First of all, can I tell you how much I loved the Salon article by Emily Matchar entitled “Why Can’t I Stop Reading Mormon Housewife Blogs?” Emily even described us in our own vernacular: “uplifting.” Uplifting is exactly the way Mormons would like to be seen. This article gave me chills mainly because it reminded me of a prophecy Spencer W. Kimball, a Mormon prophet, gave several decades ago.
“My dear sisters, may I suggest to you something that has not been said before or at least in quite this way. Much of the major growth that is coming to the Church in the last days will come because many of the good women of the world (in whom there is often such an inner sense of spirituality) will be drawn to the Church in large numbers. This will happen to the degree that the women of the Church reflect righteousness and articulateness in their lives and to the degree that the women of the Church are seen as distinct and different—in happy ways—from the women of the world. … Thus it will be that female exemplars of the Church will be a significant force in both the numerical and the spiritual growth of the Church in the last days.”
My favorite part of that quote is the fact that we will be seen as distinct and different – in happy ways – from the women of the world. I’d personally like to thank C. Jane, Nie Nie, and many, many others for leading the way in showing the world the happiness that living the Gospel of Jesus Christ can bring to a family.
Here at Mormon Women we don’t shy away from providing stories about and resources for people who are suffering from addiction, divorce, depression and other problems in the world today. Mormons are not immune from the woes of life. But an understanding that we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father and that death and sorrow will be swallowed up by the Atonement of Jesus Christ can bring lasting happiness.
Many of the commenters on the Salon blog wondered, “Why are there so many Mormon Women Bloggers?” As a long-term Mormon Mommy blogger I’d like to give my opinions on that subject. I think that the main reasons are family history work, social interaction, education, community, and a tradition of sharing.
Family History: Because Mormons believe that families are eternal we are doctrinally motivated to seek out our ancestors. Finding a journal of a deceased loved one is a particular treasure as it provides a window into their life. How my ancestors felt and reacted to the struggles of life gives me hope that my troubles can be overcome as well. Stories passed down from grandmothers and grandfathers give me a background to my own personal narrative. Knowing how much I love to read about things my ancestors did motivates me to record even the mundane. I write with my grandchildren and great grandchildren in mind. I want them to know me through my words.
Home-based Social Interaction: One indelible memory I have of my mom is her walking around my house on a 50-ft spiral telephone cord talking with her friends. She loved to clean while on the phone and her phone cord could reach all the way from the kitchen to the back corner of our family room. I like to talk to my friends just as much as my mom did, but I do it online. It would be very hard to hold a conference call with 60 of my best friends worldwide, but blogging makes long distance relationships very accessible. Blogging has made journaling a social event where I can share and discuss my life with my family members and friends. Instead of stuffing my best thoughts in a locked journal under my mattress I can share them and converse with my friends at their leisure.
Education: Mormon women have been encouraged to obtain all the education they can in this life and the next. Lifelong learning is stressed annually in our Sunday lessons from primary age through adult. Most of the Mormon women I know in my area have at least earned a bachelor’s degree. Some have not, but they are no less articulate because our church culture encourages leadership, study, and thought. And we teach, oh how we teach! Nearly all of the callings, or volunteer church positions, in our church are teaching roles. The process of reading and distilling that material into a lesson best suited to the needs of a class is very similar to blogging. Being a member of Relief Society also encourages the development of talents. Every Sunday and at least once a quarter on a weekday, we gather together to improve our talents, increase our faith or provide service to the community. The Relief Society supports women in reaching their highest potential intellectually, spiritually, and physically without compromising the divinity of motherhood.
Community: Mormons are community builders. Our church’s legacy begins with the early Mormons building community after community seeking a place to safely practice our religion. We continue to build spiritual centers of community called wards and stakes worldwide. Mormons also are known for having large(r) families than others. At first glance you may not see what these facts have to do with blogging. Let me explain. I have quite a few first cousins. Many of them blog. Many of the women in my ward and stake blog. I went to Brigham Young University, all of my college roommates were LDS. They all blog. As do many of the girls I knew in my collegiate congregation. Now that I’m a mother of four I have four times as many social lives to conduct and I interact with women of many different faiths at the public school, at the park, and at Kung Fu class. Can you see how finding people to talk to online in these circumstances would build a large online community quickly? Blogging is a great fit for building and sharing community.
Sharing We are encouraged to share our faith at home, at school or work, at church and online. In fact, we have specifically been asked by our highest ranking leaders to share our message online. Elder Russell J. Ballard writes in a guide to share the gospel online,
“Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration.”
In this month’s Ensign, a monthly periodical produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is a four page insert encouraging members to “join the conversation” on the new Mormon.org. As I am writing this I am wishing I already had my profile up to link to. Maybe you can search out your favorite Mormon blogger to see if they have a profile online at Mormon.org.
I love blogging. It has connected me with old and new friends in a medium I enjoy. I especially like reading blogs by Mormon women. Like Emily Matchar, I find them very uplifting.
Why do *YOU* think there are so many Mormon bloggers?