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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Post: Overcoming the Existential Angst of the Bloggernacle

Have a guest post for Modern Mormon Men? Both modern mormon men and women can submit guest posts via email. In addition to your post, please include a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself) to run above the post.

Bradly Allen Baird is the father of two amazing children and served a mission in the Finland Helsinki Mission somewhere around the dawn of time. Having acquired an MBA and then subsequently throwing over his entire (and incredibly boring) professional(?) life to study biotechnology and computer information systems, he is finally finding his way as a modern mormon male. Oh, and he became interested in the bloggernacle a few years ago by submitting comments and a couple of guest posts to A Motley Vision.

I am a geek. No questions about it, I am a geek. Ask anyone that I served my mission with and they will tell you that Baird is a geek (and quite often a dork). I was raised by an ultra-liberal mother whose tendencies in life floated incessantly between the arts and environmental terrorism; which should tell you all a lot about my own tendencies. Consequently, when I entered mainstream American Mormonism at the age of 18, I was unprepared for the complete and total culture shock of life in Utah.

However, with time and maturity, I became steadily acclimated to it all and even can enjoy some of its more idiosyncratic practices. I will go so far as to say that I really do like living here now and enjoy associating with members of my ward and stake. There are such good, kind people in the Church here in West Jordan and I feel as though I have found myself here and my purpose as a member of God's Kingdom on the earth (though my purpose seems to be outside mainstream service to the ward).

The one thing that has not happened, though, is that while I live among good and kind people, I cannot relate to most of them on any real personal level at all. I am not a die-hard BYU or Utah fan (though I attended both institutions and do watch the games), cannot speak endlessly about cars, or baseball, motorcycles, hunting, recreational vehicles, or any other of the things that seem to occupy the daily lives of the good people here. I was raised in a very different way and care about different things.

This situation naturally led me online to find out what LDS bloggers concerned themselves with; and much to my great surprise, the Bloggernacle displays a broad variety of ideas, personalities, and opinions. And with greater surprise, I found that here was a community of LDS people who I could identify with and relate to. Yet, in the beginning of my explorations, I felt a measure of guilt about spending time interacting online with LDSaints across the planet. I was even a little embarrassed about the whole thing (perhaps a further confirmation of my position as king of the geeks).

And I do not really know why.

Perhaps it is because there is always so much caution and warning during General Conference each year about digital media and the dangers of the internet. I really have never been able to figure it out. But, over time, these weird feelings passed and I realized that reading what other members of my faith think, feel, experience, desire, and opine about was really really comforting and gave me a sense of solidarity that I have never felt in any ward or stake to which I have ever belonged.

Pretty amazing considering that I have never met a single blogger or commenter, ever. And I don't know if I ever really want to.

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