Where did the Heavenly Demographics post go?

When I was a young man I used to have a reoccurring dream. I was in a dark and dank cellar. I could not make out anything but the wet stone walls and a stairway into the light at the far end of the cellar. However, between me and the way out were dense thickets of spiderwebs. I was surrounded by this tangle and there was no way to get to the door. As a child nothing terrified me more than the sticky secretions of spiders. If one accidently touched me I was freaked out for days. Even the fake ones hung out on Halloween unnerved me.

In graduate school, studying entomology, I became familiar with spiders. I came to understand them and my fear for them began to disappear. One day while out with my sons exploring a small stream one of my children became terrified because he discovered a large Argiope spider web in the grass by the creak. I explained that he had nothing to fear and stuck my finger in the massive web and wound it up like a kite-string on a stick. I’d never done that before. It was not icky or disturbing. It felt like a slightly sticky version of the silk pajamas my grandmother would buy us every Christmas. It was fascinating and I felt a kind of release. My fear of spiders was gone. Completely. The dreams disappeared never to return. Whatever, lessons my subconscious was trying to communicate with those dreams, it had to switch to new fears (of which there are plenty to choose from believe me).

Such lessons have given me an unrelenting brazenness when it comes to sharing information. To know something is to examine it in detail. To face it in unrelenting honesty. But today, I was thinking about my speculation on Heavenly Demographics and thought about my son currently serving a mission. I thought about what this information would look like like to an investigator. Not that I think it would be bad ultimately. But it would make his job complicated. His work is hard enough without my tongue-in-cheek speculation being twisted to contrary purposes. My aim is the exploration of implications. But I find myself sitting in his shoes and I backed away. No one is more surprised than me. When I was working on this post it never occurred to me that I would find myself reluctant to share these curiosities. I suppose there are certain kinds of spider webs I still cannot wrap around my finger.

Maybe I’ll get on to NothingWavering.org yet! (ha, ha, ha, ho, ho, ha that was rich! I crack myself up sometimes.)

This reluctance to share something bothers me. It seems like I’m entering a slippery slope. Doesn’t the exploration of our faith require just a little edge and daring? Won’t I soon be watering down my message about the necessity that we accept Evolution? Will my claims that there is global warming become the safe claims of there may be global warming?

Where is the line? Faith vs. full disclosure? I feel bad posting and not posting. Let me know what you think–I’m dying here.

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13 Responses to Where did the Heavenly Demographics post go?

  1. MAtt W. says:

    I’ve gone through the same thing. Ultimately, I have decided that some things are better not left to the public forum, but kept private, or at least insular to a certain group. Sometimes I worry that my Catholic Mother may come accross me arguing about sex or My Father-in-Law will come accross me kvetching about the evils of John Birche’s society. Worse, sometimes I just want to tell some of my fellow bloggers I hate them and wish they were dead. (I get better though)

    So I made a rule of sorts for myself to take a deep breath and count to ten before I post. I break that rule all the time, but I try.

  2. Jared* says:

    I know what you mean, and I don’t have a good answer. I have a post that I’ve held off from publishing for a couple of years now, even though I think it raises legitimate issues, because I fear it would do more damage than good. I’m just letting it percolate–maybe one day I’ll find the right way to express it.

    On the other hand, you just never know what someone might find disturbing. I like to think that if anything I have written has disturbed anyone, my continued engagement can also be a source of comfort.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  3. Some things are better left unblogged (as unsaid), but I certainly don’t think the post you’re worried about was one of those things — so long as it sufficiently communicates the tongue-in-cheeck disclaimer, which I cannot recall offhand.

  4. Cap says:

    I have a blog that my wife and I write on. It is more of a blog about family oriented things. Trips we’ve gone on, interesting things that have happened, etc.

    I had some things on that blog that were more opinionated, and to some could be offensive. (Namely to my wife’s parents). I decided to take those off the blog.

    I think some things are better unsaid. However, this is not a blog on family trips and weekends making cider. All I can say is post what you feel comfortable posting, and the other stuff, wait a while and then see how you feel.

  5. CEF says:

    As you seem to already know, it is only when one faces their fear are they able to turn loose of it. I would suggest to just let the chips fall where they may, things have a way of working out. However, be prepared to defend your beliefs. A good idea will withstand criticism and a bad one will not. And of course whatever consequences becomes a matter of integrity. Be prepared for the worst and you will not be afraid of it. I know, I make it sound too easy. 🙂 So I add the following.

    I can see eternity and I wish I could see it without fear before I die, but I seriously doubt I ever will. I have only allowed myself to see it twice in the last seventeen years. The last time was when I turned forty and it scared me just as bad then as it did at eleven when I first saw it. It is a very crushing experience.

    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  6. S.Faux says:

    The best writers are able to cut. Sometimes we love an idea or a phrase, but it just does NOT belong, either in time or place. The wise writer sees the problem and makes the cut.

    So, I say your ability to cut the blog and think about it is an admirable quality.

    Now, I certainly could say more, but I need to get back to my 25 page essay I am writing for my blog.

  7. Velska says:

    I think it’s okay to speculate as long as you make clear you are speculating or just plain jesting (in good taste, of course!).

    That said, I am uncomfortable about some speculations that I see online. Go figure.

  8. You are a good writer, and I loved your spider analogy! I was thinking it was leading up to how some feel about the Mormons. Irrational terror. Then, they learn more and the fear subsides – and then they wrap their finger around the doctrines and find out it’s really quite comfortable…

    But I digress – actually, I have experienced the same thing. I have had posts that I was compelled to remove (not too fun, but I survived), and then others which currently remain “drafts” by my own choice. Writing them was cathartic enough…sharing them with the world not necessary – they do make good personal journal entries, though! I’m with the Cap and SFaux camp, Trust your gut – if it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably best to make a cut, or hold off altogether and let it percolate. 🙂

  9. steveP says:

    I’m so glad to hear that others go through this. It’s difficult to spend so much time on something only to realize that you are not going to use it. But I appreciate hearing that others go through this. And it is true, there is something in the writing itself which gives a sense of worth to things, even if it is never seen by others. I find just the act of writing is therapeutic in many ways.

  10. Rich Knapton says:

    “This reluctance to share something bothers me. It seems like I’m entering a slippery slope. Doesn’t the exploration of our faith require just a little edge and daring? Won’t I soon be watering down my message about the necessity that we accept Evolution? Will my claims that there is global warming become the safe claims of there may be global warming?”

    Are the topics socially acceptable and the words you use are they socially acceptable? If they are where is the fear? What you write hear is not an exploration of our faith. It is an exploration of your faith. My faith is not dependent upon anything you might say. I may find what you write interesting. Or, I may find it boring. I may become offended. But these are my reactions and I must own them. You cannot force me to become offended. That is a choice I make. You are not responsible for my reactions.

    I don’t think accepting evolution is at all necessary. There are only two things necessary: gaining a body and treating others as we would like to be treated. That’s it. Except for Mormons. We are obligated to fulfill our commitments to the covenant we made with God. I find evolution interesting and what knowledge we gain here rises with us. As a trained historian I believe that historians are closer to God than biologists, anyway. After all, we have been commanded to study history but nowhere are we commanded to study biology. :))

    As for global warming (I assume you mean anthropomorphic global warming) I think it is bunk. Your thoughts on the matter are not going to shake my conviction. I consider myself a critical thinker and have studied both sides. I would hope this blog does not turn into a blog on advocacy of AGW. If that were to happen, I would drop the blog. When I want information on global warming I turn to climatologists not biologists.

    So my suggestion is write what you want. You are not responsible for how people respond to your thoughts. The only responsibility you have is to be true to yourself.


    PS: You had a terrific article on evolution but I no longer see it on your blog. Did you take it off?

  11. SteveP says:

    Thanks Rich, good advice and insight. It’s complicated for me because I work for the church. So there are some lines that would be unwise to cross. Not that I think I’ve crossed any, or want to, but some of the info from that blog, would have been useful for detractors and as I said, my Son is on mission is having enough trouble and I don’t want to make his job harder. I might post it sometime else, because it isn’t anything harmful to the church, it just demands some explanation and could be misconstrued. I liked your insights though, because I feel strongly that that is the right way to view all information. I’m a bit of an information anarchist when it comes down to it. Put it all out there and let the people decide what’s worthy to be kept. Note: I’m not talking about porn information here, but ideas and such.

    Biologists are joining the debate on CC because we are seeing ecological changes that are unprecedented in the last 200,000 years (all we have records for). The changes in ecosystems are happening too fast for species to adapt changes, which hasn’t occurred since some of the big geologic extinctions. As a biologist I feel ethically bound to weigh in. Even the species I study (tsetse fly) is making changes in range expansion that are scary. They are going places that are breaching genetic isolation that has been in place for hundreds of thousands of years. These changes are clearly not within natural variation if just because Nature has never had to respond to these kinds of changes since deep large extinctions. In fact we are loosing coral reefs that have been in place for millions of years.

    You found a climatologist who doesn’t believe in anthropogenic global warming? What a rare find. I’d love to see their peer reviewed article on it 🙂 (key word–per reviewed).

    That article on Evolution should be there somewhere. The one this post is about is the only one I’ve pulled.

    Anyway, I’m glad you are a reader. I’ll give you a heads up if I do more with global warming and you can avoid those ones 🙂

  12. Pingback: The Mormon Organon » Blog Archive » Summer Classics: Some are born afraid of snakes, and others have snake-fear thrust upon them: Part I

  13. Nice to be browsing your journal again, it has been weeks for me. Well this specific writing is what i have been waiting for so long. I need this post to finish my school paper, and your blog post is actually a good support. Many thanks, nice share.

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