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This is a spinoff of LDSToronto’s now closed thread “Apostate, Anti-Mormon - Different or Same?

I’ve noticed that many critics and former members of the Church object to being classified as an “anti-Mormon” or “apostate.” But then many of them turn around and derisively refer to believers as “TBM’s” and “apologists” or worse, as though none of us have any good arguments or that we can’t be truly objective or that we’re just a bunch of pawns for the LDS Church not capable of independent thought or less intelligent, and so forth.

My questions are: do these terms or labels have any value, or should we just do away with them altogether in order to promote a more civil discourse? Do they serve any useful purpose other than for name calling and poisoning the well? If these terms were not used, what should be used in their place, if anything? Would “critic” and “defender” suffice? Is there even a commonly understood definition for any of these terms, or do they mean too many different things to different people?

I don’t think any of us really appreciate being put into a box, no matter where we are with regards to Mormonism, or more specifically, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But one thing we all seem to share is a passion for this religion, whether we love it or hate it or are somewhere in between. We just can’t stop talking about it. I truly believe it’s because there is something unique and special here that cannot be found elsewhere. Mormonism is a vibrant and relevant religious tradition, and the outside world is taking notice of this more and more. We may sometimes be loved or hated or misunderstood or lampooned, but one thing we cannot say is that we are not talked about. Our religion generates a reaction from many people. We are not just another church. I see this as a good thing.

I obviously consider myself a believer and will always defend the Church when I sense an unwarranted or mean-spirited attack. But I’m also on my own personal spiritual faith journey, and I don’t understand everything or have all the answers. When I ask questions, I don’t do it to attack anybody but only to try to increase my understanding. Hopefully my posts reflect this for the most part.

Anyway, sorry for the lengthy OP. I hope I didn’t ramble too much. But I hope this will generate a good discussion. Let’s do our best to prevent the thread from being closed and not making it personal. Thanks in advance for your responses.

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My questions are: do these terms or labels have any value, or should we just do away with them altogether in order to promote a more civil discourse? Do they serve any useful purpose other than for name calling and poisoning the well?

If you read through the thread in question carefully, you'll see that the moderators had declared such terms verbotten- but only one side of the equation could refrain from using them.

Since it was unfair to muzzle only the believers, the restriction was lifted,

In general- I agree with you; such terms seldom add much of anything to the discourse.

On the other hand, those terms have meaning for a reason.

Calling an adherent to the philosophies of Marx, Engels, or Stalin "a Communist" is perfectly appropriate and accurate. It aptly and accurately conveys their beliefs and philosophies in such a way as to not "reinvent the wheel".

It really isn't hard to ferret out who uses the term "anti-Mormon", "TBM", "apostate", or any other term as a perjorative- and who uses it to accurately convey the goals, intent, and tactics of their interlocutors.

Used properly- these terms are useful, accurate, and appropriate.

The purpose of language is to communicate concepts and ideas clearly and efficiently.

I, personally, am opposed to abandoning things that are useful, accurate, or appropriate simply because political correctness loathes clarity and accuracy.

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I think the terms can be useful, but usually aren't. Too often people resort to using them (or any name that can be seen as derrogatory) as just a passive/aggressive way to say "i don't argree with you and you've made me mad".

Since more often than not using the terms does nothing but create contention, and since LDS people believe that contention is a favorite tool of the devil, it's probably a good idea not to use them almost all of the time.

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Only if they are used charitably and the charity is clearly evident in the manner in which they are used.

I appreciate the comment. I am not a fan of labels personally, although I can see why people use them. My observation here so far is that the term "anti" is used quite often and perhaps towards those who deserve the label and others who may simply disagree and desire to share their understanding of truth. What should matter, is that they are sharing their perspectives in a respectful way even if the conversation ends with agreeing to disagree. Anti should not = disagreement.

There are well meaning LDS folks who genuinly care for those who have not embraced their understanding of the restored gospel and may unknowingly offend. I am here on this discussion board because of a well meaning missionary who basically deemed that I was not a trueChristian because I was not baptized in the LDS Church among other things. I knew they were well meaning despite the fact that they clearly believed I did not understand truth. Despite what they said to me (which could be taken as offensive) they seemed sincere and kind...so here I am to see If I am missing anything in my understanding of God, with an open mind. Had I taken offence and assumed they were "anti- Ev" well I could have just put up a wall.

I would really rather see people that are trying to present "their understanding of truth" or who are in search and persuit of the truth, to show one another the utmost respect. In this world we have many people claiming to know the truth and many people who are sincerely seeking.

Regardless of what your views are, you are less likely to be heard or taken seriously if your words and actions are not shared respectfully or in love.

At the end of the day, if you are rude to one another or ignorant, then really it is the fruits you bare that will label you.

Edited by followerofemmanuel
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I was taught growing up, no kidding, that people who use bad language or just bad words only do so because they lack the vocabulary and/or intelligence to offer up anything better. When I do not take the time necessary to communicate my views properly but choose cursing or name calling as a quick alternative method of expression I only devalue myself. I believe what Selek1 says is true, "Used properly- these terms are useful, accurate, and appropriate." However, as Bluebell points out, often enough they are not used properly but chosen as a last resort or convenience-driven time saver that ends up building walls rather than tearing them down. In agreement with CV75, labels should be used to edify. FollowerofEmmanuel, thank you for sharing. Your open mind and willing heart are appreciated. I am glad to have come across this thread ~ great posts, every single one of them! God bless all.

Edited by Nominee
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I was taught growing up, no kidding, that people who use bad language or just bad words only do so because they lack the vocabulary and/or intelligence to offer up anything better.

No kidding? Is that an old and disproven way of understanding things? Having adopted the same theory about vulgarity, I am wondering, first, if you are saying you now reject the theory, and if so, how it comes about that you find the theory untenable. Until; I learn otherwise, I hold as a general rule that holy people don't use filthy language and neither do evil people who know how to speak.

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No kidding? Is that an old and disproven way of understanding things? Having adopted the same theory about vulgarity, I am wondering, first, if you are saying you now reject the theory, and if so, how it comes about that you find the theory untenable. Until; I learn otherwise, I hold as a general rule that holy people don't use filthy language and neither do evil people who know how to speak.

No kidding simply meaning I am not joking. I really was taught this by parents when I was young and growing up, I did not say "I was taught growing up" as a figure of speech. It is literal. I still believe it to be a good theory. I offer the origin of my thought process for the sake of why. It wasn't intended to sound sarcastic but I can hear how it might have. I would say people who know how to speak AND take the time to do so properly have no need of filthy language regardless of whether they are good or evil.

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IMHO, the most important questions to ask about those terms are: Are they accurate? Are they fair? Do they communicate useful information?

Charity is always a good thing; but when it comes to communication, clarity is more important than charity.

Thus, while the terms may be misapplied -- not every non-Mormon is an anti-Mormon, and nor is everyone who disagrees with some aspect of what the Church does -- the fact is that there are anti-Mormons. They are they who oppose (anti) the Church of Jesus Christ (Mormons).

And it is frequently useful to know where everyone is coming from. I'm not interested in sacrificing clarity of communication on the altar of political correctness.

Regards,

Pahoran

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simply because political correctness loathes clarity and accuracy.

I was enjoying your argument and finding myself assenting, until I got here. Are you sure this is the only motivation available for a human being who desires to avoid labels or wants to speak kindly, and wants to hear kind speech surrounding themselves? Are you sure that the only alternative to your insightful position is this? What the heck IS political correctness? Are you sure that even if someone self-identified as "politically correct", it would then follow that they "loathed" clarity and accuracy? Is it possible that clarity and accuracy is better obtained by using a few more words, or refreshing our vocabulary for new terms when old ones become broken, than it is to use one, old word?

I don't actually know the answers to the questions, but I just think they are worth asking.

Clarity is more important than charity.

I sincerely disagree. And if a person is lacking charity, then they are lacking a huge chunk of clarity.

Edited by Maidservant
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TBM is one of those labels like "Peter Priesthood" or "Molly Mormon" that several members and apologists aka defenders of the faith have taken ownership of by using it as a self description, tongue in cheek.

Mormons as a label was another one that once was used as an insult and has been co-opted to mean something positive as a self descriptor.

This is something minority groups often do with labels.

Edited by KevinG
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TBM is one of those labels like "Peter Priesthood" or "Molly Mormon" that several members and apologists aka defenders of the faith have taken ownership of by using it as a self description, tongue in cheek.

Mormons as a label was another one that once was used as an insult and has been co-opted to mean something positive as a self descriptor.

This is something minority groups often do with labels.

I always thought Peter Priesthood and Molly Mormon were rather condescending terms. TBM, on the other hand, simply means True-Believing Mormon, meant to distinguish oneself from NOM (New Order Mormon). At least that's how I've always heard it used. I don't think it was ever a derogatory label that was 'taken back', like 'Mormon'.

H.

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I always thought Peter Priesthood and Molly Mormon were rather condescending terms. TBM, on the other hand, simply means True-Believing Mormon, meant to distinguish oneself from NOM (New Order Mormon). At least that's how I've always heard it used. I don't think it was ever a derogatory label that was 'taken back', like 'Mormon'.

H.

I see your point. TBM probably has a duel path. I remember stories of members claiming to be True Blue Mormons in the face of mobs as well as having witnessed discussions on line where TBM was used with full accompanying sneers, condescension and superior tone. (ex. My TBM mother in law, ugh...)

As with most language and usage context is king.

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I see your point. TBM probably has a duel path. I remember stories of members claiming to be True Blue Mormons in the face of mobs as well as having witnessed discussions on line where TBM was used with full accompanying sneers, condescension and superior tone. (ex. My TBM mother in law, ugh...)

As with most language and usage context is king.

Right. When I hear "My TBM mother-in-law", I usually don't think much of it because a lot of the problem about to be described could be attributed to "mother-in-law". Meaning, there is probably some generational or other relationship gap at play. This of course applies to other examples - FIL, BIL, SIL, ex-spouse, etc.

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Maidservant,

I previously wrote:

Charity is always a good thing; but when it comes to communication, clarity is more important than charity.

And you cropped my quote thus:

Clarity is more important than charity.

And then commented:

I sincerely disagree.

With what?

With what I actually said, or with what your quote misrepresented me as saying?

At least you could have left in that all-important qualifier, "When it comes to communication."

And if a person is lacking charity, then they are lacking a huge chunk of clarity.

Really? What, if anything, does that actually mean?

I say that 2+2=4. If it is more "charitable" to pretend that it's really 5 or 3000 or some other number, should charity take precedence? And would the "charitable" error somehow be more clear?

I don't know why it is that those who insist that being nice to people is the only thing that matters, seem to also be the most censorious of dissenting views; but it seems to be the case.

Don't get me wrong; there are cases where charity might supersede clarity in communication; the question "Do I look fat in this dress" comes to mind. But such cases are clearly exceptions, and when confronted with an unending parade of Splendidly Independent Thinkers all criticising the Church of Jesus Christ in identical terms, if I find that "anti-Mormon" is an accurate description of what I'm seeing, I'm going to use it.

And I won't apologise or ask anyone's permission therefor.

Regards,

Pahoran

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At least you could have left in that all-important qualifier, "When it comes to communication."

I knew you would say this. :) And it also came to me when I was writing it that I should include the specific idea communication, but then I thought on it a bit, and, for me, anyway, it doesn't make any difference. Applied to communication or anything else, I would have a hard time putting anything ahead of the need for charity. Obviously you disagree in the case of communication, and that's fine.

What, if anything, does that actually mean?

Good question. Hmmm, let me think. It means that a person without charity is blind and cannot be clear on much.

I say that 2+2=4. If it is more "charitable" to pretend that it's really 5 or 3000 or some other number, should charity take precedence? And would the "charitable" error somehow be more clear?

No one is saying this. Not you. Not me. Charity includes all possible clarity (although charity is scriptural, and clarity is not a gospel principle per se) and all truth. They are not at odds with each other. But someone without charity is missing truth or at least a portion of it; and a person without kindness is also missing truth or at least portion of it.

I always stop my children from arguing if they are arguing about those things that are like the problem you mention of 2+2=4. I tell them that the answer is whatever it is, and can be looked up, and they should not sacrifice their relationship for indulging in such an argument and trying to convince the other. They are attempting to win one thing, but losing something far more precious and truthful (their love).

I don't know why it is that those who insist that being nice to people is the only thing that matters

I don't think anyone is saying this. For the record, I don't feel strongly either way about the particular labels the OP brought up, but I do allow people to self-identify themselves without thinking for myself what they ought to be called. And as has been mentioned, it is obvious that there are some people who are anti-Mormon by any definition, perhaps even their own.

But all things are to be done in charity, or we are falling short. That's all.

Don't get me wrong; there are cases where charity might supersede clarity in communication; the question "Do I look fat in this dress" comes to mind.

Ha ha, well. That might be self-preservation, ha ha.

But, seriously, that example does not come close to my idea of charity in communication. "Charity" does not equal "white lies".

I respect your desire for truth, Pahoran, so I can see where you are coming from on this issue.

But such cases are clearly exceptions, and when confronted with an unending parade of Splendidly Independent Thinkers all criticising the Church of Jesus Christ in identical terms, if I find that "anti-Mormon" is an accurate description of what I'm seeing, I'm going to use it.

And I won't apologise or ask anyone's permission therefor.

I'm certainly not asking you to. But it is a worthwhile issue to discuss in general terms, and there are several ways to look at it by the looks of the posts so far.

Edited by Maidservant
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I was enjoying your argument and finding myself assenting, until I got here.

Happy to oblige.
Are you sure this is the only motivation available for a human being who desires to avoid labels or wants to speak kindly, and wants to hear kind speech surrounding themselves? Are you sure that the only alternative to your insightful position is this?
I said or implied nothing of the sort.

I enthusiastically support self-discipline, kindness, and charity in our day-to-day communications (even where I don't always succeed in practicing it ;)).

Of course, this isn't political correctness, nor are those who self-discipline necessarily "politically correct".

What the heck IS political correctness? Are you sure that even if someone self-identified as "politically correct", it would then follow that they "loathed" clarity and accuracy?

"Political correctness" is an exterior force- other people telling you what and how you may say, and when and to whom you may say it.

There is a difference between "polite society" which avoids saying things in an offensive and hurtful manner- and the "politically correct" which censors ideas they find offensive or inconvenient. The former chooses words to avoid provocation or deliberate offense. The other seeks to ban communication with which they disagree.

One can be polite, kind, and charitable while still remaining wholly accurate.

Political correctness, by contrast, renders certain topics taboo and then denigrates people who dare to challenge their group-think orthodoxy.

"Polite" conversation recognizes the intrinsic worth and sensibilities of the individual. "Political correctness" champions the prerogatives of the "group" (or more specifically, someone who claims to "represent" that group).

Is it possible that clarity and accuracy is better obtained by using a few more words, or refreshing our vocabulary for new terms when old ones become broken, than it is to use one, old word?

I don't actually know the answers to the questions, but I just think they are worth asking.

Eminently so.

To sum it up in a nut shell:

Being polite is "I won't say this in that way because it might hurt someone."

Political correctness is "You can't say that because I don't want to hear it."

Is TBM really a derisive label? I hear/see/read a lot of active LDS referring to themselves as TBM and I think it's just become a colloquialism for "active" (itself a colloquialism).

Like "Yankee" and "Mormon" the term "TBM" was originally and pervasively used as a perjorative.

The targets of the insult refused to play the game by their attackers' rules and took on the name proudly.

"Yankeees", "Mormons" and "TBM's" cheerfully subverted a slur and an insult into a bonding experience- and made themselves stronger for it.

I anticipate "apologist" going the same way.

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Is TBM really a derisive label? I hear/see/read a lot of active LDS referring to themselves as TBM and I think it's just become a colloquialism for "active" (itself a colloquialism).

H.

Context is everything, of course. But yes, many critics use it derisively. Or let's just say it's not meant to be a compliment. The implication behind TBM is that we just blindly follow the prophet and that we can't think for ourselves. Kind of a nicer way of saying "Morgbot." But you already knew this, didn't you?

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I read a quote attributed to Joseph Smith wherein he spoke on being kind to animals, he stated that how is lion to learn to lay down with the lamb unless man sets the example.

The same principle applies here. Those who claim to belong to the only true Church have the greater duty to live a higher standard, those who claim to follow the only true Church have the greater duty to follow Christs teachings.

It is laughable and a sad degradation of one self for a follower of the only true Church to justify their lower standard of conduct based on the conduct of other who are not duty bound to follow a higher standard.

Christ used labels, but as the King of kings, and having full knowledge those whom he spoke too that was His right. Last I checked, Christ was not posting on this board, and I am confident that no one here knows the thoughts, intent and heart of another person as Christ would that person.

I challenge thought who claim the only true Church to live a higher standard without regard to how others live. What is their to be desired of the only true Church if its followers can not show it?

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Given a small and unscientific sample of writings of Mormon Apologists vs. Anti-Mormon Critics I think we're pretty safe saying those who claim to be members of the church are setting a higher standard on the whole. The comments section of articles about Mormonism alone are very telling.

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I read a quote attributed to Joseph Smith wherein he spoke on being kind to animals, he stated that how is lion to learn to lay down with the lamb unless man sets the example.

The same principle applies here. Those who claim to belong to the only true Church have the greater duty to live a higher standard, those who claim to follow the only true Church have the greater duty to follow Christs teachings.

It is laughable and a sad degradation of one self for a follower of the only true Church to justify their lower standard of conduct based on the conduct of other who are not duty bound to follow a higher standard.

Christ used labels, but as the King of kings, and having full knowledge those whom he spoke too that was His right. Last I checked, Christ was not posting on this board, and I am confident that no one here knows the thoughts, intent and heart of another person as Christ would that person.

I challenge thought who claim the only true Church to live a higher standard without regard to how others live. What is their to be desired of the only true Church if its followers can not show it?

You want members of “the only true and living Church” to set the example and live a higher standard? I get your point. But I think a lot of us already do this. Or at least we try. Are we perfect 100% of the time, or even most of the time? No.

Does living a higher standard mean that we let the critics say whatever they want or never take them to task? I don’t think so.

We should all try to be better, no matter where we stand. We all have to do our part if we want to raise the level and quality of the discourse. It’s a two-way street.

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I appreciate the comment. I am not a fan of labels personally, although I can see why people use them. My observation here so far is that the term "anti" is used quite often and perhaps towards those who deserve the label and others who may simply disagree and desire to share their understanding of truth. What should matter, is that they are sharing their perspectives in a respectful way even if the conversation ends with agreeing to disagree. Anti should not = disagreement.

There are well meaning LDS folks who genuinly care for those who have not embraced their understanding of the restored gospel and may unknowingly offend. I am here on this discussion board because of a well meaning missionary who basically deemed that I was not a trueChristian because I was not baptized in the LDS Church among other things. I knew they were well meaning despite the fact that they clearly believed I did not understand truth. Despite what they said to me (which could be taken as offensive) they seemed sincere and kind...so here I am to see If I am missing anything in my understanding of God, with an open mind. Had I taken offence and assumed they were "anti- Ev" well I could have just put up a wall.

I would really rather see people that are trying to present "their understanding of truth" or who are in search and persuit of the truth, to show one another the utmost respect. In this world we have many people claiming to know the truth and many people who are sincerely seeking.

Regardless of what your views are, you are less likely to be heard or taken seriously if your words and actions are not shared respectfully or in love.

At the end of the day, if you are rude to one another or ignorant, then really it is the fruits you bare that will label you.

Words have meaning and are used because they do. The term anti means to be opposed to something. An apostate is one who abandons or denounces a religious or political belief. The are descriptive and accurate terms. Those who object to their use are trying to gain an advantage by controlling the definitions, a common tactic. Words must be used to convey their common meaning and not allowed to be redefined in ways as to make them meaningless else language becomes useless.

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