The bloggernacle seems to attract a specific subset of Mormon culture, and as a result, opinions and comments are often different from those we hear expressed at church.  One reason for this could be that some personality types thrive in organizations while others are prone to be disenfranchised.  A popular metric to determine personality type is the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or the simplified version of this, the Kiersey Temperament Sorter.  These psychometrics are based on the psychology of Carl Jung.  Many have already taken this instrument and know their MBTI type or their Kiersey Temperament.  If not, you can click on this link and answer a series of short questions to find out your type.  (Click the link first, then read on to share your results and find out more).

A few quick observations about Kiersey Temperaments and how they might manifest at church:

SJ – 50-55% of the population.  This is the most frequent of the types.  SJs like themes of loyalty, obedience, authority, organized efforts (such as checklists and handbooks), and tradition.  They are the organizers of groups.  SJs often rise to positions of authority because they are reliable and dependable and they abide by the rules.  Without SJs, organizations lack the rules and traditions to keep them going.

  • What connects them to the church:  The organization, the authority, the loyalty, the ordinances, traditions, patriarchy
  • Why they might leave:  SJs love to feel like they belong to an organization with strong traditions and are valued for their loyalty.  They would leave an organization if they feel they don’t belong, if they feel their loyalty is unrewarded or if they feel the organization has abandoned traditions they value.

SP – 30-35% of the population.  These are the entertainers and artists.  SPs like freedom of self-expression, flouting the rules, and they dislike the constraints of authority and rules.  They are the free spirits of society, and may prefer freedom from the constraints of religion (e.g. eastern philosophy or artistic pursuits).  They tend to be athletic and enjoy nature.  Within organizations, they are often a breath of fresh air.  Yet, they can be viewed as flaky, especially by the SJs.  They also enjoy undermining the SJs.

  • What connects them to the church:  The music, the opportunity to “perform” (talks, lessons), the variety of changing callings, the Word of Wisdom and church athletics, scouting
  • Why they might leave:  Maybe a better question is why they might stay.  SPs often like variety and change and freedom, and belonging to any organization for too long may be asking too much.  SPs leave when they feel stifled or that the organization is too staid and boring to stimulate them or to allow their self-expression.

NF – 7-10% of the population.  These are the idealists and humanists.  NFs are driven by empathy and the need to have a meaningful life.  They are often deeply devoted to causes that align with their deeply held personal values.  If they feel their values align with an organization, they will be invaluable at energizing those values into actions.  They have amazing empathy, and are usually the best people in an organization to make lasting people connections.

  • What connects them to the church:  The people, the values (if aligned), humanitarian efforts, and service opportunities
  • Why they might leave:  If they feel their values are misaligned with an organization, they will leave to pursue their dreams and causes.  They also dislike environments with a strong corporate feel that leaves them cold.

NT – 3-5% of the population.  These are the intellectuals.  NTs are driven by a need to comprehend the complex systems of the world, to design, to learn, and to master.  They care deeply about competence (their own and others’).  They tend to be very self-confident and skeptical of authority.

  • What connects them to the church:  Understanding and exploring deep doctrines, intellectual concepts like theosis, and the notion of personal revelation
  • Why they might leave:  Many NTs tend to be agnostic or atheist.  NTs tend to leave religion for intellectual reasons or if they find the church experience intellectually stifling or lacking in stimulation.

(The 70 question link above is not the full instrument, so your results may be inaccurate.  If you feel one of the other descriptions fits you better, feel free to comment on that.)

Does this information provide any new insights about why people stay and why they leave?  Is it useful to try to understand what motivates a variety of people rather than just catering to the slim majority (the SJs)?  Does the bloggernacle personality differ dramatically from the norm of the church (as I would hypothesize)?