Washington Post examines Mormon church's 'powerful use of the Internet'

Published: Sunday, Aug. 21 2011 3:55 p.m. MDT

The Washington Post took a close look this week at what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has done to "dominate what is arguably today's most important information source: the [Internet] search engine."

In an article called "Mormons using the Web to control their own image," Post writer Michelle Boorstein indicated that "image experts and researchers who study how people search the Web have been impressed by the church's powerful use of the Internet."

"They have always stood apart in the religious world when it comes to marketing," Boorstein wrote, adding that "the site lds.org is the most-visited of any faith group, and Mormon church-wide conferences sometimes rank at the top of Twitter while they're underway."

But lately the LDS Church has been examined in publications and technological conferences oriented toward the subject of "search engine optimization," which is the process of making sure that when people perform Internet searches for certain words, your Web site is among the first listed.

The LDS Church's efforts in this regard were discussed by the Deseret News Media Monitor in an article last year.

The Post's website this week also published a photo-driven look at "Mormons in Pop Culture." Unfortunately, two of the 10 slides have to do with "Big Love" and "Sister Wives," television series that NOT about Mormons, but are about non-LDS polygamous families. Oops!

Meanwhile, on PBS, correspondent Lucky Severson took a behind-the-scenes look at an LDS singles ward in the Washington, D.C. area.

And in the Wall Street Journal, "A true insider at 'Book of Mormon'" introduced readers to Clark Johnsen, a member Broadway's "The Book of Mormon" musical about LDS missionaries in Uganda who has one thing no one else in the cast has: experience as a real Mormon missionary. Although no longer affiliated with the LDS Church, Johnsen spoke in positive terms about his Mormon heritage, his family and his experience as a missionary.

EMAIL: jwalker@desnews.com

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