Facebook Rumors, Religion, and the LDS Faith

telephone.pngIt all started with this post today. A supposed “employee ‘close to the deal'” told blogger, Zach Klein (who doesn’t seem to allow comments on his blog) that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Family History division had made an unsolicited bid to purchase Facebook. Nothing else – no other background, no other resources to confirm the deal. Soon after, ValleyWag, the first to the scene and first large blog to publish anything about it, was blogging rumors they are well known for spreading. Soon after, Venturebeat and the Industry Standard were blogging about it, quoting Brady Brim-DeForest, who ironically was claiming this as news, not a rumor at all – I’m unaware of where he got it, but his news broke after Valleywag’s. TheInquisitr, while I’m sure had no ill-intentions, even made fun of the manner with some very radical and somewhat inaccurate claims that I know have offended some members of the LDS Faith that read the blog. The blogosphere seems to be a mess today in regards to regard for religion, faith, and respect for one another’s belief. It appears the LDS Church has become the punch-line of the blogosphere’s Jokes and I’m getting really tired of it.

Now, let’s talk about rumors. The blogosphere is known for spreading rumors – I’ve hated them from the get-go, but let’s face it, it’s a part of many blogs out there, and it may not be going away any time soon. (I think I could do an entire post about rumors in and of itself) I expect an occasional rumor about Microsoft trying to buy Yahoo, or Facebook employees leaving the company because they are mad with Executives, or even a crazy one like the iPhone 2.0 coming with 2 cameras and iChat video support. Frankly, I never share those (well, rarely), but they are fun to read because, well, they’re funny. But rumors like an entire Faith buying a huge company like Facebook are ridiculous, unfounded, and frankly offensive to me that anyone would take such a rumor seriously when the Faith is my own. It’s a religion, people – tell me one reason a religious Faith would need a social network like Facebook to further its mission. Do you seriously believe any religion would be so stupid as to try this? People would leave Facebook in droves if that were to happen, and a network like Facebook has no good way of building up the members of the Faith itself. The claim is absolutely ridiculous, and I can’t believe established bloggers are taking this serious enough to share with others! There seems to be a serious lack of understanding between the blogosphere and the LDS Faith and I’d like to figure out a way to put an end to it.

Let’s go back to earlier this year. You may remember my “Shame on You TechCrunch” post I wrote awhile back, calling out the writers at CrunchGear for an extremely biased, and very misunderstood and inconsiderate interview of Penn Juliette, in which he claimed Mormons had “magic underwear” (as a Mormon, I affirm to you, that my underwear is not magic), and went on to encourage him as he talked about how easy religious women were, degrading women at the same time. While I still will not read CrunchGear because of that, I have lifted my boycott of TechCrunch (just because there is no way to avoid it – I also did not know Arrington at all at the time), but as you can see, there is a blatent misunderstanding of the LDS Faith in the blogosphere. CrunchGear still stands by their article and has refused to make any statement to the contrary.

Now, to give credit to those that have blogged about this today, Eric Eldon (of VentureBeat) does have a great point in that the LDS Church does actively invest in stock to retain and increase the value of its members donations through Tithing, and Facebook employees are selling stock. Like Louis Gray, I too give 10% of my wages in the form of Tithing to the Church, and I sincerely hope they invest it wisely and don’t just waste it away. I know their investments are wise though, and even the “widow’s mite” is considered and cared for. The Church itself never publishes these investments and it would be impossible to know if some are in Facebook or some are in Microsoft or some are in Google. They take these donations as sacred, and every effort is taken to maintain the sacredness of those donations. However, an outright acquisition of Facebook would be proposterous and completely out of line with the Church’s history.

Every one of these bloggers could have done a simple Tweet in fact, and quickly gotten a response from Mormons on how ridiculous the claims are. Or they could have shot Louis Gray, or me, or Matt Asay, or Phil Windley, or other Mormon bloggers an e-mail asking us if the claims were true. It took me about 5-10 minutes to send an e-mail to the LDS church and get a response back (which, btw, said the claims are not true and unfounded), and in fact, the LDS Church CIO is even on Twitter – an e-mail or even simple dm to him may have done the trick.

Now, I’m not necessarily trying to call out these specific bloggers, but rather point out the problem in general – I respect most of them in fact and really enjoy their regular blog posts. I’m just trying to make a shoutout to the blogosphere that we’re here if you have questions! Let’s start an open dialogue about the Mormon Faith – do you have questions? We’d really like to answer them before you assume and blog inaccuracies in the first place. Please, don’t hesitate to contact me, Louis Gray, or any other Mormon blogger if you have any hestitancy before posting an article. It’s time we put an end to this nonsense, once and for all.

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jessestay

Jesse Stay has been a pioneer in the space of social media marketing since before it was called "social media marketing". Originally a software developer, Jesse built a tool called SocialToo.com which helped brands like Pepsi, Brittany Spears, and MC Hammer grow their social media presence, and before he knew it brands were coming to him for help to grow their presence in very unique ways. His tool was featured on almost every tech blog and even mainstream news sites like New York Times, Techcrunch, and Mashable. Jesse also spent a brief period working FOR Facebook, Inc., helping them to build out their documentation to help companies integrate Facebook Connect into their websites and mobile apps. Jesse took his skills and helped the LDS Church kick off most of its social media programs. While there he helped launch the award-winning "I'm a Mormon" marketing campaign with global reach worldwide in the millions of views and followers. Jesse established new global programs at the Church to further grow its reach amongst both members and non-members of the Church, working with every department of the Church, also including entities like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Brigham Young University. He also helped the Church navigate its voice and presence during the Mitt Romney Presidential campaign due to the significant attention the Church was getting at the time. He established the social media advertising techniques and strategies employed at Deseret Digital Media growing over 20 million fans across their news properties in just 6 months, and was featured on AdWeek for his success. As founder and Principal of Stay N Alive, Jesse has developed very unique techniques in social media advertising to help organizations grow presences, within months on minimal budgets, into hundreds of thousands of highly relevant and engaging fans and followers. He designed and teaches social media advertising at LDS Business College. He has helped grow sales, and has a belief that yes, you CAN measure social! Jesse has been featured as one of 10 entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter (next to Biz Stone and Ev Williams, founders of Twitter) by Entrepreneur magazine. Jesse has written 9 books on the topic of social media marketing and development, including Google+ Marketing For Dummies and Facebook All In One For Dummies, and eats, lives, and drinks social media with a personal combined presence of over 600,000 followers on his personal social profiles.

0 thoughts on “Facebook Rumors, Religion, and the LDS Faith”

  1. Yeah, that goes to show how unreliable some bloggers can be. If they choose not to be professional on this story then how can we trust them on other stories?

  2. i think defending a religion is just as silly as attacking one, and for the same reason, they are both acts of ego. now, what can we talk about? rumors? big deal, gossip and rumor-love are almost the defining traits of being in a human community. and some of the biggest sites on the internet. anything else important today?

  3. OK, so perhaps those who blogged this should have thought 'just a little' about whether it made
    sense, but I have to ask… isn't is just a little improbable that if the LDS church were to try to make
    a purchase of FaceBook that they would actually tell you? Deals like that are kept to the smallest
    of circles regardless of whether it's a church or General Electric. You, or Phil could have asked
    until you were blue in the face and you would have been told that “there's no deal” until the second
    after it was announced

  4. The answer I got was a pretty firm “no”, from someone I consider a
    friend, in fact 2 people I would consider a friend that would be at
    the heart of such a deal. I would trust my sources much better than
    that of the guy that originally started this whole rumor. Does anyone
    even know who that guy was, anyway?

  5. The issue with these sites are that they are sites I would normally never expect to hear these types of rumors from. This is a rumor that started with someone with practically no background and was adopted by Valleywag. After that these sites started taking it – it's not the religion part that bugs me (although it is the reason I think it's a ridiculous rumor), it's the fact such reputable sites are sharing such rumors.

    Regarding defending a religion, I'm not necessarily defending, but rather putting myself out there to answer such questions so this doesn't happen again. I don't think anyone (with the exception of a few commenters) has specifically attacked my faith. There has simply been some misunderstanding and I want to be sure people know where to come before further spreading such rumors in the future. My point of the post was to share that there's a lot of misunderstanding out there and I'd like to have other bloggers know where they can come if they have any question whatsoever.

  6. hi jesse, i like your writing, and thinking… will offer that rumors are simply to be ignored, even seemingly innacurate (a given) or hurtful ones …

    and as for LDS..

    like all religions, good values, ridiculously mythologized founding story, wonderful well-intentioned people, missionary agenda based on secret feeling of superiority, and machinations in the power structure … no loss if you ignore them, communal benefit if you join them….. makes the mysteries of life seem embraceable. but belief is just a way-station, has to be left behind on the journey to direct experience ….

    is my point of view, probably works for me, since i am more into the mystic sides of all religions …. happy you are grounded in yours… and even cooler, i think it is great to talk about this stuff, thanks for doing so

    keep up the good blog work … i always like to see your name on friendfeed, or mr. gray's site.

    enjoy, gregory lent

  7. I completely agree that the original post has the smallest amount of street “cred”
    and I don't fault you for trusting your sources, but I've been in a situation where
    a corporate sale was taking place and multiple folks that I trusted all were
    able to say “nothing is going on” with a very convincing straight face. šŸ™‚

  8. Jesse, what makes you any more authoritative in saying it has no basis than the original person who posted the rumor has in saying there's something to it? Do you have LDS batphones that let you know everything anyone in the LDS church is doing or something? Could it be that *gasp* something is going on with one part of the LDS church without you knowing about it?

  9. Jason, I sent an e-mail to the CIO of the church, a friend of mine.
    He's also on Twitter, and anyone could have asked him there. You act
    as though you want this news to be true – are you really serious that
    you think this could actually happen?

    Again, try to understand the perspective of a long-time member of the
    Faith you're talking about. I'm someone that knows the history, knows
    how they do things, and work on a regular basis with people that would
    be close to the situation. I also wrote 2 books on Facebook and I
    know the ins and outs of Facebook and many of the people over there.
    I'm telling you this rumor is ludicrous and you keep coming back
    acting as though it might be true. I suggest you trust me on this
    one, then call me out if it is true. Now, what's the credibility of
    the other guy where this all originated?

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