An Explanation of My Reduction in Participation

RayBloggernacle, Charity, church, Culture, diversity, faith, LDS, meekness, Mormons, orthodox, questioning, religion, surviving 23 Comments

[Please pardon the personal nature of this post, but I want to take the opportunity to write this personally.]

For the past two years (almost), I have been an active blogger – to say the least. (*grin*) Actually, to be more precise, I have been a VERY active blogger. OK, that is an understatement.

That has changed over the last three weeks. The internal drive simply has begun to fade, and this change has corresponded to the impending change in my employment situation. I am in the process of changing careers (to something I have wanted to do for a while), and it will take time and focus to be successful in this new stage of my life. I also will be moving with my family to an area where we will need to spend time integrating into a new community, a new ward and a new stake.

I still will maintain my personal blog (Things of My Soul), hopefully with the same focus and format as I do now. I still want to post daily there, as I find great joy and peace and meaning in doing so. I will not market it actively, but everyone is welcome to visit any time. I hope what I write will benefit someone, somehow, somewhere – and I hope sometime in the future I will be able to resume a degree of participation on the group blogs. I have enjoyed and learned from it more than I have words to express.

I simply will be cutting way back on my participation at the group blogs I have frequented so regularly for the past two years. In many ways, I will miss that participation. I will try to post here at Mormon Matters at least monthly, and I will check in as often as I can, but my participation will drop dramatically soon.

I have learned SO much in the last two years, especially about the wonderful group of people who struggle with something (sometimes many things) about the Church and/or the Gospel but continue to serve faithfully or, at least, strive to understand and remain involved despite their uncertainty and doubts. Largely due to my experience blogging, I have come to value deeply Elder Wirthlin’s amazing message in his April 2008 General Conference address, “Concern for the One”. (This talk has become my favorite of all time.) Among other things, this humble man of God said:

Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. Perhaps because they are different, they find themselves slipping away from the flock. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

Tied to this misconception is the erroneous belief that all members of the Church should look, talk, and be alike. The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.

This variety of creation itself is a testament of how the Lord values all His children. He does not esteem one flesh above another, but He “inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; … all are alike unto God.”

Over the last two years, I have blogged publicly largely with these members – those who have been hurt in one way or another because they look, THINK or act differently. I have felt a connection to them and their concerns – in some ways, more deeply than I have felt almost any connection in my entire life. The one thing that has weighed the most heavily on my mind and heart about my upcoming reduction in blogging time is the accompanying cessation of my active fellowship with many of the people I have come to love so much. (even you, Doug) *grin*

So, in closing, may we do all we can, in whatever way we can, to be a force for good – to be charitable in our communications – to think before we speak and edit before we comment – to see God in those around us and with whom we communicate – to become more Christ-like in a very conscious, intentional way. May those who struggle and those with whom we are different be blessed by our acceptance, understanding and love. May they feel God’s love through us. May the world be better because of our blogging, and may God smile when he sees how we treat His children – our brothers and sisters.

May there be a road – and may we travel joyfully together along it (caring for and succoring each other) as we make our way back home.

Comments 23

  1. Ray I for one am going to miss your banter!! But I am beginning to feel the same about the bloggernacle and am spending way too much of my time responding and lurking. I wonder at the end of the day if it really changes hearts and minds. I am sure to some it does but I think it can be very addictive and unproductive if were true to our selves and our time could well be better spent! Most of us would benefit to be out doing the word instead of talking the talk.

    I also feel that in some of the exchanges that go on points of view get to emotive and passionate.On reflection day’s later just weren’t well picked battles worth the fight. Many also cave because they loose the will to keep up the discussions.

    “ A person convinced against his will is of the same opinion still”

    Well Ray lets hope you can stick with it as it sounds like it something you need to do for your self and family.

    We will all miss seeing your name in RECENT COMMENTS!

    Wishing you and yours the very best


  2. Dude, keep in touch. I for one enjoy our, err, conversations? Some are actually quite productive. We need to keep developing our communication skills when discussing such profound doctrinal matters and could both use the practice.

    I sincerely hope your new job works out. That way you can pop in to MM more often. Cheers mate!

  3. Ray,

    Very best wishes for you and your family on the latest adventure! We’ll certainly miss your calming influence and insight.

  4. Ray,

    Good luck in your new endeavors. I appreciate your moderating voice, and you’ve got excellent communicative skills that will be missed. You deserve much of the credit (or perhaps blame, depending on your point of view) for my more active participation here on Mormon Matters.

    I am newly unemployed as of today, giving me even more time to job hunt while blogging. (I had been employed part-time, but now that is gone too.) Perhaps you can email me offline and give me some good tips on employment. I’m looking for either a teaching job at the college level, or as a statistician. (I have a Masters degree in statistics.) I’d prefer to stay in Utah, but since I have been looking hard for 5 months here, perhaps the Lord is telling me to look across the nation, so I am open to relocation.

    For those of you who want to blame Ray for my participation, if you can help me find a job, I’m sure it will cut down on my participation here. 🙂 Email me at mormon heretic at gmail dot com if you know of anything. Perhaps you will get me to write a future post similar to the one Ray just posted.

  5. Ahh. It is a sad day in Bloggerville. Thank you, Ray, for your many wise and compassionate posts on this and other blogs. I will continue to follow your personal blog, but will greatly miss your comments elsewhere. Best wishes to you and your family in your new adventures.

    And to James and everyone else…yes, these blogs do make a difference in personal lives. I am unable to participate in church activities because of my chemical sensitivities (perfumes and new carpets at church), so the LDS blogs, including my own, are really my only contact with Church members. There are some petty arguments that go on, but there are also many thoughtful, and I believe inspired, posts and comments. Ray’s certainly fell into that catagory. For those of us on the fringe (for whatever reason), blogging can be a godsend.

  6. For hell’s sakes (as my Aunt Millie would say), Ray. Who’s going to take your place as resident calming influence and civil discourse monitor? You’ve done me a world of good in appreciating the value of reasoned discourse as opposed to rant, snide inuendo, and insufferable victimhood. Anyway, name a successor and have a ceremonial passing of the lash.

    One other thing, regarding a job change. Stay away from multilevel marketing. Just a thought.

  7. Ray:

    You mean this isn’t your job? I’ve appreciated your comments. I’ve even appreciated your absence of comments when I was sure you wanted to hit me with a two by four.

  8. Good luck, Ray! Outside of ZD, I’m much more of a lurker than a commenter, but even as just a reader, I always appreciate your calm and civil tone.

  9. Ray–having read the post and comments–it has the feel of a bloggernacle funeral.

    I think Ray is reducing his participation, not leaving. Reducing for Ray might mean we will still have him here frequently–like 4 times a week instead of 40. 😉

    Ray–whatever you do enjoy–and best wishes to you!

  10. C’mon Ray. Don’t they have the Internet in Wisconsin? You can still jump in to discussions and add your calming influence. We need ya!

  11. Wow Ray, I always figured you for a church plant employed by the brethren. You mean you’re not part of the COB Strengthening the Saints committee? 🙂

    I’ll be honest my friend, you and I haven’t seen eye to eye on very many subjects. Disappointedly, I never helped you see the light… (Like I ever thought that would happen 🙂 ) I don’t see Bruce much anymore here either, I guess this all got to be too much for him as well. I don’t want to drag this out, but you helped keep me honest and on my toes. I’ll miss that and your frustration with me as we picked our way through the quagmire of historical facts and theories.

    Good luck to you in the future and please feel free to take a shot at me whenever you get the urge.

  12. Who knows…someone blogging at this site could soon be welcoming Ray to their Sacrament Meeting at his new ward.

  13. Post

    James, I’m not sure my time could have been better spent. I’ve learned SO much through my blogging – and I would have missed finding and associating with so many good friends.

    Carlos, using quotation marks for “conversations” might have been more accurate. *GRIN*

    Jeff, I’ve tried.

    MH, I probably should apologize to the regular participants for your presence here. The permas like the elevated comment counts, but . . .

    Catherine, May you be blessed and comforted in your circumstances.

    GB, will you be my successor – or would that cause a stroke? 🙂

  14. Post

    Keri, Thanks.

    Holden, Fwiw, you’ve never frustrated me. I feel for your situation, and you are exactly the type of person I believe Elder Wirthlin had in mind when he spoke of the hurt and the weary. I hope you find a way to share your voice with more people, and I hope you continue to do so in a spirit of love and compassion – even for those who have wronged your son. When that happens, you will know you have made it back.

    Cowboy and Ziff, Thank you.

    Jared, it might not be daily, but I will do my best to remain only mostly dead. I’m not sure if I will be able to check in daily, but this is one of the blogs I will check first whenever I have time.

    KG, wrong direction. I will be in Missouri – the Nauvoo Stake and the Quincy, IL Ward.

  15. Post

    shannon, I’m glad it helped. That’s what this should be about – helping each other.

    Doug, my cover is blown. Otoh, I might be part of a conspiracy . . . never mind. 8)

    Stephen, You are an inspiration, dude.

    Rigel, see my last comment – the response to KG.

  16. “I will be in Missouri – the Nauvoo Stake and the Quincy, IL Ward.”

    Wait a minute. Do you know something, we don’t? 🙂

  17. Ray:

    I think apoplexy is a better descriptor than stroke but I guess I could try. My word lacks your moral authority but I suppose if I preceded any chiding with “in the spirit of Ray” or “as Ray, blessed be his name, would say”, etc. it might go ok. Anyway, take care of yourself.

  18. Ray, thanks so much for your voice of caring on the blogs. Especially thanks for the encouragement and help you’ve given me in regards to my son, and for sharing some of your experiences with yours. My son is doing really well lately, is positive and hopeful, and is working hard to succeed. I feel so blessed and happy.

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