This post is aimed at my friends and the many people who have disagreed with me over the years. I have been at M* for six years now, and I have some experience under my belt. You might be interested in hearing why I continue to do this.
The first point I would like to make is that I have a firm testimony of the restored gospel. I have seen so many incredible things happen in my life since being baptized nearly 12 years ago that I am bursting to share those things with the people around me. Doing so on M* seems a good forum to do this, but I also share my experiences with the people I encounter and the many people to whom I hand out books of Mormon.
The second point is that I blog about other issues because I learn things. I don’t have an advanced degree, but I am interested in hundreds of different subjects, and discussing them with other people necessarily involves learning something new.
Let me give you some examples.
In 1990, I completely bought the Jim Hansen story about global warming. New information since then has led me to know that this story is untrue.
From 2003-2008, I completely bought the Bush/neo-con line on foreign policy and the war on terror. New information since then has led me to know that I was completely wrong.
In 2008, I was a huge, vocal opponent of gay marriage. I support the Church’s position on this issue, but I have come to the position that this is a battle that probably is lost in the long term and that Mormons will eventually have to accept the government getting out of the marriage business.
There is a pattern here. By reading, discussing and pondering, we learn new things. if you have an open mind, your positions on the issues may evolve. I favor a balanced federal budget, but I may not favor a balanced budget amendment. There are nuances to every discussion and if you discuss things with smart people, and you are willing to hear out their side of the issues, you may learn something new.
This does not mean that I will agree with you, especially on fiscal or economic issues, which I believe are very urgent right now. This does not mean I will always be able to maintain a pleasant, non-confrontational tone when I discuss things. I am human, and I get annoyed and lash out just like anybody else. But I promise to keep on trying to maintain an open mind and hear you out.
We at M* have banned three people (that I know of) over the six years of our existence. The reason is that these people, after repeated, and I mean repeated, warnings broke the rules of our blog. Every blog is a private enterprise that is allowed to set up its own rules. I don’t think anybody at M* disagrees with the banning of these people.
For the rest of you, I look forward to a great, entertaining and informative year. Remember, you will probably disagree with the things that I and others here write. But we are not writing things to make you angry — we are exploring ideas. Those ideas and positions may change over time as new information becomes available, so if you disagree your best recourse is to continue to challenge and discuss in a polite way. The fastest way to ensure a person doesn’t change his or her views is to disagree in an contentious, impolite way.
Happy 2011 to all!