Bloggernacle Personality Survey

By: hawkgrrrl
May 23, 2009

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)?


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4 Responses to Bloggernacle Personality Survey

  1. mcarp on October 4, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    (I can’t find a link on this page, so I found my own, but it doesn’t give much detail.)

    I must say I answered a lot of the questions differently than I would have 10 years ago, when I last took a similar (although more extensive) test. I see more grey and less black-and-white. The answers about which is more important justice or mercy are harder for me to answer now.

    I guess, for me, one of the reasons I’m falling away is that I judge (isn’t that the J?) the church to not be what it says it is. I want to have facts, not myths. Is the bible historical or metaphorical? I was raised that it was historical and I just can’t wrap my mind around the creation, adam & eve, etc. as metaphorical.

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  2. Mike S on October 4, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    This is actually quite true in my regard. The organization and callings hold no interest for me. I have no desire to sit in meetings or have “authority” over anyone. I’d rather study things, think about things, and argue them back and forth in the spirit of learning more and examining my own preconceived notions. I also do have a humanitarian bent with empathy for others.

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  3. hawkgrrrl on October 4, 2010 at 9:20 PM

    I’m an ENTJ. I’m very close on both E/I (extrovert/introvert) and J/P (organized/flexible). Both my N and my T scores are very high, which is probably why that’s the kind of stuff I enjoy blogging about – figuring out how the church is socially engineered and exploring the ideological aspects of Mormonism.

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  4. Charmaine on March 8, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    As an ENFP, I think this description is mostly accurate, but I’ve found that a lot of NFs don’t like to be told what to do. It’s not that we wouldn’t follow rules, we just like to do it because we’ve chosen to or because we see value in it. NFs have an innate ability to believe so most of the time, they have no problem believing some of the less common doctrine in Christianity of the church, but at the same time, they are pretty good at accepting other religious beliefs also, like those of Buddhism or Hinduism.

    I’ve found ENFPs especially to be extremely independent – so much so that they avoid any type of subordination and even condemn it in others. (I know I do.)

    I’d like to make a point though that the post author fails to acknowledge personal revelation. Being as it is one of the fundamental teachings of the church, I think it is central to a reason why someone would stay or leave the church. That is not to say that personality or temperament and character don’t play a part, but that regardless of instinct or innate desires, we all have access to personal revelation. I know many SPs and NFs, and even a few NTs who are faithful and active members of the church. The great thing is, they use those instincts and innate abilities to better the organization and function of the church.

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