Only a few years ago bloggernacle participants worried that some GA was going to condemn the entire experiment in General Conference, similar to how the grassroots ward websites had been asked to shut down or even reminiscent of the “Alternate Voices” talk given by Elder Oaks. At the same time many claimed that the Church was now too savvy to do such a thing as it needed LDS voices on the internet to show up when somebody googles a Mormon topic.

Well, now Elder Ballard has given a speech encouraging members to blog, and to blog about Mormonism no less.

I encourage any and all bloggernacle participants to read the speech and form their own opinions.

Two things in the speech caught my eye. The first was what I’m pretty sure is a reference to frequent commenter Bookslinger’s blog:

Let me give you a few other examples of how Church members are using the New Media. A Church member living in the Midwest makes a concerted effort to share the gospel everyday, in person. He then writes a blog about his daily endeavors to share the teachings of the Book of Mormon and to give pass-along cards to all he meets. He has written about many of these experiences. For example, one of his entries, titled “Punjab at Gas Station” reads:

I was on the other side of town visiting friends, and on my way home stopped at a gas station to buy a newspaper. The cashier was from Punjab in India, and spoke Punjabi. He accepted my offer of Punjabi and English copies of Gospel Fundamentals, and Punjabi and English copies of the Joseph Smith Testimony Pamphlet. I had them in the car, so I retrieved them and presented them to him right there.

His effort to share the gospel so diligently is admirable, and his further effort to write about it no doubt inspires many others to do the same.

So congrats to Bookslinger for getting a mention in an apostles talk!

The second thing that I thought was worth remembering (especially for myself) was an admonition to keep things civil:

As you participate in this conversation and utilize the tools of New Media, remember who you are–Latter-day Saints. Remember as the Proverb states that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). And remember that “contention is of the devil.” There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs. There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. Our position is solid; the Church is true. We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the prompting of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven.

In any case, despite the words of Elder Ballard, I’m still hoping that my blogging will disqualify me from any major leadership callings.