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Fair Mormon's new YouTube branding strategy


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13 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I looked at a couple of the videos.  Different strokes for different folks.  The style might not appeal to the academic types but for the regular person, it could work better than something technical and boring especially to a millennial, Gen Z crowd.  Every individual responds to something differently and if we only package things one way, we will only reach some people.  I don't care for the name but then again, my mind generally does not default in looking at the acronyms in names.  They should change that part.

I went back tonight and watched a couple of the more recent videos (one on archaeology and one on the Book of Abraham). They actually didn't seem that bad. There's was still more sneering than I'd like, but the tone veered toward earnestness a few times, which I appreciated. And I liked the bit with Stephen Smoot.

So I might have overreacted a bit. The videos aren't all bad. I think some of the content is good too.

I took the opportunity to watch some Zelph on the Shelf to see what the competition looks like. It's not really close. ZotS has a low-key jokey vibe, but also has moments of authenticity that connect with viewers. In contrast, This Is the Show, because of the format I guess, comes across as scripted and stagy. More like an infomercial. But in terms of youth appeal, it's still a significant improvement over most of FairMormon's other YouTube offerings.

Anyway, the director of This Is the Show, Cardon Ellis, popped up at the end of one of the videos to invite me to "check out" his other content. So I did. I watched his "Midnight Mormons" interview with Kwaku El and found it pretty insightful. 

It starts off with some off-color language and they joke about Kwaku's partying. About 5 minutes in, El says, "I wouldn't even call myself an apologist. I just do videos, right. I just make media." Fair enough.

He then explains that the new show is going to bring the fight to the critics: "These guys are used to only debating professors and other, like, Wasatch Front boomers who 'just want to have a dialogue and conver—' No. Guess what? It's not a dialogue anymore."

Around the 28-minute mark, El defends ad hominem arguments: "You know it has entertainment value, you know it's unavoidable." And he points out that Jesus did it too: "The most ad hominem thing? What about when he destroyed the city of Zarahemla and drowned the city of Moroni?"

Near the end of the conversation blasting John Dehlin's hypocrisy and lack of edginess, just after the 55-minute mark, Ellis opines: "John Dehlin is literally on the side of the people who murdered children in the Hawn's Mill massacre." Then, perhaps sensing he'd gone too far, he quickly added a qualifier: "Philosophically, at least."

Anyway, it was an interesting conversation. It gives you a sense of how these guys view the world. Being "edgy" and partying are good ("Jesus would be down with a hootenanny. His first miracle was at a frickin' party!"), while cul-de-sacs and Nissans and boomers are bad. Juvenile bro stuff, basically.

I'm still kind of surprised FairMormon turned to these guys for their youth outreach. Time will tell if it pays off, I guess.

Edited by Nevo
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12 hours ago, Nevo said:

I went back tonight and watched a couple of the more recent videos (one on archaeology and one on the Book of Abraham). They actually didn't seem that bad. There's was still more sneering than I'd like, but the tone veered toward earnestness a few times, which I appreciated. And I liked the bit with Stephen Smoot.

So I might have overreacted a bit. The videos aren't all bad. I think some of the content is good too.

 

That was my reaction, although I think the polygamy video should be pulled and there are a few too many slams at women's expense which is never cool or funny. 

I haven't seen them all but I watched the BOA video last night. It was good, really good. So the potential is there and I can see this type thing being very successful. One of the jokey comments shows why, I think. After Smoot's expert commentary, Kwaku said something like "can someone explain this is a way that doesn't bore me." Smoot says "no."  FM's purpose was always to take the scholarship and reformat it in an understandable way. I'm not sure that is possible when you are still keeping it academic.  

So perhaps this is a bit of a wake-up call for we elitist academic snobs, to say it bluntly. We are not all excited by 24 page papers and we don't need to be. I assume this is just the beginning and if I used the misogynist slur "Karen," I think it would be a perfect label for the hysteria over something that will likely only improve with criticism. As most new things do. 

 

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I'm still kind of surprised FairMormon turned to these guys for their youth outreach. Time will tell if it pays off, I guess.

There is so much misunderstanding of how FM operates. It only has what it is given, it is all volunteer and always has been with the exception of the part time bookstore manager. We never produced our own stuff aside from the conferences. There is no physical building, no storage for equipment. Even podcasts were done by volunteers with their own equipment. I would think Kwaku benefits enough from this to be willing to donate his production to FM.  Any org that relies on volunteers is going to have some problems at times. Hopefully, this will become a beneficial relationship for both parties.

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1 hour ago, juliann said:

always has been with the exception of the part time bookstore manager.

We just barely got another employee...iirc, assistant to Scott Gordon, the president.  Not involved in the apologetics side, but administration, keeping track of things...I need to go reread her introduction.  Scott has been doing this for so long, it had to be a hardship for his family, so I was very happy to hear he got someone to do the 'busy work' stuff.

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Bokovoy has jumped into the ring and shared his thoughts on the videos.  Here's an excerpt of his statement-

I cannot abide mockery of others, especially (and this is important) when it’s done in an effort to promote religion. That type of mockery is especially malicious, and the new FAIR Mormon videos are filled with that type of derision. But it’s even worse, because much of it is directed specifically towards women.
Kate Kelly, the woman who was excommunicated from the LDS Church for her advocacy of female ordination, is made the butt of their jokes. The video defending Mormon polygamy is titled, “Mo Wives Mo Problems.” Because apparently that's what women are.
The FAIR Mormon videos are filled with sexual innuendos and references to women. “You don’t start a religion if you wanna have sex, you get an Airbnb in Seattle. I know,” boasts the main FAIR Mormon apologist. Another video has a female actor bearing an angry ranting testimony of the CES letter, only to be thanked by the male apologists as a representation of the University of Utah’s Women’s Studies program.
In other words, these videos are not simply abhorrent because they mock and belittle others in the name of spirituality. They’re especially vile and disgusting because they are filled with misogynistic humor that ridicules women and feminism.
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52 minutes ago, cinepro said:

Wow. I'm trying my best to see the upside in these videos, but I'm just not seeing it. If this is the type of content that will save the youth of the Church, then I have to admit I am hopelessly out of touch. I honestly can't believe these are being released under the FAIR brand.

I've seen Kwaku pop up on different things over the years, and I think he has a problem with his focus. I'm all for being entrepreneurial and exploring different options, but at some point, you need to pick your lane. I mean, is this really the Instagram post of someone who aspires to defend the Church as an apologist (note the caption in addition to the picture)?

Kwaku-Insta-sm.jpg

As for Cardon Ellis, I live near him in SoCal. He was my child's seminary teacher. And he was a great teacher. He had enthusiasm, knowledge, and was not afraid to think out of the box (which apparently is the reason he is no longer a seminary teacher...) But Cardon has his own baggage, as he's chosen to promote far-right ideology in local media and on podcasts. His enthusiasm can exceed his judgement, and I would hope FAIR is giving him very close supervision in any media that he produces. After watching a few of the videos, this doesn't appear to be the case.

If these videos were made with the sole intention to infuriate exMos, then I would consider them successful and have a good laugh. But if they're honest attempts to resolve concerns that people are having about LDS history and doctrines, then I'm very skeptical that they will produce lasting effects. And I'm very concerned that this will be an embarrassing footnote in the history of apologetics.

Is this guy the same Cardon Ellis? If it is, he may have joined the Young/Dumb pair. ;)https://www.deseret.com/2010/11/13/20152487/judge-frees-lectures-aspiring-actor-accused-of-breaching-airport-security I saw this on reddit just now, I guess they say he is the FairMormon's director of videos. Also, this is in 2010 so pretty old, but maybe the guy needs to still grow up? Sorry if someone on here knows him personally and you find this offensive. But as cinepro mentions I don't know if it's good to do anything to embarrass the church. Kind of surprised that Scott Gordon approves of some of the videos, maybe they should pull the ones that are embarrassing. And re-do? ETA: Sorry cinepro, just cleaning up my post and noticed I integrated my words with yours, just fixed, hopefully. Also, noticed on the FM board that one of the videos was deleted. Also, listening to Cardon's talk show podcast called "The Cardon Ellis Show". He's not a bad guy. So I apologize if I said he needs to grow up.

Edited by Tacenda
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8 hours ago, juliann said:

That was my reaction, although I think the polygamy video should be pulled and there are a few too many slams at women's expense which is never cool or funny. 

I haven't seen them all but I watched the BOA video last night. It was good, really good. So the potential is there and I can see this type thing being very successful. One of the jokey comments shows why, I think. After Smoot's expert commentary, Kwaku said something like "can someone explain this is a way that doesn't bore me." Smoot says "no."  FM's purpose was always to take the scholarship and reformat it in an understandable way. I'm not sure that is possible when you are still keeping it academic.  

So perhaps this is a bit of a wake-up call for we elitist academic snobs, to say it bluntly. We are not all excited by 24 page papers and we don't need to be. I assume this is just the beginning and if I used the misogynist slur "Karen," I think it would be a perfect label for the hysteria over something that will likely only improve with criticism. As most new things do. 

 

There is so much misunderstanding of how FM operates. It only has what it is given, it is all volunteer and always has been with the exception of the part time bookstore manager. We never produced our own stuff aside from the conferences. There is no physical building, no storage for equipment. Even podcasts were done by volunteers with their own equipment. I would think Kwaku benefits enough from this to be willing to donate his production to FM.  Any org that relies on volunteers is going to have some problems at times. Hopefully, this will become a beneficial relationship for both parties.

I've been told on another board, that the More Good Foundation helps fund FairMormon. Is this true? So in a way, funds do come from the church? Is this false or ?

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1 hour ago, Tacenda said:

r/exmormon - Cults come after their critics.  What can I say?  Source: Recent video from Mormon church-sponsored FAIRmormon.  Minute mark 3:43.

I'm loving this a little too much! It's so ... spot on ...

I also loved hearing someone else point out how thoroughly Dehlin and his ilk depend on generating angst and conflict in others -- including thoughts of self-harm -- and then blaming it all on the Church. I've been saying this for years on this forum. Dehlin's entire livelihood and self-identity require the existence of people broken in just such a way that they will be inclined look to him as their saviour.

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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8 hours ago, juliann said:

That was my reaction, although I think the polygamy video should be pulled and there are a few too many slams at women's expense which is never cool or funny. 

I haven't seen them all but I watched the BOA video last night. It was good, really good. So the potential is there and I can see this type thing being very successful. One of the jokey comments shows why, I think. After Smoot's expert commentary, Kwaku said something like "can someone explain this is a way that doesn't bore me." Smoot says "no."  FM's purpose was always to take the scholarship and reformat it in an understandable way. I'm not sure that is possible when you are still keeping it academic.  

So perhaps this is a bit of a wake-up call for we elitist academic snobs, to say it bluntly. We are not all excited by 24 page papers and we don't need to be. I assume this is just the beginning and if I used the misogynist slur "Karen," I think it would be a perfect label for the hysteria over something that will likely only improve with criticism. As most new things do. 

 

There is so much misunderstanding of how FM operates. It only has what it is given, it is all volunteer and always has been with the exception of the part time bookstore manager. We never produced our own stuff aside from the conferences. There is no physical building, no storage for equipment. Even podcasts were done by volunteers with their own equipment. I would think Kwaku benefits enough from this to be willing to donate his production to FM.  Any org that relies on volunteers is going to have some problems at times. Hopefully, this will become a beneficial relationship for both parties.

Remember when the board used to send hot links to outer darkness and the critics heads exploded 🤯.  Those were the days. 🤣

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Here is a statement on Kwaku's FB page. Interesting how little he thinks of the gen z group, thinking that LDS apologists need to dumb down the answers for them. He's unaware of the many that studied and studied their hearts out and still have no answers. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=3723985850968261&id=100000706495242

I liked Mike Shirtz's reply, as I scrolled through all of the replies.

 

Edited by Tacenda
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It seems apparent, to me, that this was a massively bad idea. The execution is juvenile and in poor taste. At some point decision makers need to cut their losses and put an end to this embarrassment. Doubling down will not end well, in my opinion. 

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46 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

I've been told on another board, that the More Good Foundation helps fund FairMormon. Is this true? So in a way, funds do come from the church? Is this false or ?

Check out the tax forms.  If there were donations, they will be there.

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I personally find the new videos entertaining.  But I can understand the objections.  Kwaku’s brand of humor isn’t for everyone.  

I really like David Snell’s videos on POGP Central.  I think those are the kind of videos FAIR should be promoting.  

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1 hour ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

I'm loving this a little too much! It's so ... spot on ...

I also loved hearing someone else point out how thoroughly Dehlin and his ilk depend on generating angst and conflict in others -- including thoughts of self-harm -- and then blaming it all on the Church. I've been saying this for years on this forum. Dehlin's entire livelihood and self-identity require the existence of people broken in just such a way that they will be inclined look to him as their saviour.

I used to a big John Dehlin fan.  I loved the way did long-form interviews discussing all the most difficult topics in Mormonism.   It was what  I needed in my life at the time. I just wish more apologists would have been willing to go on his podcast.  I loved hearing faithful church members give answers to the tough questions.  It was an important part of my spiritual journey.

So in a way, John Dehlin was my savior.

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

just wish more apologists would have been willing to go on his podcast.

Some were, but he never invited them specifically even when they offered from what I have heard.  My memory is Brant Gardner is one, but it may have just been about that topic after he had Coe on.

Edited by Calm
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Cardon is trying to be like Joe Rogan, IMO. I watched a little of part two's video. I don't like how he lumps everyone on reddit as haters of LDS. And likens John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnells as such evil people and devils, and he sounds like the hater. This just didn't come off well. I'm sorry but I think both sides remind of the political strife we've been living in for the last year or so. The division is getting tiresome. Also, just saw this letter to FairMormon: https://joetippetts.medium.com/dear-fair-mormon-cf332cc3fe43 Someone who was recently re-baptized I guess.

 

Edited by Tacenda
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Kwaku isn't really the problem. He's just a guy selling a product. He's adept at getting attention. That seems to be his thing.

If an organization like FAIR wants to buy into the product then that is really just FAIR's issue. So everyone getting upset with Kwaku, I think that upset would be better aimed at FAIR.

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50 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Kwaku isn't really the problem. He's just a guy selling a product. He's adept at getting attention. That seems to be his thing.

If an organization like FAIR wants to buy into the product then that is really just FAIR's issue. So everyone getting upset with Kwaku, I think that upset would be better aimed at FAIR.

As I watch the first youtube that I posted above, I can't believe I'm starting to like the guys somewhat, whoa! Maybe they will do some good and Fair can see into the future. I'm so wishy-washy on these guys. Like them, hate them, like them! 

I think that for many in my age category that have grown up quite sheltered, and didn't have social media and google to look things up instantly, these guys will be right up their alley and they will be on their side. But for old people that learn of history that they had no idea of 15 years ago, then Fair can lead down a rabbit hole. But these youngsters, already know the warts or have been inoculated unlike folks like me. It's again back to me thinking Fair is genius again. 

Edited by Tacenda
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48 minutes ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Kwaku isn't really the problem. He's just a guy selling a product. He's adept at getting attention. That seems to be his thing.

If an organization like FAIR wants to buy into the product then that is really just FAIR's issue. So everyone getting upset with Kwaku, I think that upset would be better aimed at FAIR.

I think FAIR is trying to appeal to a wider audience and reach out to more young people.  They need someone with more charisma than the typical apologists.  Turning to Kwaku makes them look desperate.

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On 12/2/2020 at 6:55 PM, Calm said:

I am part of FM. I am part of the discussion going on now, though not previously but those who were are also in the discussion.

How would you say list traffic compares to ten years ago? Still 200-300 messages a day, give or take, on a busy day?

Does FAIR still get AtA requests, or are things quite different now?  I was wondering about this lately. 

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, Tacenda said:

Cardon is trying to be like Joe Rogan, IMO. I watched a little of part two's video. I don't like how he lumps everyone on reddit as haters of LDS. And likens John Dehlin and Jeremy Runnells as such evil people and devils, and he sounds like the hater. This just didn't come off well. I'm sorry but I think both sides remind of the political strife we've been living in for the last year or so. The division is getting tiresome. Also, just saw this letter to FairMormon: https://joetippetts.medium.com/dear-fair-mormon-cf332cc3fe43 Someone who was recently re-baptized I guess.

 

I agree.

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Kwaku isn't really the problem. He's just a guy selling a product. He's adept at getting attention. That seems to be his thing.

If an organization like FAIR wants to buy into the product then that is really just FAIR's issue. So everyone getting upset with Kwaku, I think that upset would be better aimed at FAIR.

The ridiculous hysteria over this risks a racial element when such hate is directed to only one participant. Who happens to be black. It's starting to get a little obvious.

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1 hour ago, Rivers said:

I think FAIR is trying to appeal to a wider audience and reach out to more young people.  They need someone with more charisma than the typical apologists.  Turning to Kwaku makes them look desperate.

Turning to a young, funny, good looking black guy trying to make his mark makes them "desparate," huh. Interesting. 

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What increasingly becomes the focus for me is not the videos, they are of mixed quality and I'm waiting for more. Time will tell.  It is the over the top outright hysteria that I am becoming fascinated by. There are all kinds of undercurrents here.  First and foremost.....

The critic's French Laundry moment:  Hypocrisy and double standards. Rules for thee, but not for me. 

That anybody would be defending Dehlin, who has a history of misogyny, dishonesty, and racism,  while demonizing a Mormon young man is kind of...laughable. As is the wave of the hand approach to the nonstop mockery of Mormonism by their cohorts.

Let's see similar outrage directed to everyone who does what you claim these videos do. Who wants to be first? Or who wants to be a French Laundry hypocrite.

 

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