For God’s Sake, Blog!

I wish I could claim credit for the title of the post, but it actually comes from this MSNBC article.  Apparently the Pope is encouraging Catholic Priests to blog.  It reminded me of Elder Ballard’s admonition back in 2007.  Even though the pope doesn’t love computers, he said,

“Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources — images, videos, animated features, blogs, Web sites — which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis,” he said.

Apparently, the Pope is even on Facebook.  So, I had to check and see if Pres Monson is there too.  Well, there are some pages on him, but I don’t think he’s officially there.  Perhaps he is, but his 234 fans are quite a bit behind the Pope’s 87,429.

So, it looks like the Catholic  Church is ahead of the Mormons on Facebook, but the blog advice is more than 2 years behind us.  The Newsroom at LDS.org has Elder Ballard’s talk from Dec 15, 2007

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 Newsroom at LDS.org, 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.

Did you ever think you’d hear these octogenarians telling us to embrace Facebook and Blogs???  How much of an impact do you think blogs are having on them?

Comments

comments

22 comments for “For God’s Sake, Blog!

  1. January 24, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I don’t think that most of the Bloggernacle’s blogs are the blogs that Elder Ballard had in mind. And if they’re having an impact on them, I doubt it’s what they were hoping for. 🙂

  2. January 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I often wish that the RS and YW auxiliary leaders would Twitter. They travel so much, I just think that would help us all feel more connected with what they do between General Conference and broadcast appearances. They could even have a delay of a couple of weeks if they didn’t want to be tweeting their exact whereabouts. I would love it if they did that.

  3. hawkgrrrl
    January 24, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I dunno FD, I think the bloggernacle is just holding up a mirror. Like minded folks tend to find each other. I don’t personally think it’s really changing the game much.

  4. Mike S
    January 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Regarding blogs and the internet:

    For TBM: I don’t know that the internet/blog makes their testimonies any stronger. They believe, they know they believe

    For questioners (still active LDS): I think there may be occasional things that strengthen their testimonies, but many other things that still cause them to question. I think perhaps the biggest benefit for this group is a way to stay “active” with questions, realizing that there are many, many out there, and perhaps it isn’t best to “throw the baby out with the bathwater”

    For investigators: There are obviously faith-promoting sites out there. At the same time, historical information about the Church is VERY much more available than it was before the advent of the internet, not all of which is “faith-promoting”. There are apologetic sites that try to help address some of these, but I don’t know how much impact they have.

    So, overall, I would agree with hawkgrrrl – that things don’t change much in general. TBM are still TBM. Questioners are still questioners. I would argue that the overall impact towards investigators is a net negative, however. It may just be association and not causation, but the rise of the internet has coincided with the decreased effectiveness of missionary work over the past 10-15 years. My own gut feel is that information that was harder to find before is just a click away. And honestly, if I weren’t LDS, I would have a hard time swallowing it were I presented with the message, particularly if I looked up a few things after I talked with the missionaries…

  5. January 25, 2010 at 12:32 am

    I can’t say for sure, but I don’t know that the value of blogging is to change the game so much as to stay in it. That there continue to be conversations is a good thing, even if some of those participants might make the stuffed shirts (like me) nervous from time to time. (It’s not so bad to be nervous once in a while.)

    As for blogging benefiting “the octogenarians” — I don’t think they ever intended to be the audience.

  6. MH
    January 25, 2010 at 1:00 am

    FD, I’m sure you’re right. There are many Mormon blogs that are not what Elder Ballard likes, which is why I find his advice for Mormons to go out and blog so paradoxically interesting. I can remember taking a philosophy class as a freshman, who went out of his way to challenge the idea of God. I went to an institute teacher that told me not to challenge the teacher, but just get a good grade, and don’t worry about trying to defend the faith. Trying to defend the faith would energize the opposition, and it was better to ignore him. Yet Elder Ballard and the Pope seem to believe that ignoring the critics is no longer good advice.

    We talk about Correlation, and allowing Mormons to blog is the opposite of Correlation. Perhaps that’s the reason for the emphasis for returning to the basics with the new Gospel Principles manual. On the one hand, the church wants to get back to basics because they know that all these Mormon voices aren’t necessarily giving out the proper message. However, by allowing critics to define the message, the church risks being defined by the critics, which isn’t a good option either. So, there must be some sort of advantage to the uncorrelated message of blogs.

    I still wonder if Elder Holland’s recent address discussing the Spaulding Theory and Ethan Smith’s View of the Hebrews may have been partially inspired by some of the talk on blogs. So, I guess I’m saying that blogs could be influencing what the GA’s choose to speak about, rather than blogs causing a change in church policy.

  7. January 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    From Elder Hafen had something to say about the internet here: http://www.mormontimes.com/around_church/general_authority/?id=12963

    “Elder Hafen related his remarks specifically to anti-Mormon literature found on the Internet, and stated that too many people of faith let initial curiosity give way to feelings of dismay and betrayal when they come across unfamiliar arguments against the church.

    Faithful questioning is a hallmark of a searching soul, he said, but claims found in anti-Mormon literature are no reason to abandon one’s testimony, especially because many of the issue-taking and arguments out there have already been addressed by Mormon scholars and leaders. That’s one problem with the otherwise wonderful information tool that the Internet is.

    “Readers have no way of knowing which critical claims have already been discredited, and the anti-Mormon sponsors are certainly not going to tell them right there on the site,” he said.

    The democratization of ideas sometimes confuses the reader as to what is true and what is not, as all ideas are presented horizontally and as fact, thus positioning the blogger’s flippant opinion alongside the scholar’s well-researched dissertation.”

  8. January 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    Did you ever think you’d hear these octogenarians telling us to embrace Facebook and Blogs???

    Interesting, although I have found the opposite to be true with respect to Facebook. At our last Stake Conference, a member of the Stake Presidency warned us all of the “evils of Facebook” and how Facebook is “about popularity, which is the adversary’s counterfeit of friendship.” Seriously, he gave a 20-min talk dedicated to the evils of social networking sites and Internet information in general. And, no, he’s not octogenarian – he’s only in his early 40s.

  9. Mike S
    January 25, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    #7: I agree, but it goes both ways. When going to a Church site, you are also only going to see one side of an issue. They didn’t even mention Brigham Young’s polygamy in the Teachings for our Times manual. As our Church leaders have said, we shouldn’t teach something just because it’s true, but only if it’s faith-promoting. So the Church’s own websites aren’t the answer for the “searching soul” either.

  10. hawkgrrrl
    January 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Mme Curie: “Seriously, he gave a 20-min talk dedicated to the evils of social networking sites and Internet information in general. And, no, he’s not octogenarian – he’s only in his early 40s.” Sounds like he’s getting a lot of people coming to him because of an emotional affair with an ex. Or he has a stalker ex. Or is one.

  11. January 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Couldn’t agree more, Mike S.

    “Faithful questioning is a hallmark of a searching soul, he said, but claims found in anti-Mormon literature are no reason to abandon one’s testimony, especially because many of the issue-taking and arguments out there have already been addressed by Mormon scholars and leaders.”

    The problem with being a “searching soul” is that “searching souls” tend to want to look at both sides of an issue, and you can’t always get that from sources whose argument is always that the Church is true no matter what before an issue has even been presented.

    How do you all think that Elder Hafen would define “anti-Mormon literature?”

  12. Mike S
    January 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I think he would define “ant-Mormon literature” as anything that doesn’t agree with the current correlated interpretation of the gospel. Ironically, many of the fundamentalist Mormon groups (who associating with is enough to deny you a temple recommend if not more) quote Brigham Young and many other of our same leaders. The “official” doctrine they taught is anything that is in our current manuals. The “anti-Mormon literature” consists of quotes that were culled out of the latest manuals.

  13. January 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Mme Curie: “Seriously, he gave a 20-min talk dedicated to the evils of social networking sites and Internet information in general. And, no, he’s not octogenarian – he’s only in his early 40s.” Sounds like he’s getting a lot of people coming to him because of an emotional affair with an ex. Or he has a stalker ex. Or is one.

    Or somebody unfriended him. 😉

  14. Jen
    January 25, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    #8 MC-

    “Interesting, although I have found the opposite to be true with respect to Facebook.”

    Has anyone else here heard this same sentiment in their wards or stakes?

  15. Jen
    January 25, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    MikeS-

    “The “official” doctrine they taught is anything that is in our current manuals. The “anti-Mormon literature” consists of quotes that were culled out of the latest manuals.”

    Is this just your opinion? Where are you getting this from?

  16. Mike S
    January 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    #15 Jen

    I’m not really sure what your question means as it seems fairly self-evident.

    In the context of this post, take Brigham Young for example. Selected quotes from him are used in our current manuals to support our “official” doctrine. He does have other quotes used by many “anti-Mormon” groups, literally word for word from the same sources. I don’t need to go into all of them here (polygamy, Adam-God, blacks, etc.) If I truly espoused those particular beliefs today, and practiced polygamy, I would be excommunicated, or at least have my temple recommend revoked. So, same prophet. Some quotes are used in “official” sources, others are used in “anti-Mormon” sources.

    Similarly for many other church leaders. Most “anti-Mormon” literature doesn’t actually talk about horns and tails anymore. It generally quotes our own leaders. So if an investigator is looking into what being “Mormon” means, or what our “founding fathers” meant, there are going to be certain quotes promoted by the Church, and other quotes from the same people promoted by the “anti-Mormon” sites.

  17. Jen
    January 25, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Thanks Mike S, I appreciate the explanation. Sorry if I asked something that seemed obvious. I am reading and typing while dealing with all my kids as well so my mind is doing many tasks at once and as fast as possible.

    That is interesting to know that anti-Mormons are using quotes from the prophets. I found myself thinking about similar issues on Sunday when I was listening to the lesson in Sunday School. Anyway, I don’t want to get off topic.

    I would like to hear more opinions about Facebook. How do people here feel personally about it? Do you think it is beneficial or a time-waster?

  18. MH
    January 26, 2010 at 12:30 am

    How do people here feel personally about it? Do you think it is beneficial or a time-waster?

    yes.

    It is both beneficial and a time waster. When I was unemployed, I used it much more than I do now. I’m too busy to spend much time there. Like anything, it has good and bad. I’ve never understood Mafia Wars, and never taken the time to learn about it, but that seems like a waste of time to me. On the other hand, I may start a March Madness Bracket there–definitely an IMPORTANT thing to do! 🙂

  19. January 26, 2010 at 1:57 am

    #10 (Hawk) and #13 (Kuri) –

    Sounds like he’s getting a lot of people coming to him because of an emotional affair with an ex. Or he has a stalker ex. Or is one.

    Or somebody unfriended him. 😉

    I think Kuri’s probably closest. Dude’s got 23 friends (or maybe it was 26?). We started a post-Stake Conference race to friend him on Facebook, but he never accepted our friend requests. I’d be surprised if he has a stalked ex or is one, only because he got married when he was 17 or 18. How much time is there in there to accumulate exes?

    #17 – How do people here feel personally about it? Do you think it is beneficial or a time-waster?

    I agree with MH (#18). Its both. I’ve enjoyed catching up with old high-school friends on FB, but also have spent waaaaaaaay too much time playing games there. I limit my interactions there now to status updates, and I am much pickier about who I add as a friend.

  20. January 26, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Best part about Facebook for me is the groups. Some of them are actually really worthwhile and I’ve connected with some really great people and discusssed a variety of subjects. That’s where the bulk of my time has been spent when I’ve been on FB.

  21. Hawkgrrrl
    January 26, 2010 at 10:52 am

    “I would like to hear more opinions about Facebook. How do people here feel personally about it? Do you think it is beneficial or a time-waster?” I agree with those who say ‘both.’ But IMO, you can cut back how much time you spend on it and still get the benefits of staying in touch. It also makes me not feel obligated to go to any future HS reunions, which is a huge benefit! I already feel in touch with anyone I care to be. And it’s cool to reconnect with people you lost touch with, like college roomies. It’s also much easier to keep track of what family is up to, but without having to actually take the time to write a letter or pick up the phone.

  22. January 26, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    I don’t think that the difference between facebook and blogging is that important. More a matter of taste and software, I think.

    But either one does allow people to find people to share ideas and break a sense of isolation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *