Q&A. Why are there so many creative Mormon bloggers?
I, along with a few other Mormon bloggers recently received an email from a theology student wondering if I could shed any light on why there are so many creative Mormon bloggers in the world.
You are all so creative, unique and inspiring. You are all doing really beautiful things in the world. In some ways, this is foreign to me as an Evangelical Christian. Evangelical Christianity has, for so long, promoted "ministry" over say, a career in the arts. But somehow, this doesn't seem to be the case for most Mormons I've encountered on the blogosphere. So, what are your thoughts on the nature of the relationship between your faith and your church upbringing and the way you engage culture, the world, style, fashion, design, etc? Do you see a relationship between the two?
I have been thinking about it a lot and while I am not an expert on this subject here are some of my thoughts/opinions about Mormon's and blogging.
I went to school at BYU-Hawaii. I majored in Fine Art with an emphasis in sculpture and ceramics. Graduating from an LDS college means that you typically have one of our church leaders speak at your commencement ceremony. I remember the speaker Elder M. Russell Ballard delivering our address and the topic being highly focused on media and the internet - specifically social networking.
“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,” You can read the rest HERE.
After graduating in 2007/2008 I didn't have a clear career path laid out in front of me and I did not have a family of my own or any other obligations. I was a bit lost, but with the encouragement of my parents I decided to continue my education. Pursuing as much education as possible is also highly regarded in the Mormon church. I was accepted to in to a design program in Portland and fell in love with graphic design. I started a blog to show others what I was working on while in design school. Elder Ballard's words never really left me and I felt that it was my obligation and duty to represent myself on the internet as a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ. I am not perfect but I try not to promote anything that would be contrary to my religious beliefs. I do try to promote things that are inspiring, uplifting and worth while.
In another talk addressed to members of the church the same apostle said, "Because of its sheer size, media today presents vast and sharply contrasting options. Opposite from its harmful and permissive side, media offers much that is positive and productive. Television offers history channels, discovery channels, education channels. One can still find movies and TV comedies and dramas that entertain and uplift and accurately depict the consequences of right and wrong. The Internet can be a fabulous tool of information and communication, and there is an unlimited supply of good music in the world. Thus our biggest challenge is to choose wisely what we listen to and what we watch."
I believe this to be true. The world can and does use media in a very harmful, degrading way. We are torn down by a lot of content that is circulated on the internet and on television. Our minds can be filled with negativity and filth. On the other hand I believe these tools can be used for so much good. We can learn so much, reach out to people we could never have reached otherwise, and share all of the good things that we personally are creating or doing. I believe a lot of Mormon's approach their blogs with this same belief. We can either be part of the problem or part of the solution.
To put it very simply- I think Mormon's believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ has brought comfort in times of unrest and answers when feeling utterly lost. We feel that if we can share that with others using social networks we are doing something good. We are also a group of people who have been encouraged to educate and uplift our minds for our entire lives. The two just happen to compliment each other really well when put into a blog.
For another view on the topic you can read what Design Mom has to say about it HERE. I like that she quotes our 13th article of faith, "If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things."