Historically I came to the bloggernacle later than most. After being heavily involved in political blogging I had only read a few LDS blogs once in a while and mostly read the FAIR website for its semi-once-in-a-while articles. I ended up reading blogs in earnest in the spring of 2006 because I got thinking that if there are so many blogs about so many subjects then there must be a large LDS blog populace. I was not wrong.
At the time I had no desire to start my own blog I just wanted to get a feel for what other Latter-day Saints thought in the world. It was then that I found the Mormon Archipelago. Using its links I was able to find a number of blogs. Some I found were ones that were easy to gravitate to and others were sometimes thought provoking and others were, well, not my cup of tea. I am not alone in this discovery nor particularly new at it.
Most of us I think find the Bloggernacle in similar fashion.
For me commenting on issues was fun, I thought after a while if I got invited to a bigger blog I would probably be willing to do so. But mostly I did not know the crowd so I supported the ones I liked and commented as often as I could.
After leaving my political jobs and returning the university I felt like starting my own LDS blog would be a good way to share some of my history research with everyone, LDS history I found was a popular topic on the blogs I read. It was about that time that the Juvenile Instructor started up. So we were kind of kin to one another as same era blogs.
I have over the past couple of years floated around blogging very inconsistently due to just being too busy or less interested in LDS blogging. This burn out phase has hit more often than I would admit but at the same time I am writing for a number of things so after a while I just found myself getting burned out and not having a lot to say on some issues. Again this can and does happen. Lots of rich writers and commentators on the bloggernacle have fallen off and in some cases gotten back on.
After four years I can say that I know what I appreciate about the bloggernacle. It is a two fold thing that I want to express.
1. I think the LDS Blogs offer perspectives and thinking that at once can be revelationary and on another side can be mundane or hostile. Each of these have their place, I know some blogs I have read have challenged me from all three and some that bored me from all three. Yet each category has reached me at different times when I was looking for different things. Blogs I do not normally frequent, Feminist Mormon Housewives and Mormon Mommy Wars have both offered me something I can think about.
2. The intellectual contributions and out of the box thinking, this is something the blogs can do to help develop ideas of faith. They are out growths of Dialogue and Sunstone magazines, where some of this began. In some ways it reminds me of the ancient and medieval philosophers who helped to set ideas about religious institutions. Often I see Thomas Aquinas, Moses Maimonides and Al-Ghazali in some of the discussions about the role of God, the foreknowledge of the Father, and in the role and place we have in the afterlife. In some ways these discussions are mind blowing but in others they advance religious understanding and conformity which is more developed than your garden variety Sunday School meeting.
In ways the bloggernacle has added to my understanding of gospel topics, and has blown some of my own preconceptions away. I love it when it does that and this more than anything else is the reason I return to understand and grow both in intelligence and in faith. That for me is what the bloggernacle has meant to me.