Sunday, November 26, 2006

Retirement?

Alas, it may be that my blogging days are coming to an end. M&M is tired. The question is, is this an early or late retirement? Hmmmmm..... For the blogging world, it's probably about right. Will it be permanent? I guess only time will tell. You can still find me on A Prayer of Faith, however, and maybe occasionally on Blogger of Jared. (Can a retired blogger contribute to a site that has that word in its name? Hee hee...ha ha.) It's been interesting, to say the least....

13 comments:

Eric Nielson said...

I'm not sure what we would do without you. Bottom line should be to do what makes you happy.

Naiah-Christine said...

As your friend who sees what some blogging does to you, I am so relieved. It's hard watching you turn your heart inside out for people who neither listen nor care anywhere enough to appreciate your help, people who even see your heartfelt assistance as offense.

On the one hand, it's such a tragedy that so many supposedly LDS sites do little more than burn the wheat and exalt the chaff, but alas, that seems to be the way of things. It's always the straightforward, the faithful, the orthodox--whatever you want to call us--those who stick by the Church, the Prophet, the GA's fully and completely, with faith and intelligence, those of us with the peace of the Spirit in our hearts who are willing to try and share it as best we can in this medium, who get burned out again and again.

The bloggernacle scares me that way.

Ryan said...

Oh please, retiring is so passe, I did that like.. three days ago or something. Try to be a little more original :)

M&M said...

Eric,
Thanks. I really don't think I will disappear from BoJ. ;)

Naiah, I know it's a little more than a wheat and chaff dichotomy...there is a lot of good there, but I have been saddened to see how in some places and situations more tolerance seems to be shown for venting and frustration (and even dissent and anti-attitudes) than for orthodoxy. It's all a bit befuddling to me, actually. But that's just because I can't fathom why anyone wouldn't love the Church as much as I do. ;)

Ryan,
Go ahead. You can call me a copy-cat if you want. ;) I've been mulling over this for a while, so I suppose I was in the same mode as you and Wade. We should start a blogging recovery group or something.... :)

Tom said...

I won't say that you shouldn't retire. I don't think anybody needs to spend any time participating in blogging. If you find it value in it, go for it. If the bad outweighs the good for you, then stop. Or whatever.

But I will say that I'm glad you've been around. I'm glad for another non-feminist voice. (I'm sure, like most of us, you're probably pro-feminist in some respects, but in the Mormon blogging world I think it's safe to say that you're non-feminist.) There are times when you take on and argue against certian ideas/viewpoints that I would argue against myself if I had the time/inclination/energy. It's an added bonus that you're a woman because, appropriately or not, women seem to have more credibility in discussions with women about women's issues. Plus, it's probably important for observers to see that there are smart, strong women who don't buy into the feminist worldview and who don't have angst about the way things in the Church have been set up and that it's not a case of men inflicting their harmful patriarchy on opressed, broken women.

I've had quite a few times where I've almost promised myself that I would stop visiting some of the feminist sites because of some of the carping negativity that I find unproductive and/or harmful (I'm not indicting all feminst blogs or all feminist posts here, just to be clear). But then there will be an idea put forth that I just can't let stand without offering an alternative viewpoint. Again, I'm glad your viewpoint's been around.

Melanie said...

We'll miss you! Thanks for your kind, faithful posts.

M&M said...

it's probably important for observers to see that there are smart, strong women who don't buy into the feminist worldview and who don't have angst about the way things in the Church have been set up and that it's not a case of men inflicting their harmful patriarchy on opressed, broken women.

Tom, this has been my hope, so I am glad that my efforts have somehow been interpreted in a way that was consistent with the reason I have participated. I so desperately want people who struggle to have "orthodox" voices to listen to, but it's often like swimming upstream, and in some places, one is simply pushed underwater. Thank you, too, for your participation -- it's always nice to have other voices along the way. :)

Melanie, thank you for your kind words! Really, this has been a hard thing for me to do in a way, so the support means a lot. :)

Mary A said...

M & M, I have mixed feelings about this. You should do what you feel is right for you, but at the same time, your insights are needed. I am glad you will still be at A Prayer of Faith! I know it gets discouraging sometimes. I always appreciate what you have to say!

Anonymous said...

M&M, I quit having my own blog too. It is hard to balance it. But I still come check in. It's hard to stay away.

Matt W.

M&M said...

Mary,
I have mixed feelings, too, but the negative effect on me is just too much. I'm sorry!

Matt,
I know it will be hard, and I may even post things here (I'm still unsure about what to do with my own blog), but mostly I have to stop participating in controversial 'nacle conversations. Thanks for stopping by.

Bored in Vernal said...

Hi MnM,
I just finished reading aaaaallllllll the comments on Z's Daughters and FMH and I wanted to tell you that I feel your pain. A while ago Matt posted a comment that really helped me a lot in understanding some of the differences among the Mormon Bloggers. I don't know if this will speak to you like it did me. But tell me what you think:

He said, "Like you, my spiritual switch is triggered by Sunstone. Like you, I feel very much at home, part of a community. If Sunstoners share one thing in common, it is that they get their spiritual “jones” by asking questions. Many TBM Latter-day Saints seem to get their “jones” from affirming answers. For example:

Question: Who was Joseph Smith?
Answer: A Prophet of God who ushered in the Restoration of God’s true Church

The “Question” above is fascinating to Sunstoners. How much printer ink has been spilled in Sunstone Magazine, how many Symposium sessions have been devoted to exploring that question? Yes, Sunstoners offer answers to the question, but they aren’t final answers, more like theories, ideas, sketches… The point is this: the answers are subordinate to the question. We all show up at the Symposium because of the question, not the answer.

The opposite is true for many “Iron Rod” Saints. The question “Who was Joseph Smith?” isn’t really asked at Church, and if it is, it is a formality. We are there to affirm the “Answer”: Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. How much printer ink has been spilled in lesson manuals, how many testimonies have been delivered from the pulpit devoted to affirming that answer? The point is this: the question is subordinate to the answer. We show up at Church to affirm the answer, not ask the question.

It isn’t surprising to me that to an Iron Rod “affirmer”, a community of questioners would feel like a “dark” place.

So it seems that most people engage or feel the “spirit” either by asking questions, or affirming answers. Maybe some people have a mixture of both, are “bi-spiritual”, but I think most of us tend to lean one way or the other. I think the early members of the Church were primarily Questioners not satisfied with affirming answers in their previous religious traditions. At some point, early I think, the Church evolved into an institution that rewarded Affirmers, and discouraged Questioners."

When I read this I realized that much of my spirituality comes from asking the questions. When I read the scriptures, I get all excited when I come across a question I can't find the answer to. I search and search all the different possibilities. I love immersing myself in the twists and turns and I feel the presence of God and the Spirit through seeking.

Matt's words helped me realize, though, that many of the Church members I encounter feel the Spirit through the confirming answers. Understanding this helps me related to them so much better.

I guess what I am seeing in your confrontations in the Bloggernacle is that you are trying to offer the beautiful answers that so comfort you to a group of questioners. Answers are not going to bring them peace. They need to struggle and untangle knots. Give them more questions!

Must go take someone somewhere, but I would be interested in knowing what you think about this viewpoint.

M&M said...

BiV,
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for sharing your thoughts (and Matt's).

In response....I actually am more of a questioner than you might think, but my approach and questions are probably different from many in the 'nacle. I find little value in asking questions that would feel to me to question the foundations of my faith. If the questions I ask put my answers on the line, then those questions, for me, aren't worth asking. There are so many questions that can strengthen my faith, not potentially put it on the line. That's my personal approach.

I believe there is SO MUCH to be learned by asking questions that can deepen our roots rather than focus on branches that can end up weakening the roots. (See my latest article at APoF on this topic.) So, the questions I ask help me understand what seem at first to be simple elements of the restored gospel. What is faith? What can we learn from the temple in the OT? The BOM? What does the Bible say about the Restoration? What do the scriptures say about the Atonement? Some questions are more personal, related to trials or thoughts I'm having about life or the gospel. I usually ask questions to understand more deeply the things we talk about at church. I don't want to question just for questioning's sake (and it sounds like often you don't either -- there is a wonderful trhill of the Spirit when we can search and learn). Not all questioning and searching yields the Spirit and leads to truth. I want to question to learn more about the mysteries of God, not about theories and suppositions, esp. not those that will call my foundation into question.

I have seen too many people spend time questioning that either leads them to so much dissonance within that they are miserable, or worse, who leave everything behind. Two people in my world have decided to leave the Church in the past week. What led them to do this? Questioning. Asking so many questions that only left more questions that they finally convinced themselves that there are no answers to be found in the Church. There has to be a balance in my mind, or the questioning can be held up as a virtue in isolation without providing any firm foundation. This is not a blanket condemnation of the process by any means, but even in the 'nacle, a lot of people are questioning to the point that their doubt their faith, doubt our leaders, doubt the divinity of the Church, and feel out of place and out of sorts. That, to me, seems like questioning that has a net negative effect, not a positive. But that is my opinion and my point of view. In the end, only the individual can determine where that line is. The trouble is, I've seen too often that by the time the line is crossed, often individuals can't see clearly anymore and they question themselves out of a testimony. There is risk involved in questioning, or asking questions that lead to nothing but more questions, and I don't feel there is a realistic or fair admission of this in places where questioning is the rule and the end.

So, perhaps it's not a clear-cut dichotomy for me, but clearly my approach is one that is met with scorn and frustration in the 'nacle. I feel great sadness that there are divisions like this among us, but I guess each person does what works for him or her. Frankly, I believe God wants more of us and for us. I dont' see how we can be of one heart and one mind with the dynamics that exist right now, with the dichotomy and divisions within the fold. I have my feelings about what could bring unity, but that's another topic for another day that may never be written up. :)

I appreciate you taking the time to share your point of view. I hope that what I have said explains mine a little better. I have appreciated the way we have been able to interact with a little less contention and frustration (at least I have felt that that has gotten better). I hope you do know of my sincere concern for you and the struggles you are facing. I wish I could share with you some of the things I am experiencing in my own life that give me a measure of empathy for you in ways that I can't really talk about publicly.

I do hope that people can sense that my intentions have not been to offend as I have participated in the 'nacle. I feel I do have a better understanding of where some people are coming from.

Thanks again, BiV, for sharing your thoughts with me. Love and hugs to you!

M&M said...

More of my thoughts, BiV, can be found here.