The Church and New Media: Clarity, Context and an Official Voice Newsroom

A forthcoming article on the Mountain Meadows Massacre in the official Church publication Ensign was recently posted on the Newsroom and Web sites. Many readers, commenting on these sites, have indicated how much they appreciate the forthright and direct tone of the article and the detailed information it provided.

Some have suggested that the article signals a “new openness” by the Church and have speculated that such “openness” can be attributed to intense media scrutiny of the Church during a political season or to certain individuals or particular departments at Church headquarters.

In fact, the Church is responding to the rapidly changing news and information of today’s world. The Internet and other new or “social” media formats, such as blogs, have brought to the public a huge number of information sources that are updated constantly and that allow for more clarity, context and detailed information. These are significant developments that have brought new communication opportunities to the Church through its Web sites. 

For instance, the Newsroom interview on same-gender attraction with Elders Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman allowed a sensitive topic to be explored carefully and openly, outside of the time and space limitations of television and print media. Posting the Mountain Meadows article on the Church Web site made available to anyone a summary of the most thorough scholarship on the topic. 

In addition, information on official Church Web sites is reliable and consistent with the doctrines and policies of the Church. All materials on Newsroom and other Church Web sites are carefully reviewed and approved before they are posted.

No better example could be found of how the Church communicates than in the addresses of Church President Gordon B. Hinckley. He has spoken often and with clarity and candor to the news media and to community, religious and other leaders.    

The Church welcomes the remarkable advancements and opportunities in communication and information sharing. Many Church members on their own initiative take part in sharing their beliefs and opinions on the Internet. Thoughtful expressions of their personal faith and experiences with the Church help dispel stereotypes and misinformation. 

In a complementary way, Newsroom, and other Church Web sites provide an official voice from the Church. 

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