Help? Do I belong here?

How do we help “new bloggers” find their voice?
Are we really a community that does?
I believe we are, or at least can be.

Main Street Plaza is an Internet home for people who care about their thoughts and ideas, eventhough weoften disagree. Wedon’t have the same world view,but it helpsus tobe able toarticulateour point of view, and listen to others asthey express theirs.Disagreements on doctrineor different life choices,does nothave to lead to animosity.I hope that we are making a space for people questioning their faith, lives and community, and to help them feel that they have a “voice” as they work throught those struggles.

An Example of doing it right!

I think that Post Mormon Girl does a great job giving voice to her experiences with the church, and how those experiences shaped her life. Her entire blog is great and some time. when you have the flu or something else, where you have an excuselay inbed,I highly recommendreading through her past posts. She is an awesome person, writer, friend and she has a great way of gently encouraging new readers and commenters to talk, even if they are VERY shy.

Part of what is remarkable about Post Mormon Girl, as a blogger and human being, is that she makes sure to thank each person who comments, or to engage them in some way. When she doesn’t know an answer, she will post that she doesn’t know, and ask her readers whether they know them. She also asks questions that she genuinely doesn’t know the answers to, and at the end of the OP asks her readers to share their experiences.

This is one of her recent posts, that especially hit home with me: (You really should take the time to read the OP and ALL ofthe comments)

The post is touching and masterfully written.Thecomments, thoughts, ideas and personal experiences added to the OPmake it much morepowerful!. PMG is a great writer, who writes honestly and straight from the heart. There is no doubt that her writing stands on its own. While being a great writer is important, her original reasonfor starting A Post-Mormon Life, was to help others who had, were or were going to have some of the same experiences, when they decide that leaving the LDS church, She wanted other people toknow that it is possible to leave the LDS church, andthey can be happy. Mostly, she wants people to ask questions, or leave part of their own stories, so they can be part of the larger narrative of current Mormons, Ex-Mormons, and thosestraddling the fence.

What we are doing now, and howwe can bebetter!

Hopefully, Main Street Plazais creating a space for thestoriesof people who have had the LDS church touch their lives. As a place forexperiencesto beshared, a place of encouragement, and not a place of condescension or condemnation.This is a place that you can hear the words and voices of those whose lives have been different,while you still share some common threads.

Hopefully, you willfind acceptance, no matter where you fall on the living-believing-caring-hoping scale of personal growth.As you discuss, debate, and find common ground, hopefully you will see Main Street Plaza as a place to embraceideas and people who don’t agree with you (or do agree with you) that you respect because of the lives they live and their tollerance and support, no matter how different you may seem at first.

Oftentimes, connecting through blogs has less to do with marketing and more to do with making personal connections, but it is hard to make those first few connections, If someone has posted on a group blog, and they have a personal blog that is in their profile, check out their blog. If theirblog is interesting, and youare comfortable with the content, leave a comment about something you liked, and then ask them to check out your blog.It can be a great was tostart conversations that mightnot happen inlarger forums, with 20-50 comments. There are new and more experienced authors,who offer their advice, when you ask for it. 😉

There are times whenyouneed help now, and you aren’t sure who to ask. So, please, if you are new or have been lurking for a while,
please leave a comment with your question(s) and hopefully between the community members, we will be ableto answer all of them.

Julia 😉


**Disagreeing is just as honorable as agreeing, as long as comes from a supportable idea or an experience based insight. Name calling is always an easily throw, like the balls from a Nerf gun. I am asking you to at least try meeting me half way, and stick to only calling me an idiot, AFTER you have shared your “supportable idea.” 🙂


I live in Oregon. I love to hike and backpack! I write poetry, some good, some horrendous. I like to meet new people, and get new perspectives, online and in the real world. A number of my "online friends" have become "real life" friends too. I have no great artistic skills, mostly I love to write whther it is poems, personal essays, non-fiction science or health essays, and reviews. I love to write and send cards, which I make myself, with a little help from my sticker friends. Too often we only get bills, political fliers and junk mail advertising when we open up the mailbox. I want to spread the joy of getting something addressed to you, written by a real person, who is thinking of you when they write it. I do a Sunday review of blogs on my personal website, so if you want to have your personal website reviewed, stop by my website and leave me a comment with your blog's info.

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17 Responses

  1. Oh – that is so sweet of you! And thank you Julia – I was so honored when you originally posted my blog on yours, saying that I helped you understand one of your high school friends who had left the Church. That was one of the highest compliments I’ve gotten as a writer and I am very glad that I e-mailed you to say thanks. 🙂

  2. Chris F. says:

    That was excellent. Now how do I put a blog on here? I have a great idea (or at least I think it is) for a blog, but I don’t know how to post here. Do I have to have my own blog site? How does all this work?

    Thank you for answers.

  3. If you start up a blog, then you can have the blog listed on, which chanson will draw from for the weekly summary of all things Mormon-related (we call it Sunday in Outer Blogness) If you just want to write a post or two, you can contact chanson about doing a guest post for MSP.

  4. Julia says:

    Thanks PMG!

    Chris, when you say you “have a great idea” do you mean for a post or two, to guest post on Main Street Plaza, or for a blog that would have a particular point of view that you would like to regularly blog about, in a blog that you own?

    If you are thinking of starting a blog of your own, there are several pretty simple ways to start, and if it goes well, then you can stick with your original format, or upgrade to a more complex format, when you feel you and your blog are ready for more exposure.

    So, can you tell us a little more precisely what you are hoping to do? 🙂


  5. Taryn Fox says:

    If you’re talking about acceptance, does that mean Main Street Plaza has finally decided to exclude abusive trolls who create an unwelcoming and hostile environment, like Seth R.?

  6. Julia says:


    chanson, as the owner of the blog, is the one who makes ultimate decisions on who is banned or not. The general policy of the site is:
    We ask everyone to make a good-faith effort to keep their comments civil and constructive.

    If you want to read all chanson’s vision for MSP, you can go here to read it all:

    If there are spepcific concerns that you have about Seth R., or anyone else, please email me at findingmywaysoftly @ (take out the space) or chanson at chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com.

    chanson is currently at Sunstone, so it may take a week or so, for her to get back home and be able to deal with a concern. I will be more available, and can answer more immediate questions. If you want to email me with your concerns, I will make sure that chanson also gets your input.


  7. Chris F. says:

    @Julia- I do not have any sort of blog space as of yet, and I’m certainly not interested in paying for the privilage of writing down thoughts that my wife and some random passer-by will read.

    Truly, I only think of something worth writing about, which is related to Mormonism, once in a while. The majority of my thoughts that I would write are mental exercises that I, if no one else, find interesting. Sometimes these are political (What would happen if Romney became President of the United States), sometimes they are silly (What would happen if “Put Movie Name Here” actually happened), sometimes they are a serious analysis of reality (Whose Higgs boson is it anyway), certainly nothing new under the sun, but they are my thoughts, and I enjoy them.

    If I could just post a couple relevant blogs here, that, I suppose, could work. And come to think of it, I suppose I could just dust off my myspace account. If I can remember the name and password…

    @Taryn- It is my experience that in order for a blog to not appear to be a self-congradulatory group of nodding heads, people like Seth are needed. They bring spice to the discussions, which keeps things interesting. He may be a little krass at times, perhaps even borderline insulting, but you cannot deny that he brings up good counter-points to the discussions. It’s the old ‘oposition in all things’ argument. Even if you’ve left the church, that nugget of wisdom still holds true. If people like Seth were not allowed to come here and express their concerns or counter-arguments, then what is the point in taking up this webspace? If all you do is sit here and complain and brewd about how wrong the CoJCoL-DS is, without allowing someone to examine your logic and possibly point out flaws, then you become no better than the CoJCoL-DS itself. If you allow critisizm and change when flaws are pointed out, then that is when you get to learn and grow.

  8. Chris F. says:

    I think I’ll just send the blog to and see if it ends up here.

  9. Julia says:

    @Chris F.
    I have a blogspot personal blog and haven’t ever had to pay for it. That might be a good place to start since it is a very easy original set up. My kids each has their own blogspot blogs, just for our family, and they change their set-up all the time, without any adult help.

    I know my friend started on blogspot, and when she needed more flexibility when she wanted to move beyond etsy and put her blog and online sales stuff together. I am not sure which one she ended up keeping, she went through several over a few months, but I don’t think she would have needed to switch if she wasn’t pulling out of Etsy.

    Not sure if that helps or not.

  10. Julia says:


    Do you mean blog or post?


  11. Chris F. says:

    @9- I’ll give it a shot I suppose. I’ll keep you posted when I get it up and running.

    @10- What is the difference?

  12. Andrew S. says:

    re 11,

    Chris F

    So, “Main Street Plaza” (this entire site) is a blog. “Help? Do I belong here?” is a post. So it’s unclear whether you want to create a new blog or just write a few posts.

  13. Chris F. says:

    @12- I was thinking of just doing the post for now, and setting up a blog when I have time. It may not be a large process to set up a blog, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it takes an hour or two to set it up.

  14. Kullervo says:

    You can set up a blog (i.e. a blog website) in about 30 seconds, and put a post on it about as fast as you can type it.

  15. chanson says:

    @8 — I’m not sure anyone reads the account.

    If you have a blog that you would like me to list on Outer Blogness, or if you have written a blog post that you’d like to submit to Main Street Plaza, please email me (chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com), as explained on our “Welcome” page.

  16. Chris F. says:

    Holy cow! I had no idea there were so many blogs to choose from. I wish I could read faster. There is no way I have enough time to read all of those.

  17. chanson says:

    @16 lol. That’s one reason I do my weekly round-up Sunday in Outer Blogness: to make it easier for the bloggers who are most active at the moment to find each other.

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