Who Are the Ignoranti?
Aaron B - March 15, 2006
Just when you think all is well in Zion, an internet essay comes to
your attention that promptly disabuses you of your naive sense of
safety. I just read "Who are the Signaturi?", in which the author
attempts to identify a deadly cancer within the LDS community, and
save all of us from falling prey to its malignant influence.
Apparently, there is a dangerous dissident movement in the Church
today, made all the more sinister by the refusal of its members to
reveal their true feelings and intentions. Who are these
wolves-in-sheep's-clothing? Is my Elders Quorum instructor one of
them? My hometeacher? My fellow bloggers? This beastly clique of
Satan's minions masquerades as a group of faithful Churchmembers, but
don't be fooled =85 they are biding their time until they have the
numbers and strength to wreak havoc on the righteous!. Personally, I
would have named them the "Gadiantoni," or the "neo-Gadianton
Robbers," but I guess "Signaturi" will do.
Some of you may have read this essay before, but I just discovered it
for the first time. (It has apparently been a "most discussed
document" in the Bloggernacle). It has compelled me to scour my
friends and acquaintances to see if any of them are secret members of
the Signaturi cabal. I hope they're not, but I really can't be sure.
Or maybe I can be =85 I hear that if you tie them up and drop them in a
lake, the Signaturi will float, whereas faithful members will sink!
I'm going to put this claim to the test this weekend with some of my
co-bloggers. Steve, Jonathan =85 meet me at Lake Union this Friday night
at 7:00 pm sharp! Don't be late!
This piece is so inspiring that I find myself wanting to build on its
valiant efforts, and identify other sub-species of dangerous Mormon.
Those Godless evolutionists are always claiming to identify "new
species," so I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to do the same
right here among my fellow Churchgoers! Here goes =85
(Play ominous music here =85)
Brothers and Sisters, there is a particularly vile and deadly species
of Mormon that sometimes infests our wards and seminaries. If I were
the Prophet, I'd tell everyone to put down their Books of Mormon
already and dedicate themselves singlemindedly to removing this
infestation from the flock. But I'm not, so I guess I'll have to wait
'til I get promoted. In the meantime, I exhort you all to keep your
children close, maintain an ever-vigilant eye on your fellow
Churchmembers, and be prepared to run screaming to the mini-van, kids
in tow, in the event that these vile and sinister Mormons show you
their true colors.
Who are these dreaded Church members? They are =85. the "Ignoranti"!!!
Read further, if you dare, to learn about their chilling characters
1) The Ignoranti will only read or discuss LDS-themed books published
by Deseret Book or Bookcraft. They claim to know that anything
published elsewhere is by definition apostate and/or faith-destroying.
They see no reason to try to sift the wheat from the chaff in what
they read; better to assume that everything is all-wheat or all-chaff.
2) The Ignoranti are happy to discuss articles they've read in THE
ENSIGN or BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY STUDIES. They can't discuss the
articles in SUNSTONE or DIALOGUE since they've never read them. Even
if they had read them, there'd be nothing to discuss, since they know
that those publications are authored by the Devil.
3) The Ignoranti have never attended the Sunstone Symposium, but they
have read about it somewhere, or they have a friend whose dad's
brother's cousin has a roommate who once went to Sunstone and
apparently had a wild time. They are confident that what they heard
about that symposium session twelfth-hand is (a) true; (b)
representative of everything that goes on at Sunstone; and (c)
4) The Ignoranti are confident that anything produced by CES is 100%
historically accurate. They grudgingly acknowledge that "a prophet is
only a prophet when acting as such," but are quick to point out that
Joseph never said "CES is only a prophet when acting as such," so
there! They are sure that any historical information that comes from
sources outside the approved manuals is either (a) false; or (b)
irrelevant to a deeper, richer understanding of Mormon doctrine,
policy, practices, historical figures, etc. (Thus, they must know that
Richard Bushman's "Rough Stone Rolling" is part of a diabolical
conspiracy to destroy Joseph Smith's reputation and the faith of all
5) The Ignoranti use the words "intellectual" and
"pseudo-intellectual" interchangeably. In fact, they've forgotten what
the prefix "pseudo-" even means. Isn't the "pseudo-" part redundant?
The only exception to this is when they're using "intellectual" in its
highly technical sense of
6) The Ignoranti are sure that any concerns voiced by Church members
about this or that excommunication are, by definition, part of a
larger concerted effort to deny the Church its right to determine the
boundaries of its own membership. They are confident that any such
concerns are, in essence, legal arguments-in-embryo against the scope
of the Church's rights of free speech and association. They cannot
imagine that internal critiques or concerns about the propriety of
certain excommunications could be anything other than elements in this
nefarious plot. And of course, since they cannot imagine it, it can't
7) The Ignoranti know that everything ever penned or said by Joseph
Fielding Smith, Bruce R. McConkie, or Ezra Taft Benson is Gospel
truth. They know this, in large measure, because Smith, McConkie and
Benson have said so! They know that when other Church leaders have
taken positions at odds with the views of these Brethren, the other
leaders didn't really mean what they said =85 But if they did, they were
confused =85 And that confusion has no implications for how we should
understand the teachings or writings of other Church leaders =97 like
Smith, McConkie or Benson =97 generally, for reasons that they
apparently understand, even if they can't seem to articulate them.
8a) The Ignoranti are not fooled for a second by the seemingly
moderate claims of most LDS "feminists." They know that if you give
these uppity woman an inch, they'll try to take a mile. They know that
any acknowledgement of women's concerns about, say, how young women
are treated in Church culture, is a step down the slippery slope to
male emasculation, lesbianism and unisex bathrooms!
8b) Ditto for the gays. Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!
9) The Ignoranti know that prophetic revelations, by definition,
cannot be better understood in any way by looking at their historical
context. That the theological justifications offered by some Church
leaders to rationalize the Priesthood Ban were unscriptural is of no
moment (but see #10 below). That the justifications offered by Church
leaders for the Ban were so often accompanied by "culturally induced
racial prejudice and bigotry" that even the most conservative LDS
member today would reject, can in no way shed light on how we might
think about the Ban's historical significance or meaning.
10) The Ignoranti know that Ezra Taft Benson's "Fourteen Fundamentals
of Following the Prophet" is the best, most authoritative discourse on
the nature of prophetic authority ever (never mind the fact that it
was given by a non-"prophet," in the relevant sense of that word).
President Benson's claim that the living Prophet always trumps the
scriptures is particularly important and true (except with respect to
certain prophetic spins on the King Follett Discourse, and 101 other
areas where it's no longer fashionable to apply this principle with
consistency). As a corollary, they obviously believe FARMS is of the
Devil, since many in that organization have promoted understandings of
Book of Mormon geography that contradict the assumptions and certain
statements of the Prophets over the last 150+ years.
11) The Ignoranti know that the Book of Mormon is "true," by which
they mean that any and all questions about its meaning, historicity,
interpretation and terminology are not only knowable, but in fact
"known" by them. They know that the line between what must be
understood "literally" or authentically ancient, and what might be
prophetic interpolations or "the mistakes of men," must be drawn
correctly. Naturally, they always know exactly how and where to draw
12) The Ignoranti know that the appropriate response to unduly
excessive promotion of "tolerance" and "diversity" in the Church is to
be as intolerant and intellectually rigid as possible. Indiscriminate,
overblown judgmentalness is the best antidote to combat these worldly
tendencies. (These Latter-day Saints practice a variant of Mormonism
heavily influenced by something other than Jesus' life and teachings).
And there you have it. BEWARE THE IGNORANTI!
I must say that categorizing and pigeonholing my fellow Saints has
become a confusing, laborious chore of late. I've actually created a
matrix to help me better understand the various sub-species of Mormon:
"Sunstoners," "Signaturi," "Iron Rodders," "Liahonas," the
"Neo-Orthodox," the "McConkie-ites," etc. But it only raises more
questions than it answers. Do any of these categories overlap? If so,
by how much and in what ways? And which type of Mormon is more
numerous? More dangerous? How should I prioritize my time in combating
them? What methods are required, allowed, prohibited?
This is just so overwhelming. At times, I feel like throwing up my
hands in despair and abandoning the whole project. But then I remind
myself that my doing battle with the Adversary is God's will. And you
know what Nephi says:
"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know
that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he
shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which
he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)
Like Nephi of old, I will go and do the things the Lord has commanded.
I will annihilate my ideological and doctrinal opponents, with the
unwavering knowledge that my cause is just. Join me, brothers and
sisters, in my righteous cause!