We don’t read the monthly Ensign message with you. We don’t start and end with prayer, and we’re unlikely to be much help if you need the sideboard moved into the dining room. But we talk together about church topics; we (sometimes!) check up on each other to see how others are doing; we make friends and provide support.
We’re not called by the Elder’s Quorum president or given a formal route. But we’re likely to talk with each other a lot more than a regular home teacher ever does. And if the essence of home teaching is regular contact, then the bloggernacle looks awfully like a home teaching network — and maybe, in many cases, a better network than that provided by traditional home teaching.
As their co-blogger, I feel that I know Nate and Kristine, Jim and Russell, and the rest of my colleagues, far better than I know my home teachers or my own home teaching families. I feel the same about a number of guest bloggers and regular commenters — Danithew, Bryce, Clark, Steve, and so forth. I’m sometimes privy to someone’s particular problems or needs, and if I can, I try to help out.
Other members connect through the bloggernacle, opening up their own discussions on issues and forming their own communities. (Some have themselves likened this community building to home teaching).
All of this the bloggernacle does, often in a less effective way than traditional visits would. Contact may be spotty; messages may go unanswered; plus, we can’t perform ordinances together such as administering to the sick. The called nature of home teaching is also absent, and instead bloggernackers typically seek out like-minded people with whom to build their communities. All this is true. And yet.
And yet, we get 2,000 visitors per day. We get a lot of people visiting, and they’re visiting every day. That’s astonishing. I don’t talk to my home teachers every day. (Or every month, for that matter :P ). I don’t talk to anyone from church every day — except in the bloggernacle. And it seems to me that, with its regularity and accessibility, the bloggernacle can become a means of home teaching, of connecting with others and offering our assistance for their needs.
Some scriptures are often used to describe home teaching. For example, Moroni 6:4 reads:
And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith.
Do we do that, here in the bloggernacle? Do we mourn with those that mourn, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort?
Not nearly often enough, I’m sure. But we do it some. And compared with the typical 20% home teaching rate — and remembering the phenomenal number of visits we do get around here, and their regularity (some readers are almost certainly here twenty or thirty times every month) — we may well be the best (or even the only!) home teaching that many readers receive.
So, let me ask you, readers: Is there anything your home teachers can do for you?