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I wonder if Bro. Otterson reads the comments. I doubt it. He probably has enough wisdom to know it's a waste of time to engage the trolls. I'm sure he's pretty busy too.

The few posts of his I've read over there have been impressive.

Well said,
Long have I watched assault after assault on our beliefs as everyone seems so anxious to grab his spotlight to pour out their grievances. Eventually, they look silly and sadly many, many wise words of advice go unpondered and unheeded.

I am curious as to whether other participants in "On Faith" have received such vitriol.

Matt, there are close to one hundred contributors at On Faith and I've only sampled a few. The people commenting on Karen Armstrong's posts were pretty snotty, but the rest were okay except for the occasional malcontent. My impression is that Otterson is getting the worst of it. Mormon trolls apparently retain the LDS work ethic while forgetting the Golden Rule.

Let me assure you more insecure types that the comments directed to Otterson were no more vitriolic than those directed to any of the other contributers. If you read some of the contributers to OnFaith you will read more silly religious nonsense than anyone can hope to endure without reacting to the intellectual inconsistencies. Don't feel like the Mormons are getting more than their share of attacks. Those will come as Romney gets his name out there (like in the NYTimes this morning.

I hopped over to read the post, and found it innocuous enough. The status of women in the LDS Church is going to bring out all kinds of people looking for a fight (or, more charitably, an explanation).

That said, the main thrust of Otterson's post was that we should treat each other kindly, but if people would have stuck to discussing this topic instead, it wouldn't have generated 500 comments.

There were a few thoughtful comments, however, that Otterson didn't respond to. I'd be interested in hearing more from him and the Church in general about specific issues raised by the commenters.

It is interesting though how many of the usual suspects pop up in these things. I don't quite understand the mindset of those who troll around looking to go off on a tangent.

I understand why we dont like the comments over there, though, I am curious why you call the posters "trolls." Is it true that the On Faith hosts also do not want opposing views to be expressed.

Also, being off-topic, or hijacking, while it may be in poor taste, is not really in opposition to the Golden Rule as far as I know.

The first post was actually spot on in regards to the topic at hand - Women and Feminism. Read Ottersons Headline. The headline was not about the Golden Rule, it was about Feminist Qualities. We see the original post as tasteless, others see it as accurate treatment of the topic.

So now that we have sufficiently labeled the the posters as trolls. What can we propose, or collectively do, to insure that outsiders percieve the role of women in the Church accurately?

It seems a lot of these "trolls" were created by our church's purges. When the unorthodox are made unwelcome in the church of their youth, are we surprised some might be bitter and prone to lashing out at a church employee? ME's comments might have been rude and blunt, but they were on the money. Even JS and BY would be ex'd by some of our current leaders.

The Mormon Persecution Complex rears its head yet again. Really, Dave, I expect better from you. At the "More Good" site, those who question Otterson's platitudes, cliches, and PR spin are called "sociopaths" by a well-known Bloggernacler. Other examples of "compassion, sensitivity, empathy and intellectual honesty" include such epithets (hurled at those who might not agree with everything Otterson says) as these:

"troll"
"pig"
"vandal"
"thug"
"insane and unreasonable" (by implication)

Nice.

Wow, John f. and Equality agreeing on something! There was a beautifully written comment on that thread by a woman named "Belaja". I wish more comments had adopted her tone to facilitate a respectful discussion.

To answer John's question, I don't think the Church can really justify the status of LDS women to outsiders. To the outside world, limiting the administration of the Church to male leaders is patently sexist. Not to mention the ugly specter of polygamy.

I'm guessing that John F. and John f. might not be the same john f.

Oh. You're right, Equality. It is cold enough here in Boston, however, that Hell could really have been freezing over. :)

Equality, those posters remain trolls in my mind because I have yet to ever see them say anything nice about the church nor have I seen them pass up opportunities to disparage other's good opinions about the church. I do not ever believe them to be honestly engaged in a conversation. They bear the (I am sure significant) burden of my disapproval until such time as I am convinced that I can have an honest conversation with them. Until such time, I have no qualms about calling ME, DV, and his buddies "sociopaths" because it seems to be that, as far as the church is concerned, that is what they are.

It's about the prospect of respectful discussion. Trolls do not behave in a way that engenders respectful, measured discussion. They attack and belittle, which can only lead to defensiveness and contention. Trolls aren't trolls because they express a differing belief or viewpoint; they're trolls because they behave in an uncivilized manner.

HP - if you look up the definition of "sociopath", you'll see that it's unfair to both ME, DV, etc. and true sociopaths to use this term to describe people whose opinions and rhetoric with whom and with which you disagree.

"Trolls aren't trolls because they express a differing belief or viewpoint; they're trolls because they behave in an uncivilized manner."

Like calling people sociopaths, for example?

Tom, the disrespect came into the discussion when worlds like "sociopath" and "pig" were used. Are people who used those terms trolls?

So help us DAMU folks out: Give us a good example of a post from ME or DV that qualify as a troll and tell us why it is disrespectful (other than the fact that they disagree with you.)

Pheo,
Howsabout you show me a post by mayan, DV, or another such that doesn't sound like a broken record and I will take your criticism more to heart.

ECS,
You are correct that sociopath is too strong a term. I can be hyperbolic. I apologize for diagnosing conditions which I have no ability to diagnose. Instead, I will say that mayan and DV do not appear to be entirely honest in how they engage in conversations. Not that they tell lies, but rather they comport themselves eternally as the victim while simultaneously taking pot-shots at those with whom they disagree. It isn't the content of their critiques that I usually find distasteful (though it is sometimes that); more often it is the self-satisfied presentation. They simply do not know how to talk to members of the church in any manner that isn't condescending and, as I said earlier, they do not pass up opportunities to rip on the church. In other conversations, I have asked them to say one nice thing about the church. I don't remember any answers, but my memory is occasionally selective and I will gladly own up to being wrong. My motto is that if you cannot say one nice thing about your opponent's opinion, you cannot engage them.

To that end, I know that mayan has done an awful lot of research. I disagree with his interpretation pretty much all the time, but he isn't just talking out of his butt.

Contrary to Equality's assertion that epithets such as troll, pig, vandal, and thug were "hurled at those who might not agree with everything Otterson says," a quick perusal of my original post over at the More Good Foundation's blog will show that I did no hurling at all. I simply said what I viewed some posters to be like. If Equality (and others in the DAMU) want to consider themselves hurled at by such statements, it won't be because I placed the labels on them. (My original wording was that "some commenters have more in common with vandals, thugs, and despots than they do with respectful dialogue." I stand by that assessment; the record speaks for itself.)

Perhaps Equality should learn that words mean things and not read more into those words than what was stated. On the other hand, when multiple posters (not saying DAMU members are among them) specifically call Otterson a "liar," there is only one meaning that can be read into that.

Civility stops the heart from being trollish.

-Allen

HP - Being repetitive does not constitute disrespect.

As the person who used the appellation of sociopath, I will venture an explanation. I am well aware of the scientific definition of sociopathy, and frankly it fits. Some people confuse siocopathy with psychopathy, but that is not correct. The sociopath has cognitive recognition of right and wrong, where the psychopath does not. But, the sociopaths behaviors are, well, antisocial. This anti-sociality would seem to be self evident from the vast majority of observers. Whether or not it is truly a personality disorder among the various offenders is not certain. Perhaps I should have phrased it as "people who display sociopathic behaviors."

Well, I know many of the folks from the DAMU who posted on Otterson's threads, and they are actually quite sociable. I even had lunch with a couple of them today. It was quite enjoyable. They even used utensils and napkins.

Tom, the disrespect came into the discussion when worlds like "sociopath" and "pig" were used. Are people who used those terms trolls?

Which discussion?

People who use those terms aren't necessarily trolls. To respond to attacks on oneself or one's beliefs with unkind words is not right, but it's entirely different from going on the offensive and attacking someone or their beliefs without provocation. I won't say that one group is more or less "right" or "good" than the other, but I will say that I can understand defensive sniping, but I can't understand why people disrespectfully attack and beilittle without provocation.

So help us DAMU folks out: Give us a good example of a post from ME or DV that qualify as a troll and tell us why it is disrespectful (other than the fact that they disagree with you.)

I have not characterized ME or DV, any DAMU person, or the DAMU as a whole as being trolls, so I don't have any burden to provide evidence that they are.

However, since you asked, ME's first comment was entirely inappropriate. Three paragraphs in he calls Mr. Otterson "the master of spin," impugning his motivation and his character right off the bat. This is trollish, not because I disagree with ME's assessment of Otterson's motivation and character (although I do) but because he attacks a man without provocation.

Further, ME's comments were unrelated to the post at hand. Bro. Otterson said nothing about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He made no claims about the Church, he made no attempt to characterize the participation of women within the Church. He talked in general terms about scriptures involving women that he found inspiring, about the strength and value that women derive from religion, and about the virtue of stereotypically "feminine" traits. And what's ME's response? In a nutshell: "you're a liar and your Church makes women promise to be obedient to their husbands." This is trollish, not because I disagree with his assessment of the Church (although I do) but because ME is clearly not interested in having a respectful discussion, only in attacking and belittling.

Even more, ME knows that LDS don't appreciate having details of the temple discussed in public, but he/she posts information from it anyways. This is trollish not because I disagree with ME's opinion of the temple or of the Church (although I do), but because it's an intentionally disrespectful act.

Lastly, ME's tone is rude and hostile, hardly amenable to respectful discussion.

I could go on, but it's kind of pointless. I shouldn't have gone this far, but what's done is done.

Can you honestly read that first comment of ME's on the "Stereotypically Feminine Traits . . ." thread and tell me that it was appropriate for the context, that it was considerate, that it was not hostile, or that it invited respectful discussion?

I agree that ME did jump all over Otterson on that post. I still would not characterize the post as a troll because, contrary to Otterson's post, ME's post was right on topic, which was "Have women fared well or badly in western patriarchal religions?" His apparent indignation seems to come from the fact that Otterson was completely changing the subject with his post.

(Incidentally, Tom, my second paragraph was not meant to be directed at you at all, though on second reading, it sounds like I am going for your throat. Sorry for that.)

Pheo,
Being repetitive (in the case of mayan, DV, and the others I implied) does constitute an admission that one isn't actually interested in discussion and that one is more interested in getting one's talking points out than entering into a discussion.

hey, its ME, me. or should i say, Hey, its me, ME.

just for the record - here is the question posed by on faith

"Have women fared well or badly in the world's religions down through the ages? Why?"

There is a lot to say here, much of it is meaningless given your unshakable perception of me, the church, and those that are either in or out of the church. however, i think we can just start with the simple fact that i was on topic, and otterson was not. you may not like what i had to say, but at least it was on topic. and yes, i stand by my statement that to take that question, and turn it into a feely goody wooowooowooo about nothing, while ignoring the real experience of women, is well, spinning.

spinning is not a bad thing. people do it every day. corporations do it every day. its a form of marketing and politicing. its a good thing to spin stuff. its fine to admit that one is spinning too.

ME, what you need is your own blog so you can post to your heart's content. They're free, you know. Do you really think anyone wants to read 33 comments by you on Otterson's post? That was the count the last time I checked.

And what is it with the obsessive avoidance of capitalization and punctuation? Do you think writing like a teenage IMer enhances your credibility? Sets you apart from the rest of us clunky capitalizers and punctuators? There is obviously some orthographic agenda you're pursuing.

what does orthodontics have to do with this? my teeth are fine. besides, nobody would read a blog of mine.

its funny that you would say that about posts at on faith. obviously, if it was a bloggernacle blog, those comments would be queued or deleted. i am not even close to having the most comments on there, by word count or otherwise.

dave, what bugs you more - the content, or the tone, or the orthostuff?

its also free to post at on faith, feel free to refute any inaccuracies you may find over there.

It's unfair for you to think you can turn Otterson threads into the equivalent of a DAMU board discussion. If they let you get away with it, well, it's their forum. If they won't patrol it, that's their problem. But I certainly won't play that game. I'll leave a comment or two, but that's it.

Hi Dave, my son has just joined your fan club because he noticed the Asterix book. He is dealing with a slight reading disability, a challenge only Asterix remedies.

Back to Michael Otterson.

The question to the essayists was: "Have women fared well or badly in the world's religions down through the ages? Why?".

Like any PR man worth his salt, Mike Otterson side stepped the question, In the process, he distracted from the role of women in the Mormon experience. Unfortunately for Otterson, this was not a press conference where he might have been able to control the microphone but a blog on an open forum.

People responded and challenged Otterson for his evasion and double speak. The fact that Otterson would not engage the question honestly indicates weakness and insecurity.

One has to assume that Michael Otterson fears that the majority of his audience would be troubled if he defended Mormon gender politics forthrightly.

There are any number of things that Otterson could have honestly said about the benefits of Mormonism or religion to women. I wonder why he did not explain how The Family: A Proclamation to the World blesses women.

Though the content of Ottersen's essay is more problematic than you indicate, Dave, the real issue is that the author obfuscates the issue. That's Orwellian and Otterson deserves to be called on it.

so thats it? it was a damu forum for you? unbelievable. sounds like sour grapes to me. forgive me for L'ingOL.

again, if there was something on there that was not accurate, you are free to correct it.

you may not have noticed that the producers of on faith, even after their comment that you quoted, moved the thread to the home page of msnbc and the on week home page. did you catch that? thats great for the church, right?

Mike Otterson is not a blogger. He is participating ina journalism project that has a blog attached to it. He did attempt to address some comments in some earlier posts, but due to people that weren't interested in being tolerant, or had an axe to grind with the church in general, and had "attaching questions" I believe he quit commenting. If I were him, I would have quit commenting too. He has a day job too, ya know? Personally, I've loved every one of his posts, and am glad he is expressing his faith. I am also glad Dave runs this blog and expresses his faith.

"Do you really think anyone wants to read 33 comments by you on Otterson's post?"

Just for the record. I do. (And I did.)

i agree that he has a job and cant be responsible for just blogging. i also agree that this is part of his job. he is the pr director for the church. when one poses questions back to him, on this particular site or at a press conference, they are directed at an institution. he is reviewed based on his ability to relate to the public, and relay the message on behalf of his employer.

if i or most the posters on the site are critical of him and his responses to questions posed, it does not mean that we also are accusing him of hurting kittens. read his bio on the site fer cryin out loud. he is the pr whateverer. he is supposed to field tough questions on tough topics. if he chooses to deflect them, and that is how he wants his employer to be seen, so be it. i dont get the impression that he cares too much, or he would respond. the naccle seems much more concerned than the church.

and gimme a break about the sacred topics too. whatever. bushman writes a book about joseph smith staring into a hat and having a bunch of wives and he is saint bushman, because he has faith and is on the lords side who. if someone goes on newsweek and says joseph smith had more wives than bushman or hinckley have acknowledged, then they are evil, despite the evildoer being the one telling the truth.

(this is where you start implying that because this point had already been made ad nauseum, its irrelevent)

my challenge is: please find one thread at newsweek/washington post or msnbc that contains the topics discussed/repeated in any otterson thread. if it is true that topics were repeated, i will give each of you a red rider bb gun and a pack of candy cigarettes.

again. this has nothing to do with tolerance. are you nuts? if you say the sky is red, it is not intolerant of me to point out that it is actually blue. if you tell my kids the sky is red, and i point out to them that it is in fact blue, i am not being intolerant of you. if otterson says daisies make him feel good inside, and i point out that in response to the question at hand, a kingsnake can eat a rattlesnake, i am not being intolerant. where does this intolerance accusation come from? sheesh.

this "attaching questions" crap. nobody expected otterson to come on there and respond to every post. his silence on the "original question" and sure, some related issues, was irking. but again, he is the pr director. if he chooses to divert the topic, thats ok. spinners do that. they get paid to do it. those that do it well, get paid well.

Dave,

Disdain for the church and its policies has nothing to do with intolerance. Some people genuinely feel that the church is an obnoxious, if not dangerous influence in the world. Most of the people who feel that way have had extrememly negative experiences with the church, and they still continue to experience the horrors vicariously through their close family members.

I count myself lucky to know Mayan Elephant personally. I've hung out with him before. I consider him a good friend. He could tell you stories all day long about his own experience in the church, and many of his stories might even shock you. They're his stories to tell. I have some of my own. When it comes to character, Mayan Elephant is first-class. He is compassionate and caring. I don't see how his "orthographic agenda" or his unconventional manner of expression has any relevance, as long as he is making a cogent argument. I think he's one of the best writers I've ever known.

How can anyone label him, DV (another friend of mine), or anyone else a sociopath just because they vehemently disagree with Otterson's opinions? Otterson is a spokesman for the church. He was invited to "On Faith" because he is supposed to represent the Mormon viewpoint on the panel of bloggers. It's understood that Otterson's views are not "official." But when someone says something that is seen by those in the DAMU blatantly misleading, it's incumbent upon them to point out the truth (as they see it). I see nothing wrong with that.

Lunar Quaker,
Aren't you annoyed by do-gooder Mormons who feel that it is incumbent on them to set you right by pointing out the truth (as they see it), especially when their disdain for you as a critic of the Church is evident? Doesn't it matter how they express themselves and what tone they take as they do so? Isn't civilized discussion and mutually respectful engagement a worthwhile ideal?

If I were to come to your hypothetical Twinkie appreciation website and respond to a post about your love of Twinkies with a hostile, insulting diatribe about how Twinkies are disgusting and fattening and how the world would be a better place if there were no Twinkies? I would just be pointing out the truth as I saw it. But wouldn't it be annoying? Wouldn't it be better if I left you alone in your Twinkie love or at least, if I really felt it was important to try and set you right, dropped the hostility and expressed a simple difference of opinion rather than seeking to belittle Twinkies and Twinkie lovers?

Certain decisions we make in how we express ourselves can poison the well and make civilized discussion impossible.

Hellmut says:

"The question to the essayists was: 'Have women fared well or badly in the world's religions down through the ages? Why?'."

That's a pretty generalized question. Otterson chose one of maybe hundreds of directions a blog post on the subject could take.

"Like any PR man worth his salt, Mike Otterson side stepped the question, In the process, he distracted from the role of women in the Mormon experience."

Umm, this only tells me that you would have chosen another one of the possible takes on the subject. Dave would probably choose yet another, as would I. I don't see the problem.

"One has to assume that Michael Otterson fears that the majority of his audience would be troubled if he defended Mormon gender politics forthrightly."

I "have" to assume this? Who are you speaking for?

What does it matter if a few barking elephants snap at the heels of the weary travelers?

Or that DAMUs claim those few who fall by the way?

The caravan moves on.

i love love love love love the twinkie appreciation blog analogy.

lets assume that lq does have such a site - TALQ. and lets assume that lq loves twinkies. and lets assume that he loves them so much, he sells them in all sorts of places, schools and stores and hospitals and missionary training centers at the utah jazz games. lets also assume, that he is peddling twinkies because they make you feel good inside, they contain less than 898 grams of sugar, and because they have magical powers. now, some people may buy the twinkies cuz they taste good. and some may buy them because their friends buy them. and some may buy them for the magical powers.

lets assume that the chief spokesperson for TALQ and for twinkies is invited to participate in a forum of some sort. and, at this forum, a participant suggests that twinkies actually contain 3,000 grams of sugar.

would it be better to figure out if the twinkies really contained the sugar, or just to cry and complain about the question? or to ignore it? there are many options ya know.

it would be altogether different if the participants agreed on the amount of sugar, but disagreed on the magical powers.

where things really get tricky, is when lq and the pr director of TALQ lie about the sugar content, and lose their credibility on the magic power pitch. ouch. that would really suck for lunar quakers blog and twinkie business.

see tom, nobody is belittling anyone else. at least i dont see it that way. otterson is free to promote as he sees fit. though the facts may undermine his promotion. he seems uninterested in the facts. rather, he concerns himself with the feelings. thats ok too. but it comes at a price.

you see the price as one that otterson is unwillingly and innocently paying. others see the price from the other side; where they were buying twinkies at a price, eating more sugar than they knew, at a price, and believing in magic, at a price. and now, they are retooling, at a price.

thanks tom. i look forward to more analogies from tom@TALQ.com.

Tom,

Civilized discussion is indeed worthwhile. So you think my south-american pachyderm friend is uncivilized. I'm not the right person to judge that, because I'm pretty much on his side. And I will also point out that it's very easy to conflate one's visceral emotional reaction to a disagreement with a judgement that the other party is being harsh and insensitive. It happens all the time in debates. It's a fact of life. I don't think Mayan Elephant really cares about how he is regarded, and that might be what frustrates you.

Your Twinkie analogy might have worked well if we were talking about the Nauvoo Forum or some other cyber-utopia for true believers, but that's not what we're dealing with in this case. The "On Faith" blog is a virtually unmoderated forum that allows people of every persuasion to participate, even us evil DAMU types with our anonymous handles.

thanks lunar quaker.

ya know, next time we are out late shooting pool we are going to be laughing ourselves crazy looking for a twinkie vendor after midnight.

First, the question the On Faith contributors were supposed to respond to was this: Have women fared well or badly in the world's religions down through the ages? Why? Otterson responded directly to that in the course of his short post: However appalling some men’s treatment of women may have been through the ages – and there is plenty of blame to place at the feet of both the religious and the secular – it is not what Jesus taught. Much that has been done in the name of religion that is contrary to the principles of the religion itself.

Some of you seem to think the question asked was: State the present position of your denomination on the status of women and defend it. No, that was simply not the question. So ME, what you were using as a justification for launching an attack on Otterson in the first comment of the thread was a misunderstanding on your part. You misread the question. You probably owe him an apology. Maybe two.

ME, you can believe whatever you want about religion or Mormonism -- you don't owe me or anyone else a justification. But when you run around cyberspace being rude to folks on such a consistent basis, don't expect much sympathy. Otterson is too kind to respond, but I'm not: You're an embarrassment. You've got a family and friends, it sounds like. Why don't you go enjoy them rather than continue this personal jihad you seem to have bought into? Let me tell you straight up: You're not scoring any points. And what's with the Otterson icon you use over at FLAK? Are you related to the guy or something? Is that why this is so personal for you?

As for the the DAMU crowd generally -- diversity of opinion is really more welcome than you recognize. The problem comes when you bring your board habits -- profanity, handles, ridicule instead of argument, even those cute little icon images you dream up -- out here where you have to interact with regular people who expect a certain degree of civility and discretion, even online and even from strangers. Some of you get it, others don't. I don't mean to paint you all with the same brush. I appreciate those who do and who make an effort to have friendly exchanges and conversations when they post comments, here or anywhere else.

"Much that has been done in the name of religion that is contrary to the principles of the religion itself."

i would agree with this statement. the rest of your little rant i just find cute.

-i do enjoy my family.
-jihad? nice. real nice. i caught the undertones of that, and it says a lot about the author. again, again, again. if there is anything i have said that is not accurate, please point it out. thank you.
-icon? its called an avatar. its just an image, for fun. what are you doing at FLAK? by what name do you post there?
-not related.
-personal? you are the one who started this thread. you tell me why its personal.

-what is it? are you painting all non-mormons with the same brush or not? are they trolls, all of them, or not? are they all sociopaths? or not? make up your mind dave. you seem like a bright guy, whats got you so confused?

you are upset that the damu posters were invited to post at a neutral forum. you seem upset that posters came here, after reading your comments. and you read FLAK? you seem lost.

Mayan Elephant speaks his mind. He's not trying to score any points. But even so, he still has a lot more influence than you give him credit for. I should know. Back when I was still struggling with my faith, he said a lot of things that were helpful to me.

Blogging is blogging. Genteel civility might be the ideal, but the pragmatist in me thinks that we shouldn't hold it to the same standard as a presidential debate.

It's so cute how you guys (ME, LQ, Equality, Hellmut) all circle the waggons and defend each other like this. It's like a brotherhood or some might even say, a quorum.

So your favorite topics are...hm, let's see...putting others down, making fun of their beliefs, and defending others that do the same! Nice. I guess if we were all still in third grade it wouldn't bother us so much.

Rusty, I don't see a single post from any of us heathens that has put anyone down personally. Of course, some people who define themselves by their beliefs feel personally attacked when someone argues against those beliefs. I was there once. I understand.

The problem, ME, is that neither Twinkie appreciators nor Twinkie haters are debating the sugar content. Where they differ is in value judgments. When haters act as if their value judgment is the only reasonable position and act in a hostile and demeaning manner to people who see it differently, Twinkie appreciators are rightly annoyed. And if a hater finds that as a matter of conscience he must get the "facts" out there, there are ways of doing it like a mature, respectable adult rather than a petulant child.

It's a very small mind that can't acknowledge that even though one's experience with the Church was not positive, others can find it valuable and it can be a positive force in people's lives and in the world.

And don't give me this crap about nobody belittling anyone. Your very handle is meant to ridicule. You make no effort to hide your disdain for anyone who sees things differently from you.

And stop claiming that it's because we disagree and believers mistake the visceral reaction of someone disagreeing with something they hold dear for malice. We're grown-ups. We know that the vast majority of people don't see things the way we do. Around these parts the ex-Mormons and non-Mormons who disagree respectfully and behave like grown-ups are respected. Off the top of my head, Brad Haas, Chris Williams, MikeinWeHo and Jeff G come to mind.

So no, your way isn't the only way. You choose to treat others badly and belittle their faith. I'm guessing you do this because it makes you feel good about yourself. You fancy yourself as more intelligent or more astute or less deluded than those Morg and it makes you feel good. I find it pathetic, to be honest.

I should follow my own advice. I said in comment #1 that it's a waste of time to engage the trolls and I (and you) have just proved myself prophetic.

Tom said:

"And don't give me this crap about nobody belittling anyone. Your very handle is meant to ridicule."

I can't speak for ME, but the elephant is a mysterious motif in Mayan art. So the label "Mayan Elephant" isn't inherently derogatory. I happen to know ME personally; the two of us were on ward/branch councils together at various times, so I'm biased in his favor. That said, the Internet is a rough-and-tumble place where speech is free, elbows are thrown, and snarkiness reigns. If everyone were dreadfully earnest and serious in content and tone, the Internet would be a dark and dreary place, one which I would not want to visit.

the Internet is a rough-and-tumble place where speech is free, elbows are thrown, and snarkiness reigns.

Yep. So is third grade.

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