Speaking of communities and safe zones, Wheat and Tares had a survey recently that asked it’s members if they would convert to the LDS Church today. The majority of those that responded said “No Way!” Another 34% admited they didn’t know.
If you read through the comments, you get a more nuanced discussion along the lines of “well, how could I know? I’d probably just be part of some other tradition.” While that seems like a pretty good explanation for the 34% that admited they didn’t know, it doesn’t explain the 52% that said “No Way!”
My guess is that there is nothing to explain for the 52%. They like W&T precisely because if makes them feel safe compared to, say, going to Church. And there are probably many faithful Mormons that have tried W&T and abandoned it silently, thus allowing a majority of unbelief to become the majority. (Alternatively, perhaps the Internet is just more likely to be made up of a certain personality type to being with. I don’t know.)
I suggested in my previous post that communities are built on safe zones. I am not cynical about this, however. I think “safe zones” is almost the definition of a community, not an ‘issue’ to be solved.
But I confess, I’m not entirely comfortable at W&T myself. (Despite blogging there in the past.) I take that as a sign that that just isn’t (usually) my community and not as a personal insult to me. And that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t blog there in the future if I felt I had a post that made sense for that community.
But I think respecting a communities value-boundaries is something a community must demand for itself if it wants to keep it’s community. And with the majority of that community no longer believing, there will be some limits on what W&T can post about regularly that someone like me is likely to feel frustrated with.
I am of the opinion that all of our communities can probably address any issue. For example, M* can and does do posts at times about the issues of, say, Church history. I suspect BCC would have little problem doing a post or two similar to this one done by J Max Wilson. W&T could probably survive, without blinking, a few posts like this one I’m writing. And DAMU or post Mormon communities could probably survive the occaisional post on why their approach to believeing Mormons has more that just a little in common with hate and bigotry.
But I suspect each of these communities has boundaries set that they cannot violate in terms of frequency of posts that challenge the community values. So we should not expect a ‘fair’ dicussion at any of them if we define ‘fair’ as ‘every side gets to say what they honestly believe with equal time.’ To do that would destroy each of these communities.
So thank goodness for the existence of multiple communities.