The Washington Post describes how the Mormon Church promotes it’s own web-site in their quest to win the web. But there is more to the internet than Google.
Try this. Type “church,” “Old Testament” or even “friend” into Google, and the Web site of the LDS church, the Mormons, pops up near the top of the list.
In the age of the Internet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has found a way to dominate what is arguably today’s most important information source: the search engine.
It’s all about Mormons controlling their own image, church officials say. They’ve been doing that for a century or more. And now, with two of their own vying for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential race, and a Broadway hit and reality television generating huge interest in the denomination, much is at stake.
“We’re jumping into the conversation because there is a big one going on about Mormons, and we want to be a part of it,” said Stephen Allen, head of the church’s missionary department. “When someone goes into Google, if the first 10 sites are people who hate us, we lose in terms of our message.”
Staying in the conversation and controlling the message is fine and dandy, but there is more to the internet than Google and web-sites.
Elizabeth Drescher [Tweet If You (Heart) Jesus, Morehouse, 2011], who advises mainline Protestant groups on using digital technology, was critical of the Latter-day Saints for pouring money into steering people to the church’s Web site.
“Online isn’t just a technology; it’s a place to go. It’s a landscape. It’s as though you looked down the street and all you saw were LDS churches,” Drescher said. “It’s a way to triumph over democracy. To me, it’s freaky.”