Is Molly right?


Following the referrals to this blog tonight, I came across Molly’s Blog, dedicated to all things, and blogs, anarchist. Apparently, on the 17th of February, 2008, Molly posted a blog entry entitled, “Weird Stuff: Bakunin Goes To Salt Lake City?

In her article, here is what Molly had to say about the LDS Anarchy blog:

But then we find….”Mormon anarchism” ! No, that’s not a misnomer nor an insult. Molly found one site, LDS Anarchy, which stands for, you guessed it, Latter Day Saints Anarchy. Yup, brought to you by the same sort of clean cut youngersters who show up at your door at 9:00 am on a Sunday morning, just when you are out of bullets and too hungover to aim anyways. Exploring the site I found that there was a lot on Mormon doctrine and precious little on anarchism, and that the brand of “anarchism” that the author(s) seemed to favour was more anarcho-capitalism than the sort of socialist anarchism that the word has stood for through much of its history. Maybe the author still has intent to present more anarchy in future posts, but what was there seems to be very much of a light snack as opposed to the 12 course meal of Mormonism so far on the table.

In the very next paragraph, Molly had this to say about The Mormon Worker publication

A fish of a different colour can be seen at The Mormon Worker, obviously named in imitation of the Christian anarchist ‘The Catholic Worker’. The anarchism there is quite obviuos and in the tradition of Christian anarcho-pacifism. Now I know that there are those who deny the Mormons the label of “Christian”, especially because of their rather unique position of the Trinity, but the orthodox trinitarian position that most of us learned at an early age is hardly the only one that Christians have adopted in the past or even adopt today. The orthodox are merely the most numerous. The Mormon position of “extended monothelism” in which there are three distinct gods with one will might have been the orthodox one today if then accidents of history had been different. The position of the Mormon Worker is clearly on the socialist side of the anarchist spectrum, just as that of the Catholic Worker and the Jesus Radicals is. What Molly found to be one of the site’s most interesting aspects is the name of the author, a professor at Brigham Young University. He is…wait for it… “Warner Woodworth”. This may be rather an incomprehensible in-joke to many younger anarchists, but for those of us who have been around for awhile the name Woodworth, as in Fred Woodworth, the publisher of The Match ! and long time hater of all things religious, especially the Mormons, strike us as more than slightly out of place in such company. Would Fred go ballistic or what if he found this coincidence out.

I wonder how many other visitors to this blog come away with the same assessment as Molly. So I ask the visitor these questions:

Does the LDS Anarchy blog really have “a lot on Mormon doctrine and precious little on anarchism?” I’ve posted 89 articles so far, 18 of which dealt specifically with anarchy, the most of any category. I suppose Molly is comparing the 18 anarchy articles to the 71 other articles (lumping their categories together and calling it Mormon doctrine), but the anarchy articles were also on Mormon doctrine. I used Mormon scripture to back those articles up. You can’t get more Mormony than Mormon scripture. In fact, if you peruse this blog, you’ll notice that I pretty much only use Mormon scripture as my material, whether the topic is anarchy or anything else.

Is the brand of “anarchism” that I seem to favour on this blog more anarcho-capitalism than the sort of socialist anarchism that the word has stood for through much of its history? I had no idea that I was favoring a brand of anarchism with this blog. In fact, I don’t believe I even mentioned a brand, other than tribal anarchism, which is scriptural anarchism. Is tribal anarchism anarcho-capitalism or is it socialist anarchism? I find the assessment of Molly, based upon what I’ve written so far, intriguing, as I haven’t put forth or even mentioned, that I know of, the principles of, or even the word, anarcho-captitalism. Does the blog have this flavor? Do I really seem to favor this brand?

Is there really too little anarchy on this blog? Molly says, “maybe the author still has intent to present more anarchy in future posts,” and that is correct. I do intend to present more anarchy in future posts. But are not the 18 anarchy posts food enough for thought for now? Aren’t these articles difficult enough for the average LDS to swallow? Should not I give them a little breathing room? Even Molly has a hard time processing what I wrote. Molly says, “What does Molly think about all this ? Well, I am somewhat taken aback by the strangeness of it.”

Is the LDS Anarchy blog an oxymoron? Does anyone who has read the 18 articles truly believe my anarchism comes from outside of Mormonism, outside of the scriptures? Molly makes this assumption when she says, “I guess that it is a tribute to the gradual percolation of anarchist ideas through society that some would try and synthesize these two seemingly incompatible ways of thought.” I find it a funny statement because it is an incorrect assumption. I learned anarchy through the scriptures. I don’t even know who Bakunin is. In fact, if I were to talk to any non-LDS anarchist about anarchy, chances are they would start citing this person or that person as the anarchist who taught them anarchy. All I could cite is Alma, Moses and other prophets. For example, The Mormon Worker founder learned anarchy from other sources then went to the scriptures and realized it was scriptural, whereas I went to the scriptures and learned it but gave it no name until the term and concept of anarchy and anarchism was brought to my attention, at which point I recognized it as the scriptural principle I had learned.

Lastly, is there really a difference in the anarchism found on this blog and the anarchism found at The Mormon Worker? Is the anarchism there “quite obvious” and the anarchism here not so obvious? Is the anarchism espoused here not in the “tradition of Christian anarcho-pacifism,” like The Mormon Worker? I’m just curious of what the readers think. I wonder if Molly is right by saying that the LDS Anarchy blog and The Mormon Worker are two fish of different colors. After all, Molly did say, “A fish of a different colour can be seen at The Mormon Worker, obviously named in imitation of the Christian anarchist ‘The Catholic Worker’. The anarchism there is quite obvious and in the tradition of Christian anarcho-pacifism.”

So, is Molly right?

Next Anarchism/Anarchy article: The role of agency in political systems

Previous Anarchism/Anarchy article: The tribal nature of the gospel

Complete List of Articles authored by LDS Anarchist

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5 Comments

  1. Clearly she is looking at you through the lens of the historical anarchist movement. This movement decried religion while you proclaim anarchism to be living the laws of God. This likely seems very foreign to her. In addition, I am sure she has no idea of the mormon history involved in the concept of Zion, the centrality of agency, teaching correct principles and allowing others to govern themselves, or having all things common. This is the kind of stuff you would really have to emphasize to help someone like her understand the Mormon link and more than a “wierd fusion.” She defines Anarchy through the lens of Bakunin and you through the lens of Zion, so superficially the vocabulary is different and the history is different. That means it takes more effort to understand what one another is saying. Clearly, she finds slogging through religious vocabulary to find anarchist ideas tiresome.

  2. You know as well as I do that us Anarchists are quicker to turn on each other for lacking “orthodox” (to use religious language) beliefs in historical Anarchism than any member of the media or opposing political ideology…

    I used to read your blog a while ago when I had my old blog up on WordPress called make/shift and I never found that you were purporting anarcho-capitalism. In fact, I remember your article on tribalism and small society structures a while back; and as a back pat I thought you should know I used a lot of your arguments with my ex-mormon roommate and now he considers himself an Anarchist. So don’t worry my friend, you are doing good things. If you remember my old blog, check out my new one and let me know what you think!

  3. Sorry, I guess you could use the address for my new blog…

    http://nereusrising.wordpress.com/

  4. Thank you both for your comments and visit.

    Doc, I guess you are right. This blog’s intended audience is LDS. I cannot expect non-LDS to completely understand where I’m coming from. As you mention agency, I wonder if my forthcoming article(s) on free agency will be the bridge to understanding between non-LDS and LDS anarchists? Time will tell…

    gavinwarnock, thanks for the link to the new blog, but what happened to your old blog? Why did you stop it and start another? It is also good to hear that my reasoning was sufficiently strong to convert someone to anarchism.

  5. Hi,
    Mollymew here.
    Glad you took the comments in good humour as my usual writing style can unduly provoke a lot of people. Quite frankly I took my estimate of your blog’s ideological tendency from the ‘Links’ section that I now see you have (mercifully !!!!) eliminated. The links were to anarcho-capitalist sites, ones that I suspect that you, as an American, would be fooled into thinking were representative of what anarchism has been historically and what it is today outside the borders of the USA. The Mormon Worker has links that are more in tune with what religion based anarchism has traditionally meant.
    If you wish to restrict your audience to other Mormons that is totally understandable. Good luck on it. You are right that I have little interest in the theology. You might, however, acquaint yourself with the mainstream of a philosophical trend, anarchism, that actually predates Christianity (in terms of the Cynics in Greece and Taoism in China). It is a philosophical trend that does admit of a religious interpretation, as has been demonstrated many times in the past two millenia in at least Judaism and Christianity. The sort of anarchism that YOU advocate has a history that is QUITE separate from the anarcho-capitalism that your links led towards. Glad to see that they are gone.
    Here’s my point. I am personally an atheist, though not an “evangelical” one. Ideas indeed have consequences, but to my light the participation of people whose anarchism is based on their religion in the movement has generally “positive” consequences. You have to be a bit more familiar with anarchism in general to understand what I mean here. Openings to so-called “anarcho-capitalism”, however, lead to nothing but detrimental consequences. People with a more religious base to their anarchism act as a “brake” on the more violent sections of the movement. Anarcho-capitalists corrupt the very basis of the philosophy and act as brake to the positive work of the movement.
    Anyways, good luck on explaining anarchism to other Mormons. But do try and look up how your ideas converge with the long standing trdaition of Christian anarchism.
    Molly


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