A Critical Look at LDS Blog Portals – Part 4 : Conclusion

I will now conclude my critical look at LDS Blog Portals (see Parts 1 , 2 , 3 ).

The most popular of LDS Blog Portals, LDSBLogs.org, is primarily an exercise in self-promotion. In my opinion its claims to promote the church are trumped by its desire to promote itself. This orientation is reflected in the technology itself. It favors blogs by those who are friends or who promote ideas friendly to the fringe mormonism of Dialogue and Sunstone magazines. While they try to walk a line, the conversations featured are often overly and publicly critical of the church and her divinely appointed authorities. While they may lay claim to the name “faithful,” the kind of murmuring that often goes on is not good.

The administrators of LDSBlogs.org are happy to point to alternatives like LDSElect, Blogregate, and Mormon Blogosphere. However, all of these portals are equally, or more friendly to the fringes of Mormonism than LDSBlogs.org and all of them to some extent have mirrored the technological consequences of the self-serving goals of LDSBlogs.org. This allows LDSBlogs.org to maintain the illusion of being in the mainstream. While they tolerate a great deal of murmuring and criticism of the Brethren, ironically criticism of the bloggernacle clique itself is not welcome. This alienates orthodox, mainstream members who are frustrated by what I have named “The Murmurnacle.”

I submit that the hierarchical methods of LDSBlogs.org are contrary to the spirit of Zion. Blogs are distinguished by ranks according to their chances for learning , and by their connections to the administrators of the portal. Ironically, these very problems are often criticized by those involved with LDSBlogs.org when they are found elsewhere in society, government, and even perceived by them in the church. And yet they hypocritically employ the same measures in their own self promotion and the promotion of the more liberal type of Mormonism many to which many of them subscribe.

In the Book of Mormon, Nephi writes:

…for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
(2 Nephi chapter 26, verse 29)

I think that all LDS blogging has the inherent danger of transforming into priestcraft, including my own. It is easy to slip from seeking the welfare of Zion to seeking the praise of the world, especially in the internet age, where anyone who puts forth an effort can try to gather an audience and convert a following. I will not go so far as to label the LDSBlogs.org project priestcraft. But the admitted marketing, self-promotional purpose, and the self-serving promotion of some blogs above the others that has been the driving force at LDSBlogs.org is, in my opinion, like unto the spirit of priestcraft, even if it does not amount to equality.

And criticism of the bloggernacle clique itself leads to ridicule and blacklisting. Orthodox members find themselves marginalized by the “popular” crowd—which ironically ends up being a familiar scenario for orthodox members. Mainstream, orthodox members who are interested in blogging, but are uncomfortable with the murmuring, and who want to support the Brethren, find themselves with nowhere else to turn.

So what is to be done?

[In response to the question "What is to be done?", I launched my own LDS Blog Portal which focuses on Mainstream and Orthodox LDS Blogging.]

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6 Responses to A Critical Look at LDS Blog Portals – Part 4 : Conclusion

  1. I guess as one of the guys that helps to run LDSBlogs.org I would like to state plainly that I avoid posts and comments which are “overly and publicly critical of the church and her divinely appointed authorities” and murmuring. If you disagree, I would appreciate you citing examples. Specifically, do you find anything on my blog, Splendid Sun, that would keep you from including it on your new aggregator, NothingWavering.org?

    Now, of course blogging isn’t (yet) zion; but neither is your or my employment. It doesn’t mean that it is a bad thing.

    As I said in one of your previous posts, there are a number of commenters in the bloggernacle that are critical of the same possibilities that you are. Again, I would like you to cite any example besides your own self to establish the norm that you are trying to describe.

    As a self styled voice of warning, I would hope that you are equally valiant in defense of all aspects of truth and liberty.

  2. J. Stapley,

    I posted a comment with similar concerns as yours on the NothingWavering.org post.

  3. Interesting, though the brush seems to pain a bit broad.

  4. Thanks for all this information. It was very neat, and helped me to understand more about things that just didn’t interest me. I am not listed at the Archiplego (sp?) and I never really cared. Now, I know that I don’t want to be. And most of the “big blogs” don’t interest me. They discuss things that either don’t interest me, or I find misguided. I have actually limited myself down to one big blog. And it is one you have at NothingWavering.org.

    Thanks for you information, and your efforts with NotheringWavering.

  5. Max, I think the nothingwavering site is absolutely brilliant, and I am so glad that you have created it. Now, I have read your posts, and I can understand your point of view and frustrations with the other Aggregators. However, in the interest of fairness, perhaps their self-promotion may be justified for the time and effort they invested to create a free service.

    In the end, I hope that all of you boys can put aside your differences over this. It is not productive carrying around hard feelings. You are each highly intelligent, talented and valuable human beings. And each of your efforts to share your testimonies and follow Elder Ballard’s plea to “join the world-wide conversation” is commendable and needed.

    So, in keeping with the spirit of our ultimate purpose as Latter-day Saints, I gently suggest that you choose to respect each other’s creativity & freedom of expression, and move forward.

    Best wishes always,

    Your sister and friend MoSop

  6. Velska

    As in all Internet content (especially the so-called Web 2.0), much in what could be termed “LDS Blogs” is spurious and/or scurrilous. It would be hard to find out what the church doctrine is from the blogs.

    As I don’t have a blog of my own to promote, I just read those others provide and occasionally comment. I try to limit this, as it’s not very productive. And as I’m more interested in discussions with a genuine desire to understand and bring more light, I am delighted by the introduction of NothingWavering.

    I have found that the quality of “information” (deserves the quotation marks, methinks) has an inverse relationship to quantity. The perceived anonymity gives license to many to just go out there and throw stones. I have a thick skin, but not all do.

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