Open Dialogue

You may have noticed that we’ve tweaked our color scheme, changed our banner image and made a few other changes.  Our site design is admittedly a work-in-progress; your comments (read: rants) are taken very seriously in that respect.

Let me point out for you the most important site change, in case you missed it: the button in our right-hand sidebar, linking to Dialogue.  It represents a new collaboration between Dialogue and BCC, one that we’re very excited about, but one that merits some discussion and explanation.

For some time now, we’ve been thinking at BCC about how to expand in the academic fields of mormon studies; at the same time, Dialogue has working to expand readership and reach new, younger audiences.  We believe that by working together, BCC and Dialogue can achieve both of these goals. 

Here at BCC, you’ll see advance articles and exclusive content from upcoming Dialogue issues, as well as interviews, discussions and behind-the-scenes views from current topics in mormon studies.  We’re also excited about delving into past issues in mormon thought; having access to Dialogue‘s 40 years of experience will give BCC posts new depth and new context.  Drawing upon past and present Dialogue board members, authors and editors as resources for posts and comments will, we, believe, give new life to discussions here and help us in our goal to explore ideas in a spiritually fulfilling and uplifting way. 

In the introductory issue of Dialogue, Eugene England declared:

My faith as a Mormon encourages by specific doctrines my feeling that each man is eternally unique and god-like in potential, that each man deserves a hearing and that we have something important to learn from each man if we can hear him — if he can speak and we can listen well.  Dialogue is possible to those who can.  Such a dialogue will not solve all of our intellectual and spiritual problems — and it will not save us; but it can bring us joy and new vision and help us toward that dialogue with our deepest selves and with our God which can save us.

We at BCC adopt this vision whole-heartedly, and so we are changing.  As part of this change, we’re pleased to announce a new, special guest blogger: Levi Peterson, editor of Dialogue, professor and author.  This is Levi’s first real foray into the bloggernacle, and we think he’ll fit in just fine here at BCC — we anxiously await to read from him as he posts in the coming days, weeks and months.

Let me also say that even though BCC is changing and aligning itself with Dialogue, some things around here won’t change.  We will still try to explore issues thoughtfully, with our minds and with the Spirit.  We will not be ashamed of orthodoxy, but we will also continue to respect opposing views.  We will keep our sense of humor.  We will remain in every important way as we first set out: "a liberal-minded, yet grossly intolerant Mormon blog: we tolerate dissent, but not stupidity."

Updated: I forgot to mention one of the best parts!  BCC readers receive 50% subscription prices for Dialogue.  For a limited time only-new subscribers are being offered 50% off the regular subscription rate. Contact the business office by email and mention you saw the BCC
blogsite offer.


  1. LOL Steve … I just sent you an email to tell you that I think the design changes that have been made look great. I like how the design is still true to the old format but improves the color scheme.

  2. Nate Oman says:

    I am trying to figure out the symbolism of the snow-filled woods. Help me out here?

  3. a random John says:

    I should mention that on Firefox under Windows the banner repeats if the window is wide enough.

    I should also mention that slash code would do wonders for a high traffic Mormon blog… :)

  4. Steve Evans says:

    Nate, there is a deep, deep symbolism to the woods, which can only be had upon serious reflection in the Temple. God speed.

    arJ: we optimized for a 1024×728 resolution; we’ll try to fix it up for you high-falutin’ folks. But you gotta let go of the slashcode pipe dreams.

  5. Elisabeth says:

    Looks great, Steve! Congrats on your new collaboration with Dialogue. I’m looking forward to reading.

  6. I also think the new connection between BCC: and Dialogue has great possibilities. Congrats on putting that together and welcome to Levi. Should be interesting to read his posts.

  7. Well done. I’m looking forward to the collaboration.

    BTW, I saw the banner image this past weekend. But I came to understand the meaning while meditating in Sunday School yesterday.

  8. Steve,

    Your collaboration with Dialogue has potential. I’m excited to see what develops. I will also look forward to hearing from Levi Peterson, who is a favorite of mine.

    I’ll be honest, Steve, I hate your new design. I thought my computer was on the blink when I first saw it. BCC was never easy on the eyes (sorry!) but now I can hardly stand to be on the site. M* is the most visually appealing of the three blog giants. Of course, people come to blogs more for content than for aesthetic reasons but color scheme and lay out play a role. I hope, for your sakes, this change is just temporary because BCC has now become the ugliest blog by far.

  9. Sorry for the stray commas. I was so anxious to leave the drab, gray, despair-inducing colors here that my rapid typing resulted in carelessness.

  10. Steve Evans says:

    Melissa, you’re breaking my heart. Too pasty?

  11. Pasty is a good word for it. BCC now feels like the dead zone. Did you really do this intentionally? I still feel like there might be something wrong with my computer since no else has mentioned this.

  12. Steve, I think your new colors are beautiful. In fact, I may change the Dialogue website to have a similar color scheme. It’s very classy looking. Levi wrote earlier that he went for a walk to think about his first post with you. We are all very excited here at Dialgoue to be part of your blog community. Thanks for the invite and support.

  13. Yeah, the colours are a tad morose, Steve. As for the trees, it’s clearly the Sacred Grove, right?

  14. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan, all groves are sacred to God. No, I have no idea where those darned trees actually are.

    As for the color scheme — well, all things are a work-in-progress, as previously noted. As we continue in our quest for perfection, color scheme is one of many speed bumps to cross.

  15. Bob Caswell says:

    I was never a huge fan of the old look, but I must say that I love the new look of winter. For those who automatically associate gray with despair-inducing, we may have some problems.

  16. Change the gray on the sides to the pale green then…easy fix.

  17. Nope, nothing wrong with my computer. Times and Seasons is its usual taupe self and M* is still vibrant blue.

    Steve, this is not a slam. I really like BCC and am more than a little curious to find out what Levi Peterson will say here. I think it is a fabulous development for BCC and for the bloggernacle in general. But, why ruin your look on the very day you introduce such great news?

    Does everyone else really think this is (what did lori call it?) beautiful?

    Where are the aesthetes out there?

  18. I gotta say I think Melissa is over-reacting. I like the trees. I like the colors.

    My only problem is the sizing. The banner at the top repeats–which I know only a thousand people have mentioned–and in my browser the left hand column is cut off.

  19. I don’t know what to think Melissa. I thought the new look was a huge improvement on the old one. My first thought was that the difference of opinion might be a gender-issue … but just looking at names shows that isn’t the case.

  20. Steve Evans says:

    Brian — what’s your browser? Looked ok to me in IE, firefox, and safari.

  21. If there is a problem it is not the banner as much as it is the pasty grey combined with the maroon-ish text color in the rest. It is a bit lacking in contrast, but apparently some people like that look.

  22. I can’t stand looking at what Melissa calls the ‘vibrant’ blue on M. It’s institutional looking and so commonly seen on websites…not very creative or artsy.

  23. Okay, the trees are an improvement. But, why not trees in October or April? Why show dead trees in January and then do nothing to contrast (like a palette of browns?) There is not enough of a color contrast between the white and gray. Better to keep it all white than introduce a shade that not only does nothing to set off the white, but makes one think of the death and dying?

    I’d prefer something warmer or brighter. Dull and cool is a bad combo. But, in the end it probably doesn’t matter what I think, right. ;)

  24. Colors do tend to move people. Obviously, these choices move Melissa to death. The green is very refreshing though. Use a bit more of that and you’ll get something more uplifting perhaps. The last part of the T on your banner name is cut off on my screen as well.

  25. Well, if artsy is what you’re going for . . . this isn’t it.

    Of course, M* isn’t “artsy” either, but I don’t think it is distracting to most readers.

    I think good layout goes a long way to making a blog readable and for some readers can even make up for lousy content—just look at the Banner of Heaven.

    Now, I’ve made more out of this than was necessary and it will backfire. People will likely feel the need to defend this unfortunate color choice simply because of my “over-reaction” and we’ll all be stuck with it.

  26. Aaron Brown says:

    I actually think the color change is an improvement, if only because I was sick to death of looking at that abominable orange. Either way, I agree that BCC is the ugliest of the Big 3, and that M* looks the best. But that’s like saying the Church’s Gospel Library CD-ROM is better looking than the New Mormon Studies CD-ROM — it doesn’t mean its content is anywhere nearly as interesting! :)

    Aaron B

  27. IE 6.0, Steve

  28. Davis Bell says:

    I second Melissa; I don’t like it. I partiuclarly dislike the font on the title. And snowy trees?

    Cool, though, about Dialogue and Levi Peterson. Over at M* we’re doing the same thing with the Ensign.

  29. Steve,

    I use IE too and the banner repeats. Perhaps the whole site looks different in Firefox than it does in IE?

  30. Lousy content! Lousy content!

    I think tact and manners go a long way to making a blogger tolerable for some people and can even make up for strident opinions–just look at Melissa.

    You know what they say…

    If you can’t say anything nice…shut yer yapper!

    I tend to agree.

  31. Hey Septimus,

    Maybe you could get together with Steve and give him a few pointers on the blog design…

    I agree with Melissa that your blog is much easier on the eyes than BCC.

  32. Well, since we’re making announcements, I ought to break the news that T & S is collaborating with the standard works. Yes, that’s right. A selection of T & S posts will be incorporated into the D & C and the PoGP. (There’s some internal fighting discussion over exactly which posts. So far, it looks like the winners on this count are Jim’s Sunday School lessons, Nate’s gardening, Adam’s posts about space, and pretty much everything by Wilfried.)

    Also, new revelations and scriptures will be previewed on T & S in a new regular feature that will be run by Rosalynde.

    We’ll see you all there!

  33. Nate Oman says:

    Steve: As far as I am concerned, any change at BCC is an improvement. Well done.

  34. Aaron Brown says:

    Hey Steve, weren’t we going to also implement a rule that once the affiliation with Dialogue is official, permabloggers at other non-Dialogue-affiliated sites can only make comments if they preface them with “Dear Sir” and “Your Grace” and speak to us with KJV pronouns (thee, thy, etc.)?

    Aaron B

  35. Steve Evans says:

    Zounds! ‘Tis true, Sir Aaron – thou speakest truly. Such knavery as Nathan’s ne’er shall touch thine ears hence.

  36. Congrats to BCC. I think this look is a step in the right direction. Obviously not perfect yet, but wow, it’s light years past the orange and brown of yesteryear.

    And lol to Davis, and to Kaimi for the escalation.

    And thanks for the hints on this union, undisclosed BCC leaker!

  37. Indeed, congrats to BCC. I think BCC should have an Cascadian theme as the Pacific NW is the foremost repository for Blog excellence.

  38. Rosalynde says:

    Steve, does this mean that BCC is now a limb of Dialogue? Is there a structural affiliation that is stronger than our affililation with BYU Studies and other journals, or will your features be basically the same as ours, namely linking to articles, and then hosting discussion?

    I think BCC will become less important, not more important, if it becomes a division of Dialogue. Furthermore, I think it will be a real shame if our online fora begin to replicate the terrain of the print media, though perhaps that’s inevitable (and, to be fair, we consider that terrain carefully in establishing our own relationships).

    Add me to the list of people who see the banner repeating up top in IE.

  39. Robert O. says:

    An interesting week. T&S calls Dialogue to repentence while BCC embraces it as its official collaborative partner. Personally, I think the alliance has great potential. Have always enjoyed anything Levi has to say. One thing though–if Dialogue really is offering 50% off subscription rates for any and all BCC readers, they are going to have financial issues to rival the loss of all those disaffected orthodox former subscribers. Maybe all current subscribers will be charged double. I’m sure I missed something in the fine print.

  40. Rosalynde, I should wait for Steve to explain, but we are going to have exclusive content and behind the scene access to indaviduals.

    Robert O. the half off is only good for one year and for new subscribers…right Lori?

  41. Katherine says:

    I think the trees picture is pretty, but I wouldn’t want to look at winter all year long. Also, I do think the colors are a bit boring. I doubt any of that would stop me from checking by every day. I hope you play with a few more looks before this is permanently adopted.

  42. Yes – the print offer is for NEW subscriber’s only and the term of a new subscription is a year. But…the offer is only good for a few weeks not a whole year so hurry! I will however extend a 50% off discount for our new DVD for a longer period as yet to be determined. Bloggers have to email me at the biz office. I still like the colors of this site…it’s easy on the eyes and I’m on the computer a lot.

  43. I’ve wondered internally with permabloggers at T&S what this new colloboration means exactly, but since RW made the conversation public by bringing up some of the same issues, I’ll ask my questions here.

    J. Stapley,

    What does “exclusive content” and “behind the scenes access to individuals” really mean? Clearly more than just links to Dialogue, right?

    Does it mean that there will be content (essays, articles, etc.) that will be published only at BCC and never at Dialogue? If so, that’s no different than what happens now. Or, does it mean that only BCC will have the rights to publish Dialogue’s material online and that Dialogue will never publish its content online with any other group?

    If that’s the case it seems like this arrangement could end up hurting BCC since it could become simply the online branch of Dialogue. I assume that’s not the intention.

    Can you fill us in on more of the details?

  44. Steve Evans says:


    First, let me resist the implication that the only way to go about things is the way T&S has done them. Our relationship with Dialogue is stronger than the affiliation you have with BYU Studies, but I view that as a way to provide more interesting content rather than a limiting factor.

    That said, BCC will not be a division of Dialogue, which is something I think I made clear above. I don’t think that we’re replicating content, or in danger of replicating. Keep in mind that Dialogue-related issues will only represent a portion of our content, and even within that portion our efforts will be to provide complementary material.

  45. Steve Evans says:

    Melissa, good questions.

    I should point out that this is a newborn relationship, one that we feel will grow with time. Let me give you some examples of ideas we are experimenting with.

    As it stands, we expect to provide excerpts of upcoming articles prior to their release at the Dialogue website. Dialogue will of course make materials available on its site as it chooses, but BCC will be able to provide a sneak peek.

    We hope to also have access to Dialogue authors and editors, to help explore topics further than a printed medium can permit. I think interviews are an appropriate way of doing this, but I also think that Dialogue authors/editors may guest-post from time to time to discuss articles in further depth than the journal permits. We hope that authors will able to provide more context for their work and tell us what unanswered questions there are out there yet to explore.

    I also believe that simply having access to editors and persons associated with Dialogue will be a tremendous boost to BCC. Dialogue has decades of experience and a great social network; hopefully we at BCC can enjoy some access to that network for our ongoing discussions.

    In brief, some things will change, some things won’t, but I am confident that this arrangement is truly beneficial to all.

  46. Rosalynde says:

    Steve, not to worry, I am under no illusion that T&S’s is the only way! In fact, I’m eagerly looking forward to stealing your good ideas for my own series. :)

    I’m glad to hear that BCC will retain its independence, and I’d urge you to exercise it and not over-emphasize the Dialogue connection. Almost all major print (and even online) publications have an affiliated blog, or blog-like forum, but none of those blogs or forums are major players in the larger blogosphere. I think Dialogue’s got more to gain from a stronger relationship than you guys do. I’d hate for BCC to dwindle and perish in irrelevance if it became the Fray to Dialogue’s Slate. :)

  47. I’m interested in the collaboration, indifferent to the color scheme, put off by the snowy woods (woods in the spring are much prettier, I think), and deeply saddened by the loss of snark in the blogroll.

    Oh well, at least the Tin Plates persevere.

  48. The Secret Keeper says:

    If only the world knew what I know about the origins of BCC’s snarky blogroll tags. Indeed, the very foundations of the ‘nacle would be shaken.

    I am the secret keeper, and I remain as silent as the tomb.

  49. Steve Evans says:

    Secret Keeper, only you and I know the Truth.

  50. I’m with Melissa, I would put a nice blue or some other vibrant color somewhere. I actually thought my monitor was screwed up.

  51. New design, BCC-Dialogue collaboration, Levi Peterson guest-blogging: all wonderful news in my book.

  52. I like the new color scheme and the trees are pretty!

  53. So will Sunstone editors be blogging eventually also? All around good news to hear.

  54. I’m a huge fan of sage-y green, but this is pretty good. I *like* the trees; I live in the deep South, and I never see stuff like this in Real Life. I’m not complaining, mind you.

    The hook-up with Dialogue is very, very cool, though I would have preferred a two-hour meeting block.

  55. I like it. I’m another one who can’t stand Millenial Star’s color scheme – reminds me of WordPerfect 5.0 – looks like someone used FrontPage to throw together the first template color scheme they found.

  56. While we’re taking sides on such a clearly important issue, I’ll jump in and join the dogpile on the Millenium Falcon: I don’t like their look either.

    And I’m always one who looks for chances to dig a pit for my neighbor (at least when my neighbor is Steve), but I think the new look around here is great.

  57. I just figured that the grove represented those groves that Old Testament prophets continually railed against. Just waiting for the great Paul Bunyan in the sky to take his axe to them!

  58. Wonderful news. Thanks to the BCC workers!

  59. I just noticed the snarky bloglist is gone. Dang. I kind of liked being the brass knuckles.

  60. Steve Evans says:

    Clark, those knuckles remain in place at our old site.

  61. I like the new look! The trees are nice, the colors are good. (I wasn’t such a fan of the orange and brown. The old image in the banner was funny, but I never even noticed what it was until Johnna pointed it out.) I really like that the font under “LDS Headlines” is smaller. The snarky blogroll was amusing but kind of hard to navigate.
    Congratulations on the collaboration with Dialogue!

  62. I think you should make everything pink.

  63. And what’s going to happen to all my fembots google traffic?

  64. I haven’t kept count, but the votes in favor of the new colors and banner image seem to be running about two to one in favor. In any case, definitely an improvement. Nice work, Steve. No one but a blogger knows how much tweaking it takes to get a site looking “just right.”

  65. Steve Evans says:

    Thanks Dave — Stapley tweaked the banner a bit, and now we are truly more powerful than ever.

  66. Long Sigh.

    Then you’re really keeping this color scheme, Steve? Just because it’s an improvement doesn’t mean it’s the best option. Obviously I’m outvoted here, but I thought I’d give it one last shot.


  1. Whose woods these are I think I know

    By Common Consent has a new look, a new partnership, and a new, high profile blogger.

    The new “snowy woods” theme is a perfect symbol for the new BCC. It draws deeply on literary archetypes that I love. For me, it evokes one snow covered woodlan…