Adam Greenwood’s Post Is Cowardly And Extremely Misleading

Rusty - July 15, 2008

For those who want to actually discuss the issues surrounding Adam Greenwood’s post you may do so here (rather than making an extremely misleading claim, a potshot and then closing comments so nobody can dispute it). I’ll just assume that we’re all grown-ups and won’t get all “raillery” on J. Max Wilson and Steve Evans (or Adam).

74 Comments »

  1. oh geeeeez. this post is a bad idea man!!

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 15, 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  2. Rusty: just a heads-up… I’m just finishing-up a post (which I’ve been writing and re-writing for a couple hours, now), which covers this. Please check the drafts and consider holding off.

    Comment by Silus Grok — July 15, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

  3. Silus, when you post it, just copy and paste my comment above into your new one. I’m sure it will still apply.

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 15, 2008 @ 10:37 pm

  4. Okay… thanks!

    Comment by Silus Grok — July 15, 2008 @ 10:45 pm

  5. [...] brouhaha ( I, II, III, IV ) over J. Max Wilson’s recent expulsion from the Mormon Archipelago — and Wilson’s [...]

    Pingback by Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Blog Aggregators & the Dynamic Gospel » Blog Aggregators & the Dynamic Gospel — July 15, 2008 @ 11:02 pm

  6. Oh good grief…

    Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 15, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  7. One of the biggest ironies about the post is that Adam G. would probably be one of the first people to point out to a lefty accusing the Church of “censorship” on an issue that a non-governmental entity cannot engage in censorship. This and Wall-e seem to show that the bloggernacle really does need the firm and loving hand of Nurse Rached once in a while.

    Comment by Nate W. — July 16, 2008 @ 12:14 am

  8. Adam Greenwood’s Post Is Cowardly And Extremely Misleading

    Yes, but it’s orthodox, man.

    Comment by Ronan — July 16, 2008 @ 3:18 am

  9. http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=4662#more-4662

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 3:54 am

  10. Oh Adam, cute as a button.

    Comment by Rusty — July 16, 2008 @ 4:32 am

  11. For those who missed it here’s why Adams post (note I said the post, not Adam. I presume Adam is a fine guy whom I’d probably get along with swimmingly in real life) was misleading and cowardly:

    Misleading
    First of all, J-Max wasn’t censored, he was taken off of the Mormon Archipelago. Secondly, he talks of orthodoxy (“strict Mormons”) and indicates that J-Max was removed from the MA because of his viewpoint (linking that phrase to J-Max’s post in which J-Max suggests he was removed because of the incident with Steve Evans and because of his orthodoxy), indicating that by “viewpoint” Adam means “orthodoxy.” This is false. In fact, the MA likes orthodoxy and encourages more orthodox members to speak up (where are you Ryan Bell???) I can’t speak for those who removed his blog, but from what I understand it was because J-Max has long been disdainful and mocking of the very community the MA tries to promote. It’s not the criticism that’s at issue, we’ve gotten plenty of that (DKL, John Dehlin, etc.), it’s that it’s coming from someone who despises the community and criticizes from the outside. Much different than a criticism from within. So the flare-up with Steve was just a reminder that there were plans to remove his blog long ago.

    Cowardly
    Because there was no real purpose for his post other than taking a potshot at the MA. If he wanted to promote J-Max’s aggregator he could have done so without the jab, but he made those misleading statements and didn’t allow for any public defense.

    Comment by Rusty — July 16, 2008 @ 5:25 am

  12. To be fair to Adam, I sent him two emails making those exact points. Of course, he didn’t post them, so I’m probably being unfair to Adam. Never mind.

    Comment by John C. — July 16, 2008 @ 5:45 am

  13. When did you send the emails, John C.? I haven’t received them yet. Of course, in your desire to be fair, you had probably already assumed that.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 6:13 am

  14. Misleading:
    What I said in the post was that J. Max Wilson was kicked off the ldsblogs aggregrator. And you point out that this was misleading, because what actually happening was the J. Max Wilson was kicked off the ldsblogs aggregator. I apologize for the error.

    Cowardly:
    In retrospect I admit that “taking a potshot at MA” was a cowardly thing to do, or at least not a brave thing to do, given the caliber of the opposition so far. I also admit that asking for substantive emails to post in the comments is proof of my cowardly refusal to allow a public defense.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 6:21 am

  15. Censorship:

    Of course private entities can censor things, and they do so all the time. The difference is that with private entities its legal. Of course something can be legal and still be bad.

    Censorship doesn’t have to be total to be censorship. Its contradictory to defend MA’s decision to delist on the grounds that J. Max Wilson still has his blog and then to criticize me for ‘forcing’ you to post your defense on your own blog.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 6:24 am

  16. Personally, I think people take Adam even less seriously than J. Max, so no need to worry.

    Comment by anon — July 16, 2008 @ 6:29 am

  17. Adams post (note I said the post, not Adam. I presume Adam is a fine guy whom I’d probably get along with swimmingly in real life) was misleading and cowardly:
    . . . .
    Cowardly
    If he wanted to promote J-Max’s aggregator he could have done so without the jab, but he made those misleading statements and didn’t allow for any public defense.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 6:31 am

  18. I think this is a pointless and even a silly discussion. J. Max can write an aggregator site if he wants — more power to him. I wish he’d described it as listing “conservative LDS blogs” or “LDS blogs that J. Max agrees with” rather than holding it out as a listing of “mainstream and orthodox [LDS] blogs,” but that is his prerogative. For all I know he keeps a stripped down version of his ward list in his pocket labelled “orthodox ward members.” That, too, is his prerogative.

    MA can list or drop any LDS blog it wants — there are several hundred now, maybe thousands, and you can’t run feeds for every one. MA isn’t censoring anyone. In fact, dropping 16SS has probably given J. Max the best advertising he has ever had and he is revelling in it. I note that T&S does not list either 16SS or the new aggregator in its blogroll, and I certainly would not accuse T&S of censoring anyone.

    Finally, Adam Greenwood is no cowardly poster. By closing comments on the short T&S post, he merely allowed another blog to host this fine discussion, for which I am grateful.

    Comment by Dave — July 16, 2008 @ 7:00 am

  19. Adam, I think you guys at T&S do have problems with your mail server. I didn’t email you this time simply because in the past, my mail seems to get through only about half the time.

    Anyhow, if I had emailed you yesterday, this is what I would have said, speaking as somebody who isn’t commected to the MoArch and therefore not part of the decision making:

    I don’t think J. Max. was delisted because he criticized the bloggernacle. Criticism of the ‘nacle happens all the time, and in fact I’ll do it again right now. Much of what passes for LDS blogging is of very low quality, including some of what I write. The bloggernacle is often constipated with content that is really, really bad. And the MA lists some truly awful blogs, I think just out of charity. (By the way, I think this is going to be the biggest hindrance to J. Max’s new enterprise. There just isn’t enough good content available.)

    Wilson got himself booted because he asked to be. He has expressed on at least three occasions, loudly and adamantly and publicly, a desire to no longer be associated with the bloggernacle. Fair enough. As I said on a comment I left at his site, the folks at the MA finally got around to making an honest man of him. What’s not to like?

    In addition, I think there is a great deal of irony when someone who moderates and deletes comments as much as he does complains of being silenced.

    Comment by Mark IV — July 16, 2008 @ 7:00 am

  20. The orthodox blog aggregator is a nice enough idea. The history behind it is kind of silly. But ultimately, I just don’t see an explosion of conservative Mormon blogging in the cards.

    Why? Because people can already get that viewpoint at Church. Why bother looking for it on the internet?

    Where is the potential for an expanding base of committed commentors? The current MA and LDSSelect blogs get a lot of traffic and interest because they offer discussion on a topic that people are intensely interested in, that cannot be had anywhere else. People who come to the “bloggernacle” (as the word is being used in this debtate) come here because they feel isolated and disenfranchised at Church. It’s not necessarily a matter of righteousness, they just don’t feel like there’s a place at church for what they want to talk about. This creates a very committed base of participants and explains the staggering traffic figures at blogs like Times and Seasons.

    Where is the similar appeal for the “Nothing Wavering” crowd? There really isn’t that sense of disenfranchisement from the traditional Church venues.

    Instead J. Max capitalizes on a different sense of disenfranchisement – from the “liberal” and “apostate” bloggernacle. The only thing that can possibly fuel any interest in his project is a shared feeling of dislike for existing LDS blogs. Basically, they become a holier sounding version of the Snarkernacle.

    I’m not really seeing a huge amount of interest. Especially if the existing bloggernacle bloggers don’t bestow upon them the title of arch-rival. If they have good content, they’ll develop a committed following. But it’s likely to remain a small following since there just aren’t any external factors driving traffic.

    Comment by Seth R. — July 16, 2008 @ 7:12 am

  21. Adam, I think Mark IV is right.

    I’ve attempted to send sidebar links to T&S admin before as well as other correspondence and gotten absolutely nothing in response. Either your email doesn’t work, the admins aren’t checking it.

    Or you guys just think I’m obnoxious. That’s possible too I suppose…

    Comment by Seth R. — July 16, 2008 @ 7:16 am

  22. A final note on J-Max,

    “When the prophet speaks, the discussion is over” has to be about the dumbest slogan I’ve ever heard for a blogger in my entire life.

    I imagine the irony is lost on him however.

    Comment by Seth R. — July 16, 2008 @ 7:28 am

  23. Adam,

    I sent the emails last night to the email specified in your post around 6:30. As far as I can tell, they went through. Maybe a filter thing?

    Sorry about the unfairness of it all.

    Comment by John C. — July 16, 2008 @ 7:56 am

  24. John C.,
    I checked my yahoo filter and found ‘em. Thanks. Also some from Jonathan Stapley, though I’m not clear on whether he wants them posted or not (I’m waiting to hear back from them). Nothing from Rusty though.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 8:17 am

  25. errata: from him

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 8:18 am

  26. I’m just getting to this whole debacle after having been away from computer access for a few days. I’m surprised this brouhaha still has any legs. Why people pay any attention to JMW or Adam is beyond me. Just let it slip away folks.

    Comment by Randy Butterfield — July 16, 2008 @ 8:19 am

  27. So the flare-up with Steve was just a reminder that there were plans to remove his blog long ago.

    Wait. So the post which precipitated removing Max’s blog didn’t actually occur on Max’s blog? Sheesh. That’s like my credit card company jacking up my rate not because I missed a payment with them, but because I missed my car payment last month.

    And it was because of a “flare-up” with Steve Evans? I mean, if you’re going to ban everyone who’s had a flare-up with Steve Evans, you might as well ban everyone other than Ronan. (Has anyone ever actually seen these two in the same place? I’m starting to believe they’re the same person.)

    I guess that the one bright spot in this debacle is that those who often criticize the church’s handling of dissent might be starting to understand just how difficult it can be to handle uncomfortable disagreement.

    Comment by jimbob — July 16, 2008 @ 8:24 am

  28. I hadn’t read a Mormon blog in a long time, but was curious to see the reaction to Prop 8. Then I saw this. Good times.

    Comment by Davis Bell — July 16, 2008 @ 8:45 am

  29. This so has nothing to do with Stephen D. Evans, esq., although I’m sure he wishes it did.

    Comment by Ronan — July 16, 2008 @ 9:06 am

  30. I don’t think J. Max. was delisted because he criticized the bloggernacle.

    Actually, that’s the exact reason given by J. Stapley (see comments posted at Adam’s post).
    http://www.timesandseasons.org/?p=4662#comment-269556

    So, Mark IV is wrong.

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 16, 2008 @ 9:06 am

  31. This sounds like a lot of second graders arguing on the playground.

    Who gives a ?

    Comment by Mark B. — July 16, 2008 @ 9:20 am

  32. I don’t like the way J. Max and Co. are owning the word orthodox.

    I’d much rather they call themselves “correlated” or “non-conversationalists”. Maybe “Deseret Bookians” would work.

    Comment by cj douglass — July 16, 2008 @ 9:24 am

  33. Neener.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 9:26 am

  34. This looks like a good place to repeat the comment I made at Silus’s post:

    People seem to forget that blog aggregators are nothing more than fancy blogrolls. That’s it. (No, seriously — that’s it)

    Sure fancy blogrolls sometimes get used more than blogrolls in blog sidebars but they are the same thing in essence — lists of favorite blogs with links. With regular sidebar blogrolls blog owners add links to blogs they think are cool or interesting and delete blogs they decide are boring and lame.

    That’s all we do at the MA. If we add a blog it is because we think it is cool and interesting. If we delete a blog it is because we think it is boring and lame. Period.

    If people like the blogs we include they might come back and use our fancy MA blogroll. If not they might not come back. I don’t think that requires a lot of analysis. (I do admittedly laugh at the ludicrous cries of “censorship” that some dimwitted folks throw around when we remove a blog from out blogroll though. As if we somehow removed the blog from the internet itself… sheesh)

    Comment by Geoff J — July 16, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  35. I want nothing to do with your flare-ups, weirdos.

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 16, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  36. Are you trying to tell us, Steve E., that you are more popular as a cream than as a suppository?

    -a dimwitted folk

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 16, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  37. This kind of nonsense is precisely the reason why the Bloggernackle, or whatever incarnation you favor (e.g., The Moarch’s Boringnacle, DKL’s horrid Horus, Connor’s Stain’d, Dehlin’s Bloataggravate, etc.) will never succeed. Theyre nothing but ego vehicles for petty self-promoting dictators (yes, that means you). And JMW’s NothingWinterButAlwaysChristmas portal is no different. Blogging is egotastic enough, but deciding who is part of the “in crowd” takes it to the next level, which level is incapable of anything constructive. Congratulations on acting like a bunch of 3 year olds in a sand box.

    Comment by Kurt — July 16, 2008 @ 10:37 am

  38. Thanks Kurt. Insightful as always.

    All,
    I regret the tone I created in this post. Last night when I initially read Adam’s post I had just found out of the tragedy of close friends of ours and was not in my usual cheerful mood. This is not an excuse as much as it is context for my feelings at the time of writing. While I stand by the points made, I am sorry for the way in which I communicated them. I have privately apologized to Adam and publicly apologize to any who are still reading for the tone of condescension and ugliness in which I have created here. I also apologize to my friends in the MA for associating this behavior with such upstanding and great people.

    If you want to continue to discuss your thoughts on aggregators please do so at Silus’ post, where civility still (and always) reigns.

    Comment by Rusty — July 16, 2008 @ 12:29 pm

  39. Thanks Rusty…

    All: my post is about the role of aggregators in the LDS community and their influence on the tenor and value of the dialog. Please keep your comments topical.

    Comment by Silus Grok — July 16, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  40. Seth, do you really mean to say that if a Mormon isn’t alienated and disenfranchised at church, then there’s nothing of interest for him on the Mormon blogs? I thought it was mostly just a function of working by a computer with little supervision.

    Comment by John Mansfield — July 16, 2008 @ 1:51 pm

  41. LOL Davis. Nothing’s changed.

    Comment by Eric Russell — July 16, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  42. Yeah, Davis, what’s up with you coming back and you have to come to THIS POST? Sheesh, make me feel like a moron.

    Comment by Rusty — July 16, 2008 @ 2:56 pm

  43. Good to see you Davis. The more things change…

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 16, 2008 @ 4:15 pm

  44. John, I’d prefer to think they come for the support group, but stay for the dazzling prose.

    Comment by Seth R. — July 16, 2008 @ 4:56 pm

  45. I’ll just say that I think there is a need for a more toned-down and select aggregator. Try introducing a group of 50+ year old ladies to blogging and you’ll quickly see what I mean. And they are interested in blogging. The class I taught had twice the turnout we expected.

    Being largely ignorant of the history behind it all, I can appreciate the creator’s efforts at face value. I don’t know any of the emotions which sparked them. I’d like to think that they came from nobler intentions than collusion. Therefore, that is what I’ll believe until shown differently.

    Comment by SilverRain — July 16, 2008 @ 7:43 pm

  46. SilverRain, I’m glad JMax made a new aggregator, too. It will serve him right to have people gripe and moan and question his motives. When somebody gets ex’ed for following the advice of some of the blogs he lists, we can all blame him personally.

    Besides, when he hung around the bloggernacle all he did was complain and bask in the light of his own sparks of intelligence.

    Comment by Mark IV — July 16, 2008 @ 7:59 pm

  47. #44 Seth. Bingo. That is exactly why I visit the LDS BLOGS. #1 reason support group. #2 reason You guys are a lot more fun to watch fight than my kids.

    Comment by JA Benson — July 16, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

  48. Youre a good man, Rusty. I let you thinking the Moarch Bored is composed of “upstanding and great people” thing slide.

    Comment by Kurt — July 17, 2008 @ 3:25 am

  49. Rusty, I never got to chime in – but I just want to say I’m sorry to hear some friends of yours suffered a tragedy.

    You’re quite a classy guy and I think your comment after the post just demonstrated that further.

    Comment by danithew — July 17, 2008 @ 4:46 am

  50. You know, I have no idea what is going on here. Who are these people everyone is talking about? What the heck is an aggregator? Who really cares, anyway?

    This “controversy” appears to be like the “controversies” one would face at Youth Conferences. Everyone gets in a tizzy on day one. On day two, everyone is enjoying being a part of or a participator in a big controversy. On day three, everyone sobs buckets at the Testimony Meeting trying to make up.

    All the while, not a single person outside of the Youth Conference knows or cares what the heck has happened. Not a single bird falls from the sky. Not a single life-form is irreparably damaged by it. In short, the controversy had no effect on anything pertaining to real life.

    Day four, everyone who once had a role in the controversy has forgotten about it and are anxiously awaiting the next Stake Youth Dance.

    Has the Bloggernacle become so irrelevant that it now has nothing left to discuss except internal contentions?

    Wow.

    Comment by sam — July 17, 2008 @ 2:35 pm

  51. “Has the Bloggernacle become so irrelevant that it now has nothing left to discuss except internal contentions?”

    Sam,
    The truth is that we were always exactly that irrelevant.

    Comment by John C. — July 17, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  52. John is correct.

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 17, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  53. Sam,
    See here.

    Comment by Rusty — July 17, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

  54. Day four, everyone who once had a role in the controversy has forgotten about it and are anxiously awaiting the next Stake Youth Dance.

    Um, Sam? Would you? Dance with me?

    Not in a gay way.

    Comment by Adam Greenwood — July 17, 2008 @ 5:27 pm

  55. Try introducing a group of 50+ year old ladies to blogging and you’ll quickly see what I mean. And they are interested in blogging. The class I taught had twice the turnout we expected.

    Now that my forties are on the horizon and fifty is no longer inconceivable, I just have to put in a plug for the 50+ ladies’ crowd. I’m not saying this was your intent, SilverRain, but I think in general it’s far too easy to stereotype older women as “little old ladies” who would be shocked and appalled by the Burning Issues of the Day and who would need smelling salts at the slightest hint the Joseph Smith married other women’s husbands, or gay marriage, or whatever the Bloggernacle’s slugging it out about. Some would be, for sure–but lots of 30- and 20-year-olds would be–and are–no less shocked and appalled.

    Especially in a church with a hierarchy like ours, we’re far less prone to assume that 50+ men are, as a group, sheltered from and unable to handle the storms of theological debate. Let’s grant 50+ women the same intellectual courtesy of being taken seriously. After all, women such as Claudia Bushman and Laurel Thatcher Ulrich fall into that demographic.

    Tangent over. As you were.

    Comment by ZD Eve, Queen of Tangents — July 17, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  56. AACK! [Smacks forehead] I meant to say, of course, that Joseph Smith married other men’s wives, not other women’s husbands. Whew, I really am mixing up all church issues into one giant controversy.

    Comment by ZD Eve, Queen of Tangents — July 17, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  57. Eve, if there is a Niblet award for Malapropism of the Year, they can close the competition right now, because nobody is going to outdo that one. Thanks for the bellylaugh!

    Comment by Mark IV — July 17, 2008 @ 6:42 pm

  58. I had wondered, because the MA does seem to favor orthodox praxis (one of the things I like about it).

    Not to mention, I need to speak up for the 50+ year old men.

    I was programming in machine code when i was younger, had an ARPAnet account and a CYBERnet account in the 70s … and I was surprised to read …

    ut I think in general it’s far too easy to stereotype older women as “little old ladies” who would be shocked and appalled by the Burning Issues of the Day and who would need smelling salts at the slightest hint the Joseph Smith married other women’s husbands

    Didn’t need smelling salts, but other women’s husbands was news to me ;)

    Comment by Stephen M (Ethesis) — July 18, 2008 @ 5:48 am

  59. Silus closed his post too soon.

    I needed to point out to Ivan that Steve Evans is not part of the MA group. (He incorrectly attributed a quote by Steve to people in the MA.)

    Comment by Geoff J — July 19, 2008 @ 5:45 pm

  60. I am referring to his comment here.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 19, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  61. Geoff J -

    And? J. Max’s banning from the MA followed so close upon that comment, to believe there is no connection is silly.

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 19, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

  62. Plus, the MA people keep claiming J. Max is out to destroy the ‘Nacle, which is flat out lie. So, no, the MA has not been civil in this whole affair, though apparently you think so.

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 19, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  63. Ivan, to believe that I am in a position to dictate to the MA is what’s silly.

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 19, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  64. …but that’s besides the point. The important thing in your quote, I think, is that I was rude to J Max. I was, and I’m not particularly proud of letting my irritation with him get the best of me.

    Comment by Steve Evans — July 19, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  65. Steve -

    if I thought ill of everyone who was rude in the ‘Nacle -

    well, I hate myself quite a bit. We all have our weak moments. I have no real stones to cast here. Sorry if it seemed I was on your case or anything.

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 19, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

  66. that should be “I would hate myself quite a bit” (i.e. I don’t hate myself – and there have been times I’ve been rude , so I’m working on being more charitable towards others I see being rude at times).

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 19, 2008 @ 11:50 pm

  67. Ivan,

    Just to be clear, Rusty said: “I think the spazzing out was more me spazzing out at Adam, rather than the MA spazzing out at J-Max. Sure there were objections, but I think if you go back and read their reactions you’ll see that they were all very civil.”

    You then quoted Steve as evidence of the MA not being civil to JMax. My point was that Steve is not part of the MA so quoting him is a non sequitur.

    That’s all.

    Comment by Geoff J — July 20, 2008 @ 5:46 pm

  68. Geoff J -

    sounds good. I think some signals got crossed somewhere or something.

    Comment by Ivan Wolfe — July 20, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  69. Is this horse dead yet? I hope not.

    Ivan, in spite of your comment # 30, I still think it is inaccurate to say that Wilson got kicked out of the bloggernacle. If you say, loudly and repeatedly (not to mention obnoxiously) that the MA sucks and you no longer want to be associated with it, does it really count as excommunication or censorship when they finally get around to de-listing you? I continue to believe that if he really wanted to be listed at MoArch, he would be. This was a self-immolation, pure and simple. It is as inaccurate to call this censorship as it is to say that the church censored the topless calendar guy. It is a big, wide blogosphere out there. Here’s hoping JMax finds a way to be happy in it.

    Comment by Mark IV — July 21, 2008 @ 1:26 pm

  70. don’t have a Mormon-themed blog anymore, so I’ll just post this ridiculously long “comment” here. As I mentioned above, I had sort of lost track of the Bloggernacle for a while (I don’t remember exactly how long; maybe a year?). One reason for this was a new job that was significantly more intense than my previous one, which cut down on the time I had to read blogs.

    Another reason was that I just started feeling more and more turned off by all the extracurricular stuff — the rivalries, the contention, etc. This was crystallized when I first saw the Snarkernacle and realized there was a person devoting not inconsiderable time to satirizing the Bloggernacle. Finally, the blog I was on didn’t feel like a good fit for me. Anyway, I didn’t leave because I was offended, or thought I was better than those who stayed. It just made me feel gross and a little embarrassed. So, I drifted.

    I have missed having an outlet for my thoughts, though, and I’ve missed reading the people whose writing I used to enjoy. Mostly, I’ve missed the exchange that takes place between people of good faith and humor who are grappling with things that matter to them.

    When the whole Prop 8 hullaballoo happened, I decided to check in and see where people stood on the matter. That’s not true, actually, because I more or less knew who would be on which side. Rather, I wanted to see if anyone was saying anything interesting about the issue — anything that might open or change my mind a little bit. I didn’t get very far before I saw Adam’s post about J. Max, and always a sucker for this type of thing, I spent a few hours (!) catching up on the controversy. After doing so, I had a question occur to me that I’ve turned over in my mind in the ensuing days, one that isn’t particularly groundbreaking, but which I’ll share anyway:

    First, why is it that ideological differences so often lead to contention and personal animosity? Second, why is that this dynamic isn’t in any way tempered or moderated in the context of Mormons discussing ideological differences (and I refer here to ideologies relating to orthodoxy, i.e. Prop 8, drinking Coke, R-rated movies, etc)? I’m not asking this in a rhetorical, “shame on us!” kind of way, either. I’m genuinely curious. Third, seperate and apart from any dialogue, why is the division between conservative and liberal Mormons such a defining and contentious one (again, think orthodoxy, not politics)? Why is one group so threatened by the other? Why does one group’s very existence seem to bother the other one so much?

    Is it unreasonable and overly idealistic to assume that a dialogue between a Sunstoner and a seminary teacher would be kinder, more substantive, and yield more light and less heat than a conversation between a MoveOn.orger and an Ann Coulter-reader? I truly am curious as to why there is so much fear and contempt poisoning the relationship between conservative and liberal mormons. Is it the volatile admixture of religion and politics? Is it the intensifying effect that religion has on everything it touches? I’d be interested to hear the takes of others on this question.

    Comment by Davis Bell — July 21, 2008 @ 2:59 pm

  71. Davis, I find the bloggernacle to be one of the most civil corners of the web where people are blogging about something they feel strongly about and disagreeing.

    Comment by Seth R. — July 21, 2008 @ 3:57 pm

  72. I think I see where you are coming from Davis Bell ( btw glad to have you back). I am basically not that involved, but I think that compared to a year ago, the Bloggernacle is a more kinder and gentler place.

    Comment by JA Benson — July 21, 2008 @ 9:56 pm

  73. Seth, the only other blogs I follow are political ones, and I agree, those can get pretty nasty. Still, why my question included blogging, it wasn’t limited to it. I don’t think there’s much question that there is a pretty serious divide between liberal and conservative Mormons, and that the two groups regard one another with suspicion and some level of contempt.

    JA, I’m glad to hear that.

    Comment by Davis Bell — July 22, 2008 @ 6:11 am

  74. Hi, Davis! Nice to see you around…

    Comment by Kristine — July 22, 2008 @ 7:57 pm

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