By Study and Also By Faith

An LDS (Mormon) blog representing a search for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Solo Navel-Gazing, Or Why I Like the Bloggernacle

I have been reading the posts at Milennial Star wherein Jonathan Max Wilson takes his leave (for which I am very sorry--I liked his writing) and also wherein the discussion turned to what's good and bad about the Bloggernacle.

I might as well chime in. I'm more conservative than most, but I often see posts I enjoy around the blogs, even if I don't agree with the opinions expressed. I do think that some of those who post and comment around here ask way more questions than are warranted, and parse sentences to the nth degree. But, hey, that's just me!

I do want to say that one of the things I appreciate the most about the Bloggernacle, as well as an LDS forum I post on, is that I have learned that not everyone thinks the same way I do, and their different thinking doesn't mean that they don't have faith. It doesn't mean they don't do a better job of living the gospel than I do and that they are happy and content.

I think that is probably one of the greatest things about LDS sites on the internet. People are perhaps more willing to share their thoughts and hopes and dreams and wishes, and do it more honestly, than they would in person. And so we find out we aren't alone in our ways of looking at things and in the questions we ask.

The things that bother me the most about all this, though, are the assumptions the "conservatives" and "liberals" (for want of better words) make about one another. I try not to do this and hope that most everyone else tries not to either.

The stereotypes I see:

1. "Liberals" are on the high road to apostasy (Where did that phrase come from, anyway?). They are always looking for loopholes or excuses to not have to live the gospel or believe anything, thus evading all kinds of responsibility. They love to talk and write a lot of intellectual stuff, but they don't want to actually have to give up their worldliness, or go to church, or etc.

2. "Conservatives" are ignorant, stupid, blindly obedient cowards. They "toe the party line" at all times. They, too, are evading responsibility by letting others tell them what to do, what to think, what to say. They are afraid of anything remotely intellectual. They are afraid to question anything and everything. They are just afraid.

None of these stereotypes are generally true, though as with most stereotypes, there are probably bits and pieces that are true for a rare person here and there. I am very conservative. I don't have to know all the whys and wherefores. I went through a very liberal intellectual phase years ago, but, while it was interesting, it wasn't me. I still like to learn new things and I love to write.

I blog because I wanted a place to write and a place to share some thoughts and ideas that are important to me and some that I feel are under-represented on the internet. I know that there will be people who think I'm nuts, but I hope they will be polite about it. I really do appreciate the fine people who are in the Bloggernacle. Some of them think very differently than I do, yet I still like them and enjoy reading what they have to say. I have learned to be more understanding of my fellow saints through my associations here. I have learned not to jump to conclusions about people.

Sometimes I worry that some of the discussions might lead to doubts in readers who are investigators or new converts or going through a rough time. I would hate to see that happen. And it makes me sad when something or someone that is very much a part of church culture is made fun of (for being a hardliner, for being sickeningly sweet, for being boring, or whatever the complaint is). I know that some things annoy some people, but I just hate to see so much criticism of little things, because that can build up into a general dissatisfaction with the church and its leaders. Another complaint I hear quite a bit is that the leaders talk about the same things all the time (tithing, modesty, service, etc.) or that they talk about marriage and family all the time and it hurts the feelings of those who aren't married and don't have a family. My feelings are that if we all paid our tithing, I'll bet we'd never hear another talk about it. As for the family thing, well, I used to have a family and now I don't. Does it bother me to hear talks about family? No. I realize that is just me and that others may be more sensitive to that kind of thing. I just don't feel that we each should expect the church to cater to our specific needs.

Well, I have gazed at my navel for long enough--it gets boring quickly, doesn't it? I think the Bloggernacle and other LDS venues on the internet are, overall, a good thing, and I just felt like sharing some of my thoughts. I hope I didn't come off as too strident about some things--my excuse is that I am a human being, just like the rest of you!!! Thanks for reading.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Steve said...

nicely put, Mary. The sooner we put all these labels aside, the sooner we can be as one (and be Christ's).

9:01 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks, Steve. I think unity is key. People are all different, but if we can learn to accept that and appreciate the differences, it will help all of us. The Lord wants us to work together, play together, talk together, be together. A goal to strive for.

2:40 AM  
Anonymous Barb said...

I hope that all of the LDS blogs are united in their desires to do good. Sometimes I think that I should just read articles at lds.org. However, I like to see the take that a lot of the people at the 'nacle have. Also, I like to live vicarously through other people's lives lol. I do not think there should be an anything goes attitude as one needs to use discernment in such matters. I do think I am a better person and a member with more depth from my experience with group and invidual blogs.

9:24 PM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Hi, Barb! Yes, I would agree that a little discernment is advisable. I know that people write on blogs to express themselves, but blogs are meant to be read by others, so it would be good to avoid being insulting or to be too explicit in some types of private matters and so forth. It is helpful to discover the wide variety of thinking that goes on among different people, though. It does increase one's understanding of others.

2:14 AM  
Blogger Guy Murray said...

Mary, Nice blog. I really like the name. It has always been a favorite phrase of mine. I like this post too, in conjunction with all the high powered talk about this subject at all the high powered LDS blogs.

8:13 AM  
Blogger Mary A said...

Thanks, Guy! I took a look at your blog--looks very cool and interesting. That's what I like--I'm always finding new blogs.

11:02 AM  

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