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Posts posted by sethpayne

  1. So I'm confused. You started a thread criticizing me for endorsing a satire which you say you did not have in mind when you began the thread.


    I didn't start a thread criticizing you, Scott.  I was curious how many people share your view.  And besides, the statement you made -- which I reference -- had nothing to do with satire.  You made a general statement that implied it is OK to respond in kind when critics go after Mormonism.  You said:


    Yeah, can't we all just get along?


    That is, up until the next time somebody feels disposed to bash Mormonism again.



    I see no mention of satire.  Rather, the implication that it is ok to not to get along if people criticize Mormonism.  Am I misreading you?

  2. From what I've heard him say in a past public address, he is very conscious of the power and influence of social media and has admonished young people to use it for the good that can be accomplished thereby. It is not much of a stretch for me to think he might be conscious of negative social media reaction to a talk he gave.


    Well, you certainly could be right.  Perhaps he has assistants that help him keep up with this stuff.  I just can't imagine Elder Ballard browsing FB.  :)



    Maybe you can take this up with sethpayne. I'm not sure he agrees with us.


    It is impossible to say if "satire", universally, is "bad behavior."  If its primary intent is to mock and belittle in a mean-spirited way, then I would say it is skirting the line.


    In the case of Brother Smoot -- I too admire the writing and find parts of it very funny.  I think it is insulting to ex-Mormons and that isn't something I would have chosen.  But I wanted to be clear that I did not have Smoot's article in mind when posting this.

  4. So where does discussion of what others may see as sacred beliefs fit into this? Is any discussion of temple content automatically considered mockery? Can I require that other people act in a certain way just because it offends me?

    I think one person's rational discussion is someone else's mockery.


    Good questions, CA.  Look at Jan Shipps.  She's been studying Mormons for a long long time.  But she always shows *respect* for temple rites and does not delve into details etc... that would be offensive to LDS.   


    But I do disagree with you.  I think there is a clear distinction between mockery and rational discussion.  Mockery is intent to belittle.  Discussion is intent to understand.

  5. Yeah, they laughed. But it was more of an uncomfortable, "I can't believe he just said that" kind of laugh. Look at the facial reactions of the people right behind him. They seem more shocked than amused.


    If I'm wrong and people really found it funny, maybe Ballard should make the rounds on the stand-up circuit.


    I'll go back and look.


    But I have to be honest.  And of course this is coming from a hispanic male so I certainly can't speak for what women find offensive.  However, I can say something about what he said about men.  He called them lazy, essentially.  That's the same crap I heard as a BYU student but I don't think it is indicative of Elder Ballard's contempt for young men and women.  In fact, I strongly believe he loves the young people of the Church -- despite any bad word choices.  


    The reason I'm being a bit of a stickler on this is not because I think the remarks demand defense.  They don't.  But there are so many other issues and statements given by LDS leaders that are truly problematic -- rape victims being responsible for their own abuse for example -- that by making Ballard and offender for a throw-away unscripted one-liner this sounds a lot like crying wolf.  Is it a problem, yes.  But I'm not buying all of the melodramatic claims being bandied about.  My view is colored by my personal experience at BYU having heard such nonsense in person too many times to count.  It wasn't fun.  I wish it weren't still being perpetuated, but it is.  


    But the whole reaction stinks of clickbait journalism.  


    Having said that, I suppose an argument could be made that this off-the-cuff one-liner is indicitive of a larger problem but again, I think we have plenty to work with without having to vilify a well-intentioned statement by an elderly man.

  6. it cuts both ways, as Mosiah 27:2 says we shouldn't persecute those who belong to the Church and then in Alma 1:21 it says that those who belong shouldn't persecute those who don't. As we all know if we are persecuted by whomever we'll be blessed, but don't go looking for trouble. Persecute is a strong word and I have never seen anyone coming to blows over a message board but I think we teach others how we want to be treated


    Well, we know you are always stirring up trouble my Canadian friend! :)


    And I should say that I think this applies much more broadly than to message boards.  Unfortunately online communication amplifies this but I've seen this kind of stuff spill over into real life.


    I kid you not, I received a death threat via email because some exmo didn't like my Dialogue article a couple of years ago.  Obviously the dude didn't have it all together -- but it does show the us vs them attitude that seems to permeate discussions of religion.  If you disagree wtih me you aren't just wrong ... you are an evil oppressor!

  7. I'm familiar with a number of YSA and older single adults who agonize over what more they could be doing to get married. They're tired of hearing platitudes and become sensitive to critiques about things that they cannot change. They remain faithful despite temptation. They diligently seek practical advice.

    So they come to an event seeking guidance, perhaps hoping for a direct answer to prayer. And they hear, "wear lipstick. You look too manly=ugly." So they wince a little, get over it, see that it's a joke, then wonder why an apostle would use the precious few moments they have together to make a rude remark and say, "Just kidding. Don't take offense. We value women. Really."


    NEDRA -- did you watch the full clip?


    Because your description is so very very different from what I saw.  What I saw was a kind and well-intentioned man giving some very outdated advice within the context of a joke wherein the entire audience laughed.  I agree the joke was bad and shouldn't have been used.  But honestly I'm just not seeing how Elder Ballard's words can be construed as nefarious.

  8. I think it's universally agreed that being mean to another is wrong, no matter if they started it. But we all still get a little mean about others. It's awesome that we always fail, huh?


    Do you really think it is universal, Stem?  I get the impression at times that both exmos and mos believe themselves to be in a battle royale where getting the upper hand is justified.


    And I would agree that it is awesome to fail as long as we learn from the mistake.  If we don't, then failure stinks, IMO.

  9. That is exactly right. I think most people who satirize other people's beliefs understand that and, consciously or not, are mocking the person as well as the belief.


    I blogged about this last year.  Specifically I was asking whether it is wrong to mock religious belief.  After stating that my view is that it IS -- in the vast majority of cases -- wrong to mock the beliefs of others:


    I base my position that mocking religious belief is immoral on the broad moral principle that intentionally seeking to harm others — emotionally or physically — is wrong.  Given that religious belief often plays a central role in how a person defines themselves it should not be surprising that insults to religious views are often an indirect insult to the person who holds them.  As a result if we were to belittle the person of Jesus, this would likely be hurtful to a person who maintains belief in the divinity of Jesus.  Similarly, if we refer to monotheism as belief in “an invisible Sky Daddy” we insult not only the major Abrahamic religions of the world but also those who accept those systems of belief.  A Christian who presents a caricature of atheism and irresponsibly makes blanket statements about atheists is equally insulting.


    But why should religious views be given special consideration?  Certainly not because of their religious character.  Rather, religious beliefs fall under a type of belief that William James called “instrumental truth” or truth which human beings utilize to create cohesive “truth narratives” which helps individuals make sense of the world.  There are many types of beliefs and views that are major components to a truth narrative.  These can include, but are certainly not limited to, views on science, politics, philosophy, economics, etc…  Mocking or belittling views that define truth narratives is bound to be hurtful to individuals.  It is no wonder then, that it is commonly said to avoid both religion and politics in polite conversation.  These beliefs are much more than abstract notions.  Rather, they define how a person understands the workings of the universe and perhaps most importantly, an individual’s place within it.  These beliefs are shared among all people to one degree or another.  Some are more deeply committed to metaphysical claims while others are similarly committed to logical positivism.  Religious views, therefore, should not be given special treatment because they are religious but simply because mocking or belittling them is very likely to be hurtful to those who take such views seriously.   Many ideological views should be treated the same way.


    So speaking more broadly it would be more accurate to say that it is immoral to mock or belittle views and beliefs that are central to individual identity.


  10. Of course it doesn't justify bad behavior, but that doesn't stop us from using bad behavior as an excuse to return the favor. All too often, things escalate and get ugly, and yet neither person sees the part they played in the escalation. I'm Exhibit A, as I have finally had to put someone on "ignore" because neither of us seems to be able to respond with civility to each other, no matter what we're talking about. We'd probably get along just fine if we had lunch, and if I'm ever out where he lives, I may just buy him lunch. But for whatever reason, our posts to each other inevitably lead to rancor.

    But the cycle only repeats itself if both participants are willing to keep it going and get in the last dig. As I said in another thread, ridicule and mockery never come from a good place. I'm trying to do better.


    Well, John.  We all know that MDDB would be a much more civil and pleasant environment if you were to take your hate-mongering and mocking tone elsewhere.   :)


    PS -- I've had to put a couple of people on ignore for the same reason.  My interactions with them were consistently negative and toxic and I reached the point where I saw the absolute pointlessness of continuing conversation.


    PSS -- in those cases mentioned above I want to make it clear that I was equally responsible for the toxic tone and negativity.  It is very easy to fall into the trap.

  11. No, i don't think that an eye for an eye is really ever justified.  It's possible to defend beliefs without becoming the thing you are defending them against.  The whole 'disagree without being disagreeable' issue.  Like you said though, it's hard.    


    I think one thing that makes it tough is that our religious lives are so closely tied to our own sense of self and identity.  So when our beliefs are questioned, it feels like a person is attacking us personally.  In a way trying to rip away a huge part of what we love and what makes us, well, us.

  12. For once, a post I can get behind. I even gave you a rep point for it.


    I think, though, that you are neglecting the possibility it was Elder Ballard himself and not "lds.org admins" who directed that the video be taken down. I hope it's not another tail-wagging-the-dog assumption you are succumbing to, similar to blaming Public Affairs for official Church statements.


    I'd bet $100 that Elder Ballard isn't even aware of the controversy.  He's got other things to worry about in his calling than a few people on FB getting hot and bothered over some throw away one-liner from an elderly man.

  13. Sorry to cause a stir, thanks for the wonderful complements...

    Back on topic, Elder Ballard was totally within his personality style. Now I ask you, can you see Elder Uchdorf or Elder Eyring saying the same thing? I totally forgive Elder Ballard, I just think we need to think a little differently now. Don't go see The Intern though it's a totally feminist movie, loved it though. But might shed some light.


    No.  Particularly not Pres. Uchtdorf.  And I would attribute that to both his age and his natural PR skills.  

  14. I think she's saying that his comments attribute value to women based on their looks rather than something more substantive. Basically, that women are baubles whose worth, like any other piece of chattel, is determined by whether a person who really counts (read: man) likes to look at her.


    Ah.  Ok.  I can see that.  I don't agree that Elder Ballard had anythign like that in mind.  But I do understand the underlying cultural implications which are, as you point out, problematic.


    Oh... and I still don't like that he called men lazy when it comes to dating/marriage!  I married later in life and can tell you it stinks being a single dude over 26 in Utah County.  Trust me ... I was doing the best I could but in my case, I think it was *my* looks scaring all the girls away.  Here's my BYU graduation photo:




    Go cougs!

  15. That's an interesting take. But have you considered the implications of this principle on priesthood blessings that the church continues to practice and encourage today? I'm pretty sure that if I were sitting in ward council and the discussion turned to giving a sick a member a blessing and I said, "actually, medicinal advancements have been made such that priesthood blessings are no longer needed" that I'd be denounced as a heretic. 


    I heard a rumor that due to increased medical advances the Church will be officially doing away with all blessings for the sick at the upcoming April conference.


    It was supposed to be this October but some key research data still has to come in before making the final move.

  16. When these guys talk in front of someone else, it could potentially be heard by many others these days. I'd say be more thoughtful in how they phrase things.

    I can see how it comes off as insensitive to women. I didn't give the whole of it a listen, but I heard about this from different people. It's not that it's easy. And it's not that women look like men if they don't have lipstick on. In many areas there are many more young women than men that are active in the Church.


    I agree stem.  Elder Ballard probably should have used another joke.  But to be fair he drags out the good ole' "you men aren't' married because you just aren't trying hard enough" silliness.  So I think this is a case of Ballard referencing some very outdated ideas.  But I'll say no more lest I begin mansplaining.....   :)

  17. So even though we have scientific studies that American LDS men live 10 years longer on average than American nonLDS men, we can't point to the WoW teaching by the Church as getting some of the credit for that?

    I am still missing the reasoning.



    I don't disagree with you.  But let's also talk about Seventh Day Adventists who live longer than Mormons.  Or the people of Okinawa.  Do we really want to tie this to LDS Church teachings or should we be a bit more broad and say that cultural influence on lifestyle and diet impact lifespan?  My point is that if we should be very cautious when using stats to build up or legitimize any given teaching because the tables can just as easily be flipped.  If we want to measure spiritual value based on lifespan or other indicators like obesity then we have to be fair and say that those red-wine and coffee drinking french folks are on to something.


    So I don't discount that we can look at cultural trends in the aggregate and correlate them with certain outcomes.  I'm simply saying that using those outcomes to somehow validate or promote the culture/teaching is a double edged sword.  


    Also, I think your distinction about making claims about individuals is absolutely correct as I've stated something similar in other replies.

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