Benefits of LDS blogging


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.

10 Responses

  1. Tim, thanks for this excellent reaction.I am glad you are aiming to be as clear as Bruce R. McConkie, one of my favorites, … but in that context I got a little chuckle by your comment in which you said, “my views … can be somewhat liberal.” Wow. If so, I would like to see your template for “conservative!”Anyway, I applaud your high motives for blogging. You are an honest seeker of the spirit, and it shows in what you write.

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  2. His S.Faux,I admit that I am politically, socially and fiscally very conservative. But since you asked, here is how I am considered liberal by some (like my wife):I like to write about controversial subjects like Mother in Heaven, the Adam-God theory, the influence of evil spirits upon us, anti-Mormons, ex-Mormons, the DAMU, different aspects of the temple, multiple versions of the First Vision and a dozen other topics that I have not yet had time to complete like the wives of Joseph Smith, the 1987 revelation on the priesthood, how the church deals with the gay issue and, of course, women and the priesthood.I guess I consider myself liberal in that I believe that we should look at both sides of the issue. I wrote previously how my Stake President advised me to get rid of my collection of anti-Mormon books (which I did). Today, I visit anti-Mormon and Ex-Mormon websites with the specific intent of trying to understand what it is that bugs them. The very idea of doing that is shocking to some members of my ward and stake.So maybe I am trying to say that I am intellectually liberal and tolerant of views that are less than faithful. I don’t mind people leaving challenging comments on my blog, even if they are obviously biased or one-sided. I like to think that I can handle criticism, but have been learning how very difficult it really can be.Maybe my idea of conservative is someone who refuses to investigate or even listen to what the other side has to say. I find a lot of that among some members of the church. Maybe that is really intolerance. They feel threatened by those who do not believe as they do and it shows in their attitudes. Could that be from having lived a sheltered life where it is simply considered wrong to investigate what others think about an issue?Sorry, I’ll get off my soapbox now. As always, thanks for visiting my blog and reading my essays. I see you have been busy over at Mormon Insights. I especially liked the post on Mormon Humor 1900-1918. I wish there was more time each day so I could fully digest the good stuff you are presenting on your blog. I’m looking forward to retirement so I can blog more, but then we hope to serve a mission.Cheers!

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  3. we blog because we want to inspire people, we want share what we think will be of beneficial to them, its like sharing testimonies or sharing service, such as what you are doing. great post!

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  4. Tim-thanks for your post. I would like to comment about sharing spiritual experiences. At the end of your post you said: There are many things we know but just don’t share because they are too sacred.I’ve been rethinking the idea about sharing spiritual experiences because they are too sacred. I’ve been searching in the scriptures to learn more about this, as well as reading what the prophets of the restoration have said on this subject. In addition I have been prayerfully seeking to understand the Lord’s will concerning experiences I’ve been given.Two years ago this month I decided share my testimony in more detail than I had ever done before in a church meeting. I desired to do this as a means of expressing my heart felt gratitude to Heavenly Father for leaving the 99 and coming to rescue me 40 years earlier. I wrote out my testimony and read it in our testimony meeting. I felt it was appropriate to share some aspects of scared experiences the Lord has given me. I related that the Lord in His kindness has communicated with me using dreams, visions, and ministering of angels (unseen), in addition to promptings that have come into my mind and heart in answer to prayer.After doing this I received a manifestation from the Lord where I learned that He was pleased with me for sharing my testimony. As a result of this experience I decided to open a blog and do what I can to bring together material that will help others grow in their gift of the Holy Ghost. In my opinion, sharing scared experiences is important, especially for the youth and those new to the church, or those weak in faith. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and this includes spiritual experiences. Of course, this needs to be done with care and humility. I’ve found that many members of the church have the idea floating about in their minds that the gifts of the Spirit, as outlined in the scriptures, are for church leaders and not for the ordinary members of the church. Due to this lack of faith, I am finding that many members that I have contact with don’t feel it is important to seek after the gifts of the Spirit. Our church leaders speak often about spiritual experiences and the need to diligently seek for them. In fact, I am writing a post where I am asking for help in finding instances of this. I’ve collected a few, but I would like to find more. I am hoping you and those who read this comment will forward their favorite examples where church leaders have shared scared experiences so that I can make them available on my blog. My email and blog: diligentlyseek@gmail.com and http://www.ldsaliveinchrist.com Thanks again for all you do.

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  5. I’m glad you are willing to look at both sides of an issue. Please look at my blog and tell me what you think. Does religion need to be modernized?What was the clincher, the main event that made you believe God was real???

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  6. I blog on a subjects and have a few blogs. But every Sunday I make a post on my LDS blog. I like to put videos I found on You Tube combined with a short post. It’s my way of doing missionary work. Being a government employie I am limmited in sharing it at work. However I tell people I meet to check out my blog.I have been doing this about two months and am still learning. I would like to add this blog to my LDS blog role.

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  7. Just a short note to say that your blog is having a positive impact on my testimony. I became “disaffected” because the church and most everybody I knew dodged the tough issues and seemed to be afraid of them. Just this week in a PPI I told the EQ counselor that we were semi-active right now because of some “concerns”, and I wish I could count the number of people I told that to who basically said, “well, call if you need anything” and we never heard from them again.The one person in our ward who has been willing to talk over our concerns and be our friend despite our concerns was just called as the bishop last week, and he is one example to me of someone who knows all the tough issues, yet still remains faithful. You are another. It helps me to know that it’s possible and that you don’t have to leave the church just because you can’t hold both the real church history and the official version in your head at the same time without going nuts. Maybe if you can, and my bishop can, I can too.

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  8. Hi ChristFollower,Isn’t it interesting how the Lord works to reach the one? Many members of the church are uncomfortable with those who express doubts or concerns about the doctrine or history of the church. I suppose it is because they are struggling with their own trials of faith in other areas. Perhaps they don’t feel they are enabled to help carry another’s burdens. However, it is the Bishop’s responsibility to seek out those whose hands hang down.That is a tremendous burden but the Lord makes his bishops equal to the task if they are humble before him. I’m sure it’s no revelation to you when I say that not all Bishops are fully engaged in this part of their ministry – to seek out those who are in need of the Lord’s help. Some are overwhelmed by the administrative details of meetings and reports and more meetings.Even those bishops who have come to an understanding of the importance of seeking out and counseling with those who are in greatest need just don’t seem to have time to make it to the homes of the members like they really want. In all the years I have served in Bishoprics, I have observed how difficult it is for the bishop to not feel rushed in his interviews at church.I only share this is because I have seen bishops change as the mantle of leadership falls upon them. There seems to be a bigger vision than when they were just a home teacher or a friend or the president of the Elder’s quorum. Some grow and become even better at helping those who are struggling. I have also seen the opposite in bishops who become impatient or frustrated with those who need their help the most.The key to success in dealing with a new Bishop is to be more of a follower of Christ – one who is kind and compassionate. Bishops respond best to kindness and patience. In actively practicing this character trait, I have seen the hand of the Lord on the Bishop in directing the work in the ward. The greatest part of that work is ministering to the one. God bless you in working with your new Bishop. May he continue to be a friend who cares about you and your family in your struggles.Thank you also for the kind words about my blog. I know my bishop reads my blog from time to time as do other leaders in my stake. I hope they are not shocked by some of the topics I am addressing. I have tried to imagine myself using my essays in Sacrament meeting talks. Perhaps the Adam-God theory and Mother in Heaven might not go over too well, but I hope the ones I have written about church history would be perfectly acceptable.You may be interested in my latest post about my studies in church history early in my life. I wrote about my experiences in prayer as I asked the Lord about some of the potentially shocking things I had discovered in my studies. The answer I received at that time has helped me more than anything else in my life to deal with the things that are unusual in our history.Cheers and God bless!

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  9. To Trestin:Thanks for visiting my blog. I also visited yours. I enjoyed the graphic appeal and easy reading. I could take a lesson from your short essays. I especially liked your essay about being known by our fruits. I would be pleased to have my blog added to the blog roll of a faithful returned missionary like you.

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  10. To Questions About Faith,I enjoyed visiting your blog. Thanks for pointing me to your writings. You asked, “Does religion need to be modernized?” I’m afraid I would be extremely biased in my response. I see the world through the colored lens of restored Christianity. I am a believer that religion is best experienced from a faithful point of view. Reason is not my primary pursuit in trying to understand life. I approach everything through prayer and an attempt to know God’s will for me through personal revelation – the gift of the Holy Ghost.Some of my religious practices and beliefs are very old-fashioned. I enjoy tradition. I like public prayers, singing in choirs, singing congregational hymns, hearing speakers teach on specific doctrinal themes, and participating in scripture study classes. I also enjoy private personal religious practices such as family prayer, personal prayer, scripture reading and discussions of scripture-based doctrine in the home.You also asked, “What was the clincher, the main event that made you believe God was real?” I have pondered this several times over the past few days. I can honestly say that I have always believed in God from the time I was a little child. My mother was a woman of great faith and her belief in God was passed on to me and most of my siblings. However, as most people do pass through some sort of crisis of faith in their life, I would like to address the question more completely in a future essay here.Thanks again for stopping by and for your thought-provoking comment.

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