Tuesday, December 14

The Sweet Perks of Anonymity

I think the Lord was definitely on to something compelling when He said, "Let not thy right hand know what the left hand doeth..." Christmas time, for me, is the epitome of helping others & serving... it gives me an excuse to do absurd things for others that, during any other season, they would probably try to reject. But since it's Christmas, and I can be anonymous, I can help others and find incredible joy in being the only one who knows... only me and the Lord who helped me think of the ideas in the first place.

It's the same thing here, with my blog at (Gay) Mormon Guy. There have been days when I've wanted to impress someone by saying, "I write stuff that thousands of people read"... but thankfully my self-imposed anonymity has kept my ego from inflating. I probably would not do well as a celebrity or movie star - I thrive way too much on praise and attention from the people who know me. I guess the Lord knew what I needed in this case, too, and it works.

In the last few months a few different groups have called for the "abolishment of anonymity" on the Internet. In the name of heightened international security and antiterrorism, every action I ever take would be logged, assigned to my personal account, and searchable by whoever happened to have access for whatever reason. Part of me can see the good in such an idea - there would be no more late night chat rooms where you say things you really didn't want to... fewer people who transgress their morals thinking no one else could know,
... Ultimately, any of the sins and vices that thrive on anonymity... and most do... would take a hit. But at the same one, it would close down a valuable and vital form of free communication - the ability to speak and not have retribution from those who know you.

I don't think that we will ever require all Internet users to validate who they are. Maybe in an opt-in program for families and others it might be plausible... But other than that, I think that there is still much good to be done with only the angels as witness.


  1. Hey GMG,

    I used to think that having net identities would be SO cool. Thanks Orson Scott Card for that idea. But that view has changed because I have learned a few facets of humanity that have opened my eyes much like the grandpa in President Uchtdorf's First Presidency message this month.

    1. People will always create an anonymous space for themselves and the more you try to force them open, the cleverer they get. It is best to allow people anonymity on a naturally open system like the nets, instead of putting those people on the physical urban underground where they would most likely go next.

    2. Valuable things come from those who, at first had to be anonymous. The Sons of Liberty were anonymous in the early days of the American Revolution laying much of the framework for our country. Eventually they "came out" and accepted the consequences for their actions as they signed the Declaration of Independence. Radio started as an illegal broadcast off of the coast that was operated by another Anonymous person who later shared his technology and it was used for many useful purposes. Napster was built around anonymity and when it was forced open, the result was 1 company that realized the truth, customers wanted digital music online rather than on a CD. That company created iTunes, but only After the anonymity facet was wiped away.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that anonymity allows for experimentation and, once something is ready to grow it HAS to make the transition away from anonymity and into the light.

    I am in no way pressuring you to reveal yourself (I understand the benefit of anonymity) but eventually there will come a time when GMG will stop being an experiment and instead need to become a reality. When that happens let me know as I would really like to meet you in person someday and exchange ideas and insights into our differing viewpoints. After all, anonymity and solitude are redundant, only when you have someone to share with do you become better.

  2. David:

    Yeah, I don't know when or even if (Gay) Mormon Guy would stop being anonymous. Right now it's not in the plans, ever. I mean, even the handful (count on one hand) of people in my life who know I'm attracted to guys never, ever talk about it. Except for talking with the guys I've met through (Gay) Mormon Guy, it's never a topic of conversation. And I don't want to put my family, or myself, through whatever pain would come from telling them. A few months ago, this would have been a moot point - I would have never told anyone, future wife included. Today, I think I'll just follow the Spirit... and if someday He tells me to tell the world outside of here, then I'll do it. Barring that... I don't think it will happen anytime soon. But I'd probably like to talk anyway.


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