You couldn't agree with Dr. Shades more, and I for one am happy to see you coming around.
But I'm not coming around to Shades's view, which is itself, as I have always maintained, a manifestation of exactly the same left-leaning intellectual snobbery now being manifest at the MDD. The Internet/Chapel Mormon dichotomy is purely artificial, in my view. The demarcation line isn't Internet/Chapel. Nor is it more educated/less educated. The demarcation line here is cultural and, from this, ideological (political-philosophical) and has to do with two generations, the Baby Boomers and post-boomers (Gen-X), and their resistance to or absorption of certain of the generational intellectual fashions, vogues, attitudes and tendencies of their age.
Having been so deeply enmeshed within the elite academic world for so long, some of these people have allowed themselves to be influenced by the reigning concepts and attitudinal features of what is called "political correctness," and, as is usually the case with those who do, have come to see the various theories and conceptual models of human experience with which they deal as inarguable truths or gnostic insights that, from within an LDS version of this phenomenon, are virtually co-equal with the gospel in truth value and importance, and the Church as being in need, as with the present race gab-fest over at the MDD, of their enlightened criticism and steadying hand ("Let's apologize and move forward...")
I think you have hit on something important though. While it's implied that the roots of Internet Mormonism are academic, Shades does not flesh this out, and that perhaps is a deficiency in his exposition.
I think the roots of the Internet Mormon message board, chat, social networking, and email list world is the Internet. There are loads of anti-intellectual people on the Internet, as well as plenty of intellectually substantive material and discourse. The Internet increases exposure and facilitates study and dissemination as never before, but before the Internet their were books, and the same people (or kinds of people) were saying the same things back then as they are now.
For example, I was well aware of most of the current topics in anti-Mormon criticism back in the late seventies (save for some of the secular liberal/leftist ones, which hadn't really arisen then, to a great degree) and read as widely as I could on the subjects (especially Nibely). That makes me both a "chapel" Mormon and an intellectual Mormon, but there was no Internet to facilitate the dissemination my or anyone else's ideas.
So the Internet facilitates, but its never created a Chapel/Intenet type of Mormon, which I really think is intended to mean one of the following:
TBM/neo-orthodox/New Order Mormon
And, following upon or in consequence of the above:
Conservative/liberal/progressive Mormon (across most issues, social, cultural, and economic).
Certainly, there is no necessary connection between the internet and Internet Mormonism as it predates the internet itself. But you are wrong to say that the internet has little, if anything to do with the rise of these self-anointed, star-bellied Sneetches.
It does in the sense that they (and I) have real time forums, such as message boards, to disseminate and develop their philosophies at length and in continual tension with opposing philosophies. In that sense, I would have to agree with you.
If it weren't for the internet, the academic Mormonism you speak of would be a smaller, more scattered movement that barely reached the domain of the "folk Mormons."
(Not sure who the "folk Mormons" are) Again, I have no problem with "academic" Mormonism if all you mean by that is "Mormons who are academics" and who do apologetic thinking and work. That's great, and I'm all for it. My problem is that there should even be thought to be a separate caste or class of Mormons called "academic" Mormons at all, a class apart that tends to an assumption that "academic" Mormons, besides knowing much more than the average Mormon about certain specialized subjects (which they most certainly do), also know much more about the proper interpretations of LDS doctrine than the average educated Mormon - including the Brethren themselves - know, which they most certainly may not.
The internet is where average church members began to encounter criticisms of the church based on history with any significant numbers and the internet is where the academic elite have come head-to-head with not only critics, but average members, either to convert them, or to contradict them and use degrees and higher learning as a weapon. If it weren't for the internet, a lone, self-studied student of Mormonism, politics, and history from the south wouldn't be in the situation that you are in now.
Note (hopefully for the last time): I'm not from the South. I was born and raised in Washington State, spent most of my youth in San Diego, several years in Minnesota, Maryland, and ten years in central Florida (which is the South, but very cosmopolitan in nature, unless you get way out into the sticks).
I'm a born and bread westerner, and always will be so.
Now, as I said, the Internet just facilitates. I had the same gospel interests (the Dead Sea Scrolls, Psueodpigrapha, early Christian texts and movements, the history of Christianity, comparative religion, myth and folklore, archeology etc.), long before the Internet came around. The present focus on political philosophy and gospel questions only arose a bit over ten years ago when I first began computing and came online. It really hit hard when I encountered the late Marc Schindler on the old FAIR email list, someone who, despite his substantive apologetic work in certain areas, was what I would call a man of the Chomsky Left. I had been studying and doing nearly continual reading in the areas of politics, political philosophy, and philosophy generally, long before that time, but the intersection between contemporary politics and the gospel, and the infusion of various secular concepts into gospel teachings, were all new to me.
We clashed and clashed hard, and that was the first time I realized that there was a small sub-group of academically trained intellectuals within the Church that had absorbed, and absorbed deeply, in some cases, philosophies severely at odds with gospel teachings. David Bokovoy (who is a far, far nicer person than Bro. Schindler was, at least as he presented himself on line) is another case in point
I'm not trying to be rude here dude, but this situation is a little bit your fault. You should have seen it coming.
No, I did see it coming, but I'm not going to remain silent. For the life of me, however, I actually don't know why I was banned this time, save for my position on the issue per se. I flamed nobody.
Believe me, I am not making the slightest common cause with any critics here. While this is a more open forum, its also a forum where that openness is all too often abused and gamed by demagogues and bigots who's purposes and philosophy are as opposed to mine as I am to "neo-orthodoxy."