Iconic BYU Creamery ice cream and mint brownies welcomed attendees prior to the first ever off-campus BYU Summit held in January at the Mesa Arts Center. Attendees came for the brownies. They came for the ice cream. They came because they went to BYU. They came because they hope to go to BYU. They came to see a hero. They came to introduce their kids to their heroes. They came to hear Vocal Point. They came because they hope to be in Vocal Point. They came to hear something new. They came to feel some nostalgia, and connect to their BYU family.
In a worldly sense, there are many things Mormons do well. We sing like angels. We make to-die-for funeral potatoes (no pun intended). We blog.
And in a sea of 20-something Mormon “mommy bloggers,” domestic goddesses with enviable hair and recipes, fifty-something Brad McBride stands out—for all the right reasons.
The grandfather and former bishop bills his popular Middleaged Mormon Man blog as “Seriously Mormon. Not Always Serious.”
“When I first started, there were very few male voices in the LDS blogging world, so I was a bit of an anomaly. The uniqueness has lessened as there are more men writing and actively contributing. More is good,” says McBride.
With posts tallying in the thousands, McBride jokes, “I am either very prolific, or a windbag.” His many followers certainly don’t think so. His openness and relatability make him a popular, if unusual, addition to the voices in the affectionately-named LDS “Bloggernacle.”
“I am probably a lot like you: Trying to make my way through this mortal existence, following the Savior, taking care of my family, and finding things to smile about,” McBride writes.
He takes on subjects as weighty as finding and losing faith, and as goofy as spousal back scratching during sacrament meeting: “It is gentle, it is loving, and it is through a suit coat, so it loses 80% of the intended impact.” Popular posts include gems such as “If Snow Monkeys Were Mormon” (what amounts to a great LDS meme collection) and “The Squeegee” (a conference-worthy metaphor of spiritual cleansing).
“Finding humor in religious culture is fraught with peril. It is a bit of a tightrope between being sacrilegious, and being boring,” says McBride. While he draws the line at mocking leaders, doctrine, or deity, LDS culture is not off limits: “One man’s sacred cow is another’s hamburger, so inevitably a subset of people will not like my approach. I can live with that.”
The spiritual nature that permeates many of McBride’s posts can make it difficult to keep from turning into the “Internet bishop,” he admits. When confronted with questions that go beyond his stewardship, he says, “My response is usually the same: ‘I’m flattered that you would ask, but I think this is probably something you should take up with your bishop. He is entitled to receive revelation on your behalf, and you would be in much better hands.’”
Far from being a hobby, McBride sees his blogging as something more—“an opportunity for service,” he says.
“I wrote mostly for myself, but . . . [a] week does not go by where I do not get correspondence from somewhere in the world letting me know that some particular post was written ‘just for them,’ and how it blessed their lives. That is an honor and a privilege. It is a constant reminder to me that there is an inherent responsibility in doing this,” says McBride.
“I find joy in knowing that it can entertain and educate, but also inspire others in this crazy journey we call mortality.”
Follow Brad McBride, the Middleaged Mormon Man, at http://middleagedmormonman.com/home/ or on Twitter @MMormonMan.