The State of “Orthodox” Mormon Blogging

hands-computer-828898-galleryEven before the official founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Mormonism has been using the most up to date communication technologies to spread the gospel. A particular viewpoint has been the incredulity that a highly successful new religious tradition started in the days of the printing press. Even more amazing is that it was printing, especially in the form of a new Holy Book called The Book of Mormon that contributed to its development. This was followed by newspapers and pamphlets that contained apologetics, sermons, information for the scattered members, and even new revelations. It was an amazing achievement of audacity and organization. The same can be said about its embrace of radio and television when they became widely available.

Modern times continues forward progress with the Internet, and the LDS Church is still utilizing the most advanced methods of communication in existence. It was one of the first religious organizations to develop a fully functional web site dedicated to connecting with members and spreading its teachings. This has been recognized with some regularity by those who pay attention to such things. Despite the belief that the Internet has been eroding the faith of Mormons, factual studies have shown that the LDS Church is still growing and retains more of its membership after young adulthood than most other religions. More can be done, but that is up to individuals who have been commanded since President David O. McKay that every member should be a missionary.

when I first started blogging ten years ago, my main concern was that very few “orthodox” members had a website worthy of reading. My own Straight and Narrow Blog, now a clearing house of my posts from other sources, had a mission statement goal to be a conservative voice among a large and loud liberal “un-orthodox” bloggernacle. I had hoped to be an example to start a trend for better and more thoughtful defenders of the traditional faith views. Comparing that time to today, there has been improvements in “orthodox” Mormon blogging. Unfortunately, the majority come from those who found one another and not to a lot of growth in blog numbers. Keeping up a blog is hard and too many come and go that could have survived if given support, even though other factors do contribute. Perhaps after ten years the idea of a strong, influential, and vibrant conservative “orthodox” blogging community is of limited possibility.

Certainly the leadership of the LDS Church sees the potential of the Internet to allow the faithful to spread the Gospel in the spirit of every member a missionary. Just last year Elder David A. Bednar talked about Internet usage at a BYU Campus Education devotional:

The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work.

Members have followed this guidance, but not enough to make the impact possible with a greater involvement. This is not even a new message. A similar set of thoughts was expressed by Elder M. Russell Ballard in December 2007 at BYU-Hawaii:

Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. This, of course, requires that you understand the basic principles of the gospel. It is essential that you are able to offer a clear and correct witness of gospel truths. It is also important that you and the people to whom you testify understand that you do not speak for the Church as a whole. You speak as one member—but you testify of the truths you have come to know.

Perhaps most conservative or “orthodox” Mormons like to live rather than talk. Conservatives of all stripes are not known for erudite expansion of their thoughts and ideas. This has given the liberals, who do love to talk, plenty of false ammunition that conservatives don’t think. The truth is that conservatives believe in doing rather than saying. They don’t do much writing, they don’t do much active protesting (although that has slowly changed), and they don’t do nearly as much navel gazing. What they do tend to do is act on their thoughts and ideas because the thoughts are secondary to actively achieving. Thus, I believe, to blog is not something that “orthodox” Mormons really appreciate. Instead they go to Church, read Scriptures, home and visit teach, work to earn a living, raise children, and basically live the teachings of the LDS Church rather than discuss them.

If the general “orthodox” Mormon doesn’t care for blogging, they won’t write blogs. Sadly, this quiets the voices that reflect the mainstream of active Mormonism. For instance, at a familiar group blog the question was asked what books would be used to introduce Mormonism to outsiders for a better understanding of the faith? The list contained obscure history books with little value to an actual representation of mainstream Mormonism. To be sure, some of them were good for those who are already familiar with Mormon readings of history. However, none of them capture the heart and spirit of every-day Mormon followers who live the religion. The point is that what is representative of a particular brand of Mormonism (the self-satisfied, over educated, and usually less Church active Internet participants), is not what actually exists in the same numbers in the real world. Despite a few discussions that an “orthodox” Mormon might appreciate, a large portion of blog posts are less-than-faithful and full of murmuring. This is hardly what the Elders quoted above mean by spreading the Gospel on the Internet or defend the faith against false and maligning influences. If anything, they contribute to the harmful effects of spiritual and moral degradation.

Any who are reading this and fearful of putting their toe into the water, the blog world can be seen as a fulfilment of some “orthodox” Mormon activities. The first as already mentioned is missionary work where the word is spread to those who are not members of the Church. Unlike door knocking, people have to find you rather than you find them. Still, it is better to try than ignore using a gift the Lord has given for greater access to those outside the usual social spheres. The second and most often used by “orthodox” members is as a way to keep a diary. This has its own problems with privacy concerns and lost data if wanting to keep for posterity. This can be overcome if the poster is prudent in what they decided to write, mostly keeping to general insights and observations. Always back up and print out any or all posts of importance. Expand intimate details only with private writings that few will read. Consider the difference between newsprint and letters to the editor over paper journals. What is said online goes to everybody. That can be a good opportunity with practice and confidence.

For those of us more “orthodox” who already Facebook, Twitter, and especially blog there is nothing new needing to be done other than continue. The next goal could be to take these quotes from Apostles and recruit more of our faithful brothers and sisters to participate. Take them under wing and guide them through the rough areas and mine fields of spiritual dangers until they too can become a force for good to add to the small conservative voices of LDS Church supporters. Make it a habit when finding a truly faithful online presence to leave encouraging words. Small in number might always be the situation, but much can still be done.

40 thoughts on “The State of “Orthodox” Mormon Blogging

  1. Yes!! I absolutely agree. Orthodox Mormons are busy just living! I began blogging for the same reasons around five years ago. I was embarrassed for outsiders to see what Mormons were writing because that was not how I felt or most of the Mormons I knew. I don’t really have time to blog now since I have four kids and no one naps and they’re not all in school. Maybe next year.

  2. its very hard to be a faithful but unique voice. First of all we are commanded to be one and if we are not one ye are not mine. So our voices tend to blend together and we find what we say to be the same thing that has been said. This may not be interesting.

    When one does experience revelation and insight that may be unique, one is concerned about one’s ego and the presumption that one can speak to or for all. I haven’t found all the video profiles of Mormons that the church produces to be that edifying. There sometimes seems to be an emphasis on the ego or the accomplishments rather than the oneness. I wonder if these messages send the right signal and when we try to establish a unique identity or voice I think that we run some risk.

    It strikes me that some of the risk is that we start to take ourselves too seriously. M* has done a good job but some of the other blogs seem less faithful and more smug every time I visit.

  3. I am not particularly impressed with the Mormon profiles either. To me they don’t come out as very spiritual compared to what they could be if focused on what Mormonism does for those who live its teachings. The only one I liked was Lindsey Sterling who shared person struggles and how faith helped her overcome difficulties. Hers should be a comparative template.

  4. I think Al Miller makes a good point. Having a “unique” voice is often viewed as inherently unorthodox. Elder Ballard mentioned a common understanding of what orthodox communication should be: linking to church-produced media or sharing church-produced memes. When I mentioned to a friend a little bit ago that I was starting to pay attention to online blogs discussing Mormon issues, she very clearly stated that such things were dangerous for testimonies. Blogs already have a bad rep among orthodox members, apparently.

  5. The profiles aren’t meant to be uplifting by just show you different types of people who happen to be Mormon. If anything bothers me about the profiles it’s in the bloggernacle types who look too much into the profiles as some kind of messaging as to what we should become to the church.

    It’s really just, here are some cool people who are Mormon, and look they’re not Amish or Polygamist like you thought…

    I do agree some followup campaigns that were more spiritual that touched your heart with faith in the midst of the human condition would be more authentic to us as members. But the perception the ads were trying to correct was that we’re kooks. It’s done that job I’d think right?

  6. The thing to remember about the video profiles for I’m a Mormon is that they aren’t a proselytizing campaign; they’re a brand image/PR campaign. The latter, if done effectively, provides opportunities for the former over the long haul. In that regard, I think the “I’m a Mormon” campaign has made some modest headway in the “Mormons, as people, aren’t really THAT weird” department. Might not earn us many converts; but it could make the difference in forestalling a mob or nixing a proposed punitive government measure at a critical moment.

    IIRC, anyone with an account can set up their own “I’m a Mormon” profile which will be hosted uncensored on the Church’s site. That gives each Mormon an opportunity to use his/her own discretion to strike the PR/proselytizing balance (s)he deems best, and have the result supported by the power of the Church’s SEO.

  7. I follow several blogs I would categorize as orthodox but they were started before the talks by Elders Ballard and Bednar gave emphasis to the practice. I have a number of Facebook friends who have long made it a practice to provide occasional links to LDS inspirational material ranging from Conference memes to full talks. When blogging is perceived as being another duty on a long list, it risks the production of mediocre material. I feel my time is usually better spent leaving comments on the blogs I follow instead of trying to invest a lot of time and energy on my own blog which is justifiably obscure. As for the “I’m a Mormon” profiles, I find many of them interesting and sometimes inspiring. It is particularly fun to discover the profile of someone I know because I usually discover something new about them.

  8. For me it isn’t even about having a unique voice. A person can be Orthodox, believing, faithful member, but because the are an individual their voice will be unique because they will speak to what is important to them, their process, and experience.

    For me the challenge has come in deciding what I want my singular focus to be. For those that are the more whining, murmuring type blogs, it is easier because their specific point of contention, and that becomes the focus of the blog.

    I KNOW that I am supposed to be blogging. I received that inspiration and I got to work quickly. But then life happened I let it slip, and now I am in a place where I really NEED to start writing again, but I find that my focus has drifted to other topics and areas. Of course this isn’t a bad thing, but I now am asking myself should I just completely change the focus of my original blog (I don’t really want to because I think there is a great deal of value there and it is something I am passionate about) Do I try to start a 2nd blog, to focus on this new area of importance that my heart is calling me to (but can I realistically maintain 2 blogs with any kind of regularity?) Or do I just let the 2nd idea go since I believe in the first and that was what I was originally inspired to do? (I don’t like that either, because I find myself on other blogs posting comments that are a mile long because they strike a cord with me in this new area)

    I say all of this because I don’t think for many it is simply because they see the negativity or they are so busy living. While the above are my unique questions that I have been actively praying on, the theme of “But God, what am I supposed to say?” Is I think probably very common among the Orthodox Saints. At least I hope I am not the only one. LOL

  9. I started my conservative, orthodox LDS blog at in October 2003. I’ve long since retired the domain, but it’s well preserved at

    I certainly grew tired of what felt like swimming upstream against the ‘loud liberal’ voices that tend to dominate the bloggernacle. Some of the bigger group blogs seemed to be more a voice for ‘common dissent’ than anything else.

    Since that time I’ve moved on and don’t pay any attention to any of the big blogs other than MStar, which I welcome for its conservative voice. Thanks for the good work that you do.

  10. I am fairly new to this ‘bloggernacle’ world and have been surprised and disappointed at the content of most of these so-called ‘Mormon’ blogs. They seem to be more anti-mormon than anything (this site being one of the positive exceptions). Seems they are mostly just a place for the disaffected to congregate and feed off each other. I think most of us that honestly practice the gospel as we see it get the support and enrichment we need from worshipping at church and serving others. Those other “mormon” bloggers don’t get the same support for their ideas at church (if they even go) and the internet is the place they can go for their own kind of fellowhipping.

  11. There seems to be a set of assumptions that “liberal bloggers” are not active, not committed members of the church, and are bordering on the anti-Mormon fringe. Certainly, there are some that fit that description, but the bulk of the bloggers that I personally know at sites like BCC or Times & Seasons, just to mention a couple, are indeed active members, holding ward and stake positions, and would fiercely defend their testimonies of the core tenets of Mormonism, ie temple activity, the atonement, the need to serve others, etc. The difference would seem to be that both conservative and liberal bloggers tend to be lumped that way due to their political leanings, and neither liberal nor conservative bloggers would seem to think it inappropriate to infuse their political ideas with basic gospel principles they pull from their faith.

    Let’s not be too hasty to stereotype each other, when all of us are looking to the same eternal goals. And for every John Dehlin type, there is a corresponding Denver Snuffer type. We are all fellow-citizens with the saints, and need to remember that.

  12. I think that HarveyP was using conservative to mean orthodox and liberal to mean heterodox. I don’t see where politics was mentioned.

  13. Al, I don’t see that I would call the “liberal” blogs I am familiar with as “heterodox,” and M* as “orthodox.” If you are orthodox here, then that appears to be a self definition. What orthodox doctrines do you believe here that the liberal blogs do not? I submit that most of the positions that differ are not so much theological as political or cultural in nature.

  14. And since defining our theology has been described as like trying to nail jello to the wall, then I submit that the orthodox doctrines would most easily be defined as the answers to the questions on the temple recommend. Fair enough?

  15. I guess I was just making an observation, I don’t like to confuse politics and liberal/conservative with the gospel. I think they are separate things. I don’t think God is Republican or Democrat or Liberal or Conservative, the only thing that matters to him is right vs. wrong. And either side has elements of both. The main point I was trying to get at is that most of the self proclaimed Mormon blogs tend to criticize the church and its leaders rather than uplift. I rarely leave those sites having been spiritually uplifted. Quite the opposite

  16. Excellent post. I wish there were more faithful LDS bloggers out there. Not ones that just use their own version of yellow journalism to sensationalize and bring in readers. I’ve stopped looking at most of the blogs that are in the bloggernacle because they’ve become so toxic and full of self-congratulatory complaining and dissent. Of course they and their defenders will always say that they know them and they are “active” but when their words present an entirely different picture, who are we to believe?

    Hurrah for those orthodox and faithful bloggers who continue to get the goodness out there and say it like it is. We need more of you, so if you’re reading this and think you might consider a blog, do it. You’re needed.

  17. “The main point I was trying to get at is that most of the self proclaimed Mormon blogs tend to criticize the church and its leaders rather than uplift.”

    This is where I define the difference between orthodox/conservative and heterodox/liberal blogs. The liberal and conservative political seem to overlap with those who are less supportive and more supportive of the LDS leadership and “status quo” of traditional theological and moral understandings. Denver Snuffer for the record was never supported by conservatives, while liberals found his attack against the LDS Church leadership of worthy praise. They agreed with his larger issues if not the details. In that sense, he was not orthodox.

  18. jettboy,

    I agree with you on several points. You are right that there is a strong negative tone in the Bloggernacle. I also, agree with you that there is a need for more substantive posts that support the tenets of the Church and praise its positive effects.

    I don’t know that the picture holds that the reason orthodox Mormons don’t blog is because they live, rather than talk, and that liberals or heterodox Mormons blog because they “love to talk”. Below is a quote from the post.

    “Perhaps most conservative or “orthodox” Mormons like to live rather than talk. Conservatives of all stripes are not known for erudite expansion of their thoughts and ideas. This has given the liberals, who do love to talk, plenty of false ammunition that conservatives don’t think. The truth is that conservatives believe in doing rather than saying”

    I think that both believe in doing and they both like to talk, because they are both people. They just have different circumstances to deal with.

    I think the story is more likely that all people, orthodox and heterodox Mormons included, seek places to communicate and dialogue about subjects that are important/concerning to them in a “safe” environment, with their community. The great advantage that an orthodox Mormon has is they already have a community that is “safe” – their ward. If an orthodox Mormon expresses their orthodox views at church what happens? The majority agrees because their view conforms and supports the belief system. Now, what happens if a heterodox Mormon expresses their heterodox views at church? Potentially shame, correction, and disregard. At the end of the day, the orthodox member is fulfilled as he/she receives positive feedback from their community, while the heterodox member is silent or feels an outsider.

    As I look at the Bloggernacle, it seems obvious to me that it is the way it is. There is a need being filled. People are expressing themselves, mostly in heterodox ways. Discussions are being had in a “safe” place.

    I hope that the Bloggernacle will become a place where the conversations, ideas, expressions that are not deemed appropriate at Church, but are useful are shared. I am not talking just about heterodox views, but orthodox views in greater detail and understanding. Basically, I want it to be a place that one could explore different views, challenge his own views, and strengthen belief and understanding.

  19. When I first started blogging I probably would have considered myself “orthodox”, and I was happy. Looking back now I can admit that I was a little naive. My worldview was mostly what was presented to me from the Church.

    The same thing that got me interested in blogging–discussing ideas–led to me being exposed to more and more ideas. I gained quite an education. Sometimes the truth wasn’t welcome. Sometimes it was uncomfortable. I had to make a choice whether to ignore it, run from it, or embrace it. I decided to embrace the truth–not just the convenient truth–but even the uncomfortable truths.

    I try to be respectful and loving of those in my family and circle of friends who still consider themselves “orthodox”, but unfortunately all too often they see me as dangerous and it’s easier to dismiss me and marginalize me than to embrace me and love me despite my heterodoxy.

    It’s been an interesting journey. I’m convinced that we’re all well intentioned and committed to truth as we understand it, but even objective truth is evaluated subjectively. Thus, while I used to fall in the “Iron Rod” Mormon camp, I now find myself in the “Liahona Mormon” camp.

    Yet, the real work is still the same. We’re to love one another as Jesus did/does. I’m still a work in progress but I’m still committed to the principles of respect and love. And I’ve come to value diversity and disagreement because that makes life more interesting. We can still be one on the fundamentals. But the fundamentals have shrunk in my view.

  20. I really hope we can avoid generalizations in this discussion. To say that “liberal” Mormons love to talk and “orthodox” Mormons love to do is a statement that is baseless. I think we need all types of Mormon voices out there. While not every voice will resonate with every audience, exploring our religion is important for each one of us.

  21. I think there is a huge difference between exploring religion and criticizing its beliefs and LDS leadership. Although for the record my comment about conservatives “doing” and liberals “talking” is my own belief about what happens, it isn’t baseless. Life long observations have shown this to be a probability. That said, Clean Cut’s transformation was for me very sad to watch. His blog went from very interesting and thought provoking to disrespectful of the Lord’s anointed and gospel based morality, replaced by worldly concepts of truth-so-called. If anything its proof there needs to be more and stronger orthodox presence to help members avoid these kinds of transformations.

  22. I guess your response goes to show how subjective and differently we all view things based on our lenses. You felt my faith transition was sad. I prefer to celebrate it.

    I’ve grown up. What was once a child-like relationship to the Church has matured into an adult-like relationship to the Church.

    On my blog I’ve done a lot of sorting out of issues of prophetic fallibility versus infallibility. I’m sad you see this as “criticizing LDS leadership”. I still see myself as sustaining them, but apparently you have a different understanding of what sustaining means. My views align with this:

  23. Clean Cut, I think you should read M* comment policy. I think what you say in your link about the leadership is on the edge of what is allowed. To be more precise, the implications and follow up comments in your link are on the edge of the policy:

    “Posters who wish to debate or argue those foundational teachings should seek one of the other forums available for such discussions. Comments that denigrate the Church or insult its leaders are not welcome.”

    When someone sets out to criticise the LDS leadership, no matter how much we think are in the right, then they have started on the path to apostasy.

  24. I’m stunned that anything I’ve said here is close to a violation of a comment policy. I’ll definitely check it out.

    I’ve had a few animated discussions in the past with people who hold a different view, but I’ve ALWAYS desired to be respectful.

    You seem to imply I’ve changed gospel truth and morality for more of a moral relativity. I think this discussion has to be framed with what we except as “truth”.

    I used to view the Church as reservoir of “truth”. There’s an oft repeated phrase “the church is perfect but the people aren’t”. The most I can say now is that the pure gospel of Jesus may be perfect, but the church is made up entirely of human beings and therefore is far from perfect.

    I might have shouted for joy when I heard President Uchtdorf say in general conference that “to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine. I suppose the Church *would* be perfect only *if* it were run by perfect beings….but He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.”

    In my mind, I’m allowing for some perfect objective gospel truth out there somewhere known only to God but only known to us only through faith. I openly acknowledge that even objective truth is always evaluated subjectively.

    This gets right at the heart of the social construct theory of reality that sociologist Armand Mauss wrote about in his memoir:

    “Therefore, if we embrace any reality as “objective,” existing independently of human invention, of the kind claimed in religions like Catholicism or Mormonism, then we do so on faith, as a matter of choice. Operationally speaking, the only reality we “know” is that which has been constructed by our families and passed along to us as part of our cultural heritage. In this way of looking at reality, it is easy to see how different claims to truth are embraced as ontological realities, not only in religion but also in science, in politics, and in many other fields of human knowledge. Where religion was concerned, at least in my case, it became increasingly obvious that if I were to continue as an active believer in the LDS faith, it would be mainly a matter of choosing to embrace a certain construction of reality, not the result of a meticulous process of testing and proving incontrovertible claims about the supernatural…”

  25. I would also suggest you read some more M* posts. One gets the idea that you are trying to preach your brand of gospel and not actually discuss the post.

  26. Jettboy,

    We have a lot of common ground. We both are looking for blogs and general internet use by Mormons to be more focused on constructive topics and sharing the good news.

    I just think that the use of the terms orthodox and liberal/heterodox seem to be missing your point. It seems that you are calling out those that are attacking the Church and its representatives, not necessarily those that are sharing what they feel and have learned that diverges from or is outside of orthodox LDS teachings. At the same time you are encouraging faith promoting posts.

    We must realize that unless we make room for ideas that are different from our own or have more depth than our own, we will never grow. Thus, the more orthodox have something to learn from the more heterodox and vice versa.

  27. I think that’s a great comment, Matt.

    And by the way, jettboy, I certainly do not intend to “preach” or to hijack your post. I admit to being long-winded and once I get going discussing thoughts it’s hard to stop. But I do not mean to force myself onto anyone. I read the comment policy and I fully intend to respect that and never intended to give the opposite impression.

    I too feel like I’m committed to “constructive topics and sharing the good news”, but I also see that depending on where each is at in their faith and depending on their particular set of lenses, what can seem constructive to me may be viewed as negative by another. My wife and I provide a perfect case study. She thinks there’s been a lot of negative posts about excommunication lately. For me, it’s excommunication itself that’s negative and some posts I’ve seen and read have tried to constructively address the issue rather than ignore it or pretend it doesn’t matter. The gospel is the good news and it brings me peace and joy. But I separate the church and the gospel. Sometimes I’m frustrated at church and I write to make sense of my thoughts and feelings, but I see myself as faithful to the gospel truth that I’ve received.

  28. “For me, it’s excommunication itself that’s negative and some posts I’ve seen and read have tried to constructively address the issue rather than ignore it or pretend it doesn’t matter.”

    And therein is the problem. Excommunication is, and has been by modern revelation and all Scriptural evidence, a holy and necessary part of the gospel. To speak out against it because of some notion of modernity is to both deny an action often demanded by God and question the right of the divinely called LDS leadership to act in their positions of authority. It is to place yourself as judge and jury when God has put you in no such position. You become an usurper prophet, if you see yourself as that or not.

  29. Orthodox Mormons and Godbeites like the BCC crowd both believe in the prophets and both believe that the prophets aren’t perfect.

    The difference is that the Godbeites take the prophets being in error as their article of faith and treat the prophets being right as an exception to the rule, and orthodox Mormons do it the other way around.

    On most major issues of controversy, like same-sex marriage and women’s ordination to name a few, the Godbeites have been on the other side.

  30. Oh, I don’t want to be misunderstood. I do indeed see that excommunication has a place. I also see (and am glad) I’m not the judge of any particular case.

    When I wrote with Elder Christofferson in mind, I acknowledged “expressed great confidence in bishops and stake presidents who attempt to judge worthiness and qualification to participate in the ordinances and sacraments of the Church. We do indeed have many great bishops and stake presidents. But I confess, for me it’s hard to think them capable of judging matters of eternal importance when I believe only God is capable of being the perfect judge. Some mortal judges are much better equipped than others. Therefore, Elder Christofferson, I’m not sure I place the same degree of confidence in authorities as you seem to. I’ve witnessed too much ecclesiastical roulette to have unshaken confidence in ecclesiastical leaders…I don’t personally ever expect to have to face church discipline, because my heart’s in the right place, and to my knowledge I haven’t said or done anything wrong. If I have, I’d be happy to be corrected. Yet the possibility, under the current system, exists. So even if I were the one conducting any formal or informal discipline, I would do so with great uneasiness and want to error on the side of charity and tolerance and inclusivity.”

  31. “But I confess, for me it’s hard to think them capable of judging matters of eternal importance when I believe only God is capable of being the perfect judge.”

    Clean Cut, but this is exactly the point. God is the perfect judge but somebody needs to carry out His judgement, at least when it has to do with Church membership, here on the Earth. He has given the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the authority to carry out the judgement of who should belong to the Church and who shouldn’t. The Brethren appoint the judges (meaning the stake presidents and bishops). The system is expressly instituted by God to deal with such issues. If you don’t believe in the system then you do not believe in the Church, and my advice to you would be to find the faith to believe in the Church.

    A reminder: this is a site for believing Mormons, who DO believe in the Church. If your purpose is raise your doubts about the Church on this web site, then I will have to ask you to take your doubts to another web site. Thanks for understanding.

  32. “Sometimes the truth wasn’t welcome. Sometimes it was uncomfortable. I had to make a choice whether to ignore it, run from it, or embrace it. I decided to embrace the truth–not just the convenient truth–but even the uncomfortable truths.”

    This is the perspective, the attitude, that is interesting to me.

    This is a false trichotomy of choices. Why? Because it assumes that the “truth” was uncovered through study of temporal sources. Temporal “truth” is ephemeral. In actuality, the “truth” itself isn’t what it seemed to be. A fourth choice is to wait for the “truth” of men to gel, to set hard. Yes, ignore it, but not out of the fear or “ignorance” implicit in the statement, ignore it because it is unripe. An earlier commenter said that trying to decide what is the doctrine is like nailing Jello to the wall. The orthodox don’t have a problem nailing doctrine to the wall. For us it sticks.
    This morning I read from “Liberalis,” the quarterly newsmagazine distributed to graduates of USU’s liberal arts program, that a couple of researchers at USU used a new method to date the rock paintings attributed to the Fremont peoples, and have determined that they are much, much younger than previously supposed. And their example and reasoning is very compelling. Are they right? Will future methods show the errantry or merely imprecision of their method?

    I only use this example to show that reliance on any science or study of history to show the weakness or outright fallacy in our religious underpinnings is unwise, and leads to the false choice indicated above. Many of us have encountered the same uncomfortable “truths” and arrive at a very different set of choices (not conclusions–no, we hold that in abeyance) and it is not because we haven’t grown up yet, or opened our minds, or our eyes.

  33. CleanCut,

    “I’ve grown up. What was once a child-like relationship to the Church has matured into an adult-like relationship to the Church.”

    I think this is where you rub the TBM’s a little wrong. On one interpretation, you’re calling anybody who isn’t heterodox like you, naive and immature. On another interpretation, we are never supposed to cease being like a child when it comes to the direction that the Lord gives us through His prophets. I don’t see a third interpretation that avoids being apostate or condescending.

    You say that you do sustain the church leaders, but it hardly seems the case that you sustain them as YOUR leaders. Any attempt to redefine words for the sake of faithful appearances seems pretty suspect.

    Of course, I do not know or care how worthy you are in real life. I’m merely pushing back on some of the things you have said, things that definitely seem aimed at subverting the church at some level.

  34. I would like to just add to this conversation that I think if/when the definition of “bloggernacle” could be expanded, we’d see that there are a LOT of orthodox members out there blogging…they just aren’t blogging about or to bloggernacle topics or in ways that would draw attention in what we call the bloggernacle. I continue to be amazed at how many uplifting family/mommy blogs are out there, for example. They don’t get the kind of traffic and attention that those found on aggregators do, but nonetheless, they are out there. I am reminded of Elder Ballard’s comments on having an audience of one, and having that be right along the lines of what the Lord approves of.

    “While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.”

    …And one blog at a time, I think.

    p.s. I wonder if/how we could help such small blogs to get more exposure….

  35. I’ve been distracted doing things I get paid or have been elected to do, so I am late to this post.

    “its very hard to be a faithful but unique voice”

    LOL. This must be why everyone who is faithful (like me) says and thinks exactly what I say and think. Not. There is infinite beauty in each individual, even when these individuals share many of the same characteristics. Think of the beauty of a single long-stemmed red rose, even though long-stemmed red roses as a class are fairly uniform.

    Now, if one presumes that the only thoughts possible to the faithful are the thoughts that have been placed there by leaders, then I might grant this point. But in no sense has Mormonism ever required that adherents merely parrot back what they have been taught. We are encouraged to each be a prophet for our own stewardship, to each aspire to a future where we can be Gods and Priests (male and female).

    Do I want to know what such glorious beings think? Absolutely!

    “I’m convinced that we’re all well intentioned and committed to truth as we understand it, but even objective truth is evaluated subjectively. Thus, while I used to fall in the “Iron Rod” Mormon camp, I now find myself in the “Liahona Mormon” camp.”

    Clean Cut, your schema is showing. I am fascinated by the concept of schema, wherein one’s concept of the world not only filters current and future experiences, but also alters one’s memory of the past.

    You may be choosing between the Iron Rod and the Liahona, but for me and mine, we embrace the Urim and Thummim (it appears these displaced the Liahona when they were found). So when the Urim and Thummim (e.g., God the Father, the Son, and the Spirit) advise me to cling to the rod, I do so. When they advise me to hare off into the wilderness following the still small voice, I do so. And thus I transcend both the Liahona and the Iron Rod, and find myself following God in all things.

    You appear to have been introduced to the “truth” writ by those whose teeth are set on edge. May I suggest you read my Faithful Joseph posts? You are surrounded by the faithful who have ignored facts, and think your version of fact is therefore valid. However I challenge you to read my treatment of the facts and retain without qualm your view of a deeply flawed Joseph and all the rest that “heterodox” folks embrace.

    In my view, the fundamentals have not shrunk at all, but are expanded in surprising and poignant ways that lead me to treasure my spiritual forebears.

  36. Jettboy, maybe even something simple like highlighting personal blogs we run into could be a start?

    Mormon Mommy Bloggers has a list of many different types of blogs. Maybe a list could be shared or started in other places as well?

    There are so many out there that sometimes I feel overwhelmed. 🙂

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