Early termination of billboard posting

Below is a copy of today’s article in Idaho Falls’ Post Register about the early termination of our billboard posting. Barry South, the president of the company that owns the land the billboard was posted on, claims the billboard violated the company’s policy of religious neutrality, but they have nothing in their contract with Lamar Advertising about such a policy. Also, there is nothing on the billboard or on the land the billboard is located that links the billboard to the company that owns the land, unless the company starts placing advertising on the sides of the cows in the pasture the billboard is on. On a positive note, the article again made the front page of the Post Register

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Postmormon.org billboard comes down ahead of schedule

The owners of the land the billboard was on believed the ad violated their company’s position of religious neutrality.

The local advertising campaign for a Web site that caters to former members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has ended prematurely.

A billboard on U.S. Highway 20 promoting http://www.postmormon.org was taken down more than a week before its contract expired. The decision to yank the sign came at the behest of Dome Technology Inc., a local business that owns the land where the sign’s post is buried.

Barry South, president of the monolithic dome company and an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said his sons expressed concern about the billboard to Lamar Outdoor Advertising, which owns the billboard space, after an article about postmormon.org was published two weeks ago in the Post Register.

Jeff Ricks, the Web site’s executive director, said the local Lamar agent he conducts business with informed him that he had to take the sign down because South’s representatives adamantly voiced displeasure.

“It’s a form of religious discrimination,” Ricks said of South’s tactics. “At the very least, it’s religious intolerance.”

Dome Technology has a 20-year billboard lease with Lamar that’s set to expire in 2024. Though Dome Technology’s contract with Lamar does not include a provision dictating what Lamar can advertise, Dome representatives contacted Lamar to express their concern that the sign violated the company’s neutrality policy, Dome Technology Executive Vice President Gary Peterson wrote in a response to the Post Register.

Dome Technology interacts regularly with customers of diverse religious backgrounds throughout the world, the statement reads, and the company would have expressed the same concern for any advertisement with a negative or positive context toward any religious denomination.

“Upon reading the Post Register article and becoming aware of the ensuing interest it elicited, we believed that the display material on the billboard created an inappropriate association with our company in violation of our position of neutrality,” the statement reads.

Peterson said his company did not insinuate it would terminate its lease with Lamar and that he was actually shocked when it was taken down promptly.

Efforts to reach Kent Marboe, Lamar’s representative in eastern Idaho, for comment were unsuccessful.

The postmormon.org community, whose primary purpose, Ricks said, is to provide support for those who’ve left the church and need others of like mind to talk about repercussions they’ve faced since leaving, paid $800 to have the sign advertised from the last week in May to the last week in June.

Ricks said the sign was removed sometime last week, cutting short his contract by about 10 days.

This wasn’t the first time Ricks said he’s run into unexpected obstacles in regard to the billboards, which consist of the Web site’s URL and a smiley face.

Ricks said Regan Advertising at first refused to put up a billboard promoting the site in the Salt Lake City area but later relented when he came back with support from the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Scott Butterfield, regional manager of Lamar’s Northwest region, said it’s not uncommon for the company to sign leases with clauses that give landowners authority to censor a billboard.

If there isn’t such a provision, Lamar will occasionally pull signs on its own, he said.

“Lamar reserves the right to take down copy if it doesn’t meet community standards,” he said.

Ricks said he plans to display a sign in Pocatello sometime within the next few weeks.

Posted by Jeff Ricks on 06/22 at 11:15 AM in General News


Comments:

What I think is interesting is the reason the owners cited, that postmo.org violates their policy of religious neutrality.

Funny, but last time I checked a web site is not a religion. Postmo.org is not a religion. We do not promote any single religion, creed, or point of view.

This equates, IMHO, to say asking Alcoholics Anonymous to take down a billboard that advertises the resources available for people who have stopped drinking.

At the end of the day, though, we can all smile and chuckle quietly to ourselves because the bottom line: the action that Dome Technology took just reinforces our point and our reason for having this site in the first place.


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

People like Barry South are so convinced of their own virtue that they do not realize when they violate the rights of others.  In their mind, the rights of others are immaterial unless they want to become Mormons.

That attitude is also called bigotry.  The fact that it is motivated by the best intentions does not affect the conclusion.  In fact, good intentions are a necessary element of bigotry.


Complaints about how active Mormons react to this site strike me as just a little disengenuous. The site it publicly touted as a benign and supportive place for Mormons attempting to exit the church. But its content includes material that many active Mormons justifiably find offensive. I happen to know that it is this fact that has upset many of the people in eastern Idaho.

You can’t have it both ways. You either must do what you say—maintain a supporting and helpful site—or openly admit that your site goes beyond that.

For example, the first post above claims that “we do not promote any single ... point of view.” This is, quite simply, not true. This site is full of content that active Mormons would find offensive and that advocates the point of view that the LDS Church is not “true”. That’s perfectly OK and your right, but ‘fess up to it. Ironically, I think that some folks on this site are “convinced of their own virtue…”


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer, you’re missing the point. This site is not meant for Mormons. This is a site for people who have chosen to leave the Church for whatever reason.

With that in mind, don’t you think it’s a bit naive of you or any Mormon to expect to not find people talking about why the left the Church and why they think it’s not a good thing? It would be the same as going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and being shocked to find people talking about how alcohol has affected their lives and is not a good thing.


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer, good to see you.  However, you are making a logical leap.

Just because the points of view do not appeal to your taste that does not change the fact that there is a wide variety of views on postmormon.org.  It is true that post-Mormons do no longer subscribe to the truth claims of the LDS Church.  That does not mean that we are all subscribing to the same views.

It is presumptuous of you to expect that there is no diversity of opinion unless there is a faithful perspective. 

In light of the fact that there are a variety of views, it is also misguided to hold the proprietors of the board accountable for the content of the messages.  Postmormon.org is not a public relations effort controlled by corporate headquarters.  It comprises unsolicited messages of Mormons and former Mormons who only speak for the individual writers, not the board owners or the community.


You’re both missing my point (and making assumptions about me personally that are inaccurate). I understand that a site like this will have a diversity of content and opinion. In interviews you try to make the case that this site is all about love and support. But pull up the Peepstone Magazine section and it’s full of content that pokes fun at beliefs that many find sacred. It’s naive and disengenuous to be surprised by negative reactions to this site when it is not what it purports to be.


The Peep Stone seems to have gotten some negative press since the Idaho Falls billboard and related story.  Satire is often hard for people to swallow, particularly when the object of the satire is something others take very seriously.  But the point of satire is to shine a light on things in a different way, to help us see them in ways we might not otherwise observe them. 

Satire is not for everyone.  Hell, humor is not for everyone.  But when the Peep Stone publishes a story, it does it deliberately—not just to cause a chuckle among those who are in the “know”, but also to shine the light of critical exploration on things that need to be examined.  In this case, we are examining doctrines and practices of the church and the culture that spring from that church.  It is no surprise that active Mormons often find it “offensive,” but then, the early Catholic church found Galileo to be offensive, too.  When we examine hard things, no matter how we do it, it is upsetting to the status quo.

I can live with that.

(By the way, I’m hardly comparing what we do to the work of Galileo, but simply pointing out that established cultures seldom “appreciate” it when someone else turns the light of inquiry on their sacred doctrines.  Whether by science or literary satire, it doesn’t matter.)


A final note (for now) before I go off to work. You claim this site is not “anti-Mormon.” Well, of course it is. It’s full of anti-Mormon content, and not just from various posters. Again, that’s perfectly OK, but admit to it. You hurt your credibility when you make untrue claims about your own site. In stories about the site, I believe you give a misleading picture of what the site contains. This gives critics a huge opportunity for legitimate criticism.


This site is exactly what it purports to be.  I speak as the target demographic, and I can tell you I found the Peepstone Magazine to be profoundly loving and supportive to me as a former Mormon.  This site it directed at Post Mormons.  What is so difficult to understand about that?


The site’s own home page contradicts itself: “We are not anti-Mormon. In fact, many of our family members and friends are Mormon, and we want to keep all the good that came into our lives through Mormonism. We will, however, be open about its misrepresentations and the way in which its dogmatism and authoritarianism have proven detrimental to many individuals, families and communities. We regret the fact that our openness in this regard hurts some people, but feel that important information has been suppressed for so long within the Mormon community that we should let the chips fall where they may.”

This has an old, familiar ring to it: “Some of my best friends are (fill in the blank).”

If being “open about (the church’s) misrepresentations and the way in which its dogmatism and authoritarianism have proven detrimental…” isn’t anti-Mormon, then what would qualify, exactly? Again, I have no problem with a site dedicated to “post” Mormons, but you shouldn’t claim to take the high road unless you intend to actually drive on it.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer. Click on the word anti-Mormon on our homepage. It will take you to a Wikipedia article that explains why we legitimately reject the label.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer,the LDS Church has a new ad campaign called “Truth Restored.” That statement accompanies every billboard, newspaper ad, and radio spot in their campaign, along with their website address.  In that short statement is implied an anti-anything-but-Mormonism stance. To claim that they have restored the truth is an implicit statement against all other churches. All of their advertising in their new campaign is designed to get people to go to their website, Mormon.org. I’ve been to their web site. I find much of what’s there offensive because, as an active Mormon for 36 years of my life I know much of it is a misrepresentation of facts. Yet they have the audacity to put on their billboards, “Truth Restored.” Why is the Mormon Church excused for this? At least on our advertising we make no “anti-” statements, implied or otherwise, like the LDS Church does. Ours is simply a web site address and a smiley face. And we bend over backwards to try to get people to understand that it is not a website for Mormons. I can understand why our website will offend Mormons. Please understand why the Mormon Church website, advertising and PR offends me. If we were to take the same approach as the LDS Church, perhaps we’d change our billboards to include something like: “Joseph’s Myth?” Would that be a better approach? I don’t think so.


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

I am not surprised that people are having negative reactions to this site, Casual Observer.  I also wasn’t surprised when people were upset that the Joseph Smith story called their faith an abomination. 

That does not give them the right, however, to kick the missionaries out of the country.  Neither should the ad be shut down.  People have an obligation to tolerate religious differences.

Unfortunately, that’s a lesson that most Mormon believers have yet to learn.


I take no issue with what offends you, nor do I wish to defend the church for its missionary program. These are outside the point I’m trying to make.

Jeff, do you really want to rely on a Wikipedia definition? You can do better. In my humble opinion, your home page posits an anti-Mormon slant—that the church “misrepresents” its “detrimental” “dogmatism” and “authoritarianism.” You don’t have to advocate the destruction of the church or prosecute its members to be anti-Mormon. These are all positions you are free to argue, but you shouldn’t do it under the guise of benevolence.

As the site was originally described to me, its intent was simply to be a place for people who have left, are leaving, or are contemplating leaving the church to discuss mutual experiences and issues and provide support and resources to each other, and that’s often how Jeff describes it in news coverage. A visit to the site, however, shows it for much more than that. All I’m suggesting is that you should own up to that, if for no other reason than the sake of your own credibility. When curious Mormons come to this site and find that it’s different than advertised, it just confirms their suspicion that antagonism is afoot.

Hellmut, are you suggesting that because you feel that Joseph Smith degraded other religions that you are justified in doing the same? You suggest tolerance for religious differences. Do you claim that this site is tolerant of Mormonism? If so, your idea of tolerance and mine are very different.

I just recommend one of two paths: Either change the way to describe this site to the press and others, or change the site to conform with how you describe it.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer, clearly you and I have a different definition for the word “anti-Mormon.” One our homepage I refer to the Wikipedia definition to show that others, not at all affiliated with our organization, share our definition of the word and reject its use when applied to them for the same reasons we reject its use when applied to us. My approach to the press is based on what is a widely held definition of the word. It’s not a definition we invented.

We have not launched any campaign against the LDS Church. We don’t picket on Temple Square. We don’t send anti-Mormon letters to the editor. We don’t have any “anti-” slogans in our advertising, unlike the Church. Therefore, we are not anti-Mormon and are not misrepresenting ourselves when we go to he press and state that we are not anti-Mormon. Moreover, our homepage is very clear why we are not anti-Mormon and is also very clear on what Mormons and non-Mormon should expect when they go to other areas of our website. We state that we will “be open about [the Church’s] misrepresentations and the way in which its dogmatism and authoritarianism have proven detrimental to many individuals, families and communities.” Casual Observer, I don’t think we’re misrepresenting or hiding anything. We will, however, consider the points you have raised when we meet as a board and staff over the next few days.


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer, tolerance comes from the Latin word tolerare, which means to bear.  Tolerance means that we have to permit behaviors that are burdening ourselves.

Particularly religion requires tolerance because essentially unprovable, religion is a matter of conscience.  Mind you, the obligation of religious tolerance is different than demanding religious respect.

Barry South and his son’s are intolerant because they are shutting down a religious ad with which they disagree.  Mormons ought to realize that this kind of behavior is bigotted and not acceptable.  I would like to see the reactions of Idaho Mormons when somebody discontinues a Mormon ad in France or Japan.  Mormons tend to be so tribal in their value system that they often lack any notion of the Golden Rule.

It is acceptable, however, for Mormons to assemble and call other people’s religion an abomination.  In the same vein, people ought to be free to work through their issues with their religious socialization without requiring permission from Mormons.

Regarding your issues with content that might be labelled anti-Mormon, let me remind you that this is a label that the Mormon hegemony uses to discredit any criticism, regardless whether it is rooted in fact or not.  The term anti-Mormonism is usually thrown around to shut down debate and exploration, to exclude critics from Mormon society and in some cases even to deprive critics of Mormonism of their livelihood. 

In that sense, the very accusation of anti-Mormonism, instead of engaging the criticism on the merits, is an intolerant act that Mormons deploy purposefully to attack their critics, more often than not in the absence of reasonable counter-arguments.

I grew up Mormon in Germany and I have to say that I was treated a whole lot better as a Mormon by gentiles than in the Mormon corridor by Mormon believers.  The way you people are treating religious dissenters, be they your never-Mo neighbors or your dissenting family members, is shameful.

I realize that you have good intentions, Casual Observer, but by throwing around the vicious label of anti-Mormon, you are perpetuating an intolerant notion that promotes the domination of Mormon dissenters.

You have to excuse us for refusing to accept the labelling of the Mormon hegemony.  Most of us want to recover from Mormonism.  That requires rigorous critique.  If that is unsettling to believers then they really do need to get a thicker skin and and learn to live in a free society.


This reminds me of conversations that start, “I’m not a racist…” Stating that we are or not something, or intend or don’t intend to be something, doesn’t make it so. Indeed, having to say it often is the first sign that something’s amiss. I encourage you to look objectively at your web site, as I have tried to do, and assess its content—not the message boards, but content provided by the site’s creators. I can assure you—it is seen as anti-Mormon, and not just by easy-to-offend mainstream Mormons. I encourage you to consider the objectives you’re trying to achieve and ask whether this content helps you achieve it. From my perspective as an outsider looking in who is intimately familiar with these issues, my conclusion is that you are doing violence to your own agenda.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer, the points you’ve raised are noted and appreciated and will be taken into consideration when our management team meets over the next few days.


The root of this action comes from the desire to protect the LDS church.  Religious Neutrality?  How about if the LDS land owner stops supporting a church that sends their missionaries onto my private property, knocking on my door, interrupting my family time, speaking in front of my young children to share with me how our religious beliefs are an abomination to god, as Joseph Smith taught and how the LDS church is the “only true church on the face of the earth”? The post mormon site does discuss many topics that the LDS church wishes they could control, bury and would simply go away.  Is that anti-Mormon, or pro-full disclosure and pro-integrity?


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

Casual Observer, if you reflect on it a little bit then you will conclude that non-Mormons and Mormons attribute quite different meanings to the phrase “anti-Mormon.”  Please, consider this remark in the context of my previous post.


I am very glad that this is not an anti-Mormon site. If it were, folks might get all worked up!


Casual Observer is simply stating the black and white point of view taught to him by Mormonism.  Everything is either Pro or Anti there is no middle ground.  If it doesn’t support his point of view then it is obviously anti-mormon.  We will never see eye to eye with him because we see the gray areas he will never admit exist.


Oops. Tthom, sir or madam, I fear you are ascribing traits and positions to me that are incorrect. I’d suggest that you take greater care in assuming facts not in evidence.


I am an active mormon living the town of Idaho Falls. I am different than alot of Mormons, I believe that the early termination of your billboard is wrong and I hope that some kind of reconciliation can be met for this action. The articles in the Post Register intrigued me. Prompting my registration on to the site. At first I was impressed, yet as I dug deeper, I find that your website is not a unbiased as it claims to be. I find no links, or articles for any kind of LDS produced literature. How can you claim to not be “anti” when you have someone like Simon Southerton writing for you? Have you read his book? It is clearly “anti” (I have read it). I have met and had a one on one conversation with Ed Decker, who gave me some of his literature. As I compared his literature with the links I found in your scrapbook, they are practically identical.

I am not saying that you are not living what you claim to believe, I am just merely pointing out that the information presented on your web-site is not as unbiased as your statement claims to be.

Regardless of this, I as a member of the Idaho Falls community, I apologize for the intolerance of our small city. May God bless you in your pursuit of truth.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Any website or individual that publicly disagrees with any action, policy, doctrine, scripture or statement, of the LDS Church is going to be labeled anti-Mormon by members of that religion. We learned a long time ago that we cannot avoid that. Fortunately, as stated above, they are not the audience our organization is targeting. We are in fact reaching our target audience in large numbers. We are finding success. We are achieving what we have set out to do and that is to provide a place for former Mormons to meet and talk, laugh and cry, and help each other deal with the repercussions and injustices they’ve experienced because they’ve left the Church.

We can argue all day long whether we are anti-Mormon or not, but if our definitions differ then we’ll never agree and it’s a waste of time. I don’t agree with the Mormon definition. They don’t agree with ours. Fine. Fortunately, they are not our target audience. If they don’t like it when someone or something on our website speaks against their beliefs then I have to ask, why are they here? They should mind their own business, respect the stated purpose of this website, and leave. We don’t go into Mormon chapels and tell them what they should and should not be saying to their members, even though we strongly disagree with many of the things that are said. We respect their right in their own “home” to say what they want. Please, Mormons visiting this site, this is our “home.” Why can’t you respect our right to the same?


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Envy, you’re awfully naive if you were expecting to find Church published literature on this website. I don’t recall seeing any links to literature critical of the LDS Church on their website, and I wouldn’t expect to, for the same reasons you shouldn’t expect to find Church published literature here.

No one said this is an unbiased website. Where did you get that idea? This is a biased site. We have a mission we’ve targeted, which is to provide a place for former Mormons to meet and talk. We are biased toward that mission. Likewise, the LDS Church is biased. It has its mission and is biased toward it. So, of course we’re biased, just like any organization that has set out to achieve a goal.

Thank you for your apology for the actions of some in your community. It is much appreciated.


Hellmutt said, “Barry South and his sonís are intolerant because they are shutting down a religious ad with which they disagree.”

Two points.

1. There is nothing religious about an ad that says, “www.postmormon.org.” If the message was “PRAY to www.postmormon.org,” then I’d concede that you have a point.

2. Postmormon.org is not a religion. It’s a web site.


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

That’s a little too clever by half, Dogzilla.  Even if we want to get away from a religion, the topic is still religion.


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

Hi Envy, it’s good to meet you and thank you for your sense of fairness.  I don’t think that Simon Southerton is anti-Mormon.  He did not write that book to destroy Mormonism but to explain how genetics relates to the claims of the Book of Mormon.

Southerton’s information is either true or false, which can be determined scientifically.  It is not necessary to call the author or his book names.  It’s a matter of evidence.


By free thinker
on 06/22/2007

Thank You

I offer thanks to those who had the billboard removed. This will provide additional publicity for postmormon.org. It will help us reach our target audience.

When the billboard goes up in Pocatello ( a place that was not slated for one) we will reach folks there whom would not have otherwise found us. They will be relieved to find us. Broken hearts and tormented individuals will find healing and love.

Please, active members of the Mormon Church, understand that nothing you can do, or say, will stop this movement. It’s time has come and nothing any individual, or group of people will do can stop it’s forward motion. The momentum of this community was started by, and is propelled by, Mormonism. As long as the Mormon Church remains powerful so will this site.

I wish you happiness and warmth at hearth and home. We hope that you will have the same emotion and consideration for this community. Fight it and you empower it. Accept it, and it will become more benign. It is that simple.

free thinker


By Hellmut
on 06/22/2007

That’s definitely true, Free Thinker.  South and Sons have given the post-Mormon movement more publicity.  And their bigotry is embarrassing themselves and their Church.


Actually, there is food for thought in this discussion.  I don’t think we could (or should) ever provide a website that would ever be perceived as “Mormon friendly.”  That’s not our mission.  We don’t, however, wish to be perceived as “anti-Mormon,” which in my mind, suggests an affirmative effort to negate or denegrate the church itself.  I don’t think we do that…but what we DO do is sometimes close. 

I don’t feel the need to change what we do, but there is some interesting food for thought regarding how we represent ourselves.  Thank you Casual Observer and Envy for raising the issue.  Who knows if anything will change, but certainly it’s worth considering.


All I can say is that I’m embarrassed to be living in a city where this has happened.
Nobody even knew that Dome Technology owned that land, so it’s not like anybody was going to jump to the conclusion that Dome Technology supported that billboard.  What a lousy excuse for wanting it down.  Kudos to the Post Register for printing the article.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/22/2007

Thank you Peter_Mary. Mormons tend to label all people who disagree with any aspect of the Church as anti-Mormon. I resent that because it lumps us into the same category as those on Temple Square who rudely and sometimes obscenely picket LDS meetings. I do not in any way applaud such behavior. It’s offensive to Mormons and it’s offensive to me. We respect the right of Mormons to assemble and if I had my way they would be allowed to assemble without being subjected to the taunts and insanity of the picketers.

I wish the picketers would go away because their behavior misrepresents the broader former Mormon community who don’t do such things. But because of their high visibility, Mormons tend to think that anyone who disagrees with the Church should be lumped into the same category. I resent that and reject the anti-Mormon label for that reason. We are not those people. We don’t condone their behavior. They are not a part of us.

Of course people will find information on this site that speaks against policies, doctrines or statements of the LDS Church. To think otherwise is, in my opinion, a bit naive. But speaking against Mormonism is mostly done in the context of member talking with member, as part of a healing process. We also provide information in our magazines that’s targeted at former Mormons. Peep Stone, which has been mentioned above is targeted at former Mormons. Notice the slogan under the logo, “Latter-day laughs for latter-day ain’ts.” Who was it that said laughter is the best medicine? Whoever it was could have been talking about Peep Stone. Laughing helps heal the hurt and deal with the pain. We all know that.

We are not on a campaign to tell the world what’s wrong with Mormonism. There are organizations that are but we’re not one of them. Nevertheless, with regard to those organization that are on such a campaign (and are not the wackos on Temple Square who’s methods will never be effective) I think the following should be considered:

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

-Winston Churchill


It’s pretty insulting to hear some of you say that Post Mormon is anti. Never will I be anti anything and I chose to be a part of Post-Mormon for the simple fact that it doesn’t have an “anti” tone.

For those Mormons lurking around here… leaving the church for nearly everybody is an EXTREMELY HARD process. I am beyond thankful that I found Post Mormon to help me get through it all.

I will NEVER be anti-Mormon. I know that the church is not right for me, but I respect those who feel it is right for them. I just expect the same respect in return from all of my family and friends who choose to remain Mormon.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/23/2007

Thank you Bla833. I wish there was a simple way to get the Mormon community to understand what you just said.


Casual Observer said:
“Stating that we are or not something, or intend or donít intend to be something, doesnít make it so. Indeed, having to say it often is the first sign that somethingís amiss.”
Kinda like the Mormons trying to convince everyone that they really are Christians?


The difference between an “anti” website and the church’s website is that official church literature is not “editorialzed”. It does not present leading questions or persuade people to believe what we believe. It merely presents facts, and allows people to test what is presented. Regardless of this, having a link to an LDS website is good for those doing research.

I once again am sorry if I labeled this an Anti site. It was not my intentions, I have a sister that would probably be very interested in this site. She is not an active member anymore either.

I will not label this site as Anti, but some of your members seem to be. Lydia, your comment seems very much on the offensive.


My last question is, How many people have actually taken the steps to have their names removed from the church’s records?


Just a different point of view, Envy. But I guess it bothered you so I’m being offensive.


Envy,

I think you should spend a little time reading at lds.org from the perspective of an outsider.  The “Truth Restored” PR campaign is designed and intended to persuade people to adopt mormonism.  It is marketing—pure and simple.


By free thinker
on 06/23/2007

My last question is, How many people have actually taken the steps to have their names removed from the churchís records?


Envy

Many have had their names removed, and many have not. It is not promoted here as that is an individual choice. I have had my name removed. It was the right choice for me.

ft


By Hellmut
on 06/23/2007

Envy, I wish it were true that the LDS Church presented only the facts on its website.  When you begin to study Mormon history in earnest then you will discover that lds.org presents anything but the facts.

There is a wonderful synopsis of the Mormon history by the former Church Education teacher Grant Palmer [url=http://www.amazon.com/Insiders-View-Mormon-Origins/dp/1560851570]An Insiders View of Mormon Origins[url].  It is a price winning book that will help to catch up with the historical research during the last forty years.


What the general population considers “anti-mormon” and what mormons consider “anti-mormon” are fairly different things.

There is a difference between processing your perceptions and experiences after moving on from the mormon church and actively trying to antagonize members of the mormon faith.

While many mormons experience the perceptions of postmormons as antagonistic, most others would agree that the posts here generally don’t fit that attitude.

Dislike, disappointment, and disillusionment are a separate thing from antagonism.


You’ve unintentionally put your finger on the problem, as I see it. This site contains a lot of very antagonistic content, yet many of its supporters deny it. That’s not constructive.

Some examples:

There’s an interesting article by Arza Evans that talks of Mormon hypocrisy and compares the church to the Cosa Nostra. It also accuses the church of extortion.

There’s some very funny satire on Peep Stone, but much of it is obviously offensive and, yes, antagonistic to active Mormons.

There are links to Bill Maher’s very funny but very antagonistic riffs on Mormonism.

There are links to a veritable bibliography of “anti-Mormon” books, including the most infamous of all, “No Man Knows My History” and books drawing links between the LDS temple ceremony and Masonry. This goes beyond disillusionment, and it’s not honest to say that these books are just objective works. Some are, many are not. I was a student of Mike Quinn’s at BYU, and I deeply respect his work. But it’s not without controversy.

Of course, the message boards are full of antagonism, anger, bitterness and vitriol.

I could go on and on. Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of this, until this site’s supporters claim they’re not antagonistic and just expressing disappointment. That’s simply disengenous.

For the record, I’m “post Mormon” myself. I’m a returned missionary, was married in the temple, raised my children LDS, etc. I’m happily outside the church today. I understand the difficulties of those who participate here. But I’m not sympathetic to people who claim not to be hostile to the church or its members while vigorously denouncing it. You can’t have it both ways.


Casual Observer,

I’m sorry, but you’re only correct by a technicality… in all of your arguments.

First, is this site anti-mormon. Sure.. as long as by anti, you mean against or opposed.. This site is most definitely opposed to the practice of mormonism on a personal level. However, it is NOT attempting to push those beliefs onto anyone who isn’t actively seeking it themselves.  There is absolutely nothing wrong in sharing what you believe to be valid works with anyone who approaches you asking about them.

Any person who types www.postmormon.org into their browser’s address bar has at least some idea of what they’re clicking into. They’re asking for the content. Now, if this sites creators had listed this site with a domain such as www.welovemormons.com, it could be much more easily argued that they’re trying to approach active mormons, in order to change their attitudes.

The simple fact is that anyone who comes to this site is either looking for confrontation or consolation. There is nothing about the name or the advertising of this site which implies that it is a place for positive affirmation of church doctrines.

As for your argument regarding antagonism: again, technically, you’re correct. However, in reality, antagonism is considered an unwelcome advance or attack. EVERY SINGLE PERSON who has ever come to this site should fully understand that POST means AFTER, and this site is NOT a mormon site. They’re not being antagonized because they requested the information.

We can argue technicalities all day long, but the simple fact of the matter is that the billboard was pulled based on religious bias, but the only religious bias that was shown was that of the person requesting the removal of the sign.


If, Casual Observer, postmormon.org sent out spam with all the links to rosters of the faithful LDS saints, it *might* be considered antagonistic.

But it doesn’t do that. It’s a site geared for people who have left, and it has a general tone of fostering appropriate behavior for still-believing mormons.

Heck, by your definition, any history book that honestly covers events such as MMM is “anti-mormon.” But that assessment is not one that would make sense to most people outside of mormon culture.


By Hellmut
on 06/24/2007

Although I agree with you that there are some posts that are over the top, Casual Observer, when you take objections to Fawn Brody and Mike Quinn as anti-Mormons that is not reasonable.

Who cares if Mike Quinn’s work is controversial.  He is the most cited and most awarded Mormon studies historian.

Likewise, No Man Knows My History remains the best biography of Joseph Smith yet, which is quite an achievement for a book that is 62 years old.

I am afraid that your attitude is only another datapoint for what I tried to explain to you before.  The anti-Mormon label is an attempt by Mormon authorities to silence research and to shut down the debate.


I am intrigued at the insistence that this site isn’t anti-Mormon—Shakespeare would have suggested that some folks are protesting too much.

This site can’t be compared to history books that attempt to simply tell the facts. This site is full of personal opinion that can in no way be compared to a history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Professional historians take great care to provide an objective and complete piciture—that is not true of this site.

In my opinion, Brodie’s work was deeply flawed (and I’m hardly alone). Quinn’s research is impressive, but many of his conclusions are, at least, open to question. But that’s another topic.

No, you don’t send out spam, but Jeff Ricks and others have been quoted in numerous publications and on television insisting that postmormon.org isn’t anti-Mormon, and the same claim is made on the home page. This claim is either true or it isn’t—there can be no “technicality.” While I’m sympathetic to the stated aims of this site, there is much here that is anti-Mormon. That’s OK—there are a lot of ticked off people who are drawn here. But why must they insist that the site isn’t anti-Mormon? Whether they’re familiar with Mormon culture or not, it’s hard to imagine that bjective visitors wouldn’t find much of the content here anti-Mormon.

When you put billboards into the public domain and give interviews for publication, you are going to attract curious people here, many of whom will start with the assumption that you’ve spoken the truth when you assert that the site isn’t anti-Mormon. It doesn’t take long for those people to come to a different conclusion. I have spoken to more than a few who have had that experience.

The argument that you aren’t being antagonistic because anyone coming here ought to know what they’re in for supports my case—I believe you are being misleading in describing this site. I ask, why not just speak the truth—people who come here are hurting, angry, disillusioned and sad, and they need to vent and seek comfort. Part of that process is clearly antagonistic toward the church.

Yes, the church has successfully followed a strategy of labeling anything it doesn’t like as anti-Mormon. Unfortunately, this site has qualified for the tag. The shoe fits, and that’s too bad. Wishing it were otherwise doesn’t make it so.


Saw the Salt Lake Tribune picked up on the article too from the Associated Press.

http://www.sltrib.com/ci_6205577?source=rss


The term “anti” is very controversial, and can be defined a million different ways.

When I think “anti”... I think hostility. Post-Mormons is not hostile towards Mormons. I get so frustrated with people who have the mind-set that any resource like books or websites that aren’t “Pro-Mormon” have to be Anti.

Reminds me of the time my brother called me an apostate for reading a scholarly book about the history of the Mormon church. If Deseret Book didn’t sell it, certainly it was Anti.

Anyhow, I think the problem here is with how everybody defines anti. And if you’re LDS, your definition of Anti is much different than anybody else.

We could sit here and argue all day, couldn’t we? All I know is that I am happy to associate with Post-Mormon where I’ve found a helpful and friendly place to meet others who are in the same difficult situation as I am in.


Casual Observer,

You consistently speak of PostMo as if it is a monolithic entity, where official policy is laid down as it is in Mormonism.

Sure there is a management committee here, but they tread very lightly indeed; most notably when in contrast with Mormon management.

So whatever you percieve here is essentially the collective voice of the individuals who find their way to the door marked www.postmormon.org. They arrive one at a time, as I did, all the way from Eastern Australia. The sense of community I experience here is rewarding enough that I check in numerous times daily.

The section on postmormon metamap in the ‘anti-mormon’ Scrapbook is largely of my writing. But what is posted there emerged after input from over 25 regular posters here. There was no predetermined script to that process. I started out from the theory that the post-mormon journey might have some similarlity with Kubler-Ross’s ‘Stages of Grieving’ Model. We started a dialogue around that, and synthesised a ‘map’ over months.

If the resultant map is perceived as anti-mormon, then that is interesting. We started from a general agreement that Mormonism was not the final destination in lifes journey or the pursuit of spiritual growth that Mormonism ascribes itself, and that there was richly rewarding territory beyond.

And they find people of compatible mind and voice, or they move on.

So they that find ‘community’ here, talk, and interact, and by some strange fluke of nature, out of most of them comes an utterance of pain at their Mormon experience. Many insist upon the maturity to also acknowledge to the good they took from their Mormon years.

But this discourse has got off balance. You have come here and laid the charge of ‘anti-Mormonism’. And some have felt a need to defend against that charge. Personally I don’t buy your offended innocence. It has a pecularly Mormon feel about it.

I have a simple question for you: What content of a post-Mormon site would be OK by you?

Would it be long recitals of fond memories of our days there?
Would it be exclusively rich with fond praise of the positive influences that Mormonism had in our lives?
Would it be resplendent with accounts of our endless positive experiences amongst Mormons?

Get my drift? Does the resultant website sound vaguely familiar? Sounds a bit like a web version of the Ensign to me; an immature ‘faith-promoting’ PR story.

continued…...

Daryl


Continuation of a challenge to Casual Observer:


So over to you Casual Observer. Please lay down your recipe for a post-mormon website that would satisfy you?

I am waiting with baited breath.

Your eloquent posting here masks a familiar posture, and you critique fails to spell out any acceptable alternative.

Your postings fail to address that any religion that arrogantly claim to monopolize the ‘truth’ must by definition work from the belief that anyone that departs must be off base and therefore their voice be an offence.

I await your eloquent explanation of how that can be accomplished….. short of us being without a voice, as we were within Mormonism?

Daryl


By free thinker
on 06/24/2007

Casual Observer

What would you have us do? What tone of conversation would please you? Shall we say for example that we are confident that all the current General Authorities are not aware of any of the controversial issues in Mormon history? Should we give Joseph Smith a pass and not say that he lied? Should we say that we think he was just doing what he thought was right at the time?

How about the Church’s treatment of Gays and Lesbians? Should we say that it is fine to let the Mormon leaders call them sinners? Is that what you would like? Again Casual Observer. Where should we draw the line? What tone would make you feel more comfortable?

How about we decide right here. You and I, and all those on this site, that we are certain that Joseph Smith was absolutely correct in taking his housekeeper Fanny Alger into a sexual liason behind the back of his, wife while at the same time standing forth as moral, and God’s prophet. Shall we do that? Or maybe we should give current church leaders a pass on hiding that information.

I can go on and on Casual as you know. But sir please let me know what tone we can use and still be honest about things that need honest attention. Please friend what tone shall we use. Can you give me an example?

This will be my last post here as I am sure we will not get consensus on this. Let me suggest that we agree to disagree?  You see it one way, and we see it another. It is a free country and I am guessing we will proceed as we have. Join us if you like, but realize that your opinion is only an opinion, and as such, carries no more value than another who disagrees with you.

ft


By free thinker
on 06/24/2007

Hey Daryl

We posted at the same time. Looks like we were thinking the same thoughts. After being here some time you do get a feel for the Mormon voice eh? It never changes. 

ft


Casual Observer, you seem just as insistent as everyone else, so who’s protesting too much?


I don’t think Casual Observer has suggested that we change the website…he/she has made every effort to state that in fact, they are sympathetic to what is being done here.  What CO HAS suggested is that from the outside looking in, there could very easily be a disconnect in perception…that WE perceive ourselves one way (not “anti”), while others could easily draw a different conclusion.

That’s not something I personally take lightly. 

I don’t mean to speak for CO, but all that I think is being suggested is perhaps that we consider the reality that other casual observers might draw the same conclusion, based on the content that we all provide, and hence there might be some benefit in revisiting our opening statements.  I for one would be in favor of a change that, rather than just stating “we are not anti-Mormon,” says instead something along the lines of “we do not consider ourselves anti-Mormon, but understand that others might perceive us to be so…etc.”  In other words, just try to close the perception gap, so that we do not find ourselves continuously confronted in this manner.  Casual Observer and Envy have pointed out a possible area for improvement, and I personally appreciate it.


My last post, too. I appreciate the dialog. I’m a guest here. I don’t take issue with anything other than my belief that those who speak publicly in behalf of this site should be more forthright about the site’s contents.

As I’ve written earlier, I’m “post-Mormon” too. I’ve worked through my issues and have moved on. It isn’t easy, and we all cope in our own ways. I choose to embrace my multi-generational Mormon heritage without accepting its theology. Others choose different paths.

I’ll end the way I started—it’s my sincere belief that those who are the public face of this web site haven’t been entirely forthcoming about postmormon.org, and they and those who participate would be better served by doing so.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/24/2007

Casual Observer, your comments are noted and have spurred some discussion within our management team as to whether we need to change anything about our approach to the public.

Regarding your charges that I / we misrepresent ourselves to the press, I accept your opinion but respectfully disagree. Nothing was ever intentionally misrepresented to anyone and the fact is, no one who has interviewed me has ever complained to me that any information was misrepresented to them. End of issue.


I think Casual Observer makes a good point.  I wouldn’t want the website content to change.  I’ve found it quite enjoyable, but perhaps something more could be said to clue in those expecting to find a pro-mormon post-mormon site.

As far as the billboard removal goes, it is good advertising for both sides.  The postmos get a new billboard for 30 days and Dome Technology will likely hear from many appreciative mormons.  In that respect, I can understand wanting to remove the billboard.  I assume most mormons would see the billboard as anti-mormon simply because it dares to suggest an alternative.  If I were a business owner in a mormon community, I would not want to be associated with a postmormon billboard.  It could be a death sentence. I can hear it now…“Doesn’t Joe Smith own that land?” “Why, yes he does!” “let’s boycott his business!”  That said, I’m not condoning the decision to remove it but I think I can understand it.


Peter_Mary,

The point you embrace is philosophically sound, and as I have come to expect from you, is anchored in an appropriate measure of wise reflection.

If, however, risks assuming that any easily offended TBMs will exercise similar wisdom and reflection. I tend toward the belief that nothing short of our website singing the unending praise of Mormonism would satisfy.

Most Mormons (IME) have thought so little about their faith in depth, that they cannot grasp the inevitably problematic position they are in by starting with the claim theirs is the one and only ‘true church’. That immediately places them in a problematic relationship with leavers, and all other faiths (and their desire to be seen as another Christian religion).

They fail to grasp that it is that very claim that places them in the childish position of rarely or never being able to acknowledge flaws in their religion or its leaders. They can admit to nothing short of perfection, so any critical discourse must inevitably be of Satan.

I am open to the idea that some reword of the Home Page might be viable, but caution that it will never satisfy many TBMs. It might have to be like a movie rating, stating that there is content here rated above G. This is adult space, and if you are too fragile for PG and above discussion, then this is not the space for you.

Daryl


A pro-mormon post mormon site. ???  I’m leaving Mormonism because I love it SO much, it’s the best thing ever.  Who in the world would expect to find such a site?  Is there a person who’s looking for that, who imagines that exists?

I don’t completely get the critism leveled at the home page or of Jeff’s interviews.  Jeff always, in every single interview, says this is a place for departing Mormons.  What can be expected to come out of a place for disenchanted Mormons?  Who now feel free of the illusion?  Perhaps a discussion of the illusion?  What is to be MORE forthcoming about?

Any active believing Mormon who comes to this site has already decided what they will find.  This isn’t about the unawares accidentally stumbling into a tar pit.  There are signs, there is a fence with a gate that anyone can choose to walk through, but when they do walk through that gate they know EXACTLY where they are going.

To every comment made by Casual Observer, my unexpressed response has been, “So what?”  So what if it is perceived as anti?  So what if the home page and Jeff says it’s not anti, and some might think it is?  So what?

And also Casual Observer, I’d like to ask, What dialog?  You’ve doggedly stuck to your point, we have acknowleged your point.  You haven’t once attempted to see our point.  You only call it dialog because we heard your point.  We keep repeating our point because we get no idication that you’ve heard our point.  So can you leave the smug comment about protesting too much behind?

For what it’s worth, I agree with Peter_Mary, he always has a reasonable voice.  But Jeff, I see absolutely no wrong doing on your part.  And again, I thank you for this web-site.

Just my .02


P.S. In no way do I consider this beautiful website and all it has produced, a tar pit.  I only said that because critics of the site seem to see it that way.  Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder.


I must say I’m a little surprised by and disappointed in some of responses to Casual Observer’s suggestion. He seemed logical and well-mannered in his assertion that the site is perceived as anti-Mormon, and that was his central claim.

The Wiki definition of “anti-Mormon” states, in part, that:

“The term is also controversial because it has been used to refer to criticism of Mormonism in general, much of which is not hostile to the doctrines and practices of Mormonism.”

This ringing a bell for anyone? As a Postmormon, one of the reasons I love this site is that I feel free to criticize the institution of Mormonism in this venue. In that sense, I guess I’m anti-Mormon. I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t have the right to be Mormon, I respect their right to believe what they want to. I think those that picket Mormon gatherings are over the top and non-constructive, and wouldn’t want to be affiliated with that type of activity. But I think that, etymologically speaking, most people would interpret the word to mean “against Mormonism” and I think that many of the people who find comfort here fit that description.

I feel we would be better off defining more clearly what we mean by anti-Mormon on the homepage—or dropping the term altogether—substituting it with a less shifty word.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/24/2007

“We are not anti-Mormon. In fact, many of our family members and friends are Mormon, and we want to keep all the good that came into our lives through Mormonism. We will, however, be open about its misrepresentations and the way in which its dogmatism and authoritarianism have proven detrimental to many individuals, families and communities.”

Plumvillvage, I appreciate your point of view but I think the above, taken from our homepage, is about as good a definition as can be written for what we mean by anti-Mormon. In other words:

- We are not anti-Mormon because many of our family and friends are Mormon.
- We are not anti-Mormon because we want to keep all the good that came into our lives through Mormonism

I think the above, coupled with the link to the Wikipedia page that explains why some people reject the label, is a good faith attempt to explain why we legitimately reject the label when applied to us. I could also add some other reasons why we are not anti-Mormon:

- We are not anti-Mormon because we don’t advocate or participate in picketing Temple Square.
- We are not anti-Mormon because we don’t advocate writing letters to the editor that attempt to tell the community what is wrong with Mormonism.
- We are not anti-Mormon because we don’t go door-to-door telling Mormons what’s wrong with their beliefs and try to convince them to become post-Mormons.

It doesn’t matter what we change, Mormons will still label us anti-Mormon. Fortunately they are not our target audience and fortunately our target audience generally understands what we mean when we say we are not anti-Mormon. Our advertising, website and homepage statement are designed for and targeted at former Mormons. As long as they know what we mean when we use the word then why should we change anything? I’m not saying we won’t change, I’m only saying, why should we feel obligated to change to accommodate the Mormon definition of the word when our definition of the word is just as valid, if not more valid, and our statement is not even directed at them? (continued)


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/24/2007

...The Mormon definition of the word is unrealistic and by their own standard is unfairly applied to people or organizations. For example, the Mormon Church is currently testing a new ad campaign where every billboard, advertisement, and radio spot includes the slogan, “Truth Restored.” By the standard they use to apply the anti-Mormon label to others, their new slogan is an anti-anything-but-Mormonism statement because it implies that all non-Mormon religions have been misled—only Mormons have the “Truth.” Therefore, Mormons are anti-Catholic, anti-Baptist, anti-Lutheran, etc. But Mormons reject those labels when applied to them for the same reason we reject their definition of anti-Mormon when applied to us. Again, as long as our target audience understands what we mean when we use the word, then I think we’ve met our obligation to the public. I can’t find a suitable emoticon so I’ll just say, thank for your opinion plumvillage. No hard feelings on my end.


Jeff!

I hesitated to state my opinion above, but then thought to myself, “No—this is not the Morg. I can say what I think without fear of reprimand.” But I did worry about offending you and/or other postmos, and hope I haven’t done that. I want to say that I respectfully understand your explanation.

I also want to say that the “we are not anti-mormon” phrase was one of the first things that sort of eased me into the site. I lurked for a long time before participating. I’m not a hater—and I didn’t want to join in discussions with a community of freaky deakies. The posts on the site were exactly what I was looking for. So yes, you met the needs of your demographic.

But I still stand behind my statement, however Clintonian it may sound, that the word “anti-mormon” is primarily understood as “against Mormonism” and that I don’t think we’re being honest with ourselves in claiming that we aren’t, to some extent. No, we’re not picketing, editorializing in a proselytizing fashion, or going door to door. But yes, many of us do make fun of those who believe, talk about the negative experiences and opinions we have with the church and share information that shows how fraudulent Mormonism is. In my humble opinion, stating on the homepage that we all have Mormon family/friends and want to retain what we liked about Mormonism doesn’t really negate the content of the posts. Of course, the post content is not controlled by the site administrators (nor should it be).

I guess I feel that we ARE anti-mormon (we ARE opposed to the doctrine), but that we reject the term because of the negative connotations associated with it (picketing, etc.). I don’t think that the site misrepresents itself. I do, however, feel that the word can be interpreted in different ways, and that at its broadest interpretation, we could in fact merit the label. Do we need to apologize for it? I donít really think so. Maybe that is a controversial statement.

I’m not on a rampage to get the homepage wording changed—frankly, I don’t really care about how Mormons view the site. The primary reason I responded was that I thought Casual Observer made a valid point in a very civil way, and I found some of the postmo responses to be rather knee-jerk in tone—and that concerns me. 

Let the roasting begin!


...This has been a great discussion.  I think we can all learn from the thoughful comments that have been submitted from both sides.  The problem as I see it, is one of perception and right now the LDS Church has done a great job of conditioning their members by controling the definition of the phrase “anti-mormon”.  When ever LDS members hear that phrase they immediately think zero credibility and therefore do not need to waste any more time on the issue.  As Post-Mormons that drives us crazy, but we are not going to change the perception of members unless we find a way to use that same phrase to our own advantage.  I would suggest that we take back some of that control by re-wording some of our mission statement on the web page.  Bare with me Jeff and others because this is only a suggestion.  Take out the part that says we are not anti-mormon and say somthing like the following.  “.........Some people ask if we are anti-mormon?  We would answer, that depends on your definition of anti-mormon.  If you use the LDS church’s definition, which is anything that is not pro-mormon or faith-promoting than yes we are anti-mormon.  However, that same definition would labels all Mormons as anti-non mormons….....”  End of suggestion.  Some how Martin Luther and all of his followers today are called Protestants and not anti-catholics.  I believe in time we will be called for what we are!  Post-mormons and not anti-mormons.  And Post-Mormon will become a respected label just like the prostestant label has.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/25/2007

Thank you Bear. I think you’ve made some good recommendations. Plumvillage, thank you as well. I respect your point of view because I think it’s a well thought out point of view. You’ve given me some things to think about.


I simply wish that all of humanity could live to live and not live to persecute for we all come from the same matter, we all bleed red,no one is better than anyone else.  I am so very thankful for this site and it is my hope that those that have lost their vision, to gain their sight back into a real world,and truely love what they see.  Life is what we chose to make it, so make each day beautiful.  ^*^Dragonfly^*^


All, as a board member, I agree that this has been an excellent discussion.  Everyone has some valid points and I so appreciate the input from each of you. 

For those of us who have been here for a long time, and have an inner sense of what the site is all about, we may fail to fully appreciate what brand new lurkers expect when they find us or seek us out.  After all, each of us arrived here for different reasons and at different stages in our Post-Mormon journey. 

Obviously, we can’t be everything to everybody.  We are a support group for those in or out of Mormonism who need a place to question and vent without fear of retribution.  That’s really the bottom line.  By tweaking the opening statement just a tad (I like your suggestions, Bear), it may clarify for some what we are all about.  For others, as somebody already mentioned, anything outside of the Ensign and their quadruple combination will be viewed as anti and hostile.  For those folks, I would question why they are here in the first place! 

Again, thanks for the great discussion.  This is why I love this place.


When you discover you’ve been lied to by church leadership and that these lies have been incorporated into the church’s official history, and as a result you choose to no longer believe in a church that incorporates willful ignorance and self-deception into its core values, and you choose to say so in public, it is understandable that remaining believers will call you “anti.”

I prefer to think of myself as being “pro-truth.”


I think it’s worthwhile to consider rewording the home page statement.  It’s not that I think postmormon.org is “anti-mormon” or that I personally care if anybody calls me that or not anyway.  I just think it generates a lot of unnecessary debate and tends to be a distraction. 

I like Peter_Mary’s suggestion, that rather than saying “we are not anti-mormon” that we could instead say “we do not consider ourselves anti-mormon”.
[and then keep the rest that explains why we feel that way]


I like the “we do not consider ourselves…” part, and would also like to tie that with a statement that our goal is not to drag people out of the church.  I also like Bear’s way of posing it as a question:

Bear: Take out the part that says we are not anti-mormon and say somthing like the following.  ď.........Some people ask if we are anti-mormon?  We would answer, that depends on your definition of anti-mormon.  If you use the LDS churchís definition, which is anything that is not pro-mormon or faith-promoting than yes we are anti-mormon.  However, that same definition would label all Mormons as anti-non mormons….....Ē


I am new to this site, in fact I joined because I heard about this billboard being taken down over there in eastern idaho. I will outright say, I have a deep anger towards the church, and the pain it has caused me in my life. without going into that.. I would like to shed some light on what i think this site is about. Casual observer.. comes in here to question everything and pigeonhole everything into “mormon labels” It may work on some people, because the act in doing that is what guilts people into never going against what the church teaches..
Questioning a faith is like questioning my government. I am a proud american, but I really dislike george bush and the decisions they have made and what they push as an agenda. Does me saying that make me less american? or anti american? no.. I speak out because I actually love my country because it is a part of what makes me ME.. Now, people speaking out about the church here, may seem anti mormon to those of u in the fold.. but speaking out on personal feelings and situations is not against individuals.. its more directed at the church and who leads it and what is being pushed down into pulpits and lessons and such.
For me, the biggest thing that makes me upset is.. The mormon church is so aloof about things to the general public, yet is quick to throw a guilting condemning message to those within. The members of the church don’t hate me.. i know this.. but they are taught to pity me.. and that in itself is insulting and demening… this website is a positive message to someone who has already thought about life outside of the church.. so.. instead of self hate and being totally lost.. why can some people just be loved and accepted.. even if its not under the roof of mormonism…
it would be one thing if we were ignorant people that have never experienced the faith.. but you are talking to a group of MORMONS.. we are speaking out about something that is part of us.. and for many.. who we have always known ourselves to be… so its more self indulgent.. than anti anything.. people made the anti choice before even coming to this site.


By Crissy
on 06/27/2007

I didn’t get to read every post here tonight as I am very tired and need a good night’s rest…but I did want to put my 2 cents in….Why is it that ANYTHING negative about the LDS church is automatically labeled as “ANTI”?  Why is it that ANY material that is NOT “faith promoting” is also “ANTI”?  Isn’t that censorship?  Sorry…but I see things entirely different and this is one topic that gets under my skin.


By Hiram Page
on 06/28/2007

Wow, that “Casual Observer” is a stubborn cuss, if I’ve ever seen one. And what a battle over semantics! The simple reason why that billboard is gone is because the LDS Church is scared. Someone made a phone call to a friend, someone pulled some strings, or maybe a threat was made, who knows?

So because the LDS Church can’t really deal with its own faults, it attacks others. Those of us who were sick of putting up with their lies, bullying, authoritarianism and other crap decide to leave, want to get together with others to talk about that, and what do you know? The LDS Church wants to follow us around and kick us some more.

Then we have some jerk from the LDS Church who drops by to complain that we are persecuting his beloved church. Typical. I think the truth of the matter is that our existence is what bugs the LDS Church and people like Casual Observer, and he actually wants us to accept his arguments as to why we should not get together and discuss the LDS Church as a community of people who had a bad experience with it. All of this crap about the precise definition of “anti-Mormonism” is exactly that… CRAP.

Whether Casual Observer, Dome, Lamar, or the LDS Church agrees or not, it is legitimate to define anti-Mormon as one who actively seeks to deconvert Mormons. So there you have it… that is my definition of anti-Mormon, and I am satisfied that postmormon.org is not in the business of doing that. Now anyone else can come here and say I am wrong, but I don’t really care. Why should I agree to abide by Casual Observer’s definition of anti-Mormon? Or the LDS Church’s?

I am convinced that the LDS Church still cultivates the myth of the innocent persecuted. “Whoa are we! People hated us because they envied us! We were misunderstood. And they hunted us down and killed us when we had done nothing to provoke them. Now Satan is stirring them up to hate us and attempt to destroy us today.” Nice fiction, but it doesn’t square with the facts, especially today. Having situated itself comfortably in America’s social milieu, Mormons are hardly the persecuted minority they were.

And I have a piece of advice for them: if you want the luxury of preaching that you are right, and everyone else is wrong, you should be prepared to live with the consequences. You are not persecuted, and we aren’t obliged to agree with you or simply to shut up about it.


By Jeff Ricks
on 06/28/2007

A minor point to note—Casual Observer isn’t LDS. I don’t think he specifically said he’s not so there’s no way you, H P, could have known that, but I do happen to know who he is. I need to keep that information private, though.


If I remember correctly, was there not a billboard advertising the Idaho Falls LDS visitors center on I-15 just south of town for the longest time? Seems like double standard to me! -jordo


By duryen
on 07/03/2007

I would like to mention that advertising on cattle sounds like fun.  Any rodeo riders or horse/livestock owners wanna write “postmormon.org” w a smiley on their livestock during rodeo season?  I might actually go to a rodeo just to see that.


I wish I could afford to fund multiple billboards in the Shelley area.  It is so hard living in a town so small and having no voice at all.  It truely is frustrating to feel as though not even your votes count because everything is controlled by “The Church”.  Mormons are advised frequenty how to vote (member in good standing) verses voting for a gentile as I am labeled now.  What ever happened to voting for the person who would do the best job and had the best ethics?????  Sorry folks, had to vent.
Again, I am so thankful for this site.  It help me stay sane in an insane world.  Hey duryen, I have some horses to put signs on!!!!!!


if not horses, sneak some subliminal messages on a spare handcart that may be laying around, or put one on one of the pioneer day floats when they,re not looking. Here’s a good one: ” have you read your 11th article of faith today?”


I wold love to put one here in Yucaipa Ca, we are a small town but we have a stake center and 5 wards.  I just told my Bishop that I wanted to be released and he was very sad for me but the truth is I am very sad for him and his family.  Sad that his children have to be scrutinized and judged by their leaders and peers.  The church is really bad for the self esteem of the youth. I am a convert so I think it is a little easier to leave than those who have generation after generation family members. If anything we are pro mormon because we are trying to help mormons who have finally ‘grown up’ and realized the falseness of the Book of Mormon. I really believe if all LDS people were to study all the facts with an open heart, they too would see that Joseph smith has duped us all. In the Salt Lake Tribune last year they showed that the Mormon church is not the fastest growing church, in fact it has a 70% attrition rate and the Seventh Day Adventists are actually the fastest growing church. So why does the church always have to lie about statistics? It is just a common thread among leaders to lie and hide the truth from its members.


Good for you for standing up for what you believe.  It is true that if all you have ever known is what you have been told to believe, it makes it so much harder to see the truth, even if it is right in front of your eyes.


By lunaverse
on 07/06/2007

BTW, all.  I have have sent an email to Dome Technology (dome@dometech.com), and CC:ed the Monolithic Dome Institute.  I happen to be familiar with the Monolithic Dome Institute (out of Texas) (email@monolithic.com) because I’ve researched building one as a home.  I’m not sure the relationship of Dome Tech to MDI.  Most likely, Dome Tech was trained and certified by MDI to build domes in Idaho.  Nevertheless, I CC:ed them since I have had former experience with their organization (i.e. I’ve read their website extensively and considered spending money on their plans.)

When it comes to things like this, I think letters, phone calls, and emails have far more power than commiserating with one another.  While the latter is more fun, direct communication has more power.  It may not get anyone to CHANGE, but at least an effort has been made, and you’ve done everything you can within your circle of power.

I’m going to try to post the letter I sent, if it will allow me that many characters. smile


First off, this Romney guy keeps coming to idaho falls for some reason.. too bad the 50,000 mormons aren’t going to float you in a country of 300 million.. Why on earth would we want someone like this in control of our nation? thats like moving our national capital to Salt Lake (pukes in my mouth)
I’m gay, growing up mormon was nothing but inner torment and destructive for me.
This church does lie, just like all the others! religion is how the few control the masses, and they do it without an army, but with guilt. Making people jump thru hoops because they think their eternal self is dependent on it.. These people are the lowest of low.. and if there is a god.. I hope there is a hell for them.
Joseph smith didn’t fool many people in his day, it is his legacy that is continuing to fool people. In fact, Reports in Illinois say he was put in jail not because people hated mormons so bad (the persecution story) but rather he and his buddies were taking 12yo women as wifes which was considered pedophilia…even for those days. its just sickening to me at how when you find out these things and how easily they turn things around to where they are the victim. There is a special on tv, about how the mormons told indians they would baptise them if they would dig gold for them and bring it to them, all the way from Arizona. It just makes me more mad…especially when I have family that still laps it up. Luckily my family doesn’t hate me for what I am, but thanks to the good ole church of jesus douchebags of latter day saints.. my family has “pity” for me.. just like how they do for everyone else that is “not worthy”
Pity is insulting… and I don’t need it anymore…


All I can say is AMEN!! I actually pity them! If you haven’t already, you need to try and move out of the state of Utah.  California is the place to be, we are just one big melting pot of genders, races, and exmormons! Just remember they have the problem not you. smile


I have lived in the area for many years and if I ever said anything which exposed the LDS church even with facts and resources while in the presence of other Mormons, they took steps to silence me.

At one instance many years ago my life was threatened for referring people to go watch the documentaries,“The Godmakers I”, “The Godmakers II”, and “DNA vs the Book of Mormon.”


By Gerald
on 07/30/2007

Love this website! I was traveling home on the freeway when I saw the billboard in Provo for postmormon.org. What a wonderful thing.

As for this discussion, I don’t think you’re going to ever get away from being anti-mormon as long as there is content that goes against the church on this site. 

What about having some posts or links to magazines or articles that highlight some of the positive things the church does?

for example, support for families, strengthens communities, allows neighbors to get together, provides avenues for service, helps people that are in dire need of emotional support, etc,.

The church isn’t all bad. I don’t agree with a large part of what the church does, but they do some things right. Why not highlight those things?

I love this site because it seems to be Pro PostMormons, which means that there will be some anti-stuff, but that’s ok, because the site is here to support PostMormons, and part of that support means people can vent about such things.

I think it comes down to branding.

This site is refreshing because it’s not all about hate towards an institution, but it seems to support individuals that need the support at such a trying time.


 

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