Did you know that Mormon.org missionaries on the other side of the “chat” feature can read what you’re typing before you send it? Meaning, you can type something, delete it, and send something else, and they’ll still know what you typed originally. Does that seem like a massive invasion of privacy or does that seem like a massive invasion of privacy?

I don’t doubt that Kirton McConkie, the whiz-kid legal team for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, knows what it’s doing. But this reminds me of an episode in Season 7 of Parks and Recreation, where Grizzl sneaks it into their user agreement that they can data mine users (aka, read and record everything they every say and do on their phones to make money from marketers).

In court, Ben says this to Grizzl:

What you’re doing might technically be legal, but it’s definitely not chill.”

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that missionaries I’m talking to on an online chat room only get to see what I’m sending to them in said online chat room. There is no reasonable explanation for why they need to scan my typed out thoughts as I’m still formulating them, other than being able to create false spiritual experiences or learn more about me that I haven’t chosen to tell them in order to further their own cause. I guess you could make a case for saving time, but doesn’t the LDS church teach that members should be honest in their dealings with their fellow men, which includes not deliberately misleading someone?

I asked a few former Mormons on Reddit how they discovered that Mormon.org missionaries can see what you’re typing (because if anyone can unearth a scandal, its those guys!) Here’s what they said:

“I found out by typing “I know you can read what I type before sending” and the missionary replied “No I can’t.” The thing is I had not pushed “send”. – Openly lying missionaries?! 

It’s especially strange that some missionaries have lied about it, when others have admitted it:

“I read a recent post commenting on how it seemed, at times, that the Mormon.org missionaries seemed to be able to read what chatters were typing before hitting “send”.

So, I did a little experiment.

I got on mormon.org chat and immediately typed, “Is it true that mormons can’t eat meat?” Then I deleted it, and instead just submitted a normal greeting. I continued this type of activity (each time mentioning a health code and not being able to eat meat) for a few minutes during the initial banter, then I typed, “My friend said that the mormon health code says they can’t eat meat.” I did not submit it. I just walked away from my computer for few minutes to see what happened.

I think you’ll enjoy the results.

We all know that the average person entering a Mormon.org chat room would have no idea that their words are being read before they choose whether or not to send them. And I think that’s really, really wrong.



Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young
Zina Jacobs-Smith-Young would have been a millennial blogger, but she died in 1901. The wife of Brigham Young, and prior to that Joseph Smith, and prior to that Henry Jacobs, who was sent on a mission by Brigham before he married her, Zina loves writing, long walks on the beach, and playing the field.

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