internet

Before we go on, let’s name a couple institutions that actively discourage internet research:

Scientology.

China.

Jehovah’s Witnesses.

North Korea.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Going Clear, Tian An Men Square, and Helen Mar Kimball are definite no-no’s in their respective organizations. Rather than face the terrible truth or remedy these issues, these organizations attempt to bury or explain away injustices and tell those under their influence that there is no more to see here.

Be it institutional or socially enforced, there is no truth in censorship.

We have been provided through the help of a generous friend a compilation of various different religions and their thoughts on truth, doubt, and the internet. Please watch this short video and let us know what you think in the comments.



Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington
Albert Carrington served as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles until he was excommunicated for adultery. During his disciplinary court, Elder Carrington tried to argue that he had only committed "a little folly in Israel!", but the current brethren couldn't be bothered to give him a break. Learn more about Elder Carrington here.
  • Darren

    I would also add that the U.S. government aka U.S. corporation has also tried to censor the internet as well. Let’s just say, truth is poison for those who want to control a large portion of the population.

  • Sara

    Reminds me of the Nazis banning short wave radios so no one could listen to the BBC and find out how the war was really going.

    • fides quaerens intellectum

      Thank you for keeping Godwin’s Law alive and well in the hearts of millions.

  • csteve

    Because it’s scary

  • I think there’s a difference in warning people that there are falsehoods on the internet (obviously true) and telling people to avoid the internet altogether. I think some of those in this video are more in the first camp than the second.

    • Shem

      If it wasn’t for the internet, the Mormon church wouldn’t be making efforts to come clean with its history. If it wasn’t for the internet, Mormons would still boldly be talking about how the Native Americans were from Israel instead of from Asia.

      Check this General Conference talk out from 1980:

      https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1980/10/miracles-among-the-lamanites?lang=eng

      Quote: “What a miracle to behold! Only in part of the Lamanite world, in
      Latin America alone, there are over 600,000 members of the Church, with
      7,000 baptized nearly every month; 181 stakes at present with almost
      2,400 congregations of Saints and 2,500 Latin missionaries serving;
      thousands and thousands of priesthood holders—Regional Representatives,
      mission presidents, patriarchs, bishops—faithful sisters, and faithful
      children of a powerful generation yet to come.”

      Nobody would dare say that now in Conference. In fact in the essay: Book of Mormon and DNA Studies

      https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-and-dna-studies?lang=eng

      Quote: “The evidence assembled to date suggests that the majority of Native Americans carry largely Asian DNA.”

      It later on says and admits:

      Quote: “The 2006 update to the introduction of the Book of Mormon reflects this
      understanding by stating that Book of Mormon peoples were “among the
      ancestors of the American Indians.”

      It just to claim the Lamanites were the principle ancestors of the American Indians. I still have a Book of Mormon I bought from 1995 that says this. That’s a whole different meaning. Thank goodness for the internet to clearly this up.

      Recently because of the internet, the LDS Church has admitted the Joseph Smith used a seer stone in a hat to translate the Book of Mormon. I was brought up to believe that was an anti-Mormon lie. Now they admit this was how also was.

      Here is what I was taught and shown pictures of:

      https://www.lds.org/bc/content/ldsorg/media-library/images/High-Res%20Print/0001416.jpg?lang=eng

      Now they’re admitting this is how it happened:

      http://www.mormonthink.com/img/trans5.jpg

      As stated in the Ensign:
      https://www.lds.org/ensign/2015/10/joseph-the-seer?lang=eng

      Quote: “In fact, historical evidence shows that in addition to the two seer
      stones known as “interpreters,” Joseph Smith used at least one other
      seer stone in translating the Book of Mormon, often placing it into a
      hat in order to block out light. According to Joseph’s contemporaries,
      he did this in order to better view the words on the stone.”

      And in an essay:
      https://www.lds.org/topics/book-of-mormon-translation?lang=eng

      Quote: “According to these accounts, Joseph placed either the interpreters or
      the seer stone in a hat, pressed his face into the hat to block out
      extraneous light, and read aloud the English words that appeared on the
      instrument.”

      What the internet has done is help people share with others around the world. Like someone could have archived a letter from 1949 from the First Presidency and share it. Like this one:

      http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_racial_issues/Blacks_and_the_priesthood/Statements

      Quote: “It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct
      commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the
      Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may
      become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the
      priesthood at the present time.”

      So in 1949 it was emphasized that it was a direct commandment from the Lord which implies the Lord told a prophet in person. But in 2013, the Race and the Priesthood essay was published:

      https://www.lds.org/topics/race-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng

      Quote: “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

      So it went from direct commandment of the Lord to a theory. So which is it? Speaking of this topic, let’s examine the Book of Mormon. What is its basic premise? The righteous white skinned Nephites versus the cursed dark skinned Lamanites.

      ____________________________________________

      2 Nephi 5:21:

      21 And he had caused the cursing to come upon them, yea, even a sore cursing, because of their iniquity. For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flint; wherefore, as they were white, and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them.

      Alma 3:6:

      6 And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men.

      3 Nephi 2:14-16:

      14 And it came to pass that those Lamanites who had united with the Nephites were numbered among the Nephites;

      15 And their curse was taken from them, and their skin became white like unto the Nephites;

      16 And their young men and their daughters became exceedingly fair, and they were numbered among the Nephites, and were called Nephites. And thus ended the thirteenth year.
      ____________________________________________

      But yet the essay I just posted disavowed it. So that means the Book of Mormon is a racist book and/or that the Mormon God was once a racist. Keep in mind that in 1830 when it was published, slavery was legal in the United States and racism was socially acceptable. So saying the blacks were cursed by God was what people wanted to hear.

      If it wasn’t for the internet, someone couldn’t examine a book like “The Late War” (published in 1816) and compare it to the Book of Mormon that was published 14 years later, see the plagiarism and share it with everyone:

      https://wordtreefoundation.github.io/thelatewar/

      The Book of Mormon is a racist book that was plagiarized from books “The Late War” like I mentioned and showed a link to, “The First Book of Napoleon” (published in 1809) and copied plot points from “View of the Hebrews” (published in 1823).

      The best way to get more info on the problems with Mormonism is:

      http://www.cesletter.com

      Examine the evidence there and make conclusions based on facts, not emotions based on what you see in this video:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycUvC9s4VYA

      Thank goodness for the internet. And just so you know, people just don’t draw conclusions that what is said is automatically correct. People examine the information and see if it’s correct. People like me and others aren’t mindless robots who are very gullible. We make sure what we’re reading is correct.

      • Shem, I think that’s fine, I don’t disagree with this. The church has evolved, the internet is a gift that has enabled and empowerd that evolution. All in all we’re better off because of it.

        But obviously, the internet isn’t this all knowing embodiment of peer reviewed knowledge with all the write context in place, shepherding us to truth and enlightenment. It’s a dumping ground of opinion and ideas and facts with and without context. There’s a lot of of gold on the internet mixed in with a lot more garbage. It deserves careful mining.

        It’s a tool, but I think warning people that not everything on the internet is correct is something I’ve heard from a bunch of people both inside and outside of church. And some of the talks in this video are basically just saying this.

        I think we need to be a little more gracious in our criticisms of each other.

        • Shem

          I guess what I was trying to say to you or point out how there are flaws and contradictions that are giving members problems with going on believing. The way I look at it is… am I being honest with myself? That can be very hard to do when something challenges what you believe or want to believe. But honestly, like with love… it starts with yourself. If you can’t be honest with yourself, it’s tough to be honest with others. Same thing with love.

          But if I have to do mental gymnastics, make excuses for all these countless issues that plague the church… that’s a problem. It makes me along with others feel horrible inside. What is true and what people are brought up to believe are two different gospels. Gospel A is what we were brought up with. It’s very faith promoting and the stories make you feel good. Then there is secret Gospel B (which isn’t as much of a secret as it was before). That makes you feel awful inside. But here’s the catch, you now have to reconvert yourself to Gospel B, go to church and talk as if Gospel A is still the real one or you can really freak some people out. Possibly be called in by your Bishop to find out why you’re causing controversy when you’re really telling the truth that many don’t know about. In fact, it’s very discouraged.

          Here is an example of that happening:

          http://www.sltrib.com/lifestyle/faith/2475803-155/mormon-bishop-dismisses-teacher-for-using

          From my end as with so many others I came to find out later. I did a serious investigation. In the past, I dismissed a lot of it. Then the “Race and the Priesthood” essay was released in late 2013 and I read it that December. I couldn’t believe what I read. Like others before me, I started trying to find answers that were satisfying, but true (nothing sugar coated of course).

          I check some thing out on FAIR. As you know FAIR defends Mormonism. So from what I got from FAIR is that many issues were in fact true, but try to put a spin on it. It was like it was trying to insult my intelligence from my point-of-view. For some it’s enough. Others like me, it make me feel awful. And the problem was it was countless issues.

          I guess I’m trying to understand why it was important for you to come here on a site that doesn’t paint the Mormon church in a favorable matter and back up the statement about being careful on the internet, especially even afterwards where I show you a small portion of the issues and investigation people typically do.

          With people like me, we were trying to save our faith and feel good about the results. People like me wanted the church to be true. I cried my eyes out on countless nights last calendar year. I prayed hard at times to feel the spirit… just give me something. And nothing happened. And I was sincere like many before and after me. I was crushed. I became depressed for a while. I wanted the church to be true, but I wasn’t going to lie to myself in making it true and go on like nothing happened. Some people can do that. I simply can’t and feel good about. I just wanted to continue being a Mormon in good conscience. It simply doesn’t work that way.

          Again, I will revisit what you said. The majority of the people who leave the church because of the internet doesn’t leave it by simply reading one thing, un-sourced. Most people when they read something that threatens their faith wants to try to prove that their religion is still true and will fight to try to make it true. With people like me… and there have been countless 1000’s… we fail to make that happen and it crushes us.

          Do I still wish Mormonism was true. Absolutely. That’s why I spent countless hours trying to prove it right so I could be one in good conscience.

          A good video I thought was helpful during my transition was from Ken and RuthAnn Sullivan. They talk about their journey, but do it in a safe way. Meaning they won’t talk about the specific issues that drove them out. They talk about their feelings and what they went through inside:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeMQtQ3XJWs

          Now, I’m I trying to convert you out of Mormonism? No. I guess I wanted you to see if from my side or the side of many others who left in hopes you realize that many of us didn’t just leave it easily. We left because we were honest with ourselves. Sometimes truths can be harsh. Harsh enough where we don’t want a truth to be real. That’s when we face that challenge of being honest with ourselves.

          Do some people leave easily over something petty or they wish to sin and look for a reason? Absolutely! But it’s not as often as you think, especially nowadays. Yet, it is taught that is why the majority are leaving and that is simply not true. I hope you understand better.

          With that, I wish you well Scott. Take care!!!

          • Shem,

            This is an interesting response and a far bigger one than I was intending. I completely respect your faith journey and I had no intention to critique it. My push back was an extremely narrow one.

            I will simply respond to this:

            “I guess I’m trying to understand why it was important for you to come here on a site that doesn’t paint the Mormon church in a favorable matter and back up the statement about being careful on the internet, especially even afterwards where I show you a small portion of the issues and investigation people typically do.”

            I came to your site because I’m facebook friends with John Dehlin and he linked this particular article. I read it and watched the video, felt like the point was a tad unfair, not completely. I readily admit there are churches (including mine) that get freaked out by the internet, but I felt like some of the quotes pulled were perfectly legitimate.

            And, I love discussion. I felt like this is a public space and I’m assuming people here post to facilitate this discussion, so I felt like it was appropriate for me to comment my concern.

            I will say that I am a believing Mormon. I believe there is a way to reconcile the problems with the church while maintaining one’s faith, but I recognize everyone has to find their own way through life. I’m mostly advocating mutual respect.

            And of course, I wish you well as well.

          • Brian Kohrman

            Hi, Scott,

            Thanks for commenting here. Your responses are respectful and level-headed. I agree- we need mutual respect. What we often get is mutual vilification.

  • George D. Watt

    “Stick with what has been authorized, then you’ll be safe.” Alrighty then Elder censorship my blinders must have fallen off!

  • Arwen Undomiel

    Reminded me of Franco in Spain. No one could publish anything against Franco’s regime. If you did, you went to jail. But if you published something about how great Franco was and how beautiful his wife was and how glorious his regime was, then you were ok.

    Freedom of religion is not under attack, the Internet is. The Internet is under attack. We have started (unknowingly) The Internet Revolution!!! hurray!!!

  • J.T.

    So if Mormons are like the communists (China, N Korea), and the Nazis fought the communists, that means people who fight Mormons are like the Nazis. Right?

  • J.T.

    You guys deleted my comment about how Mormons are like Communists so people who attack Mormons are like Nazis? Yeah, good call. That comment was fully unauthorized anyway.

  • John doe

    Interesting most of these clips dont ” actively discourage internet research:” but many do talk about blogs like this. Half truths and misinformation.

  • Pink-lead

    Ah. Brittle truth that cannot withstand the mass of lies and mis-information.
    ——
    Sometimes I wonder how I got mixed up with you
    You just cannot comprehend the things that I do
    The truth is so fragile, the ties are so true
    Lying in the nettles where the blossoms once grew

    So now you’re asking what is this mystery
    And all these questions, ancient history

  • beccalouise

    Honestly, there was a little grain of truth in almost all of the statements made on the video. Especially considering that we don’t have context for most of the statements. However, what is their intention in saying this. The quote about tyranny and dictatorship is apt much of the time. Instead of telling people just to shut off and turn away from a huge source of knowledge like the internet, it would be much better and much less tyrannical of religions were interested in teaching people logic so that they can effectively filter truth and fiction in the internet. But I know that most religions don’t want people using logic either. Sigh.

  • UintasLightingMagnet

    Interesting. No one wants to accept information that disagrees with their beliefs. It’s uncomfortable. But the truth is still the truth. I reserve the right to *think*. To paraphrase Emerson, what people want is conformity. Society has always punished those who refuse to conform. But to quote Shakespeare, to thine own self be true. You may say that my thoughts may be influenced by the devil. To this, Emerson replied that if he is the devil’s child so be it. No law can be sacred to me but that of my nature. For saying this, most organized religion, LDS included, will conclude that I’ve been deceived by Satan…and that I should just believe, not think. Do you think Emerson was deceived by Satan? Judge him by his fruits! What kind of man was he?

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