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The Strengthening Church Members Committee

August 18, 2010
Orrin Porter Rockwell

Intrepid leader of the new SCMC

If you haven’t checked the Irresistible (dis)patches over at the side (and why not? They are irresistible, no?), you should see this piece of work SOMEONE has done…the Strengthening Church Members Committee.

It seems pretty well done…some people think it’s legitimate. TT at Faith Promoting Rumor wrote a scathing review of the site (but then took it down when people said he was overreacting), and there are people who seriously believe that “the names and IP addresses of all subscribers are being recorded at the COB.” (there was an even better one on TT’s thread, but TT deleted the entire article!)

I wasn’t quite amused to hear Geoff J’s hypothesis that this would be just the kind of thing an angry exmormon would do, but then again, maybe that’s because of recent happenings

But we haven’t even talked about what the site is!

The new SCMC blog takes its purpose from D&C 123:

“Gather up all the libelous publications that are afloat; and that are [on] the [Internet] and [on] the [blogs]…”

It claims not to be affiliated with or endorsed by the church, but nevertheless, it takes upon itself the task of “inform[ing] readers of posts that might be defamatory, speculative, or rebellious” and “report[ing] on articles and blog posts about the LDS Church that purport to come from active members but which may be critical of the Church in some way, or which might reasonably seem hurtful to the Church or the faith of its members.”

So far, it’s called out one article from T&S, two from Mormon Matters, and a stunning three from Feminist Mormon Housewives.

I personally think the SCMC is an example of Poe’s Law applied to Mormonism. I decline to provide my thoughts on the membership status (and emotional (dis)position) of whomever is taking the Orrin Porter Rockwell allonym as Geoff had.

I guess I should provide some reason why I think this is fake, since some people are convinced that this is a legitimate snapshot of the attitudes and mindsets of some members (and it’s not like the name was pulled out of nowhere…)

Maybe it’s just me, but the only thing this is REALLY doing is encouraging people to read these “scandalous” posts. In this way, it is a great way to showcase progressive or unorthodox posts in the bloggernacle. I don’t think someone who was serious about exposing (and possibly preventing) “reasonably…harmful” blog posts would post links right to them. (When people denounce certain books, do they provide links to an easily accessed eBook?) However, this is a neat and clever way to jazz up controversy.

Either everything about this will blow over 5 minutes ago OR this could become somewhat popular, with people inquiring after the true identity of Orrin Porter Rockwell.

I’m hoping OPR sticks with it and we can have a kind of Olympics of unorthodoxy. Sorry fMh, but even though your team has the lead at this early time, you are going down.

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28 Comments
  1. I can’t tell from your post if you’re aware of the real SCMC

    Anyway, I think it’s not by a “TBM,” for the same reason you do.

  2. yeah, that’s why I had put the line (and it’s not like the name was pulled out of nowhere…) in…I’ll put in the link to the wikipedia article for good measure.

  3. Its totally a satire page. I even have my guesses as to who is behind it, which I am politely keeping to myself. I think its a delightful blog.

  4. At reddit, measure76 suggested that this could be the latest effort of Greg West (of spamLDS fame.)

    The very thought of it makes my saliva curdle.

  5. Didn’t Greg swear off Internet dueling when they made him a branch president somewhere?

  6. I’d be surprised to hear that reasoning. All I remember is that they made ning a pay service only, so he had to shut down his little echo chamber.

    • No, I definitely remember him writing a dramatic exit letter explaining how “duty calls” and all that jazz. I think his son, or one of his followers took over after that.

      This was at least a few months ago.

      • Intriguing…well, then, I hope he is very busy doing much more constructive things with his life.

  7. I would just like to know why this blog wasn’t around when I was merely a waffling, questioning member. I seriously doubt I’ll be mentioned now, which is too bad. I would LOVE to be highlighted here, satire or not.

  8. I know what you mean, Lisa. haha.

  9. I was surprised that some people think it’s by a TBM who actually disapproves of those articles. Because, duh, it would have to be a really stupid one. Clearly OPR, whoever he is, wants people to read those articles.

    Love the idea of an “Olympics of unorthodoxy.” 🙂

  10. Whomever it is should call out Daymon Smith’s book….

    And – my concern is that, even if it’s satire, some of the authors could get in trouble (be ex’d). All the info is right there, easily indexed. My assumption is most active LDS would prefer not to be ex’d.

    Perhaps it’s simply the 21st century version of Adam Smith’s (I think) solution to the Irish problem…

    • Aerin, I’m pretty sure the Church Office Building is already well-aware of what we are doing on the bloggernacle. Feminist Mormon Housewives has been mentioned in the New York Times, and other bloggernacle content has been featured in the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News repeatedly. Even a couple posts from me got mention in the “Mormon Times'” regular column that follows the bloggernacle.

      There’s no way they haven’t noticed us. I’ve even heard from insiders that someone at HQ has a job description of following bloggernacle content – just to keep abreast of what is being said. Times and Seasons alone has a larger readership than Sunstone, Dialogue, and FARMS Review combined.

      That the Church has not taken any action speaks volumes.

      Honestly, I think a lot of the DAMU and ex-Mormon community would LIKE to see some excommunications over at Feminist Mormon Housewives – simply because it would validate their own prejudices about the LDS Church. There’s always a bit of a hopeful tone in these comments.

      Like people are hoping for another “September Six” or something. I think people in the DAMU would be almost disappointed if the September Six turned out to be a historical fluke, and didn’t play out the same with the bloggernacle.

      Wishful thinking.

    • yeah, aerin, I have to agree with Seth.

      This isn’t really going to make public to the COB that which cannot already be easily found. I mean, anyone can go to Feminist Mormon Housewives, Mormon Matters, Times and Seasons, or any of the other blogs that this guy will list and read for themselves. In fact, these established blogs have google pagerank and whatnot so if you’re searching for blogs, you’re more likely to find T&S, MM, or fMh directly than to find them through the SCMC blog.

      Seth,

      As an amateur internet (dis)cordian (which word I only used because it has (dis) in it), I think there should be more chaos. Something to rile things up. Is this the same thing as wanting a new september 6? Well, fortunately, prop 8 seems to be doing a good enough job already.

    • When I was writing my Liberal Mormon That Could blog, it was in part because I was daring the church to find me out and Ex me. People kept saying I “could” be ex’d, and that seemed so ridiculous that I just kept going, hoping for something. They unfortunately never did anything.

      /sad.

      My stats in that blog did reveal that the church headquarters had visited however, and I know i’m not the only one to have received that kind of attention. But apparently I’m not dangerous enough.

      As someone who hasn’t yet resigned, I still hope they’ll nail me for what I write. I dare them to. It would only give me more ammo with which to write about 😉

      • I don’t think the church even exxes people for blogs.

        you need a book deal for that.

        • well hell.

          i thought i at least had a shot for, y’know, saying bad things and criticizing leaders and the like.

          what’s a girl gotta do?

      • Well Lisa, I guess you’ll just have to put up with still being “one of us” for a while longer yet.

  11. You know, a couple of months ago, when I did my controversial “How to Witness to Mormon Missionaries” post, I began getting comments from a guy named “Diligent Dave.” His comments were ridiculous and over-the-top, his logic abortive, his tone ever indignant and preachy. More so, he seemed absolutely certain that I was a tool of Satan and he was going to prove it. After I spent hours writing time-consuming, in-depth answers to questions and accusations that were not even related to the OP, trying to soothe him, he had the gall to accuse me of sidestepping and evading questions—and thus became the first person on my blog to ever get permanently disemvoweled (there have been three so far). I preserved the actual text of his comments here.

    We mulled over it on my private blog. At first I was in the camp of “DiligentDave was just a troll impersonating a stupid TBM for satirical effect.”

    And then, we learned that DD is apparently a Bloggernacle regular and a childhood friend of one of the permas at T&S. He was 100% for real; he was, in actuality, every bit as preachy and logic-challenged as he appeared on my blog.

    So is the “Strengthening Church Members Committee” a satire? Probably.

    But I wouldn’t put it past a TBM to actually do something like the SCMC site.

  12. LOL @ DiligentDave story. I’ve seen a few bloggernacle regulars who are over-the-top preachy, but never comments like that.

    I want to believe then that people like DiligentDave are extremely rare

  13. If you want further proof that believing Mormons do stuff like this . . .

    Just sayin’.

  14. I was pretty sure John Remy from mind on fire was ex’d for what he wrote about on his blog.

    The fact that Daymon Smith hasn’t been ex’d yet speaks volumes to me. Maybe things have changed.

    Maybe they won’t ex liberals and dissenters any longer.

  15. I want a law of Internet physics to be named after me.

  16. aerin,

    that’s a good point.

    Lisa, how often have you blogged about the temple? maybe that’s what you need to do.

    J G-W:

    any trends you’ve noticed lately?

  17. OK, how about this hypothesis: In controversial blogs written by members of authoritarian religions, the percentage of lurkers increases in proportion to the significance of the posts.

    Has that been taken yet?

  18. It has to be intuitive enough that when people read it, they go, “aha that’s so very clever!”

    yours sounds too academic but good try!

  19. sadness!

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