Twilight of the Conservative Mormon Group Blogs

Things are out of balance. While one side of the socio-political (and faithfully orthodox) divide waxes ever more prominent in the online Mormon world, the other side wanes, wasting away, evaporating into nothing.

Consider the position of some of the most notable conservative Mormon group blogs from recent years:

  • Real Intent launched in 2012 with more than two dozen great bloggers, including some widely known names, and produced some intriguing and even powerful posts. However, after publishing a total of seven items in the years 2015 and 2016 combined, they have yet to post anything since then.
  • Orson Scott Card created Nauvoo Times and seemed to have hit on an easy success formula: not only did it also have a roster of admirable authors, many of the posts were merely reprints from the authors’ home blogs–constant content should have been a simple thing. But this site also failed and folded, though archives are still online.
  • The great standard bearer of this group is undoubtedly the Millennial Star, but even that’s not immune from these doldrums. Frequency of posts declined sharply several years ago, and at the end of 2013, they brought in Meg Stout to apparently fill the void and keep their product fresh. Meg’s writing is thoughtful, lucid, and original, bringing views and concerns to the table that would otherwise be largely absent. But most importantly–and most relevantly for this post–she’s productive. Of the last fifty posts at Millennial Star as of 5/5/18, Meg has written 21 of them–nearly half. That’s as many as the three next most frequent contributors combined. This isn’t to criticize Meg or anyone else at M*–again, she brings a lot of quality to the table, but the point is that M* isn’t really much of a group blog right now, at least not to the degree it once was. It’s become more like Jr. Ganymede, a great personal blog that sometimes features other voices.

Meanwhile, how many of the socially/politically liberal Mormon group blogs have expired or declined? The only one I can think of is Mormon Matters, which didn’t really die so much as it evolved into something else.

Is no one else worried by this trend? Where have all the great voices–faithful to the church, dissenting from the world’s culture–gone?

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How the Bloggernacle Apparently Watches General Conference

Imagine a general conference that hypothetically includes a discussion between the general authorities delivering the addresses, and “the bloggernacle”  as an entity hearing them.

GA: Church members should be loyal to the church.
B: Absolutely. Church members should definitely focus on minor doubts that are only tangential to the major tenets of faith and discipleship, and use them to publicly undermine the church.

GA: What? No, that’s not at all what we said. Church members should be visibly loyal to the church, striving to be part of the mainstream body of belief and service.
B: Yes! Finally, someone came out and said it. Church members need to be encouraged in striking out on their own and forging their own path to salvation, whatever that means for them.

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Helaman 13:26-27

It’s almost time for General Conference again, which means it’s almost time for another regular ritual among some Mormons: the Bloggernacle’s analysis of Conference.  This is where we get to hear from some self-appointed folk heroes which talks were good (because they liked them) and which were bad (because they didn’t like them).

Will President Packer’s upcoming address, for example, be met with a favor born of surprise and condescension, as sometimes happens, or with righteously angry criticism, as usual?  It probably depends on whether or not his remarks fit easily into currently popular worldviews.  So we’ll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, the majority of Conference viewers–those outside of the elite, electronic, intellectual enclave–will seek out both comfort and correction as they come, at face value.