Cedar Hills and self-righteousness


I recently began a thread on my message board (aka “The Online Village of Nerds”) desiring to know people’s opinions about the recent vote in Cedar Hills, Utah. An initiative had been proposed that, if passed, would require all businesses within the city to be closed on Sundays, and would ban the sale of beer completely, seven days a week.

Though a vast majority of the town’s residents are Mormon and don’t personally buy beer or shop on Sundays, there was some question over whether such personal choices should be turned into laws. Others countered that the laws would be better for the community, and that since nearly everyone in town followed those principles anyway, a law wouldn’t be disrupting anyone’s life.

In the end, the initiative was voted down, 60 percent to 40 percent.

But I was curious what others thought of it, so I posed a brief description of it, and then we enjoyed a (mostly) civil discussion weighing the pros and cons of it. Most of the people who spoke up said they would not have favored such an initiative, but several regular members of the message board community voiced opinions supporting it, too.

Then someone joined the board (you have to register a user name first) JUST to tell us how wrong we were. His user name was JonBird. He was heavily in favor of the initiative. He posted four messages in rapid succession replying to, disagreeing with, and piously mocking those who had said they were against it.

He said: “Surprised to see how many LDS in this nerd villiage got this issue wrong.”

When someone said, “The fact that you think there is a ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ here indicates you are either naive or ignorant. Feel free to disagree with me if you want to but don’t tell me I’m wrong. I won’t tell you you’re wrong either,” he responded: “I guess you are not person of faith because religious faith is all about what is right and wrong and proclaiming as such.”

When someone said, “Is there no room for different opinions in the LDS Church, even when the doctrine isn’t completely clear-cut?,” he responded: “There is room when the doctrine is not clear. But this is as clear as it gets. Are you unfamiliar with the Word of Wisdom or Sabbath day teachings?”

People would counter his arguments with questions, or point out logical fallacies, and he would respond to some while ignoring others (presumably the ones he couldn’t think of answers for).

Feel free to browse the thread to read more. (He shows up on page 3.)

The issue, of course, was not that he was in favor of an initiative that many others had spoken out against. Disagreeing is perfectly acceptable. There’s no right or wrong answer on an issue like this. It was the smarmy, self-righteous way he talked about it that was off-putting.

The surprising thing, and the point of this blog entry, was this: When someone asked who he was and why he had suddenly appeared on the message board, he said:

I’m a really long time fan of Eric’s from his Daily Universe days when we were both students. Long time reader of the boards. Usually i think the LDS on this board play it safe and error on the side of righteousness, but not today.

How can someone as self-righteous as this guy be a fan of mine since all the way back in the BYU days? Didn’t I used to make fun of self-righteous people, like, every week? Did he not realize I meant him, too?