Mocking Mormons is not a new sport


I suppose I should be flattered. There are several sites out there that troll the Bloggernacle just looking for conservative bloggers that take themselves too seriously. I’m probably one of them. So I’m pleased to have been given a nice LOLcat award for some poor wording on a recent post about the Yes on 8 ads and kids being taught about same-sex marriage in public schools.

This California Prop 8 thing has been getting pretty intense in the news lately. It is probably very disconcerting to the more liberal denizens of the ‘nacle who are opposed to the church’s involvement in this issue. It will probably only get more heated over the next three weeks. I hope our political views will not get in the way of our love of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Mormon blogging is a small world

I have a sneaking suspicion that the only people who read my blog are other LDS bloggers. So my original intent in reaching out to those not of our faith was well-founded but perhaps not so very realistic. I have had a few comments from those researching the church but for the most part, I seem to attract readers who are on the fringe – those who are leaving or who have left.

Recently, I read an article about how few Internet Mormons there actually are. The majority of the church members – he calls them chapel Mormons – are not involved. They don’t know about the resources available to answer critics of the church. Nor do they know about amazing discussions taking place each day about the issues facing members living in an increasingly connected society.

Mocking is inevitable

My friend S.Faux posted an innocuous essay the other day about a common phrase used in New Testament times that pressed the “time to mock” button of some modern reader. It was all about the holy kiss, which sounds very unfamiliar in our day, but was apparently common back then. He illustrated his essay with a nice piece of artwork showing Peter and Paul greeting each other.

It is a sign of immaturity to mock things that you don’t understand or find hard to believe. They say it is all done in fun and yes, it can sometimes help to lighten things up when you see it from someone else’s point of view. But I am concerned for our newer LDS bloggers who share their testimonies in great sincerity and then get slammed by some ex-mo who thinks it’s funny.

Desecrating sacred things

It is inevitable in the virtual online world of LDS discussion that some of us inhabit, that we are occasionally visited by these rabid individuals. I am amazed at the talent of some who can craft a response that is intelligent and subtly mean at the same time. Others make every effort to openly offend and have not yet figured out how foolish they appear. It invalidates their point.

And then of course there are those who say they are on God’s side when they take things that are sacred to us and ridicule them in public display. No bolt of lighting comes down to zap them so they are happy to increase their efforts until someone takes the bait or they grow tired of being ignored. They have quieted down lately but you can read all about them over at the FAIR site.

Joseph was mocked

I enjoy my blogging activities about the church and LDS doctrine. Yes, my conservative views are very evident. I am also an older blogger so I see life from a different perspective from many who are proficient in the online world. Mocking on many forums and chat rooms is a common and acceptable practice. It can be a little shocking the first time a new LDS blogger is mocked.

This is not a new practice. It has been around since Joseph claimed he had seen a vision. It has just changed venues over the years until now it seems to reside online more than anywhere else. Some mocking can be said to be good natured, but I suspect most people don’t like it. Mocking is usually the forerunner to more active and serious efforts to tear down and destroy good faith.

The Savior was mocked

Those who lose their faith today are similar to those who rejected the Savior in the meridian of time. I can understand an honest loss of faith due to lack of belief in difficult doctrines. There were many who looked for a deliverer from Roman tyranny and were disappointed when Jesus did not live up to their expectations. They turned on him and mocked him as being weak.

The Redeemer was meek and did not revile. We do then same. The mocking of Jesus was at the zenith when he was taken, judged and placed on the cross. Some decided that he could not have been the Savior because he allowed himself to be crucified. We face similar mocking today as we meekly testify that these are indeed the last days and prepare for his triumphant return.

Summary and conclusion

I like to think I’m good-natured and have a thick skin when it comes to mocking. I try not to take offense at comments that are obviously from an individual who has been hurt and is taking in out on me because I wrote something that reminded him of that pain. I always try to think that it is not me that they are attacking, but the ideas that I espouse that they just don’t understand.

It is good advice to not take ourselves too seriously. That advice is especially applicable as we continue to discuss issues that are at the forefront of our political debate today. Mocking can be fun for those who engage in it and if done with the intent to help, then I suppose it can serve a purpose. It’s just seems so sad that there is no sense of the sacred from those who mock so well.

17 Responses

  1. Tim,I must admit that I have been a little shocked (but not entirely) at the amount of mocking that occurs in the blog world, even among LDS bloggers.Arguing ideas is fun and productive, but NOT when the arguments become personal and demeaning.Thanks for noticing the amount of negative attention I received for the “Kiss” essay. I thought no one would read it when I posted it. Instead, it was mocked and was widely visited.It is natural to wonder if blogging is worth it. I have slowed down my pace, and it may get even slower.Like you, I am old-fashioned and conservative. I believe in treating people with respect, especially when they disagree with me. In fact, those are the individuals I often learn from.I greatly appreciate how you have modified your views from time to time based upon reader’s comments. You take the time to try to understand other’s point of view. I tip my hat to you.While we disagree on little issues from time to time, I have sincerely enjoyed reading your blog and watching you struggle with different topics and controversies. I GREATLY appreciate your testimony of the gospel. There is much that I learn and think about when studying your posts.

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  2. I have only received a few mocking comments and they were not on my political or my LDS blog it was in my sports blog.I know what you mean about not reaching people that are not of our faith. I think most if not all the readers on my LDS blog are members of the church. But if in the past six months I have helped only one person (not of our faith) better understand us and the gospel, it was worth it.

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  3. “…blessed are all they who are persecuted for my name’s sake, …blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake:…ye shall have a great reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets who were before you.”Need I say more.

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  4. I’m not going to pretend there isn’t a bit of levity in the Mormon blogging community or that I haven’t been a guilty accomplice on occasion. Nor do I want to really talk about whether a lot of it counts as mockery, or whether LDS bloggers just “need to lighten up.”Just wanted to leave one thought.You should not back off and give up on expressing your ideals online just because some make light of what you are saying.This is not what Jesus and the prophets did.If you leave, the peanut gallery will be the only people left on the internet.Don’t get upset about it. Don’t lash out. Samuel didn’t come down off the wall to engage his hecklers. Likewise, don’t allow comments on your blogs that you do not find useful to the kind of conversation you are having.If someone is undermining your message, delete them. If someone is talking about you somewhere else, so what? It’s often not worth going over there to protest.Once people see a safe environment to comment, the kind of people and discussion you want will have an easier time forming.

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  5. “…Fools mock, but they shall mourn; …” Ether 12:26I have grown so weary of the back and forth on both sides of the gay marriage issue that I may have to boycott until after the election. So much of the problem seems to be that we all slip so easily into condescension when we are sure we are right, and if there is one thing the Bloggernacle has no shortage of it’s people who think they are right.

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  6. I have a blog that I post to only on occasions because I spend so much time reading your blog and others that I read on a daily basis. I was getting mocked quite a bit a first, and I realized that I was to confrontational, so I backed off my blogging. I get upset with the anti-Mormon’s and their lies, and sometimes get carried away. That is why I enjoy your blog – you are very even keeled about everything, and I am learning to be much more forgiving than I have in the past. ;-)Thanks for all your postings – I do check them daily and have referred many friends and relatives to your blog.Here are a few scripture comments on mocking that you may enjoy: http://mormon-fyi.com/mockers/Thanks for all you do!jp

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  7. I wonder what type of person would mock Jesus today. I wonder how many members of the Mormon church would find themselves among the people mocking Jesus. I would bet that Jesus would be quite an outcast, even in a sunday school class at a Mormon church. I imagine he would say crazy rebellious things like, "love your enemies," "war is evil, even when you believe that you're offensively defending yourself," "live by the spirit, rather than tradition and ritual," "help others change their behavior through love and gentle persuasion, rather than force." I imagine he would be verbally barraged and 'hung on the cross,' right in the middle of sunday school, if he said something wild and crazy like, "I don't believe we should use the government to force other people to live by our standards or forcefully limit other people's choices."I, like you, compare myself to Jesus and Joseph Smith, because I'm often persecuted for the things I say in my blog, which must mean that what I'm saying is eternal truth. I say crazy things that only a lunatic like Jesus would say. For example, I constantly encourage freedom, free choice, accountability, responsibility, self-sufficiency, and reduced force & violence. I encourage people to reduce their reliance on government to forcefully regulate other people's decisions (even when their decisions are inconvenient for us), and I encourage people to reduce their reliance on government to provide for us at someone else's forced expense. When I say these things people call me mean, insensitive, crazy, and out of touch with reality. I guess now I know how Jesus felt.

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  8. Tim,As always I appreciate your insight. When I first began to read more LDS blogs I was a bit like Claude Raines in Casablanca…. yes I was shocked! I think what surprises me but should not is the lack of common sense that many have. It truly is not something that is teachable. Crusty how good of you to share more of your Christlike love on Tim’s blog. I am sure he is honored!

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  9. Quentin, when I first read your comment, I was tempted by the devil to think that your comments were sacastic, vengeful, and not filled with love. But then, I was moved by the spirit, and I realized that you were sincerely thanking me for my comments.I’m glad to see that someone else agrees with me that Jesus Christ would not encourage us to use force to limit another person’s choices or to make someone live according to our standards. …Someone who agrees that love is the opposite of war, force, and violence. …Someone who agrees that force was the plan of Satan, which we all supposedly rejected, at one point. Sometimes I feel like Samuel, standing on walls of Zarahemla, preaching the good word of the Lord to God’s chosen people, while they mock me and persecute me for telling them that they are evil, and that they will be destroyed (from within) for their iniquity.I feel like…if I end up tirelessly working all the days of my life, and I save just one single soul, then my work was not done in vain. Since you, Quentin, appear to appreciate my preaching, then I know my work is not done in vain.Sometimes I find myself longing for the days when we will all join together and create Zion again on earth. But then, I think of the people that I go to church with, who seem to be war-mongering, violent, forceful, vengeful people, who believe in legislating their morals on other people; and I wonder how Zion would ever work. The problem with the early Mormons’ attempt at Zion is that they tried to create Zion through law rather than love. The problem with the ‘cream-skimming’ debacle was not the people skimming cream, but the people who had a problem with those who skimmed cream.But…considering there are loving people like you, Quentin, in this world/church; my hope for a potential Zion is restored. Thank you. Jesus and I love you, Quentin.–Crusty

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  10. Crusty, this is not original with me, but I’m curious as to what you think.Laws are the written dictation of moral beliefs. Separation between church and state does not mean that the law should not impose moral standards on its public. The entire purpose of law is to impose moral standards on the surrounding populace. From the most heinous crimes like murder to the more petty like curfew, laws have always been established for the purpose of enforcing standards upon its people.Who says murder is wrong? Who says being out late when you are young is wrong? Who says abortion is wrong? Who says anything is wrong? The people have the right to declare what they believe is right or wrong and make laws that enforce those ideals and beliefs. The separation of church and state was created for the purpose of not forcing a particular religion upon its people. In history, people used to be killed or punished by the state (law) because they did not believe a certain way. In those times, it had nothing to do with what they did. Instead it was a punishment because of their beliefs. That was and still is incorrect.People should not be punished for what they believe. All men should be free and in liberty to think as they wish. They should also be able to express those beliefs to others. However, it is by their actions that they must be judged by the law of man. It is correct to set up and enforce laws that reflect the moral standards of the people. If you want to vote for or against a law, it should be because you believe in the moral standards that it enforces. If you believe in the moral standards, you should vote for it. It is ridiculous to say that you believe in the standard but will vote against it because you don’t want to impose your moral standards upon other people.That is the ENTIRE purpose of law. You are not imposing your religious beliefs. You are imposing a standard of living … a standard of morals. Do you believe prostitution is wrong? Well then you should vote that it is illegal and there should be a punishment affixed.What about the rights of the people that really like prostitutes? Well, they have the right to obey the law or to break it. They still have the right to believe that prostitution is ok and that the law is wrong. However, if they go against the law – then they should be punished. They do not have the right to choose the consequence. That was chosen by the people and for the people.Do you think gambling is wrong? Then there should be a law against it. What about the rights of people that like to gamble? They have the right to obey or break the law. They have the right to believe that gambling is ok and to express that view in public. However, if they break the law, they must meet the consequences decreed by the people. They should not be free to choose the consequences. The consequences are dictated by the common people. This is the only way that we can guide our society to live and act in a way that the majority believes is right. It is ok to disagree on what is right or wrong … please vote for what you think is right. Do not let your “imposing” be an issue. Vote for what you think our society should be like.

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  11. “Quentin, when I first read your comment, I was tempted by the devil to think that your comments were sacastic, vengeful, and not filled with love. But then, I was moved by the spirit, and I realized that you were sincerely thanking me for my comments.”Crusty – For the record my comments were both sarcastic and loving!“I’m glad to see that someone else agrees with me that Jesus Christ would not encourage us to use force to limit another person’s choices or to make someone live according to our standards. …Someone who agrees that love is the opposite of war, force, and violence. …Someone who agrees that force was the plan of Satan, which we all supposedly rejected, at one point.”No one is trying to limit anyone’s free agency Crusty we are just trying to clarify semantics. I do oppose force and violence but I reserve the right to go to war to preserve liberty. Sound familiar?“Sometimes I feel like Samuel, standing on walls of Zarahemla, preaching the good word of the Lord to God’s chosen people, while they mock me and persecute me for telling them that they are evil, and that they will be destroyed (from within) for their iniquity.”Please clarify if you think Samuel would be holding a “No on 8” sign? “I feel like…if I end up tirelessly working all the days of my life, and I save just one single soul, then my work was not done in vain. Since you, Quentin, appear to appreciate my preaching, then I know my work is not done in vain.”Your preaching is interesting (kind of a mixture of scripture mingled with the teachings of men hmmm) and I am sure that there are those that appreciate it.“Sometimes I find myself longing for the days when we will all join together and create Zion again on earth. But then, I think of the people that I go to church with, who seem to be war-mongering, violent, forceful, vengeful people, who believe in legislating their morals on other people; and I wonder how Zion would ever work.” Now that does not sound like a very nice ward. I would be unhappy there to. Maybe you should come with me to my ward sometime.“The problem with the early Mormons’ attempt at Zion is that they tried to create Zion through law rather than love. The problem with the ‘cream-skimming’ debacle was not the people skimming cream, but the people who had a problem with those who skimmed cream.”Yup Crust we just are too weak and not ready for the higher order. When the “herd is culled” things will be a bit easier with that “one heart, one mind” thing happening.“But…considering there are loving people like you, Quentin, in this world/church; my hope for a potential Zion is restored. Thank you. Jesus and I love you, Quentin.”I know my Heavenly Father and Christ love me Crusty you are just a bonus. Hope to see you at Adam – Ondi – Ahman.

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  12. I agree that it seems nice to be able to control the world around you and create a nice comfortable, safe, pure environment. I also agree that law has been around forever, and it's been a lot more tyrannical than it is now. And, I don't know if I would agree that it's the purpose of law, but law has definitely been commonly used to legislate morals. However, just because something makes our lives more convenient & safe, or because it's always been that way (everybody's doing it), doesn't make it right. Shouldn't our decisions be based more on principle than tradition or comfort?My arguments have nothing to do with the separation of church and state. My arguments have to do with the separation of morals and legislation.I would very interested in hearing your honest answers to few simple questions…If you and four other people lived together in a small community, what level of physical force would you personally be willing to use to keep the other four people from engaging in gambling & prostitution? What if two of the people agreed with you, THEN what level of force would you personally be willing to use to physically prohibit the other two people from gambling & prostitution? If Jesus was one of the five people, what level of force, if any, do you think HE would be willing to personally commit, in order to control the other people's behavior? What about in our society today…what level of force would Jesus be personally willing to commit in order to prevent people from doing things that he thought were immoral? What about you? Have you ever checked out the LDSFreemen or LDSAnarchy blogs? …interesting stuff…Quentin, what does defending liberty have to do with legislating morals? Aren't you going to war against liberty when you are legislating morals? Just because we (collectively) are not ready for a Zion, does not mean you're personally excused from trying to be ready. Do you think 'one heart, one mind' happens overnight, or do you think it might be developed over time? What do you think might be the unifying concept of 'one heart, one mind?' By any chance, do you think it might be "love?"

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  13. Crusty,I am sorry but I honestly am not quite sure what you are directly speaking to. I my friend am a Libertarian and it sounds like you are as well. Let me tell you what that means to me.It means that I do not believe in Abortion personally however, I am more than willing to let someone make what I feel is a terrible mistake if they so choose but please oh please to not ask me to fund it.It also means that I do not want our law enforcement chasing prostitutes, johns or drug users. Prostitution should be regulated and taxed and drugs should be legalized and we should quit wasting our money be pretending that we are actually winning a war on drugs. Those that are caught outside the laws or regulations governing these activities should have heavy fines and sentences imposed to get the message across that it is not acceptable to work outside the law.I cannot even get my mind around your forcing people to be moral scenario. Prop 8 is not about morals. For the last time it is about SEMANTICS! Why is it so hard for people to understand. If Prop 8 prevails gay couples will still be entitled to the same benefits that my wife and I are entitled to. So I am still interested to know if you think that Samuel would have stood on the wall with a No on 8 sign. Just askin!

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  14. Tim, I didn't mean to hijack your mockery post with government/law/Prop 8 debate. I was just hoping to make a few satirically snide, semi-mocking comments and get out, figuring everyone would just ignore me. You need to make a "Law, Government, & The Church" post where you quote things like Article of Faith #12, D&C 134, and D&C 58:21. You could quote a few modern prophets, reference the ignorant dissenters at LDSFreemen.com, and talk about how we can (and should) forcefully impose our morals on the rest of society. Then we could hammer all this out in the comments section of THAT post.Quentin, Do I think Samuel would be holding a sign saying "No on 8?" I don't know. We don't know a lot about Samuel. He had a pretty specific message. I was just making an analogy (mostly a satirical joke) about spreading a message, not about spreading any specific message. A better question might be 'would Jesus be holding a sign saying, "No on 8?"' …Or would he be holding a sign saying "Yes on 8," for that matter? I believe the answer is no to both questions. I don't believe Jesus would condone the use of governments as a tool to forcefully impose our morals on other people, or limit their choices based on our morals. I believe he would much less want the government to take a bigger role than it already has in marriage by taking upon itself the responsibility of deciding who will or will not be recognized as a married couple by the state. Therefore, I don't believe Jesus would say "no on 8," because I think he would say 'no on any government involvement in a religious matter (marriage).' That's interesting that you call yourself a Libertarian. At least we agree in heading in the same direction, toward overall less government, and more freedom.The problem with semantics is that all laws are a matter of semantics. You can increase the size of government quite a bit with a little semantics. Government should not be involved in marriage at all, much less in defining WHO should get married. To semantically allow the government to define who will be recognized as 'married' is to give the government increased power to discriminate. Government should never discriminate…if government can't give something to everyone, then it should give it to nobody. This attempt to semantically/tyrannically limit who will be recognized as a married couple by the state is based on the moral standards of the people pushing it. Therefore, it is a semantics issue, it is a moral issue, and it is an expansion of government power issue.For the last time, SEMANTICS DO MATTER, BECAUSE THEY ARE USED TO LEGISLATE MORALS (stomp, stomp, "Gosh", big sigh, arms flailing).What's next…should the government increase it's scope by deciding what a man is and what a woman is? Eventually you'll have to take a DNA test to see if you have more X chromosome or more Y chomosome…then they'll start testing how much testosterone you have.How about getting the government completely out of marriage, and if people tyrannically demand that the state be involved in recognizing marriages, then there should not be any criteria for who (or what) can be recognized as being married. Anything else would be a tyrannical imposition of morals by one group of people on another group of people.

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  15. That’s OK, Crusty. I’m enjoying the dialog. Actually you do make sense and I think I understand where you are coming from. I don’t mind the satire. There are some cruel people out here and you’re not one of them. I enjoyed your comments on previous essays. So even though I haven’t responded, I appreciate your visits and what you have to say. Seriously, I enjoy your intelligent remarks. I think some of my followers are tired of the Prop 8 debate so I’m working on a different essay today.

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  16. Joe,You are right Jesus would not need a sign. He had a pretty specific message as well. I believe you are right about the Lord not wanting government to legislate morals. The specific issue that we dance around is the word marriage (By the way I never said semantics did not matter). It has nothing to do with morals. It has to do with activists insisting that they mainstream their lifestyle while encroaching on those that disagree with them about a definition. It is just another sign of the last days and how desensitized we have become to things that are decent and chaste (remember those words) Jesus loved those words. I have the sneaking suspicion he will does not view gay marriage quite as fondly. But that is just my conjecture and who am I? Crusty, they already have the rights they just want to attach something to it to torque off their Christian neighbor whom they (mostly) despise. And evidently they are physically abusing people canvassing for Prop 8. Now that is not very nice or very tolerant.Your argument regarding tyranny cuts both ways. Maybe we should just stop marriage and have domestic partnerships. I know we just need to be fair. No one should ever be disappointed. I should have known where you were going with this. By the way I do not call myself a Libertarian I am registered as one and will once again vote Libertarian and I encourage all to do the same. By the way I am sorry I got off topic. This will be my last comment about Prop 8 as well.

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  17. Nick Literski wrote a wonderful post today on Mormon Matters – largely because at its core it’s not about Prop 8. Nick and I don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but I recommend this post highly. http://mormonmatters.org/ The title of the post is: “The Compassionate Ones”.

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