A new Anti-Mormon tactic has emerged: a critic of the church attends multiple wards on Sunday to preach Anti-Mormon messages. Anti-Mormons video-record the sermon and post it on the internet to embarrass members of the church with whatever reaction they give.
Around August 27, a member of the Ex-Mormon forum announced the campaign and began coordinating on the ex-Mormon forum, where media watchmen who evidently monitor the forum could be ready to immediately write hateful news articles that would embarrass the church.
On September 3, hate news site Patheos.com wrote an article attacking “Mormons” for their reaction to the Anti-Mormon sermon, comparing “Mormons” to the Catholic church child-abuse scandal. Matthew Facciani writes that the members’ reaction is “a microcosm of the problems we see in the church today.” It is “awful” that “they ask him to leave” (with two exclamation points) when “the man comes back to the church and offers some very good advice on improving the church.”
To be clear, the man did not just “come back to church.” Per a now-deleted reddit account, he was an “apostate speaker” going from ward to ward, attending multiple wards to propagate his message. The now-deleted reddit account promised to film and post “each one” on the Anti-Mormon forum. Patheos credits reddit user beardshairandsandals with publishing the video that Patheos used in their article, and this just happens to be the same reddit user that earlier asked “What should I speak about?” and promised “I will film and post each one.” But Patheos.com does not report this pre-planning. Instead they deceptively make it sound like he was just a dismayed member going back to church.
This tactic of attending multiple wards to preach Anti-Mormonism reminds me of Sherem in the Book of Mormon. Sherem “began to preach among the people” and “labored diligently that he might lead away the hearts of the people, insomuch that he did lead away many hearts.” I think if we likewise allow Anti-Mormons to infiltrate our meetings to spread their doctrines that it will lead to great apostasy.
But the problem is the news media is standing by to attack us if we stop them, claiming we are stifling their free speech. They have the media completely on their side. So either way we get attacked. This is a propaganda tactic that was invented and perfected by none other than Nazi propaganda chief Heinrich Himmler. Early in his career, Himmler is said to have released rats in movie theaters that showed films counter to his Nazi ideals. This caused massive disruptions and the city was pressured to shut down the theaters. This is may be what the Anti-Mormons want for the church. It is good publicity for them to infiltrate the church and get their message published in their hate-site news buddies, and maybe they could even spread a little apostasy in the congregations, but the real value may be if they can get a strong reaction from members of the church. They film it from multiple angles throughout the congregation in a masterfully produced video piece and it would spread like wildfire on social media. The public would demonize “Mormons” and demand the church be shut down.
So what is the answer? Do we turn the other cheek, let them go on our property and propagandize from our pulpit? Do we not say anything when the fake news media propagates their tactics? Do we escort them off our property? Do we vocally condemn it and risk a strong backlash that the fake news media is doubtlessly preparing? What is the solution?