LDS leaders caught in a lie… (a.k.a. history repeats itself)

Turns out that LDS Church’s original claim that they only spent a couple thousand dollars on the Proposition 8 campaign was, well, total crap. Looks like the latest numbers are in the hundreds of thousands range. Anyone surprised?

Here’s my guess as to what is going to happen with this…

First, they admit(ted) to a small contribution to begin with, a couple thousand. This is enough to seem honest, even though it isn’t even close to what actually happened. It also stirs the waters just enough for the media to go, “Oh, the LDS Church did contribute some and they are admitting it, so, end of story.”

Second, they admit to a larger contribution, but not the full amount. Say, $180,000. They claim the difference is due to accounting issues – they didn’t think they needed to report in-kind donations and plane tickets. Since they had already admitted to a contribution and this is claimed to be an oversight, virtually no media pick up the story. The media think, “Well, of course they donated plane tickets and paid employees to work on this. That’s not a story.”

Third, once they are pressured by the Fair Political Practices Commission, they disclose the full amount – somewhere in the range of $500,000 to $2 million. And we’re not talking plane tickets. We’re talking: The LDS Church paid for commercials, for broadcasts, for lots of employee hours, for phone banks, etc. But, just like the $180,000 announcement, the new amount will get virtually no press. Again, the media, “Well, they already admitted they overlooked in-kind donations and other in-house stuff. Since they aren’t “actually” donations, this is still a non-issue.”

How does the LDS Church get away with this? It’s basic social psychology and even has a name: the “foot-in-the-door technique“. Here’s what you do… You start with a low number and get people to accept that number (e.g., a couple thousand). Once they have accepted that number, then you can make much larger requests. Those who accepted the initial small number are substantially more likely to accept the much larger numbers. It boils down to commitment and consent. You think, “Well, I already gave them the fact that they donated a couple thousand, what’s a couple hundred thousand more? I didn’t donate it, they did.”

This is, in fact, how the LDS Church approaches pretty much everything shady it does or has done. Think about it… The papyrii for the PofGP were found, but the LDS Church didn’t say anything publicly for a while. Then they admit they were found. Then they admit they can be translated. Then they admit that they are funerary scripts, but they include alternative intepretations of how they could have secondary meanings. Finally, apologists today simply admit that Joseph Smith was inspired by the papyrii to write a new revelation, the papyrii were just a catalyst and have nothing to do with the actual revelation. Et voila – the papyrii are no longer a challenge to members’ testimonies. You can now ask an informed, devout Mormon, “Well, what about the papyrii?” and they will say, “Well, we never really believed that they were the writings of Abraham.” The critic is aghast because he knows that is patently false, but how do you convince a devout Mormon otherwise?

Take any other example and you’ll see a similar pattern: blacks getting the priesthood was slowly phased in (by giving hints and suggestions that it would happen) and dealing with it theologically is still underway; polygamy, same thing; Joseph Smith’s under age wives; Joseph Smith’s drinking; the non-historicity of the Book of Mormon; etc. In each case, small bits of information come out first, followed by bigger bits, then full confessions with alternate interpretations. And for those who know what’s going on, Joseph Smith (or whomever wrote the BofM) seems to have been very prescient,

2 Nephi 28:21 And others will he pacify, and lull them away into carnal security, that they will say: All is well in Zion; yea, Zion prospereth, all is well—and thus the devil [church] cheateth their souls, and leadeth them away carefully down to hell.

Who knew he was talking about the church he started?

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profxm

I'm a college professor and, well, a professional X-Mormon. Thus, ProfXM. I love my Mormon family, but have issues with LDS Inc. And I'm not afraid to tell LDS Inc. what I really think... anonymously, of course!

11 thoughts on “LDS leaders caught in a lie… (a.k.a. history repeats itself)

  1. Possibly. Otherwise, this could be the catalyst that finally convinces Americans to insist that churches follow the same financial disclosure rules as other non-profits.

    Permission to act in secret is a privilege that is bound to be abused, and sincere religious people don’t benefit if religion gets a reputation as being the best shelter for shady dealings.

  2. Just a small detail, but seems worth mentioning…I no longer say, regarding the 1978 revelation, that it was “blacks getting the priesthood” because doing so obfuscates the fact that pre-1978, LDS people of African descent (both men and women) were denied temple ordinances and thus denied exaltation. Far better, IMO, to say “when blacks were denied exaltation” or something similar.

  3. How, oh how do others not see how shady and creepy the church is? How do they not see how manipulative and inhumane its teachings and policies and public statements are?

    It boggles the mind that the church thought it was in any way ethical to hide up to 2 million dollars and only declare 2,000. WTF are they thinking? Are they really that corrupt, or are they really that brainwashed to not see how unetical their actions are?

  4. This reminds me a lot of that part in the Strength of Youth pamphlet where they explain why you really shouldn’t do any intense making out or “petting” (and yes, they still call it that in the new edition which was updated in 2000, approximately thirty years since any actual teenager had used the term and at least 20 since we knew what it meant leading to the awkward “Sister Neilsen, what is petting?” discussion), because once his tongues down your throat, it’s only a matter of time before you’re having unprotected sex in the back of a station wagon, although I’m pretty sure the GAs just said “it leads to greater sin”. *attempts to get back to the point* So perhaps church leadership is merely projecting it’s own foot in the door technique on the youth.

  5. I no longer say, regarding the 1978 revelation, that it was “blacks getting the priesthood” because doing so obfuscates the fact that pre-1978, LDS people of African descent (both men and women) were denied temple ordinances and thus denied exaltation.

    It’s a tangent, yet an important point to remember…

  6. Hi everyone. I just found this site for the first time today. This issue really makes me sick and hope the full truth continues to be made known so that the deception of the church comes out to it’s own membership and possible leads more of them to rethink their beliefs in this bigoted organization.

    One other side note: Does anyone know how to contact the admins of this site? I would like them to add my site, “Life Beyond x-Mormonism” at http://www.exmormononline.net to their list of sites and possibly write an article about it. Thank you.

  7. They were counting on history repeating itself and the election being nearly forgotten by this point. It’s been gratifying to see that’s not been the case this time around. I think the poster is absolutely right that there’s much more to come.

  8. Does anyone know how to contact the admins of this site?

    Just leaving a comment does the trick 😉

    I’ve added your site to our blogroll, but perhaps you’d rather be added to our forums list…?

    Email me if you’d like us to do a post talking about your site’s particular niche in exmo/postmo/DAMU space: chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com

  9. *slams head on desk*

    yes, yes, yes, you’re right.

    so how does one get past the guilt?

    I refuse to tell anyone it was “revelation” which changed the blacks and the priesthood ban. Any effort of research will yield that conclusion.

    As far as this goes, I’m glad to be alive and aware during this bit of Church history. I can print out the articles myself so that in ten years when the Church explains this away I have evidence to the contrary.

    Much like the way everyone likes to dismiss the horribly racist things GAs used to say.

    sigh.

  10. Great post. “Foot in the Door” – indeed. I wish the media would kick some collective butts on this.

    Strategy is simple for LDS corp: lie, come clean a little, lie that you told the whole truth, come clean a little more, lie about something non-related to distract from the original lie, then wait for public sentiment to drop from indignation to apathy.

    The next media “revelation” will be additional unreported millions in contributions.

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