Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Going Long: Of Clubs and Conduct
 


Going Long: Of Clubs and Conduct

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 23, 2008

John Varah Long was cited to appear before church officials in 1866 for, among other reasons, “belonging to the young men’s social club, and other conduct unbecoming a saint.”

Is it possible that the social club, one cause of Long’s excommunication, was also a model for the church’s Mutual Improvement Associations?

I tuned in to KUER’s RadioWest program yesterday to hear the latest chapter in what historian Will Bagley describes as an experience of “unpeeling the onion” of the John V. Long papers currently being explored by rare books dealer Ken Sanders. Since their last public appearance, Ken had invited Ron Barney and others from LDS Archives to look over the documents, and Ron described what he had seen and addressed some of the claims made earlier in the program. (Juvenile Instructor has a great summary of the radio program.)

One point of special interest was Ken’s reading of part of the 1866 document calling Long to appear before his high council to answer charges concerning his standing in the church, and especially the charge of “belonging to the young men’s social club.”

The host asked about that organization.

“It’s mystery after mystery,” Will responded. “I asked the best historians in the LDS church, ‘have you ever seen a reference to this?’ and none of them had an answer. As I investigated it, I went through the only paper except for the Deseret News published in Utah at the time, which was the Union Vedette, and the only reference to clubs involved a billiards club, and another club that isn’t specifically identified.”

Thank you, Will, for publicly acknowledging me as one of “the best historians in the LDS church,” and I’m sorry I didn’t have an answer for you when you asked. I do now, though.

Whoever drew up Long’s summons used an incorrect name – the generic term “social club” – instead of the institution’s formal name. Had he used the formal name, none of those queried, or Will himself, would have had a moment’s hesitation in identifying the group.

Yesterday afternoon I mentioned the problem to Paul Reeve, assistant professor of history at the University of Utah and an occasional commenter on T&S, and he instantly recognized the group. “That’s the Young Men’s Literary Association,” he said.

D’oh! Of course! And my forehead-slapping has been repeated numerous times as I passed the word along. There is virtually no doubt that this is the “social club” referred to in the Long document.

The Young Men’s Literary Association was organized by the Gentiles (a term proudly adopted by non-Mormons in Utah at this era) in 1864, operating through at least 1867. Their meetings consisted of guest speakers, member debates, and recitations of poetry and literary masterpieces, and they held numerous balls – winter balls, balls celebrating the anniversary of the Bear River Massacre, balls in honor of visiting dignitaries. They collected books and newspapers for a members’ reading room, and they took occasional field trips. They distributed honorary life memberships to hosts of traveling Gentiles who spoke to their meetings.

Reports of activities appear very frequently in the Union Vedette (which was, in fact, not the only paper besides the Deseret News published in Utah at this time – T.B.H. Stenhouse’s Telegraph, one of the finest Utah papers ever published, was in print all through this period). On paper, the YMLA was a genteel as well as a Gentile organization – “At the last meeting a fine essay was read by one member and by another a choice selection of poetry.” “There were a goodly number present – every one was social – the dance was earnestly participated in – and the chief aim of the members of the Association seemed to be to make themselves and every one around them happy.” The constitution provided for the expulsion of members for “any violation of gentlemanly conduct.” No doubt they were entirely respectable by worldly standards.

But by Mormon standards, they were anything but respectable. The membership consisted of military officers and hangers-on, federal officials, merchants and miners. The success of their fancy balls in these pre-transcontinental-railroad days depended on seducing young Mormon girls into participation. Their speakers were not kind to the Mormon community – the chaplain at Fort Douglas, a member of YMLA, testified to Congress in 1866 that “the whole [Mormon] system is pregnant with principles of eternal antagonism to the civilization of the nineteenth century. It is the purest, or rather the impurest despotism on earth” — and announced topics for forthcoming meetings were often along the lines of “Morality vs. Mormonism.”

The YMLA built Independence Hall, which was the first home of the Godbeites, the Liberal Institute, and the Liberal Party, all of which came into being specifically in opposition to Mormonism.

In short, given the personnel of the YMLA and the nature of many of its evenings, no one can be surprised that regular attendance at its meetings and steady fraternization with its members would have been grounds to question any Mormon’s allegiance to his own people.

The minute books of the YMLA are preserved in the Marriott Library at the University of Utah, so it should be easy for Ken to confirm Long’s membership.

The intriguing question for me, apart from the specifics of Long’s story, is whether, or to what extent, the YMLA had a role in sparking the formation of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association. Salt Lake’s YMLA is one of a great many YMLAs in existence – a Google search turns up references to such groups in London and Calcutta and through the eastern United States in the 1850s and 1860s – but it would have been the one most familiar to Mormons in Utah. The early activities of the MIAs mirror the YMLA to a great extent, intellectual development interspersed with social entertainments, although the MIA of course has a heavy overlay of religious motivation lacking in the YMLA. And the YMMIA was organized in 1875, not long after the YMLA was most active.

It’s a question I can’t answer without more research than I can invest right now. But to me, it’s an intriguing possibility worth investigating. Some day.

37 Comments »

The success of their fancy balls in these pre-transcontinental-railroad days depended on seducing young Mormon girls into participation.

Kind of like modern dance clubs. DOH! Sorry. Had to throw that one in. I’m sure Club Vegas and Area 51 don’t mind the jab. (For the record I’ve never been to either but I suspect like in the days in the 90’s that most people at such clubs are Mormon)

Comment by Clark — 11/14/2007 @ 1:36 pm | Edit This

It sounds like James Dobson’s championing of a weekly night set aside for family activities – without ever acknowledging Family Home Evening as the inspiration. That has taken hold in some areas enough that I have heard it repeated on multiple rural radio stations around Ohio. I’m sure many of those who are promoting the idea would be mortified if they knew they were copying those “damned Mormons.” I’m just as sure they quickly would find the same justification we apparently did with the MIA – an idea can be worthwhile even if it comes from a “corrupt” source.

The irony is wonderful.

Comment by Ray — 11/14/2007 @ 2:04 pm | Edit This

Very interesting, Ardis. What’s Independence Hall? It sounds like it should be a Salt Lake landmark.

Comment by Matt Evans — 11/14/2007 @ 2:57 pm | Edit This

Ah, sorry. Independence Hall was a building on 300 South, just west of Main Street, in Salt Lake City, built in 1865 to serve as a meeting hall. It was used for political rallies, social functions, debates, Congregational church services, Odd Fellows meetings, the spiritualist services of the Godbeites, and just about any other non-Mormon gathering.

Just as people today might speak of “teachings from the Tabernacle” or “policies from 50 East North Temple” to symbolize Mormon activity, a reference to “Independence Hall” in the last half of the 19th century represented non-Mormon, usually anti-Mormon, talk and activity.

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/14/2007 @ 3:15 pm | Edit This

Interesting, Ardis. How did you figure out the mistake? This read almost like a mini-mystery. :)

Comment by m&m — 11/14/2007 @ 3:33 pm | Edit This

Thanks for allowing us to sit in on the ground floor as this bit of historical detective work is being unwrapped. Quite fascinating.

Comment by Kevin Barney — 11/14/2007 @ 3:51 pm | Edit This

m&m, only by building on the research Will had already done (i.e., no suitable hits on “club” in the Vedette), followed by Paul’s recognition. And then there’s the matter of context — it’s easy to overlook the fact that just about everything in the 1860s was tied in to everything else, just like everything today is tied in to everything else. Salt Lake in that era had a relatively small population, and there are a lot of records to document events, people and organizations. JLV’s “social club” had to be a gentile- or apostate-based one in order for it to be relevant to a church court, and there were not that many of them in Salt Lake at that era and they tended to cluster together for business and social support. Doing history is a lot like police detective work — if you were looking for someone, you would check out the habits of his associates and expect to find him. That’s why I would expect there to be some reference to Long in the minutes of the YMLA, or possibly in newspaper stories of the YMLA that I haven’t yet uncovered.

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/14/2007 @ 4:26 pm | Edit This

The similarity in name to the Young Men’s Christian Association, founded in 1844 and imported to the U.S. in 1851, springs to mind. Looks like it was a time for young men’s associations of one kind or another.

Comment by John Mansfield — 11/14/2007 @ 4:28 pm | Edit This

Did anyone mention the Young Women’s Retrenchment Society (society, I think?) was founded before the young men’s organization?

Comment by BHodges — 11/14/2007 @ 6:57 pm | Edit This

Very true, BHodges — the Retrenchment Society began in 1869 (November, I think?). Its purposes were very different from either the YMLA or the later YMMIA/YLMIA, though — to teach young Mormon women how to be PROPER young Mormon women, with emphasis on dress and deportment, not social life or intellectual development. It probably couldn’t be considered much of a model for the YMMIA.

But for once, the girls were organized FIRST! Yeah!!

I’ll have to poke around to see when the YMCA first appeared in Salt Lake (although missionaries and other travelers might have run across it in the East). So many projects … so little time …

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/14/2007 @ 7:34 pm | Edit This

Ardis,
In 1897 (Jan 1, page 10), the Salt Lake Tribune ran an article titled “The Churches,” which provided a snapshot of the “churches” in the SL Valley to that date. It listed the YMCA as occupying “rented quarters neatly furnished and well adapted to the work in the Alta block, 28 West Second South street.” It reported that the YMCA had been there for 6 years. It must have been established in SLC in 1890 or 91. That is, if you can trust ANYTHING printed in the Tribune . . . . especially those weekly “Living History” pieces it currently runs. Who writes those anyway?

Comment by Paul Reeve — 11/15/2007 @ 2:03 pm | Edit This

I dunno, Paul. I certainly wouldn’t be caught dead reading anything in that rag, like
this tribute to Utah’s female veterans from last Sunday.

The Tribune was a little more reasonable in 1897 than it had been before 1890 or would be after 1906. Did your article allow a snapshot of the LDS among the “real” churches?

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/15/2007 @ 3:41 pm | Edit This

There are a lot of similar scenarios today. Such as can you get excommunicated for regularly drinking Decaffinated Coffee?

Comment by roland — 11/15/2007 @ 4:24 pm | Edit This

The YMCA was organized in SLC in March 1890.

Comment by Justin — 11/15/2007 @ 4:46 pm | Edit This

#13 – Where did that come from?

Comment by Ray — 11/15/2007 @ 4:59 pm | Edit This

Yes, Ardis, the Trib article does mention the “dominant church” in a positive manner, noting that it “has a most thorough organization, and its works are seen in every direction.” It counted 23 wards in SLC, “each having besides the bishop and his councilors a corps of teachers, deacons, and priests.” It noted that “The church has a membership in this city of 16,012 members; 4,127 families; 20,687 souls, including children too young for membership. And the Sabbath schools have an attendance of 7,404. Take all of Salt Lake county and it means families, 6958; members, 26,877; souls 35,422; members Sunday schools, 14,031.” I don’t know where the Trib got the numbers from or how accurate they are, but there you have it. The article reads as if each of the various churches submitted their reports to the Trib, which then compiled and printed them, so the LDS numbers are likely from an LDS source. The other churches in the valley at the time: Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, Swedish Lutheran, Baptist, Central Christian, Congregational, Unitarian, Christian Scientist, and YMCA. Religious pluralism was alive and well, even in Utah.

Comment by Paul Reeve — 11/15/2007 @ 5:47 pm | Edit This

I’m not sure why the Trib omitted the Jewish Synagogue constructed in 1883 in its report?

Comment by Paul Reeve — 11/15/2007 @ 5:55 pm | Edit This

You can catch LDS scholar Ron Barney’s take on the John V. Long collection at Chris Vanocur’s webpage:

http://www.abc4.com/content/about/bios/chrisvanocur/default.aspx

Ron’s show is titled: “LDS Church interested in John V. Long’s papers.” My beautiful face appears elsewhere.

The assumption that the social club John V. Long was associated with was actually a literary association is interesting, but his name does not appear in the list of members in the “Constitution, By Laws, and Rules of Order of the Young Men’s Literary Association of Salt Lake City.” There was another “Social Club” in Salt Lake in 1866 that seems to be a better match.

Will Bagley

Comment by Will Bagley — 11/22/2007 @ 6:08 pm | Edit This

Thanks, Will. (A quicker link?: http://www.abc4.com/search/sitesearch.aspx?q=john+long )

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/22/2007 @ 6:24 pm | Edit This

There was another “Social Club” in Salt Lake in 1866 that seems to be a better match.

Won’t you share it, Will?

Oh, that’s right, T&S is “a dog and pony show,” and your opinion of us is –

“why would I possibly want to entertain a bunch of True Believers
who find my work (nobody has apparently actually read it, but they all
know all about it) a terrifying and repulsive challenge to their
spiritual smugness?” … I have no interest in running an
underground promotional campaign for a bunch of uninformed ideologues
who use insults and lies in an attempt to be funny.”
(Bagley to Parshall, 11/12/2007, 6:41:02)

Nice of you to drop by, though. Come again sometime.

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/22/2007 @ 6:38 pm | Edit This

Thanks for sharing a private email, Ardis. I won’t return the favor, but maybe you could provide details of your proposal to run an underground promotional campaign for us.

Comment by Will Bagley — 11/22/2007 @ 7:28 pm | Edit This

Sure thing, Will. My noting that I don’t have the animosity toward you that you have toward me, and my offer to showcase your project in T&S posts, was entirely aboveboard:

Will –

Times and Seasons could be an ally to you and Ken (and your potential profit) if you would cooperate rather than pretend we’re your opposition. We have thousands of readers a day, nearly all of whom come because they are interested in Mormon topics. We could give you good publicity and help drum up anticipation among people who are really interested in what might be in Long’s papers — at least as much as among people who are tuning in to hear about sports scores and tomorrow’s weather.

Please read my T&S post again, without a chip on your shoulder. Yes, the comments got silly, but the post itself speaks very highly of Ken, shows interest in the Long papers, and quotes you accurately. The only sarcasm is directed at Chris Vanocur’s over-the-top conspiratorial eerieness in the service of sweeps.

Rather than burying your announcement of potentially new ERS poems at the bottom of a dead thread, and even then only evident to readers who clicked your link, we could have run a new post about Sarah Long and got discussion about ERS with readers who could be excited by new poems — which is of course what you want if your goal is to raise buyer interest rather than squelch it by saying that the last thing the world needs is the very thing you have to sell.

If you would cooperate, I’m interested in a series of perhaps weekly T&S posts about the Long papers with teasers about what you’re finding in them, or the challenges of knowing exactly what you have when so much of it is coded, or the process of conservation, or potentially any other aspect of Ken’s work that doesn’t infringe on his financial interests or agreements with the owner. Such future posts would have to be filtered through me from interviews with you and Ken — I’m not offering you an unrestricted platform any more than Channel 4 lets you script their features — but in this case that’s a good thing. I can do more to raise interest among Mormon readers with genuine enthusiasm than you can with your mockery of us. And while most of our commenters are ordinary folks without the budget to bid on the Long papers, you would be astounded at knowing some of those who read without public comment. In any case, anticipation and interest, even from non-buyers, can only work to your benefit.

Before you react, think of yourself as being in the position of a lawyer who owes his client the duty of transmitting reasonable offers, even from an attorney he despises. Please discuss this with Ken. This could be a good thing for all of us, if we cooperate instead of pretending to have competing interests.

Ardis

(Parshall to Bagley, 11/11/2007, 6:21:34)

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/22/2007 @ 7:34 pm | Edit This

Despite you two luminaries’ disagreeing whether Brigham Young ought be characterized as archly Stalinesque or not, Ardis, let’s sincerely offer Will some crumpets and postum so that some of the rest of us readers who aren’t going to get correspondence from him can also bask some in the glow of his knowledge and stature.

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/22/2007 @ 7:51 pm | Edit This

My offers to Will have always been sincere, trueblue, even though they are sometimes framed with some protective sarcasm to guard against the almost inevitable rejection of things that are very important to me. As you can tell, his contempt carries a sting.

Will is always welcome to comment, if he’ll do it within bounds. I hope he *does* continue to comment, and I wish he would do it with more than links that people don’t always bother to follow.

I owe a lot to Will — I wouldn’t be doing history at all without his encouragement and helping hand, and he has often been both professionally and personally generous. I miss the old days when, even though he couldn’t understand or share my faith, at least he didn’t make it his practice to ridicule me for it, and to pretend that my failure to be persuaded by his historical arguments meant that I was slandering him.

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/22/2007 @ 8:10 pm | Edit This

Having seen the reviews, I don’t feel any interest in challenging my spiritual smugness by reading any of Will Bagley’s work.

But it sure is an honor to have him condescend to write for the little people–even if it’s just to crab at Ardis. Will, meet Leona Helmsley. You’d make a lovely couple.

Comment by Mark B. — 11/22/2007 @ 8:58 pm | Edit This

Gee, I guess my feeling that it’s always open season on Will Bagley in the T&S sanctum may be that I often can’t tell if I being insulted or complimented about my “knowledge and stature.” But I have NEVER ridiculed Ardis Parshall for her faith: if someone finds hope and comfort in Mormonism, God bless them. I do, however, resent her repeated ad hominem attacks and preposterous characterizations of my work, be it handcarts or the nature of violence in Utah Territory.

As for her generous offer to front for Ken and me, I found it quite strange. It calls to mind a joke: if the stereotyping offends thee, take it up with the friend I stole it from, Jeff Needle.

Two beggars are sitting side by side on a street in Rome –
one has a cross in front of him; the other one the Star of
David. Many people go by, look at both beggars, but only put
money into the hat of the beggar sitting behind the cross.

A priest comes by, stops and watches throngs of people
giving money to the beggar behind the cross, but none to the
beggar behind the Star of David. Finally, the priest goes
over to the beggar behind the Star of David and says, “My
poor fellow, don’t you understand? This is a Catholic
country; this city is the seat of Catholicism. People aren’t
going to give you money if you sit there with a Star of
David in front of you, especially when you’re sitting beside
a beggar who has a cross. In fact, they would probably give
to him just out of spite.”

The beggar behind the Star of David listened to the priest,
turned to the other beggar with the cross and said: “Moishe,
look who’s trying to teach the Goldstein brothers about
marketing.”

Comment by Will Bagley — 11/23/2007 @ 5:18 pm | Edit This

Once again, Will, thanks for stopping by.

Comment by Ardis Parshall — 11/23/2007 @ 5:35 pm | Edit This

Will,

I’ve been puzzled by the hostility in your comments, and your characterizations of T&S as people who haven’t read your work and who only want to insult you. As one of the permabloggers here, let me try to respond to your comment.

First, I should note that we’re not an apologetic organization, and we’re not out to get you. Really! We’re not FAIR or FARMS. Many (most?) of the permabloggers probably have friends who are apologists, but we’ve also had our share of clashes with those organizations and some of their people.

Some of us doubtless disagree with you on various substantive points. I know that Ardis has disagreed with you about MMM and Utah violence issues. On the other hand, we’re not all Ardis. Ardis is great, and we like and respect her a lot; but this blog isn’t just “Ardis and the Ardettes.” We tend to disagree with each other on a regular basis. Ardis’s disagreements with you on substance don’t make T&S into some sanctum of anti-Will-Bagley thought.

Personally, I’ve got a copy of Blood of the Prophets on my bookcase. And Juanita Brooks. And I’ll probably buy Turley et al. when it comes out. I’m not a historian by any means, but there’s a lot of Mormon history on my shelves — Bushman, Arrington, Quinn, Tom Alexander, and dozens of others. And many (most, probably) of my co-bloggers are quite a bit more well-read in LDS history than I am. Of course, it’s fine and normal to disagree with any of us on substance — but characterizing the whole group as “a bunch of uninformed ideologues” seems inaccurate.

Second, since there may be a misunderstanding on this: Ardis’s offer to you was genuine, and very much in line with our normal operation. Take a look — we’ve had posts and comments from a number of scholars and other high-profile Mormon figures. We’ve had posts or interviews with Richard Bushman, Armand Mauss, Phil Barlow, Sally Gordon, Kathleen Flake, Terryl Givens, Travis Anderson, Neil LaBute, Greg Prince, and many, many others. Some of these have been one-off interviews; others have been ongoing blog discussions, such as a colloquium with Richard Bushman including author responses to four book reviews of RSR. (And apparently Bushman liked this series enough that it got a very nice mention in his recent book On the Road with Joseph Smith.)

Ardis’s offer wasn’t meant to bait you or mock you or any other such. It was the normal kind of invitation we’ve made to many different Mormon scholars. Our readers like interaction with Mormon studies scholars, and so do we. Why wouldn’t we want to have input from you? It’s not a dog-and-pony offer, it’s the same kind of offer we’ve made to a dozen or more well-regarded scholars, who tended to see it as a good and helpful offer. (Seriously — you can check out Bushman’s published thoughts on it, in On the Road.)

(I don’t want to make it sound like this is a uniquely T&S thing. Many other blogs, like the By Common Consent blog, have also run interviews or posts from Mormon studies scholars.)

I hope that answers some of your questions. You’re welcome to comment here; I would be interested in seeing guest posts from you like Ardis suggests, or if you’ve got other ideas for topics, I’m open to suggestion.

This doesn’t mean that all comments will be rainbows and butterflies and no one will eve disagree with you. We’ve got some intelligent, articulate, and opinionated bloggers and commenters. I regularly get told by co-bloggers and commenters that I’m wrong, wrong, wrong on some issue or other; that’s normal around here.

We do try to stop comments from degenerating into insults and “flame wars” — not always successfully, as the blog is big and the administrators are few; and sometimes the admins themselves make a too-hasty comment. We’re all human.

Comment by Kaimi Wenger — 11/23/2007 @ 6:17 pm | Edit This

Just my two cents as a member of the both a yous’s reading public, Ardis and Will. I hope the two of you reconcile your differences and meet up over coffee and sparkling water, a tape recorder in tow. And should you agree to acceptable ground rules, such as perhaps the interviewee being given the right to a final OK? et cetera, I hope ya’ll collaborate on a T&S blogpost for us.

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/23/2007 @ 7:12 pm | Edit This

OK, thirteen generic questions for Will!
1. What has been your primary (secondary…) impetus for Mormon history writing?
2. What are you researching currently and/or what writings at the moment are you polishing up?
3. Who have been the other players during your career in Mormon history writing: fellow scholars, LDS or academic leaders, publishing or media people–and what has been the nature of your interactions with them?
4. Who are you writing to, mostly? (That is, what type of “ideal reader” do you tend to hold in your mind as you compose?)
5. What social factions, if any, do you sense yourself to be sort of “advocating” for; and if so, why?
6. Who has been your most and least enthusiastic audiences and why do you think this is so?
7. What commonalities or shared, ground-level understandings are held by both yourself and particular critics; and what less-known, misunderstood, or perhaps disputed information has led you to adopt somewhat alternate views?
8. With regard any controversial conclusions, what authority or bases do you ground them in and why?
9. With regard to what you hold as truths you have come across in your researches, truths that may well be hard to hear for some: what have you experienced in their transmission and what have you learned about the means chosen to do so?
10. What have you learned from colleagues and/or what points have you conceded or do you concede to critics?
11. What aspects of things you are criticize in your writings might yet serve, to some small extent, to redeem them in your view?
12. What exemplarily heroic or even, I suppose, sympathetically poignant actors or actions have inspired you in your researches and how have you highlighted the same or else tried to remain utterly objective or some combination of the two?
13. What specific aspects of writing style or historical expertise have been most praised in general and by whom? Within what literary expressions or scholarly accomplishments have you found the most self-satisfaction? What, if any, experimental aspects of writing style do you imagine you might like to experiment more in? Or are there beckoning avenues of historical apparatus you might test and explore?

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/23/2007 @ 9:24 pm | Edit This

No. 11 should be things you have criticized in your writings (not “are” criticized). Sorry

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/23/2007 @ 9:28 pm | Edit This

Will,
While I’ll agree you haven’t always been treated fairly here, there are PLENTY of True Believers who have been treated far less fairly on the pages of T&S. And I’m not saying that to dog this blog. This is one of my absolute favorites. But some people just like to vent spleen. Look back at any discussion involving politics here and you’ll find far more aggressive haranguing than you’ve personally experienced here. You might think most of the readers here just have blinders on to certain things, but I promise you that if I were invited to guest post here and I made the argument that BY couldn’t have ever been responsible for any wrongdoing because he was a true prophet I’d be laughed out of here–and not likely invited to continue my guest-posting stint.

Some here might not agree with some of your conclusions, but it isn’t for any of the strawman reasons you appear to imbibe. You really want to feel really insulted by T&S readers, make a comment under a pseudonym wherein you suggest that good Mormons shouldn’t watch rated R movies, that Joseph Smith didn’t lie about polygamy, that all that Adam-God stuff was just a big misunderstanding that doesn’t mean anything, that all abortions should be illegal, or that Mike Quinn is an anti-Mormon.

Comment by Brad Kramer — 11/24/2007 @ 1:14 am | Edit This

I hereby promise that if Will Bagley does a guest post or a Q&A series, all my comments will be rainbows and butterflies.

Comment by Ann — 11/24/2007 @ 1:36 am | Edit This

I would give my oldest son to be able to see the kind of posts Ardis has requested with Will. (OK, many days that’s not much of a sacrifice, but I can’t bring myself to give up any of my daughters.)

Comment by Ray — 11/24/2007 @ 1:42 am | Edit This

Re: # 30. This list reminds me of a page and a half list of questions I received from a BYU student considering attending the law school I currently attend. That list was too long and too detailed, and so is this. While I would be interested in anything Will Bagley would be interested in saying, I would not blame him for disregarding this list.

Comment by Ugly Mahana — 11/24/2007 @ 1:49 am | Edit This

No, I was just reeling ‘em off. I don’t expect Will to respond to any off them, necessarily. (I’m tired so chances are these following won’t come off quite right, and also could well be even airy-fairy-er than the ones above, but here goes.)

Compound-question 13 (continued). What motiffs or conflicts (from your upbringing and of your inner life) are reflected in your writings and influence what you tend to dwell on or question? What values (such as, I don’t know, truth, objectivity, reconciliations, democracy, justice) and what assumptions as to importance relative one to another, infuse your work or do you hope it will exemplify or extol? :^)

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/24/2007 @ 2:46 am | Edit This

Although my writing in these thirteen questions is lame, “I have a testimony” that defining ideals/motivations/goals and intentions and gauging their executions is useful. The fact is, while all of them together could be answered in but a single lofty phrase, to address all of them while one specifically answers each one would be a great discipline.
_____
((1) For example, I just read yesterday about Hillary (who is probably closer to my own politics than any Republican) that her risk-averse campaign only rarely has media availabilities or takes questions from voters. One assumes this is because her principles (”a balancing act or ‘political triagulations’ in service of her overtly establishing workable socialism while stealing the ‘best ideas’ from Conservatives about keeping the economy afloat”?) are hard to talk about and prone to misstatement. But, say she spent an hour a day expansively responding to items of my list (while, of course, adapting the list to an even more generic “ideals and executions” from their original “historical research and writing). Then she honestly could talk about her commitment to “hard-nosed realism in service of egalitarianism and compassion” with greater ease and probably be able to soar in her rhetoric while doing so. (2) Meanwhile, on the other side of the isle…I don’t know, let’s just pick at random…uh, let’s say Mitt! (lol) …Is somebody who speaks pretty freely (if also pretty quickly and in occasionally overly abstract terms) about encouraging personal responsibilities in society and buttressing the rule of law while also being open to addressing social need of society in the most practical, responsible and realistically effective way possible (or something like that). And, yes, he regularly holds “Ask Mitt anything” sessions with voters and reporters. But, of course, even Mitt could practice going through my list as he considers how his religion informs his thinking. Then he could evade this question less and fill in a story or narrative of how Mitt’s having lived a religious life (one that happens to be Mormon) has fit into the development of his business practices and political thinking.)

Comment by truebluethru\’n\’thru — 11/24/2007 @ 3:14 pm | Edit This

This was posted at another blog on 14 November 2007



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