An emerging (and exciting) mode of Mormon literary expression is blog writing. I'm sure this is true of many other cultures, and I'm also sure that the digital divide has restricted many Latter-day Saints from engaging in this new mode of personal expression, but a definite flowering has taken place. Mormon lives are opening up as never before, revealing breadths and depths.
There are historical reasons leading up to this willingness for Mormons to write about themselves online. Latter-day Saints are very much a speaking-and-sharing people. Our meetings are heavily participatory. The rank and file members compose and deliver the weekly sermons in sacrament meeting, and Mormons teach each other for two more hours following the main Sunday meeting.
Two traditions in particular ready Mormons for blog expression: personal journal writing, and the bearing of testimonies. Long before the Internet arrived Mormons have given enormous emphasis to autobiographical writing. It is part of the "Spirit of Elijah" in which the hearts of fathers are turned to children and children to fathers. Mormons write directly to their future posterity, and they do genealogical and family history research to discover their ancestors. We consider a grandparent's set of letters or personal diary to be a gold mine. So we take to life writing readily--it is a generational thing in both custom and focus.
Mormons "bear testimony" to one another regularly--especially during the first Sunday meeting of each month, dedicated to expressing belief publicly to one another following fasting and pondering. We are a witness-bearing people. This also extends to the well-known feature of Mormon missionary work. Mormons have an evangelical zeal about their faith that makes speaking about things that matter to them natural and habitual. Again, something that prepares the Mormon people to be ready for a technology that accommodates personal expression. Mormons also form communities well, enjoying the social connections that make any group thrive--whether we are talking about hyperlinks and electronic connections or not.
So, against that background, we find Mormons being specifically encouraged to try their hands at blogging by one of their leaders, Elder M. Russell Ballard. At a recent commencement address, he urged BYU-Hawaii graduates to enter the blogosphere. His remarks were developed into the feature article for the July, 2008 Ensign magazine directed to all adults of the church, "Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet." In the last half year, many Mormon blogs have sprouted up in the wake of that encouragement, and as bloggins has caught on more generally.
Those wishing to sample Mormon blogs should probably start at LDSblogs.org, the portal to the "Bloggernacle" or what has been called the "Mormon Archipelago." The Mormon Times section of the Deseret News also has a recurring feature spotlighting LDS bloggers.
While there are many interesting LDS blogs that discuss religion, politics, culture, and the arts, I would like to focus on more personal blogs and post a few links to interesting blogs by Mormon women. LDS women have a history of personal expression going back to a very long tradition of women's periodicals within the faith: The Women's Exponent (1872-1914); The Relief Society Magazine (1915-70); Exponent II (1974-); and more recently, Segullah.
So here are some links to posts from just a few Mormon women's blogs. I'm sure I'm leaving out some good ones, so please respond with suggested links of your own. These few were suggested by my wife as blogs with compelling interest and eloquent thoughtfulness. Given her own interesting writing and tone, I can't think of a better blog to start with than hers, Kazzy'sPonderings.blogspot.com:
Please help me draw attention to other fine posts or blogs from LDS bloggers. I'm looking for those not devoted to general issues or to religion in general, but those focused on the authentic, everyday experience of everyday Mormons (women or men), and that show merit through thoughtful writing (whether "literary" or not).