Researching the LDS church on the Internet
You can find all kinds of people on the Internet blogging and commenting about the church these days. There are those who write so far above me that I have no clue what they are writing about or why they feel the topic is important. At the other end of the spectrum are the terrible lowlife who write hateful and disrespectful things in a taunting and disgusting manner.
I like the kind of bloggers and visitors who are spiritually and intellectually curious and who have developed the good taste to know how to communicate in a kind and respectful method. Like me, they are seeking understanding and meaning in their spiritual pursuits and desire to share their discoveries with others who appreciate insights that have helped them along the way.
What you will find
If you are just starting your investigation of the church and are using the Internet as your primary tool, you might find it helpful to know a few things about what you can expect to find out there. Let’s assume that you are using a search engine such as Google, Yahoo or MSN and are using the most common search words of Mormon, LDS, or the full name of the church.
Gratefully, the official sites of the church appear at the top or close to the top of most search engines in these searches. However, there are several other categories of sites offering information about our church that are decidedly not favorable to our doctrines and practices. I know. You’re shocked. So was my mother the first time she learned how to use a search engine.
Recommended places to visit
01. lds.org – This is the official site of the church
02. mormon.org – Contains basic LDS Church doctrines
03. Jesus Christ – The church clearly teaches about the Savior
04. Newsroom – A great source for news media clarifications
05. History – A hidden gem among the church sites worth visiting
06. Joseph Smith – A wonderful site of history and doctrine
07. CES – Institute manuals are a great resource
08. Deseret Book – Publishes books about the church
09. FARMS – The Neal A Maxwell institute – apologetic studies
10. YouTube – New Media Public Affairs channel for videos
01. Wikipedia – A constantly updated and growing LDS collection
02. MormonWiki -Still getting started but growing quickly
03. MoreGood -Promoting positive LDS content from members
04. Jeff Lindsay – A complete and scholarly site of apologetics
05. Mormon Times – LDS news articles – beware of comments
06. FAIR – Foundation for Apologetic and Information Research
07. Shields – Scholarly and Historical Info Exchange for LDS
08. About LDS – A long-standing source of good LDS information
09. Mormon History Association – Since 1965, open to all
10. Light Planet – Scholarly work by W. John Walsh
Anti-Mormons and Ex-Mormons
I classify these two types of sites differently than others have done. Some Anti-Mormon sites seem to be genuinely interested in helping LDS people. The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry is one I have written about previously. I also wrote about post-Mormons and other kinds of non-Mormon sites you will encounter out there. It’s not all happy and cheerful.
Recovery from Mormonism is one that comes up very high on the search engines. It is a very popular forum. In my experience the individuals who post there are mostly angry, immature and don’t seem to be able to express themselves very well. Yes, there are exceptions. You can read material there from Steve Benson, about whom I have also written previously.
The disaffected Mormon underground
And then there is that nebulous group of members in various states of faith that call themselves the disaffected Mormon Underground or the DAMU. These individuals sometime leave comments on the LDS group blogs like By Common Consent, Times and Seasons, Mormon Mentality, Messenger and Advocate and The Millennial Star that are less than faith promoting.
I have had many visitors, comments and private communications from those who are active in the DAMU. I emphasize with their struggles and try to be as encouraging as possible. Some have made up their minds and have become MINOs (Mormons in Name Only) or NOMs (New Order Mormons). These are those who are only social Mormons and do not believe the doctrine.
Summary and conclusion
The Internet and the World wide Web are a part of the New Media that is becoming a larger part of the overall church effort to reach out and share the gospel. The Savior commanded us to go into all the world and teach the nations. Like all the inventions the Lord inspires to allow us to fulfill his commandment, the web is a source of much good information about the church.
Investigators today have a much easier and yet a much harder time to learn the truth about the church, the doctrines, history and practices for themselves. The Internet allows us to research the church in the comfort of our own homes. The Lord must have a lot of trust in his children in these last days that they can sort out the truth from false information found on the Internet.