Sunday in Outer Blogness: Hitting the fan edition!

Remember how last week I said the leaders of the CoJCoL-dS are wishing they could silently delete the polygamy essays? Well, now I bet some heads are rolling in the PR department in the Church Office Building!

Who could have predicted it? The first few essays worked perfectly — people who wanted to believe the CoJCoL-dS is being forthright (or wanted to debate others about it) had something to point to, and the average member didn’t even notice them! Then somehow this last batch went viral in the international news, causing a huge PR disaster both outside the church and in. Who knew that making excuses for Jospeh Smith’s well-known-to-those-in-the-know antics with the lady members would hit such a nerve? Was he really worse than those old prophets?

Part of the problem is that is it actually gives members some context to discuss what they think of Joseph’s actions, and there’s plenty to talk about. Like how young girls feel hearing these stories or the problems with whitewashing.

It’s an Internet-ready story — the memes, cartoons, infographics, and quizzes write themselves! Not to mention funny commentary in gifs! I particularly liked this demonstration of the use of weasel words (by another new-to-Outer-Blogness blogger):

Well…I screwed up (a little bit), and I got busted. Technically, it wasn’t really a “screw up” as much as it was “a series of unfortunate circumstances”. But it’s not my fault, and it’s not like I did anything that Joseph Smith didn’t do two or three (or forty) times.

Lots of rank-and-file members were blindsided by the news (right after having been encouraged to broadcast their Mormon status). The internet-savvy faithful are trying to make the best of it, and can’t decide whether or not to blame people for being shocked by the news. But, really, that debate is moot, once people start down the path of discovery.

Not coincidentally, the CoJCoL-dS has a problems with women who want to be treated like full-fledged adult members.

(Also Joesph Smith’s writing skills leave something to be desired…)

So what do you think? Can things get any worse for the CoJCoL-dS? Will they ever figure out how to do PR right?


C. L. Hanson is the friendly Swiss-French-American ExMormon atheist mom living in Switzerland! Follow me on mastadon at or see "letters from a broad" for further adventures!!

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13 Responses

  1. Circus Watcher says:

    The PR situation is bad. How long is a piece of string?
    There is so much more to polygamy and it’s fascinating history. All those early church leaders practised polygamy, over on NOM board there’s a thread about Woodruff Wilson marrying a 9 year old. Also, everything in the temple relates back to polygamy.
    And speaking of the temple……
    The general public can find out what goes on in there and how it has changed over the years. More fascinating history. What’s a TBMS to do?

  2. chanson says:

    @1 A 9 year old? Wow. I hadn’t heard about that one. That is messed-up.

  3. Holly says:

    Some of these apologist sites act like the real victim in all of this is poor old Joseph Smith. If only we could see how scary it was for him to be threatened by that angel!

  4. Parker says:

    K. H. says at BCC: “I think an assertion of fraud or hoax required proof of intent that we just don’t have in the case of JS.”

  5. Holly says:

    @4: Umm….

    Actually, an assertion of fraud or hoax requires at most evidence of fraud or hoax, like the utterly implausible claim that an angel with a flaming sword threatened to kill JS if he didn’t marry other men’s wives.

    She’s confusing an assertion with an incontrovertible fact.

    Which is a pretty standard mistake for Mormons. After all, what can you expect from people who think an emotional response to hearing a profession of faith legitimates their claim to “know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Joseph Smith was a prophet”?

    Seriously: this is freakin’ annoying. Mormons “know” whatever they want to be true IS true, but everyone else’s assessment of reality is just an “assertion” there’s just not enough evidence to make. wtf?

  6. Holly says:

    Conclusive proof is awesome, but a bit of common sense and basic critical thinking skills are nice too.

  7. chanson says:

    Yeah, but look how much more noble and less creepy JS looks @6…

  8. Parker says:

    I’ve seen a series of JS pictures that the Church has issued over the years, and he does become increasingly handsome and angelic.

  9. Holly says:

    @9: that’s just weird.

    I don’t think the painting on M* looks all that much like the daguerreotype it’s based on. And I don’t think the daguerreotype makes JS look “like a wonderful man.” It makes him look reasonably attractive, perhaps, but we all know there have been plenty of handsome scoundrels in the world. No true Scotsman would ever imagine that a reasonably flattering staged image was proof of someone’s moral goodness.

  10. chanson says:

    I was kidding. 😉

  11. Holly says:

    @11: I figured. I was responding to the M* post Parker linked to:

    Joseph looks like a wonderful man in the unedited picture. Edited versions of this picture look somewhat creepy, and the profile pictures painted during Joseph’s lifetime look rather uninspiring and stiff.

  12. Suzanne Neilsen says:

    oooh, maybe Joesph has a portrait of himself painted by Basil Hallward in a locked room.
    So handsome and virile. No no no, I mean handsome and wholesome.

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