I believe that I recall the last time I posted M*. It was April 2012. JMax was defending Mormon racism and inventing a new history of the exclusion of those of African descent into LDS priesthood and temple rites. (You can read the post and comments here.) After they closed the thread without explanation, I decided that I had too many things going on in my life and I unlisted them from my RSS reader.
Recently, I was again made aware of that once illustrious blog that many great people have been a part of. A recent comment at T&S by Jettboy made me look at what else they’ve been doing lately:
Jettboy: “Hopefully Utah Mormons, if no one else, will become far less tolerant of gays and those who support them in the Church. They got their secular “freedom,” and can now lay in the bed they made. You call yourself gay? You have no business coming to church unless you repent and reject that you are one. Then you need to prove it by getting married and staying that way. Mormon gays and supporters think its going to be easier now. Nope. Its going to become much harder. You used to be a nuisance. Now you are a mortal enemy.”
“I am completely and unapologetically serious. As for the Africa law, one of the few courageous stances in the world toward these deviants. My response to the LDS Church on this issue; it needs to stand by God’s laws and not government’s. The scriptures make it clear that homosexual behavior is an abomination. It should be an excommunicable offense for more than just “acting on” the urges, save you get married to the opposite sex as a show of good faith (and as Mormon theology requires for Exaltation).”
Like any good Latter-day Saint, I stand aghast at this stance which is so out of line not just with the Church, or with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but with basic human decency.
Just before Christmas, M* published another piece noting: “we are suddenly confronted with not only bigoted prophets and preachers of righteousness, but, quite frankly, we find ourselves staring at a God who leaps from the pages as a ravening beast, cursing, killing, and afflicting his chosen people with tests from which we moderns recoil in terror.” Does the solution to this problem involve thoughtful interpretation? Sensitivity to different historical and cultural representations? No, no. The biblical texts that depict the worst characteristics of God are indisputably offering a clear depiction that God is misogynist and racist. We just need to get used to it. The author goes so far as to promise that if we can simply accept that God is a racist (not against us white people, you see, but against other people) and mysoginist (whew, good thing I am a man!): “Great spiritual truths are in store for us if we can simply jettison our pride and put aside our contemporary ethical holiness and moral self-sufficiency.” By “our” ethical holiness, he means those who disagree with misogyny and racism (he thinks that these views belong only to the “progressive left of Mormons”) as acceptable practices or ideologies in the Kingdom of God. The author’s ultimately violent, apocalyptic form of Mormonism is evident not only in his justification of child sacrifice, but also rears its head in the comments: “our God is not…a tame God. Consider: when Christ returns in glory, the earth is going to be cleansed by fire. It doesn’t get more ‘genocidal’ than that.” Genocide, folks, is what M* believes that God is up to.
Perhaps we could say that this was just an off-day, a rather bizarre lead in to Christmas when angels declare, “peace on earth, goodwill toward men”? The praise of genocide, death to homosexuals, and declarations of some of God’s children as “mortal enemies” may be a sort of ironic way to follow he who declared, “love your enemies” and “he who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” I wish that were the case!
The justification of racism as representative of God’s will persists at M*. Setting aside his problematic biblical interpretations here, Jettboy asserts that the racist statements about those of African decent inheriting the curse of Cain should be considered of similar authority as revelations. When Young made these statements: ” He acted as a prophet, spoke as a prophet, and was a prophet.” Jettboy holds that the racist policies were the will of the Lord: “Why the Lord kept the Priesthood from blacks during part of the Restoration might remain a mystery. What can be known is that Brigham Young in the 1840s and 50s taught that it was a divine decision based on the lineage of Cain.” His belief is stated more explicitly: “I also believe that the Priesthood ban and the reason for it (curse of Cain) came directly from God to him as a prophet.” That Jettboy continues to believe that those of African descent are or were under the “curse” of a fictional ancestor may seem hard to believe, but for him the fact that this belief was also held by a prophet in the 19th century is enough to teach it as a fact. He explains, “The Priesthood ban is one of those [divinely revealed] truths (even if seen as a policy, although personally I believe it as doctrinal).” He continues, “the ban was a divine revelation by God to Brigham Young related to the Curse of Cain.”
Now, Jettboy knows that all of his ideas have been officially disavowed by the Church. However, it turns out, he is not even convinced that the “curse” has been lifted: “How do we know it is not our current understanding that is wrong (speaking of the ban itself and not theories developed about it)? I just don’t find all arguments to the contrary very convincing after more than 100 years of its existence and documentation.” He is under no doubt that the Curse of Cain was a revelation to Brigham Young and is puzzled why we “don’t even give them a hearing even when they invoke authority.”
There is more. Geoff B. invents a history about homosexuality in which the Church is persecuted by “the world” who never is quite able to offer substantive arguments in another post. This kind of imaginary story ironically allows him to accuse his opponents as only capable of calling names even while never actually engaging in any substantive arguments himself or having to defend his claims against counter arguments–especially his false claim that proponents of gay marriage all hate religion. Then you get to the comments with the made up studies and links to completely false claims about Denmark churches being “forced” to perform same-sex marriages.
I. Wolfe has taken some offense to the criticisms on Facebook of M* (you won’t see them in the comments on the blog because they delete and ban them) with one of the most un-selfaware statements I have ever seen. Complaining about these critiques, he laments: “the one behavior that really sets me off is tribalism, especially when the tribes start talking trash about the other tribes.” I wish I could believe that Wolfe felt this way when “trash” was being talked about “progressives,” gay members of the church, or the tribe of Cain, as they like to refer to them. Without irony, he says that people aren’t treating him fairly while admitting that he is misrepresenting their arguments: “I was even told at one point, unironically by several people that should be intelligent enough to know better that there is only good faith and honest people on their side and naught but bad faith and self-righteous blowhards amongst those on “my” side (I may be paraphrasing a bit too much and freely here).” He is. “Too many blogs in the LDS market write as though only those who share the conservative/liberal/progressive/orthodox/whatever persuasion of the blog as a whole are welcome.” Wolfe mentions that he stays out of the more controversial discussions, but I have to wonder if he has ever actually read M* while leveling these criticisms against other LDS blogs. I feel bad for the regular, thoughtful people who blog at M* who get associated with the more caustic material there, but if they do not stand up against what is written there, and do not allow reasonable comments that disagree with the posts, they are complicit.
I mourn for the damage they cause to so many members of the church and the poor ensign they present to the nations. Oh that I were an angel…but behold I am a man, and do sin in my wish! I admit to struggle to find communion with these choice members of Christ’s body. But we are called to do so, reproving betimes with sharpness, but afterward showing an increase in love. May it be so.