I've got enough self-esteem that I'm going to open myself up and publicly acknowledge that reading some of the comments directed towards Will Schryver in this forum caused me to literally shed a tear.
I feel bad that my public comments have led to more public demonization of Will Schryver. I do not agree with his rhetoric, nor the way he labels non-traditional believers, and Will has wounded me personally on more than one occasion. But Will Schryver is not an evil person. He is deeply committed to his religious beliefs and holds a strong desire to defend Mormonism publicly. I admire him for those qualities.
I'm going to share what I posted on a thread I started on" Kindness in LDS Apologetics" at the other board so that my feelings can be known here:
We as believers hold the greater responsibility to respond to critics with kindness. Many critics posting in these forums are former believers, experiencing considerable pain. They feel hurt over the fact that they believe they have been deceived, and that they have wasted major portions of their lives living a lie. Many of them feel pain over the fact that their disbelief has caused problems in their relationships with spouses, parents, friends, children, etc. Some have experienced painful divorces and loss of jobs.
Hence, when given an opportunity to vent as an anonymous poster in a public forum, these people are going to express condescending remarks about matters that we as believers hold sacred. Given my love for the Prophet Joseph, and this Church, I'll admit that I have a hard time reading many of these attacks (there are some forums that I simply choose to avoid). Given these facts, perhaps those of us who cannot respond with kindness to non-believers should either avoid reading their posts, or at least avoid posting responses to their attacks and/or questions.
Not only do attack-centered apologetics fail to convince critics to join our ranks, but I'm quite confident that they leave a bad taste regarding Mormonism in the mouth of the casual observer who happens to land upon an LDS forum.
From my perspective, Will's wit and passion make it very difficult for him to interact with non-believers in these public forums. This does not make him an evil person. It makes him a fallible human being who cares deeply about his religious convictions, and as such, I would ask that he be given a little bit more compassion.
Due to my own passions, I get a little bit riled up on occasion myself, so I do not hold any grudges against Will and would ask that all of us who participate in these forums try to remember that whether they are believers and/or critics, these are real people behind these posts, with real feelings, and real life stories; people that no matter what our perspective, deserve our respect.
I have learned a lot over the years from many of the critics in this forum and consider many of you my good online friends. As a believer, please know that I don't care
if any of you ever come back to Church, I still care about you people and sincerely hope for your long term happiness and peace.
It may not come across that way sometimes to you, but Will is a good person, and I truly care about his long-term happiness as well.