That's right: Original "Dangerous" Mohomie.
The story: Not so long ago, in a place not at all far away, in a panel discussion about SSA geared towards friends and family of "strugglers", someone whom I shall call "Pat" interjected before closing the session to say someone had asked a "dangerous question" that absolutely needed to be addressed. I braced myself for a concern about crystal meth, gay hookup sites, or secret BYU-I unprotected shenanigans. I was on the edge of my seat, awaiting the dangerous discussion topic.
Pat read the question, which was something like this: "My son tells me about something referred to as a blogosphere, I think it's called moho. What is it?"
Affectionately amused at how clear it was the questioner didn't know anything about it, I waited for the rest of the question to be read. I wondered if they were asking about blogs in general, or maybe the MohoDirectory specifically, but I wondered what more there was to the question. I figured Pat, clearly reacting to the question, was trying to regain composure before finishing it. This was not the case. That was the question.
Pat answered, wide-eyed, in a trembling voice, "Absolutely stay away from it! The people who call themselves that are living the lifestyle, and it's very dangerous. Very dangerous. That's all that needs to be said."
My jaw dropped. No explanation of what the terms were. No invitation to panel members to respond. For a moment, I was sorely tempted to stand and say, "Hey, I invented the term "moho" (actually it was a friend, in an e-mail to me, and I promulgated it). And a main organizer of this event, a friend of mine and yours, is a prominent blogger. Wanna ask me about it? Yes, the term 'moho' has been adopted by many who are mostly only culturally LDS and who think the church is wrong about homosexuality, but it was originally meant to denote someone who experiences same-sex attraction and who supports the church's stance on homosexual relationships, and there are still many in that boat who use the term in good-natured ways. And yes, many bloggers end up hooking up or buying into ideas which are anything but orthodox LDS thought and which undermine more conservative or fundamental views, but most of them are hooking up anyway, with blogs being just one more avenue, and most of those who "lose their testimonies" or become "dangerously" liberal had problems with LDS theology or practice long before they ever started reading blogs, and I know many who have remained very faithful to the church and its leadership and are blogging to make their voices heard. Many have benefited from the 'blogosphere' in amazing ways, finding dialog and community they might never have found otherwise, giving some of them hope and reinforcement in living church standards and finding happiness doing so. Let's not be so reactionary, here. But then, I'm an agnostic blogger, so I'm one of the 'dangerous' ones." In my mind, I would then stand firm and invite the author of the question to see me after the panel if they wished.
I did none of it, though. Most of the discussion had been productive, and I perceived Pat wasn't in any condition to discuss the matter rationally, so it probably would've just caused a messy scene. Instead, I turned to my friends sitting next to me and said, "That answer was not true and obviously came from a very emotional place. I'm so blogging about this." Wry grinning followed.
Epilogue: I've met Pat. Pat seems like a nice enough person, and we have many mutual friends, many of whom blog. I can only imagine Pat has very strong personal feelings, possibly from limited (and very negative) experience, and though Pat and I probably disagree on many things in some very fundamental ways, I wish Pat well and hope for healing and understanding. The organizers of the event, after all, are bloggers (at least incidentally), listed in the MohoDirectory, and rather connected with many self-described "mohos", many of whom are committed to the church and supportive of its stance on homosexuality, even if they've become the minority among those who use the term "moho". She doesn't have the full picture, but a couple hundred friends and family of gay LDS folk have now only heard the terms "moho" and "blogosphere" in a frightening context, terrified of their children being involved with something so dark, so insidiously menacing, that Pat trembled at the very mention.
So if any of you readers may be the son about whom some parent was speaking, and your parents are now banning your internet access and sending you off to boarding school in far off lands or to ex-gay camp, you now know where their panic may be coming from.
Incidentally, I no longer call myself a "moho". Nor do I think it a travesty if the term is passe. But if "moho" as the lighthearted, church-affirming term it was meant to be wasn't already dying, that one statement in a fireside sure did hammer a few more nails into the coffin for that region, at least. I've occasionally wondered when my blog name will become irrelevant in every way and whether I'll change it or leave it as a vestige of an era gone by. I think I'll opt for vestige. Call me dangerous.