Cribbin’ the ‘nacle

It was my turn to write an article for our ward newsletter, and it started like this:

Tässä on pieni testi. Täytä puuttuva sana:

Oh, wait. In English:

Here’s a little test. Fill in the blank:

Joseph Smith said, ‘_______ is a grand and fundamental principle of our religion.’

While many people would say ‘obedience’ or ‘revelation,’ what he said was, ‘Friendship is a grand and fundamental principle of our religion.’

If that sounds familiar, I plagiarized it from a BCC post. It’s the first time I’ve done this, but I doubt it will be the last. I felt a little bad about not giving Mark Brown and/or BCC as the source, but I couldn’t think of a way to do this that would make a lot of sense.

So has anyone else borrowed from the blogs for a talk or lesson? Did you give a reference? Will the search box on BCC or MA become the next refuge of the lazy church speaker?


  1. I gave a talk during women’s history month about women in LDS history. I used two articles by Ardis Parshall on T&S as sources.

  2. Steve Evans says:

    I have come very, very close on a couple of occasions to stealing one of Kristine’s posts for our newsletter.

  3. cj douglass says:

    I’ve heard people refer to conversations they had on “Mormon blogs” in testimony meeting.

  4. I taught EQ for over 2 years, an average of twice a month. I’ve cribbed more Bloggernacle material than I could possibly cite.

    I usually hand out a printed set of notes for my lessons (with sources and such), and I would often put links to specific postings there. But oft-times, the discussion would take a particular turn and I’d find it appropriate to bring up a comment from a particular post I’d read.

    [ By the way, I know EQ instructors are commonly called lazy and unimaginative – my own strategy for a lesson consists of starting prep 2 weeks before. I outline the basics for a lesson using the assigned lesson material. About 8-10 days before the lesson, I got to the outside sources to get outside perspective on what I’m teaching. About 4-5 days before the lesson, I start putting it in “tree” form — what paths I want to go down depending on the quorum’s direction that day. The night before the lesson, I’ve got each lesson section timed and prioritized, so I know what to cut in each path. I don’t want my own philosophies to dominate the group discussion and inspiration, but there are a few key things I do want to get in. Yes, my lessons are obsessively planned, so that they can be freeform. Spontaneity takes planning. ]

    The way I generally introduce Bloggernacle material is to say, “now, some scholars/experts/teachers have said XYZ”. Yes, I’ve cited you all as scholars/experts/teachers, but I generally don’t give names – I save actual credit to the GAs. That’s the way I’ve chosen to navigate the “stick to the material” edict and still bring in alternative voices. It’s easier to do this with “Teachings for our Times” lessons taken from conference talks than from “Teachings of the Presidents of the Church” series, although, generally people have read the conference talks more than they ever read TPC.

    The best part is that our high councilor is on it. He’s come up and commented on my lessons and said, “I think I remember seeing that discussion online.”

    I’m not going to go back and count, but I think I’ve quoted Steve Evans, Kevin Barney, Julie M. Smith, Kaimi, and Margaret Young most (there have been others, but those 5 come to mind immediately), but without direct attribution. If it’s any consolation, I don’t teach EQ anymore (sob).

  5. (I also don’t often directly quote you all. I give the gist of a comment or a post. But I’ve put in direct links in material I’ve handed out. I’ve also probably emailed out 20 or 30 links to posts to certain ward members and leaders over the last couple of years. Some of our sisters really love Ardis’ posts, but they won’t go read these sites themselves. I’m a human RSS feed.)

  6. I’ve used an Adam Greenwood post in a sacrament meeting talk before. I don’t remember how I actually credited it. I might have simply referenced reading something on the web.

  7. Kevin Barney says:

    I’ve started citing the Bloggernacle in my scholarly writing. The next issue of the FARMS Review will include two reviews by me on NT books, and sprinkled among the footnotes are at least a half-dozen references to blog posts. And an essay that is just beginning the pipeline to publication has more blog footnotes.

    I often find incredible blog posts I didn’t even know about by doing google searches.

  8. Eliza Roxcy says:

    I’ve paraphrased certain concepts in comments in both SS and RS classes, and I refer to various stuff I’ve read online in conversations with individuals.

    I taught Relief Society yesterday and my lesson was heavily affected by last week’s discussions around the Bloggernacle defining “spirituality” I didn’t quote anything directly, but the online conversations certainly influenced how I prepared the lesson and the way I guided the discussion. I was able to anticipate questions and issues and prepare accordingly to far greater effect than I ever have before. I hope that the Bloggernacle serendipitously discusses my next lesson topic!

  9. queno —

    I think your method of lesson prep, and others like it, should be widely taught and encouraged. When I was ym pres, the teacher’s advisor took the manual topics for the next six months, had a file for each and collected stuff over the months as they came up. Amazing lessons, all for three guys, at best.

  10. Thomas Parkin says:

    Yes. I borrowed this very quote for Priesthood meeting, and incorporated the feeling behind it into our Ward Mission Plan.


  11. I’ve heard people refer to conversations they had on “Mormon blogs” in testimony meeting

    I know of who you speak and it should be noted that this person wasn’t testifying of Mormon blogs, only that he’s had such conversations.

  12. cj douglass says:

    True Rusty – I wasn’t impying that you were testifying of Mormon blogs. I just think it’s interesting how our blog conversations seep into our face to face church experiences. Its not the same as referencing blog sources in church but its in the same ballpark. Not a bad thing – just interesting.

  13. CJ,
    Hey man, I’m not embarrassed to have said, “I know that Mormon blogs are true and I know that Ronan Head should be our living prophet.” What’s true is true and I make no apologies.

  14. cj douglass says:

    Hey, Ronan’s “Head” doesn’t need to get any bigger – yuck, yuck….

  15. In all of my various meetings, I often say something like, “A friend of mine said . . .” or “I read . . .” or any number of iterations on the theme. I also have incorporated various ideas I have read here in my talks, usually just with, “I found the following that really struck me” – or the friend attribution. At the very least, the conversations here influence the way I see and contemplate almost every topic I address from the pulpit and in classes, so:

    Most definitely borrow; no, never attributed directly yet.

    R. Gary, fwiw, I have considered using our evolution discussions (without mentioning topic) as a good example of the ability for two people to disagree in an agreeable manner – although I’m sure I will not mention the shrine. :-)

  16. I forgot to add that I regularly copy comments from a few specific blogs and e-mail them to local leaders to whom they apply. I did so yesterday with a comment on The Waters of Mormon about the impact that Primary Choristers can have on the children (to our ward Primary President), and I just barely did so with Norbert’s last sentence in #9 (to a Bishop in our stake and the Stake Presidency counselor over the Aaronic Priesthood Committee – with a suggestion to pass it along to our Stake YM Pres). I usually send them with a subject title like “Something I just found that I thought you would appreciate”. At least in this area (and in UT for most of my and my wife’s extended family), there are people who read excerpts from the Bloggernacle who have no idea they are doing so.

  17. Rusty,
    You can be the Prince Regent of my Council of Fifty.

  18. I used Margaret Young’s description of receiving a name and a blessing (from her “To the Pastor” blog post) in a talk I gave about traditions a few months ago. I felt terrible because I used her description almost word for word and didn’t give any attribution; although, that would have been really awkward in a talk. It was just so beautiful and perfect.

  19. Thanks for the reminder of Margaret’s post, David. I have it bookmarked, and I am sure I will be using it in some talk in the future. It moved me as deeply as anything I have ever read the first time I read it, and it brought me to tears again today when I re-read it.

  20. I’ve heard reference to blogs in lessons, participant comments, and testimonies, but not sunday school yet. the only times they’ve been called by name, it was MMW.

  21. Norbert, I’m flattered and humbled that you found anything from that post to be newsletter-worthy, and now I’m frightened for your ward. But some of the comments on that thread were very insightful.

    I reference things from the Internet all the time when I prepare lessons or talks, or even during casual conversations. If it’s from a Mormon blog, I usually say something like “I was chatting with a friend the other day and …” because that is what this feels like to me.

    We ought to take a poll and have people rank in order which of the following statements is most likely to be the lead-in to a load of baloney:

    1: Once my mission president said…
    2: My seminary teacher said…
    3. I read in the bloggernacle that…

    I don’t hesitate to say that I trust what I read here more than I trust the other two sources.

  22. a random John says:

    I am Ward Clerk. I get asked to teach EQ nearly once a month, and usually on very short notice. This is probably because I’ve said that I’d be willing to do so rather than due to the quality of my lessons. Anyhow, I bring in thoughts from the bloggernacle all the time, but without attribution. I usually don’t plan this (there is little time for planning) but through stuff out as it occurs to me if it is topical.

  23. I once used an excerpt from a blog post as part of the spiritual thought for HC meeting one Sunday. I attributed it to “an online acquaintance”.

    I’m not aware of quoting anything in my HC speaking assignments, but the posts and comments often inform my preparation and study for those talks. In most of the wards in my stake, except for the YSA ward, I suspect an attribution to the “Bloggernacle” would only bring confused looks from most of the congregation.

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