Cyberbullying and “Gospel Revenge” in the Kingdom

This morning my day was ruined by the shock of learning that some Mormons, apparently drunk with Schadenfreude at Kate Kelly’s excommunication and wanting to exact some kind of Gospel revenge, have created a Facebook page called Ordain Women Exposed, the content of which essentially amounts to traditional internet abuse — cyberbullying — of Kate Kelly in particular and, collaterally, of anyone who supports or perhaps shares some of the concerns of the Ordain Women group.

2013 has been described as the “annus misogynis” — the year that misogyny came out into the open. Misogyny is a major component of cyberbullying, and it has been found that women are indeed more likely to be victims of cyberbullying than men. Reflecting on this rise in internet misogyny, Telegraph reporter Michael Deacon writes that

[f]or misogynists, the arrival of the web has been a glorious boon. In the past, admittedly, your prejudices were more readily indulged in everyday conversation, but it was hard to win them a wider audience. You could try getting a letter published in the paper, but there was always the risk that the editor would read it, notice that you were a screaming crackpot, and file it quietly in the nearest bin. It was most frustrating.

The web changed all that. Now, no one could stop you from exercising your right to inflict your miserable opinions upon the world. Beneath articles on news sites you could rant and abuse to your heart’s content. On Twitter you could inform female public figures –- from actresses to academics –- that they were physically repugnant whores who deserved to be raped. Theoretically you could be arrested for this sort of behaviour, but fortunately there were so many of you doing it that the police didn’t know where to begin, and hardly anyone got in trouble at all.

In the Telegraph article first linked above, from early 2014, reporter Hannah Betts quoted her colleague Zoe Williams, another British columnist, as saying “There have always been patronising gargoyles, but I think the level of aggression is new. If I use the word ‘feminism’ in an online article, it’s like crawling into a pit of hyenas. The derision is disproportionate and the fury palpable.”

The world truly hates feminists and feminism in general, even though that topic is extraordinarily broad (and often, especially in modern iterations, manifestly does NOT mean what its critics claim it means in setting up their straw man arguments against it), and even though virtually every single woman in the free market democracies of Western Europe, the United States, Canada, and Australia — and increasingly in Latin American society and other developing countries around the world — from Apostles’ wives down to the lowest caste or class of women in various societies benefits every single day in myriad ways in 2014 from the work, effort, pain, and very real sacrifice of countless “feminists” (whether called “independent women,” “Mormon suffragists,” “suffragettes,” “feminists,” or in 2014, “not a feminist, but”) over decades, perhaps even centuries. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are supposed to be building up Zion, rejecting the prejudices of the world. But as cyberbullying rears its head in the wake of Kate Kelly’s excommunication (and well before as the conflict was forming and becoming more acute), the ugly and chilling misogyny that is so characteristic of this kind of internet behavior in the broader world is unfortunately visible among the body of saints as well.

The misogyny of internet bullying out in the world — a hallmark of which is the abuse directed by anonymous participants (both male and female) known as misogynist trolls — ties in closely to classic sexism, sexual harassment, and gender-based discrimination against women. Laura Bates, a proprietor of the Everyday Sexism Project, observed in a blog entry that

[t]he society we live in has normalised the treatment of women as second-class citizens, as disposable objects, as punchlines for jokes. Young girls are growing up learning that it is simply normal to be harassed and touched in their uniform on the journey to school. Rape victims are blamed for what happens to them. Women are used, in advertising, TV shows and magazines, as living, breathing decorations. We live in a world in which a barrister can describe a child victim of sexual abuse as predatory, as if she were somehow complicit in her own abuse. Female politicians are judged on their looks and criticised for their clothes and face sexual harassment within the walls of Westminster. Female university students are dealing with posters and T-shirts joking about rape, and chants about miscarriage and abuse. The Daily Mail reports on the “womanly curves” of a 14-year-old girl. Two women are killed every week by a current or former partner. Over 400,000 women are sexually assaulted every year. Over 85,000 are raped. The naked breasts of a young woman are plastered inside our biggest selling “family” newspaper while teenage girls fight to be treated with respect by their peers. Extreme images of women bloodied, battered and beaten with captions like “Next time, don’t get pregnant”, still abound across the internet, and graphic messages telling me how I should be raped and which tools should be used to disembowel me ping into my inbox on a weekly basis. Just for giving a platform for women’s voices. Just for raising the issue of gender equality.

In an op-ed column in the New York Times earlier this year, Ross Douthat contemplates “root causes” and asks “where all the hate and twisted fantasies are coming from”? He posits that “[o]ne potential magnifier, of course, is the Internet itself, which by its nature is a kind of unreal space for many users — a place where a range of impulses can be discussed, explored and acted out in what feels like a consequence-free zone.” He theorizes “that many men who might have successfully regulated their darker impulses now have what seems like a green light to be ‘virtually’ abusive … because they’re just trying out a role, or because the woman on the receiving end seems no more real to them than a character in a pornographic film.” He also identifies feminism as a “magnifier” of this misogyny rampant in anonymous internet abuse, observing that “there’s no question that women writing from that perspective [of feminism] come in for more personal, sexualized abuse than women writing about, say, monetary policy. Where the personal is political, the political becomes personal more quickly, and the grotesque abuse that liberal, feminist writers can receive for being liberal feminists is a scandal that conservatives, especially, need to acknowledge and deplore.”

Surely Latter-day Saints reject this worldly misogyny as they become adopted sons and daughters of Christ through baptism and embark on the process of building up Zion, right? Because I firmly believe in the strong Christian discipleship of most Latter-day Saints, I also firmly believe this to be the case for most active, faithful Mormons.

However, the group of presumably LDS voices anonymously running Ordain Women Exposed actually “exposes,” to our collective shame as Latter-day Saints, that this is not uniformly the case. In a self-righteous fit, the unnamed, anonymous posters at OWE let all pretense at charity and Christian discipleship fall by the wayside as they excoriate, in a putative effort to “expose” the “evil” of Kate Kelly to the rest of the Church, just about anything they can think of about Kate Kelly. In response to comments calling out the repulsive nature of the page, the anonymous OWE voice justified itself as follows:

KK brought this attention on to herself by dragging what the LDS faithful value more than their own lives–the Gospel of Jesus Christ–through the mud and a media circus. The anger we feel over the spectacle she has created is probably similar to the anger Christ felt when he had to clean the temple from the money changers. There is a difference between someone being lost and someone being lost and actively leading others astray. This has become a big deal because KK made it a big deal. I don’t think a single one of us is happy she has lost her eternal salvation (as of right now), but we are happy that someone who was doing so much damage was finally “corrected” by a priesthood leader. Also, I must say, WE do not need to forgive her. She needs to seek forgiveness from Christ. As far as the comments about her dress, KK wore that on purpose to make a mockery of the instructions she received about her excommunication. She is playing the “victim” card fully by appearing in public with bare shoulders so she can say, “See what those awful mysoginistic men MADE me do!” I do feel sad for her. It is one thing to lose your own soul, but she has severed ties with her children through her own behavior, and I weep mostly for those innocent children.

In OWE’s own words, then, this is some kind of twisted attempt at “Gospel revenge” — getting her back for her efforts to achieve women’s ordination (by petitioning Church leaders, through the outside pressure created by her media campaign, to seek guidance from the Lord on the issue). The page displays all the characteristics of classic misogynistic anonymous internet abuse, from the shameful cyberstalking tactics of collecting and posting screenshots of Kate Kelly’s Facebook, other pictures of her, and links to many of her interviews and news reports about her, to hateful comments about her and her efforts littering the site often in the “we” of the anonymous OWE voice but also represented by many people commenting from their own Facebook accounts (i.e. not even anonymously) reprimanding her for her work at Ordain Women and commenting about how evil she is, to comments about her clothing and looks. True to the pattern of misogyny playing a major role in anonymous internet abuse, Kate Kelly’s feminism or feminist presentation of her concerns about women’s role in the Church seems to form the backbone of this patronizing, abusive attempt to “correct” and condemn her.

The Ordain Women Exposed page and virtually every comment from “OWE” is classic cyberbullying, exhibiting all of the traits of that lowest form of internet communication, including and especially the misogynistic impulses that have become famous in such anonymous internet abuse. “She brought this bullying on herself by starting OW and engaging in her media campaign which got her excommunicated,” is what appears to be the justification that this page uses for its bad behavior — behavior that is carried out in a Mormon linguistic register though entirely without the Spirit or any indicia of Christian discipleship, thus damaging the Church much more than Kate Kelly’s ill-advised media campaign meant to use outside pressure to motivate Church leaders to meet with her and to petition God on her behalf on the question of ordaining women to the priesthood. The use of this Mormon linguistic register means that Kate Kelly is not being called a “bitch” or other profane slurs that are commonly found in the type of anonymous misogynistic internet abuse that this page resembles. But the “Mormon nice” cannot eclipse the substantive abusive nature of this material.

This is therefore conduct that is unbecoming of Latter-day Saints and is manifestly “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church”, if ever there was such conduct. The ostensible Mormons behind Ordain Women Exposed, and the commenters jumping on the bandwagon to criticize, demonize, and castigate Kate Kelly and Ordain Women should be ashamed of themselves and their lack of Christian discipleship in this situation. This has nothing to do with supporting or defending Kate Kelly’s problematic approach to opening up dialogue about the ordination of women. This is about Christian discipleship and the cause of Zion. Such behavior, hate, vindictiveness, and abuse as is found on this page should not be had among us. Its presence indicates a willingness to let worldly influence corrupt our interactions with each other and especially with those who most need our loving kindness — those whom we’ve recently cast out. No matter how appealing this kind of trolling abuse is to the natural man, we as Latter-day Saints must reject it. Failing to do so is a breach of our covenants.

Comments

  1. Take heart that in its 2 months of existence, it’s had only 126 likes. Feel free to report it for abuse. I’m way more concerned about the negative reactions on MWS, than this piddling, anonymous group.

  2. From your fingers to coming out of the church leadership’s mouths.

  3. Amen – and amen.

    While I think it is simplistic and wrong to claim that Sister Kelly did nothing wrong, I am appalled and disgusted by joyful celebration of her excommunication and all of the attendant actions like that site. Actually, appalled and disgusted are the kindest words I can find to express my dismay and revulsion.

    “The anger we feel over the spectacle she has created is probably similar to the anger Christ felt when he had to clean the temple from the money changers.”

    Um, no. I’m not sure I have read a more twisted self-justification in my life, and I have read some really twisted self-justifications.

  4. From what I have seen of reactions to MWS, there is no comparison in kind whatsoever to the treatment of KK and OW both on the OWE page and all over Facebook/Mormon blogs.

    The issue in internet misogyny isn’t that a woman’s thoughts are criticized. Women, and in particular feminist women, would welcome engagement with and criticism of their ideas. That shows that they have parity with men in society whose ideas are taken seriously enough to engage with and criticize. Rather, the issue is how the women are treated. The OWE page exemplifies the anonymous misogynist trolling that characterizes this kind of internet abuse.

  5. OWE is clearly awful. MWS is a different sort of poison.

  6. “Also, I must say, WE do not need to forgive her. ”
    Uhhhhh. No. The scriptures say the exact opposite, OWE.

  7. OWE is Malfoy Sr. MWS is Umbridge. Both me no likey.

    Great post, JBF. Remind me never to irk you, lest the Fowlesian hammer also crush my head in this way.

  8. There is a closed facebook group that has named themselves “Down with Dehlin” which claims to be united with gospel truths against John Dehlin. Seems to have the same overall unchristlike qualities you mentioned. This all makes me feel sick in the pit of my stomach.

  9. Have to be anon about OW says:

    Frank — despite its association with one of its founders, and any possible content on her personal website, I haven’t seen anything particularly offensive at the Mormon Women Stand Facebook group, unless you find the thought of the entire group offensive. Certainly no cyber-bullying of this type.

    However, earlier today I glanced at the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog. (Their Facebook group is closed, so I can’t see any reactions there.) If I’m reading it correctly, today’s post described at great length why the recent excommunication came from the same violent tendencies as the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and a comment from the author called the thinking of the Virginia bishopric “dark evil.”

    So, if there’s bullying happening, it’s happening on both sides of this issue.

  10. The worst was when OWE called Kate Kelly a “total tool” whom they “despised”. No, wait, that was OW’s Holly Welker talking about Neylan McBaine on Twitter.

  11. I only wish you could feel the same shame for the way Kelly and OW have treated and bullied the Brethren of this church.

  12. Carol, I have not seen any example of Kate Kelly cyberbullying Church leaders. Working through the media as Kate Kelly did to try to bring pressure on Church leaders to give her a hearing was certainly unheard of from the perspective of traditional Mormon decorum, and it was arguably very unwise on her part to do this (and certainly unappreciated by Church leaders, both General Authorities and local leaders), but nothing in that effort falls into this category of anonymous internet abuse. Two different things. And Kate Kelly is paying the price for her actions through being excommunicated. Stomping on her neck now that she’s on the ground is unbecoming of any Latter-day Saint.

  13. Kristine says:

    Uh, have to be anon, did you read the title of the fMh post? You really don’t have to get far to realize that what the author is saying is that the kind of suspicion and paranoia fueling ugliness *on both sides* is a relic of Mormonism’s sometimes violent past. There’s also this: “Our biggest enemy is our collective, unchecked self, and the bleeding scars of our history.” And the conclusion: “We are all responsible.”

    Pretty hard to read that as bullying one side or the other. Willfully misreading, of course, is a longstanding tradition in the ‘nacle.

  14. Have to be anon about OW says:

    Yes, Kristine, I understand that. The “dark evil” comment is what prompted using that as an example. I have seen other antagonistic language toward the bishopric from people representing themselves as standing with OW; that was just the most recent.

  15. marginalizedmormon says:

    dig a pit for your neighbor . . .

    like–

    I feel sorry for those people who obviously think the gospel of Jesus Christ is unChristlike.

    Sadly, the time will come when *they* will feel sorry for themselves.

    Is this some kind of game? I am not familiar with all these acroynms. Perhaps it’s a BCC inside joke, but I’m not an insider, so I wouldn’t know.

    I can ‘testify’ to the fact that women are often treated less than genially on blogs, especially Mormon blogs.

  16. Does anyone else get this group mixed up with Mormon Women Bare, or is it just me?

  17. marginalizedmormon, I am sorry to say that with the exception of your last sentence, I do not understand your comment. For example, what acronyms are you referring to? What game are you referring to? What BCC inside joke are you referring to? You’ve really completely lost me.

  18. In case you were wondering what happens if you report the page, Facebook does not consider it a violation of their community standards.

  19. Angela C says:

    Bad behavior is bad behavior, on either side of the fence. Are there ex-Mos who cyber-bully? Sure. But they also aren’t claiming to be doing so in the name of God usually, and they don’t reflect negatively on the church – they are by nature disassociated from the church.

  20. It’s always frustrating when the response to “Hey, look, maybe we’re all a little guilty of being careless with our words or callous in our characterizations of others” is “But they started it!”.

    I’m deeply concerned about what the nastiness in this whole episode says about us as a religious community. But it’s even worse when attempts to correct that nastiness get rebuffed.

  21. it's a series of tubes says:

    what the nastiness in this whole episode says about us as a religious community

    it doesn’t say anything. People in all countries, cultures, and times have been rude, tribal, hostile, exclusionary, discriminatory, etc. ANY group of any size will exhibit the full range of human behavior, even a group dedicated to improvement of such behavior.

  22. MDearest says:

    Thank you, John f, for every word of this. I first saw the OWE page yesterday and felt sick all over again to think that members of my church would create such an ugly thing in the wake of the destruction of Sister Kelly’s excommunication.

    I reported it to the good managers at Facebook. It was the very least I could do, and it was quite easy. Commenting here with my approval is another easy, minimal thing.

  23. it doesn’t say anything. People in all countries, cultures, and times have been rude, tribal, hostile, exclusionary, discriminatory, etc. ANY group of any size will exhibit the full range of human behavior, even a group dedicated to improvement of such behavior.

    Sure they will, but to this degree? And in purported defense of their community’s values?

  24. “it doesn’t say anything. People in all countries, cultures, and times have been rude, tribal, hostile, exclusionary, discriminatory, etc. ANY group of any size will exhibit the full range of human behavior, even a group dedicated to improvement of such behavior.”

    But isn’t that the problem? That as a group we apparently meet no higher standard than the rest of the world? From a secular standard, this may not be a big deal. But from a spiritual one, I think it is. Given our mantra of where much is given, much is required, as well as our goal of becoming a Zion community, I think this at least says we’re failing in our responsibilities and efforts.

    But then the problem with holding oneself to a higher standard is that it can often lead to self-righteousness and poor treatment of others in the name of religion/race/etc. So it’s a dangerous game to play. And the results here are very saddening and disappointing. I think such impulses are probably in most, if not all, of us, so maybe the best we can do is be the change ourselves and not reciprocate when provoked. Maybe kindness will be catching.

  25. I think it does suggest that Mormons are not particularly special, unique, or different than “the world” after all.

  26. ^ What MOQT said. We can’t claim on the one hand to be God’s chosen people while simultaneously bearing the same rotten fruits as everyone else. And maybe (hopefully) we do perform a little better than average. But as Alison Moore Smith pointed out, it should be deeply disturbing to us that not only is this terrible behavior showing its head in our community, but even average Mormons don’t seem too interested in condemning it.

  27. BHodges says:

    Have to be anon: “The “dark evil” comment is what prompted using that as an example. I have seen other antagonistic language toward the bishopric from people representing themselves as standing with OW; that was just the most recent.”—

    True, the most recent, and the key is to clutch to the worst examples we can find and then present them as being representative of the whole, thus making dismissal all the easier!

  28. JackShark says:

    Although the internet has connected legions of hateful people together and given them a platform to spout their venom, it has also given rise to greater education, vibrant communities of thought, and more appropriate standards of behavior. While misogyny is particularly ugly online (I think anonymity plays a major role here), I believe we will continue to see a natural sifting of ideas and behaviors, where the more peaceable and tolerant ones rise and endure, while the ugly and hateful sink and are largely shunned. I agree with an earlier comment, OWE may project the illusion that it is formidable merely because it is visible and accessible (and offensive), but it has few members and is hardly indicative of the greater whole.

    To be sure, Kelly’s excommunication has elicited vitriol from all corners of the great tent that is Zion. Incidents like these have a tendency of inflaming the tribalism that has plagued our people for generations. In the end, we all suffer.

    Christ’s example should be the guide for all of us through such moments.

  29. I really hope that OWE is not the next group to be invited to have a ‘conversation’ with Public Affairs.

  30. MOQT – “But then the problem with holding oneself to a higher standard is that it can often lead to self-righteousness and poor treatment of others in the name of religion/race/etc.”

    Isn’t that what the internet is for, being self-righteous? Thank goodness we’re not like OWE!

  31. I could have spent the rest of 2014 blissfully unaware of the existence of OWE. Not gonna go there, though. I don’t want to have to shower again today.

    Great post, John.

  32. Have to be anon says:

    Goodness, Blair; I didn’t mean to dismiss anyone’s concerns; rather I meant to note that extreme language is not only coming from places like this new Facebook group.

    By the way, I glanced briefly at OWE, wish I’d come to the same conclusion as Ann Porter before doing so, and have just one thing to say: the admin’s use of religious art is beyond tacky. Rather horrible, actually.

  33. I also have seen extreme language coming from multiple places and both extremes in this discussion. In fact, some of the absolute worst language and condemnations have come from some of my friends on the “liberal” side of the discussion. I understand the emotion, but I have been deeply saddened by so many responses – from all over the spectrum.

    Thankfully, the worst examples have been the minority of the responses.

  34. Care to simply answer if Kate Kelly and the OW group were wrong in their primary goal and the methods to seek it?

    I get this is not your point, but to be honest I see more support for her and her work than I usually see of the typical conference talk by an Apostle on this site. This reality can’t help but influence the opinions of others who read what you and others have to say on this site. We know you’re a faithful member, but you rarely speak out in defense of the church but rather of the other.

    Let’s no caste the church in the role of the ancient Israelite church and the dissenters here as noble Christs speaking truth to corrupt priests…

  35. Ratchet says:

    I don’t know about all the comments on OWE, but an assortment of views seem to be stated, not all bullying as is stated above.
    In fairness to MWS, here is the link to the MWS commentary. Read it and decided if it is bullying.

    http://www.mormonwomenstand.com/kate-kelly-stand-by/

  36. Ratchet, it may not be bullying but it certainly didn’t enlarge my soul or encourage me to love when I read the following: “Do you feel Kate Kelly is misunderstood? Do you feel her priesthood leaders were wrong to excommunicate her? If you answered yes to either, or both, that’s probably a red flag and early warning sign. It should concern you that perhaps your faith in Jesus Christ is wavering and that you might be going down the same path. I don’t know. But what I do know is that if you sincerely care about making sure you keep your covenants with God you may want to reconsider your associations with these groups and prayerfully be determined to realign your will with our Heavenly Father.” (taken from the link you posted)

  37. DQ — I love how you always stand up for what’s right. I’m with you all the way.

  38. “you rarely speak out in defense of the church”

    You haven’t been reading here very long.

  39. Where the hell is the Strengthening Church Members Committee for this sort of thing?

  40. whizzbang says:

    I would love to know why KK told the world her Bishop’s name, occupation and where he works What does she hope to gain by that?

  41. I think that there is more to the motivation of the cyber-bullies than you’re spelling out in your post. Specifically, they’re not doing it because they have an anonymous space; they’re doing it because Mormonism teaches us to value members based on their ability to echo and amplify the message of its leaders. All that we’re seeing here is members amplifying and echoing the message of their leaders — the standard Mormon behavior for gaining group acceptance — and that’s why they’re willing to do it non-anonymously. The fact that this amounts to cyber-bullying should cause us to reflect on the message from leaders that is being amplified and echoed.

    That said, great post.

  42. Xenophon says:

    “The world truly hates feminists and feminism in general…” Tell us more about this alternate universe.

  43. I find it fascinating that Kelly is the one being tried for apostasy and these bullies aren’t. What could be more apostate than treating people this way?

  44. Any kind of bullying is wrong, and anonymous cyber-bullying is the worst kind. The bullies are cowards hiding behind their anonymity. It is fine not to agree with KK. I don’t agree with her. I think she went way too far in her attempts to get the church to change a doctrine. And I think she asked for her excommunication by refusing to appear in person. Yet I am still saddened by it because it shouldn’t have had to happen. It is not something to rejoice over. I wish Kate the best of luck in working things through and ultimately reclaiming her membership. And I think the OWE members need a little disciplining themselves. We should not wallow in another person’s misfortune. The whole idea of “getting back at her” is something I find repugnant. I have not looked at their page and am not likely to do so.

  45. Still wish I was permitted to share a response…

  46. John Harrison says:

    I’m with DKL here in that I think that some members think they now have a license to bully. I would be concerned about Sunday except for the fact that I’m teaching.

  47. Old Geezer says:

    This is just a small taste of what can happen when activism spreads into the Church. I consider the OWE and MWS nearly as activist as fMH and OW. Leave the doctrinal changes to the leadership. They honestly do hear what goes on in our lives. We have responsibility to love each other as a covenant community. Check the hypercritical attitudes at the door. Have faith that a good, intelligent LDS person disagrees with you. And love them, because you’ll probably learn something vital while befriending them.

  48. Old Codger says:

    This is just a small taste of what can happen when activism spreads into the Church. I consider the OWE and MWS nearly as activist as fMH and OW. Leave the doctrinal changes to the leadership. They honestly do hear what goes on in our lives. We have responsibility to love each other as a covenant community. Check the hypercritical attitudes at the door. Have faith that a good, intelligent LDS person disagrees with you. And love them, because you’ll probably learn something vital while befriending them.

  49. Angela C says:

    whizzbang: “I would love to know why KK told the world her Bishop’s name, occupation and where he works What does she hope to gain by that?” Well, for one, the second counselor works for the church’s PA department, and only after she published that information did he recuse himself as having a conflict of interest. So there’s that.

  50. MOQT: “But isn’t that the problem? That as a group we apparently meet no higher standard than the rest of the world? From a secular standard, this may not be a big deal. But from a spiritual one, I think it is. Given our mantra of where much is given, much is required, as well as our goal of becoming a Zion community, I think this at least says we’re failing in our responsibilities and efforts.”

    One of my favorite things Flannery O’Connor ever said: “Christ was crucified on earth and the Church is crucified in time, and the Church is crucified by all of us, by her members most particularly because she is a Church of sinners. . . . To have the Church be what you want it to be would require the continuous miraculous meddling of God in human affairs, whereas it is our dignity that we are allowed more or less to get on with those graces that come through faith and the sacraments and which work through our human nature. . . . Human nature is so faulty that it can resist any amount of grace and most of the time it does. The Church does well to hold her own; you are asking that she show a profit.” (The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor, p. 307)

    We’re always failing. This doesn’t excuse OWE’s behavior, but OWE’s behavior does not, cannot condemn us as a community, which has failure and grace enough, with or without them.

  51. Lisa M. says:

    I find it very telling that this post focused on a tiny fringe group and not the larger more offensive FB group “Mormon Women Stand on Rameumptums”.A family member who is a part of Feminist Mormon Housewives commented on that page and out of curiosity I checked it out. It is cyberbullying at its worst against LDS women who aren’t feminists or OW supporters. It bullies and seems to put them on a superior playing field. It appears to be associated with Ordain Women and Feminist Mormon Housewives. The same people who follow those groups comment and are an active part of this bullying campaign.

    Why was there no article on this but rather on a tiny group? Where are those crying out against this worse and larger FB group designed to mock and bully LDS women? There is such a hypocritical double standard. Please reconsider posting on this and drawing attention to how disgusting and mean that these men and women are who created that page.

    And please, do not defend it and say that it is just for fun. I know better.

  52. having been lovingly encouraged right off FMH…and not accepted by most feminists due to the large family size issue…I am sad. I very frequently agree with feminists…then I say something wrong and they go all cyber bully on me. it’s been done. on fmh. to say they appreciate alternate opinions is…not entirely accurate. Perhaps that’s because they feel attacked all over the place so they need a place of safety to be. I don’t know. They do get trolls as every site does…but I tried to be there for a while because I am interested. Where else can I discuss women’s issues? Where else can I discuss women in the church?

    i have been invited to MWS but..not a chance in this world. the twist in some of their posts is ugly.

    I refuse to read the group discussed in the OP.yuck.

    Both sides of the fence bully. Both sides are ugly at times.

  53. Great piece. It’s my worst fears about this entire issues realized. After visiting OWE just to see it for myself, I’m also extremely disappointed see that the Mormon Women Facebook page has “liked” OWE. Egg on my face for thinking they were bigger than that, I guess.

  54. **Mormon Women Project Facebook page (I mistyped)

  55. Kristine says:

    LuckyJ–are you sure? I didn’t see it in OWP’s list of likes. I’d be shocked.

  56. I think OWE likes the Mormon Women Project, not the other way around.

  57. Aha! I think hpm is correct and that I had it backwards. Sorry for confusion, Kristine.

  58. Seth R. says:

    I don’t exactly want to visit this page myself. I dislike these kind of retaliation attempts online, and I don’t support what this new group is doing.

    But I can’t really get any accurate picture of what these people are saying that constitutes cyber-bullying from your article. You don’t quote much of the comments or give any indication of how prevalent certain views and approaches are on the website. All you do is say – this is trying to expose OW and Kate Kelly, and it’s cyberbullying and misogynistic. Then you go on a big explanation of online misogyny.

    That gives me jack squat to form an opinion on.

    The ONLY comment you included from the website wasn’t even a clear cut case for anything you’re trying to claim about the group. There are faithful Mormons who would say that about any public ex-Mormon – male or female.

    More examples please. Like I said, I can’t determine anything from your article about the group at all. Except that it’s a group attacking OW. I’m not going to visit or support such a group. But this op ed isn’t the least bit informative.

  59. it's a series of tubes says:

    But isn’t that the problem? That as a group we apparently meet no higher standard than the rest of the world? From a secular standard, this may not be a big deal. But from a spiritual one, I think it is. Given our mantra of where much is given, much is required, as well as our goal of becoming a Zion community, I think this at least says we’re failing in our responsibilities and efforts.

    Here is where we disagree. As a group I do think we meet a higher stanmdard. But due to our group size, in the group there will be a few who stoop just as low as individuals in any other group.

  60. Judgmental? Yes! Terrible? Yes! Cyberbully? Not so sure.

  61. Kristine says:

    LisaM–I agree with you about the Rameumptoms page. It’s mean-spirited and not funny.

  62. I posted a few messages in public some minutes ago, OWE replied to say they can make the page in whatever way they want to make it and they are blowing off steam. My replies were respectful and I kindly asked if he/she can close the page out of respect for Kelly and her entire family. This is one of her replies:

    “CheekyMormon Chic, this page can be what we want it to be. The OW page is full of hatred for the leaders of the church and the gospel. Sometimes we need to blow off steam. I, for one, am angry that KK and OW are dragging my “pearls” before swine. Jesus didn’t condone bad behavior and neither do I. I am in no place to judge her soul, but we are counseled to to identify good and evil so that we can avoid being sucked into Satan’s trap. It not t un-Christlike to call evil what it is…evil.”.

    I made a long post but she/he chose to delete ALL my messages and that’s why you only see messages in support and no other voicing their disapproval.

  63. And they also blocked me from the page. I did not call anyone any names or was disrespectful in any way.

  64. KerBearRN says:

    John, forever and ever, AMEN. Ugly, misogynistic, unchristlike cyberbullies. Can’t imagine how anyone can justify such uncharitable, non-compassionate, and abusive statements. Shame on them.

  65. C. Wilson says:

    If you want to see cyberbullying at its worst, here is what a group of LDS (or if you call them that?) are doing: https://www.facebook.com/mormonwomenonrameumptons Pretty mean and harsh, even though they say it’s out of fun (of course bullies always will say it’s out of fun, right?)

    Pretty disgusting and mean. Why are LDS members so mean to others who are trying to live the gospel? I just left a comment on that page and a person said that it is just satire and to bring comfort. Really? Is this what bullying boils down to now? Satire?

  66. One question.

    Is there any particular reason that the existence of some wrong people on the Internet was worth writing an article about?

    I mean, someone tries to speak out about some Evangelical bigot raving somewhere, or about the latest piece of ideological trash spewed out by the MormonThink crowd, and they’re scolded that they shouldn’t stoop down to the level of those people.

    So what makes this case any different?

  67. Captain DG says:

    Your characterization is overly harsh. The page is unkind and the language is rough and tumble, but posts I viewed were taking on point-by-point views expressed by OW. It is not bullying to vociferously, even crudely answer public comment with public comment. I have not looked at every post, but what I saw was not really cyberbullying. To reach that level would require direct, personal, ad hominem attacks not grounded in the issues discussed. Seems the site is harshly attacking the views of OW and the harm being done by OW actions to the church.

  68. Seth R. says:

    Well, I wouldn’t call it “poking fun.”

    But it is worth asking if OWE deserved a blog response, why didn’t “Mormon Women Stand on Rameumptums” deserve one?

  69. Mike H. says:

    Now I see that Ordain Women Exposed is coming out swinging against this BCC thread. They didn’t mention BCC directly, though.

    And, “Mormon Women Stand on Rameumptoms” has had some funny things, like the quote of a 1949 Singer Sewing Machine guide, or, a meme about praying over snicker doodles & punch “To strengthen & nourish our bodies”.

  70. Seth R. says:

    What does having some funny points have to do with the price of eggs… ?

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