Elder Ballard, in his intriguing speech to BYU-Hawaii graduates, encouraged them to utilize “new media.” He states,
“May I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet…to share the gospel and explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration
We are living in a world saturated with all kinds of voices because now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility…to define ourselves instead of letting others define us
Every disciple of Christ will be most effective, and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of the follower of the Savior of the world.
Your outreach can be international.”
While he never specifically outlined blogging as one of those “new media,” I submit (and I have many associates on the internet that will agree), that blogging is one of those new media.
Now, the issue at hand. While this new trend of blogging is good, it could be much better. I discussed with a girl I work with how she should take the passion she has for politics and debate, and translate that into a blog about those issues, not just about her family life. While Elder Ballard stressed the utilization of blogging for spreading the gospel, I challenge people that I meet to blog not just for gospel-related purposes, but many others as well:
- Apologetics – With the accessibility of anything and everything on the internet, blogging can be beneficial to help defend the church. FAIR does a great job of faithfully discussing many of these difficult subjects, as well as aggressive, bias questions that people can throw at us.
- Honesty – I recently listened to a great presenatation called “Inoculating the Saints,” given at the 2007 Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, found here at Mormon Matters. Among other things, the concept of honesty within the LDS Church came up. While the Church as a body has been very honest, many times the members don’t recognize the honesty. One of the most telling statements involved a teacher who was teaching 16-year olds. He had a student who had never heard of polygamy. Ever. And he states that this is a major problem, which, to an extent, I agree. But the internet has been wonderful to me, because I’ve learned so much about things that aren’t discussed very often. Polygamy, polyandry, Adam-God, Mountain Meadows, Blacks and the Priesthood, Joseph Smith’s translation process…I could go on and on.
- Culture – Or, in my case, the negative aspects of culture. I find many of the things that we do in the Church “cultural.” For example, I’d never even comprehended about praying or thanking God for rain. I’m from Michigan – according to Yahoo Real Estate, we have over 100 “precipitation days” per year. Yet when I came out to Utah/Idaho, they prayed for “precipitation.” Well I got sick of hearing that real quick, and in a religion class recently, I gave thanks in my prayer for the MOISTURE we received…and got many quizzical looks. Cultural things like white shirts at church, caffine (I love my Coke Zero), marking scriptures, Deseret Book’s Fluff, Mormon pop-music, FPR’s, and the like.
- Education – Long gone is the day when scholarship is only to be found in deep intense scholarly journals that take you 2 hours to get thorugh a paragraph. There are spectacular blogs out there with serious scholarship publishing their findings.
- Opinions – I think this is the best part of blogging. We’re all editorial contributors on the internet. And the best part about that is we, the “everyday folk,” can state our “everyday folk” opinions. I don’t write for the Scroll, but I can state my opinion about administration, the state of the school, or anything else. The best part is that I don’t have to answer to authority (or worry that I’m going to get kicked off the paper)…all I have to do is deal with grouchy readers who want me to talk about something other than BYU-Idaho
So please, SAHM, Blonde Haired ditzy 18-year old, or bitter 24-year old who needs to get a life and quit complaining about things…embrace your nerdiness and blog!