There are two types of people in the bloggernacle: the onymous and the anonymous. I think our community is somewhat of an anomaly, in that so many participants use their real names. I admire the courage of Rusty, Ronan, Elisabeth, etc. who put their real names out there. Every once in a while though, some bloggers using their real names will complain about the anonymous masses. We anonymous types don't have anything at stake, they say; we don't have any incentive to behave. Perhaps they are right.
For my own part, I don't care about my anonymity. I don't actually know any Mormons and I'm not currently active in my ward. I can't embarrass myself in the Mormon community if I'm not really part of it. Also, I have a very common name. It is so common that the day I checked into the MTC, there was another Elder [Ned Flanders] reporting for duty. We had the same first and last names and they initially gave me his room assignment. (He went to Oregon on his mission, the poor bastard.) So even if I used my real name, people are just as likely to confuse me with my Oregonian doppelganger or one of the other thousands of other possibilities.
So why don't I pull an Athena, and reveal myself? My parents.
My parents are both very bright people, but they are singularly incurious about Mormon history or issues. I think my parents would rather have found a dirty magazine than a copy of Sunstone under my mattress. We had the usual assortment of faith-promoting Deseret Books (though I never saw anyone actually reading them) plus the Standard Works. End of story. What else do you need? A couple of months ago, my mom did give me an article about Joseph Smith that she printed out from the Internet. What site was it from? Meridian. Sigh.
I don't post onymously because I don't want someone to sidle up to my mom on Enrichment Night and say, "I read the most heretical thing on your son's website the other day." Among Mormons, it has become unfortunate custom to brag about the righteousness of your children. "I have five kids and they've all served missions and are married in the temple." It's like a Mormon batting average. My parents are batting pretty well for a baseball player but not too great for your standard Mormon couple. I've already screwed up their average, I don't want to add my apostate views on top of that.
I also wonder what effect the faithfulness of the children has on the callings of the parents. I once had a GA tell me that they don't call Mission Presidents who have children with problems. I don't believe that's true, but I wonder about it. Do any of the Seventies have wayward children? The Apostles? They must, right? Especially with the amount of kids Mormons have. I still think that unless your last name is Benson, it's probably not a good idea to have an apostate in the family.
While looking up an entry in my mission journal for yesterday's post, I stumbled upon an experience that I had forgotten. I had been in the country for about a month and lived in a tiny apartment with my companion and two other missionaries. The other companionship would come into our room at 6:30 am each morning to sing a hymn and say a prayer to start our day. One morning I didn't feel like getting out of bed to sing, and one of the elders told me that I was a disgrace to my father. (Nice guy.)
I don't believe that, but at the same time, I don't want to saddle my parents with any extra grief at this point in their lives. If that means lying low on the Internet, then so be it.
I will always be Flan-diddly-anders to you.