It is for this reason I often feel frustrated when I hear Lds authorities speak of honesty.The Church engages in this behavior constantly, particularly in regard to its history.
I believe this type of deception to frequently be counterproductive. When the curtain is pulled back (which is happening with greater ease and frequency because of www.internet.com) and people do find out what from them, they often feel deceived and confused, not knowing what they can trust from the deceiving source..
The most recent issue of the Ensign had a piece about the Word of Wisdom, listing health issues that can be caused from alcohol, caffeine etc. Perfectly understandable, and a worthy cause, seeking to improve the health of Church members. But could you imagine them ever listing the health BENEFITS of certain things against the Word of Wisdom? For example tea contains anti-oxidants and other health promoting chemicals and has less caffeine than most colas.
(recently I was eating out with my parents, and was struck by the irony when I ordered an iced green tea, and them sugar heavy, nutrient lacking sodas. And I was the one breaking their religious health code. Few things other than religion could create such a situation where the soda drinkers were doing so for 'health' reasons)
Can church members really be expected to make informed decisions when only given one part of the story? How condescending and manipulative to put yourself in a situation where you believe you know what is best for a person, so will only give them information which supports your view. But of course, that is a lot of what religion is about. People who believe god has condescended to show people who are otherwise incapable of figuring out for themselves how to live.
I remember when I first ventured into breaking the word of wisdom. When I smoked my first joint or had my first beer. I was struck by how not big of a deal it was. I didn't feel or act much different like I thought I would. I think that type of thing is common, and unfortunate. I realized that I had been deceived by the Church and and society in general about what drugs were like.
Once you realize your understanding of drugs you received from your church, school or government is severely distorted it becomes hard to trust them about anything they may say on the subject. 'Well, marijuana wasn't nearly as bad as I thought, why should I think shooting up coke and heroin at the same time would be as bad as they say either?'
Once you realize one thing isn't as big a deal as you were told, you no longer have a reliable way to know what really is a big deal, and may get yourself wrapped up in something you would have avoided had people been more upfront with you in the first place.
This is not limited to Mormonism, or even religion, though religion is a great example of it. It isn't always something we do consciously. we tend to avoid facts that contradict our world view. Examples can be found in probably all areas of life. Politics, particularly activism is another good example.
I remember going to a friends house a couple years ago for a video and discussion about globalization. The video was full of information and images about the harm and hurt that stems from globalization. It was filled with images meant to hit people's emotions. Cause them to feel some of the suffering experienced by victims of globalization.
A few weeks earlier I had read an article in 'Scientific American' that highlighted a few recent studies about the effects of globalization.
Surprising to me and the author it was shown that in almost every instance people in areas affected by globalization had their standard of living raised, often considerably.
It is likely that the information in the video and in the magazine was both correct. If we are to seek real solutions to the problems raised by the videos, it would be important to also be aware of the benefits the article pointed out. Considering the two together one might conclude that perhaps globalization is not inherently bad, but it is often done in ways that cause more harm than necessary. If all one knew was the information in the video, it would be difficult to see globalization as anything but pure evil.
This often frustrating me about political activism. People do not educate themselves on the opposing views. Do not fully understand the issues they are fighting for with their entire hearts. Just like religion. And a lot of others stuff.