Orthodox interpretations were never on the chopping block. To say otherwise is revisionist history

This post is in response to Steven Rushing’s post here, which itself was a response to the mod team stepping down.

TL;DR: Orthodox good; fundamentalism bad.


After chatting with several of the previous mods it seems clear that the majority of the mods would have interpreted any level of support for or defense of the Proclamation on the Family as queerphobic and against rule #2 – bigotry.

I was not expecting our conversation to be taken wildly out of context and then weaponized against me. This is disappointing, to say the least, and this note has been noted.

Since we’re talking about it publicly, let’s clear the record on what was said regarding orthodoxy in our conversation. You said:

This is r/flippin’/mormon. If someone can’t give a real defense of the the brighamite church’s beliefs on marriage without running afoul of civility rules, there is something seriously wrong.

If someone can’t support the orthodox interpretation of the PotF, then it isn’t r/mormon.

I would have disagreed if your argument was that you cannot support the orthodox interpretation of the PotF at r/mormon. That said, arch was just wrong to remove your rights, wrong to stay on after the vote went against him, and I would have voted against him had I still been a mod, despite my agreement with him that some arguments that could be seen as bigotry should be allowed.

You are still flippin’ awesome

To which I responded:

Let’s say someone came onto the sub and started saying that black people are inferior, will be slaves in the eternities, and their skin is a curse. All of this can be supported with doctrine and statements by LDS leaders, and is even still actively held by fundamentalist churches.

The question then becomes if we allow that bigotry to remain up or not. To remove it would be to create an “orthodoxy” as Achimedes likes to put it. To leave it would be to give an implicit seal of approval and normalize racism.

My preference was that no, it shouldn’t even if it was doctrine to the LDS church. I am partial to this interpretation because the LDS church doesn’t determine the the level of civility on /r/Mormon, the moderator team does. As moderators I felt like we had an obligation to not allow religiously-justified bigotry to be tolerated on our sub. To give a platform to bigoted ideologies would be to drive away many (but not all) marginalized folks. I am a living example of that.

Regardless, as you pointed out that wasn’t really where the issue layed. We solved the rule 2 crisis via consensus as we meant to. The chief issue lied in his abuses of power. My personal concern is that the rule 2 changes wont be enforced, which he’s all but admited to.

I clearly did not say that “any level of support for or defense of the Proclamation on the Family is queerphobic and against rule #2”. In fact, several hours ago /u/Angelfire150 asked me this:

I mean this question in all sincerity but it would help me better understand the intent and application of the modified rule 2 and how it pertains to this debate on moderation philosophy. The examples given are usually pretty extreme and often the application exists in the gray area.

Would the statements be interpreted as violating the rules?

A. “I believe in the Proclamation of the Family is an inspired document and we should strive to root our families in it’s principles.”

B. “We believe the the Priesthood ban was lifted in 1978 was a revelation and another important piece of the restoration.”

C. “I believe that marriage between man and woman is ordained of God and the only way for families to be sealed into eternity.”

(Trying to phrase these questions as TBMish as possible by it still touch on the issues).

To which I replied:

None of the statements that you just posted would have been removed. Hell, we didn’t even remove support for Holland’s musket sermon.

We are talking things like “black skin is a curse”, “gays are disgusting”, and “women are to be subservient to men”.

Steven, I would appreciate it if you stopped strawmanning my argument and stopped acting as if we stepped down for anything other than ArchimedesPPL abusing his powers.


People are in a frenzy about crazy hypotheticals that aren’t even happening on /r/Mormon. I am interested in real world examples of what we faced in moderation, so let’s look at one of those. Since you have now been made a moderator, and I am presuming without Skate’s knowledge or consent, you can read that full modmail thread here.

Here’s the cliff notes of that modmail:

This comment, which was removed, said:

Do you honestly think that a woman’s private flesh(or a man’s if you are a woman) doesn’t activate our lust? They are sex organs, if that isn’t doing it for you, idk what would.

Call it rape culture if you want, I’m personally attracted to things I can have sex with/use for reproduction, and the closer I’m looking at these sexual triggers the closer I am to lusting for them.

Here’s another:

Women don’t exist for anything close to that purpose.. This is a strawman and besides my point. Women make themselves tempting just like men do in prison to advertise that they are sexually available.

Women do exist for men lol, just like men exist for women. Woman literally means man with a womb.

My sin makes me feel this way. I’m a wicked sinner and the world around me is constantly tempting me. You’re literally the only person I’ve ever talked to that didn’t understand temptation is a two way street. I look with lust and I repent. Other people look with lust and take action. You’re talking to a born again Christian, perhaps humor the notion that your position isn’t crystal clear.

The first comment reduces women down to things (vaginas), which is sexist. Women aren’t things and they’re more than their genitals.

The second essentially says that women who dress a certain way are begging for sex, which is used to justify rape all the time. It also says that the whole reason for the existence for women is for men, and connects their worth with womb. It then also blames women for his temptation (which ironically flied in the face of Matthew 5:29-30)

Even Rabannah, who is Arch’s staunchest supporter and one of the orthodox believers, agreed that this was out of line and should be removed.

However, this was Arch’s response:

The users comments are problematic in how they’ve framed them, but they fit within an orthodox interpretation of scripture. They mirror similar thoughts shared in recent years by LDS apostles, and so to me should be protected under the mainstream religious belief concept. They’ve clearly received a lot of pushback, and so both sides are well-represented for any reader to determine for themselves which is the more moral argument. Also, I fail to see how this user has personally attacked another user. They are not demeaning anyone, they are just making an unpopular argument about the ethics of personal responsibility.

The root cause of this disagreement is individualism vs collectivism. Or in spiral dynamics the difference between a traditional/blue viewpoint and the modern/orange one. I think the argument is a poor one, but I think it should have been left up because it’s relevant to mormonism.

In this instance I’m not saying we should go back and reinstate it. The thread is over. In the future though I think this is an example of an edge case that should have been left alone.

Rab pushed back against Arch, and Arch replied by saying:

(Quoting Rab) “I think I am persuaded that the ‘Women do exist for men…’ should be considered per se sexism and thus uncivil.”

This is a fuller reading of the context of the quote:

(Quoting the bigot) “Women do exist for men lol, just like men exist for women.”

It’s not intended to make women objects. If you understand evangelical doctrine and scriptural interpretation he’s making a doctrinal claim that “neither is the man without the woman, nor the woman without the man in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 11:11. The argument being put forth is poorly read if it’s interpreted as objectification. It’s a pretty orthodox Christian belief that men and women are not complete without the other. In the broader context of lust and the relationship between the sexes this is the most charitable reading of the point that the user is trying to make, not that women need to be objectified by men. The fact that the reciprocal relationship was the very next line strongly indicates that this is an evangelical (as self-described by the OP) discussing their religious viewpoints, on a religious subreddit, where the Bible should be somewhat common ground of understanding, even if interpreted differently.

I’m honestly flabbergasted that nobody here is able to see the obviously religious point that the user is trying to make. It’s not reducing women to objects, it’s reiterating pretty standard biblical beliefs that men and women need each other. I’m not arguing for the truthfulness of this claim, just that mischaracterizing it into a strawman then batting it down isn’t very high level thinking. Try and remember that this is a religious subreddit. Don’t be surprised when people make religious claims.

/u/IHeartToSkate, who was one of 2 women moderators and has an Evangelical background, then chimed in and said:

Arch, I come from an evangelical background. It’s pretty common to reduce women to objects, but just because that’s a common thing for evangelicals to do doesn’t make it civil. The words right afterwards, since we’re going full context, also matter.

(quoting the bigot) “Women do exist for men lol, just like men exist for women. Woman literally means man ‘with womb.'”

I agree that he’s referencing that bible verse. He’s also talking about women as “things” and reducing them to babymakers and sexual temptresses. This view is definitely something I picked up on, taught by scripture, with my evangelical background. I don’t think those religious thoughts are civil and am always going to push back against people promoting sexist views with Bible verses.

I’ve had productive conversations with men before about why the way women dress is so much more than asking for mens’ attention. But I doubt a productive conversation can be had when a user comes out with calling women “things”.

To clarify: I don’t think we should nuke the entire conversation. But I do think women=”things” and the idea that the only attribute that matters about women is their womb are both “per say” incivil, regardless of whether they’re said with secular or religious language.

Also, if I’m being honest, I don’t really appreciate the insinuation that I’ve forgotten I’m on a religious reddit and am not exhibiting “high level thinking”. Please don’t assume my thought processes.

Steven, in your post you said:

I believe r/mormon being a place where all people of our shared heritage can civilly discuss their beliefs is worth fighting for. I thank our illustrious head mod for fighting for r/mormon’s tiniest minority – the orthodox believer.

Do you believe that reducing women down to things and saying that womens’ purpose is to exist for men is uncivil?

Orthodox LDS believers, like JawnZ, thought it was uncivil. I am an active member of a Mormon church and I also didn’t think it was civil. The demographic that bigotry was aimed towards (Skate, a woman) also didn’t think it was civil. This sort of incivility is the reason why we all agreed to the Rule 2 changes.

However, ArchimedesPPL thought reducing women down to things and saying that womens’ purpose is to exist for men was civil enough and religiously-justified enough to remain up.

By throwing your support behind Archimedes you are also saying that this is perfectly civil discourse, and wish it to be normalized on /r/Mormon.

Food for thought about if that’s what you meant by “orthodox” and if thats how you want your community to be run.


What’s ironic about all of this is I actually fought VERY hard for the creation of the Spiritual flair and for stricter rules to be applied to posts flaired that way so orthodox folks specifically had a place where they wouldn’t be harassed when expressing their orthodox spiritual beliefs.


And to put it out there publicly, Steven, I also think you’re flippin’ awesome.


With all that in mind, I want to address everyone else.

Steven was brought on as a mod in the early hours of 09/22/2021. IHeartToSkate, who was 1/3 of the mod team, was not made aware of this until after the fact.

Additionally, even StevenRushing has repeatedly said that ArchimedesPPL should step down because of his abuses of power.

1 thought on “Orthodox interpretations were never on the chopping block. To say otherwise is revisionist history

  1. Steven Rushing says:

    I’m not going to respond on reddit, will leave you with the last word there, but I wanted to let you know that it wasn’t my intent to wildly misrepresent or misinterpret what you said. I didn’t give names, and didn’t leave quotes. That felt to me like it would have been a violation of trust. I apologize, I shouldn’t have mentioned having conversations at all.

    That said, I want to say I wasn’t trying to misrepresent you, I guess I simply misinterpreted your words. I said:

    >This is r/flippin’/mormon. If someone can’t give a real defense of the the brighamite church’s beliefs on marriage without running afoul of civility rules, there is something seriously wrong.

    >If someone can’t support the orthodox interpretation of the PotF, then it isn’t r/mormon.

    >I would have disagreed if your argument was that you cannot support the orthodox interpretation of the PotF at r/mormon.

    To my mind, if you were going to say that this isn’t what you meant, you would have said, “That isn’t what I meant,” or even, “That isn’t quite what I meant. This is what I meant.”

    But you didn’t do that. Rather, you gave another example in which you expressed that what the church taught or orthodox members believed wouldn’t have any affect on r/mormon’s rule 2. I interpreted that (perhaps wrongly) as stating that the only difference between the two was the timeframe in which they were commonly believed. That they were the same in your mind.

    Note, I wasn’t the only one to think that your resignation was primarily about rule #2. Check the TLDR of your statement on r/subredditdrama. It is almost entirely about rule #2. It wasn’t just me. =)

    Like I said, I won’t address this on reddit. I don’t want a slap fight with someone that I consider a friend. I *should not have referenced our conversation or the conversation I had with the other resigned mod*. For that I sincerely apologize. I did not mean to misrepresent you. I think (hope) that I just misunderstood you. Please forgive me. Now, or in the future when wounds hopefully heal a bit =)

    Reply

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