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Natalie Holbrook, www.natthefatrat.com
A still from Nat the Fat Rat, a Mormon blog.

Whether they're throwing family dinner parties, making paper crafts with rambunctious children or taking time for daily reflection, Mormon mothers and their blogs have become quite an obsession, and not just for the obvious crowd.

Self-proclaimed feminist and atheist Emily Matchar recently wrote for Salon about her "addiction" to such blogs, calling them strangely uplifting and even encouraging.

"Indeed, Mormon bloggers ... make marriage and motherhood seem, well, fun. Easy. Joyful," Matchar wrote. "These women seem relaxed and untouched by cynicism. It's not that (my friend) or I want to quit our jobs to bake brownies or sew kiddie Halloween costumes. It's just that for (my friend), Mormon blogs are an escapist fantasy, a way to imagine a sweeter, simpler life.

For many within the LDS community, it's no surprise these mommy blogs are so popular. Their posts about loving and cherishing their children and husband and finding joy in the routines of family life resonate with inspiring truths often lacking in mainstream media.

Yet along with the posts on burned breakfasts, pillow fights and do-it-yourself crafts, LDS women across the country are also sharing their beliefs. Sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly.

Stephanie Nielson, of the NieNie Dialogues recently posted about coming home from church flustered. "I listened to old General Conference talks and ironed. It was calming and my mind was going a million miles a minute. I was thinking and pondering and feeling the spirit. I kept my journal close to my ironing board and wrote thoughts down as they came."

Or there's Naomi of Rockstar Diaries who has a button at the top of her page, "we believe..." which takes viewers directly to mormon.org.

The growing demand for voices of truth and encouragement, especially in the tiring but important realm of motherhood, can be measured by the massive amount of web traffic these blogs and related stories generate- many of which can now be found within the Deseret News — as well as the standing-room-only crowds when blog authors speak.

The emergence of many of these blogs can be traced back to a call to action from Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who challenged members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to offer a "clear and correct witness of gospel truths" using the Internet as their platform.

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"We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches," Elder Ballard told a group of graduating BYU-H students in December 2007. His comments were later adapted for the Ensign in July 2008.

"Now, may 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," he continued. "The audiences for these and other new media tools may often be small, but the cumulative effect of thousands of such stories can be great."

Just ask Emily Matchar.

sisraelsen@desnews.com