Should an LDS apostle take a stab at the new media?


(Dr. B has me thinking)

1.  Let the best of the LDS Church media design your blog.

2.  Decide how often you can post.

3.  Be willing to engage directly in the thread over what or with whom you desire to address.

4.  And when controversial topics surface, your critics are many and varied (from atheists to exmormons to devout, conservative Christians).  The power of blogging is the open access and influence with candid, written words to anyone and everyone around the world.  But select and provide interaction with your critics one by one – the ones who will display respectful conversation with you.  Set a thread limit if you so desire.  And start with the critics in your own backyard in the I-15 LDS corridor.

5.  LDS members and professors have long been in the public dialogue and debate.  It is time for you to take the lead.

As a pastor in Southeastern Idaho, I have a lot on my heart about the nature of God and His Gospel work.  Which LDS apostle or general authority or even area authority will engage with me kindly and respectfully “live” on your own new, media blog?  And where you are passionate to see others converted, allow me the freedom to be soulful about seeking your heart conversion to the God I wonderfully see and experientially know in scriptures.

Will one of you be willing to step up to the plate and talk to the Idaho spud in Ammon, Idaho or anyone else through this new media? 

I would be eager to get into a God discussion with an LDS apostle over this topic.


  1. Todd, have you ever read the Salt Lake Trib’s comment section whenever the LDS Church is the topic? It almost always degenerates into a really stupid conversation with anti-Mormon bigots on one side, and unhelpful testimonials and witness-bearing on the other side.

    The only way an apostle could run a blog is if he turned the comments function off. Otherwise, it would be immediately hijacked by cyber-trolls.

  2. Actually, Seth, I’m not so sure. For some reason, the sort of thing you describe seems to happen more frequently on newspaper sites. I’m not sure why that is, but this is what I’ve observed, and not only in terms of religious issues, but concerning anything that is controversial or potentially controversial.

  3. Well, admittedly, blogs do tend to get a more cordial atmosphere than newspaper sites or message boards.

    However, I think if an actual apostle started blogging, it would quickly attract rather widespread attention – making the dynamic much different than other religion blogs.

    Secondly, how would the apostle deal with comment moderation? Personally? I don’t think he’d have that kind of time and would probably have to have an assistant do it, or staff. There’s also the danger of cries of censorship when people get booted. It’s one thing for me or Todd to say to a commenter “you’re a troll – get lost” and ban them. When an apostle does it, it raises all sorts of questions as to whether the Church itself is censoring viewpoints. It also opens the apostle up to ridicule about using his “divine powers of discernment” to ferret out the trolls on the site.

    The only way I can see it working is if the Church set up an official website where Apostles visit as authors, yet the site itself is managed by some element of the Church PR department – thus making the apostle a little “above the fray.”

    But here’s another problem. We already get so much flak from our critics over unofficial things past apostles said here and there. This means LDS leadership has to be very careful in what they say – since some people inevitably will take every word that falls from their lips or keyboard as binding Gospel Truth.

    Sorry Todd. I think they’d be better off leaving well enough alone and letting the lay membership do the talking for them. If I make a misstatement or mess up online, it’s not a really big deal. If Elder Ballard messes up, it becomes an issue for those who are already in fault-finding mode.

  4. That is to say, that interactive blogging is not a careful form of communication. And General Authorities have an obligation to be careful given who they speak for.

  5. If LDS apostles would tap into the new media, they would be smart to tap into younger, very active bloggernacle commenters and put them on the team.

    So Ballard should put you on his new media team, Seth.

    He writes and allows interaction with another to his paragraphs in a controlled setting as he sees fit. He places you and others as the managers for a number of blog spin offs to the topic being discussed in the website.

    The problem is this: I don’t know, if among the LDS apostles and prophet, there is anyone who is a sharp, scriptural exegete and who really wants to discuss the beauty of God in fine detail to the public masses.

    There should be an awesome fear of not properly being true to the God of heaven and his words. There should be little fear over how public Church image might be disrupted. That fear is a snare.

  6. Interesting idea Todd. I don’t think I’m really worthy of that kind of a role. But it’s certainly not an outrageous or unreasonable idea.

  7. Todd,

    Thanks for linking my essay Do Mormons Worship Jesus?. I am NOT an Apostle, Area Authority, or anything in particular, but I would be happy to discuss the issue.

    You might find my recent essay The Christ-centered Book of Mormon, particularly provocative, as I would guess that you would disagree with the thesis of the essay.

    Thank you for your interest in engaging in dialogue with the LDS.

    As for your issue about LDS Apostles needing to blog, I cannot see it happening, but who knows. The Internet is a force that cannot easily be ignored by any religion.

  8. This will never ever happen (it would be kind of cool if it did). General authorities are handled by church PR like they’re running to be president of the United States. The chances of something inadvertently stupid being said is to high, gotta maintain the image, can’t give the antis more ammo then we need to.

  9. In a way , this might already be happening, though not with the apostle’s at the captain’s chair but the profs, theologians, and apologists. For that reason, I’m wondering if Blake O. has a bigger following than many of the apostles. Just wondering. This wouldn’t (necessarily) be a personality cult (excuse the term), but a natural function of respect following someone who works hard at teaching and preaching and blogging.

  10. Fans of Blake Ostler have formed a Facebook group containing 12 members.

    Fans of Elder Uchtdorf have formed two Facebook fan pages containing a total of 37,812 members. There’s also a group called “Uchtdorf your mom” which dwarfs Blake’s group at 19 members.

    I think the LDS GAs are winning.

    BTW, how cool would it be if Seth became an LDS apostle? I’d totally join the church then.

  11. When I was very first married, I served in the Primary in my ward. And the Primary President (who was also the bishops wife [who was also 67 years old]) confessed to me that she had the teensiest, tiniest crush on Elder Uchdorf.

    “He’s just so handsome,” she gushed.

    Therefore, that his fan base is so large is absolutely NO surprise to me.

  12. “BTW, how cool would it be if Seth became an LDS apostle?”

    Well, it wouldn’t be cool for me. Unless I get, like, a major Holy Ghost upgrade or something I’m not doing it.


    ANY single book written by ANY of the current sitting LDS apostles is going to sell way more than all Blake’s books put together. I’m sure Blake would concur with this statement.

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