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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Banner of Heaven Retrospective Post Mortem: What Does It All Mean? » Banner of Heaven Retrospective Post Mortem: What Does It All Mean?

Banner of Heaven Retrospective Post Mortem: What Does It All Mean?

MCQ - July 26, 2010

I really enjoyed the Banner of Heaven retrospective that Scott B at BCC put together (most of it appears here), and I have been thinking about it and gathering my thoughts ever since it ended. 

Mostly, I think the retrospective was an interesting historical look back at a time and an event that was an important watershed in the bloggernacle.  It’s something that will always engender some controversy and both good and bad feelings on the part of those who were participants in the drama, and also those who got involved after the fact.  I thought Scott did a good job of presenting all sides, but there was something missing in the end.  I would like to hear from people about the answers to a few questions that were raised by the final podcast with Steve Evans and which I posed over in the thread following the podcast at Bloggernacle Times.  No one really bothered to try to answer them there, so I’d like to try it over here to see if we can get a more relevant discussion going ( I swear I will delete any references to the Song of Solomon).  Here are the questions (feel free to add to this list if you want) and my answers:

1. How seriously should we take the nacle?

This is a pretty nebulous question, but maybe it can be made more easy to answer by putting it on a 10-point scale.  I think the nacle has serious elements and also some ridiculous, funny, goofy or comic elements.  Where 10 is as serious as say, the temple, and zero is SNL, I’d give the nacle a solid 7.  What does that mean?  Well, it means we need to take people seriously here, because they sometimes come here with serious things to say or ask.  Education happens here.  Even missionary work happens here.  People are able to talk about their beliefs and about the Church and the gospel here in ways that they can’t maybe anywhere else.  Those are serious and important things.  But we also can’t take it so seriously that it’s impossible to have fun, because fun is an important part of why many people are here too.

2. Is it possible (or maybe “appropriate” is a better word) to be justly proud of anything about BoH?

I think so.  There was a lot of good writing and planning and work that went into BoH, not just in the posts but in the comments from the permas and and between the commenters.  I think all who participated can be proud of what they did there.  If you read BoH, it’s entertaining, even more so now that you know the backstory.  nothing that entertaining can be all bad.  I understand that some have bad feelings and some deplore the whole episode as a wretched attempt at defrauding people, but I think those feelings have been mostly proved wrong.  At the very least, you have to respect all the work that went into it.  No one does that much work just as a prank.  there was more going on than that.

3. Following repentance, is there a statute of limitations on continuing to deplore the sinful behavior?

In general, I think the answer to this question is no, you can always deplore the behavior, but obviously our religion dictates that you should forgive the perpetrator.  With regard to BoH, I think we have to make allowances for those that still harbor hurt feelings, whether we agree with those feelings or not, and we have to allow people to forgive on their own timetable (or not at all if that is their choice, I guess) but enough time has passed that hopefully most of us can move on to discussing this subject objectively. 

4. What’s the proper post-mortem verdict on BoH? Was it simply “ethically and morally wrong” as Scott suggests, or is there some level on which it can be justified?

It was an experiment that probably needed to take place on some level.  It’s inevitable that someone (or some group) explores the boundaries of what’s appropriate here in the nacle, and that exploration is probably not over.   BoH showed us what can be done in terms of fictional blogging and it showed us the effects of such an undertaking on the relationships we make here.  There were certainly some who felt wronged, and some who felt that the whole effort was tainted ethically and/or morally, but I think it’s going too far to say that the entire blog was flat wrong, because there are certainly ways in which a fictional blog could be executed that would not be wrong.  Certainly there are still some fictional comments being made in the nacle and some fictional or not-totally-real personalities being utilized (mostly for purposes of comedy) so I don’t think you can really say that the whole thing was completely out of line from beginning to end.  We need to test our boundaries and push the envelope at times.  That instinct should be applauded, even when the results are not ideal, which will often be the case.

5. What are the permanent effects of BoH on the nacle? Are there any? If so, are any of them positive (other than the obvious “bonds of war” formed between the co-conspiritors)?

It explains a lot about certain relationships between certain of the bloggers here.  When you are getting to know people here, if you do nothing else, reading BoH and the threads analyzing it will explain to you most of the important relationships between most of the bloggers at most of the big blogs in the nacle.  It’s kind of like a primer on the nacle and its inhabitants.  Required reading for anyone who wants to really know what’s going on.

Aside from that, there are lingering effects, like the echoes of the big bang that can still be detected in space.  People are more careful about fictional identities, and most blogs are pretty intolerant of those who attempt to post under assumed names.  It isn’t really allowed at BCC, even in jest, and I think that’s a direct result of BoH.  People are also more careful about where they comment now.  It’s not as much of a free-for-all, and there seem to be more rules, even if they are not all written.  I doubt you will ever see a new group blog embraced as wholeheartedly again, especially one where the bloggers are not already known.  There is also probably an increased level of cynicism here, of not taking things at face value, that is a result of BoH. 

I’m not sure that’s totally a bad thing, or that any of these effects would not have happened anyway, but I think it’s fair to say that the nacle lost a bit of its innocence with BoH, for better or worse.  It grew up a little.  And as growing up always does, it changed things.  I think all in all, what we learned from BoH was worth the pain it caused.  Just like I’m glad about most of the relationships I had in junior high and high school, even though some of them were difficult and painful, I’m glad we had BoH. With apologies to Voltaire: if we didn’t have BoH, it would be necessary to invent it.

Those are just some of my thoughts.  Please let me know what yours are.

46 Comments »

  1. It explains a lot about certain relationships between certain of the bloggers here. When you are getting to know people here, if you do nothing else, reading BoH and the threads analyzing it will explain to you most of the important relationships between most of the bloggers at most of the big blogs in the nacle. It’s kind of like a primer on the nacle and its inhabitants. Required reading for anyone who wants to really know what’s going on.

    Perhaps I’m a slow study, but this is not obvious to me. What are the important relationships that one should discern from those threads?

    Comment by Brian-A — July 26, 2010 @ 8:38 pm

  2. Brian, I didn’t mean anything mysterious, and maybe I wasn’t clear about the threads I was talking about. I mean that if you read the BoH threads and the ones about BoH, you will find out what bloggers were and are friends with what other bloggers. That’s all.

    Comment by MCQ — July 26, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  3. Fair enough. Given the hype, I was hoping those threads would reveal all sorts of secret alliances and esoteric knowledge. I see that the T&S posts show a discussion of T&S’s roles and also who would vouch for Steve Evans’s character. Many of most active commmenters on BoH now write for Mormon Mentality. If there’s more to be learned, I’d be grateful if someone spelled it out.

    I don’t want to derail discussion at the starting gates, so back to original post’s first question. I don’t know what the bloggernacle was like in 2005. I think now the seriousness in the bloggernacle varies blog by blog and post by post anywhere from 3 to 8 on your scale. This is good, because the humor, scholarship, and testimony all are complementary. In long blog discussions, just as in face-to-face interaction, I suspect knowing others’ personalities leads to better communication.

    Comment by Brian-A — July 27, 2010 @ 8:23 am

  4. The “permanent effects,” if any, are impossible to judge by those of us who came to the ‘nacle post-BOH. It’s all just part of the culture around here that we found when we came. Scott’s retrospective tells us what it may have been like before, but for us, the current style is just the way things are — although I think I would have liked the earlier days, from what has been said in the retrospective.

    For me, the most interesting of your questions is the “how seriously to take the Bloggernacle” question. The answer, I think, is going to be different for nearly everyone, and even different from post to post on the same blog. BCC, for instance, has a lot of posts that are light and frivolous and meant for laughter and snark — if the PBR series were the model, we’d probably say that you couldn’t take the ‘nacle seriously at all. But just about the time you think that’s all BCC can produce, along comes Tracy with a poignant story, or J. with the perfect blend of devotion and scholarship, or one of the others with a serious and thoughtful examination of a difficult question. If you’re in tune with those posts, it’s hard NOT to take the ‘nacle seriously.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 27, 2010 @ 10:08 am

  5. I agree with all of that, Brian.

    I think BoH did reveal some things that were secret and esoteric at the time. Even now, reading through it and its aftermath explains things that are not otherwise apparent or obvious.

    I think your observation about Mormon Mentality is right, and it’s an important point about blog origins. If it weren’t for BoH, there might not have ever been MM.

    Comment by MCQ — July 27, 2010 @ 10:10 am

  6. Ardis, I came along after BoH and even I, with my limited powers of observation, can see some things that seem to be effects of BoH. I agree that those who have been here all along would have the best perspective on this, which is why I’m hoping that others answer these questions.

    It should be obvious to everyone who has ever visited the nacle even briefly that some posts are lighter and some posts are more serious, but that’s not really what I’m talking about in that question. I guess what I meant to ask is whether anything here actually matters. In other words, does it have “real world” applicability, or is it something wholly frivolous?

    Comment by MCQ — July 27, 2010 @ 10:22 am

  7. I haven’t read any of the post-mortem posts about BoH because I’ve been busy, and I’m not really very interested in it, I guess–I lived through it, why read about it? :)

    I wasn’t in on the joke until a little bit before it all came crashing down, but I did find out it was a fake before most people did. I found it pretty dang funny. I love practical jokes/pranks, though. My hero is the guy who faked the Bigfoot footage and didn’t let his family reveal it was a fake until after he passed away.

    Comment by Susan M — July 27, 2010 @ 3:51 pm

  8. The mix of light and serious posts *is* my answer to your question about how seriously to take the Bloggernacle, MCQ. If someone posts the draft of a paper sincerely hoping to get feedback, or someone offers tips on how to find work in a specialized field or how to teach a difficult lesson hoping to be of real service, then the ‘nacle *matters*, at least to those readers and writers. The jokey stuff is, I think, the same as small talk at a party — it’s pleasant, and important in that it maintains social ties, but it doesn’t matter of itself.

    The trick is recognizing the difference and not posting a snarky comment to someone who has just bared her soul, or even exposed his real thoughts in an offhand amusing manner; it’s just as important to recognize when somebody is teasing and not get bent out of shape by taking it too seriously. Some ‘naclers are much more socially adept than others, obviously, whether it’s face to face or over the screen.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — July 27, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  9. My hero is the guy who faked the Bigfoot footage and didn’t let his family reveal it was a fake until after he passed away.

    Yeah, that would have been a good strategy for BoH too.

    Ardis, I think I get what you’re saying, and I agree. I was just looking for a way to talk about the nacle as a whole instead of breaking it down to individual posts and people.

    Comment by MCQ — July 27, 2010 @ 5:59 pm

  10. I’ve never been part of the in crowd in the bloggernacle so I wasn’t at the center of the BoH mess and aftermath. I’m sure the in crowd managed to cry and hug and move beyond it after forgiving and healing and feeling forgiven.
    I guess I haven’t ever had an accurate picture of everything and everyone in the bloggernacle. How was I to know that BoH appeared in an atypical way?
    I still don’t know how all the bloggers feel about one another and who is friends with who. There are an awful lot of online people in the nacle….am I really supposed to remember everything about everyone and how they all relate? There seem to be dozens and dozens of people in life that I try to remember names, faces, families, stories, millions of details……how can I remember it all when I’m 39 and very busy raising four kids which takes all my brain power. I guess I put the online people at the bottom of the list to try to remember. I remember for a while, but then a few months later I see their name and wonder…..
    So that is my take. I read the apologies and explanations. I didn’t think it was a worthwhile project. I thought it was wrong.
    I view honesty as very important and there are very few moral reasons to lie. This wasn’t one of them.
    I think it was sad for the community. I still remember how exciting it was to read blog posts by MORMONS……it was so novel to actually interact with Mormons who weren’t in my very own ward.
    My only previous online communities had been about cancer (2001) and about my child’s disability (2002-2003) and finances (2003-2004) and no one had ever hoaxed anyone.
    I think BoH thing was sad and I really think it was wrong. It is irrelevant whether I forgive or not. I doubt anyone cares whether I forgive. What they are looking for, and what you are looking for I think, is for me to say “It wasn’t totally wrong” and “It wasn’t sad that something was destroyed it was just a necessary part of growing up” but I’m not going to say that. But I’ll try to be sensitive of the hurt feelings of the perpetrators who are unable to forgive me for thinking it was wrong.

    Comment by jks — July 27, 2010 @ 7:43 pm

  11. There is typically two categories: 1. Those who were around during BofH and 2. those who came after. I personal think and better dichotomy would be 1. Those who give a crap about BofH and 2. those who do not. I do not.

    I did find the retrospective very interesting. That Scott put that much work into looking at the BofH is amazing.

    It did give me a chance to think a bit about the bloggernacle. It is my home in many ways. I now have a better idea of where I fit in…and also how I do not.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 27, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

  12. MCQ,

    I think of the bloggernacle as another of the LDS communities to which I belong. It isn’t like my ward, but it is more important than many might think and it is a mistake to dismiss it lightly. I regularly fast and pray for people I know from my online associations.

    I don’t get the way people have their noses out of joint over BoH and write off the entire bloggernacle because of it. It doesn’t make any more sense than people leaving the church because of Paul H. Dunn. I admire President Hinckley for the words he said at Br. Dunn’s funeral, and wish we could follow that example better.

    I agree, the ‘nacle is a mixed bag, but in that way, don’t you think it resembles your ward? Around the campfire at Fathers and Sons you are going to have a lot of goofing off and horseplay. Ditto roadshows and priest/laurel water fights. And on the basketball court you might even catch a few sharp elbows. But you are also going to sometimes get sublime and life-changing glimpses of Zion. And even in an online community we are obligated to help bear one another’s burdens to the extent we can. Granted, that is difficult to do sometimes, but even a kind word on the internet can make a difference.

    Comment by Mark Brown — July 27, 2010 @ 8:15 pm

  13. jks, thanks for that perspective, I know there are quite a few who feel the way you do and I have personally spoken to some who do.

    I think you’re wrong to think that people don’t care whether you forgive. I can’t speak for any of the perpetrators, but it seems to me that at least some of them put a lot of effort into trying to make amends. That says to me that they do care.

    I don’t know what they’re looking for, but as for me, I’m not looking for any particular answer here. I gave my honest answers, as a person who wasn’t around at the time, and I was hoping for some honest answers from others. That’s all.

    I’ll try to be sensitive of the hurt feelings of the perpetrators who are unable to forgive me for thinking it was wrong.

    I don’t think it’s their part to forgive you for that, jks. I think you’re entitled to that opinion and you’re certainly not the only one who thinks that way. Thanks again for letting us know how you feel.

    Comment by MCQ — July 27, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  14. Chris, that’s kind of a cryptic comment. Care to elaborate? I guess if you don’t give a crap about BoH, then maybe this isn’t the thread for you, but I’m interested in your thoughts on the nacle generally too.

    Mark, as usual I agree with every word you just said.

    Comment by MCQ — July 27, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

  15. MCQ, you are a genius.

    Comment by Mark Brown — July 27, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  16. MCQ,

    I guess my point is that I found the retrospective interesting because it led to many interesting discussions about the ‘nacle…though this seemed to bother those who wanted to keep the focus on BoH. I feel about BoH about the same way I feel about Plato. It is interesting and I can see why some really care…but I am not convince that I have to feel the same way. (This makes Steve Evans Plato and Scott B. Cicero).

    Comment by Chris H. — July 27, 2010 @ 9:51 pm

  17. Yep, that was still cryptic.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 27, 2010 @ 9:54 pm

  18. Chris (and others), feel free to talk generally about the nacle if you don’t have a comment specifically about BoH or the retrospective. I have tried to make a case for why you should care about BoH, but I understand that some might not buy that.

    Comment by MCQ — July 28, 2010 @ 10:45 am

  19. MCQ,
    I didn’t ever say as much explicitly in the retrospective, because I preferred others to draw their own conclusions, but to me there are two ways that BoH affected and still affects the bloggernacle.

    The first way is what you have already mentioned–the relationships between the blogs. It forged relationships and friendships (and also damaged some of the same) between the leaders of nearly every big blog–or those that would become big: MorMent, NCT, 9M, M*, T&S, BCC, the MA, and many solo bloggers and commenters. I think, based on what I have seen and the conversations I had, that basically everything changed. T&S suffered (in my opinion) permanent damage because of the reactions from bloggers during the aftermath; the MA’s relevance was increased; I could go on and on.

    The second point is really an extension of the first: In my opinion, since 2004, Steve Evans has had a bigger influence on the bloggernacle than basically everyone else combined. Consequently, BoH continues to affect things today because it had an absolutely enormous effect on Steve personally, and resultingly on the trajectory, atmosphere, and personality of BCC.

    As long as Steve Evans remains at BCC, and as long as BCC remains relevant in the bloggernacle, BoH’s influence will continue to exist.

    Comment by Scott B. — July 28, 2010 @ 4:14 pm

  20. Also, thanks for doing a nice conclusion to the retrospective for me. I meant to do something like this myself, but I just ran out of gas.

    Comment by Scott B. — July 28, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  21. My pleasure Scott, and congrats again for putting that whole thing together. It was a buttload, but at the same time, a very artistically rendered buttload. You rock.

    BoH continues to affect things today because it had an absolutely enormous effect on Steve personally, and resultingly on the trajectory, atmosphere, and personality of BCC.

    Ok, that’s the most interesting thing I’ve heard so far. But come on, spill it, man. What exactly are the effects on Steve? You’ve left way too much to the imagination here. If you don’t get more specific we’re all just going to assume he’s wetting the bed.

    Comment by MCQ — July 28, 2010 @ 4:24 pm

  22. “The second point is really an extension of the first: In my opinion, since 2004, Steve Evans has had a bigger influence on the bloggernacle than basically everyone else combined. Consequently, BoH continues to affect things today because it had an absolutely enormous effect on Steve personally, and resultingly on the trajectory, atmosphere, and personality of BCC. ”

    I understood this to be the driving force behind Scott’s retrospective. Steve Evans is a very important figure in bloggernacle. Save Jesus and Joseph Smith, he has done more for the…oh…wait.

    MCQ,
    I think I publicly expressed my take on the ‘nacle in the BTimes threads on this. I will let those stand. Peace.

    Comment by Chris H. — July 28, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  23. Interesting comments, Scott. IMO, the effects of BoH are essentially nil. I’m sure there are various individuals who feel differently about other individuals, whether for better or for worse. But the bloggernacle itself is unchanged – that is to say, it’s changed because it’s grown, but in no way that I can tell that has anything to do with BoH. The exact same stupid conversations that are going on now were going on before BoH.

    The only thing I can think of that was remotely different is that for a few years after BoH, I think a number of people were a little more sensitive or suspicious about anonymous/pseudonymous commenters, but even that seems to have faded away for many.

    Comment by Eric Russell — July 28, 2010 @ 4:46 pm

  24. Chris H,
    Driving force? No. That was my conclusion–not my starting point. My starting point was actually more related to MCQ’s question about the effect on Steve Evans.

    (Alert: Big confession here, folks, no one has ever heard this before)

    Shortly after I started at BCC, I started a Twitter account called “Tweeternacle” and I would tweet links to various posts around the bloggernacle, generally with some snark attached. I kept it anonymous for a few weeks, and was having a lot of fun, until Steve and a few others started trying to figure out who was behind Tweeternacle. He asked me, and I kind of “didn’t respond” since I didn’t want to lie directly…

    In any case, in an exchange on Twitter between Tweeternacle (me) and Steve, he said that until he knew who was behind it, he wouldn’t RT, or follow, or something to that effect, and said, “Just trust issues, I guess.”

    Shortly thereafter, I told Steve that I was tweeternacle, and started asking him what he meant by “trust issues” and that led into a conversation about how BoH had changed his views of transparency. Things just kind of rolled forth from that.

    Beyond that, MCQ, you should re-listen to the podcast–for the ears that hear, Steve reveals quite a bit about himself. He talked about loyalty, and how important that has always been to him, and it’s just a hop, skip, and a jump to see realize that realizing he had hurt his friends would be devastating for him.

    I could go on and on, but I’m starting to feel like my opinion on Question 1. forbids me from doing so.

    Comment by Scott B. — July 28, 2010 @ 5:11 pm

  25. Oh, wait–I never came full-circle:

    After discussing BoH with Steve, I simply became curious about it. The more I read, the more curious I became, and I just thought the entire thing was magical, basically. It was something that, like MCQ has said, I would have jumped at the chance to be a part of.

    Hence, I think it is worth preserving in the archives, because like I said in the podcast, There but for the grace of God go I.

    Comment by Scott B. — July 28, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  26. Eric,
    Maybe.

    Comment by Scott B. — July 28, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

  27. The exact same stupid conversations that are going on now were going on before BoH.

    Well, except now we’re talking about BoH, which, you know, wouldn’t have been possible before. Q.E.D.

    Comment by MCQ — July 28, 2010 @ 5:21 pm

  28. Scott, I don’t think I ever heard of Twitternacle. Are you still doing that?

    Comment by MCQ — July 28, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

  29. Unfortunately, MCQ, @tweeternacle hasn’t been silent on the airwaves since January 4. Good night, sweet prince.

    I would try to answer the questions posed, but my answers wouldn’t be indicative of anything but my own manias.

    Comment by Andrew S. — July 28, 2010 @ 11:47 pm

  30. Go for it Andrew. Exposing our manias is why we’re here.

    Comment by MCQ — July 29, 2010 @ 3:05 am

  31. Scott, I’m not sure what was the problem with lying about Tweeternacle. If BoH taught us anything it’s that lying for the sake of art is ok. All you had to say to Steve when he asked was, “I met him in NYC just last week” or something to that effect. Solves everything.

    Comment by KLC — July 29, 2010 @ 8:03 am

  32. edit to 29: don’t you hate when you say something earlier in the sentence that completely reverses the meaning? I should’ve said “hasn’t been active” or “has been silent.”

    here goes nothin’…

    1) I take the nacle probably too seriously & believe it should be taken seriously. However, if 10 is something like…the temple, then I guess I’d rate it around a 7 or 8.

    I’ve read plenty of comments/posts from Steve that go something like, “The nacle is for fun, but it cannot be an essential relationship and it will not provide essential growth like your ward or family will, and don’t forget that.”

    Why not, I ask. I think that the issue is that many people don’t have great wards and great families, and while I guess that in and of itself is a great growing opportunity, but another great opportunity is leaving and never looking back.

    The Bloggernacle, however, keeps some people talking and thinking about these kinds of Mormon issues. It’s not the same thing as the Sunday drag.

    I know many people are probably going to say, “I don’t even care what Andrew S has to say” or “Seems like Andrew S has some personal problems to work on and he needs to detach from the internet (srs bsns),” and I understand that the Bloggernacle is a private and proprietary club and the club’s owners have a right to establish whatever barriers to entry, whatever secret handshakes, whatever exclusionary criteria they want. I just regret it, because instead the Nacle could have been an anchor and a comfort, a support and a place of progression for many instead of a few.

    2) As an artistic endeavor, it’s pretty amazing. As a sociological dealie, it’s pretty amazing too.

    3) I have no idea. To set such a statute seems at some point cold. but oh well.

    4) Curiosity killed the cat. Satisfaction (literally) brought it back.

    5) I think Scott’s comment about the twitter thing “just trust issues” was pretty insightful.

    Comment by Andrew S. — July 29, 2010 @ 8:14 am

  33. Very interesting Andrew.

    For the record, I think most here do care about what you have to say, and want your input in the nacle. The only problems (as I see them) arise when people want the nacle to become something new that the longtime nacle denizens don’t want it to be, or want to change the definition of the nacle from “A group of blogs for and by faithful Mormons” to “A group of blogs that talk about Mormon things.” You can’t come into a community and try to change the definitions or boundaries of the community and not expect some push-back, but you can and should still be a part of the community.

    I can’t speak for Steve, but as I have read those posts about “the bloggernacle will not save you,” I have thought he was mostly just letting us know the limits of the place, as he saw them.

    This place can be a great supplement to your ward or religious experience (whatever that is) but it shouldn’t be a substitute for it and if you try to make it that, ultimately, you’re cheating yourself.

    Same goes for thinking the relationships made here are a substitute for family or friends. You can make great relationships here, but if they are your only relationships, you probably need to get out more.

    I just regret it, because instead the Nacle could have been an anchor and a comfort, a support and a place of progression for many instead of a few.

    I like that description actually, quite a bit. I think it is an anchor and a comfort for many, but it can’t be that for everyone, I suppose.

    Seems to me though that there’s a place here for most who want to talk about their understanding of this thing we call the Church or the gospel, as long as they bring a bit of a thick skin and understand that there are some limits to the discussion. The nacle can’t become the DAMU and still retain its essential character. On the other side of the scale, extremely conservative voices can often get marginalized, even sometimes mistreated. I think that’s too bad, but I don’t think it’s the fact that they’re conservative that is the problem, usually.

    I don’t know what you mean by your #4 Andrew.

    Comment by MCQ — July 29, 2010 @ 11:34 am

  34. As I said, I understand the concerns here, of feeling like something that was yours is being taken away by people who don’t even understand what the history and purposes were.

    But I still regret it, because I wish it had been the latter and not the former. I regret it because, regardless of what you say, how things turn out is that you really cannot and should not still be part of the community, because it is for and by faithful Mormons. To any extent that you *can* be in such a community, it is on a provisional basis…and to any extent one *should* be in such a community, it becomes based on their willingness to follow stipulations made by the people for whom and by whom the community has been established. A benign second-class citizenship.

    I just think that some people already face instances of second-class citizenship in so many other places. I know and recognize that I should just accept that *this* is how socialization works and this is how communities work, but at some other level, I have an ideal, a craving, for something better than that. For whatever the limits of the bloggernacle, it *appears* at first to be *less* limited in certain ways (at least, until one hits the wall. Grass, greener, other side, etc.,)

    My answer to 4 meant something like, “The BoH was a curious experience, but it, being wrong, killed the cat. However, from what we have learned from it — and the satisfaction of a curiosity — the cat is brought back. So in a way, such a dangerous experiment probably shouldn’t be engaged in by people with only one life, but for cats with multiple lives, the satisfaction may be enough to redeem it.

    Comment by Andrew S. — July 29, 2010 @ 12:49 pm

  35. Well, i guess you can satisfy that craving by creating a separate community, finding one in which you don’t feel second class, or hey, becoming a faithful Mormon! See, you got all kinds of options for first class citizenship.

    You know, Andrew, on the internet, no one knows you’re a cat.

    Comment by MCQ — July 29, 2010 @ 1:17 pm

  36. In other words, satisfy a craving by annihilating it (or annihilating yourself) and replacing it (or yourself) with compromise solutions or a compromised self.

    You’re right, MCQ. On the internet, no one has to know you’re a cat. In fact, not even you.

    Comment by Andrew S. — July 29, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  37. It’s not really obvious that starting or finding a community where you fit in, or fitting into a community that you enjoy requires annihilation. I suppose it sometimes does require compromise, but that doesn’t have to mean “a compromised self.”

    It seems to me that you’re determined to take a negative approach to something that could be positive.

    If even you don’t know you’re a cat, Andrew, then maybe you’re not.

    Comment by MCQ — July 29, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

  38. [...] But if this is the ideal…if this is the craving, then I can’t help but feel that some people are missing the point when they offer alternatives… [...]

    Pingback by Unrealistic Ideals « Irresistible (Dis)Grace — July 29, 2010 @ 3:22 pm

  39. I used to take the ‘nacle, as a whole, a lot more seriously than I do now, but I don’t blame anyone or anything except myself. I plunged in thinking I would find one thing and instead found something else (I tend to do that– that’s why I stopped saving cereal box tops and going into Mexican bakeries). I guess I was hoping to discover replications of those wonderful, enlightening aside talks I had with Institute teachers, of Cosmos and kingdoms. I think what surprised me more than anything was how many detractors slum Mormon blogs: the disenchanted, the smirking scholars, the antagonists, p’d off alternative lifestylers, atheists and born agains. In the words of Phil of Modern Family, “Why The Face?!” I still check in once in a while, though, ’cause I suspect one day I’ll stumble onto something singular, and I will be inspired.

    Comment by David T. — July 29, 2010 @ 9:15 pm

  40. I guess I was hoping to discover replications of those wonderful, enlightening aside talks I had with Institute teachers, of Cosmos and kingdoms.

    If you want those, David, you can have them, you just have to write the post yourself. I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Comment by MCQ — July 29, 2010 @ 9:32 pm

  41. the disenchanted, the smirking scholars, the antagonists, p’d off alternative lifestylers, atheists and born agains.

    I love those guys, man. Met them at a poker game. Boy can they drink!

    Comment by MCQ — July 29, 2010 @ 9:37 pm

  42. Brian A. in comment #3 wrote:

    Many of most active commmenters on BoH now write for Mormon Mentality.

    MCQ wrote:

    If it weren’t for BoH, there might not have ever been MM.

    So just to respond on my part – I was one of the three co-founders of Mormon Mentality and never heard any mention of BoH in connection to its origins. Certainly my agreeing to participate had nothing to do with BoH.

    To be absolutely sure – you could always ask DKL and a random John what their opinions are on that matter.

    Comment by danithew — August 1, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  43. danithew, I could be wrong, but it seems to me that DKL did answer that question in his podcast or therabouts. He said something like he started MM because he enjoyed the experience of BoH and wanted there to be a blog like BoH where people could go and feel the same welcoming attitude that BoH had. That’s just my recollection of what he said, but if he didn’t say that, he should have, so let’s just pretend he did.

    Comment by MCQ — August 1, 2010 @ 2:37 pm

  44. MCQ, that one possibility that occurred to me – since the blog idea began with DKL. That was the one reason I had the caveat about asking DKL and ARJ.

    Comment by danithew — August 1, 2010 @ 3:02 pm

  45. By the way, I’ve heard through the grapevine that Chris H. intends to reveal the name of Scott B. and Steve Evans’ love child at this year’s Sunstone symposium, and that the proud parents have already registered a fresh domain in anticipation of the arrival of the latest LDS blogging phenom/Wunderkind.

    Comment by Chino Blanco — August 2, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  46. Here’s Brian G.(Septimus)’s take on these questions, from over on the BT thread:

    1. How seriously should we take the nacle?

    In a perfect world the bloggernacle could be all things to all people, a place people can take extremely seriously and also a place where others would feel free to make fun of those people. I keed. I keed. Seriously, (no pun intended) there should be blogs and bloggers that suit all tastes and inclinations. Maybe in 2005 people took it much more seriously, and as Steve alludes to, we at BoH and most of our commenters clearly did not. Maybe that’s where much of the conflict sprang from. The disparity between how we saw the bloggernacle and how others did was a gulf much larger than we ever anticipated. The thought leads to other questions: is that gulf bigger or smaller now? Can it be bridged? Anyhow, I agree with Steve: the bloggernacle can’t save you. I personally can’t take it too seriously because I find of the many wonderful things it does sometimes offer, none of them compare to the real article when it’s found in the offline world.

    2. Is it possible (or maybe “appropriate” is a better word) to be justly proud of anything about BoH?

    Not surprisingly, I think the answer is, yes, it’s possible, and yes, it’s appropriate. Especially after five years. A certain amount of time has passed. Trouble has been taken to respect those with hurt feelings in the past, and to those with hurt feelings in the present. Scott in his retrospective has sought to give voice to those feelings as well. In 2005, when feelings were still raw it wasn’t as appropriate, moreover it wasn’t even possible, not without getting pounced on.
    Love it or hate it, there was never anything quite like Banner of Heaven before, and there will probably never be anything like it again. For a small sliver of time, there was something new under the sun. Does saying this make me egotistical? Probably. Evil? Maybe. Unrepentant? Not necessarily.

    3. Following repentance, is there a statute of limitations on continuing to deplore the sinful behavior?

    I think it depends on the gravity of the sin, of course. If we take the scriptures at their word our sins though crimson will be white as snow. I feel like I have confessed and forsaken. Five years fake-blog free! Yay! For my part I am no longer harrowed up by BoH. I like to think I recognize what was deplorable about BoH and wouldn’t repeat those mistakes.

    And, I might add, there is no statute of limitations on my apology. It was resurrected with the blog, and my email address is right at the end of it still, and anyone who is still hurt by it is still welcome to contact me and we can try to reason it out together.

    4. What’s the proper post-mortem verdict on BoH? Was it simply “ethically and morally wrong” as Scott suggests, or is there some level on which it can be justified?

    This one is very tricky.

    It’s impossible to say it’s wrong and justifiable simultaneously. Particularly, if one believes God doesn’t look on sin with the least degree of allowance. I’ve admitted to justifying it in my mind for artistic reasons at the time. Part of me is still tempted to do so. So like most people do when they have two conflicting values (in this case, integrity on one side, and artistic ambition on the other) I compartmentalize. Some days I wish the wall between the compartments could come crashing down and integrity would flood in and eliminate all the artistic ambition, but I don’t think that will ever happen, and frankly, I don’t even think God would want that to happen. I’ll say this because I know this answer is no answer at all: the lessons I learned from BoH made the artistic ambition compartment smaller and more limited, perhaps more concentrated. There’s less spillover. Believe it or not, I’ve had ideas that are even more suspect and inappropriate than Banner of Heaven and allowed them to shrivel up and die, so that’s probably a good thing.

    5. What are the permanent effects of BoHoin the nacle? Are there any? If so, are any of them positive (other than the obvious “bonds of war” formed between the co-conspiritors)?

    Is anything really permanent? Isn’t that one lesson of history? That the answer is no.

    I don’t regularly read the bloggernacle these days so it’s hard for me to say, but I think that among the possible positive side effects are that people are less naïve. People possibly have more realistic expectations of their fellow bloggers. That’s good, I think. Nobody’s perfect.
    Of all the possible negative side effects I think the one I’m afraid could be legitimately laid at the feet of Banner of Heaven is that people are reluctant to be more experimental in pushing the boundaries of what Mormon blogging can be and do. That’s regrettable. I don’t even think the surface has been scratched yet. Some days I’d like to really take a rusty garden rake and scratch the hell out of it.

    Comment by MCQ — August 16, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

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