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United Brethren is currently on blog sabbatical.

On BYU, Guy Fawkes, and Bloggersnacking

I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Utah. I was there to give a faculty lecture at the BYU religion department (speaking about my FARMS-funded ancient beekeeping project). For this mission-field blogger, it was also fun to schmooze with some of the bloggernacle elite.

First up, FPR's John C., an old mate from Johns Hopkins. John C. is a wonderful human being and funny to boot. I stayed with John and his wife in Orem. Much to my delight they had planned a Guy Fawkes bonfire in their yard, complete with an effigy of old Guy, that dastardly continental Catholic who tried to blow up Parliament 400 years ago today.

At BYU, I ran into Frank McIntyre in his nasty, pre-fab office. During the lulls in our conversation about socialized medicine, Frank told me of the joys of tracing IP's.

The Great and Spacious SLC Bloggersnacker was at the Fowles' home. Alli is the best and most patient host ever: she supplied the cheese and the pumpkin soup and raised nary an eyebrow over our bannergate gossipping. Bob Caswell (who designs his anti-BYU posts around his wife's experiences there, it seems) told us that he wasn't that liberal. The Fowles brothers, J-Max and the ever cheerful John Dehlin debated (nay, argued) over the virtue of ad-hominem attacks and whether Sunstone was evil. It was decided in the end that Steve Evans was indeed evil, and that he should stop paying all these people to comment on how much they love him. Ryan Bell, on the other hand, is not evil, even though he admitted that he hates law and only practices it because he wants to get rich.

The other consensus: bloggernacle denizens are not normal Mormons.

Oh, and John F. claims he was taught about Joseph's peepstone in CTR class.

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Anonymous said ... (November 05, 2005 8:23 PM) 

Hilarious! Thanks for visiting us. Your account is generally accurate except you seem to have embellished on the Steve Evans front. Discussion of him came up not during our discussion of John Dehlin's role at Sunstone but rather when we were talking about who was now in control of bcc ("how will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?" and all that). I think the end consensus was that, as regards bcc, Steve Evans was the "Wizard of Oz" but not that he was "evil."

As for the peepstone, I'm not sure whether I learned about that in primary. It just seems like I learned it as a kid--probably from my dad, I guess.

Good times, Ronan! Too bad Becky and the kids couldn't be there.  

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous said ... (November 05, 2005 8:40 PM) 

Thanks for the update and personality profiles...very helpful.

Oh, I forgot to take my wagon and "guy" and go up and down the street asking "Penny for the guy?" I miss the bonfire and fireworks too! 

Posted by don


Anonymous said ... (November 05, 2005 8:52 PM) 

John F. must have had the strangest CTR class of all time.

It sounds like it was fun -- I'm sorry Serenity Valley and I live in the wrong part of the country for this stuff!

How did the speech go, anyway? 

Posted by RoastedTomatoes


Anonymous said ... (November 05, 2005 11:03 PM) 

Great summation, Ronan.

That was a funny conversation about us all being average Mormons. The context, for those not present: Many of us reported that we knew about Joseph's Peepstone long ago, even as children. John Dehlin's rebuttal is that we're not the average Mormons. The Fowles brothers and J. Max disagreed strongly, staking a claim to perfect Mormon averageness. It was then conceded that each of them was raised by a Ph.D father with deep interest in Mormon thought. Allison Welch Fowles' presence in the room didn't aid them in their insistence on Mormon mediocrity either.

As for my views on the law-- I have been libeled! My true position: I have little interest in academic  discussions of the law. Most academic-minded people seem to believe that's all there is. But the real joy of the law comes in the nitty-gritty of drafting good arguments and advocating compelling positions-- there's nothing I enjoy more. Just so everyone knows that the millions I"m presently earning at a small firm in a minor City aren't the sole reason I do it.

Anyway, great night. Had a very nice time chatting with everyone. I'd love it if we could have more gatherings of more people. Even beats blogging.

By the way, John and Ronan, as an interesting illustration of my point about the relevance of a person's background in assessing her arguments, see here 
Certainly not dispositive, but worth knowing, wouldn't you say?

Posted by Ryan Bell


Anonymous said ... (November 07, 2005 1:02 PM) 

I'm glad you had fun. When you guys come out next, we will have to find other old clothes to burn out back. 

Posted by John C.


Anonymous said ... (November 08, 2005 12:32 AM) 

Truly a joy.

"By the way, John and Ronan..."

P.S. Hey Ryan....which John? Weren't there 4 of us? ;) 

Posted by John Dehlin


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