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Blogging bishops: 2 Mormon men talk about sharing the gospel online

Published: Thursday, Nov. 21 2013 5:00 a.m. MST

LDS blogger and former bishop Brian Mickelson (upper left) and his family live in Tremonton, Utah.

Provided by Brian Mickelson

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles over the next few weeks exploring the world of LDS blogging.

When LDS Bishop Dirk Strobel brings up the topic of blogging, he generally sees one of two reactions.

"Some people really get excited about it," Strobel said. "For other people, it's like you are talking to a blank wall."

For those who want to be engaged in missionary work and help people find answers to life's hard questions, blogging should be exciting, Strobel said.

Strobel and Brian Mickelson are two men who have embraced blogging for this reason.

Strobel is bishop of the Rexburg, Idaho, Young Single Adult 45th Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Earlier this year, the 55-year-old dentist and father of nine children started posting on Reallifeanswers.org.

Mickelson, who served as bishop of the Tremonton, Utah, 10th Ward from 2005-2010, likes to help others feel the Spirit by sharing personal activities, thoughts and ideas on BrianMickelson.wordpress.com.

"I’ve given hundreds of talks in my life," Strobel said. "I have things I feel passionate about. For example, I want people to know that you need to forgive those people who hurt you, and there is always a silver lining in the bad things that happen in life."

The two men agreed to discuss their experiences with blogging by answering a handful of questions.

What led you to start blogging?

Mickelson has kept a number of blogs over the years, primarily as a way to keep extended family updated on his family's activities. A few months ago he said he felt prompted to begin blogging more about religion and spiritual matters in response to counsel from LDS Church leaders, he said.

"My theme used to be 'updating my family on our activities,'" Mickelson said. "Now it is helping people feel the Spirit of the Lord through sharing personal activities, thoughts and ideas."

Strobel's interest in blogging came about when he read Clayton Christensen's book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries," which contains a chapter on digital missionary work. He reached out to Christensen to learn more and eventually started writing for a website operated by digital missionaries in Boston.

"I thought I would explore the possibilities," Strobel said. "I was going to have the students in my ward do it, but I was told you should be the first to do one, so I did."

What do you write about? Describe your experience?

Having served on the stake high council for several years, Strobel had a virtual library of talks from which to draw recorded experiences.

"I thought I'd write about experiences I've had that strengthened my testimony and helped me through my life," Strobel said.

In his first blog post, Strobel recounted how his little brother was killed by a man who police told him was intoxicated, and his subsequent struggle to forgive this man.

"Hatred grew in my heart. … For a few months this hatred consumed my life, and then I realize that it was destroying me. I knew that I must forgive and that I was becoming somebody that wasn’t the person I need to be," Strobel wrote. "I prayed to God for forgiveness and to help me love this young man that killed my brother. The tragedy wasn’t my brother dying, but the young man that killed my brother. I realized that for the Savior to forgive me, I must forgive that young man. Christ could forgive the Roman soldiers as they were killing him, and he would forgive me of my sins. He would forgive this young man, and so I did. A great weight was taken off of my shoulders, and I felt love in my heart again."

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