Why Did You Resign (from Mormon Matters)? – Side #1 vs. Side #2 and the We Attack / You Defend Model of Dialogue

football-hike-600x250In my last post I talked about the inherent imbalance in negative and positive posts on Mormon Matters. Even if there were equal numbers of them, the types of negative posts had a lot more emotional punch than the positive ones because negatives always have more inherent punch than positives.

In this post, I want to expand on this idea a bit by asking the question “whose side are you on?”.  What do we even mean by “sides”?

And since this is a long post, I should let you know that I issues challenges to John Dehlin and Sunstone at the end, once I’ve laid the foundation for my case.

There Are No Sides. Let’s Build Bridges Instead.

One of the cultural tenets of Mormon Matters (and often even the Bloggernacle as a whole) is that we do not have sides. We are all Mormons whether culturally or by belief. I have already expressed my concerns with this aspect of Bloggernacle culture, at least in some cases. Further, it’s only true when it’s true. John Dehlin would regularly talk openly about “believers and unbelievers alike”, though the preferred language is to speak of “spectrums” of belief (a term I find misleading at best, as many factors of belief are literally off or on). [1] Continue reading

John Dehlin’s Comprehensive List of Reasons He Doesn’t Believe in the LDS Church

John Dehlin“Doubt those who encourage you to doubt your doubts” — John Dehlin on his Facebook page, attacking President Uchtdorf’s talk. Mar 25, 2014

John Dehlin recently put together a comprehensive list of what he sees as all the issues with the LDS Church. He of course titled it “A Comprehensive List of Reasons Why People Leave or Stop Believing in the LDS Church” so as to position it as a helpful attempt to teach the Church how to stop people from leaving. However, as I read through the list, it’s not really clear to me how this document could ever be helpful in that regard since it makes no helpful suggestions at all and simply reads like an anti-Mormon tract.

Consistent with my policy of not advancing anti-Mormon tracts – intended or otherwise – like this, I am not going to be linking with it. Normally I make an exception for John because I at least believe he is well intended in what I see as a desire to reduce pain in the church through reduced ‘exclusion.’ (I am intentionally using that term the way John uses it – which really means fewer people feeling uncomfortable and therefore making their own adult choice to no longer participate with the LDS church.) But I’m still not really in favor of collecting every potential faith-breaking issue all in one place like this. I do, after all, still believe in the importance of belief itself when it comes to religion.

Does John Encourage Disbelieving the LDS Church?

I know John claims he is not trying to get people to disbelieve. I think this is true in limited a sense. If you really want to believe, I have no doubt John will not push you personally towards disbelief. And I think John doesn’t really see belief as in-and-of-itself some sort of evil. Continue reading

Why Did You Resign (from Mormon Matters)? – The Question of “Balance”

In my first post I gave a bit of my history on Mormon Matters and explained the players that were there when things began. I also covered my previously mentioned reasons for quitting, which included feeling like my interest and the communities did not match and also feeling like Mormon Matters played a certain important role that I was personally disrupting by my presence.

Was Mormon Matters Balanced?

I had come to the conclusion that Mormon Matters was not intended as a true open discussion about Mormonism. (i.e. it claimed to be a “one stop shop” but in fact wasn’t.) I believed that it was (as I said in my previous post)…

… a friendly place to ‘let off steam’ for those that didn’t believe in the LDS Church’s defining beliefs any more (sometimes still practicing, sometimes, not) while still allowing them to interact with a certain kind of Mormon that still believed, but was sympathetic to their concerns. This belief-with-sympathies approach really only worked if the believers were willing to not strongly challenge the post Mormons on their new beliefs or on their concerns.

To explain why I had come to this conclusion, I’m going to post about a number of related subjects. While I doubt I can convince anyone of my position, if I can at least get you to say “yes, I can see why you’d draw such a false conclusion” I’ll consider these post as having wildly exceeded my expectations. Continue reading

Why Did You Resign (from Mormon Matters)? – Was I Disrupting Mormon Matter’s Real Purpose?

In my last post I gave some background on my stint on Mormon Matters and then talked about some of the important players.

When I left Mormon Matters my dear friend, DougG, was the only person that really noticed I had disappeared. He was also the only person that actually asked me to return. When I talked with Doug on the phone (that was when he asked me to come back) this is what I told him.

I said I felt like Mormon Matters played an important role of being a friendly place to ‘let off steam’ for those that didn’t believe in the LDS Church’s defining beliefs any more (sometimes still practicing, sometimes, not) while still allowing them to interact with a certain kind of Mormon that still believed, but was sympathetic to their concerns. This belief-with-sympathies approach really only worked if the believers were willing to not strongly challenge the post Mormons on their new beliefs or on their concerns.

So I had come to wonder if my presence there – where I would directly challenge a former members new beliefs — was disrupting that purpose. Was it possible that I was even causing people to quit by my presence?

We had several post Mormons quit within my short stint due to “too many posts supportive of the LDS Church.” After they quit, John Dehlin quickly utilized his post-Mormon network to find new replacements — and this took all of 30 seconds in most cases. And not a single post Mormon that quit ever said “I quit because I don’t like how Bruce is challenging me too much.” It was generally just the existence of too many “pro Mormon posts” that caused the problem. On at least one occaision, we had a blogger quit because she was upset with how Hawkgrrl had moderated a comment. (If you know how permitting Hawk is with comments, you will laugh at that last statement. You have to be cussing and threatening some GA before she’ll consider cutting the comment. Yet it was true that this angered at least one blogger that then quit.) Continue reading

Why Did You Resign (from Mormon Matters)? – Introduction

John DehlinPrisoner: What do you want?
Number Two: Information.
Prisoner: Whose side are you on?
Number Two: That would be telling…. We want information…information…information!
Prisoner: Who are you?
Number Two: The new Number Two.
Prisoner: Who is Number One?
Number Two: You are, Number Six.
Prisoner: I am not a number; I am a free man!
Number Two: [shouting] Why, why, why did you resign?
Prisoner: I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. I resign.
Number Two: Why did you resign?
Prisoner: For peace.
Number Two: You resigned for peace?
Prisoner: Yes. Let me out.
Number Two: You’re a fool.
Prisoner: For peace of mind.
Number Two: What?
Prisoner: For peace of mind!
Number Two: Why?
Prisoner: Because too many people know too much.
Number Two: Never!
Prisoner: I know too much!
Number Two: Tell me.
Prisoner: I know too much about you!

My Introduction to the Bloggernacle Through Mormon Matters

Recently Bonnie from Wheat and Tares asked me a question that no one had ever asked me before. She wanted to know why I had resigned from Mormon Matters. Actually “resigned” is the wrong word. I supposed I never in any sense officially resigned. I simply stopped posting one day and stopped even visiting or commenting. It didn’t even really happen all at once. It started out with me taking longer and longer breaks from blogging on Mormon Matters and then one day the “break” was so long there was no point in my coming back. Continue reading