The bloggernacle seems to attract a specific subset of Mormon culture, and as a result, opinions and comments are often different from those we hear expressed at church. One reason for this could be that some personality types thrive in organizations while others are prone to be disenfranchised. A popular metric to determine personality type is the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the simplified version of this, the Kiersey Temperament Sorter. These psychometrics are based on the psychology of Carl Jung. Many have already taken this instrument and know their MBTI type or their Kiersey Temperament. If not, you can click on this link and answer a series of short questions to find out your type. (Click the link first, then read on to share your results and find out more).[poll id=”4″]
A few quick observations about Kiersey Temperaments and how they might manifest at church:
SJ – 50-55% of the population. This is the most frequent of the types. SJs like themes of loyalty, obedience, authority, organized efforts (such as checklists and handbooks), and tradition. They are the organizers of groups. SJs often rise to positions of authority because they are reliable and dependable and they abide by the rules. Without SJs, organizations lack the rules and traditions to keep them going.
- What connects them to the church: The organization, the authority, the loyalty, the ordinances, traditions, patriarchy
- Why they might leave: SJs love to feel like they belong to an organization with strong traditions and are valued for their loyalty. They would leave an organization if they feel they don’t belong, if they feel their loyalty is unrewarded or if they feel the organization has abandoned traditions they value.
SP – 30-35% of the population. These are the entertainers and artists. SPs like freedom of self-expression, flouting the rules, and they dislike the constraints of authority and rules. They are the free spirits of society, and may prefer freedom from the constraints of religion (e.g. eastern philosophy or artistic pursuits). They tend to be athletic and enjoy nature. Within organizations, they are often a breath of fresh air. Yet, they can be viewed as flaky, especially by the SJs. They also enjoy undermining the SJs.
- What connects them to the church: The music, the opportunity to “perform” (talks, lessons), the variety of changing callings, the Word of Wisdom and church athletics, scouting
- Why they might leave: Maybe a better question is why they might stay. SPs often like variety and change and freedom, and belonging to any organization for too long may be asking too much. SPs leave when they feel stifled or that the organization is too staid and boring to stimulate them or to allow their self-expression.
NF – 7-10% of the population. These are the idealists and humanists. NFs are driven by empathy and the need to have a meaningful life. They are often deeply devoted to causes that align with their deeply held personal values. If they feel their values align with an organization, they will be invaluable at energizing those values into actions. They have amazing empathy, and are usually the best people in an organization to make lasting people connections.
- What connects them to the church: The people, the values (if aligned), humanitarian efforts, and service opportunities
- Why they might leave: If they feel their values are misaligned with an organization, they will leave to pursue their dreams and causes. They also dislike environments with a strong corporate feel that leaves them cold.
NT – 3-5% of the population. These are the intellectuals. NTs are driven by a need to comprehend the complex systems of the world, to design, to learn, and to master. They care deeply about competence (their own and others’). They tend to be very self-confident and skeptical of authority.
- What connects them to the church: Understanding and exploring deep doctrines, intellectual concepts like theosis, and the notion of personal revelation
- Why they might leave: Many NTs tend to be agnostic or atheist. NTs tend to leave religion for intellectual reasons or if they find the church experience intellectually stifling or lacking in stimulation.
(The 70 question link above is not the full instrument, so your results may be inaccurate. If you feel one of the other descriptions fits you better, feel free to comment on that.)
Does this information provide any new insights about why people stay and why they leave? Is it useful to try to understand what motivates a variety of people rather than just catering to the slim majority (the SJs)? Does the bloggernacle personality differ dramatically from the norm of the church (as I would hypothesize)?
Do you believe that the Meyers-Briggs test provides accurate/useful information?
Odd that the NTs who are supposed to be the smallest minority of the population are the most represented here, isn’t it? I tend toward thinking the test doesn’t provide much accurate or useful information.
I think the broad categories work pretty well – and I think the Bloggernacle is dominated by those who need something outside the organization to feel like they are fulfilled and “have a place”. It can be an intimidating place for the SJ group – and it should be, since it reflects a fundamentally different mindset and emotional/intellectual need.
I am fascinated by these instruments, since I nearly always test out as a fairly equal mixture of the possibilities. That’s one reason I am seen differently on different group blogs: different blogs bring out different aspects of my personality as I interact with differing people who frequent those various blogs. It also means I tend away from extremism, so I end up moderating in the middle a lot.
I think the MBTI is fairly useful, but I’m biased towards anything better than those facebook quizzes. I know two other INFPs who are not LDS, one is Catholic and the other has recently left her protestant denomination, but both of them have had strikingly similar experiences with religion that I have. I would say personality plays a huge role, but it certainly isn’t everything.
I am an INFP, however after a few years of grad school the F is almost a T, so I’m almost completely in the middle on feeling vs. thinking. For this post that would be the difference between idealist vs. rationalist, which fits perfectly with my experience and expression of the faith over the last few years, even my posts. 🙂
Maybe we should do a follow-up on the [E/I][P/J] segment (actually, I’m just interested in the E/I ratio—as someone has said, on the Internet no one knows you’re an introvert). A full quiz with all sixteen components might be too complex to be useful. Or, inspired by Ray #3, someone should invite the major blogs to each do this quiz and we’ll see who tends to be attracted to whom.
I’ve never seen myself an NF, as an “idealists and humanists”.
Maybe they know something about me that I don’t.
As to why someone stays or leaves, ..na… it all depends if they are sinnin’ or not.
I feel like none of the above describes me very well. I tested SP, but I didn’t like that I had to answer yes or no to every question. I wanted to say, “it depends on the situation.”
as someone who consistently scores INT* (the J/P isn’t so consistent), I am both conflicted with the Myers-Briggs personality indicator and at ease with such a indicator. Although, I wouldn’t have guessed that NTs are 3-5% of the population, yet seem to be vying for most popular of such a limited sample on this blog
Im INFJ, borderline INTJ. I followed Hawk’s link in the OP and took the test. This is probably the 4th or 5th MBPI test I’ve taken, and I’ve always been INFJ, with strong N and almost equal F-T. If the test isn’t accurate in describing an individual, it seems to be consistent, at least in my experience. I tend to think that the test IS pretty accurate for most people. II followed the links from Hawk’s test to the “Jung Career Indicator” and found the careers listed there (literature/writer, humanities, philosophy, web design, archaeology, religious education, psychology, counseling) exactly the types of careers that would interest me most.
And CarlosJC: I think the MBPI shows that there are a variety of ways people respond to different environmental, social, and organizational circumstances. Hawkgrrrl has done a pretty good at showing different reasons people might leave a religious organization based on certain broad personality indicators. Certainly, sinning could provide some strong impetus for someone to drift into inactivity or to leave the church entirely, but I strongly take issue with the claim that everyone that leaves the LDS church is doing so because of “sinnin'”. We are all sinning. Every day. So of course you could blame a person leaving the church on sinning. What makes those who stay different than those who leave? I’m guessing its more complex than whether a person has sinned or not.
Okay, CarlosJC, I guess I’ll take the bait.
“As to why someone stays or leaves, ..na… it all depends if they are sinnin’ or not.”
This statement makes me guess that your “T” scores weren’t very high.
I am certain Carlos was being facetious. Nice one, Carlos. 🙂
The actual MBTI is considered a highly accurate psychometric instrument in that it is consistent; however, accuracy is dependent on how marked your preference is (Ray’s point) and how aware you are of your own preferences. Also, I’ve observed that individuals who are in the position of having to adapt their preferences to fit their culture, family, or work life may be unaware of their innate preferences and may not get an accurate result. Additionally, abbreviated versions like the link above tend to be less accurate – the more questions, the more accurate.
As for usefulness, IMO it’s most useful at understanding oneself and one’s reaction to social situations. It’s also useful for understanding general human dynamics, needs and motivations. It’s not very useful for understanding other individuals as it only covers a part of a person’s personality. People are much more complex than any one instrument. As a qualified instructor of MBTI for over 10 years, I’ve delivered results to hundreds, maybe thousands, of people, and I would say about 90% find their results accurate and useful. The others don’t for the reasons listed above. And it can also be misused by people in trying to pigeonhole others or limit them. That’s a mistake. Individuals are just too complex. Can’t stress that enough.
Here’s a way in which this information could be useful. How many of the talks at GC are SJ talks? More than 55%? How many are geared towards SPs? Nearly zero? How many toward NFs? How many NTs? One key problem for all organizations is that SJs are the slight majority, and what motivates them is a big turnoff for everyone else. Also, SJs tend to be most critical of SPs – even moreso than they are of NFs or NTs. SPs constitute 75% of the prison system, while SJs gravitate toward careers in law enforcement. So, that’s an interesting tidbit. When an SJ gives an NF advice, they may sound too cold, too corporate, or like they want the NF to do things for the sake of doing them (checklists or out of duty), not for a deeper purpose. If they only changed their view and said what the NFs need to hear, they would be so much more effective! When an SJ hears two NTs having a discussion, s/he may think – “but we’ve been told by our leaders that our leaders will never lead us astray! These NTs must be apostates who don’t respect authority or who aren’t obedient. When we obey, we are happy.” Those are just some possible examples of how MBTI preferences can explain human dynamics.
If you’re interested in a real psychology-based personality test, check out our Personality Patterns app; it provides very detailed feedback in a visually, interactive format, along w/some cool social features. You can also find it on Facebook. On the go? Try it on your iPhone.
david – that’s a pretty good app, but not directly relevant to this post.
The book I liked was “The color code” by Dr. Taylor Hartman. I found it’s results to be pretty accurate, and I think it’s really similar to the Kiersey test, but i’m not super familiar with either.
Sounds pretty accurate to me as far as I am concerned.
According to that web page you linked to, I am INTP, but I haven’t spent enough time with this taxonomy to know if I agree or not.
I’ve taken it three times and got three different results (depending on how I interpreted the rather vague questions). INFJ, ENFJ, and ENTJ. Not sure what to make of that. I keep wanting to ask “what do you specifically mean by that question?”
Oh, got INTJ my 4th time. I can at least count on xNxJ… (Now I have to figure out why I bothered to try these questions four times)
The test told me I’m an ENFJ. I’m usually skeptical about these tests but was impressed when it told me my ideal career is exactly what I’ve always wanted to be: A Teacher.
As a teenager, I consistently scored as ENFP because I would give the answers I thought I was supposed to give. I don’t know where I got the idea that those were the “right” answers, but I absorbed it somehow. As an adult, I have consistently scored as an INTJ. I think it’s because I was more honest with myself. I still have some of the idealist tendencies, but I’m a rational at heart.
I notice that rationals and idealists are vastly overrepresented on this blog as compared to the general population. I wonder what the breakdown would be for the church. It would be interesting to see if the church as a whole mirrors the population, or if it appeals more to certain types.
Geoff J – sounds like you are NJ for sure. It may be that your preferences for E/I and T/F are not that strong. Equally likely is that this instrument (which is not the validated test – just an internet quiz version) isn’t asking you enough questions to reveal your preferences accurately. For E/I it’s best to consider where you get your energy – from the world around you or from your inner resources. For T/F, the issue is how you make decisions – based on objective logic (pros & cons – a T preference) or personal values that are subjective to you (F).
I scored ENTP on this version twice, although I have usually scored ENTJ on the standard instrument. But both of those types are rationals, and I have been getting more P (spontaneous) and less J (planful) the older I get. My J preference was never very strong even when I have tested J.
I would bet that if you typed all church members who are active, you’d find mostly SJs (especially among TBMs), followed by NFs. I imagine that SPs often populate the inactive list, but when they are active, they are probably some of the most awesome people there. I would also assume that NTs are a minority as in most places. But I imagine there are some ENTJ apostles as ENTJs tend to rise to leadership positions, especially in the workplace, and many have had high level careers.
It is funny that this is up here. I am in the Unification Church (I was born into it but will be baptised into the Church of JC of LDS when I am 18) and we took this test recently (this weekend) and then with our results we got these crazy results on our worship style and guidance on our relationship with God. it was interesting. I am an ENFP 😀
I forgot to say that I am an INTJ. And yes, one of the many things that bothered me at church before I was excommunicated, along with many many many things that made things harder was that I just had the feeling of loosing my time and (yes this sounds arrogant) lowering myself intellectually. I still do actually but I am not coming anymore for myself as far as teaching goes. Sometimes I get some pretty good stuff though.
If I want some intellectual challenge concerning my faith or my spirituality I go on the net.
I am describing myself more and more as an agnostic Mormon. Not that I don’t believe in God and blah blah blah. I just decided to believe certain things but without a 100% knowledge and decided to keep on looking for the other answers.
I have a testimony of certain aspect of our faith but I refuse to say “I know”” that this or that is true because I just don’t know, so it would be a lie to bear my testimony on (for example) the truthfulness of the BoM. I have a testimony of Joseph Smith but not on the BoM. I just assume that the BoM is true according to my testimony of JS. And it goes on concerning other subjects.
What has killed me though is that I had a mathematics teacher who told my mother that I had a mathematical mind. Latter I realized that he was right and that I tend to deal with relationship or anything in life like I would with an equation. The only problem is that when I try to apply it to numbers my mind just goes blank. Anyway my type is the one that you find in the science field or sometimes in law or as a librarian.
I guess I really screwed up my life.
ENTJ/INTJ mix. Maybe that’s why I like your posts and your comments. Also probably why I would be heretical to the SJs.
I wound up with ENFP – Champion Idealist.
Seemed accurate enough to me.
ISTJ. I understand now why I’m said to have the soul of a clerk.
I am still floored by how few SPs there are here, although I don’t know why I would be surprised since it was part of my theory. We had a really great Stake President who I think had to be an SP. He was a surfer for years and in foster care when he was invited to go to church. He ended up joining, and he was just about the best SP I’ve seen in the church. Very humble, and really good at challenging all the silly rules and stuffiness at church. He was the one who said he’d put ashtrays outside every door to the stake center if that’s what it took for people to understand that we are to welcome everyone and not judge them. What a great guy!
jmb275 – welcome to the site!
#10 & Ray
I can’t remember now, should’ve saved that test result, although after thinking more today maybe ‘Idealist’ is actually what I’ve always been, less so ‘humanist’ -but I was half asleep when I did that test, in bed half naked……well better not say more 🙂
ENFJ (that’s why I like your writing, Andrew Ainsworth) – with very similar score ratings in the first two and last two. I have always felt I am a teacher at heart, and that’s exactly what ENFJ is called. The career listings are precisely what I have done or been told I should do: teacher, counselor, manager, etc.
That other Personality Patterns #13 thinks I’m: “Passionate, Introspective, and Creative” plus Scrupulous, Competent, Original, Solitary and other things. Is that the same as NF here?
Honestly I’m completely lost now.
CarlosJC – if I’m not mistaken the facebook app mentioned in #13 is not really like MBTI at all, in that it measures behavioral tendencies, not just preferences and orientation to the world around you. MBTI only measures preferences and how you view the world, not what your actual behaviors are. Also, the facebook app measures “neurosis” which is also outside the realm of MBTI. MBTI is only what is referred to as “normal” psychology, a description of all people, not a diagnosis of issues. All MBTI types are valid ways of being, even if they don’t appreciate one another at times. 🙂 Don’t know if that helps. Also, I don’t know if the facebook app is based on real psychological principles, and given that it’s free I doubt it’s a ratified instrument, even if it does attempt to be more comprehensive.
Ray & Andrew – not surprised about the ENFJs! ENFJs are great!
#32 Oh; loved doing these test though, interesting, just a bit hard to grasp at first.
Huh… I’m slightly relieved to find that I am still a INTJ.
I’ve taken the test several times and was always an INTJ, it was spot on in my youth, and still describes me pretty well- and certainly describes my self image of myself.
First time I’ve taken it since I got sick. While I still find it accurate, it does miss that I have some extra attributes since I’m really a crippled INTJ. Ever since I was bitten by that tick on my mission I have lost much of my metal abilities. I can no longer think in 5+ dimensions, and find even the simplest of 4 dimensional mathematics challenging. I can hardly plan or organize at all anymore which frustrates me too no end, instead I am constantly having to improvise as I just float along where ever my life takes me.
My memory isn’t as sharp either, and I no longer have the time or energy to devote to my interests in history, music, or theology/philosophy. Almost all my time and effort is devoted to working to keep body and soul together.
Cicero – thanks for tying us up now. NFs and NTs are neck & neck!
That makes sense, considering I’m almost split evenly on F and T. The perfect balance, perhaps?
Well I have now taken this twice. The first time with an ISTJ result and the Second with a result of ESTJ. So I am an SJ pretty simple. Mostly accurate I believe, but a few things that I question:
1. I hate most holidays. Birthdays are celebrated in my house, because my wife makes me not because I really want to. I cannot think of a holiday I really enjoy except maybe Thanksgiving because I love food and football and get both on the same day.
2. While I see little as gray, I also, am a firm believer in there being a spirit of the law. I do not believe the work party line is the correct one and often get into trouble at work, because I buck the status quo. I figure I am just really confused with this type of thing. However, I have no problems with someone bending and or breaking a rule for a better result.
I imagine that most of the definitions appear correct. I think most of my friends would label me an extrovert although, I feel I lean strongly to the introvert side. To many of the questions could be followed with, but it depends.
Thanks Hawk this was fun although maybe more enlightening then I would like.
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I’m an INTJ that went inactive many years ago. I find it hard to socialize with other mormons for a variety of reasons, my best friends have four legs. The thing that suprised me the most about being inactive is that my testimony of the gospel grew more when I was inactive than it did when I was going to church. The time in my life when I felt the holy ghost the strongest was when I was inactive, I was very surprised to say the least. The secret to understanding the gospel of jesus christ is not in what the scriptures say. You can memorize all the scriptures you want but if the holy ghost is not with you you’ll never understand the gospel. I’m thinking about going to church tomorrow, it will be the first time in thirteen years.
jack – best wishes to you!