Drawbacks to Ordaining Women

April 9, 2014    By: Jeff G @ 11:16 am   Category: Bloggernacle,Ethics,Mormon Culture/Practices

(Note:  This post was written almost entirely before Elder Oaks’ talk regarding the nature of priesthood.  Sadly, I have not given much thought to the relevance which that talk has to my own thoughts on this subject.)

This post is not about the Ordain Women movement.  Quite some time ago, I posted a critique of the Ordain Women organization wherein I suggested that even though the movement is about faithful LDS women, that does not mean that it is actually for faithful LDS women.  Rather, I suggested, the movement is actually by and for humanistic intellectuals.  In that post, I repeated what has become almost a cliché for those who aren’t fully on board with OW:  It’s not that I am against women being ordained to the priesthood, it’s just that I object to the OW organization and the tactics they employ.  In that way, I attempted to sideline the inevitable accusations of misogyny which such a post provokes so as to look at the conflict that OW presents between intellectuals and priesthood authority (patriarchal or otherwise).  In this post, however, I wish to do the exact opposite: I wish to sideline any thoughts or preferences concerning the nature of the Ordain Women in order to focus exclusively on the ordainability of women.


Turns Out Chronic Internet Trolls Really Are Bad People

February 17, 2014    By: Geoff J @ 5:11 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

I saw this provocative Slate article today. It was inspired by this recent study. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Overall, the authors found that the relationship between sadism and trolling was the strongest, and that indeed, sadists appear to troll because they find it pleasurable. “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others,” they wrote. “Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!”

So the basic take away I get from this is that chronic internet trolls are pretty much sadistic psychos. (Seems like an apt description of some of the rabid anti-Mormon trolls I have encountered over the years.)

Anyhow, three cheers for active moderation of comment sections! We may not make trolls cease to exist, but we can at least keep these psycho sadists out of our own blog comment sections with a little effort.

Intellectuals and Priesthood Authority (Intellectuals and Mormonism, pt. 3)

December 17, 2013    By: Jeff G @ 3:28 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Personal Revelation,Scriptures,Theology,Truth

(P)recap.  The purpose of this series on intellectuals within Mormonism is bring the analytic tools of intellectualism against itself so as to help Mormon intellectuals recognize and perhaps second guess the choices that they actively make when they unnecessarily place themselves at odds with the church leadership.  To review, the first post identified the specific kind of intellectualism which the scriptures warn us against.  Briefly, the intellectual will be the person who holds that:

Any speech act can legitimately be called into question by any person, at any time and that a legitimate answer to that question cannot invoke any person’s position within society.

In the second post I articulated the ways in which Mormon intellectuals will not only tolerate, but actively embrace prophecy within their worldview.  In summary, the Mormon intellectual has no trouble negotiating a kind of compatibility between their intellectualism and their prophetic religion, since all doctrines can still be called into question and subsequently (dis)confirmed by God at any time.  In this way, the position which priesthood leaders have taken on any given issue becomes largely irrelevant to the position which Mormon intellectuals will take on the same issue.

While the Mormon intellectual can fully embrace the first leg upon which Mormonism stands (prophecy), he will have serious difficulties embracing the other leg: priesthood authority.  In this post I want to articulate the tensions that exist between intellectualism and priesthood authority, for I believe it is these that are the primary source of contention between the former and Mormonism. (more…)

You’re not a Liahona – You’re a Laman/Lemuel

September 8, 2013    By: Jeff G @ 5:46 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Personal Revelation,Scriptures,Truth

I assume that most people in the bloggernacle are aware of the Liahona/Iron Rod distinction wherein those who surrender personal responsibility by following the prophet (like the Iron Rod) are contrasted with those who accept a more robust kind of responsibility by following their own spiritual promptings (like a Liahona).  This metaphorical distinction, I submit, is nothing but the philosophies of men mingled with scripture – a clever sophistry which serves to undermine the prophets by democratizing priesthood authority. (more…)

Why You Can’t Agree With R. Gary

April 22, 2012    By: Jeff G @ 1:02 am   Category: Bloggernacle,Ethics,Truth

(Love ya, Gary!)

It’s not terribly difficult to guess ahead of time which bloggernacle threads Gary (of NDBF fame) will comment in and roughly what his position will be therein.  This is due to a number of factors:  his overall consistency, the forthright, no-nonsense articulation of his views and (most of all) his staunch adherence to positions which tend to drive intellectuals crazy.  Gary is by no means alone in proudly flaunting these traits as a badge of honor but to me he serves as the perfect poster-boy for all Iron-Rodders if only because he is one of the most patient and likeable of the bunch.

First, I’ll give a little history regarding our interactions in the ‘nacle.  Those who have known me for a while are well aware that I take science fairly seriously and have always had a particular interest in Darwinian evolution.  I’m sure you are also well aware that Gary has always been quite unimpressed by both, to put it mildly.  After many frustrating exchanges between us in which I frequently allowed sarcasm and mockery to take the place of patience and charity I finally thought that I had figured out what Gary’s core argument really was.  (more…)

“Wow. You boys are kind of mean.”

May 22, 2010    By: Geoff J @ 11:02 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

The title of this post is a direct quote from a recent visitor here at the Thang. The observation came in response to a chilly reply I gave to one of her* comments. Of course “Jenny” was right. I often do come across as kind of mean to strangers on the web these days. I don’t know if running a blog for more than five years makes everyone jaded and suspicious about newcomers but it seems to have had that effect on me. I admittedly find myself warily sizing up newcomers and barely being able to hide my sneaking suspicion that this anonymous new visitor is A) an internet troll in disguise, B) a moron, or C) both.

The sad reality for anyone that runs a Mormon blog is that option C) proves to be the case too often. So I find myself a little jaded. How about you? Has blogging made you “kind of mean” and jaded, especially with strangers on the web… yet?

* Her handle was a female name but of course on the internet no one knows…
(See what I mean about being jaded?)

I’ve never liked the Niblets

July 8, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 10:27 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

Ok, I’ll come out and say it. I never really liked the Niblets and was disappointed to see them claw their way out of their rotting grave again this year.

I have some right to say such a thing since if I remember correctly it was my Mormon Archipelago pals and I who started and named the stinky little awards at the end of 2005. (You can mostly blame Ronan).

To me the Niblets are like another tradition I don’t like — white elephant gift exchanges. The odds of hurt feelings (especially when there are desirable gifts) makes the risks of ruining the party higher than the potential fun of the game. See this thread to decide for yourself how the latest iteration is panning out.

What say you? Do you love the Niblets or are you with me on this one?

A Meandering Thought on Inoculation

June 5, 2009    By: Matt W. @ 8:53 am   Category: Apologetics,Bloggernacle

I am trying for something devotional here. A fire and brimstone sermon to myself, if you will…

One thing I loved about my high school freshman year of Catholic History was the chapter on the Spanish Inquisition and discussing the horrible things done then. It opened up discussions of religion which I had never before considered and helped me gain an understanding of and frankly a dislike of those evils which had come before. But this acknowledgement of evil was not enough to keep me in the fold. Confessing to evil isn’t enough. It only makes you guilty. (more…)

On My Creeping Universalism

January 28, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 8:20 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Eternal Progression,Life,Theology,Universalism

Questions like this one don’t create any anxiety for me these days. I blame it on my creeping universalism.

By creeping universalism I mean this: I just can’t bring myself to believe in permanent divine punishment anymore. I know some people believe in it and I don’t begrudge them their beliefs — I just think they are wrong. Don’t misunderstand — I believe in divine justice. That is largely why I don’t believe in permanent punishment. If our souls are eternal I just don’t think there is anything we could do in 70 years here that would warrant infinite punishment. So I think people pay in some fashion for every sin they refuse to repent of; I just think that process won’t take forever. So when someone asks if I will end up in the highest kingdom of heaven (whatever that means) I feel confident in saying “yup”. I just think y’all will end up in the same condition too. (Heck, I now vaguely suspect we may have always been in that condition before our sojourn here on this planet as well…) That is what I mean by my creeping universalism. (more…)

Welcome to the big time, Bloggernacle

December 15, 2007    By: Geoff J @ 11:20 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Mormon Culture/Practices

As has been mentioned in a couple of other bloggernacle blogs (Julie at T&S, sidebar at BCC, and live on-location reporting from Steve H. at Splendid Sun among others), Elder Ballard just encouraged the graduating class at BYU-Hawaii to start a blog.

No, I’m not kidding.

Here are some excerpts from the talk: (more…)

On Discussion

June 22, 2007    By: Jacob J @ 5:47 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

Before there is discussion, I have an idea in my head and you have one in yours. The ideas might be the same, but more likely, there is some difference (i.e. disagreement). Discussion is a process of progressive clarification. By identifying and clearing away points of agreement, we slowly but surely narrow in on the substance of our disagreement. The disagreement is the interesting part; it’s where we have the best chance of learning something from one another. (more…)

Can blogging be spiritual?

April 26, 2007    By: Matt W. @ 10:03 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Widtsoe Reading

In 1937, John A. Widtsoe presented the following test as a measure of spirituality. I really like what he says:

Spirituality in man or woman may be recognized by simple tests, of which the three following are of major importance:

Perhaps LDSelect.org is the best choice for you

August 29, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 6:32 pm   Category: Bloggernacle

Ladies and Gentlemen! Brothers and Sisters!

Bugged by the Mormon Archipelago site are you? Unhappy with the blogs they have included or excluded in their fancy blogroll? Bent by the way they have organized the blogs there? Interested in sticking it to The Man? Have I got a site for you! (more…)

Mapping the universe and all of reality… through blogging…

March 9, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 12:54 am   Category: 7 Habits,Bloggernacle

A simple way to understand paradigms is to see them as maps. We all know that “the map is not the territory.” A map is simply an explanation of certain aspect of the territory. That’s exactly what a paradigm is. It is a theory, an explanation, or model of something else. … In the more general sense, it’s the way we “see” the world — not in terms of our visual sense of sight, but in terms of perceiving, understanding, interpreting.
(Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, 23)


Dunkball with the brethren

February 16, 2006    By: Geoff J @ 2:45 pm   Category: Bloggernacle,Life

Every Wednesday night is hoops night at the Johnston’s. Around 8:30 guys from the neighborhood/ward show up, we turn on the flood lights, lower the back yard hoop to 8’6″, and run 3-5 games of full contact 3-on-3 dunk ball. Court rules include maker takes, ones for all buckets (even though there is a three point line), goal tending allowed anywhere except through the cylinder, dribbling in on the inbound is allowed, and walls/trees are out of bounds. (Don’t worry if that means nothing to you – I trust some of y’all will understand.) (more…)

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