After the Fall

If you are tired of reading about bannergate, don’t click here:

While some general comments have been made about the damage that bannergate has done to the bloggernacle community, I think that–despite that hundreds of comments about bannergate–very little has been done to flesh out how exactly the community has been harmed. So that’s what I am going to do in this post. If you are thinking that my goal here is to further punish the perpetrators or to continue to rub salt in their wounds, please know that I had no intention of writing this post until Christian Cardall asked me to. So here’s my take on how the community has been harmed:

(1) I have in the past used some material from the bloggernacle in my Sunday School lessons. Now, you’d have to be an idiot to think that a comment that begins, “My mission president once heard Elder McConkie say that . . .” should be included in a Sunday School lesson. But in a recent lesson on serving the poor, I discussed (in general terms) Heather Oman’s ‘Robbing the Poor with Floor Tile’ because I think a concrete example to chew on leads to a better discussion than asking, “How do we know when we are spending too much money on ourselves?”

In that same lesson, I also quoted from some of the comments at M* about LDS participation in Katrina relief efforts. This led to a very special experience: after I mentioned the small town in Mississippi where the Baptist preacher walked into the LDS chapel and said, “I will never again say another bad thing about the Mormons,” a woman in my class shot up her hand and with emotion choking her voice said (paraphrasing), “I used to live in that tiny branch and I know of the animosity that the missionaries encountered. If that man said that, a miracle happened.”

Because of bannergate, this will never happen again. Why? Because I, after reading maybe 2-3 posts at BoH, did not suspect it was a fraud. Hence, I now question my own ability to see through hoaxes and wouldn’t trust myself to quote from a blog in a lesson. Even if the blogger was someone I trusted immensely, I still don’t feel that I can use it as a resource because of the possibility that a member of my class with a passing familiarity with the bloggernacle will question my ethics or doubt my integrity.

(2) The bloggernacle sometimes brings us ‘celebrity’ interviews, book reviews, discussions with scholars, etc. It is now harder for that to happen. Imagine someone prominent with no familarity with the bloggernacle asking a staffer or associate whether s/he should grant an interview. The staffer, wary of the BoH incident, wonders if the person in question is about to be taken for a ride and advises against it. Now, this might not harm T & S too much–we can provide links with interviews for people ranging from game show champions to US senators to show that we are legitimate–but it may be the death knell for a newer or smaller blog that is trying to land a guest.

(3) I no longer trust those who either wrote for BoH or were aware of it but said nothing or were aware of it but lied about it. “But Julie,” you might say, “you must forgive them. They apologized. A few feel terribly about it.” And I respond, “I have forgiven them. But forgiveness and trust are two different things.” To use an overly-dramatic example, a mother might forgive a person who molests her child, but would be an idiot to allow that person to babysit. She doesn’t and shouldn’t trust him. Similarly, I no longer trust those of you who were in any way involved in the BoH fraud. This saddens me, because some of you I consider(ed?) friends.

(4) In the past, those with an ax to grind were just trolls. Permabloggers got indigestion trying to keep trolls from destoying discussions. Now BoH has added a weapon to the troll arsenal: fraud. Now a troll can pretend to be–well, anything–and we’ll get to talk them down from their thoughts of suicide, or whatever, while they grin in the background. Now, certainly, someone might have thought of doing this before, but now that several major players in the bloggernacle have legitimated fraudulent discourse under the umbrella of ‘art,’ they have a green light. Have at it, trolls! And when we get sick of the game and begin to ignore cries for help because they might be fakes and we’re tired, a real person with a real problem will get the cold shoulder from bloggers with compassion fatigue.

(5) I imagine that any new blog will now have a much higher entry barrier into the bloggernacle. In the back of our minds, we’ll all wonder–just a little–if it is real or not. There will be fewer new members of our community. Of course, if you have a lot of connections in the real world, people will know that you and your blog are real. But I am sympathetic, as someone who failed the Six Degrees of T & S, that those without connections will now get less of a hearing.

(6) In the past, some people have posted very personal, very important, very difficult-to-discuss things on the blogs. In turn, commenters have shared their own pain. I think that healing has occured that never could in real life. Real good has been done. But the next time someone posts (especially at a smaller or newer blog) about a sensitive topic, do you think that there will be the same outpouring in the comments? I doubt it. Once bitten, twice shy.

(7) Finally, at the risk of invoking the spirit of CX debators everywhere, I will point out that the impact of the BoH hoax is that orphans in Central Asia will go without this winter. Amira has told me that many people have contacted her wanting to donate to the orphanage that she visits. Do you think the BoH scam will increase or decrease the willingness of people to send money to someone they only know from the Internet?

I’m going to invoke some special rules for the comments. If you don’t like them, don’t post.
(1) The usual comment policy will be aggressively enforced.
(2) Any comment that, in my completely biased opinion, is an effort to discuss the ethics or lack thereof of bannergate will be moved to Nate’s thread. His topic was ethics, mine is not. I want to discuss the results of bannergate, not its morality.
(3) Any comment that, in my completely biased opinion, is rude or disrespectful or cruel to those who have asked for forgiveness will be deleted even if it does not rise to the level of violating our comment policy.
(4) Any comment that, for any reason, I don’t like will have every fourth word replaced with ‘ hossenpfeffer.’

Just kidding about (4). Completely serious about the rest. Again, if you don’t like the rules, you have no shortage of other places to discuss bannergate. The purpose of this post is to discuss the effects of bannergate on the larger bloggernacle community and hopefully disabuse those who think that the loudest ‘complainers’ about bannergate were those least affected.

200 comments for “After the Fall

  1. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 2:30 pm

    First of all, this is an oldie but goodie and applicable.

    Secondly, what I learned from Bannergate is that some T&S admins regularly are looking at who their posters really are. So in some ways T&S isn’t what I thought it was prior to Bannergate. BoH is still what I thought it was prior to Bannergate. :)

  2. November 1, 2005 at 2:35 pm

    Julie, it seems to me that most of these are extremely remote consequences and that the negative force of Bannergate is just a splash of a rock in a lake that will quickly even out again.

    And I think you should have DKL submit a guest post outlining the negative effects of Bannergate, I bet he could give more convincing reasons why it will have permanent negative effects.

  3. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 2:37 pm

    I hope that though the bannerites have brought Fraud and Starving Children in the world they had the presence of mind to catch Hope before it got away.

  4. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 2:39 pm

    Eric and john, I hope you caught the irony on the orphans and I hope you realize that the rest of this affair is not something that I am losing any sleep over. At the same time, in the small, silly world of the bloggernacle, it did and does have consequences.

  5. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 2:41 pm

    I should add that my faith in stories of alien abductions has been seriously damaged after I learned that Septimus is not a real person. And this is from someone that posted to BoH claiming to have seen two UFOs in their life. So much for living off the light of borrowed probings.

  6. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 2:51 pm

    a random John–

    My hope here is a serious discussion. You’ve provided three comments that take us in a different direction from what I intended.

  7. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 2:52 pm

    As long as we’re beating dead horses, I should mention that BoH was suspect from the start and that group blogs don’t just emerge ex nihlo. They are usually formed by a group of people that met on other blogs has have established reputations. What this has really done is raised the barrier of entry for fake blogs, which is really a crime. This is going to make my “Nobody Knows Our History” fake blog much harder to pull off.

  8. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 2:58 pm


    I am not sure why your attempts at humour (which I detect two of in your post) are allowable but mine are not. I think that I have in fact provided serious points in the guise of humour. Maybe I am just the only one laughing.

  9. Randy B.
    November 1, 2005 at 3:00 pm

    On #1, it strikes me that the only real potential loss here is the loss of anecdotes to share in class. I can understand why you might be more hesitant to use those now, but I think you exaggerate the point. To the extent that someone raises an insightful theoretical or doctrinal point in the bloggernacle, I don’t think the author’s relative annonymity is a deal killer to using that thought. Take Heather’s bit about tile floors. Whether or not she and Nate “really” tiled their floors doesn’t matter all that much for purposes of your lesson. The question is an interesting one on its own.

    By the way, what do you make of all those cheesy stories they include in virtually every church manual? Anyone here think they are all absolutely true and tied back to specific real live people and events? Does it matter?

  10. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 3:01 pm

    I guess, john, that I’m not seeing your serious points. That may be entirely my fault. At the same time, my intention here is a serious discussion about the effect that bannergate had on the bloggernacle. If you consider that a dead horse and/or not a worthy topic for discussion, then don’t comment. If you would like to make serious points, then please state them in a way that is more obvious (again, recognizing that the communication breakdown may be on my end). There are some (pathetic attempts at) humor in my post, but it should be obvious that my post is serious.

  11. November 1, 2005 at 3:01 pm

    The most overlooked damage caused by BoH is the loss of Steve Evans’ voice from the bloggernacle.

  12. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 3:03 pm

    Randy, thanks for your comment. Yes, Heather’s post works as a hypothetical. But the Katrina story most certainly does not. So I’ll stand down on 1/2 of my (1) if you will recognize the loss to the second half.

    And you can call me naive and gullible, but I assume that stories presented as factual in Church manuals are in fact factual.

  13. November 1, 2005 at 3:04 pm

    Any comment that, for any reason, I don’t like will have every fourth word replaced with ‘ hossenpfeffer.’

    At least we know that #

    I should add that my faith in stories of alien abductions has been seriously damaged after I learned that Septimus is not a real person. And this is from someone that posted to BoH claiming to have seen two UFOs in their life. So much for living off the light of borrowed probings. met the standards …

  14. Greg Call
    November 1, 2005 at 3:10 pm

    Agreed on comment #11.

  15. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 3:13 pm

    I’ll spell out my serious points (thus destroying the jokes) and then leave.

    1. The cartoon I linked to is very true. Everyone that does anything on the internet should be aware of it.
    2. I have learned about how T&S treats information that many visitors assume is private. There is a lengthy discussion of this over at M*. This is more disturbing to me that BoH.
    3. BoH is not responsible for bringing fraud into the world. They did not open Pandora’s box. All these things you list were true before.
    4. Any blog that is talking about alien abductions has got to be more than a blip on your “fake-dar”. Even if you don’t think the blog itself is fake you have to take what that person is saying with a bag of rock salt from that point on.
    5. I really don’t think that this has hurt any new LDS group blog projects, unless they are fake LDS group blog projects. Proprietors of fake blogs will now have to spend months carefully creating fake personas on other blogs and carefully cover their tracks.
    6. I’m serious in that I don’t see why you get to try to be funny her and I don’t. Especially since my jokes are applicable to the subject at hand and yours are just random.
    7. The “BAN HIM!” thing was an in-joke from BoH. Sorry. No serious content there. Unless you do ban me. Then it gets serious.

  16. Chad Too
    November 1, 2005 at 3:14 pm

    arJ sez: Maybe I am just the only one laughing.

    Doubtful, but I can assure you that Julie in Austin isn’t the only one concerned with fallout. It may be laughable to you, but would a little respect for those still working through it kill you?

  17. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 3:16 pm


    You could have at least replaced the “BAN HIM!” comment with “hossenpfeffer” rather than deleting it.

  18. Mark IV
    November 1, 2005 at 3:16 pm


    I hope you don’t think I’m discounting your concerns if I say that I think you are taking this waaay too seriously.

    1. I certainly didn’t think until the very end that BoH was fake, but I knew right from the start that it was wacky. There was absolutely nothing there that I would ever consider quoting in a Sunday school class

    2. This is a relatively minor point, I think. Anybody who wants to verify the reality of the people associated with T&S could easily do so. The first inkling I had about the BoH prank was when they announced that they had some real people lined up to judge a prank contest. I was absolutely astonished that real people would lend their reputations to something so far out in left field.

    3. This is something we all must judge for ourselves. As for myself, I do not feel that I have been betrayed or that my trust has been abused. I feel like I just put my hand on a doorknob that was covered with honey, but now the perps have been apprehended, and we all had a good laugh. I do understand that you feel betrayed, and will try to respect that.

    4. You are right.

    5. You are right, but I am not convinced that is a bad thing.

    6. I disagree with you on this point. I will be very surprised if we don’t continue to see very personal and painful details being shared online.

    7. Finally, of course you meant to write hasenpfeffer. Pedantry and hair-splitting will continue as long as the bloggernacle exists. :>

  19. November 1, 2005 at 3:28 pm

    Julie, I think you are overestimating the impact and trying to hold the Bloggernacle and bloggers to an unrealistic standard. Any community composed of regular people is going to have a few bad apples and a few regrettable events. Even Joseph Smith wasn’t above having a little fun at the expense of some of his fellow Mormons — go reread the Zelph episode in the HC. Does that mean you’ll never use the HC again in a lesson? Did that event damage the LDS community?

    Just because some people are upset doesn’t mean there is an impact on “the community” apart from those individuals. I think claiming “the community” has been irreparably harmed is just a way to try and throw a little more guilt on the BoH bloggers who already feel their fair share of it. Which isn’t to minimize the anger or hurt of those offended by the charade, I just don’t think it generalizes the way some people are claiming it does.

  20. Catherine
    November 1, 2005 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve never commented on any blog before (so maybe you won’t believe I’m real), but I read T&S and BoH regularly. I never thought it was fake until I was told it was, and now that I’ve found out, I don’t care. It’s a surprise, but not a huge one. False indentities have been part of internet communication since the first chat room ever created. What I wonder is why, if someone speaks the truth about the gospel, are you considering it now untrue just because you don’t know who said it? I think that’s where your own discernment of truth comes in. We accept this from fiction constantly (don’t tell me no one’s ever quoted from a novel or short story in your ward. I don’t believe it). If BoH continued, I’d probably read it just as regularly did before. Why? Because it would still be interesting to me, which is why I read it in the first place.

  21. Randy B.
    November 1, 2005 at 3:38 pm

    The Katrina story is only slightly more problematic, I think. If you really, really wanted to use that particular story (as opposed to the many others in the Church News or elsewhere), you could have tried to email the person to confirm the story. I suppose you could be duped by an email response, too. But in this respect, you face the same dilemmas as anyone else who wants to understand what really happened.

    Bannergate has highlighted a potential problem that has always been with us. We should have always been aware, at least in the back of our minds, that some people might not be telling the whole story or might even be trying to pull a fast one. To the extent that we are all better aware of that, that is a good thing.

    I too have used stuff from the bloggernacle in talks and lessons (in fact, I actually used a quote from Adam Greenwood of all people as the central theme of a talk I once gave in sacrament meeting, if you can believe it). Like you, I will probably be more careful in doing that in the future. That is probably not such a bad thing, on balance.

  22. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 3:41 pm

    Mark IV-

    1. You’ve missed my point. Of course no one would quote BoH in SS! But I wouldn’t now quote from anywhere in the bloggernacle. The credibility of the entire enterprise (at least in the minds of those with only a passing familiarity, at least in terms of my ability to judge a fraud) has been compromised–most particularly by the rationalizations offered for the affair, more than the actual affair itseld. My concern isn’t entirely limited to the BoH writers but also to all those who supported their enterprise either through silence or through actively providing aid that made the endeavor look legit. I don’t trust those people, either.

    2. Really? Find someone who has met me. The best you can do is that Adam G. knows someone who knows me. But why trust Adam when others in the bloggernacle have encouraged you to believe that fake people were real?

    3. Again, it isn’t the perps as much as those who aided and abetted that I am concerned with.

    Maybe you are right that (5) isn’t a bad thing. Good point.

    6. I am sure painful things will be shared, but I imagine there will be some loss.

    7. Well, as long as we have hairsplitting, the community isn’t entirely ruined (grin)!

    Dave, your comment only makes sense to me if the end of my post was, “And thus should the following people be executed:” It wasn’t. To assess the extent of the damaged caused is not in itself problematic. And I didn’t say ‘irreparably’ harmed. Harm, yes, that will certainly fade.

  23. CS Eric
    November 1, 2005 at 3:43 pm


    I am one of those you talk about in your point 6. I shared some things (using another screen name) in comments to BoH (and other blogs), and received what I thought were sympathetic comments that helped me work through very personal issues. I am now both more reluctant to share, and feel very much that I was played the fool. I knew Septimus was bizzare, if not fake, but thought he was the exception that proved the rule.

    It feels like those of us who weren’t in on it are like the nerdy kids in high school that the cool kids pretended to like, only to find out that the address they gave us of the party they invited us to is really the county landfill. I don’t trust what I thought was a real community.

    I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get my point. I am normally pretty quiet and keep pretty much to myself, and the bloggernacle felt like a place where I didn’t have to be that way.

  24. November 1, 2005 at 3:49 pm

    Perhaps the discussion would be better couched in terms of what we have learned about ourselves through this whole affair and what we can do to make things better.

    One lesson that I have learned from the reaction to BoH is how strong the insider/outsider distinction is for some within the bloggernacle. I don’t particularly feel like an insider — it’s not like I’ve tried really hard to become one, but there’s no denying that I am one. I hope will be much more sensitive in the future to first-time posters, to ignored comments, to underappreciated points of view. It will be harder for me to give up on inside jokes. I don’t know that I will. But at least I will recognize that they have the potential to be offputting. And I’ll probably do less navel-gazing.

    (This is not to be read as saying that BoH was guilty of any of these things. By all accounts, it was a welcoming and open place.)

  25. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    CS Eric,

    Septimus was not real. The community that grew up around BoH was real. I can tell you that my participation there was genuine (I wasn’t in on the secret), and I believe that the participation of the Bannerites was also sincere. I believe them when they say that they weren’t laughing that those of us that weren’t in the know. If anything I am the one that was mocked, earning an “Encyclopedia Brown of the Bloggernacle” nickname. I don’t even think it was the fake people that called me that.

  26. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    Catherine, thanks for commenting. When I–or any responsible person–quotes from fiction in a church setting, they should make that abundantly clear.

    Randy B., I think that the amazing level of ‘in real life’ contacts among people in the bloggernacle has led us to be more trusting of content than we would be in other internet fora. However, we now know that several major voices in the bloggernacle think that helping others to establish fake identities is justifiable.

    How would I have verified that Katrina story? You are right–can’t trust email.

    As for the net effect being a good thing, presumably your AG quote improved your talk and I know that my Katrina story improved my lesson, so I’m not convinced that it is a good thing.

    CS Eric– Thank you for your comment and I am sorry for what happened.

  27. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 4:04 pm


    I hope it is clear in my original post that I don’t think the BoHers or their accomplices sat down and said, “Let’s create a fake blog so that (1), (2), . . . (7) will come to pass.”

    In other words, I would like to separate intent from effect. I am willing to accept that the BoHers et al never anticipated these effects, but my goal in this thread is to discuss them regardless.

  28. Kaimi
    November 1, 2005 at 4:04 pm


    I’m saddened by your loss of trust in me. I know I’ll just have to deal with that, and perhaps in the future regain your trust.

    I think that you’ve done a good job of laying out some of the issues.

    This thread, like Nate’s, has veered off at least somewhat into the realm of what-T&S-is-doing-wrong. I think that the Banner did some things very well. They paid a lot of attention tot heir commenters. I wish that we did the same.

    A problem is that there are conflicting critiques. First, there is the critique that people should be more involved in the bloggernacle, more into the discourse, and so on. Second, there is the critique that T&S should be more welcoming to newcomers.

    The two are at least partly in tension. The more we buy into the fun inside jokes and bloggernacle discourse — the more that we invoke chupacabra or “BAN HIM!” or Lou Midgley interrupting Smith having fondue with the Tanners — the more we are making the community less accesible to the outsider. So our community-building goals and our welcoming-newcomer goals are at least sometimes in tension.

    I don’t know how to remedy that, myself.

  29. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 4:04 pm

    ‘them’ modifies ‘effects’ not ‘BoHers et al.’

  30. Jordan
    November 1, 2005 at 4:05 pm

    The most overlooked damage caused by BoH is the loss of Steve Evans’ voice from the bloggernacle

    Is Steve not blogging anymore? That would be very unfortunate… :(

  31. Seth Rogers
    November 1, 2005 at 4:06 pm

    I don’t have time for all the many posts here. But to respond to the initial post:

    I don’t think much damage has been done in my case. I was already suspicious of the internet when I first commented on T&S. I’d also recently spent a year as an editor for an academic journal. So you might say, I always have proper citation on the brain when I participate in discussions.

    I took it as a given that I couldn’t cite stuff I heard in the bloggernacle as legitimate. I’d never use it in an article I was trying to get published unless I only included it as a hypothetical or story (ala Heather Oman’s “Robbing the Poor with Floor Tile”). Thus while, I consider the people I encounter here real, I can’t treat them as such in official discourse. Bannergate has changed nothing here.

    Secondly, while the Mormon world is surprisingly small at times, I don’t think this incident is going to have repurcussions much beyond the currently small community of regular posters. We just aren’t that mainstream yet.

    In short, I don’t think Christmas has been cancelled yet.

  32. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 4:09 pm

    ” Even if the blogger was someone I trusted immensely, I still don’t feel that I can use it as a resource because of the possibility that a member of my class with a passing familiarity with the bloggernacle will question my ethics or doubt my integrity.”

    I think you raise a number of good points, and I’ve been disappointed by the reaction to what you say. Of course we’ll all be just a little more wary of the bannergaters in the future, and their mostly unwilling co-conspirators, but one of the sad effects for me is seeing the number of people who think its no big deal and try to mock or shout down people who are upset (the difference between ARJ’s humor and yours is that you were making light of yourself but he was making light of you), and losing some confidence in them too.

    All that said, I think you do overstate the case a little. I’d still trust something you write, for instance, even though I haven’t met you, because we have a mutual friend who knows you, because you weren’t involved with the bannergaters, and because your reaction to l’affaire Bannergate shows that you take bloggernacle conversations seriously.

  33. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 4:16 pm

    Kaimi, thanks for your comments and believe me when I say that your attitude goes quite a way towards restoring that trust.

    In jokes are a problem. I’m guilty of several on this thread alone. They make the place fun. They also alienate outsiders. What to do?

    And I think you are right that one of the real effects of bannergate was to point to the fact that some people really like a blog where all comments are engaged with.

  34. Aaron Brown
    November 1, 2005 at 4:25 pm

    I haven’t read every single comment above, so please excuse me if I just repeat something someone else has said…

    Julie, I’m sorry, but I think every single one of your points, without exception, is a complete over-reaction. There is probably at least some truth to all of them, but I suspect that other than the few souls who feel like they got burned at BoH (and I don’t know how many there are, so maybe I’m underestimating here), this episode will be largely forgotten. The internet is a largely anonymous medium. It was before Bannergate. It will continue to be after Bannergate. The implications of this are probably not lost on most people, and the nature of this medium has not changed in any measurable way. Unless everyone harps on Bannergate ad nauseum, it’ll all be in the past very shortly.

    Having said that, I recognize that I may not be the most “in tune” fellow with respect to how hard some people really took the whole BofH debacle. Like Ryan Bell, fmhLisa (I think?), and a few others, I’m left scratching my head, as I think everyone has made a mountain out of a molehill here. But since I guess I myself have sort of been a resident troll at times, maybe I’m least qualified to assess the import of hurt feelings and the seriousness of perceived betrayal.

    Aaron B

  35. Aaron Brown
    November 1, 2005 at 4:27 pm

    What does “hossenpfeffer” mean?

    Aaron B

  36. Elisabeth
    November 1, 2005 at 4:28 pm

    On a side note, for all the talk about T&S being elitist and unresponsive, I have to say that I was a complete outsider as of April of this year, but after making a few comments here and there, people DO notice you and respond to your comments (but, yeah, I’m still not an “insider” – whatever that means).

    But think about it – you can’t go to a party where you don’t know anyone and expect everyone to rush over as soon as you arrive and begin to carry on a vivacious conversation with you (unless you’re Paris Hilton. Paris?). Blogs are the same thing. When you visit someone’s blog for the first few times you need to mind your manners, bring something nice for the host (flowers, helpful comments, etc.), and don’t get sloppy drunk and embarrass yourself in front of everyone (again, unless you’re Paris Hilton. Or Tara Reid.).

    T&S is not perfect, and could definitely improve its commenter customer service, but I enjoy reading the comments and posts.

    [Julie – feel free to delete if you think this is not relevant to the discussion]

  37. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 4:29 pm

    Aaron B–

    You join the long list of people whose greater sin is not that they think fraud is no big deal but that they cannot fathom why some people think it is.

    If the bloggernacle is all snark and singing in the shower to you then, no, bannergate was no big deal. But if the bloggernacle is snark, showering, _and_ interviews with real people _and_ donating to orphanages _and_ a safe community to share your pain and doubts _and_ real virtual friends, then lying has consequences.

  38. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 4:32 pm

    Aaron B–

    To us insiders, hossenpfeffer is the dish that Yosemite Sam demands while Bugs Bunny scampers around.

    Elisabeth–I’m OK with your comment because the insider/outsider issue IS relevant to the BoH fallout on the bloggernacle community.


    I have to go do something in the real world for several hours, so please don’t assume that my silence on this thread constitutes consent. I’ll be back and itching to delete wayward comments later tonight.

  39. Ginny
    November 1, 2005 at 4:37 pm

    #35 Aaron, you may also recognize it from the Laverne & Shirley show:

    “”One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated!”

  40. November 1, 2005 at 4:40 pm

    I was duped by BoH (and those witholding information). They’ve apologized and I’ve forgiven them. Their sincere desire to restore trust has done more to build my trust and respect for them than any single person condemning them.

    They’re not pedophiles. A pedophile’s intent is not far different from the result. At worst the Bannerites are pranksters with a prank gone wrong. Julie, you say you know they didn’t intend x result, but it IS important to know the intent when assessing the result. The result is what we make of it. If everyone keeps not-trusting those who are sincerely sorry (with the assumption that they wouldn’t pull such a prank again) then that’s the result you’ve created. That’s too bad.

    I will continue to trust them and their “co-conspirators” and try to avoid those who are looking to condemn those who have made mistakes.

  41. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 4:51 pm

    Typical. Notice that Julie in A. isn’t even condemning. She’s describing what she thinks the consequences are, and that’s all. But this, for you, is enough reason to shun her.

  42. November 1, 2005 at 4:56 pm

    I posted my first real post in the ‘naccle on another site this morning. I kind of wish I hadn’t now. I have been reading from afar for awhile, like others, and I suppose I was just waiting to find my niche. There are so many different blogs to choose from, what an opportunity! Then again I really can’t keep up with all that is going on, although very interested, and sometimes conversation is so deep, I can’t quote enough to compete.

    After reading ALL about BOH, it didn’t matter anymore what they said or who they were anymore, it was kind of a blur. All the mudslinging and accusations and explanation or rationalization, or whatever you will call it, rightfully felt, just reminded me of my ward (or any ward I have been in, some worse than others). The elite and the not, which is why my wife and I aren’t really active, and we just enjoy our time with the Sunbeams. She didn’t even know I had an interest in this community, because all that didn’t seem to exist as much here.

    I deleted my blog and unlinked my profile and will probably skip out on the Bloggernaccle now. Same patterned lousy excuse I have for church, but I don’t need to be preached to. I have so much else to do, that I can’t put my emotion or time in this. If I am seemingly forced to endure this to participate and keep up with a blog and commenting, I might as well just seemingly force myself to put up with it back in reality, not as an outlet with friends. Is this what it is to be offended and slip into inactivity? Ha Ha, that’s ironic.

    It was nice getting to know you all.

  43. November 1, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    Like I said, the consequences are what we make them to be. She admitted that a consequence (for her) is that she has lost trust in those involved. That means that she will second-guess the things that those people say in the future, that she won’t necessarily believe what they say. That seems rather condemning.

    And I’m not shunning her. I’m shunning her pessemistic conclusions.

  44. EdwardE
    November 1, 2005 at 4:59 pm

    Fraud is easier to perpetrate on people who are taking themselves too seriously. That seems to me the biggest problem with Mormon blog–smart people at loose ends.

  45. November 1, 2005 at 5:02 pm

    You seem to have jumped into the bloggernacle at a very self-involved time. It’s too bad because it usually is a fun and inspiring place to visit. I hope you stick around but understand if you don’t.

  46. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 5:02 pm

    CS Eric,

    Comment #25 has been edited against my wishes. I am going to attempt to restate my point in a way that passes muster. Julie, this is going to mention laughter and I hope that you don’t deem it to be inappropriate. It is certainly going to be long. It is also certainly going to contain typos.

    Where to begin…

    In the list of people that made the most comments on BoH that weren’t in on it, I am #2 after annegb. I am honored to be in her company. I began to suspect something was up the first time I visited given that “Septimus” was the only name I had seen before and Rosalynde was posting some pretty wacky stuff. My assumption was that DKL was posing as Rosalynde and that he was mocking her and her intricate posts. I was a bit shocked when I was informed that it was in fact Rosalynde making those comments.

    I found the community there to be warm and interactive. Honestly this is not what I would characterize T&S as. Sorry guys. When you are the hub of the bloggersphere you give up some things. Slashcode could help with this but that is a topic for another time.

    In any case I enjoyed my interactions there. I liked the mix of people and the fact that they would listen to what you said and respond with sincerity. I wasn’t going there for the perma-bloggers there, I was going to the commenters.

    The Aaron Cox character made me again question what was going on with the blog. I am quite sure that privately I characterized him as “impossibly dumb” and my doubts about the blog grew. Other stories such as the alien abduction one added to my doubts. I thought it would be interesting to verify the existence of these people.

    In my quest to do that I asked Steve Evans, face to face, what he knew about Jenn. The answer I got was that he had run into someone that looked like her at church and she had mentioned that she was blogging at Banner of Heavens. He didn’t know her well and there wasn’t anything else to report.

    Now am I mad at Steve for doing that? I am not. Some of you might be mad for me but I’d ask you not to do that. In retrospect I’m glad he didn’t tell me that he was Jenn. For one thing I would have made him go dutch on that lunch. But more seriously this would have done two things for me that I’m glad didn’t happen. First it would have destroyed my interactions with the site. As I’ve tried to make clear I enjoyed the site and I don’t have it in me to participate in the deception. I am constitutionally unable to lie well. Second it would have put my in Kaimi’s position, and it is a position that I do not envy. I can hold me head high because Steve lied! :)

    As the evidence mounted that the site was fake I continued to enjoy my interactions there. I can assure you that I was sincere in my comments there. The other commenters were too as far as I can tell. I believe the Bannerites when they say that they were also interacting sincerely and weren’t laughing at anyone. I know that this is hard for some people to believe. Perhaps I am simply being decieved again when I believe it. You’ll have to judge for yourselves here.

    When I discovered the copyright information in the Aaron Cox photo I was convinced that the site was fake but I didn’t know who was responsible for it. Rusty was sure that Steve was Jenn, which probably softened the blow when it was revealed that he was. I am guessing that many of those that followed the site closely and the 9M investigation experienced a similar effect. It is probably much easier to learn that your favorite blog is fake over time than all at once. Of course if it is your favorite then you were reading it enough to know that it was suspected of being fake for a very long time.

    So what was my reaction to all of this? To having been participant #2 in a fake blog for six months? To being lied to in a way that few others were in all of this? I laughed.

    Now I laughed immediately. It has taken others some time, but from my conversations with fellow dupes most of them have gotten there eventually. Some took 10 minutes. Others longer.

    Maybe I think it is funny because otherwise it would be painful, but I don’t think so. I understand what they were trying to do and I’m thankful to have been along for the ride.

    I also think that the community and the interactions were real. They were sincere. Period. Those who spent time there know this.

    So CS Eric, I don’t know if you will ever laugh about this or not, but I hope my experience is of use to you. I feel badly that you and others that participated along with me were hurt. Certainly the lack of experience of many that are so eager to pile on would indicate a disingenuity that I think rivals that of the Bannerites.

  47. Jonathan Green
    November 1, 2005 at 5:04 pm


    About #1, never using Mormon blogs as source material again: I think you’re painting with too broad a brush. Yes, some people will tell lies on the Internet. Other people will lie to your face. If one person proves to be a reliable source over time, she deserves credibility. No site is immune to intentional or self-delusional fiction. The same is true of printed reference works to some degree. I agree, though, that this might serve as a reminder to crank the skepticism up a notch, which might be a good thing in the end.

    About #2, that smaller blogs will have a harder time: this is probably inevitable in any medium. A site has to prove its credibility over time, catching up to the established players gets harder, barriers to entry rise. Not a good thing, but I don’t see that BoH accelerated the process much.

    About #3, friends who have lost your trust: Of all the negative consequences you mention, this is the one that troubles me the most, and I really think you should reconsider. I don’t know about you, but I probably wouldn’t have any friends if I dumped everybody who disappointed me. People make mistakes and do stupid things. I trust my friends because I choose to trust them. At some point they’ll let me down, maybe not for the first time. I’ll be upset with them, but I’ll eventually get over it. I hope they’ll do the same for me when I let them down.

    About #4, enabling the trolls: I can see your point. Getting people to stand up for their own views in public is hard, and BoH doesn’t set a good precedent in this respect.

    About #5, barriers to entry, some of the issues overlap with #2. The BoH incident could conceivably increase the tension between those who choose to participate as real people with identities that can verified in the real world, and those who are just screen names with a history of comments. Knowing other participants in the real world is important, but not irreplaceable; your author biography gives you points of connection to other people’s experience. We can look up your thesis, buy your book, things like that. (Besides, our degree of separation is only 1–or is it 2, if we both know the same person?) When you post, I can try to figure out how the words you type fit into the background of your biography. The people at greatest risk now are those who prefer to remain anonymous, in most cases for good reasons, but still with a new question mark about their sincerity.

    About #6, willingness to post about important but personal topics: This could be a problem for newcomers who don’t yet recognize the essential difference betwen BoH and other sites. But not just in that case: a troll on T&S could cause the same problems here. Once I mentioned in a comment here one of my most important spiritual experiences, and then saw that the comment after mine was from a certain rising star among theologians, and suddenly I had a new understanding of ‘pearls before swine.’ A dedicated troll who built up an identity over time could cause real damage right here.

    About #7, about skepticism hurting charitable causes: Maybe BoH was a good thing, then. Maybe it will save us from our credulousness leading us into a real financial scandal. Standards of reality demanded of targets for charitable contributions should be high.

  48. Matthias T
    November 1, 2005 at 5:10 pm

    Jonathan: I’m fascinated by this “rising star among theologians” of whom you speak. Where can I learn more? Lately I have been questioning my Mormonism and I could use some guidance from someone who really, really, really loves Mormons.

  49. November 1, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    I think the longterm fallout is that we will all simply realize that there is a social hierarchy in this community (much like in any given Beehive class (the best comment in Nate’s thread I thought)) and that since we profess to follow Christ, those with social power (and that comes in degrees) have a real responsibility to protect and care for those with less social power.

    Steve Evans is among the elite socially in the Bloggernacle, and that is why he took the most brutal beating here and over there. Apparently everyone loves to take a pound of flesh from the fallen mighty ones. It needs to stop now, though.

    I no longer trust those who either wrote for BoH or were aware of it but said nothing or were aware of it but lied about it.

    Since I was among those that knew it was fake and chose not to blow the whistle, I guess Julie won’t trust menow. Seeing as how she has never visited my blog I must confess that is not much punishment.

    Further, since Kaimi is the only T&S permablogger that regularly ventures beyond the harbor of T&S (and visiting BCC or M* occasionally doesn’t count) I find it odd that the damage to the “community” is being talked about at all here…

    If T&S is serious about promoting the community then here is my public invitation to you to add an above-the-fold Mormon Archipelago banner to your site like Steve Evans did months ago at BCC (and like M* has agreed to do). That way people can learn that there really is a bloggernacle beyond the T&S harbor. (Sort of like there is an Internet byond the AOL harbor?)

    So maybe Steve made a judgment error in not understanding the silent responsilities that come with social power. I think the things he has done to build up the entire bloggernacle community far outweigh this one mistake. The net effect of BoH in minimal but the net effect of having Steve Evans one of us has been very positive.

  50. November 1, 2005 at 5:16 pm

    Amen Geoff.

  51. Chad Too
    November 1, 2005 at 5:22 pm

    Rusty, I don’t think Julie’s (and not coincidentally my) concern is about condemning the perps. I think Julie’s trying to operate on a meta-level about what the effects, intended or not, of bannergate will be.

    Your pedophile example, though hyperbolic, can help to illustrate the point. The trick-or-treating of my youth was done sans-parents, walking around from neighborhood to neighborhood after dark in our non-reflective costumes (along a major highway) and eating candy, fresh popcorn balls, and the best of all, Sister Tingey’s homemade taffy suckers all along the way. Today, it’s with parents, no eating until a parent checks everything over, and nothing homemade. We only knock on doors of people we know, and a lot of people have abandoned the trick-or-treating altogether and have parties with friends instead.

    No, I don’t suspect there’s a pedophile in my neighborhood (and I’m in no way calling bannergaters pedophiles), but because it’s happened elsewhere I now have to take all those things into consideration as I plan my participation. Everyone could be a dog online, I know, but now instead of offering initial good faith to all I feel I have to make others prove themselves to me first before extending good faith.

    I know where Joe DiMaggio’s gone. He’s at Sister Tingey’s hogging all the homemade taffy suckers.

  52. November 1, 2005 at 5:24 pm


    Forgive me. I just realized you have visited and even commented at the Thang.

  53. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 5:43 pm

    Like Geoff J. and ARJ, I think the main lesson to be drawn from the Bannergaters’ deceit is that Times and Seasons is an awful place.

    Or maybe not. The real lesson I draw, now that the Bannergaters have apologized and moved on, is how opposed some Mormons are to judgment and consequences, and how willing they are to use forgiveness as a stick with which to batter their fellow Saints.

    Now I do agree that it would be a charitable act on our part to try and promote other people’s blogs. Likewise to spend more time to respond to people’s comments. But the second is not exactly our main concern and the first surely isn’t. Our main concern is and should be to make our site interesting. That takes time, as do work, family, church, and civic obligations. Our obligations to surf the Bloggernacle come pretty far down the list.

    The Mormon Archipelago site that Geoff J. wants us to put up a prominent icon link to is a portal to a good deal of the Bloggernacle, but it is also designed to–surprise–specifically promote the Mormon Archipelago blogs. Whatever our obligation to promote the bloggernacle, I don’t know that we have an obligation to uniquely promote the Mormon Archipelago people. I can live with myself without doing it, though maybe someday we will. All I know is that this kind of self-interested carping doesn’t make me any more eager.

    ARJ wants more responsive comments, even if they’re from fake people. This is a man who once complained that I wasn’t responsive enough to a comment of his and, when I found out about it (he complained about it on another blog instead of telling me directly), and sent him an email about it, he never responded. I think I can live with myself if I’m not up to ARJ’s standards for responsiveness.

    Other people, however, have legitimate complaints. We try to do better. In the meantime, here’s my advice: (1) keep making comments–once you’re a regular, people will recognize you and start to respond to you; (2) be sure to respond to other people’s comments, even if its just a positive reaction; (3) recognize that people are busy and often times only respond to things that they think are wrong and need to be set straight–if no one responded to your comment it might be that they loved it and thought it was the last word. Also, remember that you can email us. It’s firstname at timesandseasons . com.

  54. JB
    November 1, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    I’m a mostly-lurker and rare commenter in the Blogernacle. I even openly suspected BoH was fake in this comment. But after seeing who did it, and why they did it, I agree with Julie that I have no more trust in the Blogernacle at all. I know you don’t care, but I’m done. One less random reader. I’ve been around the internet longer than most here, before “the internet” was even a common term. I’m not naive. The Blogernacle was supposed to be different. I guess even people who claim to be Saints can’t be trusted in a faceless, text-only medium. I’ll try not to let the door hit my butt on my way out.

  55. manaen
    November 1, 2005 at 5:48 pm

    In the interest of brevity during a break at work, “What Adam said.” I agree with each of his comments.

  56. November 1, 2005 at 5:51 pm

    if no one responded to your comment it might be that they loved it and thought it was the last word.

    Sweet, Adam, I guess that means you agree with me (#43). :)

  57. a random John
    November 1, 2005 at 5:53 pm


    My point is not that you should respond to fake people. I’m not sure where it was that I said that. If you could point it out to me I’ll issue a correction. My point is that many people feel like outsiders here. That is ok. T&S can’t be all things to all people. There are smaller blogs out there with a more community feel.

    A response to you is still on my very long to-do list, and it will be much better informed because of your amazing debut on the zeitcast. Bravo! I was laughing out loud. You sir, are a funny man. I did not know that a day ago. In any case, I’ll do a rush job of it since it is obviously bothering you. See how fun it is to be ignored? :)

  58. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 5:56 pm

    Don’t bother with the rush job, ARJ. Its only your bringing up unresponsiveness that reminds me. And, uh, I’m glad you liked the Zeitcast. I’m not too proud of being a trifling and unserious individual, so I try to hide it here, but it does come out sometimes.

    I agree with comment#55.

  59. Elisabeth
    November 1, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    LOL, Adam! Wish you would post a picture of you in your glittery vest. I’m dying to see it.

  60. November 1, 2005 at 6:00 pm

    Your faith in the “people who claim to be Saints” exactly illustrates my point. The conclusions we come to after this “scandal” are entirely up to us. It sounds like JB is going to blame the entire community for the (regretted) actions of a few. I guess that’s your decision but it seems extremely uncharitable to all those who never had anything to do with it, as does Julie’s conclusion (regarding trust).

  61. November 1, 2005 at 6:02 pm

    JB, no doubt that those in A View from the Foyer are the paradigm of honesty and integrity. If only the bloggernacle could be like them.

  62. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 6:06 pm

    Look, lets not pile on JB. I know that many of us are good friends with the Bannergaters, but, uh, they would be the first to admit that they are the ones who gave offense. JB has every right to react the way he did and its wrong for us to use forgiveness as a club to make him (or her, I guess) the bad guy.

  63. JB
    November 1, 2005 at 6:12 pm

    I’m glad to see that you can read referral logs, Eric. All I have to say is that my comments and opinions, whether in the Foyer, here, BoH, or anywhere else, like Ned Flanders said on his blog, have been 100% mine. Even though I have used pseudonyms, I have never misrepresented my opinion. How many here can say that? I will also admit that while “straddling the fence” of believing the doctrines of the church, Bannergate does not help. Or rather, it does help me decide, but probably not in the way you would like.

  64. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    your soul is your own. The Bannergaters might be the cause, in some sense, of you getting off the fence on the wrong side, but that’s such a disproportionate response that they would in no way be responsible. Anyway, I hope you can see that though it was Mormons who had the bad judgment, it was also Mormons who exposed the problem, Mormons who condemned it, and Mormons who apologized for it, and other Mormons who have been trying to find something redeeming in the whole experience.

  65. November 1, 2005 at 6:18 pm

    Adam Greenwood,

    I’m so pleased that you were the one to respond to my comment!

    Now I do agree that it would be a charitable act on our part to try and promote other people?s blogs. Likewise to spend more time to respond to people?s comments. But the second is not exactly our main concern and the first surely isn?t.

    This is abundantly clear to all of us outside of your borders. That is why T&S has no business posting on the welfare of the “Bloggernacle”. You just admitted that the Bloggernacle is not your concern, T&S is. Others of us (including Steve Evans) do care about the Bloggernacle though.

    The sin behind BoH was less one of deceit than it was of abuse of social power in this community. If the site had been produced by community outsiders there would be no “bannergate” just a lot of puzzled stares at these weird newcomers. Since improper disposal of community power is the sin; you just indicted this blog. In essence you said you, a socially powerful permablogger at the most socially powerful blog in the community, don’t give a rip about what happens outside of your own blog. Thanks for making that so clear to us all.

    The Mormon Archipelago site that Geoff J. wants us to put up a prominent icon link to is a portal to a good deal of the Bloggernacle, but it is also designed to?surprise?specifically promote the Mormon Archipelago blogs. Whatever our obligation to promote the bloggernacle, I don?t know that we have an obligation to uniquely promote the Mormon Archipelago people.

    The MA portal does indeed give premium real estate to our eight solo blogs. Since we went to great lengths to build the site and hand-write the code to make it work I am not at all embarrassed about that. We believe in win-win deals at the MA ? the community wins and we benefited from our hard work too. If you don’t want to use our portal then I say you have an obligation to the community to build one of your own (however you would like). If you would like to use ours we will be happy to add your comments to our comment feed as well. We have already given T&S prime placement at the site and have received nothing in return for that.

    All I know is that this kind of self-interested carping doesn?t make me any more eager.

    This is the most galling comment of all. The one way T&S does occasionally send traffic to the community is through the ?Notes from All Over? section. Kaimi is good about giving links to ‘Nacle sites. Danithew (a non permablogger at T&S) is also good about it. You, Brother Greenwood, are notorious for linking to your own posts and comments at T&S and M*! Talk about self-serving. When you are not linking to yourself it is to your favorite far-right political topic. As I said, the sin of BoH is improper disposal of power in our community. You have a lot of power in our community, have you used yours in aggregate as well as Steve Evans has used his?

    (And since we are talking about the welfare of our community I believe this is all relevant.)

  66. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 6:32 pm

    I choose to dignify that last comment by commenting that I refuse to dignify it as a response to me with a response. Clear?

  67. Seth Rogers
    November 1, 2005 at 6:38 pm

    Is this kind of escalation really helpful?

  68. November 1, 2005 at 6:40 pm

    I choose to dignify that last comment by commenting that I refuse to dignify it as a response to me with a response.

    In other words, excellent points Geoff.

  69. Rosalynde
    November 1, 2005 at 6:40 pm

    Geoff J: It probably won’t comfort you much—although perhaps it will surprise you—to know that the issue of bloggernacle citizenship is one that we discuss frequently and at very, very great length. (Members of other group blogs will recognize the volume of email we can generate!) Since you’re a member of a group yourself, it shouldn’t surprise you to know that, among the fifteen of us, we comprise a variety of perspectives, and that diversity of opinion correlates pretty well with inaction.

    You’ve framed the issue as one of power, and in doing so I think you’ve answered your own question about T&S vis-a-vis the MA. I personally use the MA aggregator frequently, and I’m very grateful for the service y’all provide, as well as the great content you generate.

  70. CS Eric
    November 1, 2005 at 6:49 pm

    Thanks to those of you who responded to my comment. Part of my feeling like the nerd in high school is that I don’t know anybody in the bloggernacle except through the bloggernacle. For all any of you know, I could be fake, and for all I know, any or all of you could be fake. I thought I was developing SOME kind of relationships here. ARJ, maybe I was, I don’t know. That is what makes it hard in retrospect. Maybe it could be funny down the road, if I ever actually met one of you, and we could talk about it other than in one of these threads.

    Actually, I could probably handle most of the people in the bloggernacle being fake, but if annegb is not a real person, nobody tell me. The world needs more of her.

  71. !Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 6:54 pm

    “In other words, excellent points Geoff. ”

    Yes! Exactly! Geoff J. argued, seriously, that the Bannergaters abused their social position and therefore its bad for T&S to not devote itself to promoting other blogs. Almost syllogistic in its relentless logic! But the drumbeat of remorseless reason was not yet silenced. Geoff J. then added that T&S surely had a duty to link to his self-promoting portal because . . . it didn’t have a portal of its own. I was reeling! And then, the coup de grace. It was illegitimate for me to link to things I thought our readers might be interested in, because . . . , because . . . The relentless blows fell like bludgeons!

    Of course I responded with silliness to these serious arguments. I was overwhelmed! Intellectually undone! Standing naked and shamefaced in the smoking ruins of my arguments!

  72. November 1, 2005 at 7:04 pm

    The Mormon Archipelago is the coolest thing ever to have hit the blogosphere anywhere ever. Those guys are rad. The true guardians of the bloggernacle. Did I mention that they have t-shirts?
    Coolest of the cool.

  73. November 1, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    Regarding #69: for what it’s worth (which it isn’t much), while I comment only very, very rarely on other Bloggernacle blogs, I do read them regularly, and it is through the MA that I primarily do so.

  74. November 1, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    Actually, Adam Greenwood, I argued that the people that are behind BoH improperly used their social power and that is really what hurt the community. I then said that T&S is currently improperly using its social power and that doing so does more damage to the community than BoH did. I then claimed that you, Adam Greenwood, are the most obvious example of a socially powerful person in the community not caring about or looking to build the bloggernacle community beyond the borders of his own site(s).

    I offered a couple of ways to remedy this. Perhaps y’all can think of better ones.

  75. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 7:12 pm

    T-shirts? Then I’ll have to stop being sarcastic. I really am undone, for now.

    Quick, T&Sers! Your Dean calls you to the clothiers! Bring your fine linens, your cloths of curious workmanship. Together we will craft the most ___ but ____ onymous group vest in history.

  76. November 1, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    Adam, you’re argument is very clear now. Thank you for taking the time to reason with Geoff instead of dismissing him.

  77. November 1, 2005 at 7:14 pm

    BTW — if that is not the real Adam Greenwood in #71 please delete it and my response… I notice it says “!Adam Greenwood”…

    And of course if it is an impersonator… BAN HIM!!!! (Hat tip – arJ)

  78. Laura
    November 1, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    Julie- I’m sorry you lost trust in friends over bannergate. I think that is the most important negitive effect of the whole event- disruption in relationships that were obviously important to people.

    While individuals and the bloggernacle community has obviously been harmed and changed in some ways by bannergate, I wonder if there is any good to be found as well? Is there any value to the discussion about how people perceive the different blogs or how relationships are formed through the bloggernacle? Is there value to being more circumspect about what we share online?

    On a completely personal note, the BoH was a door into the bloggernacle for me, and the bloggernacle as a whole has become an important part of my spiritual life. For that, I’m glad it existed.

  79. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 7:25 pm

    By social power I suppose you mean, what, readership and all that it entails (trust from the readership, expectations from the readership, etc.)

    So, I agree that its an abuse of readership to try and direct them to a fake blog. I disagree that its an abuse of readership to not spend lots of time reading and participating on specific other blogs or in promoting those other blogs in specific ways. In other words, I do not see–and your fine commentaries on BYU football are not enough to make me take your word for it in other areas–that having lots of readers obliges T&S to try and promote other blogs at the expense of posting here or commenting here, or even that it obliges T&S to put up the links that you want us to put up. We link to other Mormon blogs, we participate in other Mormon blogs, we take emails suggesting links seriously, and I don’t see where you get off judging our participation on the grounds that you personally haven’t benefited from it as much as you’d like.

  80. William Morris
    November 1, 2005 at 7:28 pm

    For the record, Adam comments on A Motley Vision quite a bit. And he always brings good stuff to the discussion. I think what both sides of this argument seem to be missing is that the Bloggernacle had developed into a rather amazing, diverse community with a whole interlay of overlapping circles of readers, commenters, posters and friends. It’s much more than MA and T&S. And also that the Bloggernacle bleeds into (or from) other Internet (and meat space [to borrow a term from a favorite Internet poster of mine]) communities.

    ALSO: Since AMV doesn’t get a ton of visitors, but I felt it was the most appropriate place for it (rather than fanning the flames here), here are the details of my involvement with Banner of Heaven. The short version: Knew about it. Warned about it. — BUT — Kept my mouth shut about it. Thought the early, early idea was funny.

  81. November 1, 2005 at 7:40 pm


    Please ‘fess up if that is a fake Adam Greenwood. This is like playing tee-ball. What are you going for, some kind of object lesson on faking names? If so I think it serves as an object lesson on abusing power even better…

    [Ed.: not a fake]

  82. Mark IV
    November 1, 2005 at 7:47 pm


    By taking issue with your point # 1, I meant to say that this site has a feeling of legitimacy which BoH lacked. It isn’t about knwoing the people involved, it is about engaging in serious issues. Compare your book reviews to Miranda PJ’s melodrama about throwing her husband’s Xbox in the trash, or selling it on ebay, or whatever it was. There is a qualitative difference, and it is more or less easily discernable. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy the melodrama. I’ve got people in my own family who would react the same way.

    It seems to be that trust is the main issue for you, and others as well. And finding out that people you trusted enabled something fake can certainly cause disillusionment. I’d like to suggest that trust can also be damaged when someone shares thoughts and feelings in a forum such as T&S and those thoughts and feelings are trampled upon. I think that happens every day. It is one thing to be duped by someone who then apologizes. It is another thing entirely to be told than one is out of order with the church, with no apology forthcoming. Sure, it is a violation of the comment policy here, but so what? It still happens all the time. In my opinion that is more detrimental to the community that anything that BoH or those who enabled it have done.

    Finally, Dave in comment # 19 made an excellent point. Based on what I know about the character of Joseph Smith, I think this is something he would have enjoyed. Remember, lots of people converted to the gospel, then left because they thought he was too much of a goof-off.

  83. Rosalynde
    November 1, 2005 at 7:56 pm

    Geoff, perhaps Adam is just a little high on bloodlust after having shot the Curelom…

  84. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 8:04 pm

    Mark IV is right. Worse than lying is telling people that you think they’re out of order with the prophets; also, people who aren’t happy with Bannergate are people who would have been enemies to Joseph Smith! Carthaginians!

  85. November 1, 2005 at 8:06 pm

    Lol, Rosalynde.

    I’m just listening to zeitcast as we speak. I picked the wrong day to be honest…

  86. Randy B.
    November 1, 2005 at 8:13 pm

    “[P]erhaps Adam is just a little high on bloodlust after having shot the Curelom…”

    I just thought that his vest was on too tight. One of these days, those buttons are just going to pop off. Dangerous, really. Someone could lose an eye.

  87. JB
    November 1, 2005 at 8:16 pm

    Adam, #64,
    Let me start out by saying that I am a 6th gen BIC, RM, MIT, BYU grad, blah blah blah. I am currently “active” in the sense that I attend church, fulfill my calling, do my HT, pay my 10%, attend my meetings, etc. But I do not believe many of the core beliefs of mormonism. Why am I an active non-believer? Even though my wife knows fully of my disbelief, she wants me in church with her and our kids. I love her happiness more than the church, so I go. Also, until recently, I thought that even though I disagree with some doctrines, and think the institutional church covers up (lies about) inconvenient history and facts, I generally used to think most members are good people, both in real life and online. Bannergate and some of the responses here are disabusing me of that notion. So while I tenuously grasp onto continued church activity, some in the blogernacle are trying to stomp on my fingers. I am not going to go inactive over something like Bannergate alone. But for someone like me who is struggling to find a place in the church, it sure doesn’t help. Julie wanted to know some of the consequences of Bannergate, so here is one.

  88. Kaimi
    November 1, 2005 at 8:18 pm


    I can’t speak for my co-bloggers. I like the new-look MA.

    However, it’s not as if the MA has always been what it is now. You fellows started out with a lot of schtick: “big blogs? We don’t need no stinkin big blogs!”

    I like the additions you’ve made since then. Perhaps at a future date we’ll move in the direction you suggest. Or perhaps not — in any case, the MA has become an important part of the nacle, and you guys are doing a good job.

  89. Seth Rogers
    November 1, 2005 at 8:46 pm


    I’m sorry. I just don’t see the kind of bloggernacle you’re talking about. I also think your standards for meaningful connection with a given community are a tad high.

    If you go through life expecting the kind of perfection you seem to be calling for of every community you try to participate in, you are going to be a very dissapointed person before the end.

    I don’t know of a single entity on the internet which maintains the kind of consistent integrity you are asking for. In fact, I don’t know many entities in real life that provide that kind of integrity either.

  90. Ben S.
    November 1, 2005 at 9:10 pm

    I haven’t been able to get through all the comments, and mine will not relate completely. But, since this thread is still live, let me throw out a thought.

    I think that one’s response to BOH will be a function of how introverted/extroverted one is. An introvert generally requires a higher threshold of trust/safety/confidence before becomign personally invested in a conversation/social group. An extrovert, simply by nature of being less reserved, requires much less of a threshold. Thus BOH has violated more trust in an introvert (because it required more to participate) than an extrovert, who simply bestowed opinions without requiring any trust.

    An introvert who selects an arena as worthy/deserving/safe and is wrong will be much more careful/reserved the next time they’re performing social reconnaissance. Extroverts who perform no such recon before posting won’t have felt much of an effect.

  91. greenfrog
    November 1, 2005 at 9:15 pm

    While at BYU, I had a roommate who had lived a very interesting life. He had great stories to tell — a brother who was a pilot, killed in Vietnam, parents who were wealthy and erratic, lots of good stuff.

    One day, several years after I had lost touch with this roommate, I happened to be near the Vietnam Memorial, I thought, “I ought to go and find my old roommate’s brother’s name on the memorial.” I looked over the memorial, but must have missed it. So I went to the loose-leaf binders they have that guide you to the specific panel where a name is inscribed. But the name didn’t appear in the loose-leaf book.

    It finally dawned on me then that perhaps my roommate’s life hadn’t been all that interesting, after all. Perhaps he had not only made up the brother-shot-down-in-Vietnam story, but maybe he’d made up everything, kit and kaboodle.

    I got a little wiser that day. Even so, it has never occurred to me that because I had been gullible when lied to, I should suddenly stop believing anything from anyone.

    In reading of the brouhaha over the lies of BoH, I’m reminded of my roommate.

    Candidly, I don’t see the lies told there as any more or less significant than the lies my roommate told.

    Life on line is life.

    Do people make stuff up on line? Of course they do.

    Do people make stuff up in real life? Of course they do.

    It makes little sense to me to suddenly view everything in online worlds as untrustworthy, while maintaining unscathed faith in mankind outside the on-line communities I inhabit.

    So what if you know someone who vouches for someone else? I’d have vouched for my roommate, too. Seeing someone in the flesh is no guarantee of accuracy.

    Will online communities survive the discovery of misconduct?

    I’m thinking they will.

    If someone sent $$ to another person based solely on a statement in a blog, I suppose that may be diminished in the future by the conduct at issue.

    But seriously, shouldn’t that same sort of conduct have been pretty severely limited by the faxes from Africa looking for bank account routing numbers a long time ago?

    Life online is life.

  92. November 1, 2005 at 9:22 pm

    I don’t know how this morphed into a “T&S isn’t nice to other blogs” discussion. T&S has regular links to other blogs in “Notes From All Over” and in the occasional “Around the Blogs” post. There’s nothing wrong with the fact that some of the T&S visitors aren’t inclined to “surf the Bloggernacle” or visit other sites; I’m sure those T&S visitors that do explore other blogs stumble onto the MA site without much trouble.

    The complaints about the Bloggernacle becoming less “open” to those who aren’t already insiders of some sort applies to the B’nacle as a whole, not just T&S. There are no technical barriers to dialogue with new visitors, just a familiarity problem. It is much harder to get a handle on a new visitor who doesn’t have their own website or bio. For example, even the few details given in comment 87 help make JB a real person rather than just a set of initials. I’m sure the B’nacle audience has its share of “fence sitters” (which seems like a useful, non-pejorative term) and I can understand how disheartening a mess like Bannergate appears to someone who already has their fair share of doctrinal or historical concerns.

  93. Ann
    November 1, 2005 at 9:27 pm

    Re: Seth #89 – Can you blame us if we thought the chances for that kind of integrity-based community were higher with a bunch of smart, articulate, believing Mormons?

  94. C Jones
    November 1, 2005 at 9:27 pm

    The day I discovered the LDS blog world, I spent quite a few hours reading at least a few posts on most of the blogs listed on the Archipelago site. There were things I liked, things I didn’t agree with, and things I even found kind of shocking. But Banner of Heaven stood out for its bad vibes. I even said so (without specifically naming it) in one of the first blog comments I ever made.

    Seeing it linked to here and on other blogs I had come to feel some kind of trust in made me second guess my first impression, and I visited there again a few times- unfortunately during a discussion that was making light of something that my family had very painful real-life experience with, so I made a rather cranky comment, read a bit more of what the offending poster had written, decided he at least was fake, and went away.

    I wouldn’t say that I was really harmed- everyone’s been through worse things than being reminded of old pain- but I guess I would say that for a while at least, I’ll probably be putting a mental asterisk next to most of what I read. With the exceptions of Annegb and Julie in A. . .

  95. November 1, 2005 at 9:41 pm

    I have appreciated JBs comments, not so much for what he has said, but for the fact that he willing to share his thoughts at all.

    Greenfrog’s comment made me realize that hundreds and hundreds of comments have gone by, and I haven’t seen a single mention of Paul H. Dunn.

  96. JB
    November 1, 2005 at 9:45 pm

    Seth, #89,
    Thank you for adding another witness that mormons are no worse or no better than any other group of people. What’s so special about the mormon gospel if there is no net difference between it’s adherents and any other group? Does it have the power or authority to make a difference in people’s lives or not? If so, where’s the proof? Certainly not here.

  97. Adam Greenwood
    November 1, 2005 at 9:55 pm

    I understand where you’re coming from, if the decency of the people was what kept you coming back.

    I do think its always a mistake to assume that a bad anecdote among a certain population means that that population is bad in the same way and to the same percentage as the population at large. I think your initial impression–that there’s lot of decency among Mormons–is correct. I also think its significant that there was a community here to be abused. Part of the reason we feel responsibility for each other and some betrayal is because we’re all Mormons here, you, me, and all the rest. That in itself is an achievement. Not an exclusively Mormon one, but not insignificant or easy to achieve, either.

  98. Julie in Austin
    November 1, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    I’m just getting back to this:

    Rusty in #40: I have no problem re-trusting those who are sincerely sorry. I would be foolish to trust those who are still justifying the event, rationalizing the outcome, and minimizing the victims.

    Jonathan Green in #47– Very nice analysis. The one thing that I would point out is that it most certainly is not as if everyone who knew about BoH will never be, in my book, trustworthy again. At this point, I’m going more on their responses to the BoH fallout than their participation in it. Some have been amazing models of how to act to regain trust, others just about the opposite.

    Geoff J, that simply isn’t true about Kaimi being the only one to go beyond T & S. I go to every single day and on average hit 3-6 blogs (not BCC, M*, or FMH, or Snarkernacle, which I’ve already read by the time I get there) every day. And more often than not, I find comments from Rosalynde when I get to those blogs.

    I need to second what Adam said: In general, when I post, I will comment only on those comments that I DISAGREE with. Far from being offended, you should all be grateful when you are ignored (grin). Other people can pull it off, but when I try commenting on every comment, I think the comments come off as “Thank you. Next. Good job. Next. Woohoo!. Next. etc.”

    arj–I think that what is irritating AG and me is that when someone says, “What BoH did is wrong.” the response is “Yeah? Well at least they don’t ignore people like T & S!” T & S may be wrong to ignore (but see above), but our response to commentors has no bearing on whether BoH was wrong and/or what its consequences are.

    Rusty, make the case for me trusting people in the Bloggernacle. If some of the biggest names and largest lights were in on this–people I _never_ would have suspected would have countenanced something like this–people who _still_ are minimizing what happened and justifying it–then _why_ should I trust others? This isn’t a snark, and it isn’t sarcasm. It is a serious question. I’d like to trust some of these people who have become virtual friends, but I feel that I’d be a fool to do so.

    CS Eric in #70–I’m with you. I’ve never met any of the regulars, and maybe that’s why I’m reacting with more concern about what bannergate has done and is doing to our community. Probably those with real life connections can minimize bannergate better because they are drawing on a greater pool of experience with the people involved.

    Laura, you raise good questions in #78. I’m looking for a silver lining, but having a hard time finding it. One thing: I know realize that many people around here don’t think truth-telling is very important. I suppose it is better to know that sooner than later.

    Mark IV in #82–I need to say upfront that I only read a smidge of BoH, so if I am wrong about this, please correct me, but the sense I have is that before it devolved into alien abductions, there were posts that hit heavy topics and resulted in heavy responses. This early legitimacy (which, apparently, was gone by the end) is what I am talking about. I visited it a few times early on, and didn’t catch on to the fake. Hence, my inability to trust my own judgement about blogs. You then write about T & S trampling on people’s feelings. First, once again, T & S’s sins are not related inversely or otherwise to BoHs. Second, is there anyone who thinks that they can post here and not be disputed? You read five comments and you figure out that this isn’t a Choir, it’s a Debate Club. That said, we’ve been discussing the issue of better enforcement of the comment policy, so you are right about that.

    JB is getting some heat. As someone who used to (but no longer) has huge issues with the Church, I am very sympathetic to finding the One Thing that can help you hang on a little longer while you figure out what you need to figure out. I think that the ability of the bloggernacle to be that One Thing for some people by showing that (1) a diversity of opinions exists among church members and (2) we can discuss the big, hard issues and (3) some of us choose to be active, knowing about the dirt, may be one of the few redeeming qualitites of the bloggernacle. So don’t fault JB too much, guys.

    Ben S.–Good analysis, as long as your point wasn’t that it is all the victims’ faults for being intoverts in the first place.

    greenfrog–I think the problem is that some of us expected a little more from certain sectors of the bloggernacle. If the only goal for the bloggernacle is to meet the lowest common denominator of human behavior, then I might as well watch soaps instead of spend my time here.

    Bryce I–HA! I thought of Paul H. Dunn on that one too!

  99. sdb
    November 1, 2005 at 10:18 pm

    To me, the fallout over BoH is that there are now more people in the world whom I hope never to meet, much less to be ward members with. There’ve always been a couple people I read whom I never want to meet, but they’re usually trolls.

    The thing is, the BoH bloggers are not those people. I’ve read the most un-Christian responses I’ve ever seen in the bloggernacle, attacking the bloggers personally for something that, at worst, was a joke (and, I believe, was less insidious than that). And if that’s what’s on public threads, I’d hate to have to read their private emails.

    I recognize that some people were legitimately hurt, and a good portion of those people haven’t been attacking BoH. BoH never (that I saw) made a personal attack on anyone (except DKL, but inasmuch as he was attacking him, that’s probably forgiveable). What I do find unforgiveable is the apparent collective need to cut down, to return hurt for hurt.

    And I want to echo that, as I see it, the biggest loss to the collective bloggernacle is the loss of Steve’s voice.

  100. November 1, 2005 at 10:36 pm

    Off topic, but in doing research for a different post, I stumbled upon this comment I made back in February at the launch of M*.

    I think there are enough readers out there to support other venues without taking away from the existing ones – readership is growing across the board in the bloggernacle.

    Of course, in five years time, the bubble will have burst, and we will all be left shaking our heads when we realize that the bloggernacle was really just ourselves and one other manic, schizophrenic person impersonating all of the other people in the bloggernacle.

  101. manaen
    November 1, 2005 at 11:34 pm

    96 JB, re: “What?s so special about the mormon gospel if there is no net difference between it?s adherents and any other group? Does it have the power or authority to make a difference in people?s lives or not? If so, where?s the proof? Certainly not here.”
    You’ve put your finger on my disappointment in BoH’s deception. As for where’s the proof, I offer that the restored gospel of Christ saved my life and then healed my soul. For me, the proof of its ability to make a difference is here: . Please know that I’m no model of celestial perfection, but my heart now does seeks to help other sinners and I feel God’s love every day. That for me is the most joyous to my soul.
    ALL: This thread is to be about the results of BoH’s misleading us, not about their intent. Here’s the result for me.
    Because I still have the immunity from callings and speaking in church that I received from my disciplinary council (see link in preceding paragraph), my speaking one with another concerning the things of my soul, as well as sharing insights and questions, has been limited mostly to private conversations and to interviews with my local leaders. My nature was changed and I’d been given a new heart and new insights, but I couldn’t share them in an open forum.
    Then I found the Bloggernacle. Here was my sole opportunity to share in open discussion with a group of fellow believers, and people struggling with the faith, these new things that are sacred to me and to use my experiences to help others like I look forward to doing some future day in HT and other callings. I saw the B-nacle as welcome parting of the veil wrapped around me for these past years. For the most part, it has been that but when it got BoH’d, for me it was not some clever trick but a pollution of the nearest thing I have to full communion with LDS.
    I understand that the BoH wasn’t intended to be my surrogate for full church activity. I hold no ill will towards the participants. I certainly am guilty of much worse than this. I was disappointed to have my trust betrayed there. However, I will choose to continue to risk that pain in order to trust people in the MA.
    But it really hurt.

  102. November 1, 2005 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks for that link, Manaen. I’m always a better person for reading things like that. I envy you the intensity of your journey.

  103. Mark B.
    November 2, 2005 at 12:06 am

    For all of you too young to remember Paul Dunn from the 60’s. He was a young, engaging, warm, energetic, interesting general authority, who spoke to us who were young then and encouraged us to have faith, to be different, to live up to the ideals of the gospel. I don’t remember the details of his stories, and didn’t pay enough attention to the controversy at the end to pick out whether stories he told that moved me were “better” than the originals. But I remember in my early teens being enamored with his faith-building stories, and I listened. I cannot say that I ever paid any attention, beyond the first half sentence, to the talks given by Joseph Fielding Smith or Delbert Stapley. Before he became the prophet, I don’t know that I could have recognized Spencer Kimball’s voice, despite the distinctive sound of it (and I was four months into my mission when Pres. Lee died). But I did recognize Paul Dunn’s voice, and I listened, and he taught true principles in a way that I responded to.

    Not to excuse the mistakes he made, but to honor the man who left all to follow the Lord, to serve His church (can you imagine a lifetime calling in your late 30’s, serving without letup for the rest of your days? a call to the First Council of the Seventy was a lifetime appointment back then–no retirement at 70–putting on a white shirt and tie six days a week, traveling to another stake conference every weekend, etc. etc.). To borrow from Wilfried’s post, we should show compassion, not judgment. We should mourn with him, and those who loved him, rather than pulling him off the shelf when we need a convenient example of broken trust.

  104. Julie in Austin
    November 2, 2005 at 12:08 am

    Mark B.–You are right. My apologies.

  105. Mark B.
    November 2, 2005 at 12:14 am

    And, I should have added, my apologies to Julie for the threadjack.

  106. Julie in Austin
    November 2, 2005 at 12:15 am

    None necessary–good reminders are not threadjacks.

  107. greenfrog
    November 2, 2005 at 12:17 am

    Julie in Austin,

    Supposing that we are not subject to the same frailties and weaknesses as the mass of mankind does not seem wise to me.

    We are a mass of mankind.

    Has your trust never been misused in the non-online world? If it has been, how did that change your approach outside of the online world?

  108. queuno
    November 2, 2005 at 12:28 am

    Re #95 – Criticizing Dunn in this context is the “easy” cheap way out. Let’s be serious — how many among us has ever “embellished” the details of a faith-promoting story in an effort to promote more faith. I admit I’ve done it (especially when they relate to other people’s experiences).

    I guess I’m not so offended by BoH. I had it sniffed out after a week as suspicious. And it didn’t bother me. I did some responding to posts over there, but mostly to other people’s posts (not the fake people’s). I just don’t get worked up by it.

  109. November 2, 2005 at 12:38 am

    Julie, thanks for responding in detail to my request that those affected make known their perceptions of the effects on them personally. My opinions differ from yours on most of these points. I describe my views in the comments section of this post of mine, which I think ought to be read as context for my responses to your points.

  110. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 12:52 am

    [The inline link in comment 101 wasn’t displaying properly in my browser for some reason. No idea why. Anyway, I edited the hyperlink to make it a non-inline link, so that I could click it, and also for anyone else for whom it wasn’t working.]

  111. Julie in Austin
    November 2, 2005 at 12:56 am

    greenfrog–It changed it in about the same ways it is in the bloggernacle.

    queno asks, “Let’s be serious – how many among us has ever “embellished” the details of a faith-promoting story in an effort to promote more faith.” I can say that I have never deliberately done this, but if it is common that might explain some of the reaction to bannergate that has me flummoxed.

  112. Julie in Austin
    November 2, 2005 at 1:17 am

    Christian, I’ll respond to you here:

    (1) I never made any claim to speak for the community. If anything I wrote could be construed this way, please point me to it so I can change it because it wasn’t my intent. My effort in this post was describe what I think the effects of bannergate will be on the community. I am describing it as an observer of the community, not the speaker for it.

    (2) You mention that you didn’t read the comments here. You didn’t miss much because very few people have engaged my points (The exception is Jonathan Green in #47). The basic response has been that I am overreacting without any attempt to support that assertion. You should, however, read comments #23, #42, #54, and #101 as those people speak to the effects on them.

    Now I’ll go back to your numbering, which follows my original numbers (sorry if this is confusing):

    (1) the problem is that bannergate doesn’t ‘encourage people to think more carefully’ before passing stories along (which would be good). I’ve done _that_ from the beginning. What it does is make it so that people with really high standards for what they will pass (me) can no longer use anything from the bloggernacle.

    I’m not working from a uniform standard of reliability; I made that clear in the original post re the mission president anecdote. And the fact that BoH didn’t do faith stories isn’t relevant; what BoH did do (and, mostly, its accomplices) is make it clear that people who seemed responsible and trustworthy are not.

    (2) No: a portion of the T & S interviews are ‘cold calls’ as it were. As far as thinking ‘low’ of celebrities, I don’t think it unreasonable to think that someone unfamiliar with the medium of blogging (which is, after all, just about everyone) would want info from someone with some knowledge, and I know that if someone I knew was asked to interview or guest at a blog I didn’t know well, I would warn them about bannergate for fear that they were being taken advantage of.

    (3) Christian, I barely ‘know’ you even in the bloggernacle sense; the trust thing isn’t relevant to you at all. It has to do with people who I considered as close friends as one can be virtually.

    (4) It wasn’t my point that any of the BoH bloggers did this but rather that the justifications offered for their actions by promiment bloggers after the fact created an environment where this new level of troll-like behavior could be seen as justified. If I decided to start posting fake things–cries for help–to waste everyone’s time and energy, I would defend myself when/if discovered by pointing out that the bloggernacle has no settled rules and that what I was doing was a literary experiment. BoH didn’t do these things but its justifiers have created a climate that allows them.

    (5) Um, I didn’t realize that personal injury was the standard (this may explain why you thought that I thought I could speak for the whole community). My post addresses consequences to the fraud. One of those is that things will be harder for new blogs. And if I am not allowed to suggest that something is a problem for future bloggers, who will?

    (6) We’ll have to agree to disagree as to whether posting on personal matters is a good idea. But I think it unfair for you to discount the numerous people who have been helped (usually through challenges to their faith) by the voices they hear in the bloggernacle.

    (7) You may not have recognized that (7) was meant to be phrased in an over-the-top way, but my point is that BoH (and, to a larger extent, those outside it who promoted and/or justified it) have created a climate where we doubt genuine blogs. This is a bad thing.

    Thanks, Christian, for your willingness to hear this out and respond. It appears that your critique is right on many counts in that my critique doesn’t have to do with you (or the other BoH writers) as much as it does with those who made BoH appear legit and/or continued to defend the enterprise after the fact.

  113. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 1:27 am


    Your last comment (and a few previous ones) have me wondering who exactly you’re criticizing in this post. The BoH crowd? You seem to say sorta/kinda/not really/at least, not Christian.

    So your target is . . . me? Steve Evans? Rosalynde? BoHers who are insufficiently contrite? (DKL?) Random John? Rusty?

    I don’t know how broadly you’re defining terms like “defending after the fact.” And I think that your point is (perhaps deliberately) being obscured because of the ambiguity. If you’re comfortable laying out the cards, let me ask point-blank: Who _are_ you criticizing in this post?

  114. Julie in Austin
    November 2, 2005 at 1:42 am


    I am not criticizing anyone. I am pointing to the effects that bannergate has had on the community. I don’t have a ‘target;’ the effects are independent (for the purposes of this discussion) from the people responsible for them. To the extent that Christian took some of what I said as applying to him persoanlly (that is, about the trust issue), I felt it necessary to point out that, basically, I never trusted Christian in the first place (nothing personal! I just don’t even ‘know’ him in the bloggernacle sense). You may also be thinking of what I wrote on (4) in #112, but that was just to correct Christian’s reading that BoH writers had done that. They probably haven’t. My point is that BoH’s coconspirators had.

    I don’t want to name names because I don’t think that it would be productive in any way and, more importantly, I don’t know who all of the names belong to! There have been SOO many threads and comments about BoH that I can’t name all of the people who have defended the enterprise, all who knew about it beforehand, all who lent credibility to it in some way, etc. But they know who they are.

  115. Julie in Austin
    November 2, 2005 at 1:45 am

    FYI: I will be away from this thread for an entire day, but I will come back to it.

  116. TMD
    November 2, 2005 at 1:48 am

    To me, a thus-far unmentioned (at least, I don’t think it was mentioned) effect of this set of circumstances is that whole enterprise has taken on a much more elitist tinge. I say this in particular reference to the explanations given for its inception and then for its relative harmlessness. Ultimately, the performative turn evident in much post-modern political and literary theory–evidenced most in my experience by Judith Butler et al.–adopts a view of social relations which stresses outward appearances and which, to my mind, underestimates the importance of sincerity and genuine-ness in the maintenance of secure and intimate relationships. This performative turn tends to encourage the ‘playing’ of different identities in the name of experimentation or intentional social change, assuming a positive value for each in all cases, since it liberates from what they view as artificial social structures and circumstances, and thus allowing for greater agency and, per some, liberty. It seems that such a view of art (one described the boh as a ‘creative writing activity’) and life and society, because it is lacking in that key respect blinds one to the likely responses of others unaware of this post-modern conceit. Hence, the strong negative response and the relative shock of the ‘artists’ that others felt betrayed, and hence the elitism: it seems to me to be not only a problem of some not being ‘in’ on the fictionality of some bloggers, but a fundamental divide between those who think such things can have merit and those who found these places to be spaces where one could be confident in at very least the sincerity of others. It seems likely that those in the latter category are more apt to be lost, feeling not only excluded but also fundamentally different from those who would do such things. Moreover, it presents a barrier to those who may find, as was pointed out above, a path to or a grip on the gospel, knowing that at least some mormon bloggers are feel secure in pulling something of a fast one on their readers. Note that my problem is not so much with them, individually, but with the (deeply problematic) intellectual superstructure which brought them to the idea, and the effects of that intellectual superstructure existing among the relatively orthodox lds blogs and now being laid bear.

  117. Seth Rogers
    November 2, 2005 at 1:53 am

    Re: JB #96

    OK, you got me there. I confess.

    After all, I was among those on BCC arguing that you CAN judge the Mormon church by its members when they provide poor examples as well as when they provide good examples.

    “By their fruits shall ye know them.” For better or for worse.

    Being Mormon is at the center of my identity. I realize, of course, that there is a lot of petty, small, and generally un-Christlike behavior among my people. But they are still MY people. And I have to believe that one of these days they are going to get it right.

    I have to believe in Zion, even if I can’t see it right now. The alternative is just profoundly sad.

    The bloggernacle (at least the small part I participate in) makes me happy. I’m just not willing to give that up because somebody had a lapse in judgment.

    Be that as it may. I hope you find (or have found) something of your own to believe in.

  118. November 2, 2005 at 2:43 am

    I respect you more than most people in the Bloggernacle and I think that is why I’m having such a difficult time with this post. It seems that you are implying certain consequences as inevitable, but most of your conclusions are either assumptions about other people (and their reactions) or are feelings/actions of your own which you have the power to determine. You can just as easily believe Kaimi, Rosalynde, Bryce, and Geoff J. in their apologies and trust them as not trust them. Why choose to not trust them and then tell everyone that you choose to not trust them? Expressing “concern” for the community doesn’t mean that you actually are concerned for the community. Giving us examples of how we can forgive and move on positively seem to be more of an act of concern than providing a space to perpetuate hurt feelings, guilt and negative speculation.

  119. November 2, 2005 at 6:43 am

    Criticizing Dunn in this context is the “easy” cheap way out. Let’s be serious – how many among us has ever “embellished” the details of a faith-promoting story in an effort to promote more faith. I admit I’ve done it (especially when they relate to other people’s experiences)

    I’ve often done the other, toned things down, especially with my own experiences.

  120. November 2, 2005 at 8:28 am

    “You can just as easily believe Kaimi, Rosalynde, Bryce, and Geoff J. in their apologies and trust them as not trust them. Why choose to not trust them and then tell everyone that you choose to not trust them?”

    I think, Julie, that Rusty is asking the right questions about this post, questions that I’ve flailed around with and been unable to articulate very well elsewhere. Perhaps, since this is broadening into more a matter of what “trust” involves than simply a question about who specifically, at the present moment, trusts who, it might be worth including in the discussion Rusty’s post on forgiveness.

  121. Adam Greenwood
    November 2, 2005 at 9:05 am

    Comment #116:

    I think you’ve put together very well why a lot of us are really uncomfortable with Bannergate and a lot of others think its no big deal.

  122. Adam Greenwood
    November 2, 2005 at 10:17 am

    “Rusty in #40: I have no problem re-trusting those who are sincerely sorry. I would be foolish to trust those who are still justifying the event, rationalizing the outcome, and minimizing the victims.

    Jonathan Green in #47– Very nice analysis. The one thing that I would point out is that it most certainly is not as if everyone who knew about BoH will never be, in my book, trustworthy again. At this point, I’m going more on their responses to the BoH fallout than their participation in it. Some have been amazing models of how to act to regain trust, others just about the opposite.”

    Yes, for me its been the reluctance to stop justifying the thing that’s made me the most suspicious. One of the reasons it hasn’t damaged my trust in my cobloggers very much is that they were only peripherally involved and they haven’t tried to defend themselves. I’m a ‘forgiveness to all but second chances only to the sincerely repentant’ kind of guy.

    Which is to say, as Ben S. has so astutely divined, that I’m an introvert.

  123. November 2, 2005 at 10:34 am

    My $.02:

    When I first read of the BoH hoax, including those who knew but didn’t tell, my thinking paralleled that of Julie in A, and Adam Greenwood as expressed over and over in this and other threads, in terms of how it has “harmed the community.” When I read Christian Cardall’s mea culpa over at the Spinozist Mormon:

    I was more impressed by his response than the others; yet, since he was an active participant, I felt he was somewhat self serving. Then, I read Jim Faulconer’s one and only comment on this entire fiasco over at the Spinozist Mormon:

    “Christian, I’ve not commented on the BoH hullabaloo publicly anywhere, but yours is perhaps the first good post I’ve read on it, so I will say something here. Thanks for an intelligent and thoughtful response to what happened. Yours and Bryce’s point about the pound of flesh being redoubled when we are not the injured parties is an important one, and I fear one that most of us will ignore.”

    I had to re-think. Jim’s voice in the Bloggernacle, to me anyway, carries much greater weight than most. He laid the ground work for the T & S comment policies, which are emulated all over the ‘Nacle: His post on Difference, Disagreement, and Contention is a classic, and should be re-read often:

    It is, I believe, the lens through which “Bannergate” should be viewed, as we decide on how it has “harmed the community.” It seems to me that how the “battle lines” are being drawn on how “Bannergate” has “harmed the community”, may actually cause more harm than the original act(s).

    How exactly have I been injured? I didn’t/don’t personally know any of the bloggers at BoH–or anywhere for that matter. No one died, was injured, or went to prison (or even lied under oath). Yes, I was disapointed in some who I admired in the Bloggernacle (mostly those who knew but said nothing)–but I fear my own initial response and analysis of the “harm to the community” or to me personally was and is exaggerated, by “own taste for the pound of flesh.”

    I don’t know Steve Evans, other than exposure to him through his posts/comments on the various blogs in the ‘Nacle; however, I don’t understand why as part of the fallout from BoH he is now an “emeritus” blogger at BCC, and is apparently not blogging or commenting anywhere now. Is this the response this community wants from the harm, real or perceived from BoH? I can’t imagine that it is.

  124. Adam Greenwood
    November 2, 2005 at 10:38 am

    Frankly, Guy Murray, I’m proud of Steve Evans’ response. I predict we’ll see him back in a month or two.

  125. November 2, 2005 at 11:31 am

    Why are you proud of Steve’s response?

  126. Adam Greenwood
    November 2, 2005 at 11:42 am

    It shows an admirable sensitivity to the people he might have hurt. One of the things I think I know about Steve Evans, both from things he’s said to me and because we give offense to each other and have to apologize pretty frequently, is that he feels strongly (as do I), that one doesn’t have a right to expect forgiveness and a resumption of normal intercourse from the people one offends. Its beautiful when they do, but there’s no right to expect it. And even when people do forgive, it often takes a little while for their feelings to settle down.

    So its Christian, after you’ve offended someone and apologized, to stop putting yourself in a position where the person you’ve offended will have to treat you as if everything were normal. Obviously there are lots of other considerations, so I don’t mean to say that people who don’t lie low are unChristian, but lying low for a little while is also a Christian thing to do.

  127. November 2, 2005 at 11:49 am

    Adam (#126), that’s the best I’ve seen your “side” (if it’s legitimate to speak of this discussion in those terms) presented in this or other thread yet. I understand your feelings much better now. Thank you.

  128. November 2, 2005 at 12:14 pm

    Yes, thank you for the explanation, it makes sense to me. When I asked the question I was going to add my interpretation as to why you might have said such a thing and I am glad that I didn’t.

    Now if I can only get you to be so rational and level-headed in your refutation of Geoff’s points :)

  129. November 2, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    Since I brought up Paul H. Dunn’s name first, Mark B., I’ll respond. I wasn’t trying to throw in “a cheap example of broken trust”, although the way I phrased it, it looked like a throwaway comment. It was more surprise that I hadn’t seen any stories about how others had dealt with that situation in their lives, and how it might reflect on the current situation. Your comment actually was what I was looking for. I think just as we should have compassion, not judgment, for Elder Dunn, we should consider doing the same for the BoH bloggers.

  130. Adam Greenwood
    November 2, 2005 at 12:27 pm

    “Now if I can only get you to be so rational and level-headed in your refutation of Geoff’s points.”

    In this thread, I have a response-in-kind policy. :)

  131. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 12:31 pm

    Bryce I,

    I should mention that the first place I saw the name “Paul H. Dunn” yesterday was as the Google Talk status of one Steve Evans. I believe that is still his status today.

  132. Mark IV
    November 2, 2005 at 1:10 pm

    Adam, my friend, tell me truly – isn’t it possible to think Joseph Smith was the kind of guy who would think of something like this as a very enjoyable prank? He did confess to being caught up in the foibles of youth and associating with jovial company, and, in my opinion, those tendencies remained part of his character throughout his liife. And it cannot be disputed that many were disappointed with him because of what they saw as a lack of seriousness and a tendency to goof off.

    I can tell the difference between noting that Joseph Smith liked practical jokes and accusing someone of being in on the Carthage mob, and you are smarter than I am. So I don’t think you are a Carthaginian. You, AG, are true blue, and would have been one of the first to drive your wagon out on to the Mississippi ice. I just hope you wouldn’t have been (too) upset with the likes of me when you emerged from your wagon the next morning only to find your oxen hitched backwards.

  133. John H
    November 2, 2005 at 1:24 pm

    Holy crap! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of people take themselves as seriously as the bloggernacle. Really. It makes the Sunstone crowd look like they’re actually down to earth.

    On another note, myths play an essential part in the Mormon experience. By myth, I don’t mean “lie” but the more academic definition of stories that define us. Their ultimate truth is less important than their influence. Mormons rely on myths to bolster their faith – just in Gospel Doctrine class on Sunday, as we talked about temples, we heard about how the angel Moroni dedicated the land for the Manti temple, and how the Japanese tried to bomb the Hawaiian temple but couldn’t. One of those is a matter of faith, the other is simply factually incorrect. But regardless, they are relied on by certain members to define who they are as Latter-day Saints.

    The fact that BoH told stories and inspired comments that may have been based on a prank, doesn’t necessarily mean the experience was wasted.

  134. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 1:36 pm

    “Holy crap! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group of people take themselves as seriously as the bloggernacle. Really. It makes the Sunstone crowd look like they’re actually down to earth.”

    Them’s fightin’ words, Mr. H.


  135. Ben S.
    November 2, 2005 at 2:07 pm

    John H., you don’t seem to descend from your own blog to make comments at others unless it’s to remark how much less enlightened they are. It doesn’t reflect well on you.

  136. John H
    November 2, 2005 at 2:18 pm

    “John H., you don’t seem to descend from your own blog to make comments at others unless it’s to remark how much less enlightened they are. It doesn’t reflect well on you.”

    And I’ll tell you, Ben, I’m really, really worried about that. Given the self-importance we’ve seen displayed surrounding the bloggernacle (we’ve actually named the event after Watergate!?!), the last thing I’d want is to not have things reflect well on me.

  137. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 2:25 pm

    I’m trying to put my finger on what it is that bothers me about this thread and some of the others. It is more complex than, “You weren’t there so shut up!” I’ll try to express what my frustration is though I’m not sure if I’ll succeed.

    If anyone at T&S had participated much at all over at BoH they would have known about this scandal months ago. There was an accusation of fraud on the third day it was up and the accusation really began to pick up after a few weeks and were one of the defining characteristics of the blog. Even if you thought it was real you knew that there were plenty of people that didn’t think it was. In fact, if you paid close attention you would know that T&S permabloggers were suspects.

    So if T&S perma bloggers had cared much at all they could have uncovered this by either the method that Frank eventually employed or by asking each other about this. I guess I am bothered that you didn’t care about this through participation, but some people think it is very important after the fact.

    Now take a poll of those that participated actively and knew what the voice of it was. Those people are not among the accusers, not piling on at this point. Why is that? Isn’t it odd that those who had the most to do with this blog aren’t the ones lining up to talk about how evil it all turned out to be?

    Is it possible that those who weren’t there simply don’t understand the spirit in which it was intended? Since many more people read T&S than ever read BoH is it possible that Julie is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? That people are going to think these bad things because the only reason they even know about BoH is because of posts like Julie’s?

    If your experience with BoH was that you visited once or twice and left a comment and then found out the truth only when Nate Oman brought it to you then I’m sorry, but you’re not getting the full story. No disrespect intended but you are seeing it in a light and from and angle that just doesn’t provide the full picture.

    I would guess that I spent as much time as anyone trying to prove that the BoH was not real. My wife can attest to that and will tell you that I’m crazy. So perhaps my perspective is distorted as well, but at least I haven’t been creating distortions for others and at least I didn’t sit idly by why the scandal unfolded for six months only to pile on at the end.

  138. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 2:37 pm


    There has been at least some commentary from people who apparently did participate regularly and who were offended. Thus, I don’t know that your dichotomy of accusing late-comers and forgiving long-term participants really holds up. It is a dichotomy that has been raised frequently by Banner apologists, however.

    Even if Julie wasn’t there, I think that the number of comments agreeing with her suggest that she may be validly performing in a role as (to create a Card-like phrase) Speaker for the Blogless.

    Finally, note that she’s in this discussion (and making this post) because Christian Cardall has had an ongoing dialogue with her, and asked her to explain her reasoning.

    So, bottom line. You’re right that some people will only see Banner through the lens of Julie and Nate, and that the Bannerr they see may be distorted. On the other hand, the dichotomy suggested by Banner apologists is itself distorted.

  139. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 2:53 pm

    Just for the record, I think that Julie and I view BofH rather differently. I don’t view this as a cataclysmic event that will shake the foundations of trust, community, truth, and the like. It strikes me as a kind of silly prank that a lot of people regarded as a silly prank and which some people got hurt over. Sad, but hardly earth shattering. Of course, this may simply be further evidence of how evil and disengaged I am.

    Geoff J., however, has convinced me that I am socially powerful. Powerful, I say!

    BTW, this will surprise some, but one of the reasons I don’t comment more at T&S is because folks rarely seem to respond to my comments. No joke. I also get miffed when I don’t get more comments on posts that I thought were cool and lots of comments on posts that I thought were dumb. This is a cruel and heartless place…

  140. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 2:55 pm


    I refuse to respond to that comment.

  141. November 2, 2005 at 3:02 pm


    Let me assure you that Geoff J. is wrong.

  142. November 2, 2005 at 3:03 pm


    Nate, that’s because your comments always fall under the 2e code.

  143. Mark IV
    November 2, 2005 at 3:06 pm

    Eric, that’s right. Because when Nate speaks, the debate is over.

  144. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 3:07 pm

    Ah shucks…I’m blushing…

    As for Melissa — It is not true! I am powerful! Powerful!! POWERFUL!!!

  145. November 2, 2005 at 3:25 pm

    Please say that with a bit more emphasis next time, Nate.

  146. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 3:26 pm


    How would you like the obit of T&S (may it live forever) to be written by someone that never read it? Julie’s position “may” be distorted? She admits that she hardly ever read it. Then it is subjected to the lense that is T&S but framed with this list of assertions that I think the cartoon linked to in #1 adequately addresses by saying that you need to be careful on the internet.

    I find it hard to believe that there are many people out there that read
    BoH regularly that didn’t at least know that many people suspected that it was fake. Of course my imagination is limited and there might be people out there that somehow read every comment on BoH except for the 25% that were about how the blog might be fake.

    Just one example of the distorsions that I am seeing. Everyone is claiming that this is offensive because, “The Boggernalce elite are behind it!” Since when is any group that happens to include Steve Evans suddenly elevated to the status of Bloggernacle elite? DKL is notorious but not elite. I’ve barely even heard of the rest of these people. Yet part of the reason this is getting cast as such as scandal is that it is seen as a joke played on the nerds by the cool kids. It is accepted as an article of faith without any examination.

    Finally I am critical of the T&S participation in the post-mortem because they weren’t interested in it while is was a minor scandal for months and months. If Julie (or anyone else at T&S including Frank) had been intrigued by this and then gone and pulled a Frank that would be one thing. But what has happened is that other people that actually cared about it pulled it down in a spirit of fun and good humor and now T&S swoops down to pass judgement.

    It is almost enough to make me regret my role in proving it to be fake. Maybe we should have left it alone and let them unveil themselves when the time was right. We certainly didn’t envision this bloodbath.

  147. Gallant
    November 2, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    I blame Donald Rumsfeld.

  148. CS Eric
    November 2, 2005 at 3:35 pm


    Yeah, after a few months it became more and more suspicious, if not obvious, that more about BOH than Septimus was not what it seemed. Why were Miranda and DKL so upset at each other? I didn’t see anything in the comments to set the arguments off to that level. That part made me think that DKL was working with the BOHers to add some “spice” and maybe some more traffic. But it didn’t occur to me that he WAS one of them.

    I stopped posting after things there seemed too weird. But I was duped before that, and embarrassed. Yeah, the joke was on me, and I get it, but not until I’d already made personal comments that I would not have had I been in on it.

  149. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    aRJ: T&S has also offered post-mortem commentary on general conference, despite the fact that none of us have been speakers. (Except for Kristine, who is actually Elder Bednar blogging pseudonymously.) I can understand if you disagree with some of what has been said on T&S. (Just between you and me, I disagree with some of what has been said on T&S) What I find odd is that you object to the participation of T&S qua T&S. Look, T&S is a blog. It is a place where people throw out thoughts and ideas and those who are interested or angry about them post their responses. T&S didn’t write an obit for BofH. T&S (or actually in this case me) was reading a thread on another blog, and posted something in response. That is what blogging is about. (Or at least part of what bloggin is about.)

  150. November 2, 2005 at 3:49 pm

    Nate: “I am powerful! Powerful!! POWERFUL!!!”

    That is true. I once saw Nate kill seven men with a single blow. As I recall, he also refused to respond to their comments about his post; so, additionally, he’s a real jerk.

  151. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    Frank: I thought that the blows were a response…

  152. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 3:51 pm

    CS Eric,

    I’m not sure what to say other than that I feel bad that you are hurt and to repeat yet again that I don’t think that a joke was being play on you and that the comments of your fellow posters were sincere and that the Bannerites themselves were sincere in their interactions if not forthright. When I say that I laugh about it I don’t mean to suggest that anyone is laughing at you or any of the other commenters. I mean that I am laughing about the absurdity of the situation and in some ways I’m laughing even more as this continues to spin out of control in a way that is disproportionate to the impact that BoH had prior to the events of last week.

    If I am be so bold, can I ask why it was that you felt like posting on BoH to begin with rather than on other blogs? Feel free to not answer that. I’m genuinely curious and am not trying to use this against you.

  153. November 2, 2005 at 3:53 pm

    Nate: Good point. OK, while very powerful, Nate’s status as a jerk is indeterminate until observed.

  154. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 3:57 pm


    Nate was throwing around conspiracy theories on the internal T&S listserv for a while before finally posting. Lest you think that he’s just a Johnny come lately.

    His initial guesses were way off base.

  155. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 3:58 pm


    You comment confuses me a great deal. Was I that unclear? I must suck as a writer, but I already knew that.

    Would you do a write-up on GC without having listened to the speakers? That is what I’m suggesting is happening here. I’m not claiming that you have to have been a commenter or perma-blogger on BoH, merely a regular lurker.

    If all someone knows about BoH is one or two quick visits and then what they’ve read at T&S then their concept of the BoH experience is wildly distorted. I’m happy to admit (and believe that I already have) that my view is distorted as well.

  156. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 4:00 pm


    You yourself stated over at 9M that you haven’t read T&S for several months. (Ever since you got put off that we posted about M* being down — which just between you and me was a very silly reason to stop reading).

    Yet you now come out of the woodwork to attack T&S, on the grounds that Julie (a non participant) should keep her nose out of it.

    And your T&S critique is okay because . . . ?

  157. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 4:00 pm


    If you guys were in fact discussing this internally for any amount of time and didn’t solve it until Frank’s breakthrough last week then you are not nearly as bright/curious as I thought you all were. Given the complete lack of a privacy policy here and the fact that all of them had commented here in-persona it really would have been simple to solve.

  158. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 4:02 pm


    My post was that I didn’t read T&S for several months. I’ve been a regular again for some time. Feel free to check the logs. Yes, my IP address changed around mid-August.

  159. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 4:05 pm

    “If I am be so bold, can I ask why it was that you felt like posting on BoH to begin with rather than on other blogs? Feel free to not answer that. I’m genuinely curious and am not trying to use this against you. ”

    aRJ: I am assuming that this is directed to me. I had been following the thread at Rusty’s blog. I thought that all of the characters were actually RW. I was also working on a problem at work involving statutory interpretation. I thought, “Hey, Banner of Heaven is really about statutory interpretation!” I didn’t post this in the comments at Rusty’s blog for a couple of reasons. First, it was too long for a comment. Second, Rusty hates me. Third, it was about law and I figured that Rusty hates law as well. Fourth, I figure that a blog is about content as much as about community, as a result I feel like for T&S to be a worthwhile place it needs to have a new post up at least every six to twelve hours. I figured that it was about time that I posted something.

    In short, it was not part of any sort of master plan to expose anyone, destroy any blog, call anyone to repentence (although clearly, you ought to repent), drive anyone from the hallowed halls of the bloggernacle, or set up a drum head court martial for the summary draw and quartering of the guilty. Rather, it was your garden variety exercise in blogging.

    I have, however, always had a hankering to simul-blog a drawing and quartering. Fortunately, if what the lefities say about Alito’s views of the constitution are correct (alas they are not), I may have a chance…

  160. Kaimi
    November 2, 2005 at 4:09 pm


    Okay, my bad. In any case, I think that Julie’s post is fine. A whole lot of people are talking about Banner. Some are insiders, some are outsiders, some are supply-siders. I don’t think that there’s any reason to think that only insiders should be talking about it. I mean, come on. Neither Julie nor Nate have claimed to be the definitive statements. If you’d like to put up a series of competing blog posts, you’re free to do so.

    And to defend the outsiders for a moment, let’s be honest — If the outsiders never talk about it, then isn’t the picture equally distorted? Look, there are a half dozen posts at Banner, all presenting very insider perspeectives. There are posts at 9M and Dave’s and Spinozist and Bloggernacle Times, all from some level of insider participation. The insiders have a voice.

    And you want the outsiders to just shut up?

  161. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 4:10 pm

    “you are not nearly as bright/curious as I thought you all were.”

    I think that goes without saying…

    You are no doubt right that if someone got their view of BofH purely from reading comments at T&S they would have a badly distorted view of things. On the other hand, the same is true of virtually any other topic you would care to name. Indeed, I cannot think of a single topic where an acquaitance based solely on posts at T&S would not be badly distorted. Fortunately…drum roll…T&S is not the only source of information in the universe.

  162. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 4:11 pm


    The comment was addressed to CS Eric and not to you. Your response makes almost no sense to me. Did you ever post to BoH?

    Now why do I cleary need to repent any more than you or anyone else?

  163. November 2, 2005 at 4:13 pm

    Mark IV (#143) has it exactly right. That’s why my fantasy arcane legal insight finale to the T&S chapter of Bannergate would have been a first-rate post by Nate entitled Standing and Stone-throwing that, naturally, took my unassailable position (as Nate’s rational readers could already have recognized) and endowed it with Nate’s authority (to further cement its acceptance among Kaimi’s irrational readers).

    Instead, by way of an arcane legal finale we get this second-tier securities law material from Kaimi…

    ;-> Just kidding Kaimi, you know you’re more POWERFUL!!! even than Nate!

  164. November 2, 2005 at 4:13 pm

    I vote that you guys should make this “internal T&S listserv” open to the public.

  165. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 4:16 pm


    No I don’t want them to shut up. I want them to consider their position relative to the issues and also consider the postion of T&S. If you really have never read BoH but want to post on T&S about the deep, permanent damage it has done to little children around the world then in a way you are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy by magnifying the damage in the eyes of those that read T&S but never read the BoH. You as T&S are of course free to do this. I am not so free to try to complain about it here because my comments get edited and deleted.

  166. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 4:20 pm

    arJ: Sorry. In my narcicissm, I thought you were asking why I put up my “Blogging and Lying” post rather than commenting at Rusty’s blog. As for why you should be repenting; are you claiming that you shouldn’t be repenting? (Actually, I put that in to be flippant and light hearted, as I have difficulty talking about the community aspect of the bloggernacle without feeling horribly self important.)

  167. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 4:22 pm

    “I vote that you guys should make this “internal T&S listserv” open to the public.”

    Eric, the votes have been counted and I regret to inform you that your motion failed to carry.

  168. Rosalynde
    November 2, 2005 at 4:32 pm

    arJ: “Now why do I cleary need to repent any more than you or anyone else? ”

    Because it was YOU my mother-in-law recognized in the parking lot!

  169. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 4:32 pm

    “Would you do a write-up on GC without having listened to the speakers? That is what I’m suggesting is happening here. I’m not claiming that you have to have been a commenter or perma-blogger on BoH, merely a regular lurker.”

    arJ: OK, so if I get you right the problem is that I posted a comment at T&S but did not comment a lot at BofH? This is correct. Indeed, I didn’t even read a great deal at the Banner of Heaven. That is why I refrained from offering any jeremiad against BofH and have stated repeatedly that I do not regard it as the cataclysmic moral lapse that others have made it out to be. My post was about whether or not pseudonymous performative fiction (or whatever it is) like BofH constitutes a form of lying. This is an analytic question that doesn’t require a tremendous amount of familiarity with the content per se, only a rough familiarity with the medium. (Although, I did go back and read some stuff at BofH after the thread at Rusty’s blog caught my eye.) As for Julie’s opinions, I think that they are probably over blown, as I doubt that BofH will have the sort of impact on the bloggernacle community that she predicts it will. Besides which, it looks as though Geoff J. has staked out the bloggernacle community as the proprietary interest of MA, and I’ve no doubt that in their capable hands it will go forth in a new birth of freedom, etc. etc..

    OK. I am going to go do some work now…

  170. Adam Greenwood
    November 2, 2005 at 4:43 pm

    “Would you do a write-up on GC without having listened to the speakers?”

    If I’d heard that a fella had been telling stories over the pulpit about his life that were false, I would feel entitled to have an opinion about the ethics of his doing so, even if I hadn’t listened to those sessions of conference myself (hint: I would be against it.) I also have opinions on, say, abortion, gay marriage, older singles marrying outside the church, space flight, and athletes giving up pro sports so as to not play on Sunday. I’ve experienced none of these personally.

  171. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 4:44 pm


    I have no problem with your post for exactly the reasons you stated. I do have a problem with those that have never read BoH using their T&S pulpit to characterize the harm that BoH has done.

  172. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 4:47 pm


    Too bad your mother-in-law wasn’t on the case here. She’d have cracked this wide open in seconds! Unless of course she is one of the conspirators!

    I need to work on my secret identity thing. Obviously I need a better costume!

  173. R.W. Rasband
    November 2, 2005 at 5:44 pm

    Julie, this is the best post I have read yet about Bannergate. There seems to be a schism among commenters: there are those who think it’s OK to treat other people as objects, to experiment on and toy with their spiritual lives; and those who do not. I hope my sympathies with always be with the duped rather than the confidence men.

  174. November 2, 2005 at 5:59 pm

    a random John —

    You really, really need to get your own blog.

  175. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 9:42 pm

    ” I do have a problem with those that have never read BoH using their T&S pulpit to characterize the harm that BoH has done.”

    But they might be right. Furthermore, even if they are wrong, who cares? T&S is not a sacred space where the annointed have a pulpit from which to preach to the heathens. IT IS A BLOG. I think that we can safely dial back the melodrama a bit on this.

  176. November 2, 2005 at 10:29 pm

    tell me truly – isn’t it possible to think Joseph Smith was the kind of guy who would think of something like this

    I hadn’t thought of that. Think of all the “be sober my son” reminders to Joseph Smith from God.

    An excellent context, I need to think.

  177. a random John
    November 2, 2005 at 10:58 pm

    IT IS A BLOG. I think that we can safely dial back the melodrama a bit on this.

    So Nate, are you talking about BoH here or T&S that needs to be taken less seriously? It certainly applies to both. In any case I was wondering where I could find a good source of manufactured drama on the web now that BoH is gone and I have to say that a post that blames a blog for starving children fits the bill. If this had been posted to BoH it would have been considered yet another bit of evidence that the blog was fake.

  178. Nate Oman
    November 2, 2005 at 11:05 pm


  179. November 3, 2005 at 12:32 am

    a random John —

    A large part of your complaint is based on the fact that much of the criticism of BoH aired here at T&S is being leveled by people who were not a part of the BoH community. Perhaps one could make a similar complaint against you. You’ve been very vocal in the past week or so about the many problems about T&S. They have been reasonable points, well worth making.

    It’s easy to tell the T&S permabloggers what is and isn’t appropriate for them to do on their blog. But have you ever made those choices yourself? T&S didn’t become as successful as it is by chance.

    It is NOT true that one must be a blogger to comment usefully or have a valid criticism about how another blog is run. It is similarly NOT true that one must have been an active participant at BoH to have something relevant and useful to say about it. However, in both cases at some point it becomes presumptuous to tell others what they should do when you have no experience doing it yourself.

    I’m not saying that you’ve crossed that line here (yet), but I thought the parallel was worth pointing out before too much more shouting. Also, I really want to see your blog. I’d visit for sure.

  180. Julie M. Smith
    November 3, 2005 at 1:02 am

    Been gone all day and almost out of bloggin time, but, briefly:

    Rusty and RAF: I made clear in the original post my thinking about the difference between forgiveness and trust. No one has engaged that. They’ve just suggested that because I have forgiven I should trust. Why? I asked 100 comments ago why I should trust people who justified and rationalized the event. No one has answered me.

    Thank you, R. W. Rasband.

    And to all: apparently my (4) has already come to pass.

  181. November 3, 2005 at 2:24 am

    I’ll respond to your trust question if you respond to mine :)

    I understand the difference between forgiveness and trust (in fact, my post on forgiveness at 9M wasn’t about Bannergate at all). Your example of pedophiles was a BAD example (if you’d like, I can explain the many reasons why, but I think you already know them).

    Now, before I explain why I think you should trust them we should be clear on two points, A) I’m assuming you’re talking about “lost trust”. If you never trusted them before anyway then what they did really didn’t affect you if you still don’t trust them. B) We’re talking about the same people. I’m not talking about DKL and whoever else you think “justified and rationalized” their roles. I’m talking about those who are truly sorry for the role that they played, have asked forgiveness, and who you’ve presumably forgiven. I imagine (at least some of) those are Steve Evans, Brian G, Naomi, and Allison among the Bannerites and Rosalynde, Bryce I, Kaimi, Geoff J, among the co-conspirators. This is who I am talking about.

    Here’s why you should trust them: Right now is not five minutes after you found out and since then they have apologized, shown remorse, and said they would not do such a thing again. Please don’t say something like “well they did it once, who says they won’t do it again.” because that would just be silly. They won’t do it again because they all care too much about this community to do it again. Setting up a fake blog is not a compulsive behavior, they won’t do it again late at night when their spouse is sleeping just to get their deception fix. When they get depressed they won’t wander off into intenet cafes investing months into another fake blog. For me the reasons to believe them overpower the ones to not believe them.

    Now for my question: Do you think this thread has been an overall benefit to the “community”? More specifically, do you think that distrusting your fellow bloggers and then telling everyone in an open forum that you distrust your fellow bloggers will have a postive impact on the bloggernacle? I sincerely want to know what good you thought this thread would accomplish (if any).

    Like I mentioned in comment #118, this will all play out how you choose to let it play out. Julie, you can trust your friends if you want to. I know you don’t have to, but you have the ability to do so. You also have the ability to continue to use stories/examples from the bloggernacle. And when I say “you” I’m talking about each one of us, every reader here. We all have the ability to let it affect us however we want to. Your conclusions will come to pass if you let them come to pass in that manner.

    I guess I’m dissappointed. If someone were to ask me what I thought Julie in Austin would write about Bannergate I would have responded with something like “Finding Trust in Forgiveness” or “The Tricky Art of the Apology” but instead we got “Reasons I Don’t Trust You Anymore.”

    Doesn’t seem to lift the community you’re so concerned about.

  182. November 3, 2005 at 2:30 am

    Nate said: Second, Rusty hates me. Third, it was about law and I figured that Rusty hates law as well.

    Regarding #2, totally not true. I feel terrible that you’d even think that about me about you. You know I made your trading card with you as a gangsta out of love. No need to hate.

    Regarding #3, completely true. And not only that, but it’s excruciatingly booooooooring. And I mean that in the kindest possible way.

  183. November 3, 2005 at 8:14 am

    Julie (#180), I at least acknowledged a valid difference between trust and forgiveness. I’m sorry if I didn’t make that sufficiently clear. I think you are perfectly within your rights to trust or not trust anyone.

  184. CS Eric
    November 3, 2005 at 11:52 am


    BOH is not the only place where I posted, but it is the only one where I posted where the people involved were not who I thought they were.

    Why comment at BOH? One answer has already been given in this thread (and others)–at BOH, people regularly responded to my comments. While I also had responses to comments at BCC and at M*, those were more rare. But hey, I even got a response at T&S from Nate once (I remarked on his inherent coolness). But BOH generally responded more often.

    The other reason I commented at BOH was that several of the first posts dealt with issues I am familiar with, like Miranda’s post on depression. I have several people I am very close to who struggle with depression, and I thought I could both offer insight and share the struggle. And for what it’s worth, part of why I was fooled was that Miranda’s responses were unlike those you would expect from DKL’s normal comments. I felt like I could talk to Miranda, but would not engage DKL on the same level.

    I may continue to comment, as I continue to learn a lot from the bloggernacle. I just won’t talk about personal issues any more. The shared community that I once participated in just isn’t the same any more. I still admire Steve and Naomi (the two I am most familiar with reading), but don’t feel like I can trust the bloggernacle like I used to. I am a very private person, and appreciated the contradiction of shared community and relative anonymity that the bloggernacle had. It just isn’t the same any more.

  185. November 3, 2005 at 12:26 pm

    It is not true! I am powerful! Powerful!! POWERFUL!!!

    Nyuk nyuk nyuk!

    Nate: Geoff J. has staked out the bloggernacle community as the proprietary interest of MA

    Not so fast, my friend! (BTW – a high five to the first one to identify the person who is famous for using that catch-phrase) While I agree with Ronan that we in the MA do try to volunteer as guardians of the bloggernacle, I did not say the bloggernacle community is the proprietary interest of the MA. Rather, I pleaded with you socially powerful folks here at T&S to make it your interest to care for the little blogs in our community.

    And look what I see in your Notes From All Over section today… A full FIVE bloggernacle links! Kudos to y’all for using your substantial influence (and traffic-driving capacity) to help the community like that.

  186. November 3, 2005 at 3:22 pm

    Lee Corso?

  187. November 3, 2005 at 3:28 pm

    Niiiice Bryce! (You just get cooler and cooler don’t ya?)

  188. Julie M. Smith
    November 4, 2005 at 12:25 am

    Rusty–There’s been a lot of behind-the-scenes (and a little bit in public) good that has come out of this thread. And the public acknowledgement that I no longer trust some people has been a part of that. So I will not dismiss my public statements about lack of trust as causing nothing but damage. Further, you divide those involved in BoH into two neat little groups: penitant and not. From where I sit, it is a little more complicated than that.

    You seem to think that I should just _decide_ to trust people regardless of how they have acted in the aftermath of bannergate. I’m not going to do that. Some BoHers and their coconspirators have shown evidence, in the aftermath of bannergate, that they are trustworthy and others have not.

    The scriptures are full of mandates to forgive all, but they only tell us to trust God. There is no general commandment to trust people. Forgive, yes, across the board. But trust is earned. If Adam’s analysis of Steve Evan’s actions is correct (and I have no reason to doubt it), then Steve Evans is providing a model for how one goes about regaining trust. As is Kaimi. There are others as well. And some who are providing a textbook example of what _not_ to do to regain someone’s trust.

  189. Adam Greenwood
    November 4, 2005 at 10:17 am

    Julie M. Smith is referring to comments #124 and #126, talking about why Steve Evans is taking a leave of absence.

  190. November 4, 2005 at 10:46 am

    # 188 Julie M. Smith: “There is no general commandment to trust people.”

    This is probably true Julie, in terms of an actual textual construction; however, there is a general commandment that we love one another:

    And, another general commandment that we do good to those who “despitefully use us”:

    And, still another that we love our neighbor as ourselves:

    One can make the argument that forgiving but not forgetting, i.e., withholding our trust, may fall somewhat short of these “general” commandments. If Steve Evans, Kaimi, or others decide to take a leave of absence as part of their own steps of contrition, great—they probably exemplify these commandments better than some of the rest of us. Since I fall so short so often, on a daily basis, I’m somewhat reticent to adopt your reasoning and analysis. I’m one of those saints who the Prophet Joseph described as weak or the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

    BTW . . . I’m curious about what happened to Julie in Austin.

  191. Adam Greenwood
    November 4, 2005 at 11:34 am

    I don’t see, Guy Murray, that loving someone means not knowing their weaknesses and failings and sometimes acting on that knowledge. Quite the contrary–see, e.g., God.

  192. November 4, 2005 at 12:03 pm

    Adam Greenwood . . . how right you are; however, part of that action, as I view it, requires us to do more than just “talk” about forgiveness. In terms of weaknesses, I find it a pretty full time job admiting, and dealing with my own. If we are to “do good to those who hate us” perhaps that might fit in with the knowing the weaknesses and acting on that knowledge. I’m still working on this one:

  193. Adam Greenwood
    November 4, 2005 at 12:22 pm

    Forgiveness isn’t primarily a matter of action or of ‘talk.’ Its putting aside hatred for someone. In its highest form, it could even be gaining or regaining love for someone who has hurt you. That love will in turn lead to actions of various kinds, but its a fallacy to think that we aren’t loving sufficiently if are judgment remains unclouded. At least that’s my opinion. How far we are willing to trust our judgment also plays into this also.

    I think the wisest thing said about the whole issue was Christ’s ‘love your enemies.’ On the one hand we see it as a hard saying and try to put qualifications on when we have to do it. But on the other hand, we sometimes forget that he referred to ‘enemies.’ We think that he meant something like ‘cease to have enemies, cease to think of people as enemies,’ but that’s not so. Same with ‘do good to those who hate us.’ We don’t like that much, but when we do, we often misinterpret it as saying something like ‘acquiesce in the wishes of those who hate you.’

  194. November 4, 2005 at 12:50 pm

    Adam Greenwood . . .I agree with your #`193 analysis. I would only point out I’m not nor have I suggested anyone is not “loving sufficiently” here. And, perhpas I’m reading too much into Julie’s comment # 188. If so, I apologize; however, her comments seem to imply the idea for forgiveness but not forgetting—again, I could be wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time).

  195. Adam Greenwood
    November 4, 2005 at 12:58 pm

    Fair enough, Guy Murray.

  196. manaen
    November 4, 2005 at 2:50 pm

    Adam, Guy, Julie,

    Here’s what I’ve learned from help I received from others. It generally agrees with your comments.

    We are called to love friends and enemies — everyone. Forgiving those that despitefully use us and other enemies cleanses *our* hearts
    “Myth #6. “I can’t forgive until I know the other person is really sorry and won’t do it again.â€? Although it may seem unfair that the victim should forgive an unrepentant offender, it is even more unfair that the victim should remain in a state of hurt and anger waiting for the offender to repent. Forgiveness should not be confused with excusing the offense. Rather, it is the way in which the victim is released from the power of the offender.
    “So, what is forgiveness? Forgiveness implies a change of heart. When we say, “I forgive you,â€? we are saying “I have stopped being angry with you.â€? Forgiveness also conveys a change in the victim’s expectations. For example, he or she no longer seeks recriminations or tries to get even. Genuine forgiveness is a process, not a product. It takes time and is hard work. It is a voluntary act which gives meaning to the wound, disengages the offended from the offender, and frees the injured person from the ills of bitterness and resentment. […]
    “Forgiveness is the process through which the injured person gains peace, freedom, self-acceptance, and release from self-pity; through forgiveness wounds are healed. It is a privilege to forgive, because forgiveness really is for the benefit of the victim! It may be easier to forgive if the offender repents, but victims should not be dependent on the repentance of the offender in order to experience the freedom that comes with forgiveness. (Dr. Elaine Walton, “Embracing Hope”, BYU, 23 Oct. 2002)

    and keeps us ready to love and to keep the Holy Ghost’s companionship
    “We cannot have the companionship of the Holy Ghost – the medium of individual revelation – if we are in transgression or if we are angry.” – Dallin Oaks

    Loving someone is a call to help them (e.g. good Samaritan). Marvin J. Ashton explained two key steps in love/friendship in his first GenCon talk as an apostle (Fri, 6 Oct, 1972) , “A friend is someone who is willing to take me the way I am but who is willing and able to leave me better than he found me.” Both of these components require not forgetting but clear recognition a person’s faults:
    1) for them to feel they *are* loved as they are. This from my SP was key in breaking my heart, opening the door to its change from stony to fleshy and
    2) using that awareness to focus our help on the specific ways they need to grow.
    Somewhere in all this would be normal precautions against possible harm to ourselves until their repentance is complete. Of course, after a person has repented of a particular offense, we then would forget it.

    I believe this follows God’s plan. He forgives, and I want him to forgive, immediately. However, I do *not* want him to forget my sins while I’m asking for his help to overcome them! But, yes, please do forget them once they’re behind me and he promised that he then will remember them no more.

  197. November 4, 2005 at 3:30 pm

    manaen . . .thanks for your thoughts and your reference to the BYU conference article. It looks very good, and I will certainly make some time to read it over the weekend.

  198. manaen
    November 4, 2005 at 4:33 pm

    197. Guy, I hope you enjoy it. I came upon the “Embracing Hope” conference a couple years ago on KBYU. It was a series of presentations about abuse — remarkably good stuff about healing and repentance.

  199. Julie M. Smith
    November 4, 2005 at 11:35 pm

    Re #190–
    Adam has said what I would have.

    And I think the Julie M. Smith is the fallout of the change to the newer wordpress.

  200. annegb
    November 5, 2005 at 11:56 am

    You know, it’s easy to forgive when people are sorry, are nice to you. If those guys had thumbed their noses or been very rude, I’d’ve been ready to make voodoo dolls and stick pins in all parts of their bodies.

    I have learned a little about acceptance and forgiveness from my difficult neighbor. I don’t necessarily change how I feel, but I change how I act, which is very nice, then I feel nicer. If that makes sense.

    She’s been here for three years, I think, and she’s growing on me. I get mad, then I act nice, then I feel nicer. Who would know I had that much patience? I think we were friends in heaven or something.

    Really, if Septimus had written me a “grow up, act your age, get a life” letter instead of a nice apology, I would not have been so forgiving.

Comments are closed.