Before there were tradwives, there were Mormon mommy bloggers. While the heyday of that boom, inspired by the religion’s emphasis on journaling and taking place on actual websites like Wordpress and Blogspot, has faded in favor of Instagram, the mommies themselves are still going strong. Almost 10 years later, it seems the Mormon church has finally realized how they can use the millions of followers that belong to their millions of followers to their collective advantage: A social media call to action. 

I first realized something was going on when a handful of the Mormon mothers I follow on Instagram (I don’t have to explain myself to you) started posting the same vague captions about being thankful alongside photos of their families. It’s the week of Thanksgiving, so that makes sense, but it still felt coordinated enough to set off my spidey sense.

Turns out, it was a directive that appeared in a November 20 blog post and video message by Russell M. Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. 

“Please consider accepting my invitation to flood social media for the next seven days with your own personal gratitude journal using #GiveThanks,” he writes.

I think the “your own personal gratitude journal” is the most interesting part of this, because it’s using broad terms that clearly mean “please post about us on social media.” For most members of the church, that means Instagram:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Naomi Davis (@taza)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Abby Smith (@twistmepretty)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke (@brooxie_)

But people like Kelsi and Caleb Fullmer, who have 199,000 followers, turned their #GiveThanks into a Reel.

And others have brought the hashtag to TikTok.

@ryryann10

IM SO THANKFUL FOR MY FOREVER BOYFRIEND!!!!! #givethanks #hessocute #imobsessed

♬ original sound - Ian Asher

But the trend has also encountered backlash from the ex-Mormon community.

“This PR campaign has just become a whole bunch of virtue signaling,” ex-Mormon creator @x1pandagirl says in a recent TikTok. “That’s really hard for me to stomach.”

It’s definitely a PR campaign and there’s definitely some virtue signaling—I’m just surprised it took this long to happen.