Emily W. Jensen: From the Bloggernacle back bench

Published: Friday, Feb. 8 2008 12:39 a.m. MST

Welcome to the Bloggernacle back bench: a comfortable place to observe, learn and discuss.

The Bloggernacle, if you don't know, is the unofficial title that has been given to the world of Mormon-themed Internet blog sites. The topics range from the general to the specific. Some are individual musings while others are collective efforts. And the themes extend from the intensely orthodox to the stunningly controversial.

Why a back bench? People covet the back bench of the chapel. Whether you are late, need a quick exit for a fussy child, want extra leg room or hope to catch a quick snooze, the back bench is the place where you can pay attention to the meeting without the meeting paying much attention to you. This same philosophy governs this column since I will be your unofficial back bench guide through the last week's Bloggernacle posts. If we were sitting in a meeting, I would be the whisperer who told you what you missed during that quick snooze.

If you read on, you will find what I call my Power Picks, Insightful Comments, Forgotten Gems, New Blogs and more. Click on the links to jump into the blogs for additional information or to join the dialogue. And what's fun is that the Bloggernacle is not only ever-changing, but it's ever-growing.

EmWJ is my blog alter-ego. Nice to meet you. Now enough of this intro, we have blogs to discover!

Power Pick — As you might expect, the death and funeral of President Gordon B. Hinckley and the reorganization of the First Presidency dominated the Bloggernacle this past week. Many blogs posted the news, including A Bird's Eye View and Temple Study posted the news, some within minutes of it breaking. Just a few numbers to consider: 40/50, or 40 posts on President Hinckley's passing out of 50 clicked-thru blogs. And 18/50, or 18 out of those 50 blogs, mentioned the reorganized first presidency. And I'm sure there were many more reminiscences about President Hinckley as well as reaction to the reorganization scattered throughout the Bloggernacle. This is not even counting all the comments!

Powerful? Yes. The blogs serve as a gathering place for the online Mormon community to reflect, in the case of President Hinckley's death, or to discuss, in the case of the new First Presidency announcement. So cool!

For more numbers, check out "Internet Activity Around President Hinckley" on LDScio.org.

Share moments from the funeral at The Blog Segullah. Enjoy a rendition of a poem dedicated to "Gordon B. Hinckley: The Happy Warrior" at Six LDS Writers and A Frog. Or even view a memoriam to the prophet in comic strip form at Latte Day Saints.

And how cool that a blog called canwavetribute + media coverage + willing participants = a lovely tribute to President Hinckley as people waved canes and handkerchiefs as the funeral procession passed.

Has the reorganization made you curious about the history of succession to the presidency of the LDS Church? Check out "Succession in the Presidency, 1887-89" and subsequent comments on Mormon Wasp.

But I have to say that one of my favorite posts about the reorganization was "President Uchtdorf to First Presidency" found at Times and Seasons. Enough said.

New Blog — On January 8th of this year, FAIR (The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research) decided to venture into the Bloggernacle. They indicate that "as part of our stated mission to defend the Church, its doctrines, leaders and practices, we at FAIR recognize the power of the 'bloggernacle' and its utility in discussing difficult and controversial topics. For that reason, FAIR has chosen to use this medium as a way of discussing topics relevant to Mormon Apologetics." The most recent post is a Feb. 5 discussion on The People vs. Chauncy L. Hibgee. Tags: apologetic, history, doctrine, politics, Book of Mormon.

Political Pause — While some weeks I find politics fascinating, this oversaturated political week was blah. However if you are still interested in the Bloggernacle's take on Super Tuesday or Mitt Romney's withdrawal from the presidential campaign head over to Council of Fifty. But I echo Mormon Mentality in asking if there will there be a "Return to Bloggernacle Normalcy" with the end of the Romney candidacy?

Insightful Comment — "People often ask when the last time was that our Prophet had a 'major' revelation. When you read what Pres. Hinckley said about the way various things came to him (including the plans for the new small temples), it is clear that revelation flowed regularly for him. The PEF (Perpetual Education Fund), in my mind, is one of the clearest examples of 'major revelation' received in my lifetime. It might not rival the lifting of the Priesthood ban in earth-shaking or eternal import, but it does much the same thing in a very practical way — freeing potentially millions of people eventually to enjoy the full blessings of life and the Gospel. It simply is a brilliant, inspired program." — Ray, commenting on "The Perpetual Education Fund" at Times and Seasons.

Forgotten Gem — Although relatively young, the Bloggernacle includes some awesome archived articles. This week takes you back to March 27, 2006, and highlights "Difficult Answers, Uncomfortable Answers and Simple Faith" from Feminist Mormon Housewives. It concludes with "Embrace the mess. Escape your comfort zone. Allow yourself to ask difficult questions and face uncomfortable answers and unsolvable complexities. Seek. Learn. Grow. Allow yourself to believe irrationally. Hope." Curious about how the post begins? Click away.

Techie Tip — You will often notice down the sides of some of the blogs the little clickable graphics titled Mormon Blogs, Mormon Archipelago and LDSelect.org. These are aggregators that cover many Bloggernacle blogs and update as the blogs update with blog title/post title/author. Handy things, these aggregators, which can take the place of or supplement your own personal Bloggernacle reader.

The End — Watch for "Today on the Bloggernacle" for updated picks and links throughout the week. And feel free to comment here or shoot me an e-mail. Or if you found a link that interested you, then with a click I'll see ya later!

(Emily Warburton Jensen juggles writing and editing while mommy-ing four mostly delightful children. She returns to the Deseret News after seven years, excited to cover the Bloggernacle. She loves to ski, horseback ride, sing, travel and enjoy dark chocolate.)

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