7.31.2008

testimonies and the internet and the ensign

The new ensign came today.
Since living at home again this summer I have enjoyed reading the Ensign each month, though it only contributes to my lack of belief.
(I am amused sometimes at the surprise people express when I comment that attending Church meetings, reading Church Scripture or other publications, serves to strengthen my disbelief in 'The Gospel' rather than propel me towards a renewal of faith.
I suppose their surprise is understandable. Since these people are, as was I, consistently taught that the best way to not lose one's testimony is surrounding themselves with things church related; and that distancing oneself from the Church deprives one of the Holy Spirit, which will lead to the confused and deluded state of disbelief. [While I believe brainwashing to be a near useless term, in the same cult is nearly useless: 'Brainwashing' goes on constantly and only when it is about something we disagree with do we label it such. Aren't we, as modern Americans brainwashed to not be racist(or to follow our hearts)? To even think certain thoughts or use certain words is a taboo emphasized constantly. Think of what is by far the most taboo word in our culture today. Which is okay. {And when the president of one of the country's most respected learning institutions is forced from his position for suggesting that maybe men and women have different aptitudes in some areas, does this not fit the qualifications of brainwashing? Institutionally forbidding certain ideas to be spoken or alluded to? I believe it does.} I believe teaching people they must only surround themselves with whatever idea is trying to be enforced, and that it's wrong of a person to take a step outside and try and see the idea objectively, or from a distance, which is the same as what I was describing above, qualifies as a tactic of brainwashing.]
Because when I allow myself some distance from The Church I tend not think about the parts I dislike and mostly remember the rosier elements, but when I expose myself to The Church directly I am forced to remember and confront all that I disagree with, which is the great majority. When I was in the final years of decided what path I should take, I would go a couple months trying to be as active as possible, and go a few other months living however I wished. It was always during those highly active times that my disbelief increased, and during the inactive times I questioned more if disbelief was the correct course. Until, of course, I reached a breaking point where I became consistently confident in my acknowledgment that I could not truthfully maintain any belief in the Church.)

I noticed the cover article is about being young and single with a photograph of an attractive girl decorating the cover. An issue in the news not too long ago.
Recently at a news conference the sky rocketing rates of inactivity among single women between, (I don't have the article in front of me so the specific numbers might be a little off) 18 and 30, was brought up by a reporter. I believe the rate was something sky high like 80%(possibly higher, but I don't believe lower), though I would be very surprised if this applies to Utah County.

Last month's cover was about Church Members creating a positive presence for The Church on the internet. Something else that had recently been in the news.(Issues regarding all the negative info about The Church online.)

I don't remember The Ensign being so topical and relevant before. I wonder if this has been a recent and conscious move, or perhaps just a coincidence of two months. Or perhaps this has always been the case and I had just never noticed.

But speaking of The Church and the internet, I believe that The Church's slowing of growth as well as the increase in people leaving The Church is primarily due to the rise of the internet.

There is so much negative information about The Church online, and in an age where people do most of their fact checking on the internet.com, it is no wonder that the damning information which had before been hidden in books would now be able to see the light of day and have its influence. (The same appears true, seemingly even more so, for Scientology,)

When reflecting on myself, while what ultimately caused my disbelief came from books and my own thinking, I believe the internet sped the process by at least a couple years. Online I became aware of what books were available and discussion groups spurred many ideas and pointed me towards information I may not have found otherwise.

It seems The Church is aware of this as well. I remember not too long ago the call came to Church Members to try and counter balance the overwhelming majority of negative info about The Church.

Ever since I have noticed a huge difference. Almost immediately there is much more positive information about The Church in nearly every arena. On Youtube many members have started accounts dedicated to countering anti-mormon sentiments. Even The Church itself started a Youtube account, with nearly all the videos being direct replies to common criticisms against The Church, several by General Authorities, particularly Elder Ballard. I will be interested to see how much of an effect this will have.

2 comments:

Fish Nat!on said...

I'm going to dip you in a vat of boiling mormonism

chris almond said...

sounds good. i actually still enjoy attending mormon church. there is still a peaceful feeling. just as there is when i attend a catholic, hare krishna, etc. church.