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