Dear Bloggernacle: You Are Gross

My blogging here has been light of late, and my perusal of other sights even lighter. I could give you any number of reasons for this, many of which would be partially true; however, in reality, it all boils down to the rising nausea I feel whenever I think about the Bloggernacle. This sickening feeling is made even worse by the fact that many of the things that gross me out the most about the Bloggernacle are things that I’ve done, felt, or been a part of. So, before you start typing your accusations of hypocrisy, I’ll beat you to it and plead guilty.

Some of you have probably seen the American version of “The Office” on NBC. In one episode, the sycophantic and power-hungry Dwight is given the task of overseeing the weekend work calendar. Dwight immediately lords his new-found power over his co-workers, one of whom remarks, “I’ve never seen such a small amount of power go to someone’s head.” This remark perfectly sums up what I find so nauseating about the Bloggernacle. Let me explain.

Now, I’m not one who subscribes to the “It’s just blogging, it doesn’t matter” thesis. I actually thing blogging does matter, because it affects — sometimes dramatically — people’s lives, and people matter. This is nowhere more true than when people are blogging about their spiritual lives. While I don’t labor under the delusion that the reach of the Bloggernacle is great, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not important. If one testimony is saved — or ruined — via the Bloggernacle then it’s important. Honest and earnest discussion, carried out in good faith and with courtesy, is great. Same goes for lighthearted discussion of common experiences. These things are important for the reason cited above.

But the importance appropriately assigned to these things often spills over onto related things that simply aren’t important. And that is gross. What are some of these related but unimportant things? Competition among blogs and bloggers and commenters, for one. Personal rivalries. Internecine warfare. Gossiping, power-grabbing, back-self-patting, excluding others, caring about being excluded, giving and taking offense, self-absorption, sulking, adulation, sycophancy, self-imposed exile, leaving in a huff, and so on. Such behavior is never excusable. It is, however, a bit more understandable when it arises in situations where more is at stake than, say, who will have the most popular blog aggregator in the Bloggernacle. That’s really gross. It grosses me out that I’m even writing about this. Ewwww.

45 thoughts on “Dear Bloggernacle: You Are Gross

  1. Davis, you’re just now discovering that my presence in the bloggernacle is nauseating? I must say, you are a bit slow on the uptake.

  2. DKL:

    I don’t find your presence in the Bloggernacle nauseating (your tendency to exult in being a very naughty boy is another matter entirely). I often enjoy your comments. So there.

  3. I’ve shared this quote twice in two days:

    “Democracy is messy.” –Donald Rumsfeld

    I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m not a fan of Rumsfeld, but this quote is true despite the duplicity in its original delivery.

    If the bloggernacle ever begins to resemble a “not-gross” mormon-ad, I’ll not only be no longer grossed-out…I’ll be really, really sad.

    Bring me the people, warts and all!

  4. While I don’t labor under the delusion that the reach of the Bloggernacle is great, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not important. If one testimony is saved — or ruined — via the Bloggernacle then it’s important.

    You’d be surprised at how many people there are just like me who never blog but read here sometimes in the hope of rebuilding faith and finding hope in the gospel through the experiences of others. One cannot live on borrowed light, it’s true, but sometimes the light from others is faith enhancing.

    On the subject of hypocrisy: I recently saw a person blogging here who I’ve had negative experiences with at another website ~ however here her persona seems to be that of ‘loving’ and ‘Christlike’ TBM. This person was a moderator of a forum where the local cyber-thug decided he had a right to post my private emails on a public board. I wrote to the moderator requesting that my private emails be removed, she refused. I wrote again quoting the website rules and various articles on copyright, she refused. I wrote again, begging her not to let my personal stuff be splattered on a public forum in view of those for which it was never intended. Finally I wrote to the forum owners and they told her it was against website rules to post private emails. I don’t understand how someone can be talking in one forum about how ‘spiritual’ they felt during General Conference talks, or how ‘faithful’ and ‘Christlike’ they are striving to be, while in another they refuse to listen to the pleadings of a sister in the gospel to keep her private life private.

    Sorry…just had to vent when you spoke of hypocrisy…and most importantly about how our actions affect the testimony of others.

  5. Ugh, Davis, one of the things you’re going to regret in the future, like maybe 24 hours or so, is blogging about how the Mormon blogs are still wallowing in their grossness, while you have mended your ways and are striding with might towards a brighter future. Why don’t you just, you know, write something good instead? That would be enough.

  6. Personal rivalries. Internecine warfare. Gossiping, power-grabbing, back-self-patting, excluding others, caring about being excluded, giving and taking offense, self-absorption, sulking, adulation, sycophancy, self-imposed exile, leaving in a huff, and so on.

    Yeah, man. I know exactly what you mean. It’s almost like some of these people are intellectual exhibitionists or something.

    Smile smile wink wink.

  7. Watt:

    You, and Rummy, are right that democracy is messy.

    Shekinah:

    Sorry to hear of your bad experience. I don’t know who you’re referring to, but, as you now doubt now, the person who did that could have done that while also having good experiences in General Conference and trying to be more Christlike. I also think you’re right that there are people who frequent the Bloggernacle looking for a good experience, which is why I think it’s important.

    Jonathan:

    It’s been about 9 hours, and I’m doing okay. I’ll let you know when I hit 24. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I hold myself above all of this. As I mentioned, I get sucked into it too.

    Rusty,

    You are right that I’m perpetuating all the grossness. That’s why I said it grossed me out that I was writing it. Nevertheless, I still did it because I wanted to get it off my chest

  8. Davis, I think you bring up a valid point. The bloggernacle does tend to be self-absorbed. Oops, there I go being self-absorbed again!

  9. Blogging is the perfect forum for getting stuff off our chests. Without these chest-cleansings the ‘nacle wouldn’t be as dynamic as it is. It is unfortunate, however, that we spend so much time talking about the bloggernacle rather than the original subject matter. I wonder if any of us would feel gross if we’d quit obsessing over it, quit talking so much about it and just blog about the gospel (or church or the culture or whatever).

  10. Rusty,

    I don’t think we would feel gross if we “we’d quit obsessing over it, quit talking so much about it and just blog about the gospel (or church or the culture or whatever).” But for some reason that’s hard for all of us to do. I don’t really know why. But it is. The problem, as you, Geoff B. and others have pointed out, is that by talking about stopping the grossness one is in fact being gross.

  11. Maybe a whole separate blog should be set up just for posts about blogging. Anyone can submit a guest post and air their complaints about anything in the bloggernacle. Then we can all rant about overseers, blogging about blogging, DKL, bannergate, and Languatron. I bet its readership would be through the roof.

  12. Sounds good, Eric, but how long could it go on before it started to split into factions? Within a week you would have posts on blogging and the priesthood, blogging and blacks, blogging and polygamy, can women be overseers, is correlation of blogs good or bad – you get the idea.

  13. Davis, I read the title of your post and I thought for sure you’d be talking about this thread.

    I was SO disappointed.

    What’s so gross about self-imposed exile, anyway?

  14. Brian G., the Nacle is gross in more ways that one.

    I plead the 5th on self-imposed exile. I’ve probably said more than i should have.

  15. Brian G., what is gross about self-imposed exile is that the b’nacle would be a lot better place if people like Brian G. and D. Bell participated more frequently. You guys are missed.

    LisaB, I was making a huge, obvious, ham actor wink to Davis. If I were going to wink at you, it would be a very discreet wink, but then you would hate me, so I won’t. Smile, smile.

  16. (#21) yea, I think you’re right, GA’s should actually read this to inquire how far behind we are in our faith!! They would be flabergasted to say the least!! then they could/would definitely change/conform all of the church programs and doctrines so that we could actually be saved in our mediocrity which tells me that perhaps in my mediocrity I just don’t care!! maybe we should invite them, what say ye?!?!

    Perhaps a general conversation could conform to something along the lines of:

    GA1: “I propose that as a church we only consider 1Ne3:1-6, 8-end as scripture since verse 7 is way beyond the general membership’s salvational mediocrity! Any opposed, please manifest it!”

    GA2: “Sorry, I couldn’t raise my hand in sustaining vote, I don’t think I care anymore!!”

    GA3: “Yea, me neither, I’m done with this!!”

    GA1: “Ok, meeting and church adjourned! This was way too hard!”

  17. #14 and #15: Isn’t that what the Snarker is? A blog about blogs?

    Or is it the Nacle version of Seinfeld, a “blog about nothing”?

  18. Yeah, you’d be surprised how many of our logged IPs originate in the Church Office Building.

  19. Lol. Not so much freaked out as surprised. But I stand by my assertion that a few GAs have spent some time in the Nacle.

  20. Well, I respect your opinions, but I can’t be the only one who gets far more out of the Nacle than any General Conference. Just like Friday night poker and other frat stuff on my mission was far more invigorating than any Zone Conference. The GA’s would benefit from the candid opinions and open discussions here that flourish without fear of the Strengthening the Members committee. They’d get a lot of great ideas to increase conversion, retention and have new converts use their gifts and traditions to actively improve the church rather than have the church try to culturally assimilate them. Maybe they’d abandon the corporate America circa 1950 period clothing so more people could relate to them (What is it with period clothing and some religions?), expand the hymn book and encourage alternative music genres or drop bogus explanations of things like the WofW being a commandment since the days of BY. They could learn a lot here.

  21. I think it would be funny if they popped in (and chimed in!) on FMH’s recent post/comments on tips and techniques…

  22. (#32) you’ve obviously seen GAs have the conversation alluded to in #23 then?!?! o sorry, that was your pipe dream again being flashed before your eyes once again!

    Wonder what would happen if the church did conform to, as N.A.M. would call them, the “Moderns”? maybe we should just take the whole sacrament out of the sacrment meeting and just have a local guest preacher appear weekly, give some raucous rendition of philosophies of men mingled with scripture, collect their appearance fee, and then leave the congregation with a hopeless stupor of salvation by grace without works! why not just dumb-down the entire mormon experience by process of ‘unnecessary’ elimination of things of the Spirit. Texas hold ‘em, even at a Prophets calls to repentance, could replace that useless fiasco called SS, and Priesthood could be replaced by NFL Gameday, which it has mentally anyways. May as well do away with temples too as they are usually too far from home to go to on a regular basis even though the church has built so many to alleviate this very problem. if they took out temples, i wouldn’t need to then pay tithing as that is all my hard earned $$ are good for in the church anyways, and then i would be financially, yet not spiritually, free — o goody, how many of you can say, ‘Spiritual Suicide’! but if that is what you want, then as the now obsolete Book of Mormon tells us in Alma 29, that God will grant it, but then if there is no church, then perhaps there is no God, thus making me free from sin and yet right back into the hands of Satan because that would then mean agency is not requisite for anything I do and thus my agency is taken away, and Satan wins. N-O T-H-A-N-K-S, that isn’t what i, yes little ol’ me, and you and everyone else that crosses this earth chose when we lived before this earth, but then again perhaps that never existed neither, but then we do not exist!! O my word, i just revealed the truthfulness of the gospel as a logical parody of what Satan would have us believe infinitum! Let’s not modernize the entire mormon experience but instead embrace it and at the very least keep our foreordained covenants! Mosiah 4:9-10 — that’s a better approach to living!

  23. Sorry Anonymoose, our works don’t save us, only Jesus does. While it is true that good works come in tandem with true faith in Jesus, exaltation is a free gift for which none are worthy and cannot be earned.

  24. Did something in particular bring this on, or an overall building of grossness over time?

  25. Overall buildup.

    Steve EM and Anonymoose: You’re getting rather far afield from the topic at hand.

  26. I’m sorry Davis, the evangelist in me just jumps out whenever someone hints of self salvation.

    Back to topic, the Nacle is great!

  27. sorry got the wording backwards in #34, I should have just quoted 2Ne25:23, or in other words, our works preceed Jesus’ grace, or Jesus saving us — will do better next time!!

  28. Gross isn’t the word I would use, Davis, but the things you describe bother me as well. I think we’re all in this together, for a reason more important than competition.

    I think there are people who think like us all over. People who understand the hypocrisy and the shallowness of NOT questioning. People who can question without losing God. We need each other and that is more important than who’s better at a quick phrase.

  29. Actually faith without works is dead. So technically if you have no works you don’t really have any faith. So we cannot be saved without any works. Furthermore you can’t be saved without baptism, which is a work. However, Anonymoose didn’t say you are saved “by” works, only that you are not saved by grace without works. Not quite the same thing. Of course we know we are saved by grace, but what is salvation? The telestial kingdom is still salvation, but arguably it is the process of sanctification by which you show you were “valiant” that will be the characteristic of those who receive Celestial glory. Valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ is the requisite for exaltation, which includes a number of what are arguably works.

    Steve, maybe it isn’t as simple as your soundbite makes it seem. Ok, its not nearly as simple as my explaination above makes it seem.

    But I digress, the above was merely an exercise of grossness. I actually think I might clarify in my mind the grace/works dilemna and maybe others will learn from what I wrote and expound on it and I’ll learn from what they wrote.

    We are all part of the collective BLOG mind (BORG? BLOG? what’s the difference?)

  30. Thanks, Heli, for clarifying my remarks in 34, and sorry for being so gross, I guess I missed the mark completely here!

  31. How sad that so many people didn’t take this more serious. And for those of you who keep making jokes about how hypocritical it is to write a blog about how gross the Bloggernacle is, I think you missed the boat. He already made that joke.

  32. I think I missed the boat, so I charted a ship. A BORG ship to be exact, sorry if I didn’t take grossness seeriously or that I rejoked.

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