Comments about ‘Mormons opening up in an Internet world’

Return to article »

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 31 2012 11:00 p.m. MST

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Murray, UT

Why open the article with a straw man controversy (as if to suggest that problematic history in general may just be based on false reports, forgeries, or lies)?
The article was full of innuendo like Marlin Jensen really wants to get church history out there and discussed. Maybe Elder Jensen does want this but higher ups are not giving him an "Ask Marlin" section of church periodicals, so the net effect is status quo (but you got to make it look like the church is opening up - again Mormon culture is skillful at managing appearances).

Holladay, UT

I can't remember how many times as a missionary we would get invited in to a house, have a great first discussion, feel really good about it, and then come back for the next discussion only to be rejected because they had been online and "researched" the church. There's probably about 1 pro LDS website to every 10 or more anti LDS websites on the internet so it's extremely easy to read the anti stuff first which causes a problem since most people only research something for less than a half hour before they come up with their own conclusions. I don't think we need to white wash our history but I do believe we need to be able to tell our side of the story online, hiccups and all, and have a much, much bigger presence on the internet than we currently have. Also, a lot of questions people have the church's main website doesn't try to tackle, which is ok but people end up looking elsewhere and usually end up looking at the anti LDS websites. FAIR is the only website I know that's tried to answer the tough questions.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Ernest T. Bass
"FAIR and FARMS always provide rock solid answers. They never need to spin things. "

Generally I find them to be pretty good. A few times I've read things that felt like they were really making a stretch to explain a point. So I disagree with your use of the terms "always" and "never". This isn't me criticizing FAIR/FARMS so much as just noting that nothing in media is perfect.

Centerville, UT

**'Facebook, Twitter linked to teen drug use, study says' - By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News - 10/08/11, And then, one year before that: **'Mormon youths support President Packer through Facebook' - By Scott Taylor, Deseret News - 10/11/.

Sying these are contradicting in the use of facebook and twitter, is like using the logig if A=B and C=D, then A=D.

It is also true that cell phones are linked to teen drug use.

Michael De Groote

weedeater asks,"Why open the article with a straw man controversy (as if to suggest that problematic history in general may just be based on false reports, forgeries, or lies)?"

I opened the article with Peterson's story because I found it interesting and because structurally, it made a good bookend balance to his quote at the end. It also illustrates how isolated a person who has an intellectual problem with the church might feel. That's all.

Bakersfield, CA

Lovely Cora, that you pray for those things that will help the weak, poor and oppressed. I do, too; Jesus told us to pray unceasingly. He also said that the poor will be with us always, so we will be praying for them until His Return.

He also cautioned against those false teachers and "wolves" who war against His truth and our eternal destination. That ranks salvation and truth above earthly conditions, in the ultimate scheme of priority. I will always share food and clothing with the less fortunate. I always share Jesus' Good News for their eternal soul at the same time. I'm not any better than any other soul; I just choose to keep Gospel pamphlets in my trunk along with other staples that I share when street evangelizing. I

That's just because I would rather have eternal security than a full belly, and Jesus warned everyone about the reality of eternal hell and separation from God. So I pray for God's will in whoever He allows to be our leaders, actually. I just pray that the full light of truth will be shone on any church's false teachings and hidden or revised practices, so that people can make eternal choices based on the facts.

Michael De Groote

Here are a few quotes (for you comment readers only) from Bushman that did not make it into my article:

"There actually is a kind of intellectual laziness here," Bushman said. "They read ... some book and say, 'Ah! Now I have the facts and I'm done in.' And they don't really have the heart to explore it through -- read my book, read all the FAIR answers, there is a lot of stuff around and trying to figure it out for themselves is just too much labor for them. You definitely don't want to tell them to stop thinking."

"The problem is that after they have had this fall, this collapse, and there is a certain amount of anger, then their pursuit is to confirm their new view. And they are no longer really trying to figure it out. (Someone thinking about joining the LDS Church) has to figure it out because they are not in the church, and has to work it through. But they have now, in effect, left the church in their own minds. And then they just try to confirm it. ... And they get on blogs and say to each other, 'Look at the latest stupid thing the church has done.'"


Small progress, but kudos to DN for broaching the topic and opening it up for discussion.

I remember teaching a lesson in church a few years back and stating that "church leaders, not even the prophet are perfect" to which there was a audible gasp. There is an element in the church that results in many people deifying the leaders.

Aside from correcting the historical record, I do think there is a tendency for people to whitewash, and simplify those things which don't conform to being easily understood or run counter to what is "comfortable." The history of our country and founding fathers which is taught in schools, learned by children and clung to as adults often doesn't result in an accurate view. Often on these comment boards people refer to what the founding fathers "believed" without recognizing the differing philosophical views and division that existed between them.

I think it is too easy to dismiss those who've left the church over things they've learned. Two people can have all the "knowable" facts (and there is much in religion that isn't knowable) and still come down on different sides.

Salt Lake City, UT

'**'Facebook, Twitter linked to teen drug use, study says' - By Elizabeth Stuart, Deseret News - 10/08/11, And then, one year before that: **'Mormon youths support President Packer through Facebook' - By Scott Taylor, Deseret News - 10/11/.

Sying these are contradicting in the use of facebook...' - jsf | 2:16 p.m. Feb. 1, 2012


is on, the internet.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

The trouble is the "Closed Mindedness" of most Latter-Day Saints.

They envelop themselves in the Utah-bubble, and all views and and sense of reality is created therein.

When / IF they finally start to see cracks in their views, ideas, beliefs, ect... everything implodes and they immediately doubt EVERYTHING they've ever believed.

This usually happens in extremely Conservative, tightly controlled, homes and communities.

Don't question Authority - is their mantra.

I was taught to question EVERYTHING,
Study it out for myself,
Not to rely on others opinions,
and NEVER turn to others for answers -- just suggestions.

I learned this when becoming LDS.
I strive to live by it to this very day.
It is also why I consider myself Liberal.

The bumps in my road in the Gospel,
are merely a stone not yet turned...

Let's see what's under them, shall we?

Salt Lake, UT

The first problem of the internet for religions is that information is readily available. The second problem I think is actually more important to the decline of religions and Mormonism. It is the ability to communicate anonymously and express the doubts that most people have about their religion and to discover most others have those doubts as well. Religions work very hard to condemn doubt and expressing lack of faith because it knows that once people are able to candidly express their doubts the illusion of everyone being free of doubt disappears. The internet in essence allows one to say that the 'emperor has no clothes' without worrying that the emperor or his loyal subjects will find out and punish you.

Salt Lake, UT

@ Michael De Groote Thanks for sharing the additional quote. However what Bushman seems to be criticizing is someone coming to the conclusion that the Church is false. Instead he insists that they must keep studying endlessly while maintaining the conclusion that the Church is true. I am all for a continuing quest for knowledge that allows one to be open to the possibility of being wrong but anyone, Mormon or not, is going to reach conclusions of what is true and spend time enjoying the commonality of ideas among those who share those beliefs. Ex-Mormons like any other person tend to spend more time reading material from like-minded folks. However, my own anecdotal experience with exmormons and active Mormons is that exmormons are much more willing to spend time reading the viewpoints of those who think the Church is true than members of the Church are willing to spend time reading those that think the Church is false. There are exceptions on both sides but generally I see active Mormons avoiding material from Mormon critics and relatively little hesitation by exmormons to read material from Mormon leaders or apologists.

City, Ut

"Peterson said the problem is not so much that there are no answers to historical questions, but that people discover this or that historical fact they had never heard before."

In the two cases I know of, the sentence would have to read like this:

"but that people discover this or that [carefully crafted conjecture or outright lie reported as] historical fact they had never heard before."

By the time the real truth was found out, the lies were already planted in the mind, heart, and spirit and the damage done.

American Fork, UT

I saw a cat playing piano on the internet. I think there may be some stuff on the webs that isn't true.

City, Ut

Thanks for your comments Michael De Groote--and this quote you mention from Bushman:
"The problem is that after they have had this fall, this collapse, and there is a certain amount of anger, then their pursuit is to confirm their new view."

Sadly, this is so so so so so true.

Confusion at being "deceived" by the Church--and incredible hurt from "learning [supposedly true] things" on the internet about their beloved Prophet leads to an incredible and unending amount of devastation, pain and anger.

If no help or solace can be found for that terrible hurt and that consuming anger, serious bleeding and then complete hemorrhaging of testimony will surely follow, until it is no longer being "unwilling" to see truth or receive help--it actually becomes UNABLE to see truth or receive spiritual help.

It eventually ends up that they are not just willful, or stubborn, or rebellious, or arrogant, or filled with the wrong kind of pride and blatantly refuse to see or understand--They actually lose the very ability to see or understand.

For them, it is like standing out in the midday bright shining sun, and not seeing anything at all.

Lehi, UT

Truth will eventually come out and prevail thanks to the wealth of information that is now available on the internet.

I believe in the use of faith in the absence of evidence, but not in spite of it.

Newport Beach, CA

Finding faith-shaking material on the Internet is one problem. The Church has ways of responding to this -- for instance, "inoculating" members against nasty surprises, by getting the information out there up front, accompanied with a faith-promoting interpretation, and by encouraging people who may encounter unsettling information to get the Church's side of the story before making snap judgments.

But the Internet presents another problem, and one that's not so easily dealt with: Because of the anonymity of the Internet, people are more willing to express doubts. And when a person who's battling doubts goes online, he quickly discovers he's not alone. As countless youth firesides remind us, there is strength in numbers; when we know we're not alone, we have the courage to go places we might fear to go alone. A person with doubts, who easily finds other people with doubts, becomes less fearful of doubting.

Maybe the Church should teach its members to avoid Internet sites where anonymous participation is allowed. Its flagship newspaper (hint, hint) might follow the example of the Orange County Register and change its policy to require people to stand behind their comments with their names.

Salt Lake, UT

@ TheProudDuck I find it ironic that you suggest the Deseret News insist on people using their real names since I doubt 'TheProudDuck' is your real name. Regardless anonymity is a wonderful aspect of the internet that I would hope would continue. While it does lead to some abuse there is also the benefit that people share their honest opinions instead of putting on the usual facade to impress family and friends. If you want a place where people pretend to agree with everyone to avoid controversy then go to Church.

Miami Area, Fl

"Maybe the Church should teach its members to avoid Internet sites where anonymous participation is allowed."

It never ceases to amaze me that people want a church instruct them on every little detail of their life.

layton, UT

RE: FAIR is original sin a biblical doctrine? YES. Mosiah 3:19; Ether 3:2.

FAIR said, The correct translation from the Greek reads: âWherefore, as by one man sin entered the world and through sin death; on account of death all have sinned (Romans 5:12)?but,

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so âdeath passed upon all menâ, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12 KJV)
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way âdeath came to all peopleâ, because all sinnedâ(Romans 5:12 NIV)see sinful nature, Gen 8:21; Ps 51:5; 58:3 and Eph 2:3.

Mormon Encyclopedia The Prophet (JS) explains there is nothing in the original word in Greek⦠that signifies paradise; but it was This day shalt thou be with me in the world of spirits . Also Mormon Doctrine.
The word "paradise" is in the O.T.(Genesis 2:8 Greek Septuagint) a garden(paradeisos,3857)in the east of Eden.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments