Since I began using the Internet, I discovered both the positive and negative aspects of it. One can find a wealth of information heretofore unattainable for most people to the vilest, debase and disgusting things imaginable. The Internet can be used for both good and evil.
One of the great things is the ability to communicate with a wide range of people well in excess of our normal circles of friends, relatives and acquaintances. For members of the Church, it is chance to exchange ideas and thoughts with a wide range of church members, ex-members and non-members.
The so-called “Bloggernacle,” has in many ways turned into the Church’s unofficial complaint department. The Church itself does not have a complaint department, either official or unofficial. In fact, many would say that not only does it not accept complaints; it discourages them and some leaders complain about complainers.
President Gordon B. Hinckley has said: “I am not asking that all criticism be silenced. Growth comes of correction. Strength comes of repentance. Wise is the man who can acknowledge mistakes pointed out by others and change his course.
“What I am suggesting is that each of us turn from the negativism that so permeates our society and look for the remarkable good among those with whom we associate, that we speak of one another’s virtues more than we speak of one another’s faults.” (Ensign, Apr. 1986, pp. 3-4.)
Another aspect of blogging is the ability to be anonymous, if one chooses. Under the cloak of anonymity, one can write practically anything one wants with less worry that someone will discover who he or she really is. And many avail themselves of that opportunity.
In fact, we have some people who post here under different screen names and actually argue with themselves on some topics. I can’t figure that one out. Shades of Sybil, I guess.
Some of the more common complains one reads about the Church are:
1. The Church is boring, out of touch and too old fashion
2. The Church is too restrictive and discriminates against people
3. The Church is too conservative on some social issues and should be more in tune with societal reality
4. The Church is phony
5. The Church is rich and will not spend its money or tell anyone how much it has
6. The Church is lying about its history, won’t apologize for perceived wrongdoing nor admit its past errors.
7. The Church and its leaders refuse to listen to its members, especially me! (Meaning the person complaining).
The list is endless. In many cases, these complaints come from upset or disaffected members, or people who have left the Church or in the process of leaving. It comes from folks who often hide behind their screen name. In some cases, for good reasons.
All of us can find things about the Church, its leaders and its practices that we don’t like. But, one of things I notice is that the complainers often take over every Church-themed blog, as they have to point out why the blogger is wrong, the Church is wrong and they are right. Their hardheartedness, resentfulness and bitterness is obvious and painful to read.
Mormon Matters strives to be open to all points of view on Mormon topics and we do not censor comments like some sites. But really, can’t we have a reasonable conversation about topics without nasty complaining about the Church and its leaders. We can disagree and we can do it respectfully.
let’s give it a try.