Welcome, Angry People

January 12, 2010 | 145 comments
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As is usually the case, when Times & Seasons is mentioned by another news outlet (in this case, the Salt Lake Tribune), some of their readers come here. And, today, some of them sound pretty mad.

First, I’d like to point out that if you are also visiting us for the first time, the kinds of comments you find on that post are not our normal fare. Please come back in a few days when the drive-by commenters have left.

Second, we’ve closed comments on that post because so many of them violated the spirit if not the letter of our comment policies.

Third, I’d like to provide some food for thought for anyone who came here angry after reading the Tribune article and was planning on making a comment with any of the following words in it: communism, socialism, excommunicated, moron, anti-family, evil, devil, or satan.

I’m not interested in getting any of you to change your politics. (Not in this post, at least!) What I am interested in is getting you to change your tone. Please read “Church leaders attend President Obama’s inauguration”, “Family history presented to Pres. Obama by Pres. Monson”, “The Mormon ethic of civility”, “First Presidency letter on political participation,” and this interview with Elder Jensen. If and when you feel that you can match the tone and spirit of how our Church leaders have recently interacted with politics and politicians as shown in those pieces, you are welcome to come back to T & S and comment. I have been guilty of being less Christlike than our leaders when talking about politics, but reading those pieces reminds me to do better. The “Mormon Ethic of Civility” piece, in particular, reminds me that our political discourse must be much different from what we frequently hear from various media outlets.

Note: I’m going to delete comments related to Harry Reid as Mormon of the Year on this thread. This is not the place for them. This is the place for a consideration of our *tone* in talking about politics as Latter-day Saints. Comments related to that topic are most welcome.

145 Responses to Welcome, Angry People

  1. John Mansfield on January 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    On the matter of tone, the Mormon of the Year stuff here, and similar Gentile of the Year writings at BCC, have brought to mind the ocassional posts about the bad taste of Deseret Book’s catalog and stores. Seeing the lists of nominees that were generated, I better understand what some are after—something more in the style of People Magazine.

  2. E L Frederick on January 12, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Marc Bohn 1/11/2010 at 3:43 pm
    After an initial delay, we’re opening comments for tasteful discussion on this thread. Please remember the T&S commenting norms and refrain from thread-jacking or levying inappropriate remarks against any of this year’s candidates.

    Well, it’s not like you didn’t see it coming. If you had made Glenn Beck the “Mormon of the Year” you would have seen the same reaction from of opposite side of the spectrum.

  3. Clyde on January 12, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I just missed being able to comment on the MOTY thread as you just closed it.

    And now T&S states that this is not the place for them.

    Perhaps in the future you should avoid political themes that attract
    so much attention from the unwashed masses.

    Keep T&S bland!!!!

  4. Chris Henrichsen on January 12, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    I think that politics, and therefore political dialogue, should be a bit confrontational. However, there a significant difference between heated debate and screaming names at each other. Why does disagreement have to turn so quickly into hate? Now, I do not like some people who I have had political disagreements with, but it is not because of their views, but instead because they are miserable to interact with. I feel to same way about some people who I am politically in agreement with.

    Any discussion is doomed if we start with the attitude that all most agree with me or else.

  5. Chris Henrichsen on January 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    “the unwashed masses”

    Being washed in not required. Foaming at the mouth is the problem.

  6. mpb on January 12, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    All great articles Julie.

    I might add my own favorite, a 2006 Conference address by Elder Robert S. Wood (here: http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-602-30,00.html ).

    It’s a bit older, and was given during a very different political climate, but it is something I have benefited from thinking about during these types of discussions over the past several years.

  7. Blake Messinger on January 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Hello and thank you for your kind welcome to someone who is new to your site. I found Times and Season yesterday while looking for a sane website by sane LDS members. I am not a member but was close to converting when I was a young boy growing up in Murray, UT. My great-great grandfather was an early convert who came across the plains with Brigham Young to SLC. He helped make the desert bloom (he was one of several horticulturists). Brigham Young sent him to Springville, UT five years after arriving in SIC.

    At 51, I have had several promptings in my life and I guess my spirit to re-exam my LDS heritage and I believe this venue is a good place to start. I will excuse the hate and venom I saw on earlier posts and look forward to more civil discussions. Kind regards, Blake Messinger.

  8. Chris Henrichsen on January 12, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    The Elder Wood talk is my favortie Conference talk ever. He spoke at BYU last semester and he commented that things have gotten worse since his gave the talk. It have much applies today and I would not be surprise if Elder Wood was involved in the writing of the statement of civility.

  9. Julie M. Smith on January 12, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    mpb, thank you! I was looking for that one but couldn’t find it.

  10. Kathryn Soper on January 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    green man group, ftw!

  11. Dave on January 12, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Nice thoughts, Julie. “The Mormon Ethic of Civility” statement deserves more discussion — perhaps an obliging General Authority will make it the focus of his address in April Conference. Or perhaps a Proclamation on Civility is needed. Here’s one of the better paragraphs from the statement, making it quite clear what the perceived problem is:

    The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies.

  12. Ardis Parshall on January 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks, Julie. I’ve learned how hard it is for an administrator to create the desired tone of a blog community. It involves peacemaking, biting your own tongue, gentle nudges, teasing, not-so-gentle nudges, and, unfortunately, sometimes even telling a few that their absence is a pearl of great price desired above all else. We all welcome new participants — but not at the expense of destroying the community we’ve built.

    If permas have a duty of hospitality (well, maybe not a duty, but they’ll offer hospitality or people won’t come back), then we commenters have a duty (and that IS a duty) to be good guests and not spit on the floor and put our muddy boots on the furniture.

    Angry people: The Constitution guarantees you the right of free speech. It does not give you the right to puke in somebody’s else’s forum, and it doesn’t guarantee you an audience here, or anywhere.

  13. khn on January 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I have to agree with Clyde. Maybe in the future T&S should not pick such a controversial topic as politics. I think that is why the Mormon Church has always been very good about remaining neutral and respectful where “political party lines” are concerned and rather opt to voice their stance on moral issues instead. You have some great articles, but I must admit that even I was stunned when you first opened the vote and there were many controversial people listed there. Many were dealing with political figures or opposition to them. Maybe not the best choice for such a good website as yours.

  14. James Olsen on January 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Very on point, Julie.

    It’s not just in my political discussions that I too-often violate the spirit of what our GAs are explicitly calling for – an ethic of civility. I very much appreciate your reminder. While I agree that confrontation is inherent in politics and even really like the agonistic school of political theory, descent into ad hominem vitriolic is problematic on lots of levels. Particularly apparent when we demonize is just that – our inability to see the other side as human, and instead our making them into two-dimensional opponents. This keeps us from understanding the situation accurately, seeing our own errors, and learning.

  15. Dan on January 12, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    You know, I used to believe in the principle of being civil when talking politics. Then I learned just how civil our Founding Fathers were to each other when talking politics and I have to wonder, why would anyone try to limit what he can say when talking politics? At stake is the control of the future of our country. Politics is a contact sport and there is no master arbiter who sets the rules. Were we in a theocracy, then we would have a master arbiter who sets up the rules.

    As far as Latter Day Saints go, we do have a Master Arbiter, and His Apostles and other General Authorities have asked us to refrain from speaking uncivilly. But then again, actual prophets have not spoken civilly of their political opponents (Ezra Taft Benson, Harold B. Lee, J. Reuben Clarke, etc). What is a good Mormon to do these days?

  16. Ardis Parshall on January 12, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Blake Messinger: Who was your pioneer ancestor who settled at Springville? I do a lot of church and Utah history and wonder if I’ve run into him. (If you’re willing to chat but don’t want to do it publicly, write to me at AEParshall [at]aol[cot]com.) If I have any material on him, I’ll gladly share.

  17. queuno on January 12, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Dan, you ignore the examples from the prophets of old if they disagree with the prophet of today. In other words, NO ONE CARES what ETB did. He’s been dead for a long time. Follow Monson’s example.

  18. Clean Cut on January 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Great reminder, Julie. I continue to be flabbergasted by the tone of many of my fellow Saints when it comes to politics. Those links should be required reading for all, but especially for those who are politically passionate, yet less tolerant.

  19. Frank McIntyre on January 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    khn/Clyde

    Like a dog to its vomit, our interest in the intersection of Mormonism and public policy inevitably means we will talk about politics. Rather than abandon the public forum to shouting, though, we’re going to try to make T&S a place for civil discussion.

    Our success may well mirror a typical Elder’s Quorum Home Teaching rate, but that doesn’t mean we’ll give up!

  20. Dan on January 12, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    actually queuno, a significant portion of the Mormon population does care what ETB said and did, and they use him for their political ends. I can use him too.

  21. Frank McIntyre on January 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Welcome Blake. I hope we can do our small part to get you thinking about your heritage again.

  22. RT on January 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Dan:

    “What is a good Mormon to do these days?”

    Try speaking like Jesus, who, while disagreeing with people, tended to be pretty reserved with his ire.

  23. Lynn Merrill on January 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    queuno: Yeah, Isaiah has been dead a long time too and I care what
    he did……..

  24. Ben on January 12, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for this, Julie.

  25. ADAM GREENWOOD on January 12, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    YEEAARGHH!

  26. John C. on January 12, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I just want to point out that the John C. in the other thread isn’t me. I don’t know who he is or why he didn’t get clearance to use my name, but I want my two dollars. Thank you.

  27. Brian Duffin on January 12, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Julie, I’m not angry. Does that mean I can’t comment on this post? I can find something to be angry about and come back later, if it would help.

  28. queuno on January 12, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I was referring to abandoning ETB’s personal style of attacking those who disagreed with him, not ignoring his teachings while president of the Church.

  29. Blake Messinger on January 12, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Hello Ardis:

    As I understand the linage the last name was Whiting, memory slips as to his first name. He was married and have five wives. The name was traced to my Great Grandmother. My Great Aunt Vivian Messinger had the genealogy that traced this side of the family. Sad to say, I was given her written genealogy book after she died but I either lost it or discarded it during my turbulent 20′s. I understand she submitted her genealogy to the LDS church, I have no idea how to find it. Anyway, if you know of any Whitings in Springville, UT, I may recognize the name. My Great Aunt Bibby told me that all five wives are buried next to him at the Springville City Cemetery. Your help is greatly appreciated. I will send you my email address via email.

    With kind regards,
    William Blake Messinger III

  30. Dave on January 12, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Adam: “Yeeaarghh!” Please translate.

    Clyde and KHN: A post announcing that the T&S Mormon of the Year award goes to a politician is not really a post on politics or a political theme. We do have those from time to time, so if you are patient you will get your chance.

  31. Ardis Parshall on January 12, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    That would be Edwin Whiting (1809-1890). One of his wives is a distant cousin to me.

    Thanks for indulging the threadjack, T&S. We’ll take it to private email — thanks for making the connection possible.

  32. sister blah 2 on January 12, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    #7, 16, 29, 31—Aww, that is so sweet! Thanks Blake and Ardis.

  33. sister blah 2 on January 12, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Ok, I admit it. I wrote a computer program that randomly generated comment #33 from phrases lifted from various online political forums.

    Actually, I didn’t.

    [editor: The original comment #33 referred to has been removed, in keeping with the announced ground rules for this thread. Thanks for the fun responses!]

  34. Ben Pratt on January 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    SB2, when I read one of the first comments on the MOTY thread, I honestly thought for a moment that something like what you described had happened.

    It just goes to show that you can’t trust robots.

  35. oudenos on January 12, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Comment #33 just blew my mind.

  36. Megan on January 12, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Although certainly entertaining, the level of discourse seen in certain comments on that other thread was very similar to the level of dicourse one observes in youtube comments (on so many levels – spelling, grammar, coherence, relevance, politeness…)

    Of course, these days, you can’t expect much from online forums, although T&S seems to have an exceptional group of commenters, who behave appropriately and are intelligent in their communication. I think this is a real danger, and I’m sure that the recent comments from the First Presidency on civility come, in large part, because so much communication is done done in ways that make a lack of civility much more likely. (Or, you could, as many people I know do, interpret these comments as directed at Glenn Beck and his followers:))

    Although I got a kick out of those comments on the MOTY thread, I choose to believe that most of the commenters on that other thread would be much more pleasant, more reasonable, and less hysterical in person, and that there are simply people who go a little crazy at the keyboard. Wehther or not this is actually true, I don’t know, but it makes it easier for me to shrug off what people say if I realize that they just aren’t the type of people who understand how to communicate over the internet in the same way people would communicate in person.

    I also choose to believe that their communication skills are better in person, because honestly, half the time I couldn’t really understand the point, other than that Harry Reid (or “Reed” in one of the more entertaining comments) is a terrible human being/should be excommunicated/should die a slow and painful death. I’m not sure there was much of an attempt at discourse, or else people might have actually (1) read the post and realized Mormon of the Year isn’t an honor and (2) made some rudimentary attempt to make their expression of disagreement coherent and logical.

  37. Guy Murray on January 12, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Julie, Great post and points. Thanks for pointing out these references by LDS leaders. And, Congrats to all you Times and Seasons bloggers who just made mention by Wolf Blitzer on CNN’s the Situation Room. I’m proud of you all!

  38. Guy Murray on January 12, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Here’s the quote (which I know you’ve threatened to delete, Julie–but wanted to share it anyway)

    “The political firestorm surrounding Senator Harry Reid for comments he made about President Obama’s race isn’t stopping a popular Mormon Blog from honoring him. The blog known as Times and Seasons is naming the Senate Majority Leader as the 2009 Mormon of the year. Spokesman for the blog tells the Salt Lake City Tribune that Reid was the most visible and influential Mormon politician in the world.”

    Wolf Blitzer, CNN’s Situation Room 01/12/10

  39. Jim W on January 12, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Looks like I missed all the, er, fun on the MOTY thread.

    I can’t disagree that Sen. Reid had a great deal of influence in 2009, and I see the point of declaring him MOTY. Congratulations on the exposure.

    I’m not at all fond of the man politically, but I wouldn’t presume to comment on the state of the man’s soul or membership status. That path leads to peril.

    After jumping into the fray with both feet throughout 2008, and writing many brilliant, eloquent rants that I now wish I could flush down the memory hole, I have tried to take to heart the leadership’s effort to get us to be more civil. Saying fewer things snarkily usually means saying fewer things, period. It was excruciating at first, but it’s gotten easier.

    Anyway, thanks for the reminder, and for the links to some of the talks that hit me the hardest the last couple of Conferences.

  40. Margaret Blair Young on January 12, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    I was thinking about this very thing while working out today, Julie. I’m afraid the common use of pseudonyms doesn’t help. For some reason, a few people mute their “better angels” and allow themselves to say things completely out of harmony with the ideals most of us share. I have certainly been guilty of it myself, and regret any angry word which has come from my mouth or fingers. I know that I am nothing without charity, but sometimes the reality of that truth escapes me, particularly when politics come into the arena. Thank you for the wonderful links, too.
    I’ve had a sweet day of working with a missionary, which takes me back to gospel basics and makes the unfriendly, accusatory exchanges on T&S or BCC appear so far from the mark that I can barely (and rarely) bring myself to participate much anymore. At least when accusations and ad hominem arguments are taking over.

  41. Clark on January 12, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    It’s not just an issue of civility. Rather it is an issue of superficiality. No one is willing to really analyze why they feel what they feel and see if it is accurate. Instead it’s just the throwing around of labels and the like with almost no real concern for what the words mean beyond “that’s the OTHER side and why they are bad.” That is the labels merely come to mean who is part of my group and who isn’t. The real discussion of content and why some policy is bad or how is lost.

    I can handle incivility if it at least contains thoughtful analysis. I enjoy reading DKL’s posts and comments, for instance, and he’s rarely civil. (-:

  42. msg on January 13, 2010 at 1:22 am

    I am curious as to how Glenn Beck can read the “civility” counsel from
    our Church leaders and still carry on the way he does. Perhaps he needs to have a GA call him into his office for a personal civility chat.

  43. Clyde on January 13, 2010 at 2:22 am

    It seems to me that T&S expects people/media to discard the well-established convention
    that designations of “(fill-in-the-blank) of the Year” are meant to honor and acknowledge
    the designee as commendable/superlative in their field of endeavor.

    Player of the Year, Mother of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Coach of the Year, Father of the Year,
    Shooter of the Year, Cowboy of the Year, Rancher of the Year, Driver of the Year, Politician of the Year,
    Sailor of the Year, Jockey of the Year….are all honorifics.

    How about “Most Noticed Mormon” or “Most Influential Mormon”? Those appellations would be closer
    in line with what T&S states: “….designation is a recognition of the effect that the person or group of persons recognized has had during the past year. It is not a prize or award, so nothing of value is being given to anyone as a result of this designation, and it is not necessarily meant to honor the person or persons recognized.”

    You may not have meant to ‘honor the person’, but the implied format/convention of MOTY does that.
    And that incites people who object to ascribing ‘honor’ to your selection…

  44. Derek on January 13, 2010 at 2:26 am

    Julie, I wasn’t going to comment, but you mentioned socialism in a negative way. We are all (libertarians excluded) socialists of convenience, so wouldn’t it be best if we all just admitted it instead of continuing to be offended by the term?

  45. Alison Moore Smith on January 13, 2010 at 3:06 am

    You may not have meant to ‘honor the person’, but the implied format/convention of MOTY does that.

    Clyde, no one cares. How do I know? I tried the same angle. :)

  46. Kent Larsen on January 13, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Right, Clyde (43). “(fill-in-the-blank) of the Year” has to be an honor. That’s why Time named Hitler “Man of the Year” — they wanted to “honor” him.

  47. Jared on January 13, 2010 at 9:04 am

    “Angry people” come in many forms. I’m thinking of two kinds at the moment:

    1. Those who are afraid. Many in America are afraid of what is happening in our country. LDS are particularly concerned because of the Book of Mormon statements about the Gentiles. In addition, the prophet Joseph Smith’s prophecy about the Constitution are unsettling. This creates anger in some.

    2. Those who ridicule. Senator Reid is a lighting rod at the moment for those who disagree with his politics. This brings out the junk yard dog in some. They use their gifts of words to mock and ridicule because their angry.

    All of us, to one degree or another, are acquainted with this aspect of the natural s/he. We compound the problem with hypocrisy by gasping at other when they do it and then justifying it in ourselves when it emerges from our mouth or keyboard.

  48. Julie M. Smith on January 13, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Re #44,

    I am not offended by the term socialism and do not object to its use in reasoned debate. The issue here is that if you came to comment on the Reid thread and were planning on using the word socialism, you were (judging by the evidence of that thread) likely to make a rhetorically extreme comment inconsistent with how we have been counseled to talk about politics as Saints.

  49. Alex T. Valencic on January 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

    The thing that always surprises me about angry people in how thoroughly uncivil they can be. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am not always an uber-civil fellow. I am very keenly interested in politics and political philosophy, and I have gotten into many deep discussions with friends, family, and complete strangers on the issue. However, I try to attack the issues at hand, rather than the people involved. (Every now and then I fail at this, and anyone who follows me on Twitter is certain to find the occasional comment about politicians such as my former governor that are not very civil.)

    I would like to think that I am quite capable of disagreeing without being disagreeable. I tend to refrain from identifying myself with one particular party these days (although as recent as five years ago I did), and I find that it is much more important to identify specific issues and principles which matter. In so doing, I have found that my friends across the political spectrum have much in common with me, and vice versa.

    So to all the angry people, I say, welcome! Tell us why you are angry, and let’s fix the world! But remember that while sticks and stone may break bones, words can destroy a soul.

  50. J. Pete on January 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

    I wonder if there was this much outcry on T&S conversation threads when they named Mitt Romney last year as MOTY. I am new to T&S so I don’t know. was there?

  51. Ann on January 13, 2010 at 10:30 am

    “Civil” does not equal “Nice.” For example, an old Sugar Beet article had the headline “Relief Society Sister Uses Declarative Sentence.” The declarative sentence in question was “There’s no scriptural or doctrinal basis for that statement.” That statement is perfectly civil. It is not “nice.” I think that’s OK.

    “Angry” does not have to equal “uncivil,” either. If a statement makes you angry, you are allowed to say so, and allowed to say why. For example, “Julie, don’t question my morality based on my political affiliation. I am a Democrat. That doesn’t mean I drive drunk, steal, or kill babies.” That’s a civil statement.

    (I use Julie as a sample name. Julie has never accused me of driving drunk, stealing, or killing babies.)

  52. Dan on January 13, 2010 at 10:38 am

    J Pete,

    I wonder if there was this much outcry on T&S conversation threads when they named Mitt Romney last year as MOTY. I am new to T&S so I don’t know. was there?

    That would be a negatory.

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2009/01/2008-mormon-of-the-year-romney/

    There is the post. Much kinder sentiments, as you can see.

  53. Jettboy on January 13, 2010 at 10:55 am

    J Pete, as a matter of fact there was when he was picked, although less new posters than now. Some choice comments:

    “As always with the Trib, best to avoid the comments section . . .”

    “Since Mitt was so clearly NOT the favorite in the voting, what subjective weights did the editors here consider?”

    “I am embarrassed to be called one when you run articles like this. Rating people based on their church membership is absolutely inappropriate and unbecoming of anyone in this church.”

    “This is news? what a joke for him. His picture right next to a child molester. I bet this makes him really proud to be a mormon.”

    “And President Thomas S. Monson wasn’t chosen?”

    Something about Courtney for several lines that wasn’t the most positive.

    “For me, its unfortunately that T&S decide to chose such a flawed individual as its ‘Mormon of the year”, there are many other better candidates out there.”

    “Do ya suppose that ol’ Mitt has consecrated all his assets beyond what he needs to the bishop’s storehouse?”

    “The problem is that the bad impacts & also rubs off on all of us. I mean Harry Reid isn’t a very good politician either but he’d have been a better example of ‘mormon’ than what Romney was with his ever evolving resume; Romney could be accused of lacking basic honesty after all he said: lifelong hunter (wasn’t), seeing his dad march with MLK (didn’t), the illegals cutting his lawns etc & many more; now he’s gone back to the Marriott board where porn is sold in rooms? but he couldn’t be on that board when running for president?. If he is the ‘most significant’ impact, then we will always be known as Rombot like: dishonest and changing our principals for political gain. At least someone like David Archuleta or Marie Osmond gave people more ‘normal’ examples of a ‘mormon’ person. I’d forget about Romney asap and find more positive examples of Mormon folk.”

    “I guess your criteria for Times & Seasons man “or woman” of the Year is POPULARITY. Certainly, Mitt Romney still is the most popular candidate among Mormons and Christians. Except most Christians did not vote for Romney as their presidential candidate, they voted for Mike Huckabee. Romney was unable to defend his own religious beliefs during the ‘08 Presidential Debates. Mitt Romney is a prophet in the Pantheon of in the Cathedral of Commerce . . .”

    “So, if you were truly looking for an “influential” Mormon your choice clearly should have been Courtney Kendrick. I am a “non-mormon” and they have influenced me more for your faith than anyone else on your list. I didn’t even know who half of them were, so, so much for influence. And most of the celebrity and politician nominees whom I recognized, I didn’t even KNOW they were mormon. Again, so much for influence!”

    Any of this sound familiar?

  54. Dan on January 13, 2010 at 11:00 am

    The question, Jettboy, by Pete, was whether there was “this much” outrcy. Compare the two and there is no comparison.

  55. Jared on January 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

    #51 Ann–

    Ann said: If a statement makes you angry, you are allowed to say so, and allowed to say why.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    I might substitute the word angry with “astonish”, but your point is excellent.

    However, when someone chooses to ridicule and mock an individual that is a different story. It is compounded when others join in and gang up. A junk yard dog is bad enough, add two or three others and it becomes vile.

    Another issues is introduced when others observe this kind of activity and do nothing–by standers apathy.

  56. John Mansfield on January 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Kent Larsen, at the Las Vegas Review-Journal site, you again clarify that “Mormon of the Year” is not an honor. That clarification seems to need a lot of repeating.

  57. Clark on January 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Does no one know of the Time Man of the Year? That’s what it is based on and Time regularly picks unsavory sorts. Remember Putin (07), Ayatullah Khomeini (79), Nixon (72, 73), Krushchev (57), Stalin (42). Then there are the devisive political picks such as Clinton, Ken Star, Bush II, Gingrich and so forth.

    Geeze.

  58. J. Pete on January 13, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Jettboy.

    Thanks! as I said I am new to T&S so I was just curious.

  59. Marc Bohn on January 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Please watch the comments. Those violating the T&S User policies will be deleted.

  60. John Mansfield on January 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Clark, the Time magazine award is the exception that proves the rule. I could find a dozen “of the Year” awards that are honors in as many minutes. Off hand, I can’t think of any others that follow the Time magazine meaning. Perhaps other people can.

  61. AHLDuke on January 13, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I don’t think there’s a good case to be made that last year’s MOTY selection (Romney) generated nearly as much controversy as this year’s (Reid). You might be able to make that argument based on the comments at the SLTrib site, but I’d rather not sully myself by doing the research on those comments that would support such an assertion. That being said, according to the criteria set forth by the T&S permas, both awards are completely appropriate.

    I do differ with the permas regarding their opinion that the Prophet and Q12 would always be Mormon of the Year if they were allowed to be nominated. It depends I suppose on how “impact” is defined. If it is defined as impact on the Church, then obviously they win. But if so, then Harry Reid would be a less-than-obvious choice for this past year. If it is defined as impact on the society and culture at large, I think the Prophet and Q12 might only win under extraordinary circumstances (Slate’s idiosyncratic and baffling take on President Monson’s influence notwithstanding). You could argue that they were Mormon(s) of the Year in 2008 with the Prop 8 debacle and all the publicity generated from that. But in most years, their effect on the society beyond Mormonism is negligible at best. I dare say that if few non-Mormons are able to identify Harry Reid as Mormon, even fewer would be able to name the Prophet or any of the Q12 of the tops of their heads. Some of them might even tell you that Mitt Romney was one.

  62. John C. on January 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    “That’s why Time named Hitler “Man of the Year” ”
    Actually, Kent, you have to admit that honoring Hitler is just the sort of thing those no-goodniks at Time would do. Darn pinkos!

  63. Dan on January 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    John C.,

    Actually, Kent, you have to admit that honoring Hitler is just the sort of thing those no-goodniks at Time would do. Darn pinkos!

    Except Hitler was a fascist and not a pinko. I believe he put pinkos in concentration camps.

  64. Chris Henrichsen on January 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Dan,

    He was mocking the angry folks.

  65. Dan on January 13, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    Chris,

    I do realize he was mocking. I was going to put a smiley face after my comment, but felt it would look really bad. I mean read my last sentence with a smiley face after it. Not appropriate I don’t think. :)

  66. Chris Henrichsen on January 13, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Tricky like that.

  67. Matt Rasmussen on January 13, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Those articles make good points that people on any side of an issue should heed. I just want to add that Satan’s plan of communism and socialism is evil and that old devil is an anti-family moron who wants us all to get excommunicated.

  68. jimbob on January 13, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Wait. Wait. I know you wrote a bunch of stuff in the OP, but I couldn’t get past the Hulk guy. Is this a post about the Hulk being Mormon? Because if he is, I propose we reopen voting on Mormon of the year so that he can be a candidate.

  69. Reed-O on January 14, 2010 at 12:19 am

    These things of which we speak require a “tone” that cannot be used at church. Where are we “Mormons” (a non-banned word here) to go to express our political frustrations if not here? Even here we are banned from mentioning the “8″ forbidden words laid out at the beginning of this post.

    I’ve read the letters on “political participation” and I’ve read the “Elder Jensen” article which Julie so often uses to justify her deeply held political leanings. Yes, you can be “one of those” referred to therein, and still be a good member of the “Church” but, I say that “those”, of which Marlin K J was discussing are missing a fundamental chromosome of church knowledge about the seriousness of one of the concepts in one of the pre-existent plans offered – which brings me to my next point.

    Lets talk in a civil “tone” shall we about – War.

    President Gordon B Hinkley, in the June 2007 Ensign said, “That war (the War in Heaven), so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between agency and “compulsion,” (quotes added) between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him…

    Hummm. “Compulsion”. In last weeks Sunday S we talked about two plans. I raised a question that might be good for a blog question for T&S. How would “Lucifer” (“Lucifer” being a non-banned word of the “8″ banned words) make sure we all returned to heaven? What policies, what methodology would he employ? What penalties and punishments or carrots for that matter would “He”, use to bring all of us back to heaven?

    I think “He,” (a non-”8″ word I hope)would make us go to church whether we liked it or not. I think “He,” would send two or three big burly home teachers to go pick up tithing if it was not paid in full. I think “He”, would force us to give him our bank accounts so “He”, could tell if we were paying a full tithe. I think “He”, would take our children away from us and raise and teach them the way “He”, desired. I think a good example would be some of the nasty Eurasian “systems” (“systems” a non-”8″ word). I think “He”‘ would kill partially born babies like we do now. I think we would have to worship him whether we liked it or not. “Compelled”.

    I think “He” would threaten to fine us or put us in jail to conform (sound familiar?) I think “He”, if we started backsliding or rebelling too much against his mandates might put us to death before we were allowed to slide too far or start thinking we could make decisions on our own, without going through some kind of “panel”.

    “Bondage” like programs is what I think the War in heaven was about. I suspect those people who have a blank spot in their current memory about the horribleness of “that” pre-existent idea of “compulsion” – now make their home in the group Marlin K J says is acceptable to belong to. That group is the home of leaders who are about to implement – “Compulsion”. Do you get it yet?

    Is the concept of “compulsion” just a religious concept not to be confused with the worlds way of doing business outside of the church?

    Do you look at the world through the filtering lens of the gospel or, is the world to be look at through a separate filterizing lens, say, a lens inculcated by liberal teachers at HS & colleges?

    Everything we have to deal with in life should be viewed through a gospel filter. Period. Any program in our secular lives based or formed after the “bondage” pattern of which President Hinkley discussed is to be fought against – it is “war” as he says. You may not like the “tone” of the war that is still being fought today – here in the cozy, don’t rock the boat of my world view blog.

    The reason the majority of Mormons in Utah are conservative I think is they understand fully that the “war in heaven” is still raging today and it is all about “bondage”.

    Everyone who thinks differently has strayed and have unwittingly brought “bondage” to the door of the rest of us.

    They/you are unwittingly fighting for the wrong side. That is why we “Conservative/Mormons” – the majority in Utah, are so passionate and have a serious “Tone” about those who are trying hard to force “bondage” creating programs to this nation. That is why Utahan’s vote the way they do, for the lesser of two evils.

    I hope people realize we are at “War” and “change” their attitudes and start to fight against those ideas that will lead us into “bondage”. It is hard to keep a sheep-like “tone” when the situation is so critical.

  70. Rory on January 14, 2010 at 1:25 am

    “Reed-O”

    I’ll stick with “Marlin K J”, the official statements on neutrality, and my own analysis of the issues. I appreciate that you think we are on opposite “sides”, but I trust that with time you’ll find your way. In the mean time, “thanks” for your passionate “tone”.

  71. msg on January 14, 2010 at 2:01 am

    Reed-O–Let me reply. To the non-LDS world I can assure you that the democrats here on T&S would be considered quite conservative because they live gospel principles as well as any republican. If good people were to leave the democratic party then all that will be left are the “fringe” type you fear. Then we become a one-party system and lose the benefits of our two-party system–checks and balances.

    From my SS class we discussed why it the Lord thought it important to discuss government in the Doctrine and Covenants. My first thought was simply because in the last days there will be Utah conservatives who will believe we don’t need government period.

    We got into economical trouble because there was no regulation, no one was monitoring the banks and their home mortgages. We nearly had another Great Depression because of this. Yes, I want banks “compelled” to follow certain ethics and rules.

    Yes, I want drivers to be “compelled” to have car insurance. Yes, I even want parents to be “compelled” to vaccinate their children and to have them educated.

    I believe when the people do not follow the above, it puts the rest of society in “bondage”–it hurts the rest of us and we pay for it–you do to.

    I imagine you think women should be “compelled” to not have abortions. And that gay people should be “compelled” not to marry.
    If you think all democrats support those things then you need to know that they don’t. You want a better more moral democratic party? Then become a democrat and facilitate change. Being a republican won’t help that.

    When people are left bankrupt and homeless due to health care bills and no insurance, they are in “bondage”. They are “compelled” into “bondage” through no fault of their own. Does the Lord want us who have health insurance and homes to simply look the other way and do nothing? I do look at issues through the eyes of the gospel.

    No, you are not “compelled” to listen to the counsel from the GA’s on civil discourse. They say we can use a civil tone outside of church with one another and agree to disagree. They have stated that when we tear down the other side, denigrate the other side, “we stand on dangerous ground”. You may not choose to follow Pres. Monson or Elder Jensen but the fact is they speak for the Lord and you and I do not.

    Yes, we are still at “War” and how we “fight”–whether we’re civil or uncivil is part of that war.

  72. msg on January 14, 2010 at 2:12 am

    BTW–Are all republican Mormons in Utah going to turn down Medicare and Social Security when the time comes for them to use that option?

  73. Tim on January 14, 2010 at 7:05 am

    69–”‘those’, of which Marlin K J was discussing are missing a fundamental chromosome of church knowledge…”

    Including Elder Jensen? Because, you see, he is also a Democrat. But of course, by just being a conservative member of the church, you obviously understand the gospel better than a general authority who’s a Democrat.

  74. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 7:08 am

    msg,

    To the non-LDS world I can assure you that the democrats here on T&S would be considered quite conservative because they live gospel principles as well as any republican.

    Um, the Democratic Mormons on here would question the premise that living gospel principles as “any good republican” is not based on actual reality, that family values are not exclusive to republicans/conservatives, that republicans/conservatives have a hell of a lot of looking in the mirror to do on the issue of living righteously before they can make this sort of claim. :)

  75. Velska on January 14, 2010 at 7:33 am

    Dan,
    can you give examples of when ETB was uncivil to his opponents? I mean calling them names and charging them with crimes they didn’t commit not to mention views they didn’t hold? I remember him being rather straightforward, yes.

    Anyway, what I think this boils down is that there is a difference between gentlemen arguing with strong comments and trash talk full of lies, incoherent ranting, vulgarity and ad hominem. The political argument seems to devolve into the latter very frequently. Even the Taiwanese Parliament’s fistfights of years back are not as bad, IMO. And it will not save the nation, but will ensure that whoever is destroying it — if that be the case &dmash; has a good smokescreen for doing it.

  76. Chris Henrichsen on January 14, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Reed-O said:

    “The reason the majority of Mormons in Utah are conservative I think is they understand fully that the “war in heaven” is still raging today and it is all about “bondage”.”

    While I highly doubt that, it is interesting that the idea of the council in heaven and the struggle over agency in the preexistence influences the thinking of those on the far right (Reed) and those on the far left (me).

    http://www.faithpromotingrumor.com/2009/10/the-mormon-rawls-project-the-original-position-and-the-council-in-heaven-i/

  77. Chris Henrichsen on January 14, 2010 at 8:40 am

    Velska,

    I am not sure if that makes the tactics of ETB uncivil, but the pattern follow on the earlier Harry Reid post very much follows in the same mold of throwing around charged terms innaccurately and with the intent to demonize. Today is seems a bit more silly but at the height of his political activity, ETB was the tail end of McCarthyism.

    That said, I do think that he thought that he was doing the right thing. I feel the same way about somebody like Reed above. I find the analysis to be baffling but I do think it is sincere.

  78. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Velska,

    Here’s an example

  79. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 9:53 am

    and of course, you can’t forget his infamous talk Our Immediate Reponsibility, in which he slanders America’s teachers and workers by calling them communists:

    http://www.latterdayconservative.com/articles/ezra-taft-benson/our-immediate-responsibility

    Communists dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.

    and about Martin Luther King, he says,

    The man who is generally recognized as the leader of the so-called civil rights movement today in America is a man who has lectured at a Communist training school, who has solicited funds through communist sources, who hired a Communist as a top-level aide, who has affiliated with Communist fronts, who is often praised in the Communist press and who unquestionably parallels the Communist line. This same man advocates the braking of the law and has been described by J. Edgar Hoover as “the most notorious liar in the country.”

    Ouch! If a prophet of the Lord can say such uncivil things, surely anyone can.

  80. Chris Henrichsen on January 14, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Dan,

    I think those statement make him wrong, not particularly uncivil. Though in the climate of those days, these were even more charged that they appear.

  81. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Chris,

    Then we differ on what is civil and what isn’t. Surely calling a teacher a communist is uncivil. And surely agreeing with calling Martin Luther King “the most notorious liar in the country” is uncivil. Whether it is right or wrong is another matter.

  82. Amanda on January 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    #81- huh? How is calling a teacher a communist uncivil? It’s a label but I don’t find it to be uncivil…

  83. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    am I living in bizarro world?

  84. Frank McIntyre on January 14, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    “Surely calling a teacher a communist is uncivil. ”

    Not if they are proud to be a communist. He didn’t call all teachers communists, after all. He just said some of them were (which is likely true).

  85. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    Frank,

    Read that comment again. Here it is:

    Communists dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.

    He did not say “some” Communists dedicated to the destruction of our government. He did not hedge like that. Because he did not name names or groups within the teaching world, leaving it vague, he slandered all teachers. And it’s not just “communists.” The slander is “communists dedicated to the destruction of our government”. I gave ETB too much. He said quite clearly America’s teachers are communists dedicated to the destruction of our government.

  86. Frank McIntyre on January 14, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Dan, I disagree. If I said “Communists dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to comment at T&S” that would not mean that all commenters are communists, only that they are allowed (and presumably that some do comment).

    I believe you are reading the passage incorrectly. Furthermore, your reading would be bizarre, as surely Ezra Taft Benson did not believe that every last elementary school teacher in the country (let alone Utah) was dedicated to the destruction of the United States. Thus your reading has him saying something ridiculous, offensive, and untrue. My reading comes from the plain meaning of the words and is none of those.

  87. In NJ on January 14, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    I would like to posit that, while LDS largely self-identify as Republicans or Conservatives, it would be difficult to make the case that they are more conservative than other religions. Merely because I self-identify as ‘English’ does not mean I am more ‘English’ than someone else who may self-identify as ‘German’. Likewise, though Barack Obama may self-identify as ‘Black’, there may be others who are ‘more Black’ who self-identify as something else. Another example: many people in the NJ area self-identify as ‘Italian’, I can assure you they do not resemble any Italians I ever met while I was a missionary in Italy.

    In my experience [I grew up in Utah, spent time in CA, and am now in NJ], LDS tend to hold more liberal views on abortion, teaching of evolution [notice I said teaching--most LDS do not have a problem with this, regardless on their views on the creation], discrimination, etc., than their so-called counterparts. I tend to reject the blind lumping of the political views of LDS with followers of, for example, Pat Robertson [see his recent comments Re: Haiti]. Whether you think it was a publicity stunt or not, the LDS church did endorse a rather progressive anti-discrimination law in SLC, one that is progressive even by NYC or LA standards. Hell, it even turned the heart of Sen. Chris Buttars.

    My point is this: while someone may self-identify as something, that doesn’t make it true. Also, I believe that most members, when pressed, will show a rather moderate view.

  88. Alex T. Valencic on January 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I would like to posit that, while LDS largely self-identify as Republicans or Conservatives…

    Seeing as the majority of Latter-day Saints live outside the United States, I don’t see how this statement can be true, unless you are speaking only of American Latter-day Saints.

    In fact, I think that this really reinforces the entire notion that there is good to be found within just about every political party and/or platform (although I am sure that there are some parties that are exceptions). It would be very healthy if the commenters at T&S (and elsewhere) broke the ethnocentric idea that all the political parties of the world are comparable to either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party in America. It would definitely contribute to a more robust discussion of issues, rather than debating which is the party of the devil.

  89. Mark B. on January 14, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    A few questions for Reed-0:

    The people of a state choose (through their freely elected representatives) to provide for the common defense, and impose taxes on themselves to pay the costs. Those who refuse to pay taxes are subject to arrest and imprisonment. Is that Satanic “compulsion”?

    The people of a state (through their freely elected representatives) to build roads, canals and other systems of transportation, and impose taxes on themselves to pay the costs. Those who refuse to pay taxes are subject to arrest and imprisonment. Is that Satanic “compulsion”?

    The people of a state (through their freely elected representatives) to provide education for the children and youth of the community, and impose taxes on themselves to pay the costs. Those who refuse to pay taxes are subject to arrest and imprisonment. Is that Satanic “compulsion”?

    Of course, democracy is at root two wolves and a sheep voting on “what’s for dinner?”–so I can understand your objecting if you disagree with all those things that the majority have chosen to do–because you’ll still end up in the roasting pan. But you haven’t described for us a neutral principle by which we can distinguish between which of the government’s coercive acts are permissable, and which are Satanic.

    Which suggests that your argument is so much piffle. Take it back to Sunday school, and restrict it to discussions of the pre-mortal existence, but come up with some intelligent argument for why some government expenditures are acceptable and others are not.

    (And, frankly, I think there are good arguments to be made for not shifting huge sectors of the economy to the public trough–but “it’s Lucifer’s plan in 21st century clothing” is not one of them. And don’t use that line to demonize those in the church who disagree with your brand of politics. It makes you look silly.)

  90. Peter LLC on January 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Hmm… schools with their selective barriers to employment and a website open to anyone in the world with access to the internet. Frank has a point, or rather would have a point if anyone could drop in and lecture a classroom of pre-teens on communist ideology.

  91. In NJ on January 14, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    @Alex T. Valencic: I don’t disagree. In fact, I think I agree with everything you said, but with one caveat: I am impliedly referencing the recent npr story highlighting that LDS are the most conservative [in the US, obviously]. Read the comment in context of prior comments–ethnocentrism does not apply here. And also, perhaps I am reading between the lines, but it seems you are criticizing my post for essentially saying the same thing you did.

  92. In NJ on January 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    @Alex T. Valencic: Furthermore, your comment goes to my point: there is significant overlap between these two American parties, and there are more dimensions in the political spectrum than just ‘conservative’ or ‘liberal’ [this applies to parties no matter the country]. Conservative with respect to what? Liberal with respect to what? Social values? Government? Social services? Military? Economy? It all goes to the inherent unreliability of one-dimensional self-identification with respect to a multi-dimensional idea. Most LDS are rather temperate, moderate, regardless of the label.

  93. Blake Messinger on January 14, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Something to think about -

    While driving from Los Angeles to my home in Palm Springs around 5 AM the day after Christmas, I heard an interview on NPR with Sheryl Crow. She mentioned that she seems to be happy now, less angry and sees “things” (life, politics perhaps?) different: more gray then just “Black & White”. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
    http://www.wbur.org/npr/121925844
    SCOTT SIMON, NPR: How you doing now?
    Ms. CROW: I am so great. I am – you know, I’ve entered a really beautiful, serene phase of my life. Unfortunately, you get – you let go of sort of that us against them. And some of your edge goes away, which I think – we’ve watched a lot of our young, fiery artists become adults and we go well, they don’t write the great stuff anymore. But there is just something wonderful about getting older, you know? There is something wonderful about living in the gray instead of the black and white.
    She went on to credit part of this change to her two and a half year old son. I liked what I heard and have pondered “living in the gray” for the past week.
    With the baby boomers squandering almost every advantage given them from natural resources to a lot of hard work by their previous generations, the generations fallowing the baby boomers for the first time in this countries history have less prospects looking at them and will face a much less stable future. We are less likely to have a real job with real benefits, to continuing wars, a planet warming and resources going at remarkable rates that can’t be replenished and a future looks bleaker.
    I recall books I have read in the past telling me that once I get older I too will become less “liberal” and more conservative, the common refrain being the older you get the wiser. Perhaps the later part of that statement is true, but I’m happy this prediction was incorrect.
    Anger can be a hot and consuming flame. And as our bodies grow feebler; our joints tire and we start having the pressures of offspring or jobs or many other issues facing adults, many start to move away from the heat and settle in. And with our capitalistic-atomized society more and more attention is given to the job or family in the final attempt to keep some kind of community around us. .
    Many marginalized people in this country and around the world are angry, and most of them don’t seem to understand why that might be. It seems to me that they pick apart around the margins with less prospects, many cling to what they have in hope of following their baby boomer folk’s philosophy, a real “head-in-the-sand” philosophy. They often fight the rear guard actions in hopes of keeping what they got, at the expense of vast majority in this world that have so much less. Too deny our affluence, to a great extent, is based on consumption of other people resources is a real head-in-the-sand ignorance nobody likes to acknowledge.
    Instead of building “Victory Gardens” like they did in WWII and paying for over half the war as it was fought with War Bonds, most conservatives and some liberals are happy with status quo shopping and damning their own children with all the war debt. Instead of using their affluence and putting solar panels on their houses, they are happy to replace a couple of light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs. No real solutions for the problems of the world just quick fixes, sounds like the American political system way of solving problems don’t you think?
    The only good news that I can see is that there are many “youth” who are living more modestly, trying not to buy into the run-a-way capitalism of their parents. Mostly, I suspect, because they pay attention to the news reports of job lost, a real lack of corporate concern for them and environmental woes. They have seen that both Clinton and Obama are the best hope, if hope means center-right corporate polices and continuous wars. They see the pressures and hopefully will continue to try something else then the failed modeling of their parents.
    So anger is a tricky thing. No one can sustain it continuously. But calling things “gray” when their truly are black and white issues is the real ultimate cop-out of the previous generation and those who have affluence now. So there in lies the conundrum, I still like the idea of “living in the gray”. After living 50 years in what I see as a rather remarkable life, I would like to think I know what degree of “change” worth fighting for. For me I am resolved that part of the fight includes peace of mind, and I now chose to focus on the body and mind and how best to take care of it, in an attempt to live in the gray with some influence to the world I am a part of. It won’t be easy but I will give it all it takes and hopefully good “change” will follow in some small way, by living in the gray.

  94. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Frank,

    Dan, I disagree. If I said “Communists dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to comment at T&S” that would not mean that all commenters are communists, only that they are allowed (and presumably that some do comment).

    By not clarifying, giving criteria for how to discern between the Communists and non-Communists, how can anyone tell the difference? ETB never intended for his listeners to discern the difference, and no one dared challenge his bad assertion. He had a visceral hate for America’s teachers and union leaders.

    Furthermore, your reading would be bizarre, as surely Ezra Taft Benson did not believe that every last elementary school teacher in the country (let alone Utah) was dedicated to the destruction of the United States.

    Can you show me where he qualified his remark so that his listeners would not assume that?

    My reading comes from the plain meaning of the words and is none of those.

    My guess is this is because you tend to agree with him, and thus find no offense in his comments. For they are offensive. But I think what is worse is how ignorant his comments are. They so lack a knowledge I would have expected of someone in his position and his age. He got taken in too much by the red scare, I think.

  95. WJ on January 14, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Dan, “My guess is this is because you tend to agree with him, and thus find no offense in his comments. For they are offensive. But I think what is worse is how ignorant his comments are. They so lack a knowledge I would have expected of someone in his position and his age. He got taken in too much by the red scare, I think.”

    Funny, because I was just thinking how your conclusion that Benson was classifying all teachers as communists demonstrated your own ignorance on the subject. Frank’s point is self-evident; Benson’s words indicate that he was saying only that “some” communists were teachers, which undoubtedly there were. “Communists” indicates plurality, not universality. I’m not sure why you feel Benson should have needed to spoon feed you “criteria” by which to “discern” in order to understand the distinction. And to use this as a basis to conclude Benson had a visceral hate of teachers (or conversely, as evidence of such) is preposterous.

    But of course, its only Frank’s interpretation that is biased, not your own.

  96. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    WJ,

    By not giving criteria or examples, ETB cast doubt upon all teachers, for how was one to judge.

    I’m not ignorant on the subject. I know full well why ETB makes this charge and the one against Martin Luther King (which I note everyone ignores—I guess everyone who has ignored it also agrees with it and doesn’t find it offensive, or uncivil). He believed public education would lead to communism. He believed civil rights would lead to communism. He believed unionizing workers would lead to communism. He believed anything not conservative would lead to communism. Am I wrong in this assessment? His charge is against the public teaching profession. His charge is against the unionized worker. His charge is against those who press for equal civil rights.

    In any case, I won’t continue on this any further. Velska asked for examples of ETB being uncivil. I gave him two examples. They do stand up to scrutiny except to those who believe in those charges and thus not find them offensive or uncivil. For his political opponents, ETB simply labeled them “communist.” That’s all he had. He was ignorant and uncivil on his political opponents. He never truly bothered to learn why his political opponents did what they did or believed what they believed. It was enough that they disagreed with him. For that, he went with the charge “Look, a communist!” Very uncivil.

  97. Reed-O on January 14, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    My response to Mark B.

    “That war (the War in Heaven), so bitter, so intense, has never ceased. It is the war between agency and compulsion, between the followers of Christ and those who have denied Him… President Gordon B Hinkley.”

    Dude Brother! Not just anybody has the spirit of discernment. If you do not get what President Hinkley is saying, and what I said earlier, and how “bondage” is about to drop hard on us right now, you have a real discernment problem.

    Haven’t you been up on the watch tower watching the enemy work? Or are you one of those people down in the middle of the fortification half asleep. And when awake, laughing and pointing up at the majority of Utah conservatives that have been paying attention up on the wall and fighting the “war”.

    I shout down to you Dude Brother. “Liberal/Progressives” (who have taken over the “national” kingdom, that MK Jensen talks about and belongs to) are more than ever now breaching the walls of our free agency/protection as we speak. They want to put us into “bondage” (Obama Care, Cap & Tax to name a few). I say, quit unwittingly throwing them your support by contributing money to, and voting for them. They are not what they appear to be. If you were up on the watch tower with us you could see clearly.
    [those guys down there all have scales over their eyes].

    You shout back, “allll is welllll.” “Nooo prooooblems.” I’m ok here. M K Jensen has given me permission to be here. Let him pay attention while I gloat here that this is an OK place to be.

    Maybe you could ask someone with the gift of discernment to help you understand it. General authorities have discernment but they don’t count as they must maintain political neutrality.

    I know you can be a good Mormon Democrat or Republican just be conservative.

    This has been a shocking rant, I know. It is written that way to make people upset and think about the situation at hand. Hopefully people will ruminate about it and eventually change toward conservatism whatever party you belong to.

    “Conservatism is to politics what Mormonism is to religion.” Reed-O

  98. WJ on January 14, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Dan, one judges by using common sense. But we are obviously not going to get anywhere on this topic, so I’m over it.

    I think you give yourself far too much credit for what you think you know about Benson’s motives and understanding regarding communism (how many times did you meet with, say, the communist leader of the USSR, for instance?). If communist principles were being taught to children in public school, do you think it more or less likely that public education would lead to communism (this again goes to the point that it was communist teachers, not all of public education, that Benson was concerned about)?

    I can’t speak to your overall conclusion that he believed civil rights would lead to communism (a conclusion, which if true, I disagree with), but with regard to your prior quote of Benson’s statements on MLK, not all of the claims are unfounded, such as, for instance MLK aides Levison and Odell, who were known to be part of the American Communist Party leadership. Regarding the claim of lying (which is technically Hoover’s claim, and not Benson’s — though agreement can obviously be inferred), a lot of plagiarism was found in MLK’s writings, including much of his academic writings as well as his doctoral dissertation (and speeches). My guess is people don’t dwell on this subject not because they agree with it, as you indicate, but because its an unpleasant topic, as most, including myself, regard MLK as a great civil rights leader. That said, again, Benson’s statements are not all without merit, though you seem to have concluded that they are.

    So yes, you are wrong in your assessment, mainly for the reason that you assume too much and are too extreme in your conclusions (and your assumptions swing only one way, with the presumption that Benson is simply out of his mind).

  99. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    WJ,

    I was born in Romania under Communism. I kinda have a clue what it was like. :)

    As for ETB, yes, I believe he went way overboard on the issue of communism; his feelings fed by an unfounded fear, by trust in the wrong men (J. Edgar Hoover and Cleon Skousen), and the mixing of vague scriptures on secret combinations. I don’t discount the threat that communism posed liberal societies, but most of the fears we had were solely in our own minds. I appreciated JFK, who was far more reasoned, for example, when it came to standing up to Communism. But again, someone like ETB would certainly not thought highly of someone like JFK; he would have accused him of harboring communists in his administration (I haven’t done the research to whether ETB had actually said anything of JFK’s administration, not really caring, because I discount what ETB says politically because he’s so hysterical). Where were the reasonable minds during the Cold War who comforted Americans with talk of good things? Why hadn’t the likes of ETB and Harold B. Lee, instead of playing on fears, built on hope? America is a wonderful land free for all who wish to come? In other words, why were they not more civil? The answer lies in the struggle to control the future of this country, that when it comes to it at last, every single person will say and do whatever it takes in order to maintain control, even the prophet of the Lord. Take for instance what you say, in paraphrasing ETB:

    If communist principles were being taught to children in public school, do you think it more or less likely that public education would lead to communism (this again goes to the point that it was communist teachers, not all of public education, that Benson was concerned about)?

    How realistic is it to make such a charge, now, in the 1960s, the 1930s, or whenever? Saying “if communist principles were taught” is certainly better than saying “communists bent on destroying our government teach” because principles can be quantified whereas the label “communists” cannot. Exactly what was a communist principle taught to children in public schools in the 1960s that so worried ETB? I have a hard time imagining, seeing how much more liberal our country has gotten since the 1960s.

    As far as Civil Rights, here is what ETB thought on the subject:

    “The Communist program for revolution in America has been in progress for many years and is far advanced. While it can be thwarted in a fairly short period of time merely by sufficient exposure, the evil effects of what has already been accomplished cannot be removed overnight. The animosities, the hatred, the extension of government control into our daily lives–all this will take time to repair. The already-inflicted wounds will be slow to heal.
    First of all, we must not place blame on the Negroes. They are merely the unfortunate group that has been selected by professional Communist agitators to be used as the primary source of cannon fodder. Not one in a thousand Americans–black or white–really understands the full implications of today’s civil-rights agitation. The planning, direction, and leadership come from the Communists, and most of those are white men who fully intend to destroy America by spilling Negro blood, rather than their own.
    Next, we must not participate in any so-called ‘blacklash’ activity which might tend to further intensify inter-racial friction. Anti-Negro vigilante action, or mob action, of any kind fits perfectly into the Communist plan. This is one of the best ways to force the decent Negro into cooperating with militant Negro groups. The Communists are just as anxious to spearhead such anti-Negro actions as they are to organize demonstrations that are calculated to irritate white people.
    We must insist that duly authorized legislative investigating committess launch an even more exhaustive study and expose the degree to which secret Communists have penetrated into the civil rights movement. The same needs to be done with militant anti-Negro groups. This is an effective way for the American people of both races to find out who are the false leaders among them.” (General Conference Report, Oct. 1967, p.38)

    I’m really not off in my assessment. Ezra Taft Benson was uncivil toward his political opponents.

  100. Clark on January 14, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Dan, I think you’re conflating being uncivil with having ideas others find offensive. Let me offer a challenge. Take the assertions from that last quote you provided (which I think we all disagree with) and rewrite it in the civil form you think it ought to take. I can easily do that with most of the uncivil comments I found in the Reid thread. I suspect however if you try that with the quotes you offer you’ll quickly see the problem. Let’s not conflate content with civility.

  101. Dan on January 14, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Clark,

    Dan, I think you’re conflating being uncivil with having ideas others find offensive.

    Let me be clearer then. When ETB says “secret Communists have penetrated into the civil rights movements,” he actually has no clue. He never names names because he has no names. He uses the label “communists” as a logical fallacy, a violation of Goodwin’s Law. His intent is to discredit the civil rights movement by associating the civil rights movement with a known enemy so that no Mormon would dare support the civil rights movement. He doesn’t have actual evidence (or if he did, he never divulged it). Do you get it now? His purpose was to discredit his political opponents in the eyes of Mormons so that Mormons “stayed in line” with his political ideology. That’s uncivil. That’s politics, a contact sport. I don’t blame the man. He did what he felt he needed to do in order to win. My initial point was that it is okay to do this. In order to win in a battle for the hearts and minds of a democratic society, you simply cannot remain civil. I show this with an example of a prophet getting dirty with his political opponents. Do you guys honestly think ETB was nice to his political opponents?

  102. Mark B. on January 14, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    Reed-0

    It’s obvious that you didn’t understand a single thing that I said. But you should understand that there are few things so dangerous as coupling religious dogma with a political position. And suggesting that those who disagree with you politically are the dupes of Satan (or else his willing accomplices) is a clear sign that you have neither heard nor understood the clear messages given by the leaders of the church on political neutrality.

    (And suggesting that you have insider knowledge, secret wisdom, etc., is just a half step from the claims of the polygamous sects who claim the same thing–different subject matter, but similarly dangerous ground.)

  103. Clark on January 14, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Dan, Goodwin’s Law is referring to Nazis. But ETB isn’t doing that. He actually believes there are communist in the civil rights movements. And there were. But who cares? The communists involved were by and large not interested in the overthrow of the US Benson and the John Birchers thought there were.

    All you are doing is demonstrating that you are conflating content and civility. Or, put an other way, it appears you think some ideas are inherently uncivil and can never be discussed in a civil manner. I really find that unfortunate because I think the best solution for incorrect ideas is for them to be discussed civilly in the open so that errors can be be discovered in an non-threatening environment.

  104. WJ on January 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

    Dan, if you don’t mind sharing, how old were you when you lived in Romania? Its one thing if you were in, say, yours 20s or older, rather than teens to younger, as in the latter case, you probably weren’t cognizant of many of the political circumstances of the times.

    One thing I don’t understand about your position is your following statement:

    “I don’t discount the threat that communism posed liberal societies, but most of the fears we had were solely in our own minds.”

    This statement is inherently contradictory. By ascribing most of our communist fears to figments of our imagination, you are therefore discounting the communist threat to liberal societies. And its mind boggling to me that, having lived in Romania, a country that was dominated by communist USSR, as were other European nations, you can then turn around and say that the threat posed by communism was a mere fiction. There seems to be a disconnect here.

    You note JFK was more reasoned in his approach to communism, yet JFK (and RFK) were also initially concerned about MLK’s possible communist ties as well, and authorized FBI wiretapping of MLK’s phones. Again, somewhat of a contradiction, though one of less significance.

    “Where were the reasonable minds during the Cold War who comforted Americans with talk of good things? Why hadn’t the likes of ETB and Harold B. Lee, instead of playing on fears, built on hope? America is a wonderful land free for all who wish to come? In other words, why were they not more civil?”

    Benson’s account of his meeting with Krushchev is telling: “As we talked face to face, he indicated that my grandchildren would live under communism. After assuring him that I planned to do all in my power to assure that his and all other grandchildren would live under freedom, he arrogantly declared in substance, ‘You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright but we will keep feeding strong doses of socialism until you finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you fall like over ripe fruit into our hands.’”

    Now tell me, after this conversation with the leader of the communist world, would you be filled with a sense of all is well in Zion? Or might you think the country generally, and the Saints specifically, ought to be vigilant against such influences? Is that not what our leaders are supposed to do, to warn us of potential danger? I’m not sure why you think Benson’s thoughts on the issue are so “hysterical.” And what exactly are you accusing Benson of trying to “maintain control of?” What did he, personally, seek to lose by not sufficiently whipping the people into a frenzy?

    Regarding my question about the teaching of communist principles in school, lets not obfuscate and act like there is no such thing as a “communist principle,” or that one was not taught. The same concept applies to any subject. If children are taught to believe the gospel, do you think they are more likely to believe it when they grow up? I think this goes without saying.

    “…seeing how much more liberal our country has gotten since the 1960s.”

    Maybe this is semantics, but if by “liberal” you mean “free,” then I’m afraid you and I are living in a different United States.

    Your provision of quotes from Benson regarding the civil rights movement was interesting, and I must say, provided a more helpful context to his perspective than was provided in that narrow snippet from “Our Immediate Responsibility.” Benson sought to expose the communist threat, a reasonable desire. He did not blame blacks for what he believed to be a communist movement, and in fact, cautioned against vigilante action against the civil rights movement. While somewhat off base regarding the impetus behind the civil rights movement, these statements are much more measured than the snippet from Our Immediate Responsibility, which gave the impression that Benson was telling members to grab their pitchforks and line up in front of the county courthouse. And look, a social uprising for any reason can be somewhat unnerving, lets face it. Concerns about civil war or serious and irredeemable divisions within the country were not completely out of the realm of possibility (though we now know that didn’t happen). Indeed, his statements against vigilante action seem to demonstrate a decent measure of civility, contrary to your extreme assertion.

  105. Ardis Parshall on January 15, 2010 at 12:30 am

    (who have taken over the “national” kingdom, that MK Jensen talks about and belongs to)

    Elder Jensen is my hero on so many grounds, absolutely the least of which is politics.

    Civility be damned. Reed-O, go to hell.

  106. Michael Bray on January 15, 2010 at 2:20 am

    You’re right. The Tribune article did send me your way.
    I often read the Tribune’s article comments for amusement, or not.
    I’ll be checking in just because I enjoy civil discussions of church- and nonchurch-related topics. I’m glad I was lured in.

  107. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 7:10 am

    Clark,

    His belief of communists in the civil rights movement was not because of actual evidence, but because of his predispositions. ETB was for the status quo in regards to the status of blacks. He felt blacks did not deserve the same status as whites and his backing was religious in nature. So if blacks and whites are suddenly beginning to press for blacks to be treated equally, where his views on blacks are based on his religious beliefs, well, then those who are for blacks to be treated equally must come from the enemy.

    You can apply this thought process to all of his political views. Just look at what he thinks is the proper role of government. If you don’t adhere to his view (which is religiously tied), then you’re view is communist. There is no middle ground. And it is my belief that he attacks his political opponents like this because he is an ideologue, and like any good ideologue, he will get dirty with his political opponents with labels his political opponents will hate. The point of using such a label as “communist” is not to be accurate, but to be messy, to be dirty, to throw mud.

    Look Clark, would you call Glenn Beck civil? I certainly don’t. And Glenn Beck doesn’t say thinks much differently than Ezra Taft Benson vis a vis his political opponents. Glenn Beck tosses more labels around, but the message is the same.

    Now, maybe I’m not understanding what uncivil is. Maybe you can give me an appropriate example of being uncivil. I mean, I figure a good example might be Sarah Palin making the charge that Barack Obama was “palling around with terrorists.” I don’t see the difference between that and ETB saying Martin Luther King is “palling around with communists.” Do you see what I mean?

  108. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 7:26 am

    WJ,

    We left Romania when I was seven. Did I experience some of the bad things? No. My memories of Romania (at least the ones not repressed) are very pleasant. The Securitate made sure I didn’t know what they were doing to my mother when they held her in prison for about six months, and afterwards as they used her to spy on those she knew. She outwitted them, though, as she went to them with an idea: what if she spies for the Securitate in America? Brilliant! I went back on my mission to Romania in 1995, not long after the end of Ceausescu’s rule. I am quite familiar with communism up close.

    This statement is inherently contradictory. By ascribing most of our communist fears to figments of our imagination, you are therefore discounting the communist threat to liberal societies. And its mind boggling to me that, having lived in Romania, a country that was dominated by communist USSR, as were other European nations, you can then turn around and say that the threat posed by communism was a mere fiction. There seems to be a disconnect here.

    Not at all, WJ. By experiencing it up close, I can easily discount the unfounded fears from the real threats. I’m actually quite disappointed that ETB actually took Kruschev seriously. Why would you take what your enemy states as actual fact? Should you not consider that he may be saying things in order to play with your mind? I mean, seriously, how did ETB even get such a high position in government and not realize this kind of stuff you learn in college about politics? The only reason ETB uses that quote from Kruschev is to scare Americans into following ETB. Don’t you see this? Most of the assessments the United States had on the USSR had vastly overstated and overplayed the power and influence of the Soviet Union, and it is my belief that most of that overstating was done for domestic political purposes, to inflate the power of the enemy to keep the American people in line. This is very common, and I would have expected educated people to catch this. Educated people DID catch this, which is why people like ETB attacked educated people as communist sympathizers.

    Now tell me, after this conversation with the leader of the communist world, would you be filled with a sense of all is well in Zion?

    Actually I would definitely be filled with a sense of all is well in Zion because I know a ruse when I see one. Kruschev was playing ETB and ETB didn’t even know it.

    Regarding my question about the teaching of communist principles in school, lets not obfuscate and act like there is no such thing as a “communist principle,” or that one was not taught

    The reason I asked for an example was so that we would be on the same page. By all means, enlighten me. What was a communist principle taught in America’s public schools in the 1960s that scared ETB so much that he would say communists bent on destroying American government have infiltrated our schools. Please, I really want to know. Or are you going to keep it vague to so that the charge can stand without ever being actually debated? See, Clark says in his comment the difference between content and civility is that content can be debated, whilst uncivility cannot. If the charge against America’s teachers is a matter of content, then we can debate the principles. If it is a matter of uncivility, then it cannot. So what are the communist principles ETB was talking about?

    Concerns about civil war or serious and irredeemable divisions within the country were not completely out of the realm of possibility (though we now know that didn’t happen). Indeed, his statements against vigilante action seem to demonstrate a decent measure of civility, contrary to your extreme assertion.

    Except of course the unprovable charge that “secret Communists” were in charge of the civil rights movement. Exactly how can you prove “secret” Communists are in charge? Nice spin, WJ.

  109. Chris Henrichsen on January 15, 2010 at 7:37 am

    There are socialists teaching at BYU right now.

  110. Chris Henrichsen on January 15, 2010 at 7:47 am

    Everybody gather up your torches and your pitchforks.

  111. Velska on January 15, 2010 at 8:35 am

    Dan, @ #77, 78, and on

    ETB said, “communists are allowed to teach…” — by which he doesn’t by any means implicate all teachers. He says, that no legal barrier stop an avowed communist applying and being accepted in a teaching post. It’s another thing whether he’d be accepted by a school board dominated by McCarthyists.

    If I say, that “Mormons are allowed to run for government offices,” It means that we do not have a legal obstacle to running. No that all goverment officers are Mormons. Can you see the analogy?

    So, whatever, can you honestly compare that to what Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Olbermann, Maher & co are saying? I mean, some of their rants are really demeaning not only to their targets, but themselves.

    And it’s just not using “facts” that are picked with dubious methods to support your own position. It’s screaming vulgarities and epithets. You know, ETB points to a source of information that is presumably trustworthy (FBI chief), who calls MLK a liar and whatever.

    it’s this calling people like Reid perverts, depraved, abortionist (he doesn’t back legislation that would ban abortion altogether, although he opposes convenience abortions). And it’s not just the unfounded accusations like that.

    And yes, I understand that many people feel the constitution is in danger. Is it because the taxes on the richest few are going up or because the new health care plan, flawed as it is (it’s necessary a portrait of its writers), guarantees treatment to millions of people, who are outside “the best health care in the world” because they can’t afford to get an insurance with what they earn from their 60-hour/wk jobs.

    The constitution has been in danger since 2001, and when the door was open to undoing people’s right to private communications between their friends and relatives and holding people indefinitely without being charged for a crime.

    I don’t care which party you represent. As soon as you start hurling epithets at the top of your lungs, you have jumped long across the border where civil communication ends.

    When I read the transcriptions of discussions in congress in the early days of the republic and a little before, there were some angry voices. But the comments that where the strongest seem to be more satiric of their opponents, or then just angry, and just plain saying, “don’t like your opinions.”

    Also, I haven’t read so much about the Founding Fathers, but the texts that I have read, can be cherry-picked to support many different views. They voiced strong opinions, but I can’t remember Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin calling people child molesters, adulterers or such. Rush, Sean, Anne, Keith, Glenn, Bill are doing that, let alone bloggers.

    I would say, that I am just tired of the stupidity of so many commentators.

  112. Chris Henrichsen on January 15, 2010 at 8:42 am

    “They voiced strong opinions, but I can’t remember Thomas Jefferson or Ben Franklin calling people child molesters, adulterers or such.”

    I am pretty sure that Jefferson paid somebody else to do it on his behalf.Sure, civility is at a bit of a low, but it was not much better in the past. We just like to remember those times as noble.

  113. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Velska,

    Here is from the Federalist Party on Wikipedia:

    To strengthen their coalitions and hammer away constantly at the opposition, both parties sponsored newspapers in the capital (Philadelphia) and other major cities. On the Republican side, Philip Freneau and Benjamin Franklin Bache blasted the administration with all the scurrility at their command. Bache in particular targeted Washington himself as the front man for monarchy who must be exposed. To Bache, Washington was a cowardly general and a money-hungry baron who saw the Revolution as a means to advance his fortune and fame, Adams was a failed diplomat who never forgave the French their love of Benjamin Franklin and who carved a crown for himself and his descendants, and Alexander Hamilton was the most inveterate monarchist of them all. The Federalists, with twice as many newspapers at their command, slashed back with equal vituperation; John Fenno and “Peter Porcupine” (William Cobbett) were their nastiest pensmen, and Noah Webster their most learned; Hamilton subsidized the Federalist editors, wrote for their papers, and in 1801 established his own paper, the New York Evening Post. Though his reputation waned considerably following his death, Joseph Dennie ran three of the most popular and influential newspapers of the period, The Farmer’s Weekly Museum, the Gazette of the United States and Port Folio.[17]

    George Washington is a front man for the monarchy and a cowardly general. John Adams a failed diplomat. Alexander Hamilton “the most inveterate monarchist of them all.” You really should look up just how “civil” our Founding Fathers were to each other.

    I don’t care which party you represent. As soon as you start hurling epithets at the top of your lungs, you have jumped long across the border where civil communication ends.

    It worked effectively for our Founding Fathers. It worked for Joseph Smith (read his tirades against Ford and Boggs), and it worked for the more subdued (at least compared with the more colorful characters of the 19th century) Ezra Taft Benson.

  114. gomez on January 15, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Reed, you loon, apparently you have internet access up there in your Idahoan compound. Check this out:

    http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7087

  115. Reed-O on January 15, 2010 at 10:02 am

    # Mark B. 1/14/2010 at 11:29 pm

    Dude brother Mark B. I understood your point clearly. Those basic foundational items you mentioned are necessary but are not the mega-bondage issues we are now see coming from Washington.

    “And suggesting that those who disagree
    with you politically are the dupes of
    Satan (or else his willing accomplices)”

    I said “Unwittingly” not “willing”. This new group in Washington, “Wagged the Dog” better than anyone in history (even the Clinton’s). I’m very “Angry” that any American Mormon could be so completely duped as to want them in power. Julie referenced the “First Presidency letter on political participation,”. It says in part:

    “… Latter-day Saints as citizens are to seek
    out and then uphold leaders who will act with
    integrity and are wise, good, and honest. …”

    We didn’t get those things.

    …”Therefore, in this election year, we urge
    you to register to vote, to study the issues
    and candidates carefully and prayerfully, and
    then to vote for and actively support those
    you believe will most nearly carry out your
    ideas of good government. …”

    Yeah I know, in what ever political party you belong to.

    Any member who voted this bunch in were not willing and did not do as the church suggested, “to study the issues and candidates carefully and prayerfully..”

    Next:
    “…neither heard nor understood the clear
    messages given by the leaders of the church
    on political neutrality.”

    Dudelio. I get it. The church must maintain political neutrality. I don’t want the church to change that stance. Are you suggesting I should be politically neutral? I’m not suggesting you should be. Hello! I’m trying to shame LDS members who “unwittingly” brought us this new mega-bondage promoting administration.

    “…(And suggesting that you have insider
    knowledge, secret wisdom, etc.,…”

    Pssst! Mark B., did you miss the question in post 69?

    “….How would “Lucifer” … make sure we
    all returned to heaven? What policies, what
    methodology would he employ? What penalties
    and punishments or carrots for that matter
    would “He”, use to bring all of us back to
    heaven? …”

    I’ve read about every doctrinal book in Mormondom. What does Bruce R. have to say about it? Why did Pres. Hinkley bring it up? A mission. Yahh dude, those writings are where I got my “secret wisdom.” Wink Wink.

  116. Reed-O on January 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

    # gomez 1/15/2010 at 10:01 am
    Reed, you loon, apparently you have internet access up there in your Idahoan compound. Check this out: http://speeches.byu.edu/reader/reader.php?id=7087

    Gomez,

    I read it. Item 7 is the point I am trying to make here. Thank you DALLIN H. OAKS, and Gomez.

    7. Some persons have a finely developed social conscience. They respond to social injustice and suffering with great concern, commitment, and generosity. This is surely a spiritual strength, something many of us need in greater measure. Yet persons who have this great quality need to be cautious that it not impel them to overstep other ultimate values. My social conscience should not cause me to coerce others to use their time or means to fulfill my objectives. We are not blessed for magnifying our calling with someone else’s time or resources.

    And, item 17 of the talk you think must describe me.

    I understand the point. But remember how this particular posting was setup in the beginning. I’m on this subject which I am passionate about, for a reason. Right or wrong, I have knowingly been provocative – thinking it will make members mad and cause them to think in this area. So yes I have purposefully been a loon.
    So hate me! But think about it(#7 above).

    Well, I’m off to teach seminary. Just kidding!

  117. Alex T. Valencic on January 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Dan,

    Let’s take the quote from ETB that has you so upset and insert other nouns. But first, the original:

    “Communists dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.”

    Okay, how about this:

    “Liberals dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.”

    Or:

    Conservatives dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.”

    How about:

    “Hippies dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.”

    Or:

    “Zealots dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.”

    And, of course:

    “Mormons dedicated to the destruction of our government are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office.”

    I am sure that I can find at least one person somewhere who would agree with all of these statements. None of them indicate that all teachers, labor union leaders, and public officials are communists/liberals/conservatives/hippies/zealots/Mormons. The statement clearly states that these individuals are given access to schools, labor unions, and public office. It takes an enormous stretch of the imagination to believe that the statement is saying “Because A is in B, all B are A.”

  118. Alex T. Valencic on January 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Sorry for double-posting, but I am going to use a classic logical fallacy test to check my last statement:

    Because A is in B, all B are A.

    A = cat
    B = animals

    Because [a] CAT is in [the group of] ANIMALS, all ANIMALS are CAT[S].

    FAIL

  119. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 10:39 am

    Alex,

    I’m not saying because A is in B all B are A. I’m saying ETB wants people to believe that because A is in B, that B is suspect and too closely aligned with A. It’s HIS logical fallacy not mine.

  120. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

    or to use your cat analogy,

    Because CAT is an ANIMAL, we cannot be certain that all ANIMALS are CATS because we don’t give any way to show how ANIMALS are different than CATS.

  121. gomez on January 15, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Reed, sorry for the ‘loon’ comment. I don’t hate you. Peace, brother. Go easy on the seminary kids!

  122. Mark B. on January 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Reed-0

    “Those basic foundational items you mentioned are necessary but are not the mega-bondage issues we are now see coming from Washington.”

    One man’s bondage is another man’s entertainment. If you don’t like it, vote for someone different. And if your side keeps losing and you just can’t stand it, move somewhere else. But quit equating your political opponents with the dupes of Satan. There may be some who think that people like you are the dupes of Satan (or his willing accomplices). Do you really think (well, all right, I’ll admit that it’s not fair to ask you that) that political discourse is made civil by equating the opposition with evil?

  123. Alex T. Valencic on January 15, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Dan,

    The logical argument is not that animals are different from cats. It is that, cats are a subset of animals, and, therefore, not all animals are cats. The subgroup does not define the group.

    Liberals dedicated to the expansion of our government in order to provide social services are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office. Conservatives dedicated to the reduction of our government in order to encourage private individuals to provide social services are allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office. Both statements can be accepted as true, therefore the group of “those allowed to teach at our schools, to hold offices in labor unions, to run for public office” contains many sub-groups, one of which ETB claimed was the sub-group of communists.

  124. Mark D. on January 15, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Are all republican Mormons in Utah going to turn down Medicare and Social Security when the time comes for them to use that option?

    Both programs passed with super-majorities that included a large number of Republican votes. Social Security: 77 yes votes in the Senate, including 60 Democrats and 16 Republicans. 1 Democrat and 5 Republicans opposed. Medicare: 70 yes votes in the Senate, including 57 Democrats and 13 Republicans. 7 Democrats and 17 Republicans opposed. Think of that: The vote among Republican senators for Social Security was 16 to 5. The vote among Republican senators for Medicare was 13 to 17. That is not exactly what one would call unilateral opposition.

    In addition, if the government (for example) requires you to save 15% of your earnings in a savings account, it is not exactly inconsistent with opposition to such a requirement to expect to be able to keep the savings one is required to make. The same goes for state opposition to a program that requires significantly increased taxes, and the expectation that if it does pass, the state will receive something in return for all the extra taxes it is required to pay. Now if a person could opt out of social security, or a state could opt out of paying taxes for various federal programs, that would be different.

  125. djinn on January 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    The Khrushchev “quote” above is a fabrication, widely poularized in the early 60′s by extreme right-wing groups.

    In 1962, Benson published the following:

    A few months before com­ing to the United States Khrushchev is reported to have said:

    We can­not expect the Amer­i­cans to jump from cap­i­tal­ism to com­mu­nism, but we can assist their elected lead­ers in giv­ing Amer­i­cans small doses of social­ism, until they sud­denly awake to find they have communism .…”
    http://www.themoralliberal.com/2009/12/12/the-red-carpet-ezra-taft-benson/

    Morris Udall performed a thorough search and was unable to source the quote to anything but unsourced US publications.
    http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/udall/khrushch_htm.html

  126. ADMIN on January 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    FOLKS,

    CUT OUT THE PERSONAL INSULTS OR YOU WILL BE MODERATED OR BANNED. ALL COMMENTS NEED TO COMPLY WITH THE T&S COMMENT POLICY, WHICH IS VERY CLEAR. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, PLEASE SEE OUR COMMENT POLICY AT http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/comment-policies/ .

    THANK YOU

  127. djinn on January 15, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Oh, and before I forget, you that think that our founding fathers were models of grace and deportment when it came to politics, don’t forget that Aaron Burr killed (KILLED) Alexander Hamilton in a duel over political differences–specifically something Hamilton wrote about Burr when Burr was running for office, I believe.

  128. Reed-O on January 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Sorry Mark B.

    You said:
    “…with the dupes of Satan.”

    Let me state it better then.

    Those very elect who have been deceived – by whom? Is that more palatable?

    See the #7 point in Post 117 by DALLIN H. OAKS. If you think others should pay for your health care and you consider your self the elect, you have been deceived. Am I understanding Elder Oaks correctly?

  129. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Alex,

    #123,

    Ah, but there is a great vast chasm of difference between a liberal and a communist. And that’s the whole point. ETB wished people to believe there was no difference at all, even though that was not actual reality. He played dirty. He was uncivil. The cat analogy, of course, has a major flaw. We already know what a cat looks like and how it differs from other subsets of animals. And this was my major critique of ETB and those who agree with his thinking. How exactly was he differentiating between those he thought were communists from those who were not? You’d think a label as one as “communist” would be easy to define, but because of men like ETB, the definition became muddy. Anyone who expanded the size of the government was labeled a communist by ETB and his ideological type, no matter how crazy and off it was. It’s just like Glenn Beck labeling Obama a fascist or a communist. Glenn Beck is no different than ETB. ETB is no different than Glenn Beck.

  130. djinn on January 15, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    So, Reed-O, are all the good Latter-Day Saints living in Europe and Canada “dupes of Satan” unless they vigorously oppose their Governmental Health Care plans, or does Heavenly Father only keep his eye on Utah?

  131. Ugly Mahana on January 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I dislike reading statements critical of Ezra Taft Benson. Clearly his politics rubbed many the wrong way. But so often his critics in the Church seem to want to throw him out of it. Was the man really that evil?

    I was not alive for most of Pres. Benson’s life, and I am not old enough to remember his time as President of the Church. But I have been inspired by reading his words as Prophet, particularly his speeches regarding the Book of Mormon and pride.

    Furthermore, I do not believe that that either Ezra Taft Benson or modern mormon political conservatives are as monolithic in their views, either personally or collectively, as many critics make them appear. Nor are they heartless. After all, Elder Benson led the Church humanitarian response to Europe following World War II.

    Ezra Taft Benson held idiosyncratic political views. I am certain that he believed that he derived these views from gospel principals. He was a politician and an apostle. Not all that he said is binding upon us as saints. But I will not deny his calling. I have seen the hand of God in his words.

  132. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Ugly Mahana,

    Who is talking about wanting to throw him out? Who is calling him evil? And who is denying his calling?

  133. Mark B. on January 15, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    No, Reed-0, you are not understanding Elder Oaks correctly. Nowhere does he condemn the collective decision of a body politic to join together to use its resources for the common good, as they choose to define it.

  134. WJ on January 15, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Alex, your efforts are admirable, and stand up to logical scrutiny. But just a piece of advice, Dan is not listening.

    djinn (125), “The Khrushchev ‘quote’ above is a fabrication, widely poularized in the early 60’s by extreme right-wing groups.”

    No, it is not a fabrication (unless you believe Benson is lying). Listen to Benson’s own account of the exchange:

  135. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    WJ,

    Please do not insult. I’ve not been insulting to anyone here. I am listening. I disagree. There is a big difference.

  136. djinn on January 15, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    WJ, Benson in 1962 (twice!, once in print) said that Khrushchev was “reported to have said” said quote. Benson didn’t say he had personally heard it. It wasn’t until 1966 (7 years after his meeting with Mr. K) that Benson changed his story to say that the quote had been said to him directly. Do I think he was lying? Of course not. I think he just misremembered. Do I put more stock in what he published in 1962 than what he said in a speech in 1966? Yes, I do.

  137. WJ on January 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Dan (15): “You know, I used to believe in the principle of being civil when talking politics. Then I learned just how civil our Founding Fathers were to each other when talking politics and I have to wonder, why would anyone try to limit what he can say when talking politics?”

    Dan (135): “WJ,

    Please do not insult. I’ve not been insulting to anyone here. I am listening. I disagree. There is a big difference.”

    Dan, I’m surprised at your sensitivity in light of your stated philosophy that civility is not that important when talking politics. My point is simply that you have little regard for the rules of logic (or reasonableness) in your interpretation of Benson’s statement, and I think you have contorted yourself so far into a pretzel defending your position, that your ego doesn’t allow you now to try and extricate yourself. Just my opinion is all.

  138. WJ on January 15, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    djinn, “Do I think he was lying? Of course not. I think he just misremembered.”

    Wow, just wow. So Benson was channeling his inner Mark McGuire, is that your conclusion? How reasonable do you think it is that he misremembered such an experience?

    “Do I put more stock in what he published in 1962 than what he said in a speech in 1966? Yes, I do.”

    Why, exactly? Could he not later have expanded on a previous statement? Could Khrushchev not have made the same or similar comment on several occasions and with different interlocutors?

  139. Chris Henrichsen on January 15, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    WJ,

    Give it a rest. it seems that everyone has made their feelings and positions clear. This is no longer productive.

  140. Dan on January 15, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    WJ,

    Dan, I’m surprised at your sensitivity in light of your stated philosophy that civility is not that important when talking politics

    Yeah, you got me there. Let me clarify. I prefer a clean fight, but am ready to go down and dirty if need be. :)

  141. msg on January 16, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I like my father’s view of politics. Sometimes the country leans too far left or right and then we need the opposite party to come in and
    bring things closer to the center again–we need a two-party system for
    our government to function as well as it can and be as balanced as possible. (Remember, when Christ comes again we won’t have anything but a righteous theocracy! Any previous earthly form of government isn’t what the Lord will set up.)

    I have always believed and still do that all people,(especially LDS) have more in common than they have that’s different.

  142. msg on January 16, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Dan #74–thank you for making my point clearer. I was speaking to a republican in a vocabulary he would understand.

  143. Blake Messinger on January 16, 2010 at 9:34 am

    While driving from Los Angeles to my home in Palm Springs around 5 AM the day after Christmas, I heard an interview on NPR with Sheryl Crow. She mentioned that she seems to be happy now, less angry and sees “things” (life, politics perhaps?) different: more gray then just “Black & White”. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
    http://www.wbur.org/npr/121925844
    SCOTT SIMON, NPR: How you doing now?
    Ms. CROW: I am so great. I am – you know, I’ve entered a really beautiful, serene phase of my life. Unfortunately, you get – you let go of sort of that us against them. And some of your edge goes away, which I think – we’ve watched a lot of our young, fiery artists become adults and we go well, they don’t write the great stuff anymore. But there is just something wonderful about getting older, you know? There is something wonderful about living in the gray instead of the black and white.
    She went on to credit part of this change to her two and a half year old son. I liked what I heard and have pondered “living in the gray” for the past week.
    With the baby boomers squandering almost every advantage given them from natural resources to a lot of hard work by their previous generations, the generations fallowing the baby boomers for the first time in this countries history have less prospects looking at them and will face a much less stable future. We are less likely to have a real job with real benefits, to continuing wars, a planet warming and resources going at remarkable rates that can’t be replenished and a future looks bleaker.
    I recall books I have read in the past telling me that once I get older I too will become less “liberal” and more conservative, the common refrain being the older you get the wiser. Perhaps the later part of that statement is true, but I’m happy this prediction was incorrect.
    Anger can be a hot and consuming flame. And as our bodies grow feebler; our joints tire and we start having the pressures of offspring or jobs or many other issues facing adults, many start to move away from the heat and settle in. And with our capitalistic-atomized society more and more attention is given to the job or family in the final attempt to keep some kind of community around us. .
    Many marginalized people in this country and around the world are angry, and most of them don’t seem to understand why that might be. It seems to me that they pick apart around the margins with less prospects, many cling to what they have in hope of following their baby boomer folk’s philosophy, a real “head-in-the-sand” philosophy. They often fight the rear guard actions in hopes of keeping what they got, at the expense of vast majority in this world that have so much less. Too deny our affluence, to a great extent, is based on consumption of other people resources is a real head-in-the-sand ignorance nobody likes to acknowledge.
    Instead of building “Victory Gardens” like they did in WWII and paying for over half the war as it was fought with War Bonds, most conservatives and some liberals are happy with status quo shopping and damning their own children with all the war debt. Instead of using their affluence and putting solar panels on their houses, they are happy to replace a couple of light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs. No real solutions for the problems of the world just quick fixes, sounds like the American political system way of solving problems don’t you think?
    The only good news that I can see is that there are many “youth” who are living more modestly, trying not to buy into the run-a-way capitalism of their parents. Mostly, I suspect, because they pay attention to the news reports of job lost, a real lack of corporate concern for them and environmental woes. They have seen that both Clinton and Obama are the best hope, if hope means center-right corporate polices and continuous wars. They see the pressures and hopefully will continue to try something else then the failed modeling of their parents.
    So anger is a tricky thing. No one can sustain it continuously. But calling things “gray” when their truly are black and white issues is the real ultimate cop-out of the previous generation and those who have affluence now. So there in lies the conundrum, I still like the idea of “living in the gray”. After living 50 years in what I see as a rather remarkable life, I would like to think I know what degree of “change” worth fighting for. For me I am resolved that part of the fight includes peace of mind, and I now chose to focus on the body, spirit and mind and how best to take care of it, in an attempt to live in the gray with some influence to the world I am a part of. It won’t be easy but I will give it all it takes and hopefully good “change” will follow in some small way, by living in the gray.

  144. Geary on January 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    I’m just really sorry I missed the original #33.

  145. Julie M. Smith on January 17, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Well, thanks for all of the comments. We usually shut comments down at around 100 here, so I’m a little late. Please don’t be angry. ;)