Oh, my ex-mormon brethren…
At some point, someone is going to say, “Andrew S, your conduct in the blogging world/real world embarrasses me. I feel bad for you since you apparently have no shame for yourself.” OK, I accept my sentencing (but not after crying myself to sleep for the night after such an accusation is made.)
Anyway, Main Street Plaza opened a thread for faithful Mormons today. It was to allow faithful readers and visitors to introduce themselves and be welcomed…but then there was a part later on making it known that MSP is “open t0 constructive criticism” — probably about whether MSP reaches its goals of having reasonable, civil discussions (despite differences in belief). Chanson welcomed feedback on specific posts or policies.
So far, so good. At least theoretically. When I saw it, I can’t deny that I didn’t feel a bit uneasy about it.
As I write, I feel like I’m about to write nearly the same post as I did before about Good Religion vs. Bad Religion, but with a twist.
I’m not saying “Boo! MSP is bad!” I’m not even saying that MSP utterly fails in its goals to have reasonable, civil discussions. BUT I am saying that once again, this is an issue where both sides are clearly going to have disagreements.
For example, when you take someone who is going to view any discussion about issues uncharitable to her faith as an attack or as call for debate, how can you not see where that conversation is going to go?
I’m not saying all Mormons are like that, but you know there are people like that. And if even one stumbles into a thread like this, everything ends.
Does that mean there can be no such thing as reasonable, civil discussions (despite differences in belief)?
Well, here’s the funny thing. I think there actually was a lot of constructive and productive dialogue. But that required at least one similarity in belief — a similar belief as to what an “attack” even means or what “civil discussion” even means. But for one without that shared belief, however, I feel that one person in particular is going to walk away believing all sorts of terrible things about ex-Mormons because of one day’s experience.
(In a mostly unrelated story, I remember a day in class when my classmates got to talking about all the weird stuff in the temple. I didn’t know any better, so I emphatically denied everything they were talking about. After all, I was a real Mormon, yet I had never heard of any of the stuff they were bringing. Obviously, they must have heard wrong, or they were just spreading misinformation.
Eventually, of course, I realized that they had a surprisingly aware understanding of the temple ceremony [at least, the pre-1990 one] that I didn’t have [because I wasn’t endowed]. It didn’t cause me that much distress at all, because I had already recognized I didn’t believe in the church, but another thing that didn’t change was the fact that I still resented them for the day they had badgered me. Even though on many issues they ended up accurate, what affected me in the long-term, and what still affects me, was how they engaged me.)