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Contention Is Not of Me  June 2, 2005

Aaron — June 2 @ 1:02pm

Not of the Savior, that is. I wish I could say not of me, Aaron. I am sad to see that on my very first thread things got a little heated.

We’re all brethren here. (Oh and for Miranda, sisters too.) We need to stay cloaked in charity like a mantle. Like my mom always said to her rough housing sons, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. When speaking about something close to my heart I speak too bluntly. I don’t have Pres. Hinckley’s talent for being soft spoken and diplomatic.

I know I have a problem here and many people have let me know, believe me. But my mission president taught me a great lesson in one of the several dustups I had with companions. That I had some trouble with companions I know comes as a surprise but its true. So many did not keep the rules and I had a hard time with that. I protested to the president with Nephi’s words that the truth cutteth the guilty to the quick, end of story. And I also told him a story Pres. Packer told at President Benson’s funeral. That Pres. Benson had a sign on his desk that said “Be right and get along but in that order.” That meant alot to me. And still does.

But the president said that Nephi confessed in his great psalm that he had a problem with anger. And that maybe if he had handled things with more charity things might have gone better with Laman and Lemuel. And I had a hard time believing that about Nephi, one of my childhood heroes. I kind of identify with him, being a younger brother and a strong kid. But there it was in black and white in 2 Ne. 4 and I had to admit my mission president was right.

Line upon line I try to do better. I will be patient with you if you will be patient with me. We may disagree, I know I don’t see eye to eye with most in the bloggernacle. But it’s not worth us getting bad feelings and driving away the Spirit. Aside from speculation, contention is another thing I have seen in the bloggernaccle that troubles me and I knew I would fall prey to it eventually. I just didn’t know how soon.

48 Comments

  1. Thanks for the thoughtful post, Aaron. I worry sometimes that I am too forceful, too quick to judge others whenever I feel strongly about issues. I believe in standing up for what’s right, but of course we can’t offend.

    Jenn — June 2, 2005 @ 2:20pm
  2. Ummm…I hate to break it to you, but this was an excellent example of post that is practically begging for contention. You may be on a roll.

    J. Stapley — June 2, 2005 @ 2:27pm
  3. Aaron,

    Aw shucks, you don’t need to apologize too much. I am as guilty as anybody when it comes to saying my mind in as clear a way as possible. And when I say ‘clear’ I mean forcefully blunt.

    It should also be mentioned that Pres. Benson back when he was Elder Benson didn’t get along with anybody in the 12 very well. Some think that’s why he got sent over seas. While the ‘direct’ path certainly leaves little to the imagination, there is no better sugar-coating than humility.

    Jeffrey Giliam — June 2, 2005 @ 3:59pm
  4. I think you can be blunt without stating a non-scriptural premise that those with advanced degrees probably won’t be making it into the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Jordan — June 2, 2005 @ 4:21pm
  5. The more you expect to learn from your commenters, the more they will be able to learn from you. I’m afraid from your two posts that you feel the commenters need to do the learning, instead of both you and your commenters.

    Karl Butcher — June 2, 2005 @ 5:47pm
  6. Well…when I get sick of bickering, (and I enjoy a good squabble) I go to The Quiet Life or Destination Samarquand and just sort of relax.

    annegb — June 2, 2005 @ 5:52pm
  7. Hey annebg, Where’s the quiet life?

    just J — June 2, 2005 @ 9:49pm
  8. Johnna, it’s at http://booshay.blogspot.com (in case annegb doesn’t wander back for a little while).

    Amira — June 2, 2005 @ 10:31pm
  9. This post is bullshit!

    DKL — June 2, 2005 @ 11:29pm
  10. Why am I not surprised that Landrith thinks anything approaching an apology is b.s.?

    And if you don’t mind, DKL some of my co-bloggers are a little bit sensitive to foul language, so if you could just respect their wishes we’d all appreciate it.

    SeptimusH — June 3, 2005 @ 12:08am
  11. DKL, you could say male cow excrement. I hate it when people get mad at you. The word you used is one of my personal favorites. But maybe you could say male cow excrement next time. Although I think this is a good post, personally.

    annegb — June 3, 2005 @ 12:13am
  12. Wow, yet another comment from DKL that I totally agree with! Have I drunk the kool-aid or something?

    Scott — June 3, 2005 @ 7:40am
  13. DKL– Don’t you know that only Rosalynde is allowed to drop the S-bomb around here?
    Maybe they’ll let you say “chick” once in a while.

    NFlanders — June 3, 2005 @ 8:17am
  14. Yes, Ned. We’ll have to wait and see if I can get away with uttering the dreaded ch word. But rest easy, SeptimusH. I intended my contentious post to be ironic. I was trying to recapture bit of the old days. The really old days, actually. Specifically, the first two comments I ever made to Times and Seasons got me banned (banned the first time, I mean). Within a month, there were two posts to the effect that commenters were being too derogative. So I made comments on both of them saying, “This thread is a load of crap!” Needless to say, these were promptly deleted. On my attempt to make a third post, I found myself banned. Jim F. was kind enough to get me unbanned that time (against his better judgement and much to his regret, I’m sure). At any rate, since Rosalynde has already broken new ground on the vulgarity front, I’m quite happy to follow her lead and make this version of (basically) the same comment a bit more colorful.

    DKL — June 3, 2005 @ 8:43am
  15. LOL Scott. Either you’re completely loosing it, or I’m somewhat more sensible than you imagined (or both). But watch out: I’ve heard through the grapevine, though, that announcing agreement with me is grounds for the permabloggers at T&S to take a vote on banning you.

    DKL — June 3, 2005 @ 8:56am
  16. DKL, please watch your language. Profanity is not welcome here (though your funny comments sure are! :) )

    Jenn — June 3, 2005 @ 8:58am
  17. Aaron, do you always have to play hot and cold with people? And don’t be naive about DKL, Jenn. The nicer you play with him, the more slippery he gets. If I had my way, nobody here would even respond to him.

    Miranda PJ — June 3, 2005 @ 9:46am
  18. NFlanders, DKL, and others:

    Rosalynde’s comment was edited by me. It was something she immediately regretted, and I agreed with her. I would appreciate it if everyone would try to be considerate of our blog and of the nice people who stop by and read the comments. Let’s keep it clean, please.

    Mari — June 3, 2005 @ 10:05am
  19. Thanks, Mari. I appreciate your trying to keep this a nice environment.

    Jordan — June 3, 2005 @ 10:22am
  20. Karl said “The more you expect to learn from your commenters, the more they will be able to learn from you.”

    Bloggers don’t post to learn. They post because they have something to say. Do you really think the noble & great ones at Times n Seasons post expecting to learn anything from their commenters. Sure they love to have an audience. But can you point to a single instance in which they were persuaded to change their mind based on comments. No, because they’ve figured something out, so they think. And then they present it and defend it to the death.

    I don’t like to get into the continual churning back and forth of comments much. If a commenter makes an interesting comment on a post of mine and I have something substantial to say I may dignify it with a new post. In fact there are several posts I’d like to do responding to comments on the Speculation Train. Because my responses are substantial. But if you have something substantial to teach me I suggest you dignify it with a post on your blog.

    Aaron B. Cox — June 3, 2005 @ 1:12pm
  21. King-man. I mean David, buddy. I like nicknames. I’m not usually one for big words. But I remember one from Truman Madsen’s Joseph Smith tapes describing William Smith. Mercurial, I think it fits you. Here you have a nicely put together comment on my other post, part of which I plan to dignify with a new post, by the way. And then you turn around and toss out something like comment #9. I’m not saying you have to give detailed reasons to support what you say. Revelation will also do. If personal revelation supports your #9 that’s fine but go ahead and tell me so.

    Aaron B. Cox — June 3, 2005 @ 1:22pm
  22. Aaron, for the explanation regarding #9, see #14.

    DKL — June 3, 2005 @ 1:35pm
  23. Bloggers don’t post to learn. They post because they have something to say. Do you really think the noble & great ones at Times n Seasons post expecting to learn anything from their commenters. Sure they love to have an audience. But can you point to a single instance in which they were persuaded to change their mind based on comments. No, because they’ve figured something out, so they think. And then they present it and defend it to the death.

    Boy, you are just digging that hole deeper and deeper still. Personally I post because, yes, I have something to say and I want people to weigh in with their ciriticisms in order to show me the flaws in my reasoning. Thus, my commentors and I both learn new things from new perspectives. This is how we learn.

    Only people who view speculation with intense disdain think that posting is for being heard only. It would seem that you consider yourself both the first and the last word on the subject. “No speculation here, only the true word. Why even listen to anything else?”

    Jeffrey Giliam — June 3, 2005 @ 1:36pm
  24. Dude, can’t everyone see that Aaron is APOLOGIZING? This is as good as it gets, folks. Believe me his co-bloggers know. Aaron and Miranda got into a tiff about what to call the girly blogs on our blog roll and Aaron still hasn’t noticed that Miranda’s been trying to give him the silent treatment. Aaron, my Mormon brother, thanks for being so big-hearted. I’m glad I don’t know more people like you because it might make me like your church less, but you’re like the tabasco sauce on my Mormon steak. No allusion to Septimus’s cow post intended. And seeiing Mormons fight is one of the reasons I keep coming back to the bloggernacle.

    Greg Fox — June 3, 2005 @ 1:46pm
  25. I get that he’s apologizing for being so blunt, but he’s not apologizing for the underlying (and doctrinally unsound) message that people who submit to what the Lord has personally inspired them to do in getting a graduate degree or two are somehow at a major spiritual disadvantage. To me, it is disheartening to know that there are fellow Latter-day Saints, even fellow priesthood holders who are supposed to be cloaked together with me in the bonds of love, who will judge me unfit for the kingdom of heaven simply by virtue of a few letters behind my name- without even knowing me or other “learned” folk personally.

    Believe me, Aaron, if the Lord had inspired me NOT to go to graduate school the way He inspired you, I would have obeyed. But He has chosen a different path for me, one which you must open your mind to accept that the Lord is able to inspire one to follow and one which He needs Latter-day Saints to follow, indeed one that the Lord’s prophet has requested us to follow.

    Apology accepted as to the tactlessness of the words. It still doesn’t get to the underlying issue.

    Jordan — June 3, 2005 @ 1:58pm
  26. I just want to make it clear that I have nothing against Aaron personally,especially since I don’t even know him. But I am aghast at the implication that the atonement somehow does not apply as well to those of us who happen to be “learned.”

    Jordan — June 3, 2005 @ 3:23pm
  27. I don’t think any of us have anything against him or him manner of speaking. The more blunt the better I say so as to better convey what it is you are really saying. Of course there is a difference between being blunt and being rude, but I don’t think Aaron has been rude at all. What we do have problems with is the content of his post. We expect no apology for that, nor do we necessarily want one, though we certainly wouldn’t be upset if he did change his mind.

    Jeffrey Giliam — June 3, 2005 @ 3:33pm
  28. Jordan. And this goes for Jonathan too. I am a great believer and respecter of revelation and I’m not saying you haven’t received it in finding the Lords purpose for you. I’m glad you seek it.

    Look I think we can understand each other here. Someone quoted Jacob, to be learned is good if one hearkens to the counsel of God. Of course I agree with Jacob. Let me also quote Jacob but replace riches with learning. These are both warned of together in other passages like the one about people being mocked because they didn’t have riches and chances for learning, I think that’s the exact phrase. With that in mind here’s Jacob.

    13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained [much learning]; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are alifted• up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the [greatness of your degrees], and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

    18 But abefore• ye seek for [learning], seek ye for the ckingdom• of God.

    19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain [degrees], if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do• good—

    So here’s the thing. If the first verse doesn’t apply to you but the last one does you don’t need to be upset with me. That’s between you and the Lord. And if I’m doctrinally unsound, well of course in that case you don’t need to get your panties in a twist. You can just laugh me off. It won’t hurt my feelings.

    I’m just saying I have noticed in the bloggernacle there is sometimes an air of intellectual superiority and games of one upmanship going on that may partake of the spirit of the first verse. And that the intellect is idolized and the dangers of intellectual pride are underestimated, just as the danger of riches is so underestimated, as Jesus emphasized with the camel and the needle.

    Aaron B. Cox — June 3, 2005 @ 3:51pm
  29. Jeffery. Regarding #23. You may be rare in posting expecting to see your mind change. But my challenge still stands regarding Times n Seasons. Can anyone find a thread there where the poster was convinced of the error of their ways. Jeffrey since you’re different and you know your posts best maybe you can point me to one of your threads where your mind was changed.

    Aaron B. Cox — June 3, 2005 @ 3:57pm
  30. Thanks for the clarification, Aaron. Glad to see you don’t deny the atonement works for the learned and the unlearned alike.

    in that case you don’t need to get your panties in a twist.

    I sure do hate that phrase- it’s kind of vulgar if you think about it. But no worries- I am pretty uptight as far as these things go.

    Jordan — June 3, 2005 @ 4:07pm
  31. Aaron. Maybe. Just maybe. Part of your problem. Is that your style. Of writing. Is so abrupt. Perhaps you could put a comma after people’s names. Instead of a period. Or maybe. A colon. And while we’re on the subject. Of Punctuation. Do you remember. What a question mark is. Try it. You might like it. And did they teach you. In freshman English. About combining sentences. To make it flow. More smoothly. Just freshman English. No advanced degree needed.

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 3, 2005 @ 4:10pm
  32. Here’s a good example right here.

    We should also probably be a little softer on the T&S guys as well. I don’t comment there all that often due to my uninterest in many of the things discussed there comined with my vast ignorance of the things discussed there.

    We should expect people to say “I was completely wrong, I take it all back.” People usually think through what they will write before they write it, as well as anticipate objections. Nevertheless, unanticpated objections do come and sometimes modifications must be made in order to account for such things. Surely we see some people giving at least some ground on their positions every once in a while.

    Even so, people don’t have to change anything at all in their positions in order to learn an awful lot for those who disagree with them. Consider the very long discussion Blake, Geoff and I had here. In the end we all decided to stick with our original positions, but, in Geoff and my case at least, they were certainly not exactly the same position that we started out with. We all came to understand where the others were coming from and while I am still a determinist and Geoff is still an indeterminist, we can both see why the other feels the way they do. We understand where exactly the points of difference are and how they lead to other differences of opinion.

    This is why speculation is so good. It takes a significant amount of creativity to come up with a good question and response. Every position deserves the best representation it can get, and if its still not good enough, maybe somebody will change their minds after all. But dogmatically pounding the virtual pulpit is more of a conversation stopper which puts and end to the exploration process and, consequently, the learning.

    Jeffrey Giliam — June 3, 2005 @ 4:33pm
  33. Christian, I enjoy reading your blog and appreciate that you take time to read ours, but do you think maybe nitpicking about someone’s writing style might be a little mean? Has Aaron made comments at your blog and criticized your writing? I may disagree with him about some things, but Aaron, I think your writing is nice and emphatic, which reflects your personality.

    I think one of the best things about group blogs can be the diversity of writing and viewpoints that are represented.

    Mari — June 3, 2005 @ 4:39pm
  34. Aaron, could I substitute “family” for riches in that scripture, because the Lord has warned us that we must be ready to forsake that as well? Can you see why you are treading in dangerous water?

    J. Stapley — June 3, 2005 @ 6:18pm
  35. Ooh, cool idea J.

    13 And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained [a family and children]; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the [greatness of your family], and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

    18 But before ye seek for [family], seek ye for the kingdom of God.

    19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain [a family and children], if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—

    After reading that I’m worried about having those children now…

    (Hey, this is like scriptural Mad Libs! Any other words we can replace? Adjectives are always fun to replace.)

    Geoff J — June 3, 2005 @ 6:29pm
  36. Yes, I too enjoy rewriting scripture to support my own arguments, especially when I can obliquely condemn someone in the process!

    Justin H — June 3, 2005 @ 9:28pm
  37. Christian, Thanks for the laughs, another thing Truman Madsen mentioned on the Joseph Smith tapes was that Joseph liked humor about human foybles, one of the signs of a great man is he can laugh at himself and not take himself too seriously, I appreciate your input, how’s this sentence is it long enough???

    No I am not mighty in writing like unto the Mighty Spinozist but don’t forget I’m an athlete as you know if you’ve taken the time to paruse my bio, I can talk trash better than any skinny little academic and you don’t phase me one bit. Yes I know you’re the Spinozist, don’t be surprised. Everyone can see how much you want everyone to notice. Since you’re so concerned everyone notice your blog let me give you the bottom line. SCOREBOARD!!!. Yes I know of exclamation points too, not just question marks so read them and weep. In a week or at most two the might Banner will have outrun the visitor stats of your puny ass blog and you will be left in the dust. From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return!!!

    Aaron B. Cox — June 4, 2005 @ 8:56am
  38. Jeffery. Okay so you are the exception and have proven it, good for you. But still no growth or maturing in sight from the noble & great ones at Times n Seasons, if their not pounding on the virtual pulpit who is.

    Aaron B. Cox — June 4, 2005 @ 9:02am
  39. I think this is a good blog. Good subjects, good posts. Not relaxing, necessarily, but good.

    Miranda, DKL can be difficult, but he makes sense a lot of the time. Maybe he doesn’t bug everybody as much as he bugs you, and used to bug me.

    There are others who bug me, but I won’t go into that now. However, if you all would care to write me, I will give you a list of things not to do not to bug me, so we can all get along. In my own personal world. gardnera@netutah.com

    annegb — June 4, 2005 @ 10:49am
  40. Aaron, I can’t believe how blatant your disdain for your commenters is.

    It seems to me that you would prefer a world in which after every post, you got twenty commenters saying “Wow, that post was great! You spiritually enlightened me and I will now lash myself 50 times for paying too much attention in philosophy class!”

    Well, at least it will be fun to watch your future posts.

    Karl Butcher — June 4, 2005 @ 1:05pm
  41. I’m an athlete as you know if you’ve taken the time to paruse my bio, I can talk trash better than any skinny little academic… Since you’re so concerned everyone notice your blog let me give you the bottom line. SCOREBOARD!!!. Yes I know of exclamation points too, not just question marks so read them and weep. In a week or at most two the might Banner will have outrun the visitor stats of your puny ass blog and you will be left in the dust. From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return!!!

    Ha! I love it. Finally an LDS blog that actually encourages ad hominem attacks!

    The funniest part about comment #37 is that it is in a post called “Contention is Not of Me”. Classic! I guess the subheading should have said “But hypocrisy is totally my thing…”

    Actually, I think we’ve all learned a valuable lesson about the proper way to market a new group blog in the Bloggernacle. Here’s the trick: In addition to the actual permanent bloggers here, these intrepid marketers have create a fictional “blogger” here at BoH as well. Somebody got a picture of a younger brother or nephew and then y’all came up with a fake bio and voila! – “Aaron B. Cox” was created.

    Then they wrote a couple blatantly offensive posts in this new pen name in order to get lots of people coming back to see the squabbles that inevitably arose. (This proves that every group blog ought to have a villain.) I admit I’ve been coming back more often than I would have otherwise to see the fireworks. I guess nothing has really changed since middle school – everyone is interested in a fight.

    Bravo to the BoH marketing wizards for this ingenious marketing stunt!

    Geoff J — June 4, 2005 @ 1:31pm
  42. Geoff’s right — that’s enough of the personal attacks, from everyone. When we set this blog up, we wanted it to be different and more down-to-earth that the other places we’ve seen out there. We’re better than this, guys!!

    Now, back to cleaning the apartment. *sigh*

    Jenn — June 4, 2005 @ 2:24pm
  43. LOL, I think that’s hilarious, Geoff. If only we were that smart. Unfortunately, Aaron is very real, if not a bit socially unskilled. I should know I grew up with him. Of course, he’s changed over the years. Back in those days I could beat him in arm wrestling.

    SeptimusH — June 4, 2005 @ 2:29pm
  44. Aaron, I was feeling bad for my #31, so I’m glad to see you could take
    it well. I deserved your retort, and take it in the jocular spirit I
    believe was intended. Congratulations on the successful launch of your
    blog—well done—but I think you would be among the first to
    recognize that the value of something is not necessarily measured by
    its popularity.

    Even though you and I come from widely disparate epistemological
    premises, and in spite of what I said above about your style, strangely
    enough I find I can’t avoid reading every word you write, both your
    posts and comments. We may not agree much, but if nothing else your
    intensity and sheer force of personality are remarkable to behold.

    But I do have a question. You’ve referred to Truman Madsen a few times
    now. Isn’t he a bit intellectual for you to be quoting so often?

    Christian Y. Cardall (TSM) — June 5, 2005 @ 6:26am
  45. Hard to go wrong if he’s mostly just quoting Joseph. Anyway I’m not against all education and study, I can see I need to clarify in another post. Obviously as the great prophet of the restoration Joseph is a worthy object of study. And even more, a worthy example to follow.

    Aaron B. Cox — June 6, 2005 @ 12:22pm
  46. I’m not against all education and study

    Just lawyers. And “learnedness.”

    Please try to remember that the language against lawyers in scripture are directed towards WICKED, GREEDY lawyers and hypocrites. I have personally attended firesides where our modern day prophets, seers, and revelators have praised the good that is offered by righteous LDS lawyers. Those speaking included President Faust and President Packer. I strive to be a righteous attorney.

    That’s OK. People also unrighteously judged Matthew simply because of his profession. As a newly minted lawyer, I am already getting used to the harsh and uninformed judgments pronounced on my head by those who are supposed to be my brethren. There was one good brother in a previous quorum who hurtfully withdrew his friendship from me when I decided to attend law school. Despite this, I will still covenant to be your friend and brother, Aaron Cox, even if you would not have me to be yours simply because of the profession which I believe I was inspired by God to choose. I did this for the brother in my previous ward, and I would do it for you too if I knew you personally.

    (Note- Aaron’s blanket assertions and vitriol about “wicked” lawyers can be found in another thread.)

    Jordan — June 6, 2005 @ 12:35pm
  47. It should be noted that we can’t just freely quote Madsen whenever we want to use Joseph Smith as an authority. Madsen is very careful in his selection of quotes, most of which come from sources rather distant from the prophet. Don’t mistake me, Madsen has a phenomenal grasp of pretty much everything that has ever been written by or about the prophet. But to say that those tapes (I’ve listened to both volumes about 20 times each) are an accurate representation of how Joseph would have presented himself simply isn’t correct. It should also be noted that Madsen clearly considers his search for light and knowledge trough both philosophy and psychology to be following Joseph’s example, at least in part.

    Jeffrey Giliam — June 6, 2005 @ 1:56pm
  48. If you call dodging and being vague about the tough questions on national television diplomatic, then Hinckley is diplomatic.

    Lurch — July 13, 2005 @ 2:38pm

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