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Intelligent Mormons just can’t seem to get a break…from other Mormons

March 20, 2012

It’s kinda like deja vu…a Mormon woman hits a national level media activity…and then self-righteous, holier-than-thou Mormons criticize said public Mormon for what they believe to be her disturbing lack of faith in Mormonism on national TV.

Kristine Haglund C-SPANNo, this isn’t another post about Joanna Brooks. This is about the reaction to Kristine Haglund’s appearance on C-SPAN, as seen in the By Common Consent comments section.

I first found out about this discussion because it became a front-page post at MetaFilter…and some people simply weren’t impressed with the discussion at BCC:

Is the second link supposed to have anything but [Kristine's] apologizing to angry blog comments?

In response:

It has a helpful link… to the first link.

And finally, from the front-page post author:

I’m sure she and the other contributors to that site would have liked it to be something more. So yes?

So, I decided to check out the discussion at BCC…how bad could it get, considering BCC tends to its garden so conscientiously?

It was bad.

Now, I’ll forgive some people for thinking that the entire Bloggernacle are apostates run by John Dehlin and his queen, Joanna Brooks. But Kristine Haglund simply shouldn’t be getting reactions like this:

Kristine –

Your presentation on c-span was a complete and total embarrasment – not only to you (you really should watch it) but to the Church as a whole. It is a really good thing that your highly impressive deep seeded knowledge of Mormonism helps you understand our faith, Christianity, the omniscience and truth about diety and most of all about “grace”…..because you certainly will need it. Could it be that you are secretly anti-Mormon, and just want attention from the media?

As a successful business woman and member of the Church, living in the mission field all of my life I can understand some of the opinions others have about Mormons. Not only did you justify any negativity or thoughts against our faith, you also fortified them against Mitt Romney. It made me sick listening to you.

I am embarrased and outraged that you would be so condescending and negative against your own.

I challenge you to watch your presentation. You’ll see it.

Or later on, from Tom:

Kristine, I hope if you are a Mormon, your beliefs and convictions run deeper than your comments and portrayal of our faith as portrayed on the panel debate last night. It was obvious that you appeared uncomfortable and nervous about sharing what should have been your true feelings about the LDS faith, if you have them? I’m not ashamed to be a Mormon, and your entire remarks appeared to be of someone not committed to the faith. I’m not sure that you or anyone else knows what President Hinckley would have done with Prop 8.

Like, this is totally a thing. I mean, when these comments aren’t so sad, they are absolutely hilarious…cue the psychoanalysis (just as happened with Joanna Brooks’ column):

Kristine I watched you on c span because I had a feeling that the topic would include Romney and I was right, it did. Kristen I would like to know what was the inner reason that turned u so negative against the church? Was it simply because your a Democrat? There are many Democrats in Utah, I know cause I’ve been to their meetings and know them personally. It is nothing to be ashamed of.
Or is it because your a working women? Heck almost. every woman works outside the home nowadays that is in the church in fact I’ve had every Bishop tell me to go to work and I haven’t listened to them. In fact the only women I see that get callings anymore r only the ones that work outside the home nowadays.
My point is I don’t know why u said such hateful things against Romney and the church, I wish I could have been there to debate with u on this subject again. In fact I challenge u and Alan wolf to another debate only this time with me in it! U had no right to be there representing anything to do with our church or Romney. True u didn’t tell lies but u didn’t tell truths either. There is something terribly wrong with you and your outlook on every thing. Call me next time u debate this subject and I’ll be there.

I still have yet to watch the video, so I do not know what Kristine could have said about Mitt Romney to draw such comments.

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18 Comments
  1. She called Mormons and Romney flip-floppers and two faced. That is what was wrong with this. If you don’t understand how offensive that can be then . . . what more can be said?

  2. I watched it and it’s nuts that anyone could be offended by such a mild discussion.

  3. Jettboy,

    I hear Kristine talking about Mormon “double consciousness,” not so much two-facedness…and I think it’s absolutely true that Mormons have double consciousness…this isn’t an insult…it’s the bind inherent to being a Mormon in our society.

    Meanwhile, what I see on the flip-flopping issue is that Kristine always emphasizes *pragmatism* in a positive way. To the extent that she cannot understand Romney’s bedrock, she says, “That’s not a Mormon thing.”

    CB,

    Ultimately, I feel quite the same.

  4. Why is it that haters can never spell? Or use words correctly? It happens seemingly every time.

    Also, reading the comments from Haglund’s detractors reminded me of a Mormon idiom I’d forgotten about. You hear it reasonably often in Mormon speech: Party A says “I challenge you [to do something Party B doesn't need to do and has no reason to do]” and follows it up with an authoritative prediction such as “You will see that [some conclusion that Party B hasn't reached and won't reach].” This is sometimes worded as “I challenge you…”/”I promise you….” It’s Mormon voodoo.

  5. MHH,

    If it’s good enough for missionaries and marketers, it’s good enough for anyone.

  6. Like I said, I don’t know what to say to that. There is no way to NOT be offensive by claiming that someone or a group is what is normally called hypocrisy. I actually commented here because you are usually open to at least understanding where dividing lines are drawn without quick dismissal, but I find this time not so much. Mormons are as consistent and divided in their ways as any other religious people living in a secular world.

    Oh yes, and I noticed the “alternative lifestyle” person used the words “haters” as is common for them folks. As if that has any force other than a bully name-calling tactic.

  7. Here is an idea, If “intelligent Mormons” can’t take criticism when they are what amounts to the public face of Mormonism, maybe they best keep their mouths shut. Its not like orthodox conservative Mormons have been given much press to voice their views.

    • …when they are what amounts to the public face of Mormonism

      Lol — don’t we call single young men and women and older married/single adults to be the official “what amounts to the public face of Mormonism“. Don’t the official logos on their name-badges mean anything?

      What I read in that comment above is that if someone who happens to be known as LDS can’t be a good spokesperson for the organization — then they ought to:

      one, two, I stretch up tall
      then I turn around
      three, four, I sit up tall
      and never make a sound

  8. Jettboy,

    I just don’t consider it hypocrtical to be pragmatic (and it appears that Kristine Haglund and Stephen Prothero agree, hence they never used such terms as “hypocritical” even once in their hour discussion), if people understand that pragmatism is your main value (and that’s a lot in what they were saying. It’s not like Mormonism is a religion about committing theologically to certain creeds — or else! It’s mostly about practical, lived experience sort of things.)

    If you think that is a “quick dismissal” of what you have said, then I really can’t help that. I can’t help if you can’t or won’t elaborate on your thoughts when others point out that they utterly can’t see how you have drawn your conclusion (since to you, it is OBVIOUSLY offensive and you think “there is no way to NOT be offensive” here.)

    Why are you so passive aggressive today, Jettboy, just happening to “notice” the “alternative lifestyle” person without being able to name him by name? (as if he were hiding in the background of an I Spy or something…) Just speaking “as if,” etc.,?

    re: your second comment: I don’t think the idea is that intelligent Mormons can’t take criticism. It’s in the fact that some of the criticism they receive 1) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, 2) comes from THEIR OWN PEOPLE (people who seem counterintuitive to be criticizing them…but then again, I guess it can make sense. It shows that Mormonism is more diverse than expected…you can’t really have a representative because Mormons don’t agree on everything. That’s *pragmatism* there.)

    And it’s not like there haven’t been conservative Mormons who have been given press to voice their views? Glenn Beck??? But on a more academic note, Randy Bott???

    Or maybe that’s part of your point. That these people get criticized by their liberal/unorthodox Mormon compatriots just as much as the liberal Mormons get criticized by their orthodox/conservative bothers and sisters..?

  9. “Or maybe that’s part of your point. That these people get criticized by their liberal/unorthodox Mormon compatriots just as much as the liberal Mormons get criticized by their orthodox/conservative bothers and sisters..?”

    My point is that very few times do orthodox members get shown respect by the press and quoted as authorities. They pick a less than articulate Bott or divisive Beck (like he has ever been interviewed for a report on Mormonism) rather than any number of more qualified orthodox people. They are not invited to attend these public national televised forums even as a dissenting voice. Sure, sometimes a Bushman or Otterson is given space, but this is quickly followed by a Joanna or Haglund if any others show up at all. To top it all off, they don’t even hint that these two are controversial, just maybe a bit different (I think they figured that out with Delhin and stopped quoting him). Maybe these newspaper people don’t know anyone less liberal than these two, but I would gladly give my services or point to some others.

    In the end, Joanna and Haglund are considered “The face of Mormonism” because publications and broadcasters have made them such.

    “don’t we call single young men and women and older married/single adults to be the official “what amounts to the public face of Mormonism“. Don’t the official logos on their name-badges mean anything?”

    Not really in today’s world of mass media. They are a symbol, but they aren’t the face if no one talks to them, quotes them, and holds seminars with them for the public.

  10. You really need to read this article to get a sense of why “pragmatism” charges are offensive. To quote:

    “Apparently, flip-flop is a Mormon trait?! . . .

    Friends, know this for what it is – this is a liberal take on the “Mormons lie” meme. Maybe it’s not so fresh after all. The bottom line on this presentation is simple – every church has changed with the political and cultural climate. The CJCLDS suffers from a compressed history of such and a uniquely American history of such, but anybody that knows anything about the history of the Christian church, or the Jewish for that matter, can see such changes. This is not argument, it is pure spin.”

  11. Jettboy,

    My point is that very few times do orthodox members get shown respect by the press and quoted as authorities. They pick a less than articulate Bott or divisive Beck (like he has ever been interviewed for a report on Mormonism) rather than any number of more qualified orthodox people. They are not invited to attend these public national televised forums even as a dissenting voice. Sure, sometimes a Bushman or Otterson is given space, but this is quickly followed by a Joanna or Haglund if any others show up at all.

    I guess I can see what you’re saying…it’s just interesting that, in making this point, you actually do point out other thoughtful, conservative Mormons that the media does frequently “go to.”

    I think one point is of note…many times, the church itself declines to comment or respond to certain issues that come up in the media. When the church does comment (usually through the Newsroom), then it is nearly always included in the discourse.

    To top it all off, they don’t even hint that these two are controversial, just maybe a bit different (I think they figured that out with Delhin and stopped quoting him).

    Point taken here. Although I don’t think Kristine Haglund is controversial. She is simply not in the same category as Joanna and John.

    Maybe these newspaper people don’t know anyone less liberal than these two, but I would gladly give my services or point to some others.

    I guess the criteria would be something like this
    1) Willing and interested to do it.
    2) A known media-friendly quantity
    3) Someone with relevant credentials (e.g., books written, status position, scholarship, whatever)
    4) Someone able to translate between Mormon and non-Mormon spheres

    Who would be your recommendations for go-to people for Mormonism, given these criteria?

    You really need to read this article to get a sense of why “pragmatism” charges are offensive. To quote:

    “Apparently, flip-flop is a Mormon trait?! . . .

    Friends, know this for what it is – this is a liberal take on the “Mormons lie” meme. Maybe it’s not so fresh after all. The bottom line on this presentation is simple – every church has changed with the political and cultural climate. The CJCLDS suffers from a compressed history of such and a uniquely American history of such, but anybody that knows anything about the history of the Christian church, or the Jewish for that matter, can see such changes. This is not argument, it is pure spin.”

    I read the article, and I didn’t really get it. It’s not saying that *pragmatism* is offensive, but *flip-flopping*. But beyond that, what is the guy really complaining about?

    Is he saying that the church *hasn’t* changed with the political and cultural climate (just like every other church)? Is he saying that the church *doesn’t* have a compressed history that makes such pragmatic changes more visible than that of older religions?

  12. MoHoHawaii permalink

    Two points:

    1) In my previous comment I used the word “hater” in its current, informal sense as a not very serious way to refer to a person who swoops into an Internet forum in which they don’t normally participate and leaves a comment that is more of a jibe than an invitation to reasonable discussion. Similarly, “troll” doesn’t imply that anyone lives under a bridge, but we use the word for people who exhibit a certain recognizable pattern of behavior.

    2) As far as the accusation goes that I’m an “alternative lifestyle person” let me just confess that I have 50 first cousins and in my basement are plastic pails full of wheat. Guilty as charged. :- )

  13. Andrew S. he is saying that “pragmatism” is a dog whistle for “flip-flop” and this is a dog whistle for “liars.” Basically, he is saying that the subject shouldn’t be on the radar as a major part of a description about Mormons. Again, if you don’t understand that I don’t know how you ever will.

  14. Is he saying the subject shouldn’t be on the radar as a major part of a description about Mormons because Mormons are not pragmatic, or because he doesn’t agree with the dog whistles?

    I can see (and agree with) the latter. I don’t see or agree with the former.

  15. He would say that “pragmatism” is based on non-pragmatic beliefs. More importantly, that using such alone and without context of faith is a form of calling someone a liar since true belief doesn’t change. You can say “Mormons are pragmatic because they believe in G-d’s continual interference in the affairs of Men,” but that is never said. Instead, its pragmatists for pragmatism sake, and becomes a dog whistle for inconstant flip-flopper liars.

  16. But true belief *can* change. That’s the entire point of continuing revelation! That’s the entire point of rejecting creeds!

    And these are things that usually *are* brought up in discussions about pragmatism. (E.g., priesthood ban especially.)

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