Thou Shalt Blog

December 15, 2007 | 49 comments
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You heard it here first: a member of the Quorum of the Twelve has ordered you to blog about the Church.

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49 Responses to Thou Shalt Blog

  1. Julie M. Smith on December 15, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Here’s the full transcript:

    http://www.lds.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/using-new-media-to-support-the-work-of-the-church

    I noticed a wonderful shout out to Bookslinger–congratulations! You deserve it more than any other blogger I know.

  2. WillF on December 15, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Actually, some may have heard it on lds.org first – it is the lead story today!

  3. Jacob J on December 15, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    Yes, that must be the first bloggernacle post to appear in its entirety on lds.org.

  4. Jon W on December 16, 2007 at 12:06 am

    excellent now I have an excuse… Elder Ballard makes me do it. ;)

  5. Bookslinger on December 16, 2007 at 12:14 am

    Yikes. I’ve seen references to his talk about blogging on various other blogs, but I’m just now finding out he referenced and quoted my blog in particular.

    I guess those SLC-based church-owned IP’s that visited my blog weren’t necessarily coming from the family history library.

  6. Ray on December 16, 2007 at 12:26 am

    Wow, Bookslinger. Just, Wow. You are my new hero. (Sorry, Ardis.)

  7. Suzanne on December 16, 2007 at 1:01 am

    Julie, I write about religion and would like to chat with you and others about the injunction to blog. Please write to me at suzanne [dot] sataline [at] wsj [dot] com

  8. mlu on December 16, 2007 at 1:20 am

    This was good to hear. I have posted on several websites the past few months to correct misinformation about the Church, but I always felt a little hesitant and uncertain, since no one appointed me spokesperson for the Church and I don’t feel particularly well-qualified.

    This does seem to me to open up huge vistas of important work (which many of you had already undertaken without waiting to be commanded in all things).

    Good work.

  9. tracy m on December 16, 2007 at 2:35 am

    Whoo Hooo! A pass by an Apostle!

  10. Keith on December 16, 2007 at 2:53 am

    Sorry, Julie, I didn’t hear it here first (I heard it HERE first, live). It really is a remarkable talk and one of the most exciting/intriguing moments of all the graduation speeches I’ve heard.

    I was struck by the acknowledgment that once you write or say something that makes it into the public realm of the internet it essentially becomes ‘eternal’. I think there’s an implicit warning in that, though not more so than the Lord saying that we’ll be accountable for every idle word.

    I was also struck by the idea (my interpretation of all this) that there’s a sea of voices and opinions and we’re urged to add our voices to these conversations (in a genuine and loving way) so that there’s a place (or many places) where a person can hear/read someone speak of his or her experience as a Latter-day Saint — a million witnesses here and there. For all the conflict of opinions and information on the internet, there’s a trust shown here in the idea that truth will advance by the witness/testimony of regular folks and also a trust that we can have confidence that the Spirit will do its work on the hearts and minds of those who truly want to know. (Interesting also are the recent adds on the Church website where they have real people talking about there conversion to the Church rather than actors.) There’s a trust and responsibility given to ‘regular’ members to care and work for the Kingdom that they belong to, with, of course, a hope that they’ll truly seek the welfare of Zion and not to push their own agendas.

    (A related side note: As my wife and I discussed all this walking home after Elder Ballard’s talk, I mentioned the blog you wrote some months ago — you know the one with that interesting title in Russian. We live in interesting times.)

  11. Sarah on December 16, 2007 at 4:42 am

    Everyone just proved Elder Ballards remarks,its amazing!!!!!

  12. Ronan on December 16, 2007 at 5:06 am

    I’d really like to know what’s on Elder Ballard’s iPod.

  13. m&m on December 16, 2007 at 5:20 am

    Does anyone else feel this weird sense of feeling like it is going to be all the harder not to spend too much time blogging? That is only partly said in jest. I mean, really, how many of us have joked about our ‘addictions’ and how we are blogging because we don’t want to do x or y or whatever, and yet…I think we’ve sensed that blogging has always has an element to it that was more than just a waste of time, but…. I just hope that I can not use this to justify ignoring other things for blogging, because blogging is so much more fun than so many things I have to do….

    There’s a trust and responsibility given to ‘regular’ members to care and work for the Kingdom that they belong to, with, of course, a hope that they’ll truly seek the welfare of Zion and not to push their own agendas.

    I love this. I feel like we are being reminded of our sacred duty to “stand as witnesses at all times, and in all things, and in all places”…and in all forms of conversation!

  14. manaen on December 16, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Bookslinger, I’ve been encouraged by your blog work since I learned about you a couple years ago. One question from Elder Ballard’s comments — are you again a member? (hoping the answer’s “Yes”). I look forward to my own re-fellowshipment, which I hope is coming.

  15. Geoff B on December 16, 2007 at 8:38 am

    Bookslinger’s being doing some great work, and it’s nice to see him get acknowledgment. It’s also nice to see Elder Ballard have nice things to say about the Bloggernacle.

  16. Seth R. on December 16, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Oh great. Now we been “told” to blog.

    Now, like home teaching, everyone’s going to stop doing it. :)

  17. Matt W. on December 16, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Seth, that’s hilarious.

  18. Ardis Parshall on December 16, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    6: /weeping softly/

  19. queuno on December 16, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    So a few years ago, Church leaders in and around BYU were actively discouraging participation in myspace and facebook, counsel that I think was generally routinely ignored. Now, we’re being *encouraged* to exploit those resources…

    (I think I’m too old for the myspace and facebook target demos, but I went out and created profiles when I was trying to reconnect with old friends. Thus far, it’s actually been a positive experience — I’ve reconnected with a few people from my mission and high school. Of course, I didn’t upload the pictures of me rolling with my gat and a 40 and my nude nightclub pictures, either…)

  20. Jacob M on December 16, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Ardis – keep your chin up. Finagle your way into an apostle’s talk, and Ray will be back on your side.

    Seth R. – So perceptive.

    queuno – I’m very sorry not to hear about those pictures, even though I don’t really know what a gat is.

    You know, we’re becoming such sheep here, now that Elder Ballard ordered us to blog, and we do it. What blind obedience I see among you all.

    Of course, just the other week Elder Bednar told young adults down here in So. Cal. to not blog about his speech, but to just quietly ponder what the Spirit had told us. I’m sensing dissension even among them!

  21. Bob on December 16, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    ““We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches,” he said.
    No, no… you’re misreading this: The GAs are stating their OWN blog.

  22. Bookslinger on December 16, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Elder Ballard already has his own video blog:

    http://youtube.com/LDSPublicAffairs

    He is in 12 of the 18 videos there so far.

    PS to Ardis: I’m still one of your fans.

  23. Clair on December 16, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Okay, everyone count off. Even numbers go to Huckabee blogs to defend the church. Odd numbers to Larry O’Donnell’s blog (assuming that he can read). Let’s be a part of history.

  24. Sarah on December 16, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    I saw it on LDS.org first, too, I’m afraid.

    What’s really funny is I only saw it after a member of my ward came up to me this morning and said he found my blog and was reading it… I don’t think he reads what I put on M* or say on other Bloggernacle sites, though.

  25. Keri Brooks on December 16, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    I think that this talk is encouraging. I’ve been participating in the Bloggernacle for a little over a year now, and it’s been really helpful to me. I’ve been better able to answer questions about the church that people have asked me, because I have the ability to read what the insightful bloggers have to say on the subject. I’ve been a little bit lax about updating my own blog, but this talk has given me the nudge to start writing more often.

  26. Jared on December 16, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    The power of the internet is expanding. My hats off to those who have laid the foundation of the bloggernacle—thank you. The bloggernacle has many groups that make it up.

    I won’t go into detail about all the groups and divisions that I’ve come across. I’d just like to say that I came to the bloggernacle a few months ago to add my voice and approach to blogging. I had a plan in mind and naively went about implementing it. In hindsight I would have done things different. I was unprepared for the hostility I encountered. I never thought that my attempts to start a discussion about “things of the spirit” would offend anyone. I was wrong. To those offended I apologize.

    I understand now that the bloggernacle net gathereth of all kinds. That’s fine with me. I’m willing to accept all that fit into the definition for participation as stated at Mormon Archipelago:

    We are always happy to add appropriate blogs to our feeds. Blogs must be actively posting and generally sympathetic to the Church, both in content and tenor. As Eugene England once suggested, it is possible to “be obedient while maintaining integrity” and “to have faith while being true to reason.” We only include blogs specifically dealing with Mormon topics (doctrine, culture, theology, etc.).

    Oh, by the way, I sent two emails requesting that my blog be included on Mormon Archipelago based on the statement above. One on Oct 27 and another Nov 8, 2007. So far I haven’t received an answer. I send one letter to LDS Select, same thing. No response. I’m sure there is a good reason for this.

    I would like to thank a few people who have been helpful and kind to me. In no particular order– Kevin Barney, Michelle at Blogger of Jared, Bookslinger, Clayton Christensen, and Richard Miller. Hope I didn’t leave anyone out.

  27. Wilfried on December 16, 2007 at 7:09 pm

    My hint to bloggers: make sure you often use the words “Mormon”, “Mormons” and “Mormonism” in your texts, and not only “LDS”. People looking for information will mostly use the M-words in their search engines. We’ve already come a long way, when you see the results of searches now, compared to a year ago (the Church must have put in a major effort behind the screen, to get Mormons and Mormonism turn up “lds.org” in the top of M-searches!). Let’s keep up the momentum. Also from an international standpoint, M-words are valid in all languages.

  28. manaen on December 16, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    27.

    Wilfried, “M-word”???

    Do you, perchance, remember the old M-Man and Golden Gleaner programs for young men and for young women? or the annual Gold & Green Ball?

  29. Amy on December 16, 2007 at 9:18 pm

    Bookslinger, I am new to the bloggernacle (and I am lovin it. This stay at home mom very appreciates stimulating, adult conversation!). Where do I find your blog?

  30. k l h on December 16, 2007 at 10:03 pm

    Go to Bookslinger’s comment 22 and click on his name, Amy.

  31. Craig on December 16, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    Hey, I’m glad the hear that the Quorum of the Twelve wants you to blog. I got the impression that Elder M. Russell Ballard wanted you to especially blog with people who are not members of your church. I invite you to start with me. I’m a Christian but I’m not tied to any particular denomination, mostly because I watch them fight with each other over doctrine and I’m fed up with it. I have heard the story of Joseph Smith receiving a revelation from God which resulted in the book of Mormon. My question is this: What key points are in the book of Mormon that are not found in (or perhaps enhance an idea in) the original Bible that I would need to know in order to understand the unique character of the Mormon faith?

  32. Janet on December 16, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    Bookslinger, I should’ve used your blog as an example during our “sharing the gospel” lesson in RS today! Great example, and would’ve mixed up the usual answers a bit.

    I LOVE the ‘nacle (the disagreements, even) but also fear the snarkernacle has us accurately pegged for often devoting overt attention to belly-button examination. Your idea of sharing missionary experiences online appeals to me–like begats like, hopefully. I’m all for introspection, but sharing how extroverted missionary endeavors have worked out can help the rest of us get the ol’ pass along cards out of the glove box and talking to nonmembers as well as talking amongst ourselves. Kudos to you! (Your Punjabi post hit a nerve: I carried BOMs and Joseph Smith pamphlets in three different West African languages in my car until recently. Naturally I met a very nice Ghanaian man at the mechanic’s last week, after cleaning the literature out of my car. Yargh. He took my phone number and asked if he could call me and chat about my church and why I know about Ghana, but so far no calls. Sob.)

  33. Janet on December 16, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Howdy, Craig! The BOM reaffirms much of Biblical teaching and is itself a narrative of some of God’s kiddos in a different portion of the world than the Middle East. In includes the story of Christ’s post-resurrection visit to said kiddos, which is quite lovely. Certainly the BOM “enhances” (to borrow your word) the Bible’s assertion of Christ’s divinity and atoning power. It also speaks to uniquely Mormon views regarding original sin, the trinity/Godhead, and some other nifty stuff. In addition to the BOM, Mormons hold the Doctrine & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price as Scripture–they contain uniquely Mormon beliefs regarding the eternal nature of the family, continued existence of prophetic power and personal revelation, and many, many other things which distinguish Mormonism from other Christian faiths. Others (who don’t have a fussing baby) can chime in, but I also suggest you check out http://www.mormon.org for answers to some of your questions. You can also look in your trusty phone book and call the missionaries in your area (look under “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”). They’d be thrilled to chat and have some company ;)

    BTW, your journey as a “Christian not tied to any particular denomination, mostly because I watch them fight with each other over doctrine” sounds remarkably like Joseph Smith’s narrative of faith, which you can find here: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/js_h/1

  34. Ugly Mahana on December 16, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    Number 31:

    That is as easy to answer as it would be to answer the same question replacing “Book of Mormon” with “The New Testament” and “the Bible” with “The Old Testament.” Speaking for myself, the revolutionary idea represented by the Book of Mormon is that God calls prophets today just the same as he did in biblical times, and that we must heed them just as God’s children in past times were called to heed the words of Moses, Isaiah, and Peter. That said, the main message of the Book of Mormon is the same as that of the Bible: God exists and he is the father of Jesus Christ, who is our savior. If you sincerely wish to understand our faith, I would suggest reading the Book of Mormon. If you wish to know if the doctrines we preach have salvific merit, I would suggest talking to missionaries. They do a pretty good job of introducing the basics.

  35. Ugly Mahana on December 16, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    I should have said that you should read the Book of Mormon AND talk to missionaries if you want to know if the doctrines we preach have salvific merit.

  36. Charles Sakai on December 17, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Elder Ballard’s speech is only an updating of the old rule of thumb: “If you want to know the truth about the LDS Church, ask a Mormon.” I agree that we need to be more articulate about explaining and defending the faith. When Gov. Huckabee dragged out the old canard about how our Church teaches that “Jesus and Satan are brothers,” it fell under either one of the following logical fallacies: red herring or strawman argument. You or I may be able to recognize that this concept is not taught as an official doctrine, but the general public can’t tell the difference unless we explain it to them.

  37. Adam Greenwood on December 17, 2007 at 1:03 am

    Go, thou who passest by,
    and tell Bro. Ballard that here,
    in obedience to his commands,
    blog I.

  38. Adam Greenwood on December 17, 2007 at 1:04 am

    Bookslinger! Yes!

  39. Jonathan Green on December 17, 2007 at 3:52 am

    Adam, doesn’t that comparison suggest that this whole blogging thing is about to end very, very badly?

  40. Adam Greenwood on December 17, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Yes, but until then we get some fine homoerotic bluster. Or so youtube clips of a recent movie inform me.

  41. m&m on December 17, 2007 at 2:28 pm

    Adam,
    Love the poem.

  42. Mark IV on December 17, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Go, thou who passest by,
    and tell Bro. Ballard that here,
    in obedience to his commands,
    blog I.

    Oh sure, Adam. You, and 700 Thespians.

  43. JAT on December 17, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Will President/Sister Beck be joining us?

  44. Anonymous on December 17, 2007 at 10:24 pm

    Someone is starting a whisper campaign about Mr. “Greenwood and 700 [whispers] th es/b/ians”?

  45. Adam Greenwood on December 17, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    THIS! IS! TIMESANDSEASONS!

  46. Eric Russell on December 18, 2007 at 12:46 am

    A. Greenwood, re: #37: Nice.

  47. Dr. B. on December 18, 2007 at 4:20 am

    I am glad to see Elder Ballard, my former mission president checked out my blogsite that I emailed him which has lots of posts on the CTM Mission Experience and agreed with me that Bookslinger was doing worthwhile work on his Flooding the Earth site. Elder Ballard who is heading up a new media campaign might have gotten something from Dehlin but our consultants are actually non-Mormons who drive the campaign. A while back Bookslinger saw LDS Church checking him out that was Elder Ballard. I agree he deserves recognition that is why I gave him a reciprocal link on my site. He does awesome work so I passed that on to my old mission president. I am inspired by Bookslingers posts.

    http://indybooks.blogspot.com/

  48. Jonovitch on December 20, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    Adam (45), I am barely containing myself from laughing out loud at work. Thank you. :)

    Jon

  49. Lei on January 8, 2008 at 12:04 am

    Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. I\’ve actually been thinking a lot about the ways in which each of are blessed, individually and uniquely, to spread the gospel. Our God given skills SHOULD be used positively for the good of the world, and if we are also blessed enough to know the truth that certianly increases our responsibility. I will make a more concerted effort to blog about my beliefs and to share my testimony in that forum.

    P.S. Julie, I just realized we are in the same stake… I\’ve enjoyed so many talks by you in person and here we connect in cyber world!

    P.S.S. I know comments are closed, but thank you so much for your insight into Julie Beck\’s talk in October! :)