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For a long time the Church position on responding to criticism has been one of "no-comment." This is well exemplified in Boyd K. Packer's remarks to the effect that, like Samuel on the wall, we should not descend to engage the hecklers.

I never really agreed with that stance and I think it's utterly inadequate today in our information age. These days, the public expects disclosure. Whenever someone says "no-comment," they might as well hang a neo sign over their head reading "guilty as charged!"

No-comment just doesn't work anymore. It's high time the Church retired the phrase and the stance that goes with it.

"neon sign" that is...

I think that we as a church have learned some important things about ourselves through this whole process. And we're changing for the better. We're becoming more open and more comfortable discussing things that in the past we would have preferred not to talk about. There is a paradigm shift taking place with how we see ourselves and how others see us. I'm excited about that. I think it's a good thing and that it reflects growth. Fortunately, the pearl of great price remains as polished as ever. If only more eyes would see it and not the box it comes in...

It's been a little disconcerting to hear the doom and gloom about how much American society is supposedly rejecting us based on Romney's failed run. First of all, Romney does not equal mormonism; he's a politician for heaven's sake. Yes, there are certain elements of society who will always be disinclined towards us since their eyes have been blinded by their leaders, but we're entering into the conversation. Those who were already prejudiced towards us will continue to be so, while those who never even heard of mormonism will have a seed planted. Continue to clear up the misconceptions, but don't be disheartened by the slow pace of progress.

Actually, I find the persecution kinda affirming in a morbid sort of way.

Makes me feel special I guess.

I don't believe Romney ultimately failed because he is a Mormon. He failed because he looked as uncomfortable as a remarried guy having to make an appearance at an ex-wife's funeral. And I was a supporter.

I'm glad to hear the Church is taking such an active step towards "clearing the air." Unfortunately, this is also going to make the antagonists shout louder. I hope more unfettered opportunities, such as the PBS documentary, can keep the nuisances at bay whilst the messages are delivered.

I think members have horribly misunderstood the counsel in the past regarding defending the church. The idea that we shouldn't defend the church is about as diametrically opposite from what the scriptures suggest as to be ludicrous.

"Cast not your pearls before swine" has nothing to do with defending the church. It has to do with talking about sacred things in bawdy places or with those would make light of the more sacred and holy doctrines of the church. It doesn't mean that you don't defend the church.

On the contrary, these swine are already pawning off fake pearls to the public as LDS doctrine. The proper approach is Not to ignore them, but explain that they've distored and/or misrepresented sacred doctrines for sensationalism. You don't need to explain the sacred truth to defend it though.

For example, saying Mormons believe "Satan is Jesus' brother" is just as accurate as saying mainstream Christians believe "Satan is God's son". Both statements can be justified through a series of logical arguments but both are horribly misleading. That's all you need to say - you've defended the gospel without casting pearls before swine.

Read the scriptures, and you'll find that it is your responsibility to defend the gospel. Few things aggravate me more when people say anti-Mormonism ultimately helps the church grow so leave it be. Everything in the scriptures says quite the contrary - evil speaking destroys truth and is the mist of darkness that keep people from the tree of life. It is every members responsibility to help people find their way in those mists of darkness.

I might add - there are way too many members who are disheartened by the anti-mormonism recently displayed in result to Romney's bid for the presidency. It makes me sick, really.

When Romney dropped out he got 4 million votes, compared to McCain's 4.6 million. Huckabee got a pittance in comparison. I never thought he'd do so well, and I'm thrilled that things have changed so much. I think most members insulated and isolated in their mormons societies have no idea how the church has been perceived even as recently as 30 years ago. I know ... having served a mission in the bible belt 25 years ago.

Let me assure you ... this is a remarkable achievement that any LDS politician could garner so many votes among the general public. All members should walk a little more confidently, and a little wiser (if they were fooling enough to think we were generally loved by all). When you get on your knees tonight you can express thanks that you live in a time when there is such a large portion of people who are willing to give the church the benefit of the doubt.

I certainly do.

Dave A., I'd agree that it is something of a surprise that Romney fared so well -- at the beginning of the campaign season there was no real indication he would become a serious candidate. It's unfortunate that Mormonism became such an issue for some voters and political pundits, but encouraging that wasn't really what prevented Romney from garnering the Republican nomination. And I think he has scored some points with Republicans by bowing out of the race gracefully.

Almost every major article I've read in the last 6 months or so has been very fair and balanced, in my opinion. The main problem, though, with almost every article are the comments that users post at the end of each article spewing hate and venom at the church and its members. It's not possible to reason with people like that (especially anonymous ones), and an outsider reading those comments could very easily get the wrong message.

gma, I'd agree the comments at media sites are a problem. "Comment management" doesn't seem to be their concern. I imagine they are particularly sensitive to the hokey censorship charge trolls emit whenever anyone objects to their online MO. I wish they'd just junk their comment feature -- there is rarely anything of value added in the comments.

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