is mostly orthodox, but nonetheless an orthodoxy that likes to display its intellectual and reform-minded street cred as well.

    Just the same, I like hanging out here to validate certain aspects of my personality that I don’t get much at Church on Sunday. I get a different validation there, but neither one is complete without the other.

  36. Steve Evans says:

    “virtual garment lines”??!??!

  37. Yeah, Steve. Like this: :)

  38. Steve Evans says:

    oh I hate thee. From Hell’s heart I stab at thee!

  39. Kristine says:

    “(“Elder Packer” versus “Packer” versue “BKP”)”

    Seriously??? If I type out Elder Packer you’ll think I’m more devout than if I abbreviate with his initials? I suppose to really signal that I’m a believer I would need to say Elder Boyd K. Packer. And is it more or less respectful if you reveal what the initial stands for? Is “Elder Lee Tom Perry” more or less respectful than “Elder L. Tom Perry”?

  40. And yet, your thee-thou-thy language demonstrates that you clearly respect and look up to me.

  41. Kristine, you people are all disrespectful. It’s _President_ Packer.

    Sheesh.

  42. Steve Evans says:

    Kristine, I would think that Elder Packer is probably more respectful than just ‘Packer’, but that says nothing of devotion, to be sure. Plenty of antimormons would call him Elder Packer.

    BKP on the other hand strikes me as just an easy abbreviation with no real intent behind it…

  43. Steve, don’t kid yourself. BCC attracts a pretty diverse group, including non-members and non-traditional members. By “virtual garment lines” I only meant that there is a high expectation that certain LDS values and a respect for the church must be maintained, not that we are looking only for TR bearing members here. BCC reflects a certain mindset. I like it. But realistically, people who don’t share that mindset usually find themselves not welcome in a hurry.

    Perhaps “virtual garment lines” and “lefty cool” were poor choices for the typical BCC cultural markers, but they are there just the same. It’s not negative, but since the OP was bout signs and appearances, and how that differs in the bloggernaccle, I thought it appropriate to try and point that out.

  44. Kristine says:

    Steve, that fits with my thoughts, as well. I wouldn’t say “Packer,” although until this moment I would never have thought I was sending an important signal thereby. When I abbreviate to BKP, it’s just to type less. (When I want to signal willingness to criticize President Packer, I generally do so by vociferously disagreeing with his opinions on a variety of topics).

  45. 35 I no longer live in the LA area, but if you happened to have it at Roscoe’s Chicken in Waffles (may I suggest the larger LB location), I would drive out just to gawk. When I go there I don’t know which I prefer – the delicious fried chicken unpretentiously placed next to amazing waffles; or the rows of black people giving me the ‘what’s whitey doing here’ looks. I can only imagine a large number of Mormons trying to invade all at once.

  46. (I’m a sad and lonely comment that will never be recognized or acknowledged by MCQ because I come from an anonymous newbie source)
    If a question is asked by an anonymous commentor to MCQ, does it make a sound?

  47. Bogolubov says:

    Hi Tracy M –

    Point taken. Perhaps I should clarify and explain that I joined the dinner discussion simply because I found the hosts well read, thoughtful and quite funny at times. My one strong objection was talking about quite personal decisions in highly analytic terms. My intention wasn’t to call the discussion or its participants lame.

    Perhaps it’s best I relegate myself to the kids’ table or spent a few minutes on timeout with my nose in the corner (where paradoxically the best teaching seems to take place anyway).

    But it is a loss for me. And food fights were always fun especially with mashed potatoes.

    Geoffrey Alan Cope

    (Not to be confused with the world famous cricketeer or the multitude of other Geoffs who post)

  48. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

  49. Having read a number of comments by MikeInWeHo, I found comment 22 really enlightening. I’ve always (for a whole two months now) wondered why he had an interest in hanging out on Mormon-themed blogs. Does BCC have a Roll-Call post hidden somewhere that I’m unaware of? I’d love to read more about some of the non-Permas who lurk and comment here.

  50. 152,
    No. The only commenters who we make a big deal out of and spotlight are the sort who dust their virtual feet off on us or tell clinically depressed people that they just don’t _believe_ enough.

  51. John Mansfield says:

    Pseudonyms are generally harder for me to place in memory than ordinary first name/last name combinations, so for my purposes it would work better if those wishing to preserve privacy called themselves something like Mark Twain or George Orwell (although those two are already taken). The common first name, used alone as though everyone should know who “Sarah” or “George” is, is a bit bothersome, especially when some other Sarah/George shows up, and the one true Sarah/George feels it necessary to clarify that the interloper is not who you may have been thinking of. If uniqueness of identity matters enough to generate clarifying remarks, then a less common label would be helpful.

  52. hellsbelle says:

    In all honesty-and no intent to offend-

    To my knowledge (don’t like working with assumptions) Bogolubov posted for the first time here what…yesterday? Two days at most?

    Yet every time he asks a simple question, someone “assumes” what he should or shouldn’t know, privately determines his intentions, and replies with something other than “obligatory niceness”.

    That behavior is what makes the cost of entry into the BCC community very high for new people. It limits your diversity because those people who don’t think, write, and react in the same way you do have zero reason to stay, and thus there is no internal pressure to change and grow. It creates the exact same organizational flaws in BCC that some here avoid other organizations because of.

    How are visitors-who-would-be-regulars who might “doubt certain things said here, or aren’t comfortable in the BCC environment” treated? Are they welcomed and accepted and asked to stay or are they treated with disdain and told to leave? (or forced) Are there “voices” here that suggest more tolerance or change? Are they listened to? Or do those in charge just do whatever they think is best and suggest that those who don’t love it can leave it?

    Everyone hides something. I choose to protect my privacy and identity online because I have personal knowledge of how much every single thing you and I post on the internet increases the risk to our personal/financial/family security (attend just one class at one DEF CON if you never want to sleep at night again).

    But I am essentially the same person online as I am in person, and it doesn’t matter whether you believe me or not. I was blessed to have wise parents and wise leaders and friends who taught me that I am responsible for my own behavior no matter where I’m at and no matter where those I’m interacting with are at. I am responsible for every idle word or thought I have, and I never forget that they have the power to condemn me.

    The greatest, most noble, and praiseworthy examples in my life didn’t have to “know” me or “like” me or “trust” me before they treated me with kindness, sincere interest and respect.

  53. Bogolubov posted for the first time here what…yesterday? Two days at most?

    No. Not even close.

  54. My only problem with Blogolubuv is that he was willing to sell President Obama’s old senatorial seat for campaign contributions.

    I just can’t stand that kind of politics!

  55. Steve Evans says:

    “Are they listened to? Or do those in charge just do whatever they think is best and suggest that those who don’t love it can leave it?”

    The latter. You’d like it a different way? Then of course the invitation is open to you to start your own blog where you can control the rules of discourse (which would, of course, also be the latter, except you could pretend it’s something else and sleep soundly at night).

    I am amazed that anybody would think that the BCC permas would act in any way other than “just do[ing] whatever they think is best and suggest that those who don’t love it can leave it.” Simply amazed.

  56. Bogolubov says:

    Hi Scott B –

    I’ve been reading for quite sometime but don’t think I’ve posted much more than a few short items here and there.

    Clearly there is an misunderstanding on my part about what the etiquette should or should not be. To take Tracy’s dinner analogy a bit further perhaps I could be forgiven for not knowing how to respond after sitting down at the table and within a few minutes having eight strangers open up about their struggles with depression, medication, and hospitalizations. Both silence and “Could you pass the salt?” are probably both awkward and insulting.

  57. I get the feast analogy and the newcomer bit. But the feast isn’t being held in somebody’s dining room, it is set in a park or a plaza and those at the table aren’t just associating with their messmates, they are performing for those seated and for those gawking and for those passing by. Bloggers, you are not just a bunch of friends having a 5 year long conversation, you are wanting to get noticed, praised, pressed, defended, attacked, and so forth by those outside the circle too, right? If it were otherwise, you would just send emails to each other and instant message. To insist on having a feast in the square while making everybody not at the table patiently wait for their turn to join in doesn’t quite jive for me.

    Anyway, the feast notion is good, but perhaps it needs a little tweaking to make it work.

    But what do I know, I am just a nobody, as my name asserts (Odysseus shoutout!).

  58. hellsbelle,

    That behavior is what makes the cost of entry into the BCC community very high for new people. It limits your diversity because those people who don’t think, write, and react in the same way you do have zero reason to stay, and thus there is no internal pressure to change and grow. It creates the exact same organizational flaws in BCC that some here avoid other organizations because of.

    I get what you’re saying–I really do. I am a relative newcomer to BCC, and to the bloggernacle, and experienced largely the same kinds of attitudes, reactions, etc…that you’re talking about. I actually turned around and walked right out the door after my first visit to BCC, with no intention of coming back.

    Obviously, I came back–several months later–and I’m very glad I did. I don’t know what to tell you, though, as far as overcoming it, because the only real answers to “fitting in” at BCC are the same answers to “fitting in” anywhere in life:

    1. Don’t monopolize conversations
    2. Talk to others like you would in real life–don’t copy and paste scriptures, GA quotes, or Ensigns at people just because a keyboard allows you to, because you’d never do that to people in real life.
    3. Share part of yourself–be more than a faceless moniker.
    4. If you have a choice between empathizing and preaching, go with the former.
    5. Be persistent, but not overbearing or obnoxious.

    It’s really quite simple.

  59. Steve Evans says:

    Oudenos, your analogy is not quite right. Remember that plaza in downtown Salt Lake that is owned by the Church, but open to the public? People keep having shocked reactions when their freedom of expression is limited in what (at first glance) appears to be a public space. So, yes, people are free to visit and participate, but don’t confuse this blog for a public forum where all visitors have fully equal rights. We own this little square and have our own rules.

    And we already IM and email each other, a lot.

  60. Only chiming in to agree vehemently with oudenos in 57 and hellsbelle in 62. In my half-hearted attempts to join in the conversations here, I’ve found that anything but slavish agreement and adoration pretty much just leads to being completely mocked, belittled, or ignored. Or, if you actually do engage in a good conversation, the thread closes inexplicably, with no warning.

    You all absolutely have the right to direct the blog and its participants anyway you like. But you can’t cry foul when people say it’s exclusive, unfriendly, or an insider’s club.

    But your sideblog really is fantastic.

  61. Steve Evans,

    Good point.

    But now I am wondering whether it would be a problem if I, being a man, (romantically) kissed a man here on BCC turf? From past posts/comments, I know that K. Barney would probably not mind.

  62. Hammie,

    You all absolutely have the right to direct the blog and its participants anyway you like. But you can’t cry foul when people say it’s exclusive, unfriendly, or an insider’s club.

    Really? Let’s be clear, about something: We, the permas of BCC, are not crying foul when people say it’s exclusive, unfriendly, or an insider’s club.

    BCC is snobby. BCC is elitist. BCC is an insider’s club. These are all facts. There is no confusion over this, Hammie. None whatsoever.

    The only important thing to understand is that we are fully willing to have more people join the circle of inside jokes. But, like all elitist, snobby clubs, we request that you behave in a way that doesn’t annoy everyone else.

  63. Steve Evans says:

    “I’ve found that anything but slavish agreement and adoration pretty much just leads to being completely mocked, belittled, or ignored.”

    I think you’ll find it’s the same at any blog. It’s certainly the same at FMH, T&S or any other bloggernacle site. The difference, of course, is that say at FMH the collective is probably much more aligned with the variety of comment you’re prone to serving up. That’s not really excusing things here, I guess, but let’s not pretend that there’s a magical fantasyland blog out there where you can act like a troll and still receive the recognition and respect you so rightfully deserve.

    Take your comment #60, for example. Do you think anyone here will like it? Appreciate it? Embrace you with open, loving arms because of your insight? No — nobody will. And that’s because you’re basically leveling an insult at our blog because nobody has yet discovered the genius of your comments. Petulant demands for respect are rarely rewarded.

    And yes, I fully recognize that were I to behave this way at another’s site, I might be treated the way you’re now being treated. That explains my patterns of internet participation.

  64. oudenos, You’ll have to ask Kevin about that. But I hope you like scruff! You may want to practice first — suggest you make out with an SOS pad.

  65. Hammie,

    I will add that, while I stand by every thing I wrote in 62, I did not say that BCC’s elitist, snobby, insider-ish tendencies are wonderful, ideal, or will lead us all to the Celestial Kingdom. However, these characteristic define BCC’s personality, and it has been this way from the very beginning in 2004.

    In short, you cannot separate the good at BCC–and judging by readership, votes, and the apparent popularity of the blog, there is some good–from those characteristics you find so off-putting.

  66. Bogolubov says:

    Ooooohhhh, I get it now. It’s just like The Breakfast Club with Steve Evans as principal.

  67. Kristine says:

    Hammie, fwiw, I chastise Steve for being an ass to commenters, and I believe he and I have had words about his comments to you, in particular. He still hasn’t kicked me out–perhaps one day he will come around to my superior point of view.

  68. Bogo — ding!

  69. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

    BCC readers, we are entertained at your expense, just as you are at ours. Call it even.

  70. Haha, Kristine, I appreciate that.

    And, fwiw, the reason I do read BCC regularly is because many of the OPs are really, really fantastic. The type of community in the comments just isn’t for everyone. I do think the vast majority of all us internet nerds are really nice, kind people in real life. But, as Natalie B. said, the anonymity of the bloggernacle makes us say/do things we probably wouldn’t in person.

    I’ll scurry back to my rightful place at FMH now.

  71. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

    Hammie, rudeness is bad, and I am guilty. But I just can’t type your blog name with a straight face. Surely you saw that coming.

  72. While we love us some “slavish agreement and adoration” I disagree with the characterization that this is all that is welcome. Some of my most favorite discussions here and at other blogs have resulted from deep disagreements. I do however, think that we all generally like disagreements and the resulting conversations of certain sort. As a small example, Hammie, compare Armand Mauss’ comments on my recent thread about a women’s bibliography to yours. (Though Armand generally does get the benefit of the doubt because he knows everything) I ended out conceding that I should have added a few more things to the bibl. in response to the few comments we exchanged. It is true that anonymized stereotypes do little for me.

  73. Other characters from the Breakfast Club currently posing at authors at BCC:

    1. Andrew = Crawdaddy
    2. Brian = Kevin Barney
    3. Claire = Kristine
    4. Allison = KLS
    5. John Bender = Cynthia

  74. And I am Chet from Weird Science.

  75. The hot chick they created in Weird Science? Brad Kramer

  76. The bald post-apocalyptic biker in Weird Science? You guessed it — Norbert.

  77. Mommie Dearest says:

    Well, I’m certainly entertained. Thanks BCC!

  78. Would making a random John Hughes’ reference at this point constitute a sign? Virtual Garment Line perhaps?

  79. Natalie B. says:

    So, if we think that there are “virtual garment lines” here that show up in how and what we say, does this make us more comfortable with some genres of writing than others on Mormon blogs? How does it limit or enhance what we say? Are there certain cites it is important to link to if one wants to signal Mormon credentials in the blogging world?

  80. As long as Mommie is proud of us, what else matters?

  81. Scott B is Duckie.

  82. Eric Russell says:

    “BCC is snobby. BCC is elitist. BCC is an insider’s club. These are all facts.”

    Don’t forget LIBERAL.

  83. Bogolubov says:

    Clearly this helps. Perhaps I should post as Lloyd Dobler, but that’s false advertising on my part.

  84. Posting _as_ Lloyd Dobler would be death, Bogo. Don’t desecrate that exalted role by assuming it on yourself. However, if you throw in loads of Lloyd Dobler quotes, people will warm to you quickly.

  85. hellsbelle says:

    May I just ASK, only ask, that one brief moment of introspection be humored. Take #34 and imagine that the “banquet” in question is the Marriage Feast of the Lord (or at very least a feast attended by those who hope to attend His feast-Gospel Doctrine for example).

    Is the behavior of those already dining just as acceptable and appropriate and “good”?

    Imagine…

    “…sitting down at a banquet already underway. There is a dynamic, personalities, and a conversation already well-established. The fact that the newcomer doesn’t understand everything being said in not the fault of the people already partaking. A newcomer with manners understands that s/he must sit a moment, get the bearings, and listen the temper of the table. Then, as they join the conversation, they try and do by adding something to the already streaming discussion, and the others at the table will likely notice and engage, and thus social grace happens”.

    God’s grace….is so different. Aren’t we supposed to be trying to gain it?

  86. 83 I was two seconds from changing my name to Lane Meyer (my xBox 360 name, btw. . . I’ll explain what an xbox 360 is to all you permas when you’re younger)

    Lloyd Dobler, genius.

  87. I meant 84

  88. 85 – I gave her my heart and she gave me a pen!

  89. As a side note, if you have a handle like “152” or “hellsbelle” you are asking for people to ignore you.

  90. I hereby announce an auction for the “sister blah 3″ and “brother blah 4″ handles.

  91. 90 –
    Not asking, but I won’t get my feelings hurt either. Hopefully from time to time, regardless of my preferred anonymity, my comments will have enough worth on their own merit to not necessitate my name being placed next to them just to not get ignored.
    Unfortunately up till now, my comments usually just get responses from KLS that I’m “Hackneyed and obtuse” or “beyond crass”, but I still hope . . .
    Then again, I remember when the internet was completely anonymous and nobody used anything but a handle. Call me nostalgic.

  92. For the record, the only commonality between myself and Andrew in the Breakfast Club was crushing on alternagirls in high school.

    Also, here’s this

  93. 152,
    I like you. So you know.

    Hellsbelle,
    Did somebody get thrown out of that banquet for not wearing their wedding garment? Or are you referring to the Feast of the Lord, where the animals eat up the carrion of the wicked slain?

    Honestly, either applies to your average day at BCC.

  94. #86: “May I just ASK, only ask, that one brief moment of introspection be humored. ”

    no. go away now preachyperson.

  95. 94 Why thank you.

  96. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

    152, I call it like I see it.

    Calling Steve a hypocrite is not a good tactic for a newcomer. It’s a tired accusation, funny only when delivered by certain people. If you try to butt in on a joke prematurely–or worse, if you psychoanalyze in earnest from the backseat–you’re going to be spanked every time. Count on it.

    Likewise, you will be punished every time you say something as insensitive as your crack about Sarah Palin. In case you didn’t know, I have a 4-year-old with Down syndrome, and I don’t find your brand of humor amusing. Nor does any other person with a modicum of class. Be glad I only fired a shot across your bow.

  97. to MCQ: why it would not be: It’s not like I independently verified the Jon Hamer post. I know he works with history, and is a member of the CoC, iirc. It just stuck me as odd, months later, that his credibility with me is so much higher than what’s in the Sunday School manual, that I took that to my class and pushed back on that section of the lesson as prepared by the teacher.

    Actually, I’m not sure it was even Jon’s credibility per se, but that I’d read it on BCC. And BCC has high credibilty with me, somewhat for spurious reasons. Because I come here often? Because the comment stream is so entertaining? Because I like the banner art and the clean coding of the site? There might be good reasons to assign high credibility to BCC, but really it’s probably more the people-like-us vibe, at least in my case.

  98. 97 – on the second point, you are probably right. I imagine I am insensitive on this point, and the comment demonstrated this insensitivity. I, in fact, am aware of you having a child with down syndrome; I read your post “A Solemn Mockery” and enjoyed it. To the extent you were offended by my comment, I truly am deeply sorry.
    In my defense (if I have a defense) I was not trying to in any way disparage Sarah Palin’s son, nor her love and appreciation of him. It was a reaction to her championing the cause that noone ever use the “R” word again, and then immediately backpedaling when Rush Limbaugh used it a week later. But, as you pointed out, it was crass and poor judgment. Again, sorry.

    On the other point, I didn’t exactly call Steve a hypocrite, and my manner of calling him out was in all honesty meant in a self deprecating fashion. Hence the overly enthusiastic “Oh Snap”. As in, I realized at the time I was writing it that it was obvious, and I was playing the role of Captain Obvious. So no, while it may be “tired” “hackneyed” and “obtuse”, I don’t apologize for that one, or make any claims to be anything other that hackneyed and obtuse.

    My comment in 92 wasn’t calling you out for an apology or even claiming you were wrong, it was pointing out that while I try to make comments that have value, I usually instead make a fool of myself.

    You do indeed call them like you see them.

    As a sidenote: kudos on the Chicken and Waffles video. That was horrificly bad! What movie was that from??? I thought I’d seen all the John Cusack films! I even saw One Crazy Summer.

  99. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

    Tapeheads. 1988.

    Thank you. Full pardon granted, and then some.

  100. Whoa. That video.

  101. MikeInWeHo says:

    re: 62
    I know I’m thirty comments behind, but just wanted to volunteer to assist with your little experiment. Steve’s just being a tease in #65. Believe me, I know.

  102. Mike you slut!! You said you’d never tell anyone…

  103. hellsbelle says:

    Scott B.
    “I will add that, while I stand by every thing I wrote in 62, I did not say that BCC’s elitist, snobby, insider-ish tendencies are wonderful, ideal, or will lead us all to the Celestial Kingdom. However, these characteristic define BCC’s personality, and it has been this way from the very beginning in 2004.”

    Help me with this? Please?

    I understand that not all who post here are members of the LDS Church so I’m not talking about them. But every single person here who IS, has made at least ONE very real covenant with a very real God, whether they actually believe in those covenants or not. When they took His name upon themselves, they became responsible for what they do to that name. Do they represent Him well? Do they teach what He taught or just some of it? Do they obey all of His commandments or just the easy ones? Not just on Sunday. Not just while on Church owned property. Not just in moments when everyone else is acting that way.

    Because here’s the thing: even the 8 year old’s in my ward knows that anything that doesn’t lead to the CK, leads somewhere else by default, that hot/cold/lukewarm are easy to tell apart, and that all you have to do to determine whether a tree is good or bad is to examine it’s fruit.

    So what’s the deal? Is it that some of the members here think that the power to discern isn’t real? It is. Or that because they don’t have it, it must be really rare? It’s not. Maybe they think that the internet limits the ability to use that discernment. It doesn’t. It is impossible to fool all of the people all of the time.

    Or is it simply that some of them just really don’t give a flying crap about any of it anyway, they just wanted company for the ride?

  104. See prior comment re: preachyperson. Strike two, hellsbelle.

  105. I go to the dentist for RC #3 and I miss all the freaking fun!

  106. hellsbelle,
    Two things,
    What I meant is that BCC has a personality. Perhaps, at some point in your life, you’ve had a friend who had a reputation for being sarcastic, rude, or abrasive at times, and you loved them despite these flaws because you knew–after years of experience with them, that underneath, they were all heart, and would ultimately give you the shirt off their back or the money from their wallet without a moment’s hesitation if you sincerely asked. For most of the commenters and authors here, By Common Consent is that friend. Perhaps you haven’t had that kind of friend before. If not, you have my condolences, because they enrich life.

    Second, Steve Evans has given you two warnings, and he is kinder than I would have been had I seen your comment before he did. Several comments ago, I gave you this suggestion:

    4. If you have a choice between empathizing and preaching, go with the former.

    Instead of taking that suggestion, you chose to preach. You directly questioned whether or not I (and, by implication, my friends here at BCC) am keeping sacred covenants between God and myself.

    You have no claim on my covenants with God, hellsbelle. You do not have sufficient knowledge of anyone on Earth outside of yourself to make such implications. You do not have any right to use my covenants with God as a bludgeon for your social acceptance in an environment you deem unfavorable to your view.

    Above, I also suggested that you speak to people like human beings–as if you were with them in person. If you had been in my home when you typed that last comment, I would have thrown you out the door.

  107. I don’t even know when I jumped into the BCC pool. I am sure I came here via another LDS blog, possibly Jeff Lindsay’s Mormanity, or maybe I just came directly after a roomie of mine, Lars, kept bringing up discussions on LDS blogs and I decided to check them out. I think that BCC and T&S are the only multi-author LDS blogs I follow. I hang out at LDS & Evangelical conversations also. Interestingly enough, the only reason I go there is because someone recognised my last name and realised that she and one of my sisters-in-law are really good friends. Never would have known if I had used my typical online handle, Sir Xela, which is just a snippet of an incredibly long name that I took upon myself during high school choir. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

    Anyway, I find it surprising that there are many commenters who believe that one must be “lefty-cool” to comment here without being banished. I certainly am not of that description, yet I haven’t been kicked out yet. I guess I’m just not egotistical enough to care. If I comment and nobody responds, no big deal. If I comment and someone says, “Wow, Alex, that’s a good point,” I think, “Cool.” If I comment and someone is like, “Whoa, dude, you’re an idiot.” then I figure out why they said that and, if I disagree, I just move on.

    Follow same basic rules for life and you’ll be fine: play nice, learn to read, share, and take a nap every now and then.

  108. Alex, that’s a good point.

    No wow for you.

  109. hellsbelle says:

    #95 Steve-

    No? Why? This blog says “we seek truth, reason and honesty”. I’m discussing an LDS issue, with as much reason and honesty as I can. Why does that bother you so much?

    This thread is about credibility. I was taught that real, genuine credibility is a gift of trust that is given to something or someone AFTER I have thoroughly scrutinized and tested it and it has proven to be worthy of my confidence.

    If this blog is truly credible, and those here are worthy of my trust and confidence, then all my questioning will do is prove that.

  110. We’re not worthy!

    Also, bye-bye.

  111. Kathryn Lynard Soper says:

    I’ve got my belle, I’m gonna take you to hell

  112. I forgot one other thing: If Steve acknowledges my existence, then I feel that all my efforts on BCC have been validated :)

  113. dammit alex.

  114. Stephanie says:

    If I comment and someone is like, “Whoa, dude, you’re an idiot.” then I figure out why they said that and, if I disagree, I just move on.

    I find that if I read a comment, and my thought is, “Whoa, dude, you’re an idiot”, it is usually best to just move on. Fortunately, others generally grant me the same courtesy.

  115. I find that if I read a comment, and my thought is, “Whoa, dude, you’re an idiot”, it is usually best to just move on. Fortunately, others generally grant me the same courtesy.

    I find that if I write a comment, and then read that comment again two weeks later, my thought is usually, “Whoa, dude, you’re an idiot,” and then I wonder if I can keep going on. Fortunately, I see things like this from time to time, and I’m buoyed.

  116. Mommie Dearest says:

    I have to say, in Jason Wharton’s defense, that if a comment is more than say, 4 or 5 paragraphs long, I probably won’t read it enough to think he’s an idiot.

    Unfortunately that can also apply to RT Swenson. Who is by definition, not an idiot.

  117. Mommie, not being an idiot won’t save him against genocide.

  118. “What I meant is that BCC has a personality. Perhaps, at some point in your life, you’ve had a friend who had a reputation for being sarcastic, rude, or abrasive at times, and you loved them despite these flaws because you knew–after years of experience with them, that underneath, they were all heart, and would ultimately give you the shirt off their back or the money from their wallet without a moment’s hesitation if you sincerely asked. For most of the commenters and authors here, By Common Consent is that friend. ”

    Scott, that got me all emotional. BCC is my friend.

  119. “I hereby announce an auction for the “sister blah 3″ and “brother blah 4″ handles.”

    Cynthia: Is this auction on ebay? I am so in.

  120. NIB! NR!!

  121. I think I’m going to start walking into random get-togethers that I haven’t necessarily been invited to . . . and demand that people prove their credibility and trustworthiness to me. If I’ve learned anything today, its that that works really well.

  122. Bogolubov says:

    I’ve learned that it’s always best to first Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. Or RSVP first. And that symbolic friends don’t come with benefits. All that from the corner :)

  123. My head is whirring and I’m laughing after reading this thread – like a spin on the merry-go-round. It’s late enough that I’m going to comment, foolhardy as it may be.

    hellsbelles, Life isn’t so black and white. I think (being a newbie, so what do I know anyway) that BCC is about exploring grey areas where opinions are welcome and pure white isn’t demanded.

  124. corktree says:

    I realize I haven’t been around long enough to expect responses to comments, but I wanted to say that I really liked what m&m had to say in #7. Sometimes it’s just nice to see something in writing and realize that you’re not alone in thinking something.

    I’ve usually had the feeling in commenting (not here) that I was pigeon-holed by either something I said, or the way I wrote it. I’m not an inflammatory person, so it wasn’t because I was being negative, but I just started to feel that I wasn’t expressing myself accurately or something because people were not reacting to me in the way that I would expect from a conversation. It’s taken me a while to get better at keeping comments either more to the point, or more about what I have to contribute *personally* and not just analytically.

    I’m actually grateful for the clarifications that have been made here, even if they don’t apply to me. Maybe now I can be less sensitive and just go with the flow (and hope that sometimes I’m allowed to sit at a table and at least have my questions politely answered).

  125. Antihero says:

    I just got back from meeting with some friends where we ended discussing some of the less doctrinal and more esoteric aspects of church history, scripture, and how politics and religion play in our daily lives. There was a person there, we’ll call him a “random”, that I did not know, and had been invited by one of the others in the group. As the conversation went from “I read this…..” to “I’m not sure how I feel about that….” or “I disagree with so-and-so…..”, he seemed to be more and more uncomfortable. Then, following an apparently inflammatory remark, he broke into the conversation and launched into a tirade about covenants, promises, Lord’s anointed, and who-the-hell knows what else. I had already commented once on this post today, and after coming back and reading through the rest of the comments, I realized once again why I like BCC. It is elite, snobbish, and whatever other epithet you choose to hurl at it, but it is also here to “seek truth, reason and honesty” without having to listen to someone preach at them about how they were going to hell. Also, I do not comment very often, but if I do, and if I am castigated, mocked, or reviled (it felt good to go biblical with those terms), I probably will not have done a good enough job of explaining myself and will have deserved that rather than the “Oh, you disagree? Well, at least you have a reason” that I was looking for. i appreciate the scrutiny. And if I really don’t like it? I can leave. It’s not like BCC is my home ward and I live within its boundaries. I am free to frequent T&S, FMH, or any of the other mormon blogs that exist. (but I probably won’t. I like lurking here)

  126. I am free to frequent T&S, FMH, or any of the other mormon blogs that exist.

    Antihero, you were doing so well but I think you violated one of the club’s secret rules by lumping fMh into the same blog category as BCC (and T&S)

    a serious crime.

  127. Kristine says:

    Or a great honor, depending on which BCCer you ask :)

  128. Kristine, will you please stop playing with your imaginary friends over here and come help me paint my son’s bedroom?

  129. Scott B., I really liked your list in #59. Particularly #2. The fact that technology facilitates conversations among people using pseudonyms gets a lot of discussion, but I’ve never seen the point made quite so clearly that handy-dandy databases and cut-and-paste allow us to fling quotes at each other in ways we couldn’t in real life.

    Cynthia, I’ve always kind of wondered what became of “Sister Blah 1.” Was it already auctioned?

  130. Ziff–
    Thanks. That was one of the very first things I noticed upon my foray into the Bloggernacle. One of the next things I learned really soon thereafter was that those kind of comments are almost always boring, too.

  131. Chris M says:

    After months of reading here everyday this is my first post so take it for what it is worth. But this quote is exactly what pushes me away from the church.

    “But every single person here who IS, has made at least ONE very real covenant with a very real God, whether they actually believe in those covenants or not. ”

    This sums up my biggest problem with the church, I can overlook all the history (they are all just people after all), and the extream right leanings (even this place is a bit conservative for me sometimes) but the belief that if my actions don’t match what you believe you covenanted to does not mean I don’t belive in my covenants. I take my covenants very seriously, I just don’t believe that I convenanted to the same things you do. I think I represant Christ very well in my life even if the Christ I represent isn’t the same as yours.

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