It turned out my initial reaction to the changes were largely unjustified. Plus, some of the changes to the blog are an improvement over the way it was before. The problem with the followers seems to have resolved itself. I'm still annoyed that I have to redo my sidebar links. I managed to reconstitute two of them. The template only seems to allow for one set of links, but I figured out a way create additional sets of links, but I won't be able to get to it tonight.
When I logged on earlier, I noticed I had a new follower for this blog. So, I clicked on Followers to see who it was, and then I got prompted to make a template change that (1) resulted in changing the appearance of this blog, and (2) wiping out the blogrolls in my sidebar and making it impossible to even see who my followers are, even though I added the thing it told me to add.
Is Blogger intentionally trying to dissuade people from using its services? It would be a shame if I had to end my blog over this.