Whose woods these are I think I know

By Common Consent has a new look, a new partnership, and a new, high profile blogger.

BCC Screen Shot
The new “snowy woods” theme is a perfect symbol for the new BCC. It draws deeply on literary archetypes that I love. For me, it evokes one snow covered woodland in particular, summed up in the singular phrase: “Always winter and never Christmas.”

My personal approach to the new BCC is represented beautifully by Robert Frost’s poem:

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

101 thoughts on “Whose woods these are I think I know

  1. always winter and never Christmas

    Funny… I immediately thought of Narnia when seeing the new picture too. Of course the problem with that imagery is that it was always winter in Narnia only while the Witch (aka Satan) ruled the land… Maybe they could use this imagery to signify our pre-Second-Coming struggle against “the Witch” that is Babylon?

  2. Of course the problem with that imagery is that it was always winter in Narnia only while the Witch (aka Satan) ruled the land

    My point exactly, though I see it as apt rather than problematic… :-p

  3. Nice. I think I preferred it when J. Max left things unsaid.

    As it is, implying that imagery of Satan ruling the land is apt for BCC is really, really classy. Thanks J. Max and JKS for making that point explicit.

  4. With all the great Dialogue articles soon to be linked to and read, do you think anyone will have time to hang out and M* anymore?

    Aaron B

  5. JMW, sloppy invective and vicious innuendo hardly amount to a substantive critique. How about something thoughtful about why you don’t read Dialogue (or BCC), or the spiritual benefits of assuming that anyone who disagrees with you is a minion of Satan? I’m sure you have thoughts more interesting than throwaway references to children’s literature and overplayed Robert Frost.

  6. Kristine, why do you assume he doesn’t read them?

    For myself, I love winter. Moonlight on snow is my favorite color…

  7. “Moonlight on snow”

    Sounds like a nice title for Crayola to put in one of their large boxes!

  8. Wow, a solid thread of four comments in a row from four BCC perma-bloggers. I wonder if that’s ever happened before, anywhere, let alone here.

    Guys, I can’t speak for Jon, but because he’s not here to speak for himself, I will say: he’s a pretty nice guy, and I don’t think he meant to actually imply that Satan is playing a role in your blog. As you are aware, there are lots of jokey aspersions cast all around the Bloggernacle about each of the blogs, and your ‘funny’ typecasting is as the bad-boy blog. Now, taking that to the next level, by associating it with Satan, is probably a titch too high on the escalation scale, but be assured that no one really thinks that. Sorry if the joking got carried away here.

    Now, the question of whether Satan was involved in BCC’s former color scheme on the other hand . . .

    (By the way, Kristine– I do see the chance for a healthy dialogue on the subject of the role of high-end ‘scholarship’ in relation to the Bloggernacle, a trend that seems to have been accepted as the logical end of good blogs everywhere, but about which I have my reservations. But this is BCC’s day, and it need not be spoiled by such nattering now).

  9. The Robert Frost poem has been a favorite since I first heard it 20 years ago. The joining forces of a blog and a quarterly publication is no big whoop. The sum is not greater than the parts and it smacks a bit of commercialism.

    JKS, you should have known better than to joke around like that. That’s only allowed going one way and you’re on the wrong end of the spectrum. Tsk, tsk.

  10. Ben, I wasn’t assuming–just guessing. I’d love for JMW to tell me that he actually subscribes to Dialogue. Also, I think people who actually *read* bcc, and not just the snarky tagline or bloggernacle rumors about it, would be hard-pressed to seriously argue that there isn’t a good deal of faithful wrestling with gospel and church questions going on there, as well as a surprising amount of joyful celebration of quotidian Mormonness.

    Ryan, natter away!!

  11. “With all the great Dialogue articles soon to be linked to and read, do you think anyone will have time to hang out and M* anymore?”

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say yes.

  12. Kristine,

    I agree with your defense of BCC. As a result I insist that you start posting much more often over there. What, have you been spending all you time secretly posting at some other blog or something?

  13. Kristine: Also, I think people who actually *read* bcc, and not just the snarky tagline or bloggernacle rumors about it, would be hard-pressed to seriously argue that there isn’t a good deal of faithful wrestling with gospel and church questions going on there, as well as a surprising amount of joyful celebration of quotidian Mormonness.

    I completely agree. As I tried to make clear here, the Bloggernacle suffers from a spate of over-branding. Thus, BCC can be the devil-blog, T&S the centrist blog, and M* the anal self-righteous blog, despite the fact that there’s only a tiny variation between the three. Yes, the differences are real and important, but they fall far short of supporting the received stereotypes now taken as true about each of them.

  14. Adeline, interesting comments.

    “the joining forces of a blog and a quarterly publication is no big whoop.”
    – and yet, it hasn’t been done before in the mormon world. Perhaps it rates a minor whoop.

    “the sum is not greater than the parts and it smacks a bit of commercialism.”
    – Intelligent minds can disagree about whether the combination is a good thing. That said, no one is making a dime off of this, and to insinuate otherwise is below you.

    “JKS, you should have known better than to joke around like that. That’s only allowed going one way and you’re on the wrong end of the spectrum.”
    – I assume you mean to imply that liberals typically harass conservatives, then whine when they are themselves harassed? Perhaps so.

    Generally: I find it very funny (and sometimes sad) that people attribute such liberal or conservative leanings to the various blogs in the ‘Nacle, when in reality we are all very similar in content and in aspiration. It’s funny because we are grasping at labels when they don’t really work — just try to find something extremely left-wing or even marginally apostate at BCC, and you’ll fail, and the converse is likely true of Millennial Star. Hence, Ryan’s reference to ‘jokey aspersions.’ It’s also sad, however, because we let these fictional labels dictate our reactions and divide us as a people. This post is an example of how labels serve to push our actions towards unnecessary and silly extremes. Adeline, I believe your comment is likewise unfounded and driven more by reputation and innuendo than by any reality. I don’t really expect much more, and so I am also guilty of acting upon conjecture, but it is still disappointing.

  15. The differences definitely tend to be overstated. Out of 14 (I think)permabloggers, M* has two who are T & S permabloggers, and a whopping 6 who are former T & S guests. (I can’t actually tell because for some reason the “Contributors” drop down menu seems to end with Matt Evans at the moment, leaving out at least Ryan and Tanya, but maybe more I’m missing).

  16. Thanks, Ryan. I’m glad that you think I am nice guy. However, Kristine has a legitimate complaint. Thanks for defending me, but my post was indeed meant only half-jokingly, and Kristine knows it.

    Kristine, I have actually read BCC rather regularly–both posts and comments. In fact, during the last 3 months or so, I suspect I have read more on BCC than on T&S. While I never have been a Dialogue subscriber–and dare say I will very likely never be one–I have read quite a few Dialogue articles.

    While my allusion to the White Witch was hyperbolic, it was made in at least partial-earnestness. I am often guilty of oversimplification, and facile thinking, but I am not simple enough to suggest that Satan plays a direct role in either BCC or Dialogue.

    Actually, to continue with my “throwaway” references to children’s literature, if anything, I see BCC, Dialogue, and Sunstone as playing the part of Edmund–the Witch’s useful idiot–as they inadvertently advance the cause of the wrong side while pursuing intellectual Turkish delight and a supposedly superior position over their brothers and sisters.

    Before the BCC/Dialogue lovefest was announced–which I have been predicting for about a week now– I was already working on a post about why I will not support Dialogue. But it is not finished, and it wont be until I can find some time to work on it.

    While I will agree with Ryan, Steve, and Kaimi that they are often overstated, I think that if there weren’t at least a teaspoon of truth in our ‘jokey aspersions’ then we would not use them at all.

    The tone and spirit in which an endeavor is carried out is not insignificant. Similar content presented with a different tone and in a different spirit can result in huge differences in effect.

    I think that the reason why Dialogue and Sunstone have a bad reputation among most members is that members can discern a tone and spirit in them that they find repulsive–even if they cannot point to specific, objectionable content. Since we are part of a church that preaches the spiritual gift of discernment, and populated by those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, we should not be too quick to dismiss the discernment of so many members.

    If the M* had announced a partnership with Sunstone or Dialogue most would have been completely shocked. But virtually no one was even remotely surprised to find BCC and Dialogue joining forces because the tone and spirit discernible in Sunstone and Dialog has long been evident at BCC as well.

    There is a simple truth in the old adage, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Despite intellectual insistence that dialogue brings understanding, tolerance, and unity, the truth is that much of the time dialogue produces increased polarization as we find that the views of those with whom we disagree really are incompatible with our own, and the process of articulation solidifies within us ideas that were previously vague and more fluid.

  17. “M* has two who are T & S permabloggers, and a whopping 6 who are former T & S guests.”

    Yup. We try ‘em out before letting them loose here.

  18. BCC
    Open Dialogue
    “We will still try to explore issues thoughtfully, with our minds and with the Spirit. We will not be ashamed of orthodoxy, but we will also continue to respect opposing views. We will keep our sense of humor. We will remain in every important way as we first set out: “a liberal-minded, yet grossly intolerant Mormon blog: we tolerate dissent, but not stupidity.”

  19. “I see BCC, Dialogue, and Sunstone as playing the part of Edmund–the Witch’s useful idiot–as they inadvertently advance the cause of the wrong side while pursuing intellectual Turkish delight and a supposedly superior position over their brothers and sisters.”

    Are you serious? Dialogue as the “useful idiot?” Give me a break.

  20. Nice, JMW–we’re not only evil, but also stupid. I think “raca” would be less condescending, at least, than “useful idiot.” I guess if you don’t believe in the value of dialogue, dismissing your brothers and sisters in that way is perfectly reasonable. Please consider the possibility that this sort of rhetoric could be part of the reason that “liberals” sometimes conclude that “conservatives” are smug, self-righteous, and impossible to talk to.

    Also, remember that Peter, Susan and Lucy realized too late, and with great sorrow, that their self-righteousness had contributed a good deal to the delay in Edmund’s repentance, thus necessitating a significant bit of repentance for them.

  21. JKS, you’ve quoted me — what of it? Was it to point out that BCC will respect opposing views? To indicate that we have a sense of humor? Or to show that we aren’t ashamed of being orthodox?

    JMW, just when I think you couldn’t offend any more, you indicate that BCC advances the cause of the wrong side. So now I guess we are unwitting Judases? That we put Christ to an open shame? Shame on YOU, Jonathan Max Wilson, for being so judgmental, so divisive and so, so wrong. What is the evidence of our bond with the Evil One, pray? Why, it is your personal gift of discernment, of course — which lets you know that BCC serves Satan, not by any provable means, mind you, but by “a tone and spirit in them that [you] find repulsive–even if [you] cannot point to specific, objectionable content.”

    I would not be so quick to dismiss your gift of the Spirit in this case, Jonathan Max Wilson, were it not for Christ’s teaching that by their fruits ye shall know them. In this case, the fruits of your comment, whch are anger, division, scorn, rash judgment, and a witch-hunt. Shame on you, and shame on Millennial Star for associating itself with you.

  22. Since BCC is currently discussing how Nephi and Captain Moroni are jerks, a “Shame on YOU, Jonathan Max Wilson” puts him in company with others who seem to irritate the bloggers and commenters on BCC.

    Those of you who feel the tone of BCC is appropriate and edifying to their faith might simply say so in response to JMW. How do you feel is the “tone” there? I occasionally read and post at BCC myself but find myself dissenting from the average opinion.

  23. Hmm, what is BCC’s motto? “We exist to proclaim liberal truth loudly, as with the voice of a trump, poking our fingers in the eye of staunch conservativism.”

    Meanwhile, M*’s is: “Though we welcome readers and posters of all faiths, our posts take the foundational teachings of the LDS Church as common ground and the point of departure. Posters who wish to debate or argue those foundational teachings should seek one of the other forums available for such discussions. Comments that denigrate the Church or insult its leaders are not welcome.”

    Most BCC bloggers tend to disparage and disagree with at least some foundational teachings of the Church. The Brethren have repeatedly said, for example, that the Church opposes SSM. Yet many BCC bloggers openly support it. BCC for a long time championed the ACLU, an organization I know very well. It is currently obsessed with trying to destroy the Boy Scouts, an organization that is foundational for the Church. If the permabloggers at BCC have repented and learned not to associate with an organization that is trying to destroy a Church cornerstone group, then more power to them. I’ve yet to see a public repentence on this issue, however. I hope I simply missed it.

    I believe there are categories of discussion that are clearly open to loyal Latter-day Saints. Even though I am conservative politically, I would never claim that a loyal member cannot be liberal. I have even posted recently that though I support the war in Iraq and believe that President Hinckley’s conference talk clearly shows that he supported the war, I believe that this is not a foundational teaching of the Church.

    But opposing SSM is a foundational teaching for our generation. Supporting the Boy Scouts is also clearly a foundational teaching.

    Rather than ad hominem attacks on JMW for bringing up an uncomfortable truth, perhaps BCC bloggers can explain why they do not support the Church’s position? I’d like to think you’re just poking your fingers in the eye of staunch conservatives, not the Brethren themselves.

  24. “the Boy Scouts, an organization that is foundational for the Church”—–Geoff B.

    “no one was even remotely surprised to find BCC and Dialogue joining forces because the tone and spirit discernible in Sunstone and Dialog has long been evident at BCC as well.” JMW (which tone he described as “repulsive”)

    I’d really like to know on the record if Geoff B. and JMW’s recent comments represent the views of M*? Tell me there’s another, saner voice here somewhere. Davis, Naomi . . . someone?

  25. Wow, I’m hoping that most of the M* permabloggers are really chagrined at the direction a few of their own have taken this thread. I just… wow, just really can’t believe what I’m reading.

  26. BCC is a great blog, and I very much enjoy reading the posts over there. And I’m looking forward to reading the Dialogue articles. Keep up the good work, Steve, Kristine, et. al.

  27. STEVE EVANS said, “That said, no one is making a dime off of this, and to insinuate otherwise is below you. “

    I quote from BCC:
    Here at BCC, you’ll see advance articles and exclusive content from upcoming Dialogue issues, as well as interviews, discussions and behind-the-scenes views from current topics in mormon studies. We’re also excited about delving into past issues in mormon thought; having access to Dialogue’s 40 years of experience will give BCC posts new depth and new context. Drawing upon past and present Dialogue board members, authors and editors as resources for posts and comments will, we, believe, give new life to discussions here and help us in our goal to explore ideas in a spiritually fulfilling and uplifting way.

    “Updated: I forgot to mention one of the best parts! BCC readers receive 50% subscription prices for Dialogue. For a limited time only-new subscribers are being offered 50% off the regular subscription rate. Contact the business office by email dialoguejournal.com and mention you saw the BCC
    blogsite offer.”

    Let’s take a look at Dialogue’s subscription rates, shall we? They don’t look free. So the comments above looks like something geared to generate revenue and readership. You probably won’t concede that as an example of commercialism even though such ignorance is below YOU.

    As for comments being “driven more by reputation and innuendo than by any reality”, know this as well, Mr. Evans. I don’t make comments as to the content of blogs without having read them often enough to make an informed opinion. If you want fiction I’ll redirect back to “no one is making a dime off this”.

    If this collaboration gives “new life” to BCC in a “spiritually fulfilling and uplifting way” then there is something to be said for it. More power to BCC and Dialogue if that happens. I wish you both boosted readership and Dialogue many $$$ of subscriptions.

  28. This is getting ridiculous, on both sides. Any time I hear the phrase “shame on you!” uttered with seriousness, I know it’s time to lower the temperature and reconsider the stakes of the debate.

    First of all, I think it should be obvious to Melissa and to Steve (re: “Shame on Millennial Star for associating itself with [JMW]“) that the views of individual bloggers are not those of the other individual bloggers, nor of the venue itself. Or Melissa, can I always assume that Matt and Frank speak for you? Steve, is it safe to say that everything that appears in Dialogue is heretofore to be taken as your own personal opinion? Hogwash. There is no personal agreement litmust test for these kinds of associations, as you both well know. There is, however, a litmus test for good will, good faith, and a basic level of decency, which I think everyone at this site passes 99% of the time. Let’s all stop looking for ways to confirm deeply-held suspicions about one another, including one another’s blogs.

    Secondly, I don’t doubt that Jon’s positions are deeply held and sincere. But I second Kristine in calling them uncharitable in the extreme, and guilty of privileging one’s own perspective over the good faith perspectives of other good people.

    Thirdly– the Boy Scouts are a foundational teaching of the Church? This assertion stretches credulity beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse, in my opinion. But though that is the more falsifiable claim, it shouldn’t be allowed to overshadow this one: That BCC is guilty because– some of its bloggers support — the ACLU which —- is trying to dismantle the Boy Scouts, which—- is a program of the church. Too attenuated and strained to be meaningful at all.

    Please all, there are probably some useful points of discussion to be salvaged here, if the discussion must be had. But if we can’t keep it civil, it’s not worth having, and it can’t continue.

  29. Geoff,

    (btw, this is seriously off topic!)

    I really fail to see how the Boy Scouts are “foundational”. I’ve done more scouting than most, including working full time at scout camp. It seems clear to me that the Church could drop the program at any time. They did this in Brazil and then re-implemented it under the Church as its own program. While many people have devoted a great deal of time and effort to the BSA I really doubt that very many of them view it as a bedrock of what makes the Church what it is. To even consider it in the same league as the SSM issue is setting yourself up for disappointment since the Church will probably never accept SSM but it probably will break from the BSA eventually.

  30. Melissa and Rosalynde,

    I just happened on this thread after reading the one at BCC titled, Why I Can’t Stand Captain Moroni.

    While I consider Ronan to be a friend, and for that reason am confident he is genuinely confused about Moroni, most church members don’t have the privilege of knowing Ronan personally. For that reason I’m quite stunned by your surprise that the expression of such sentiments might repulse some of our fellow members, such as JMW or Geoff. My guess would be that most active members are suspicious of organizations publishing articles with titles in the form “Why I Can’t Stand [insert revered Mormon prophet here]”

  31. Adeline, your comment is false and insulting. We have no money to make from BCC’s relationship with Dialogue whatsoever, and I demand a retraction immediately for your lie. It is indeed a lie and an insult to call my comment fiction and to insinuate that BCC is trying to make money in any way. The comment itself is ridiculous.

    Dialogue was willing to offer a reduced subscription rate. For this you come to the conclusion that somehow this is a commercial enterprise? There is no logic to your insulting claims. The notion is laughable — do you think that secretly the thousands of krugerrands of Dialogue subscribers wind their way into BCC’s massive coffers? Adeline, think your lies through before posting them, so that they at least have a veneer of credulity. I suppose if we managed to arrange some kind of discount on the Ensign you’d likewise accuse us of ill-gotten gains. Maybe we’re secretly a blog for Publisher’s Clearing House!

    I cannot believe that people like Adeline and JMW represent M* readers or permabloggers, or for that matter mormons. Since when do mormons accuse each other with sheer lies? Since when is it acceptable for one believing latter-day saint to accuse another of being in league with the adversary? And since when does this blog tolerate these kinds of insults and accusations?

  32. That’s all I wanted to hear, Ryan.

    Of course, I didn’t mean to suggest that everyone here agrees with Geoff and JMW. I had most sincerely hoped that was not the case and wanted to see it in writing. (Much like you will always see it in writing by myself or another enlightened soul when Frank is wrong ;))

    M.

  33. Steve Evans, one additional comment about commercialism. Someone pointed out to me that commercialism as it relates to this collaboration can be measured not just in monetary form but also in the currency of pride.

  34. Ryan, I am truly sorry for my exasperated responses. But I am not used to having my integrity, and my faith, challenged so openly and so falsely. I hope you never have to be subjected to similar treatment.

    You’re right, of course. I should not expect JMW to be representative of M*, but there are times when the group needs to assess its potential responsibility for the actions of one of its members — otherwise it isn’t much of a group.

  35. Ah Adeline.

    So now commercialism is pride instead of commerce. Now you resort to regular name-calling because you had no proof of actual financial interest? Whoever pointed out to you that pride is a currency would probably also admit that Froot Loops can be currency, or (in your case) inane comments.

  36. I should add that I enjoy reading BCC even though I frequently disagree with what’s written. Of course it helps that I know several of their bloggers, which helps me to place their perspective in context. And though I wouldn’t have written what either JMW or Geoff have, I do think BCC has done themselves a disservice to have this discussion surface while the post “Why I Can’t Stand Captain Moroni” graces the top of their site.

  37. Steve, as you might guess, we frequently dialogue internally about the direction of the blog and representations made by the bloggers here. I think this little exchange has been unfortunate. I hope we can all cool off now.

    At the moment, I’m trying to think of a constructive direction to take the conversation, but can’t think of much that I think would be useful right now. If anyone wants to continue without specific finger-pointing and name-calling and other derogatory invective, please feel free.

  38. Ryan, if I were you I’d consider closing the thread. It’s clear I can’t stop myself at this point.

  39. I wasn’t surprised to find them together, but then I have read most back issues of Dialogue and Sunstone. That’s not to say I have no criticism of them (but I think I said my piece on that on Oman’s Open Letter to Dialogue.) I also read and comment at BCC, sometimes to their apparent surprise or consternation.

    BCC is no more a monolith than M* is, and I suspect that the individual bloggers among the two sites are, for the most part, more similar then dissimilar. Each of us speaks for him or herself, and we have sometimes criticized each others posts internally.

    I do find the kinds of criticism sometimes evidenced in Sunstone and Dialogue also present at BCC, though less so and certainly varying from post to post.

    “We exist to proclaim liberal truth loudly, as with the voice of a trump, poking our fingers in the eye of staunch conservativism.”

    The motto of BCC, though I’m sure it is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, does seem to take a more antagonistic or oppositional viewpoint. By aligning truth with “liberality” and making “staunch conservatism” something worthy of finger-poking, BCC has, at the least, polarized people using terms that the bloggernacle has generally declared to be worthless in various discussions on various sites.

    I personally don’t see the boy scouts as foundational for the Church, but then I don’t see what relevance that really has to anything.

    I’m going to make some popcorn and watch the, um, proceedings.

  40. I wouldn’t close the thread. It’s because threads like this always get closed that people secretly begin to harbor feelings against each other and problems persist. I think dialogue is one of the most important factors in resolving such problems.

  41. “dialogue is one of the most important factors in resolving such problems.”

    Brilliant! Let’s get them involved! : )

  42. Side A accuses Side B of being on the verge of apostasy, while side B accuses side A of being intolerant. I’ve seen this before somewhere…

  43. Eric, you’re clearly mistaken.

    “much of the time dialogue produces increased polarization as we find that the views of those with whom we disagree really are incompatible with our own, and the process of articulation solidifies within us ideas that were previously vague and more fluid.”

    See?

  44. Ben, which side is which in your comment 49? In this thread, BCC’s been accused both of apostasy and of being intolerant (not an easy feat!). Not sure what M* has been accused of, except for being accusatory…

  45. I can only imagine the emails going on in the M* list tonight…

    M*: “JMW, did you have to call everyone at BCC Satan’s Monkeys?”
    JMW: “Ummm, it seemed like a good idea at the time…”

    Good times, good times…

  46. On the humorous note– I always thought it would greatly please Steve if M*’s motto when we went live had been “Millennial Star– we tolerate stupidity, but not dissent!”

    Has a nice conservative ring to it.

  47. My impression was that some of the commentary above was accusing M* permabloggers of being too narrow in their definition of what a faithful member should be. Hence, M*=A (roughly speaking), and BCC=Side B (roughly speaking).

    BTW, Melissa, I met your parents today in the BYU Bookstore and had a nice but brief chat with them. Nice folks :)

  48. I think that the bloggernacle does a good job of being open and respectful. There are many people who comment on several blogs and enjoy discussing the subjects brought up at the various sites.
    Almost every original blog post starts some discussion and people have different views.
    In real life I can be friends with many people who have different opinions than me. Occasionally I cannot hide my different opinion, or give approval where it is sought.
    We all have opinions about what is too far in the questioning/complaining posts and what is too far in the self-righteous tone posts. I don’t think that surprises any of us.
    It is nice to see that people are hoping to keep discussion as respectful as possible.

    Ryan, thanks for the humor! It was appreciated.

  49. I still feel like a novice around here. I know JMW reads BCC, because he has commented on my posts. He also uses the subjenctive.

    I really regret this conversation and while I did not appreciate the original joke, I am now rather disheartened.

  50. Wow, a guy goes to a soccer game for a few hours, and comes back to . . . to . . . this. I disagree wholly and totally with J. Max on pretty much everything he said. I’m not really sure how else to respond. I also understand why the BCCers are upset. J. Max may well be right that BCC are serving as useful idiots for Satan; I really, really, really doubt it, but I suppose it’s possible. Just like it’s possible that we are, or T&S is, or the Republican Party is, or the Democratic Party is, and on and on. I don’t really have any idea. I have opinions, but not certainty (and I rather doubt others have certainty on such matters, either, gift of discernment notwithstanding). Which is why, in my view, it’s important to be kind, charitable, and diplomatic in voicing one’s opinions; this truism applies to opinions on all topics, but never more so then when it comes to being tools in the hand of Satan. I have to say that I think J. Max (and Adeline and Geoff) failed on all counts. Again, I’m not sure what else to say.

  51. I also have to say that I feel much the same as I’d imagine an African-American feels when they witness a fellow African-American be a drug dealer, or when a Jew witnesses another Jew be greedy, and so on.

  52. Well, it looks like I’ve arrived a little late to the party …

    Geoff B said:
    “BCC for a long time championed the ACLU, an organization I know very well… If the permabloggers at BCC have repented and learned not to associate with an organization that is trying to destroy a Church cornerstone group, then more power to them. I’ve yet to see a public repentence on this issue, however. I hope I simply missed it.”

    Gosh, Geoff, maybe I’m just a dunce, but I missed this alleged “championing” altogether. I’m not sure how this happened, since I’ve been a BCC perma-blogger since the early days. Maybe I missed the secret memo? I don’t recall being a particular fan of the ACLU myself, but what does that mean? I’m sure your gift of discernment about all the BCC permabloggers trumps any self-awareness I possess, so I’ll look to you to learn more about myself in the future. How does Aaron B feel about SSM, Geoff? I’m not sure, but I’m sure you can tell me!

    I am reminded of how FARMS is constantly complaining (with some justification) about how there is this assumed “FARMS official position” on Issue X, Y or Z, when in fact, the organization does not have “official” views and is not monolithic, being composed of distinct individuals with similar but not necessarily identical views. (In a non-Mormon context, much the same could be said about the Federalist Society). Something to keep in mind.

    J. Max Wilson said:
    “The tone and spirit in which an endeavor is carried out is not insignificant. Similar content presented with a different tone and in a different spirit can result in huge differences in effect.”

    This is a very important point, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. One of the crucial needs that an organization like Dialogue has met for many, many Mormons historically (and hopefully will in the future) is that many of its articles have approached troubling Mormon issues with a tone and “spirit” that is not over-bearingly apologetic, or infused with the attitude that all critical or skeptical commentary on Mormon history is prima facie ludicrous or sinister, or evasive in dealing with awkward aspects of the faith. There are many, many members of the Church who genuinely interested in finding helpful resources and discussion that find the fairly narrow range of “conservative” LDS approaches to be off-putting or unsatisfying, and organizations like Dialogue have done an admirable job of reaching these people and helping them sort things through. (None of this is to deny some of the overly-critical, naturalistic, “liberal” biases that have infused the magazine at times, or to imply that BCC’s tone and “spirit” is necessarily always helpful). But I think, Max Wilson, that you probably have a fairly myopic perspective on what does and does not constitute a positive “effect” on the members of the Church.

    J. Max Wilson again:
    “I think that the reason why Dialogue and Sunstone have a bad reputation among most members is that members can discern a tone and spirit in them that they find repulsive–even if they cannot point to specific, objectionable content. Since we are part of a church that preaches the spiritual gift of discernment, and populated by those who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, we should not be too quick to dismiss the discernment of so many members.”

    Please. First of all, let’s be honest and admit that “most members” have never even heard of Dialogue. They don’t have an impression one way or the other.

    Further, the reason why most members I have known that actually don’t like Dialgoue cannot point to “specific, objectionable content” is not because of any gift of discernment on their part; its because they’ve never read the damn thing. They simply know a guy who knows a guy whose married to this girl whose Dad’s brother once said he thought he heard that Dialogue is “apostate” and they figured they’d better stay clear of it. If I had a dollar for every Dialogue-avoider who’d actually spent more than 10 seconds with the journal, I’m afraid I’d be a pan-handler, or hitting my Bishop up for free groceries.

    Aaron B

  53. Sometimes I wish I had my own blog, so I could call everyone at T&S, BCC and Milennial Star to repentence. You all obsess about your supposed differences, but your all equally guilty of engaging in so-called intellectualism and talking about things that have nothing to do with our eternal salvation. As such, you are a horrible waste of time and a source of great evil in the world, kind of like face cards. Someday, when I’m enjoying my Celestial bliss, and your all looking up at me from the lesser kingdoms with great envy and regret, I’ll be like “neener-neener-neener, I told you so.”

  54. I read and enjoy some posts at all three group blogs (M*, T&S, BCC). At each I have some favorite posters and at each I have some that I’m inclined to skip. I imagine most of us read selectively; a few masochists may go out of their way to read the posters they *dislike* with special care and disdain, but even their comments are fairly civil most of the time. So it seems disingenuous to rank or denigrate one blog or another — I think we all read all three with interest (if not always agreement). This isn’t the newspaper business — you can’t cancel your subscription.

    Nobody flipped out when T&S began posting BYU Studies articles — why the barbs now aimed at BCC? It seems like a move likely to create some new and interesting content over at BCC, as well as anyone else in the B’nacle who wants to link from their own blog and start their own discussion (whether in agreement or disagreement with what some BCC permablogger writes). Remember: Without periodic new developments, B’nacle blogging will get boring. Need. Fresh. Material.

  55. Well, I’m going on a business trip today, so I thought I’d get a look at the carnage before taking off. It occurred to me when I woke up that I should have written something like this last night: “JMW, you may want to occur that your comments appeared on a day that BCC was proud and happy. There may have been a better time and way of making them. At the same time, BCC may want to consider toning down some of its rebellious and apparently anti-Church (notice the word apparently) tendencies and consider the fact that its motto may be taken seriously by others. Why have a motto like that if your intent is not to challenge and possibly offend? But for now, perhaps all parties should go to bed and not write anything they regret.” I wish I had written that instead of what I did. I should have taken my own advice. I’ll leave the Boy Scouts/ACLU discussion for another time and place. (Aaron, do you remember the “Politicks” section of BCC? Not that long ago, BCC linked the ACLU with a positive title. It wasn’t “the Iron Rod” but it was something similar to that. This happened for many months. I don’t know when that was taken down. That was what I was referencing).

    Kudos to Ryan for trying to calm things down.

  56. Geoff B., it was “The Armies of Helaman.” I also believe we linked to the GWB website as “The King-Men” or something. I mean, come on Geoff — that’s “championing”? It’s gone in any event, but sheesh.

  57. It’s clear that my post on Captain Moroni has irked some. I hate irking people and I’m a nice guy (I think). So here’s my explanation:

    1. I’m jet-lagged.
    2. Yeah, the title was a little silly.
    3. (As I’ve already explained) people should not take me toooo seriously. Of course, as no-one really knows me (sob!) I realise that it is difficult to know how to take me. (Anyone seen The Office?)
    4. I genuinely struggle with the notion of “just war” and divinely-sanctioned violence. I don’t like it. Sorry, but it is a genuine struggle.
    5. If you read the post you’ll notice that it is in fact testimony building: yes, that’s right, because I explicity state that I believe that Captain Moroni was REAL, not some fiction of Joseph Smith. So, if there’s a part of the Book of Mormon that I find doctrinally troublesome, but still believe the book to be “true,” then isn’t that the cause of celebration? (In other words, look beyond what you think you’re reading).
    6. Read my most recent post at United Brethren for pretty, inoffensive pictures, and heart-warming prose. See! It’s not all bad.

    (P.S. ACLU? BSA? Not relevant for 55% of Church members who aren’t American)

  58. I told the bretheren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on Earth, and the keystone of our religion and we are just waiting for the foundation of the BSA to prop it up a bit.

  59. Hi, Ronan- I love “The Office”!! The English version, of course. I just watched the “Comic Relief” episode the other night where David tries to one up Neil and Rachel with his impromptu dance. Hilarious. I’m looking forward to Ricky Gervais’ new series.

    As for Moroni and the BOM, maybe next time you could post something about how you can’t stand Zeezrom or one of the bad guys, just to even things out a bit. And as for me, I usually skip all the violence in the BOM, because I find it distracting (not to mention way too graphic). Cheers!

  60. I just don’t get it. I met JMW at a bloggersnacker and he seemed like a thoughtful, intelligent and nice puppeteer kind o’ guy. I didn’t see the kind of judgmentalness and mean-spiritedness then that I read in this post.

  61. Elisabeth,
    I was thinking of “Why I Love Nehor,” but it looks like that won’t go down too well. I’ve seen “Extras” BTW: it’s painfully, painfully funny.

  62. Ronan- I’m so jealous you’ve already seen Extras! Also, I’m glad you think it’s great – although I honestly can’t imagine anything as awesome as The Office. I’m a little obsessed with it, actually – it’s always in our DVD player.

    I always thought Zeezrom got a bad rap, myself.

  63. Wow.

    When I read the original post and the first couple of comments, I thought it was nothing more than good-natured ribbing. Boy, was I wrong.

    I have noticed a difference between BCC, M*, and T&S, but not the distinctions that were listed above. My perspective was that BCC was least likely to take things seriously (I miss the old titles to links. Please bring them back, Steve), T&S had a sense of humor but was generally serious, and M* took itself seriously more often than not. I have read and enjoyed posts on all three blogs, and see many of the same people commenting on each (except, of course, for those that T&S bans).

    Isn’t everybody basically trying to do the same thing? Discuss gospel issues, including doubts, in a way that is safe and comfortable? The internet is messy, life is messy, and trying to live the gospel can be messy, too. But just because your weaknesses and struggles are different from mine doesn’t necessarily mean I am better than you. Well, not most of you…

  64. alamojag, I miss the old titles too, sometimes, but eventually I think we had to let them go. You can still see them on our old site.

  65. Steve. If Milo Minderbinder could buy eggs in Malta for seven cents apiece and sell them to the mess sergeants for five cents apiece and make a profit, then it’s clear that you’re making money hand over fist from Dialogue‘s offer to give away half of its magazines.

    Otherwise, the rest of this tempestuous teapot makes me wonder who really gives a rip. (I was going to say “rat’s ass,” but I figured that might get censored.)

  66. Yet again I’m reminded of the value of the great Millennial Star. Let’s pick on other blogs that we don’t agree with. How very bold and brave of all of you.

    Keep proclaiming your warped version of truth and the Gospel – it’ll remind me yet again why, whenever I pop over, I just turn away.

  67. It seems rather obvious to me that BCC is dominated by Satanic influences. In fact, I have long believed that Steve Evans actually is none other than the Prince of Darkness. He is also the chairman of the Pentaveret, a secret organization that actually runs the world.

    I also think that the color purple is a conspiracy. All of you guys pretend it exists, but I am on to you…

  68. Nate,
    Purple is the colour of royalty and I have it on good authority that Steve is about to have himself proclaimed King of the Bloggernacle. All hail King Steve I!

  69. It’s a well-known fact, Sunny Nate, that there’s a secret society of the five wealthiest people in the world, known as The Pentaveret, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers, and meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion in Colorado, known as The Meadows.

    Who’s in this Pentaveret? The Queen, BCC, The Gettys, The Rothschilds, *and* Colonel Sanders before he went heads up. Oh, I hated the Colonel with is wee *beady* eye! And that smug look on his face, “Oh, you’re gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!”

  70. “Isn’t everybody basically trying to do the same thing? Discuss gospel issues, including doubts, in a way that is safe and comfortable?”

    Bwahahahaha! You can’t be serious, alamojag? What you’re suggesting would require that people be decent. They’d be required to try and understand each other, to step outside of their teeny, tiny little box for two seconds and try and appreciate where another perspective is coming from. That’s just crazy talk. If someone like Maxamillion Wilson actually read BCC, he’d clearly be converted to Satanhood in a second. Best to stay over here at Millennial Star where things are safe and comfortable and post snarky comments about whole groups of people we don’t like.

  71. John, J. Stapley’s right. Besides, let’s not be too snarky here — I’ve displayed outrage enough for all of BCC put together.

  72. John H., thank you for making your very first comment on M* today on this thread! I appreciate that you have finally made it over in your good faith attempt to see what this blog is really about, and have been able to sum us up by– your participation in this thread. And I’m glad you’ve figured out what we’re really about. Please believe me when I agree that this discussion is perfectly representative of the spirit of this blog, as manifest by the hundreds of other posts in our archives in which we routinely condemn other blogs, most often yours. Thank you for responding to the judgment of your blog based on a few outlying posts by judging this blog based on a few outlying posts.

    Sincerely,

    Your compatriot in charity and tolerance,

  73. John H, that’s a pretty dim view (in both senses). While everyone knows there are deviations from the mean, do you honestly not think alamojag’s description applies to the vast majority of people in the Nacle?

    Also, “safe and comfortable,” of course, are relative. I haven’t seen you over here too much.

  74. easy fellas… Do we really want to have this thread become:

    BCC gets insulted–>BCC feels hurt–>BCC insults M*–>M* feels hurt–>M* insults BCC….

  75. I’m not sure why this has to be BCC and M*. J. Max and Geoff are not M*. John is not BCC. I object to John lumping us all together.

    As for responding, I think you’re well within your rights to respond to J. Max and Geoff. And I think Ryan and I are within our rights to respond to John (as long as we avoid being overly strident, which I think you, and we, are.)

  76. Man, Steve, don’t you wish the B-times was up and running? What a Zeitgeist to report for this week. Has anything not related to Dialogue happened at all this week, anywhere in the entire Universe? (ahh… the Universe. Now there’s the high-end publication for M* to affiliate with . . .)

  77. Perhaps instead of bickering, BCC and M* should join forces to combat the true evil of the Bloggernacle: T&S.

    Aaron B

  78. Aaron, it’s a conversation that must take place, but probably not here in the open. There’s a parking garage under the Conference Center . . .

  79. LOL. True Ryan. Although the school year starts next week. We get to see if BYU has a good football team the week after that. So I’m sure the B-Times will arise from its slumber soon.

    BTW – am I just stupid? I read everyone as just speaking humorously. If any of the above wasn’t meant that way could we back off please? I enjoy posting here as a contributer and I regularly read BCC and T&S and post there as well. Some of the above is a bit silly. We may disagree with elements of various posts. But let’s not push that too far.

  80. I can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t engineered by T&S. It has Faulconer’s fingerprints all over it.

  81. Well, I’m glad to see that the thread has at least turned to humor to diffuse some of the rancor.

    I’m not going to get into the hubbub except to bait Geoff B just a touch.

    Geoff, I look forward to your separate thread on the “foundational” nature of the Boy Scout program and the accusations you’ve levied at the ACLU. When you do, I’d like it if you also address it in terms of the concept President Hinckley voiced when the LDS Church declined to get involved in Pres. Bush’s faith-based initiatives: that government entititlements bring government entanglements.

    And FWIW, the new BCC graphics bring the words to the song “Moonlight in Vermont” to my mind for some reason. The only popular American song ever written (that I know of) where the verses are metered as haiku.

  82. Interesting. Vermont was also one of the first states to legalize SSM. Coincidence?

  83. I don’t know if those are fruit trees or not. We’ll have to ask Steve.

  84. Davis, actually SSM is still illegal in Vermont — civil unions are legal, and Vermont was the first state to legalize those. I’m more sympathetic to civil unions than SSM. SSM is still only legal in one state, Massachusetts

  85. Adeline, your comment is false and insulting. We have no money to make from BCC’s relationship with Dialogue whatsoever, and I demand a retraction immediately for your lie. It is indeed a lie and an insult to call my comment fiction and to insinuate that BCC is trying to make money in any way. The comment itself is ridiculous.

    Dialogue was willing to offer a reduced subscription rate. For this you come to the conclusion that somehow this is a commercial enterprise? There is no logic to your insulting claims. The notion is laughable — do you think that secretly the thousands of krugerrands of Dialogue subscribers wind their way into BCC’s massive coffers?

    Gee, I though they were joking.

    Looks like I missed a heck of a lot (not getting to read this until the number of posts hit a hundred).

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