Their “Little Corner of Cyberspace”
One of the phenomena attendant to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the vehemence with which its detractors approach anything having to do with the Church. One such example is the popular Recovery from Mormonism message board, which receives up to 1,000 posts per day by a disgruntled collection of Mormon dissidents. According to the guidelines posted on the site,
This sites [sic] purpose is to let people who are, or were, in Mormonism know that they are not alone in their feelings and experiences or in their quests to regain their lives after years in this religion… Consider alternate views as valid, valued and recognized. Please respect the views of others. Disagree, don’t attack.
This is not a debate board for Mormons to defend the faith. Mormons have many other venues to debate and proclaim their religion. Please allow us our little corner of cyberspace. This board is for those who were once believers and for their friends, families and interested individuals to learn of the cultural aspects of Mormonism.
Recognizing that the Recovery from Mormonism board asks that members “consider alternate views as valid, valued and recognized,” on 15 August 2003 BYU professor Bill Hamblin posted a message on the board that provided an assessment and some insights into the behavior of those participating in the board. Rather than recognize his view as having validity or value (which they ostensibly ask of their posters), the list moderators deleted the message within minutes of its posting. Professor Hamblin later reposted the message, and it remained up for a short time, drawing typical “recovery” responses from board participants. After a short time, the entire thread (Professor Hamblin’s message, along with any responses) was entirely deleted.
Professor Hamblin’s message (reproduced below) did not break any of the posted message board rules, nor was it a debate about Mormonism, nor was it “defending the faith.” Apparently the owners and moderators of the Recovery from Mormonism message board are not as tolerant of others as they would have people believe.
I’ve been lurking on the “Recovery” board for a while, and have really been astonished by what I’ve seen here. The following are my observations. They are not meant to be an indictment of everyone who posts on this board. I have certainly not read everything said here, and have no interest in doing so. I’ve merely selected to read from a few topics that piqued my interest. However, I’ve seen enough of the following characteristics to lead one to suspect there might be some endemic problems on this board.
Using this board as a place to “recover” from Mormonism is like holding an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a bar during Happy Hour when the drinks are on the house. Recovery from Mormonism will occur only when you let it go. If you don’t believe in or like the Church, leave it and let it go. Move on. There are lots of wonderful things to do in life, but ranting about Mormonism is not one of them. People who hang around this board obsessing about everything the Church does will never “recover” from Mormonism.
All one needs to do to see the bigotry on this board is replace the ubiquitous terms Morg and Morgbot with Kike. Try the following on for size:
“I get mad every time I think about those Kikes. The Kikes are so clannish; and they wear funny cloths. Those stupid Kikes always do what their Rabbis tell them. They think they should be obedient to God. What mindless Kikebots. They actually have 613 commandments; count ‘em—six hundred and thirteen. This proves they’re a mind-control cult. You know, Kikes have committed murder and embezzled money. In fact, when a Kike commits murder, it’s because he’s a Kike. There is something about those Kikes that makes them violent. The Kikes are all rich, too. They control the money and politics of New York. Not just New York, they control Hollywood too, and want to control the politics of the entire country. Indeed, they are a threat to freedom and democracy. And their kosher rules are so-ooo stupid. They make me want to gag. Why shouldn’t I eat a cheeseburger if I want to? You can’t get a good ham sandwich in a Kike deli. I want a ham sandwich, and I’m not going to let those Kikes stop me from eating it. I sure hate those Kikes! They drive me nuts.”
It simply won’t do to insist that you’re not really a bigot because what you believe about Mormonism is really true. Anti-Semites honestly think they’re not bigots either–what they believe about Jews is really true: “I’m not bigoted! There really is an international Jewish banking conspiracy.”
It is quite amazing how vulgar some people on this board are. Is this what “recovery” is supposed to do? Is there any point to this vulgarity? Now you’re at last free from the chains of Mormonism so you can be as vulgar as you want to be. Congratulations!
All Morgbots walk in single file; at least the one I saw did. I once knew a Mormon who was stupid; all Mormons are stupid. There was a Bishop who offended me; all Mormons are offensive. There is a Mormon who committed murder; all Mormons are violent. There is a Mormon who made a stupid argument in favor of the Book of Mormon; all arguments in favor of the Book of Mormon are stupid.
I’m astonished at how many times people on this board have said that they don’t need to read anything written by Mormon scholars because they know the Church is false. This is precisely as stupid as a Mormon who says he doesn’t need to read anything about Hinduism because he knows Hinduism is false. If one is uninformed and refuses to read on a topic, the proper intellectual posture is to withhold judgment on the topic. But not on the “Recovery” board.
Anything negative said about the Church, its beliefs, practices and members finds an instant gullible audience on this board. Everything negative about the Church is automatically thought to be true by some here. There is apparently no anti-Mormon argument so stupid that it won’t be believed by some people on this board. In reality, however:
You can still logically believe the Church is false, even if some of the bad things said about the Church are false.
For many on this board, it seems that once your mind is freed from the shackles of Mormonism you are suddenly capable of being absolutely right about absolutely everything. When I find a cartoonist pontificating with absolute certitude about the history of religion, for example—on topics where mere mortals with PhDs have spent lifetimes of study and still are unable to resolve disputed issues—you will have to forgive me for being dubious about the intellectual rigor required by many on this board.
It is possible for stupid people to believe a true idea for illogical reasons. In fact, it is quite likely that all true ideas are believed by someone or another for fallacious reasons. Because a stupid person believes an idea for an illogical reason, it does not prove the idea is wrong. It is also possible for very intelligent people to believe false ideas for very good reasons. (Take geocentricity, for example.) It is possible to give valid arguments for a false proposition. It is also possible to give invalid arguments for a true proposition. There are a number of reasons–limitations of human reason, human fallibility, opposing paradigms, ambiguities of evidence–why intelligent people of good will can disagree about complicated and controversial matters.
But not on the “Recovery” board. Here all intelligent, right-thinking, and honest people agree with absolute certitude that Mormonism is not simply false, but so manifestly absurd that anyone who believes in it is a liar or an idiot.
It seems that if you disagree with any of the dogmas of the Recovery board, you are a bad person. Once again, for some on this board, it is not possible that intelligent people of good will can honestly disagree about complicated and controversial issues. If someone happens to believe that a plausible case can be made for the historicity of the Book of Mormon, that person is not simply mistaken. He is a moron and a liar. In the real world one can be mistaken without being an idiot and a liar. But not for some on the “Recovery” board. If Latter-day Saints have a different understanding of their history than do non-Latter-day Saints, the Church is not simply mistaken, it is hiding THE TRUTH about its history. Rather than seriously dealing with the evidence and analysis on the issue, it is a sufficient response to simply note that all Morgbots are brain-dead. You see, they are psychologically trapped in a mind-controlling cult; only when one has “recovered” from this cult can one see THE TRUTH. It is inconceivable that a brain-dead Morgbot could possibly think for himself, let alone come up with a cogent argument in favor of his beliefs.
I’m not going to lurk on this board any more. It is a monumental waste of time. So feel free to blast away at me. Be sure to note that I once made a joke comparing an anti-Mormon to an inane cartoon character. Oh, and since someone claims (no need to actually demonstrate) that I once made a mistake on some topic, everything I say about every topic is not only suspect, but demonstrably wrong. Therefore, you can all ignore what I have to say. After all, I’m a mindless Morgbot.
Enough said. Don’t forget that cogent argument–”I know you are, but what am I.” You see, some Mormons are gullible; therefore, all Mormons are gullible. And since people on the “Recovery” board are not Mormons, it’s impossible that they might be gullible.
I have rarely seen such a manifestation of unbridled obsession, contempt, bigotry and hatred as found among some on this “recovery” board. But what is truly sad is that no one here has the courage to stand up and say so.