Aug 15, 2009

How Important Is Image?

I was just on my way to bed, but just as I was about to shut down my computer, I see this headline on my Yahoo homepage. So I guess I won't be going to bed just yet.

Let's not turn this into a Yes vs. No debate on Prop 8. We've all been there, done that. What I am interested in discussing, however, is how important our image is as Mormons and as a church.

Ironically, today I was able to catch up on Skype with my best friend since kindergarten, who came out as a lesbian a few years ago. We chatted a bit about some things we were mulling about in our lives, among them spirituality and our love of writing. I told her about my blog and even directed her to an essay I wrote regarding Prop 8 in another forum. To be honest, it felt good. I've thought about our friendship a lot throughout the whole gay marriage ruckus and often felt like I should address this delicate issue somehow. I don't want to be a part of this "image" that I fear we have become as Mormons -- thanks to the media, warped accounts, selective information, and unfair criticisms from those who dislike the Church and its policies, but, saddest of all, the fact that there is truth behind a lot of it.

Most interesting in the article linked above was this particular paragraph:

"What I hear from my community and from straight progressive individuals is that they now see the church as a force for evil and as an enemy of fairness and equality," said Kate Kendell, executive director of the San Francisco-based National Center for Lesbian Rights. Kendell grew up Mormon in Utah. "To have the church's very deep and noble history telescoped down into this very nasty little image is as painful for me as for any faithful Mormon."

She's right. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, as a Mormon, this "nasty little image," as she calls it, is painful. Many in the Church will say that it doesn't matter, that "the work will go forward," while others almost seem to relish in it, having their persecution complex reignited and becoming virtual "martyrs for morality." But maybe image does matter. Isn't that what PR people are for?

Church spokeswoman Kim Farah claims:
"In reality the Church has received enormous support for its defense of marriage."
Maybe so, but I can guess where that support is coming from and it worries me in terms of where all the Church's growth will be coming from in the future.

And we think that Mormons have a conservative Republican image now?

How will it be when we've alienated virtually every progressive out there with this scary, anti civil rights image? Whether or not that is true is a whole other debate, but it's certainly becoming our image -- at least in America -- and I think that it will require investigators of the Church to really work hard at looking at the issues from a balanced, fair perspective in order to figure out what the Mormon religion is really about, as opposed to our image as a church. And how many will be able to do that? So, how much does image matter to you as a Mormon? Do you care about any of this? Why or why not?

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I consider the LDS an enemy of true democracy and human social values.

I'd confess that it's a result of the church's position on Prop H8 but the truth of the matter is that the homophobia is just another expression of the church's wish to subjugate Blacks, women and gay Americans.

The LDS has shown itself to be everything that America was founded to escape: authoritarianism, provincialism, aristocracy. And as we evolved we also rejected mysogyny, racism, etc.

thefirestillburning said...

Image is not important; being true to your sense of justice is. The world is overwhelmingly NOT progressive. That's a big part of why progressives do not persuade the world to adopt their views.

Generally there are more Christians in Africa than in North America or Europe. There are almost twice as many conservatives in America as liberals (note that a significant portion of Democrats still view themselves as conservatives).

So those who believe that gay marriage is wrong probably create a net positive image for the LDS church.

The question is whether the church's position is theologically right and in keeping with the behavior of Jesus. That's an entirely different question than image.

My personal belief is that gays have every right to a place of great worth as sons and daughters of God in the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven without giving up how God made them. I am sorry neither the LDS or CofChrist know how to give them such a place.

FireTag

Zen said...

"My personal belief is that gays have every right to a place of great worth as sons and daughters of God in the Kingdom of God on earth and in heaven without giving up how God made them."

What? Since when does God give that option to any of us? If the Church is too much for you, you might want to start with Mere Christianity (CS Lewis). Every one of us will be, must be changed - holding nothing back.

As for the PR problem, the actual anomaly is that the Church was anything other than hated. Historically (Old Testament times, New Testament times) that has always been true. And the church only become popular in New Testament times when it was apostate and corrupt. If popularity and worldly approval is your guide, then the Church will always seem strange.

The PR issue will just make converts decide more thoroughly and fence-sitters decide where they really stand.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Zen, the issue is image -- not popularity or worldly approval. I know the Church isn't too concerned about being popular or getting worldly approval. But image is a different story. Look at the North Koreans. Does Kim Jong Il care about how popular the stuff he does is, or whether or not the world approves of him? Heck no. But I'm pretty sure he worries about his image. His image is everything to him and he has to live up to it.

Mormons (along with most other people I know) don't like to be misunderstood. I *think* Mormons care about their image. Isn't that why we're always trying to distance ourselves from our polygamist past, not wanting to be mentioned in the same breath as the FLDS, isn't that why we send around missionaries who are clean cut and neatly dressed? Isn't that why some Mormons do all they can to avoid even the "appearance of evil?" Isn't the point to all that so that people have a certain image of us?

"Image is not important; being true to your sense of justice is."

I agree, Fire Tag, that being true to your sense of justice overrides image. However, maybe image is important because if our image and the reality of who we really are don't match up, it leads to false assumptions and sometimes even hate and fear.

Andrew S said...

I agree and disagree with FireTag.

Image is *very* important -- especially to the LDS church. However, the image *you* want the church to have isn't important to the church. They don't want an image of being progressive, windtossed, etc.,

They want the image of being traditional, grounded, conservative, and true to the sense of justice in these things.

The church is pruning and perfecting its clean-cut, conservative, next-door neighbor look. Never mind that the next-door neighbors are ridiculously intolerant; they are "home-grown" and "American" and not at all weird or threatening.

And as others have said, there will still be some allure to this image. We do *not* have a worldly majority in progressivism, so it's foolish to say that the LDS church is inevitably and universally becoming a huge bad guy. It may seem that way because of *our* associations, but we probably don't represent most of the people of the world in any way.

derekstaff said...

I don't believe that image matters per se. In theory, it is more appropriate to be righteous than popular. That said, reality is much more complex than that. I suspect everyone knows someone who stood for something on which they were morally justified, but because of the manner in which they made that stand they confounded their own purpose. I believe that this is what the Church has often done in the manner by which they've pursued the homosexual issue. Even if we agree that homosexual relationships are not morally justified (something about which I doubt we all agree, but for the sake of argument, let's assume), I believe that the heavy-handed and hypocritical manner in which the Church has made that stand (supporting federal and state marriage amendments, brusque support of Prop 8, etc) has been harmful to the ability of the Church to soften hearts and help bring people into the fold. As I said a few years ago on my own blog regarding the push for a federal marriage amendment:

Does anybody really think that homosexual couples will stop having sex because a Constitutional Amendment prevents their marriage? Will they break up and seek heterosexual companionship?

Hardly. Virtually all will go right on with what they are doing. So at the very least, the amendment will accomplish nothing of value.

But the greater risk is that the amendment will actually hurt the cause which its leaders claim to promote. Homosexuals, usually with justification, feel judged, condemned, and even persecuted. This amendment will only make them feel more so. What will be their reaction? They same way that they react when others go out of their way to condemn them. Just the same we react when others go out of their way to condemn us (think the protesters at General Conference). Whether it is the boycott and anti-gay demonstrations at their parades, or the vocal indignation at Brokeback Mountain, it is all the same. They, like us, will circle their wagons. They will become defensive. When people are defensive, they are not open to listening or discussion.

So the Amendment will, like so many conservative actions, defeat its own purpose…Therefore, the best way to deal with the problem of homosexuality is to use “persuasion, long-suffering, and love unfeigned.” We must respect them as human beings. We must respect their choices. Respect their right to have their parades, and their Brokeback Mountain’s. We don’t have to participate or support them, but we can and should allow them to pursue their activities (their “pursuit of happiness”) in peace. Get to know them and to love them. Only once they trust us and know that we don’t hate them will they be willing to listen as we share with them the Gospel. Only then will their hearts possibly be receptive to the Spirit. Only then is there a chance they might accept the Savior, and if it is possible (a dubious prospect), change their orientation—or at the very least, seek to suppress their desires.

This seems to me to be much more in harmony with the teachings of the Gospel. This is more reminiscent of the Savior, who did not exclude or marginalize the sinners, but instead walked, dined, and spent time with them. He was not interested in telling them how bad they were, but rather in sharing with them the joy they could find in righteousness. I prefer to follow his example than to take a treacherous path which I fear will lead nowhere.


I don't care about image for it's own sake, but I do care about our own foolish actions being stumbling blocks to the possibility of others embracing Gospel truths.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I believe that the heavy-handed and hypocritical manner in which the Church has made that stand (supporting federal and state marriage amendments, brusque support of Prop 8, etc) has been harmful to the ability of the Church to soften hearts and help bring people into the fold."

"I don't care about image for it's own sake, but I do care about our own foolish actions being stumbling blocks to the possibility of others embracing Gospel truths."


Well put, Derek. I think you summed up my feelings pretty well.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Make sure to check out the new poll I put up on the sidebar.

thefirestillburning said...

I voted what I felt was most likely among the options, but I wonder, given the large number of schismatic groups the LDS has formed to its political right, why a Mormon church of the left does not form. (The Cof Christ was still to the political right, as we would define it today, when it formed in the 19th Century, and today might be too far to the left to qualify as Mormon in many eyes.)

Derek: Well spoken.

FireTag

The Faithful Dissident said...

"I wonder, given the large number of schismatic groups the LDS has formed to its political right, why a Mormon church of the left does not form."

Very good question, Fire Tag. That deserves a post of its own. :)

Steve M. said...

I read this article earlier today, and the Kate Kendall quote jumped out at me as well.

For the record--and this is coming from someone who adamantly opposed Proposition 8 and the Church's involvement in it--I think that Mormons have borne a disproportionate amount of the "blame" for Prop 8's passage. This may have to do with the fact that attacking Mormons does not carry the same social stigma that attacking, say, black Christians (who also voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prop 8), does. In other words, Mormons' "nasty little image" does not seem entirely deserved.

This image, even if a tad unfair, is nonetheless important and certainly affects me. When people find out that I attended BYU, they frequently ask if I am Mormon. I frankly do not feel that I can give them an easy yes-or-no answer. I normally end up responding with a convoluted "Yes, but with an asterisk"-type answer.

I am afraid that Mormons' image will be tarnished, at least in the eyes of progressives (and, increasingly, political moderates), for years to come. I am afraid that after a century of assimilation into mainstream America, Mormonism is again moving toward the fringe. Standing on what will almost certainly prove to be the losing side of such a monumental civil rights battle doesn't bode well for Mormonism's future appeal.

derekstaff said...

As I think of it, the recent gay kissing fiasco is another example of heavy-handed moralizing. I've seen plenty of hetero couples engaged in enthusiastic PDA on Temple Square and Main Street Plaza. For the Church to have come down so heavily on what all evidence seems to suggest was pretty mild kissing and touching only reinforces a bad image.

Fire

I suspect that the CofC would not be considered Mormon more because it's core beliefs diverge so widely than because of it's political demographic.

Steve

Yes, the members of the Church made up a minor percentage of those who supported Prop 8. But the Church allowed itself to be much more visible than any other group in supporting Prop 8, and very visibly worked the membership (encouraging members to give what they could, devote FHE to Prop 8 activism, etc). I think we are entirely reaping what they sowed in their actions on Prop 8.

Kate said...

For me, as a Mormon, image matters to me 0%. I value honesty over image any day (which has been causing my considerable agony with my Mormon membership as of late). However, I suspect that for the leadership, it is an entirely different issue. Image is EXTREMELY important. And, as many have said above, the church's stance on Prop 8 and in this kissing fiasco only place it in the image it is seeking - that of your normal, conservative, Republican, WASP society.

The church has very much been fashioning their story for decades now about how we are "Just like you" and are "Christian just like other Protestant denominations." The church simply ignores its own history (ie, all other churches being abominations, polygamy, etc.) or the truth "for the good of the church."

Sorry, I don't mean to sound bitter, but ever since Prop. 8 I have been. This heavy-handed method of dealing with political differences makes me physically ill.

Steve M. said...

Derek,

I don't dispute that the backlash that the Church has seen is well-deserved. Even if the LDS Church was the most influential or most visible organization behind the Prop 8 effort, singling Mormons out, to the exclusion of other groups that helped pass Prop 8 (e.g., evangelical churches, traditionally black churches, the Catholic church), smacks of scapegoating.

In other words, it's not that the backlash against Mormons is unwarranted; it's that it is disproportionate relative to the criticism that has been directed at other groups.

Kaylanamars said...

The church definitely cares about its image. How often are we told to look clean and nice? Also if one dresses nicely then one seems to be more apt for conversion! At least that is what they told me when I was on my mission. Only go for the business suits/men since they'll be strong and active once converted and have families and the priesthood...anyway, now that I'm back in Utah I haven't thought too much about our image since everyone here is the same...but as I think about it, even though I don't have to live in the sense of non-mormons talking to me about it, I don't like the image...when we get converts like Glen Beck in our ranks and people around here just adore him...I get really worried that our image isn't what it should be.

We should be the nicest and most tolerating group of people on the earth and we're not and issues like Prop 8 are part of the reason why.

This isn't making a lot of sense since i'm really tired...

MoHoHawaii said...

In other words, it's not that the backlash against Mormons is unwarranted; it's that it is disproportionate relative to the criticism that has been directed at other groups.

75% of the money (30 out of 40MM) and the lion's share, perhaps 90%, of the volunteer hours for Prop 8 came from Mormons. Where exactly should the backlash be focused?

Steve M. said...

MoHoHawaii--What about the other groups that largely supported Prop 8?

Yes, Prop 8 almost certainly would not have passed without Mormon support (monetary and otherwise). But I get the feeling that many on the left are treating the LDS Church as if it were exclusively responsible for passing Prop 8. And that's simply not the case.

I'm not defending the LDS Church's support of Prop 8. I'm not saying that the backlash is undeserved. I'm simply suggesting that the progressive response to Prop 8 may, in some respects, be too narrowly-focused. Let's not forget that Mormons could not have succeeded in passing Prop 8 without the help of numerous other religious and conservative groups.

MoHoHawaii said...

What about the other groups? The other groups had the political sense not to use Prop 8 to rebrand themselves. The Catholics, in most people's minds, still have a larger religious mission. Mormons do not.

It's basically selling your birthright for a mess of pottage.

75% of the money and 90% of the volunteers. What were they thinking?

thefirestillburning said...

I still think we are confusing "image" and "justice" here. I can see the notion of God shaking His head in disappointment at the Mormon church over its attitudes toward gays, but I don't think any image backlash from progressives will be a big part of the reason.

Gay marriage is not a winning issue for progressives in America, let alone in the larger world WHICH IS STILL FIGHTING TOWARD MODERNITY.

If Obama doesn't read the current "progressive moment" as a time to reach for greater rights for gays, backlash for opposing gay rights is probably not a big effect on the national scene.

And again, I remind you that the church's greatest potential for long term growth lies outside North America and Europe.

So I think justice rather than image is what is the point of the debate. Until and unless the church can come to experience gays as human beings with the potential to be GAY celestial beings in the same sense as there are straight celestrial beings, things for gays in the church will not change. On a global scale the tide is not moving toward political progressives, IMO.

FireTag

The Faithful Dissident said...

Steve, you said that when people ask you if you're a Mormon, "I normally end up responding with a convoluted "Yes, but with an asterisk"-type answer."

I feel the same way. I never used to, but now I'm VERY mindful of that asterisk. (Not that it comes up very often here since Norwegians aren't really interested in talking religion.) But a while ago I was having an e-mail discussion with a friend of mine in Austria -- a wonderful man, fascinating person, someone who has thoroughly impressed me for a variety of reasons. Anyways, I'm quite sure that he's gay, even though he's never actually said so and I've never asked. We got talking a bit about religion and he asked me what religion I was. I gave him the German name of the Church and that we're aka "Mormons," but I made sure to get that "asterisk" in. "I'm a Mormon, but...." I think I said something like my views are more liberal than most in my church.

Andrew S said...

re FireTag:

I don't know...it seems image is very much at stake. Now, the image of the church that's going to be established is most likely not going to be that which progressives would like to establish (because I recognize that progressives are a fringe group worldwide). But still, the LDS church establishes an image as being traditionalist, grounded, conservative (something that would appeal to many worldwide.)

I don't think justice has much to do with it. Now legal system is going to strike back.

thefirestillburning said...

Andrew S:

I see what you're saying; I should have said "image should not be an issue" and made the point seperately about traditional images being a PR advantage, not a PR blunder.

Thanks for straightening my argument out.

FireTag

Andrew S said...

Oops. I made a mistake in my last sentence. It should be "No legal system is going to strike back."

thefirestillburning said...

I should also say that I couldn't frame a cogent argument for recognition of support for gay marriage into LDS theology as it is presently understood as a justice issue. If traditional straight families and marriages are seen as the only model worthy of celestrial glory and exhaltation, a TBM can in good conscience justify whatever "collateral damage" is inflicted on individuals on earth for their own eternal good.

A TB CofChrist member or leader can do the same, it seems, for the perceived survival of the church.

But those who do not fall in the TB category may be in a position to provide healing from different theological assumptions (including non-belief, Andrew, in this meaning).

derekstaff said...

Steve M, I see what you're saying, and you are technically correct. It isn't fair or right that the LDS church take the fall by itself for Prop 8. But that's the way humanity works. We find a scapegoat, a focus for our anger. We try to find an easy target to blame for some given thing. If a sports team fails, we tend to blame the losing coach of the team's star player. Despite the fact that Obama has been careful to distance himself from the legislative process, he is being blamed for anything any individual perceives is wrong with the currently evolving health care reform. Even though most Democrats were culpable for aiding and abetting the previous administration in its foreign policy, the patriot act, etc, It was President Bush who took the blame when public opinion started to turn. The most visible cause becomes the target. Knowing this, I have a hard time having much sympathy when people complain that the Church is the only one getting dumped on. We painted a big target on our behinds when we took the lead on Prop 8. It isn't fair, but that's life.

You know the ironic thing? I think there is a large segment of the population who relish this sort of backlash. They don't feel they are part of the true church unless they're being persecuted, and the anger being heaped on us is a vindication, not an embarrassment, to them.

Kaylanamars said...

Derekstaff,

So true...vindication not embarrassment with most. That's how I've perceived it.

MoHoHawaii said...

I've thought for a long time that the Church really, really needs its moderate and liberal members to balance out the right wing hardliners. Things don't work if the iron rodders succeed in pushing out all of the liahona types.

This is probably the larger damage to the Church from the Prop 8 debacle. Image and PR is external, but purging the ranks of moderates is serious internal change.

(P.S. I do wish the Church well. I just wish it would moderate its stance politically.)

Anonymous said...

While you're discussing image, how about those TV ads that look like they were produced by the Church of Scientology? Just plain creepy!

sxark said...

To All:

I allways thought that one of the most positive images of the Church was the semi annual General Conference.
Individuals speaking powerfull things, without jumping around and hollering.

And since, we can now see, that the U.S. and world economic system could possibly fail, it does not seem unreasonable, that perhaps, the Church will have a conservative Democratic image instead of a conservative Republican image - due to the re-institution of the United Order - simply to survive.

Anonymous said...

How important is image?

Well, Elder Ballard made a graduation address at BYU telling the grads to "get over" polygamy. After a discussion of it on Mormon Matters wasn't very flattering to Ballard, the whole entry along with all the comments disappeared overnight.

It was a perfectly civil discussion. No hurt feelings or lashing out. Nothing that hadn't been said about polygamy a hundred times on MM and elsewhere. But it was frank about the unrealistic tone of Ballard's remarks and his wish to sweep it all under the rug.

I guess that tells us something about how important image is.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Anonymous, I missed that MM post, but from what I understand it was the author himself who decided to remove it for personal reasons. I don't think it was a case of censorship, if that's what you thought.

Can someone fill me in about Ballard's talk? What exactly did he say? How does one "get over" polygamy?

I'm curious.

Andrew S said...

Elder Ballard's talk was "Engaging Without Being Defensive," and you can read it here: http://newsroom.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/elder-m-russell-ballard-engaging-without-being-defensive

The quoted part was (if I recall correctly):
An example is polygamy. This ended in the Church as an official practice in 1890. It’s now 2009. Why are we still talking about it? It was a practice. It ended. We moved on. If people ask you about polygamy, just acknowledge it was once a practice but not now, and that people shouldn’t confuse any polygamists with our Church.

Batman's point was that polygamy is still in our scriptures...the parts of the D+C that explicitly give it the OK haven't been stricken out or anything like that. So it's not something that was "just a practice" and which "we've moved on."

However, I think that in the end, Ballard wasn't trying to silence the discussion. Rather, the entire point of the talk is in context of what we talk with nonmember friends. His admonition is to stop being so defensive (because we have a tendency to *expect* criticism based on polygamy or whatever issue). We should not try to come up with on-the-spot speculations of doctrine but simply recognize that polygamy is not something that represents what we are today.

Ballard is saying: take control the conversation about the church and set it on the good.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Thanks for getting my up to date, Andrew.

I see what Ballard is saying, but I agree with Batman. If anything, it just perpetuates the old myths about what and why it was, which most of the membership still believes today. A curious non-member could ask different members and get all of the following answers:

a) it was to take care of the spinsters and widows
b) it was to build up the Church faster
c) it was only about spiritual sealings
d) it was only ever practiced by about 1% of the Mormon population
e) it was big, huge mistake

(My personal preference is e.)

And that conflicting information is supposed to help our image?

Anonymous said...

It was not the author of the piece who made the deletion but the author has not, to my knowledge, objected. Other than that, I agree with Andrew S's narrative of the event.

That said, I would point out that I made no representation about who made the decision to censor. Whoever made the call the fact remains that someone considered the topic too uncomfortable to remain on view. That's an issue of image. Particularly since it was a conversation with a whole lot more civility and unanimity of opinion than many others that remain up on MM.

Self-censorship is still censorship. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd bet there's a whole lot more of that variety whether to protect the image of the church and the Brethren or in anticipation of the consequences of being the nail that sticks up.

Andrew S said...

anonymous, a little birdie told me that the author of the Mormon Matters piece and the person who deleted it are a lot closer than you think. :D Not to spoil the plot or anything.

Not to abuse insider knowledge, but I think the decision to self-censor more closely represents a decision to protect the image of Mormon Matters rather than of the church. MM has had a tumultuous history within the bloggernacle -- sometimes being seen as "apostate" or "too liberal" or whatever. Certainly, MM doesn't try to be like every other blog (so I guess you can still say that it has some controversial articles that stick up), but I think that the author felt that the tone was particularly not conducive to the kind of image he wants of the site.

So I do not disagree that the decision was about image. However, I disagree that it was about the church's image. It was about Mormon Matters's.

Andrew S said...

I missed FD's comment, but I also agree with her. I think that confusion and speculation (multiple answers because we don't know which is the true one) don't help the image of the church.

But I don't think that with what we know now that inner blog speculation at Mormon Matters will get us anywhere productive on that issue either.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clearing that up, Andrew.

I still have to say what I take away from the whole thing is that "image" trumps truth. And, what's more, it trumps it at every level of LDS discussion.

Yes, I know not everything that's true is useful. But what's wrong with the picture if the desired effect or image isn't compatible with what we know to be true?

This may be a different question than what effect Prop 8 has on the church's image in the larger society but I think it's an even bigger and more pervasive one.

Andrew S said...

I think you'll find the phenomenon of "image" trumping "truth" to happen everywhere in life, not just in the Mormon church.

And where you find people who consistently raise truth over image, you'll find lonely people who've alienated their friends, families, and colleagues (imagined if everyone told the truth all the time? Imagine if everyone aired their laundry at all time?)

I'm not trying to "apologize" for the church, but I'm just saying that this kind of reasoning won't work. People simply don't work that way.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya, Andrew, but I don't remember Jesus saying "I am the way, the image and the life". OTOH he didn't fare too well with truth before the politic so perhaps I should defer to your argument.

Andrew S said...

yeah, I was about to say, Jesus ended with rather few followers. The whole Christianity thing only really flew off the shelves after Paul and others dressed it up a bit and got the roman emperor (eventually) in on it.

sxark said...

May I raise an unconfortable issue in regards to "Image"?
How many LDS are comfortable with their user names?
What is the "ideal" image a LDS member should have?
Have user names confused others? - And when they read your bio's, do some say - 'yes, that's the way I want to be too'.

Permit me to use Lehi's dream, as an example of how I have lived my life.
I'll admit that I have spent time
in and out of "the great and spacious building" Did alot of parties in there, at times, and when I had my fill I would run over there to the "rod of iron" and hang around, kinda like - keeping it in site, grabbing on, now and then, but mostly I was a few to several feet away - trying allways to keep it in site.

I worry now, that I may have influenced others to do the same thing. I've been really lucky because I have seen others wander off from the rod of iron and become lost in fog banks etc.
Another concern is: Can one loose their touch and feel as to what the rod of iron really feels like?

An LDS member is "in the world, but not of the world".
How is this balanced and are risks involved, should others become influenced in the wrong manner?

I have found my experience in these blogs to be positive. For I find myself doing alot of "fact checking" with original sources and I end up reading much more than intended.
I still have several faults doing this blogging - but, I'm working on that.

MoHoHawaii said...

Regarding the deleted MM post-- I find it unethical to summarily delete a whole thread of comments by fiat.

If the original poster wanted to retract the article, they could have just replaced the OP with a "Post removed by author" line and left all of the comments.

Matt said...

This issue reminds me of the "image" of Obama. Recently, the hooligans at MSNBC are equating "socialism" with the "N" word. One reporter said that there are key phrases that conservatives use as a code for racism, "we want our country back" and "self-responsibility". I asked my self the same question, "how the heck did they come to that conclusion?" It's simple, the media is realizing that America realizes Barry Obama isn't all he was cracked up to be. So what do they do? Make absurd claims in an effort to demonize the conservatives. (interesting how the media, left, libs never see their own fear-mongering) Back to the point, it's the same with the LDS image. Most people agree with us on prop 8. But because the media doesn't and is liberal and "progressive", they and pro prop 8
supporters make it seem that the church is hated, when in reality, we are only hated by the media and pro gay supporters.

I think it would be more cause for concern of LDS investigators if the church did allow gay marriage. That would only suggest conforming to political correctness and not following the prophet, which is central to the conversion of an investigator, the believing in a living prophet.

In the end, it's only the media creating the church's negative image. Those who think for themselves will figure it out.

The Faithful Dissident said...

"Most people agree with us on prop 8."

I doubt that, but it probably depends on where you are. I think a lot of people are apathetic and many are fence-sitters on the issue. Prop 8 probably got passed in CA because many of these fence-sitters bought into the scare tactics by the YES side. And to be blunt, many probably were turned off by some of the rabid protest from the NO side and that was enough to sway them over to the YES side.

Personally, I would have probably swayed slightly more towards the NO side, if anything out of purely civil reasons, but frankly I was about equally disgusted by both sides.

The Faithful Dissident said...

Also, I think that many people are able to separate the religious and civil sides of the issue. Many in the Church are not entirely comfortable with the prospect of gay marriage and it's probably not their preference, but they see this as a civil rights issue and Prop 8 as unconstitutional.