I was asked by a BYU public relations research student on behalf of the More Good Foundation to explain why I blog on LDS topics. I have been thinking about the answers I provided and thought they might be helpful for others to share them here. I want to encourage members of the church to add their voice to the community, especially if you are thinking about a solo blog.
I began my blog last year in an effort to provide commentary on the news and political events from an LDS perspective. My original intent was to comment on the attention the church has been receiving because of Mitt Romney. It bothered me to see so many pundits online spouting stuff about what we believe when they really had no idea, or were sadly mistaken in their views.
My blog has now evolved into a vehicle for essays on various doctrinal issues that trouble some people. It changed when Elder Ballard invited the members of the church to be more active in the new media. I wonder if he wasn’t thinking of all the garbage that we read in the comments on just about every story related to the church on the Deseret News or now on Mormon Times.
How and when I blog
Depending on my work load, I write three or four essays a week, early in the morning or late at night. Some essays are difficult and can take several hours of research, while others I may ponder for days. I decide which topics to write about based on comments from others on my blog or other LDS sites. I also blog specifically to motivate me to study the gospel each day.
I read a lot of what other LDS bloggers are writing about, especially those who address the doctrine. I also read some of the more popular anti-Mormon or Ex-Mormon sites to find the troubling issues. It has been a lot of fun to answer some of their objections, even if only for myself. I did not really expect to get as many people reading or commenting as I have already.
I also think I have a somewhat unique perspective on the church because I am a California Mormon. My family converted in the sixties so I grew up in the church but I do not have the social and cultural background of coming from a long line of Utah LDS families. My wife does have that cultural heritage which richly rounds out my views that can be somewhat liberal.
Three specific benefits
Writing these essays helps me to share the gospel and prepares me to be able to answer difficult objections. I am by no means an LDS apologist but I have great respect for the work of those who are. Jeff Lindsay is a hero of sorts to me. So are people like Russell Anderson and W. John Walsh of LightPlanet and Dr. Daniel C. Peterson of FARMS, now the Neal A. Maxwell Institute.
Preparing essays motivates me to study and present the gospel in greater depth than I have in the past. Carol and I are taking an Institute class on the Pearl of Great Price here in our stake. No, we are not college age, but immersing ourselves in the scriptures, writing about it on my blog and then discussing it with the students in our Young Adult ward is a great benefit and blessing.
The interaction I receive with other participants of social media, particularly other LDS bloggers is especially rewarding. I have no lofty ideas about really answering the critics of the church. They have no desire to know the truth. I write for those who are struggling and who want to know if there really are answers for the difficult questions. The answer is a resounding yes.
Blogging is more than intellectual
The primary benefit I receive from blogging is feeling better prepared through study to answer objections, even dishonest ones. For example, my essay on the Adam-God theory started as a short three-hour draft that was ripped apart by several readers as being misleading. I spent two days researching and revising it, gaining personal insight and confidence in my position.
Because of this research and preparation, I feel more confident to take on future difficult gospel questions or objections. In being prepared, I eliminate doubts and fears from my own life; I feel like I have more faith. In studying and blogging in this way, my testimony is strengthened; my love for my Heavenly Father and my Savior grow. I see the hand of the Lord more in my life.
I have always been interested in the doctrine more than the history, social or cultural aspects of the church. My mother was converted because of the doctrine, specifically because of our very unique doctrine of temple work and associated family history. So I blog more about the doctrine than anything else. My life’s ambition is to understand and teach it like Bruce R. McConkie.
LDS Blogging is a blessing
Studying and writing about LDS doctrine increases my testimony and love for God and Christ. As my love grows for my Heavenly Father and the Savior, I feel more loving towards others. Difficult situations become less of a challenge. I have greater empathy and understanding and can appreciate what others are going through as they face their challenges in life.
Studying the gospel, preparing essays and sharing them in my blog bring me a feeling of satisfaction that I am doing something worthwhile. As I have written many times, nobody has really asked me to do this, but I feel impressed that it is pleasing to my Heavenly Father. I know that blogging about doctrine is not for everybody, but it seems to be my focus right now.
I have received much feedback that my essays are appreciated and doing good to help strengthen the testimony of others. Someday, I hope to read someone say that they joined the church or began to participate more fully, perhaps partially because of what I have written. That will be one of the most satisfying things to me in this world or the world to come.