On 17 October 2007 I published the Why I started this blog post (WISTB), in which I explained that I was banned by another blog and this made me consider starting my own. I declined to mention the name of the blog that banned me because I didn’t want to point an accusatory finger at them.
Five years, though, have passed since then and this blog has grown a bit. I think it is about time to lay it all out, for historical purposes. Again, this is not to accuse that other blog of any wrongdoing, but just to set the historical record straight, for those who are interested in how and why this blog got started.
To begin, let me quote from the Why I started this blog post:
I entered the LDS blogging scene fairly recently (I guess it is called the bloggernacle?) I started visiting one of the largest of the LDS blogs, if not the largest, and read their posts for several weeks, without commenting on anything myself….I forget exactly what my first post was, but it had the expected result. People were incensed at my words. A post or two later I was labeled a troll and then banned altogether.
The first comment I made there was dated September 20, 2007 at 3:39 am and was posted to the Mitt Romney’s Prospects post:
Who cares about Mitt Romney? People should stop voting to usher in the Lord’s Second Coming.
ANARCHISM-APPROVED AND PROPHESIED
The Lord said, “Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?” (D&C 38: 22)
KyleM responded by saying:
166) And I thought people read the WoW selectively. This beats ‘em all by a mile.
My second comment was dated September 20, 2007 at 3:55 am and was posted to the The Limits of Ecclesiastical Authority post:
Concerning the limits to ecclesiastical authority. Well, they are clearly defined:
CHURCH-BOUND BY SCRIPTURES
The Lord said, “And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written; for in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel, and my rock.
• • •
And they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written; and you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written.” (D&C 18: 3-4, 29-30)
The Lord said, “Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct.” (D&C 20: 80)
The Lord said, “For, behold, these things have not been appointed unto him, neither shall anything be appointed unto any of this church contrary to the church covenants. For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” (D&C 28: 12-13)
The Lord said, “Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church; and he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he so continue.” (D&C 42: 59-60)
The only way to check unrighteous dominion in the church (meaning that the leaders are going beyond what is written or are not abiding by the written word) is through the law of common consent. As the law of common consent, as currently practiced, is nothing but a rubberstamp, the current group of ecclesiastical authorities have no limit on what they can do.
My third comment was dated September 20, 2007 at 4:02 am and was posted to the “old Catholic Church is worth more than all” post:
I went from a Catholic to an LDS. The two have a lot in common. They also seem to be following the same historical patterns, unfortunately.
After that I wrote a fourth comment on September 20, 2007 at 4:28 am on the Dispersed authority: thoughts on the truth-making process in church culture post:
I’d say your hypothesis, Natalie, is spot on. Although actual truth is independent in the sphere the Lord has placed it, according to the scriptures, that which is recognized and accepted as truth is determined by the members of the church. Even our canonized scriptures are determined by the members. If most of the members wanted to add the Book of Harold the Americanite to our canon and a vote was taken in the affirmative, despite the protests of the leadership, guess what would happen? We’d have another canonized book to quote from. The law of common consent works on every level in this church:
LAW OF COMMON CONSENT
“And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:7)
Mosiah said, “Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law-to do your business by the voice of the people.” (Mosiah 29: 26)
The Lord said, “And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.” (D&C 26: 2)
The Lord said, “For all things must be done in order, and by common consent in the church, by the prayer of faith.” (D&C 28: 13)
The Lord said, “And a commandment I give unto you, that you should fill all these offices and approve of those names which I have mentioned, or else disapprove of them at my general conference;” (D&C 124:144)
Nevertheless, the current practice of the law of common consent is essentially a rubberstamp, so the leaders effectively are in complete control and the robotic members follow them where they are led.
One other thing, concerning your friend who has trouble sustaining (which I’m taking to mean raising a hand in a sustaining vote), what is wrong with that?
The fifth comment I left was dated September 20, 2007 at 11:22 pm and was left on the St. John, the adulteress and me post:
3- So, I should write my daily journal in the dust to emulate Jesus?
My sixth comment was dated September 20, 2007 at 11:39 pm and was left on the What is a Gentile? post:
Uh, Gentile is already defined in the dictionary as a non-Mormon, which of course, includes Jews:
Main Entry: 1gen·tile Listen to the pronunciation of 1gentile
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin gentilis, from Latin gent-, gens nation
Date: 14th century
1 often capitalized : a person of a non-Jewish nation or of non-Jewish faith; especially : a Christian as distinguished from a Jew
2: heathen, pagan
3 often capitalized : a non-Mormon
So, your question:
Does anyone know a living Mormon that calls Jews Gentiles?
is answered by the dictionary. Apparently plenty of people do know living Mormons that call Jews Gentiles, as the dictionary compilers use authentic, actual quotations of educated speech and writing to make their definitions.
Ray responded to this by saying:
No good, #26 – dictionary.com adds something that makes it all-encompassing. Accordingly, all people are Gentiles:
1. a person who does not acknowledge your god [syn: heathen]
2. a person who is not a member of one’s own religion; used in this sense by Mormons and Hindus
3. a Christian as contrasted with a Jew
4. a Christian; “Christians refer to themselves as gentiles”
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
My seventh comment was dated September 21, 2007 at 12:23 am and was left right after Ray’s comment:
I used Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary (www.m-w.com). Both the dictionary you cite and the dictionary I cite contain the shade of meaning about which Sam MB is expressing incredulity: that Jews are called Gentiles by Mormons. Merriam Webster says: 3 often capitalized : a non-Mormon and dictionary.com says: 2. a person who is not a member of one’s own religion; used in this sense by Mormons and Hindus. This shade of meaning is educated speech. Your citation even goes so far as to say that the shade of meaning is used by Mormons, so, although I don’t know about dictionary.com’s editorial standards, definitions from good dictionaries come from actual citations. If actual Mormons didn’t use the shade of meaning, I doubt that dictionary.com would state this so categorically. Language isn’t static, so who cares about the addition of shades of meaning to a term as time goes on? It is not a gaffe to use the term Gentile when referring to a non-Mormon Jew, as Sam MB intimates, but educated speech.
I then followed up that comment with this comment, dated September 21, 2007 at 12:31 am:
I might also add that I have heard the term used in this way many times by many people. In fact, I have used this sense of the word myself, as well as the other shades of meaning. But, then, I’m not from Utah. Maybe Utah Mormons’ belief of it being a gaffe has intimidated Utah Mormons so much that they refuse to use it.
My ninth comment was dated September 21, 2007 at 1:29 pm and left on the Your Friday Firestorm #13 post:
I don’t like to deal with this scripture unless quoting it in its entirety (the entire sentence):
CHURCH-DEFINED AS THE PEOPLE
The Lord said, “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually-for I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven; and he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (D&C 1: 30-33)
The first thing to do in order to understand the scripture is to define the term “church.” It is obvious, from the entire sentence, that “church” means “people.” “Church” does not mean “the prophet”, or “First Presidency” or “Quorum of the Twelve Apostles” or “First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles” or “Corporation of the President of the Church.” It doesn’t mean “scriptures” or “doctrine” or “priesthood” or “priesthood holders.” So, once that understanding is given (that “church” means “people”) we can look at it again:
The Lord said, “And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this [people], and to bring [this people] forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living [people] upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the [people] collectively and not individually-for I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance; nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven; and he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.” (D&C 1: 30-33)
So, once “church” is defined as people, we can ask ourselves, in what manner are we, the baptized members, “the only true and living” people upon the face of the whole earth? What, in the gospel, makes us “true” and what, in the gospel, makes us “living?” Or, to be more specific, what is it that makes both a male member “true” and a female member “true” and what is it that makes both a male member “living’ and a female member “living?” How are we, the people, brought forth out of obscurity and out of darkness? These are the questions to ask, imo.
I’d give my own answer to these questions, but this post is too long already.
Steve Evans didn’t like that comment, replying to it with:
Anarchist, that’s a pretty shoddy definition of “Church,” and it’s in keeping with your prior trollish comments where you deliberately misinterpret scriptures to emphasize your own seemingly iconic views.
Three comments later, BrianJ asked me a question:
Anarchist: “So, once that understanding is given (that “church” means “people”) … “…the only true and living [people] upon the face of the whole earth….”
That doesn’t make any sense. The only living people on the earth? Huh?
And then afterward, Jacob M also asked me a question:
Anarchist – Does that man that our friends of other faiths are not true and not living? That would mean this world is “The Matrix”!!! Woooowww! (To borrow from Keanu)
Steve Evans then followed that up with:
Three strikes against the Anarchist. No more feeding the trolls, people.
When I came back to that blog and saw those questions, I tried to answer them with the information that I have subsequently posted here on the LDS Anarchy blog as, What does the phrase “only true and living church” mean?, but I was prevented from doing so time and time again. They wouldn’t allow me to explain what I meant by what I wrote. Apparently, though, I wasn’t fully banned, as yet, just that my attempts to comment were being deleted by one of the admins.
September 23, 2007
Later on, in that same post, Mark D. began to write some things that rubbed people the wrong way. His final comment is this one, dated September 23, 2007 at 12:10 am, which, btw, did not get him banned:
You are putting words in my mouth. I said “equally church attending Protestants”. I am just using them as an example of a different educational philosophy.
Clearly Sunday School is more effective for teenagers than for adults. The important test here is not Mormon vs. Protestant but the cost/benefit of our current approach to Sunday School vs. the alternatives, including eliminating it.
Since Latter-day Saints learn gospel doctrines in other places besides Sunday School, it is not as if they are going to grow up radically more ignorant if the institution didn’t exist. Whether they would be significantly worse off as people is an even more important question.
It doesn’t matter that we have a much larger canon, what we do cover is extremely spotty, usually a handful of verses pulled out of context, and often radically re-interpreted by the highest authorities. (Jews are Gentiles?)
In practice, beyond a handful of fundamental doctrines, I do not think Mormonism is fundamentally a scriptural following religion anyway. It is a living authority following religion. Pres. Benson’s talk about the keys to following the living prophets is an excellent example.
The living prophets more or less don’t bother to quote scripture. It is irrelevant. Their words are the scripture of the day. It isn’t canon, can be neglected in a few years, doesn’t need any sort of precision or rigor, doesn’t need to deal with anything more than an inch deep, can be contradicted in six months or six years, and contains everything essential for salvation.
So why should anyone be a scriptorian? In the LDS Church a testimony of the scriptures is far more important than anything they actually say. Nothing they actually say matters one iota in actual practice, compared the the reigning (mis)interpretation of the day. Scriptural evidence simply does not matter.
When I saw that comment, I just had to second his opinion and so wrote a comment that somehow got past the censors, perhaps because it was written early in the morning on September 23, 2007 at 1:41 am. This was the very comment that got me banned:
As I’ve looked over posts #70-82, I cannot help but see my own experiences stated here. Mark D., your post #82 was a perfect description of what I see in the church today. I actually only attend sacrament meeting and then skip sunday school and return for my priesthood meeting, the only two meetings I’m bound to attend. Sunday school meeting more often than not is a waste of my time. I can learn more just reading the scriptures myself or turning on a Christian talk radio station. Besides, in sunday school, any appeal to the scriptures is shot down. No one cares what the scriptures say, only what their leaders say.
70- I can say that my understanding of “eternal progression” means an increase in knowledge, power and seed (children) after achieving exaltation, but that it does not apply to perfection, which is what occurs when godhood is obtained. What does the Lord say the exalted shall inherit?
“…and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths…and glory in all things, …which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” (D&C 132: 19)
My understanding is that the “heights and depths” are limitless. I did not know that BY believed in more knowledge after exaltation. I arrived at this conclusion solely from a study of the scriptures. Maybe in another blog post, on this topic of eternal progression, we could get into it.
BANNED: Am I even Mormon?
MCQ was apparently up at that time and posted two comments after I did, which said:
Mark D., we obviously attend very different GD classes. Also, I have heard rumours of the abolishment of SS for many years, but I don’t see it happening.
That goes double for you LDSA. Are you even Mormon?
Ray finally woke up, read our comments and then banned me (but not Mark D., for my comment was doubly ignorant, you see) with a swift stroke, after leaving us a message, dated September 23, 2007 at 7:08 am:
Mark, I second what MCQ has said. I apologize for stating this so bluntly, but the following is one of the most ignorant comments I have heard in this forum in the entire time I have been participating:
“The living prophets more or less don’t bother to quote scripture.”
If you sincerely believe that, then there are only two options: 1) You don’t attend or listen to General Conference or read the Ensign; and/or 2) You aren’t a member of the same Church as I. Actually, there is a third option, but it is so inflammatory that I won’t mention it here.
I am done with this discussion for one simple reason. #82 was a very direct accusation against the Church – that it ignores and cares nothing for the scriptures, that the prophets and apostles misinterpret and intentionally distort the scriptures, that the local organizational structure is not inspired, etc., etc., etc. It is hyperbole of the worst kind, since it is blatantly and demonstrably false and confrontational in tone.
LDSA, your first paragraph in #83 is just as bad. “No one cares what the scriptures say?” You have demonstrated here that none of us agree with your interpretation of the scriptures. Frankly, if I were in a HD class and heard most of what you have said here, I would ignore it and go back to the “boring” class discussion.
Given what the powers that be here on this blog let through and allow to be posted (#82, for example), if your comments are being censored, it might be good to look at content and tone. If you have nothing positive whatsoever to say about the Church – if your only purpose in commenting is to throw hyperbolic insults at those of us who disagree, fine. Just be open about the intent and motivation.
The End and The Beginning
Being banned turned out to be a blessing, as I started to consider starting my own blog, and after much prayer and thought, I made the decision to do it. So, thank you By Common Consent blog, for banning me!
Btw, since being banned I turned by back completely on that blog and, except for the rare occasion that someone has linked to something they wanted me to check out there, I have never gone back to read anything they write nor any of the comments of their visitors. I have always assumed that I am still banned. Recently, though, I wondered whether this was still the case and decided to do some test postings over there to find out.
Well, it turns out that I’m still banned. I left three test comments on the The Need for Better Temple Prep post. The first one was dated October 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm and contained a link. It went immediately into the moderation queue, so I wasn’t sure whether it was there because of the link or because I was still banned. Here is what I wrote:
Here is some of the best temple preparation available:
Today I went back in to see if it had been approved and it was still in moderation, so I left this comment:
I left a comment way above (right after comment #11) which is still in the moderation queue. Is someone going to eventually approve it?
My second comment also went immediately into moderation, showing me that this had nothing to do with the link, but that I was simply banned. So I left one final comment:
Ah, now I see that my second comment (which comes after #62), which did not contain a link, has also automatically been put into the moderation queue! I see that after 5 years, I am still banned from this site. Good news to know. LMAO.
So, there you have it. These are all the circumstances that led to the creation of this blog. For those of you who visit both the LDSA and BCC blogs, since I cannot comment over there, please express to them my heartfelt thanks for banning me, should you feel so inclined. If it wasn’t for them, LDSA probably would not exist.
Let me close this post in the immortal words of Ray: