It 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.