The Great Bloggernacle Experiment: Results

This was an interesting experiment and I would like to thank those of you who troubled yourselves to gather data for me. I had hoped for a greater response, but in the end I received data from 7 diverse units of the church and a total sample of 90 testimonies. Even though the units sampled were quite diverse, the unit sample size is small enough that we might suspect that data from additional units could change the results significantly.

What follows is the data collected with graphs to represent the results visually. The interpretation of the results can be discussed in the comments.

You can also view/download the data as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file here.

For background on this experiment see here and here.

Data gathered from testimony meetings on March 6, 2005 in 7 Church Units: 3 in Utah units; 1 west coast unit; 2 east coast units, and 1 unit outside of the U.S.

Age Distribution

12 – 17 18 – 31 32+ Total
11 41 38 90

% 12 – 17 % 18 – 31 % 32+
12.22 45.56 42.22

Gender Distribution

Female Male Total
38 52 90

% Female % Male
42.22 57.78

Overall

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 47 17 26 90
Joseph Smith 20 5 65 90
Book of Mormon 23 4 63 90

% Direct %Oblique % None
52.22 18.89 28.89
22.22 5.56 72.22
25.56 4.44 70

Utah

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 15 5 16 36
Joseph Smith 6 1 29 36
Book of Mormon 6 1 29 36

% Direct %Oblique % None
41.67 13.89 44.44
16.67 2.78 80.56
16.67 2.78 80.56

Outside Utah

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 32 12 10 54
Joseph Smith 14 4 36 54
Book of Mormon 17 3 34 54

% Direct %Oblique % None
59.26 22.22 18.52
25.93 7.41 66.67
31.48 5.56 62.96

USA

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 38 16 25 79
Joseph Smith 14 3 62 79
Book of Mormon 15 3 61 79

% Direct %Oblique % None
48.1 20.25 31.65
17.72 3.8 78.48
18.99 3.8 77.22

Outside USA

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 9 1 1 11
Joseph Smith 6 2 3 11
Book of Mormon 8 1 2 11

% Direct %Oblique % None
81.82 9.09 9.09
54.55 18.18 27.27
72.73 9.09 18.18

Ages 12 – 17

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 2 0 9 11
Joseph Smith 2 1 8 11
Book of Mormon 2 0 9 11

% Direct %Oblique % None
18.18 0 81.82
18.18 9.09 72.73
18.18 0 81.82

Ages 18 – 31

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 25 10 6 41
Joseph Smith 8 2 31 41
Book of Mormon 10 1 30 41

% Direct %Oblique % None
60.98 24.39 14.63
19.51 4.88 75.61
24.39 2.44 73.17

Ages 32+

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 20 7 11 38
Joseph Smith 10 2 26 38
Book of Mormon 11 3 24 38

% Direct %Oblique % None
52.63 18.42 28.95
26.32 5.26 68.42
28.95 7.89 63.16

Female

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 17 7 14 38
Joseph Smith 7 1 30 38
Book of Mormon 9 4 25 38

% Direct %Oblique % None
44.74 18.42 36.84
18.42 2.63 78.95
23.68 10.53 65.79

Male

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 30 10 12 52
Joseph Smith 13 4 35 52
Book of Mormon 14 0 38 52

% Direct %Oblique % None
57.69 19.23 23.08
25 7.69 67.31
26.92 0 73.08

Female 12-17

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 1 0 4 5
Joseph Smith 1 0 4 5
Book of Mormon 1 0 4 5

% Direct %Oblique % None
20 0 80
20 0 80
20 0 80

Male 12-17

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 1 0 5 6
Joseph Smith 1 1 4 6
Book of Mormon 1 0 5 6

% Direct %Oblique % None
16.67 0 83.33
16.67 16.67 66.67
16.67 0 83.33

Female 18-31

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 9 4 3 16
Joseph Smith 2 0 14 16
Book of Mormon 4 1 11 16

% Direct %Oblique % None
56.25 25 18.75
12.5 0 87.5
25 6.25 68.75

Male 18-31

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 16 6 3 25
Joseph Smith 6 2 17 25
Book of Mormon 6 0 19 25

% Direct %Oblique % None
64 24 12
24 8 68
24 0 76

Female 32+

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 7 3 7 17
Joseph Smith 4 1 12 17
Book of Mormon 4 3 10 17

% Direct %Oblique % None
41.18 17.65 41.18
23.53 5.88 70.59
23.53 17.65 58.82

Male 32+

Direct Oblique None Total
Savior 13 4 4 21
Joseph Smith 6 1 14 21
Book of Mormon 7 0 14 21

% Direct %Oblique % None
61.9 19.05 19.05
28.57 4.76 66.67
33.33 0 66.67

15 thoughts on “The Great Bloggernacle Experiment: Results

  1. Holy cow. The whole notion of this cracks me up and intrigues me at the same time.

  2. Interesting initial note: it seems the farther you get from Utah the more people testify directly about the Savior. Although it appears we only have a single congregation as our outside US sample and it could easily be an outlier.

  3. I should note that most of those that submitted data indicated that their testimony meetings were wonderful and spiritual, even if the members didn’t testify directly of the three things we were measuring. At least two people mentioned that reference to the Father and returning to live with Him was frequent.

    As for the youth, one young man’s testimony didn’t mention the Savior, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon at all, but he bore his testimony of a scripture in the Book of Acts and about his excitement to serve the Lord as a Missionary when he comes of age.

    Nevertheless, President Hinckley has said that “our job is to make bad men good and good men better” and I see this experiment in a similar light.

    The object of this experiment is to make poor testimonies good and good testimonies better. The results we have here can encourage us to bear more specific testimony of Savior, of Joseph Smith, and of The Book of Mormon. If I were bringing a non-LDS friend to church with me on Fast Sunday, these are the things in particular that I would hope she would hear the members testify of.

  4. I’m with that kid. I love the Book of Acts, and I would have loved to have heard his testimony. “I can’t wait to get out there and battle those gnostic heresies!”

    In all seriousness, I spent a lot of time reading Acts when I was a missionary.

  5. I think the sample size and spread is a tad too small to draw much from it. Do it over several Sundays and then I’ll start to take notice. (Not a criticism of the efforts – merely a caution about the meaning)

  6. I had hoped for more participation and a better sample size. I think if the experiment is repeated too often it will detract too much from the meeting and the testimonies. I would like to try it a few more times however, just to get a bigger sample over several months etc. The problem is getting participants for the next time.

  7. “Holy cow. The whole notion of this cracks me up and intrigues me at the same time.”

    We don’t have the results from India.

  8. I felt prompted to take notes on the testimonies last Sunday, and assumed that it was because I think that the testimonies in this part of the world (the Philippines) are usually very focused and spiritual, and I wanted to verify my subjective assessment with actual data.

    Although I agree that frequent note-taking would probably detract from the meeting, taking notes last Sunday enabled me to share my experience in more detail with a family member who missed the meeting because of illness. (It also gave me an excuse in case anyone asked what I was doing!) I didn’t use the form during the meeting, but just jotted down the main points (along with some actual quotes) of each testimony, along with a notation of age & sex of the speaker.

    One of the testimonies of the Savior was so powerful that I will write it up in my journal and send it to my extended family. So the prompting to take notes served yet a third purpose, because those notes help me remember interesting details which I would otherwise most certainly have forgotten.

    Thanks for your original post, as well as for the interesting analysis of the data, Jonathan. In this experiment, just as in many other events, the ripple effect may bring to pass even more good things than you anticipated!

  9. I participated. Many of the testimonies mention Heavenly Father a lot. Why wasn’t reference to Heavenly Father included?
    Younger members, with less experience and knowledge, may not understand Christ’s role and his atonement…..I’m still learning. Also, it can be confusing. Who is responsible for the miracles in our life. We thank our Heavenly Father for blessings. But if we want to say that we feel the power of God/Christ/the Holy Ghost in our lives due to answers to prayers, blessings, feelings of comfort, strength, forgiveness, it is understandable that one person might phrase it refering to the Holy Ghost, one might use Christ and one might use Heavenly Father.
    Participating in this did not make me more critical. In fact, it made me see value in each testimony. Everyone who got up there in Sacrament Meeting (and in Relief Society later) is learning and trying to grow their seed of faith. We should appreciate the honor of hearing what they are trying to share. There were those who were intelligent, educated, and experienced public speakers. There was an 11 year old child with Down Syndrome who so sweetly participates even though we don’t understand a word. There was an older woman who suffered a stroke years ago and whose language is severely compromised. There were a few whose problems/issues/ limitations are not known to me.
    We should continue to teach members what testimony meetings are for, but never judge a testimony shared as unworthy.

  10. I was unable to download the form (lousy dial-up), and so did not know this was also tracking Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. In this little outpost in New Mexico, of the 10 non-primary testimonies 6 had direct references to the Savior, 3 had indirect references, and only 1 had none. That was a new father, grateful for his “surprise” new baby (8 years after the last one)

  11. “‘Holy cow. The whole notion of this cracks me up and intrigues me at the same time.’

    We don’t have the results from India. “

    LOL.

  12. Our new bishopric has been pushing a more Christ-centered sacrament meeting since the beginning of the year. I thought of you all today as our talks were: “Why the Sacrament is Important” (youth speaker,) “Pray Always,” and “Making Sacrament Meeting More Worshipful.” It made me wonder if my bishop has been reading this blog.

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