This blog post is in response to a conversation I had on another blog. The other blogger is a member of my church, so shares my beliefs. I don't necessarily share all of hers. But I like to read her blog because she is a good writer, and is funny, and many of her posts are really good. But recently I have disagreed with some of her posts. I made a comment the other day that really laid my feelings out there. She said my comment was"snarky". She's right, it was a little snarky. I think my feelings weren't just directed at her, but were directed at all of the bloggers who share the same thinking as her. I couldn't really say what I wanted to say without it coming across as snarky. So basically, I just said the truth, and laid out my feelings, and she had to take the brunt of it. You can't read my comments. She deleted them. That's okay with me, I delete some comments too. In fact, that is one of the perks of having your own blog; you can delete whatever you want. And I may or may not actually share this post with her. She doesn't read my blog, and I really don't want to start an argument, so that isn't my purpose of writing this.
In fact, our blogs are our own. We write what we want, and whoever disagrees can choose not to read them. But after thinking about this situation, I have come to feel that there comes a point when our blogs are not our own anymore. This particular person is quite well known in the community, and is often in the public eye. She is a writer for a well known newspaper. So because of this exposure, she has a fairly large readership, and a lot of Mormon women in particular read her blog. If she were not Mormon, I think my views of her blog would be different. But as a member of our church I feel that if she writes about religious beliefs, and speaks about our church, she has become a representative of sorts. So in this way, her blog isn't just a place to talk about her feelings, but has become a place to teach about our religion. That changes everything. If you are going to show yourself as a member of our church, then in my opinion, everything you write of religious nature should represent our beliefs. If she did not present herself as a member, and didnt' have non-members learning our beliefs from her, I would not take issue with what she writes.
I have a religion blog, and I am very careful to write only what is true doctrine. I don't want non-members to learn something incorrect, and I don't want to lead members to believe something that isn't pure doctrine. Even within the church, I feel it very important to only teach pure doctrine. The church actually teaches us to make sure that everything we teach is doctrine, and to not go off on a tangent explaining about our own personal ideas. It's not a matter of taking away free speech, it's a matter of making sure that incorrect teachings don't infiltrate the church. We have manuals, and are expected to use them, and not use outside sources in teaching doctrine. We use the same manuals worldwide, ensuring that worldwide our churches teach the same doctrine. You won't find an LDS church in another country teaching contrary beliefs. Yes, yes, I know that a blog is not church. But in this case, many mormon women follow her blog, and are greatly influenced by what she writes. So in a way, it is a way to preach outside of church, so is preaching none the less.
I have seen a trend in the church recently to adopt worldly thinking. Those who come up with their new "doctrine" appear to feel that they have come across a sort of "superior" thinking, and that some day the church will catch up. But truth is absolute. Either something is true, or it isn't. So it disturbed me when this writer shared some personal beliefs that actually have no foundation in true doctrine. It was pure speculation, and I'm sure when she wrote it, she felt she had hit on some new doctrine, and that she should share it with everyone. But because her blog is so popular, she has influenced many women to believe with her; going against true doctrine.
I'm sure she viewed my comments as hateful. She said as much. I was not feeling hate when I wrote them. I was feeling that someone needed to stand up and remind her that she has a great influence on other women, and even though it may make her feel important to have some secret doctrine that no one else has discovered yet, she needs to be careful in what she writes. Being in the public eye is a two edged sword. It can give you a great forum to influence the public in positive ways. But it can also lead the public astray in detrimental ways. Those in the public eye need to be very careful about their influence on others. Blogs are dangerous because we can say whatever we want. She gets paid to write for her employer, so has to be careful that she doesn't write anything that will risk her employment. With a blog, there is no watchdog, except for people who comment.
Maybe we don't have to bare our souls on blogs. And maybe we don't have to share every idea or belief, especially if we have a large readership. The written word is powerful. We have a responsibility to be careful how we use that power.
And that is my 599 cents worth...