On the Origin and Nature of My Blog

 

Occasionally, someone writes in to complain about the nature of my blog entries on Sic et Non.  Usually, there’s a complaint that they’re too political.  Sometimes the lament is that I post too much travelogue.  One person complained some time back that what I write is no better than an entry on Facebook.  On a related note, another has said that he prefers the weekly posts of certain other Mormon writers, which he believes to be more consistently substantive.  (I’m sure that they are!  Composing one post per week allows a lot more time for reflection and writing than composing two, three, or four daily.)  I’ve been told by perhaps three or four complainers over the past five months that I don’t write posts appropriate to Patheos.  A few simply consider me a slime ball.  One, who dislikes me personally and despises my views on various topics,  has repeatedly told me that it’s his “dream” to get me altogether removed from Patheos.

 

Let me say something about the nature and origin of this blog.

 

I began blogging back in, oh I dunno, about February or March.  Or something like that.

 

I was entirely independent.  I just wanted to comment on things.  Various things.  To spout off.  On religion, of course.  But also on politics.  Current headlines.  And, now and again, on a movie or a song or a concert.  I particularly wanted to announce new publications that I found interesting, to call attention to publications or speeches of my own, to alert people to other speeches or to conferences that I thought they should know about.

 

I was entirely happy doing just that.

 

Some friends involved with the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research (FAIR), though, expressed regret that I hadn’t launched my blog on the FAIR site.  But I explained to them that I didn’t want to comment only on religious matters.  I wanted to be entirely free to offer commentary on anything I darn well wanted to comment on.  They understood, and they dropped the matter.  My political comments wouldn’t have been appropriate on FAIR.  Nor would my comments about how unpalatable I find Angela Lansbury, nor how much I like Ground Hog Day and the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke and J. W. von Goethe’s Wanderers Nachtlied.

 

Then the folks at Patheos approached me.  I told them what I had told the people from FAIR, that I had no intention of posting only about religious topics.  I told them that, if moving over to Patheos was going to involve changing my style of blogging, if it was going to necessitate that I focus only on religious topics or do lengthy “columns,” I wasn’t interested in making the move.  (As I note below, I was already writing weekly columns.  I’ve been doing it for years, even before I came to the Deseret News.)  They responded that I could go on doing the same kind of blog entries that I had been doing.  So, with that in mind, and thinking that it might increase the audience for my blog — every author, I suppose, is egocentric enough to feel that others are or ought to be reading what he writes — I made the move.

 

I was happy before I came over to Patheos.  I was entirely satisfied.  Coming here wasn’t my idea.  I made no promise to change what I was doing before, and I had no intention of doing so.

 

People who don’t like my approach are completely free to complain to the management of Patheos and/or to forego reading my blog.  If they can do so, they’re welcome to get me altogether booted from Patheos.  (A few, I know, would like that very much.)  I’ll continue blogging whether I’m here or somewhere else.  I’m happy with what I’m doing.

 

For those who worry about all the politics, though, I can promise them — whatever the outcome of the current presidential campaign — that it’s likely to slacken off quite a bit after 6 November.  I’ve been really interested in politics since I was an early teenager, but even I go somewhat in cycles.  Right now, we’re in the intense part of the cycle.  But even a political junkie such as I am eventually tires of it.  Not entirely, of course.  But I’ll slow down after the first Tuesday in November.

 

And, for those who would prefer a more sedate and substantive weekly statement from me — as opposed to those, not a small group perhaps, who would prefer never to hear from or of me ever again — I write approximately 1.25 columns per week for the Deseret News.  Or, to unpack that rather obscure formulation, I write a weekly column for the Deseret News that appears every Thursday.  It typically treats something of particular relevance to Mormonism.  And, with my friend and BYU colleague Dr. William Hamblin, I co-author a column, usually on a non-Mormon religious topic, that appears in the Deseret News every other Saturday.

 

Anyhow, please don’t complain to me that my blog doesn’t fit Patheos.  It was never intended to fit anything at all.  It’s just me, as G. K. Chesterton once put it, expressing my own potty little self.

 

 

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  • Tom O.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. The silent majority outnumber the haters (I suppose by definition, as the silent *majority*). My only complaint is that I wish you posted more frequently; however, that is a selfish desire that is probably unrealistic, as you appear to be an intensely busy person.

  • DB

    Interestingly enough, either by coincidence or kismet, I have sometimes stumbled searching the web and come upon blatantly bloated bovine blogs (this is not one of them, btw). The effervescent falderal in them irritated me, angered me, frustrated me, saddened me–often all at the same time. What to do? I thought and thought and thought, and eureka! The solution came to me! I simply chose not to read them.

    Keep up the good work (not that you need encouragement from me).

  • William Christopher Scott

    Fear not, Daniel. You have readers (even if we are a “silent majority”)! I am a new one…and I enjoy what you have to say. Blessings to you!

    • danpeterson

      Thank you.

  • http://None Lew Craig

    Love your blog. Don’t change a thing even if I don’t always agree with your politics. It doesn’t matter. You always enlighten my day!

    • danpeterson

      Thanks. I appreciate your note.

  • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=persecution+complex I am the Malevolent Stalker

    I, along with many others, will continue to petition Patheos to have this blog removed. I hope it happens soon.

    • danpeterson

      I wish you happiness and great joy in your efforts to suppress the opinions of those whom you dislike!

      • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=persecution+complex I am the Malevolent Stalker

        Oh it’s not that I disagree with what you have to say, Dan. Rather, this content degrades the mission and purpose of Patheos.

        Given the length of some of your entries, have you ever considered Twitter?

        • danpeterson

          No.

          Anyway, as I’ve told everybody who writes to me to complain that I shouldn’t be on Patheos, please write to Patheos itself, and not to me. I’m enjoying myself, and am quite comfortable.

    • Tom O.

      Ah, the heckler’s veto….last bastion of the intellectually decrepit.

  • Michael P.

    I remain completely unconvinced of anything the Maxwell Institute, Mormon Interpreter, or any other similar apologetic organization has to say about the LDS Church, the Book of Mormon, and so forth. It therefore follows that I think you’re full of baloney. (I mean that in the kindest way possible.)

    My problem, for which there seems to be no solution, is I really enjoy this blog. I am also pretty sure that I would like you if I ever met you. Indeed, while people complain about your online persona, my response has always been, “You know exactly what you’re going to get from DP. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the virtual kitchen.” You’re direct and to-the-point.

    And, more often than not, you make me laugh when you intend to. I deeply resent you for that.

    Hmmm, on second thought, let’s end my cognitive dissonance and get the blog pulled.

    • danpeterson

      You’ve got things precisely backwards. I’m an extremely nasty person, without a funny or kind bone in my body, but everything I say is true.

  • Jennifer Snow

    After reading up on this whole debacle I have concluded that you, Daniel Peterson, are a juvenile troll. You sick, sad excuse of a human being. Outing people’s real life information with no PROOF. Your behavior is that of a child having a temper tantrum. I am just an observer who has sat back over the years and followed your arguments online with countless people and it’s obvious to me that you troll. I am sure you get sadistic delight each and every time your name is mentioned but the problem is that you sully the name of the LDS Church. If I was still Mormon I would have read the venom and bull you spew and ran as far away from Mormons as possible. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    If you weren’t so repulsive I’d feel sorry for you and your delusions of grandeur.

    • danpeterson

      I rather enjoy permitting comments like this one from Jennifer Snow. They testify eloquently to the nature of some of my most vocal critics.

      A response from me would, I think, only distract from the attractive spirit of Ms. Snow’s charming note.

      • Jennifer Snow

        Sadistic is correct. His name brings pain to the masses. Glad I didn’t say how I really feel about Dan Peterson!

        • danpeterson

          Feel free to say it.

          Provided it contains no obscenities or threats of violence, I’m likely to permit it to appear.

    • Jason Covell

      Ms Snow –

      You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, and I probably live on the other side of the globe, so we likely never will.

      Something about your post touched me. Not because I agree with your comments about Dr Peterson, because I don’t share your views about him at all, but because I’ve met too many people who say things just the way you did.

      This is a safe place. You are loved. You matter. Regardless of whether or not you believe any longer that you are a daughter of God (and I hope you do), you are still just as entitled as anyone walking the Earth to take the full measure of worth that appellation brings with it.

      I’m not going to read your mind, or tell you what drove you to write with such anger. I do know that everyone I have ever know to say such things as you just did, as nakedly, boldly and openly as you did, was aching inside. I don’t know what caused that ache. Unless Dr Peterson somehow once had something directly to do with you, I don’t think it’s about him. Even if you did know him, I still think it’s not about him.

      There’s no pop psychology here. I’m offering no solution. Just love, and trust.

    • Erich Zann

      Ms. Snow,
      I can’t add much to your comment, as it already speaks volumes, except to say that you seem like a lovely person and one who is raising the level of discourse on the internet through statements like this one. My one quibble, however, is that you might want to reacquaint yourself with the definition of the word “sadistic.” That is, unless you believe that the mere mention of Dr. Peterson causes people grievous pain, in which case I stand corrected.

  • Lucy Mcgee

    I’ve enjoyed many of Dr. Peterson’s posts. That said, Patheos may not be the correct venue for posts not pertaining to religious matters within Mormon teaching, news or doctrine. Perhaps a compromise would be to set up another channel for random musings which have nothing to do with Mormon theology but where an author would be free to express non religious thoughts. All that would be needed is a link. If Dr. Peterson had set up Patheos, he might agree. It is interesting though, that the posts which are most personal in nature and involve controversy, receive the most responses. We seem to enjoy the titillating stuff too.

    • danpeterson

      Feel free to take this up with the folks at Patheos. I’m entirely happy doing what I’m doing.

  • Strategoi

    I’ve read your blog since nearly the beginning, and have enjoyed it since. Don’t stop, because that’s all the trolls want you to do. If you are silenced, and go the way of your friend William Schyver (sorry if I spelled it wrong) it would be a great injustice to us all, and give the trolls even more nonsensical causus belli against all LDS apologists.

    • danpeterson

      Some of them, I think, would really, really, really like to silence us. It doesn’t make them look very good.

  • David H

    Br. Peterson, that last comment was hilarious! Keep it up!

  • David H

    That “last comment” I referred to is the one starting with “You’ve got things precisely backwards”.

  • DB

    “…but the problem is that you sully the name of the LDS Church”

    Jennifer, by your own admission you are no longer a Mormon. So why would you care if he sullies the name if the LDS Church? Wouldn’t that serve your ends?

  • http://thoughtsfromthegirlnextdoor.blogspot.com Kelsie

    I hope you know how much I enjoy your blog! There are many things you have written that I’ve passed on to friends/family and I especially enjoy your political posts :) haters gonna hate. Hope youre well!

    • danpeterson

      Thank you, Kelsie, for your kind words. Sometimes, since people with negative views are typically much more vocal, you begin to wonder if you have any friends out there . . .


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