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.]