Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Breaking into the Bloggernacle

I have recently been engaged in a very interesting exchange on the LDS-themed Blog, Times & Seasons. You can find the string here. I am fascinated to have stumbled into this whole world of LDS bloggers! It affectionately goes by the name of "Bloggernacle" which you have to admit is kind of clever. I haven't yet linked to the Mormon blogger lists yet. I'm still feeling my way here and like to think I'm independent but there is a whole world out there with a wide variety of LDS (or former LDS) or outsider views on LDS issues. A typical list is here.

My niche of faithful, left-of-center, LDS political blogging still seems to be fairly small. I have linked to a few like-minded blogs and those that go even farther left of center while still maintaining a faithful LDS outlook. And I do recommend Times & Seasons (T&S) as one of the good standards. There's not a lot of politics there but the LDS themes are varied and interesting.

The blog string I got caught up on was one of several recent ones where a particular blogger was slowly revealed to be a fundamentalist sneak trying to subtly influence others to the dark side. Word to the wise: Anybody who says they have a "higher law" that only the Apostles know about, or in this case, is even beyond the current "fallen" Apostles - RUN! Well, you can all make your own choices, but fundamentalist apostasy in LDS circles is a lot like extreme conservatism in political circle (I'm probably in big trouble for that one). They do use the same techniques of secret knowledge (conspiracy theory), proof-texting and a holier-than-thou false humility.

The technical aspects were very interesting. I learned the terms "hijacking" when someone takes a comment stream into a whole new area by provocative comments or questions. There can be secret identities posing as someone else called a "sock puppet." And they use "randomizers" in their computer internet connections in an attempt to hide their identities. "Moderation" in comments, at least on T&S, means that a manager of the blog has to approve any comments from a particular individual. I actually do that on all the comments on this blog. Being a sole practitioner, I need to be a little cautious. A lot of the technical business is beyond me, but I think I can figure out much of this new idiom as we go along.

The only thing I left out of my discussions and admission on T&S that I had made a complaint about this one commenter (so if he followed me here, now he will know), was that I was sort of on to him as long as six days ago. He responded to a comment I had made on T&S that I was an Obama supporter with this: "An Obama supporter is a rare thing among the LDS. Most of us support, instead, the Constitution." Of course I was annoyed by that. And my first reaction was a temptation to counter with some smart remark. But then I thought I would be big and let it pass. Any responsible Mormon reading that, even some more conservative than I, would recognize that the guy is off base as the church encourages participation in more than just the Republican party (even if it doesn't work out so well in practice) and there can be faithful Latter-day Saints who are Democrats and still believe in the Constitution, rare as we may be.

After that, I noticed him pop up in a few other comment strings and watched, and participated to some degree, as he snarkily veered them off course in his attempt to indoctrinate others into fundamentalist Mormon issues. When it got more than obvious that he was more than obnoxious, I made my complaint by direct e-mail to the T&S Blog administrators. I don't think I was the only one who was concerned. There had already been little comments by T&S administrators trying to keep discussions on track and providing little cautions to this guy.

So I come to my final conclusion that I don't think there are many Democrats among the Fundamentalist Mormons. Which tends to help evidence the point I made above that there are some similarities between extreme conservative politics and fundamentalism even if that is more than obvious in a non-LDS context out there with the public at large.

And this is still all a lot of fun. Welcome to the Bloggernacle!


  1. Welcome to the world of blogging, Grant. You just happened to drop T&S by while one particular commenter was being a little too pushy for the conversational norms that govern discussion at the blog. Things are generally a little quieter over there.

  2. Thanks, Dave! It was a little weird. As I explained to a friend on Facebook, I don't know all the cyber-tricks and protocol, but I still know "apostasy" when I see it. It's interesting that LDS people of good will can generally engage on a site like T&S with differing views without acrimony. But there was just something uncomfortable about what that guy was saying and how he was saying it. Can you discern a troubled spirit through cyber-space?

  3. Grant,

    I enjoyed your last comment on the thread. You have a lot of content here. I will enjoy perusing it.

  4. BTW, you can set up moderation to only occur when a post gets a few days or weeks old. Then you don't have to moderate ones on new posts and you probably don't get many on the older ones.

    Just look in the settings for blogger.


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