Time for a Link War

In a blog comment at BCC, Ronan points out a disturbing fact. A google search for “Mormon Temple” is likely to be one of the first things a curious non-member does; but when you google the term Mormon Temple, the first site that comes up on the list is an ex-Mormon site. In fact, the first four sites listed on the front page are ex-Mormon sites. Of the 10 sites on the front page, five are ex-Mormon, two are links to LDS.org, one is apologetic and two are neutral. So the first page for Mormon Temple is 5-to-2 anti. Exacerbating the issue, the particular lds.org links that google gives for Mormon Temple are likely to be confusing or unhelpful to a nonmember.

This is particularly aggravating since there’s already an easily accessible online resource for non-members. The site http://www.ldstemple.com is church-owned and redirects to a page at the also church-owned mormon.org. It will almost certainly be a redirect to the appropriate church site for the foreseeable future. (And it’s not even in the first 100 results for the google search Mormon Temple!).

What to do? Well, google builds its database by noting which websites are linked by other websites. So it’s time to start linking, my friends, to rescue Mormon Temple from google hell. Here’s how to participate:

1. If you have a website and want to participate in this project, use the term Mormon Temple and link to http://www.ldstemple.com . If you don’t have a website, but want to start one to help out, go to a free weblog site like http://www.blogger.com . You can set up a blog for free, and put up discussion and links on it (such as links to Mormon Temple).

2. Copy this post and e-mail it to friends, family, or co-workers who maintain web sites.

And here at Times and Seasons, we’re happy to lead by example. So cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war! Witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle-station! And let’s all join in bringing Mormon Temple back to the fold. With any luck, we’ll be able to rescue this term within a matter of months. I don’t expect to knock the ex-Mormon links off the list altogether, but we can at least give them some competition when people look for Mormon Temple.

UPDATE: For the technologically challenged, this is what you’ll want to paste onto your website:

&#60a href&#61&#34http:&#47&#47www.ldstemple.com&#34&#62Mormon Temple&#60&#47a&#62

That’s it! Put it anywhere you want in the body of the webpage.

43 comments for “Time for a Link War

  1. Ronan
    April 6, 2005 at 7:37 pm

    This is a great idea. But how lame is the official site? It says NOTHING, perhaps only making the problem worse, like we are hiding something. But yes, we can worry about that later.

  2. Kaimi
    April 6, 2005 at 7:55 pm


    Yeah, I think the official site could be a lot better. I briefly contemplated setting the link war to Ben Spackman’s site (http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackman/temple), or to the temple page at about.com . Ultimately, though, I don’t want this to look like we’re trying to take over the official role of the church. I think it’s best to direct traffic to the church site; I do hope that someone in the church website department can eventually put together something a little more informative.

  3. April 6, 2005 at 8:00 pm

    Google does more than check the links to a page. It also check for relevant content. If you really want this to work, tell the Church website developers to put some actual content on the page.

  4. April 6, 2005 at 8:02 pm

    Maybe a better link would be http://www.lds.org/temples/

  5. Wilfried
    April 6, 2005 at 8:12 pm

    Excellent remarks, Kaimi. And great initiative.

    It is also why I have been arguing (for a long time) that we need to use Mormon much more than LDS.

    May I quote myself: “Our avoidance of the M-words [Mormon, Mormons, Mormonism] leads to the loss of major opportunities to counter those negative images. We give the field away to our enemies and detractors, for they are free to tie only scurrilous stories to these words. Sprawling anti-cult websites do their share in bashing anything Mormon, sometimes even with the word “mormon” in their URL.”

  6. Greg Call
    April 6, 2005 at 8:17 pm


    You’ll be happy to know that in today’s NY Times article linked in the sidebar, the author’s first reference is to “the Mormon Church.” He or she later says “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as Mormonism is known….” Church PR people must be tearing their hair out!

  7. Julie in Austin
    April 6, 2005 at 8:23 pm

    I don’t wish to threadjack, but I read part of the NYT article since Greg mentioned it, and I am trying to figure out how someone could think an open-air market would work in a city more likely to have a blizzard or be 97 degrees than to be, you know, the kind of weather where you want to be outdoors shopping.

    (Then again, you could say the same for Austin (not the blizzard part) but I still can never find a parking spot at the Arboretum.)

  8. April 6, 2005 at 8:35 pm

    Kaimi, you have stumbled upon an outstanding reason why LDS leaders should encourage rather than discourage (or even squish like a little bug) the Bloggernacle. Google abhors a vacuum and if we don’t fill it, someone else will.

  9. john fowles
    April 6, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    Wilfried, with all due respect, I very strongly disagree with your reasoning. Ditching the M-word is a very positive movement. In Europe, for example, you can teach a whole discussion to people after introducing yourself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than a Mormon and they will receive the positive message without any negative stereotypes clouding their perception. By the time you begin discussing the Book of Mormon, they are already disabused of many of the falsehoods that are propounded about Latter-day Saints.

    “Mormon” disguises who we really are as a people. That is why detractors labeled the Latter-day Saints that way in the first place–to distract from the true focus of our religion: Jesus Christ (not Mormon). Why play by the detractors rules? Stand up for yourself and define yourself as who you are. The M-word should be considered tantamount to the N-word, in my opinion, because that is how it is used by people not of our faith.

  10. john fowles
    April 6, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    Dave, why don’t you write a memo to the Brethren arguing that point? I suggest ditching the pseudonym, though.

  11. Sheri Lynn
    April 6, 2005 at 9:05 pm

    Well, I need my business website sooner than I thought. (Puts it higher on the priority list.) (Hey, I can push the church on my site even before I actually get my business going, right? heh.)

  12. Wilfried
    April 6, 2005 at 9:52 pm

    John, I understand what you say, and ultimately, in the long run, your standpoint will and must prevail. We are the Church of Jesus Christ, not the Church of Mormon. But the problem you mention, that people will not listen when you introduce yourself as a Mormon, is precisely what all this is about. We need to tie positive images to the words Mormon, Mormons and Mormonism, so that people will be impressed by what these words stand for, and will want to find out more. As President Hinckley said in General Conference, on October 7th 1990:

    “I suppose that regardless of our efforts, we may never convert the world to general use of the full and correct name of the Church. Because of the shortness of the word Mormon and the ease with which it is spoken and written, they will continue to call us the Mormons, the Mormon church, and so forth. We may not be able to change the nickname, but we can make it shine with added luster. All of this places upon us of this Church and this generation an incumbent and demanding responsibility to recognize that as we are spoken of as Mormons, we must so live that our example will enhance the perception that Mormon can mean in a very real way, ‘more good’.”

    People who want to know more about us will google with “Mormonism” not with Jesus Christ. Try it and you will see why we need to do something in the line Kaimi asks. Just like we can do now with “Mormon Temple”, also “Mormonism” must come out on top for what it really is.

  13. April 6, 2005 at 10:12 pm

    John F., I’m sure you’ve got better connections, I’ll just let you pass along the message. I notice you don’t have any links at your own site, at least that I saw. Are you opposed to the project?

  14. April 6, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    John Fowels said: “””you can teach a whole discussion to people after introducing yourself as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rather than a Mormon and they will receive the positive message without any negative stereotypes clouding their perception. By the time you begin discussing the Book of Mormon, they are already disabused of many of the falsehoods…”””

    This to me sounds like the way Amway operates, over the years I’ve had 3 people tell me they have a business opportunity they wanted to discuss with me. They would use a different name or none at all. After they got into my home the and discussed their “business” with me for half an hour they finally fessed up that it was AMWAY. Their hiding of this fact was very aggravating and these people are no longer welcome in my home.

    ADMIN EDIT: Please abide by our comment policies if you wish to comment. Thank you.

  15. April 6, 2005 at 10:38 pm

    Er guys, google massively downranks redirects.

    We need to pick a non-redirecting page to make this work.

  16. April 7, 2005 at 12:01 am

    Thanks for doing this, Kaimi. I am concerned about picking the right link, however, so I linked both http ://www.mormon.org/temples (the non-redirected link) and http ://www.lds.org/temples/ over on Conglomerate’s Lab page. I called it the “Mormon Temple Project.”

  17. john fowles
    April 7, 2005 at 12:30 am

    Wilfried and Dave, I have nothing at all against this particular project. I am not objecting to “Mormon” because I don’t want the Bloggernacle to link en masse to an official site treating “Mormon temples.” In fact, I think we can and must fight the efforts of antis to force investigators into anti websites upon searching for something like “Mormon temple.” My comment was what it was–an indication of my overall viewpoint about self-definition and not abiding in the ghettos created for us by the world. The quote by President Hinckley, Wilfried, seems to me to refer to how we live our lives. That is, we can and should define ourselves NOT as Mormons but as Latter-day Saints. In spite of this, acknowledges President Hinckley, many will still default to the identifier “Mormon.” Thus, while identifying ourselves as Latter-day Saints, we should lead exemplary lives so that people who still merely look at us as Mormons will gain respect for that word.

    Dave: I haven’t jumped on board because I thought that Google won’t take a Blogger blog into consideration in page rankings. Maybe I was wrong?

    # 14: I am not talking about “sneaking in” as you suggest with your ridiculous Amway analogy. I suspect you know this full well. I am suggesting telling people who we really are–members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When we teach them about the Book of Mormon, they will say something like, “so you’re Mormons?” At that point, they hopefully have already been taught that Jesus Christ is at the very center of our worship and lives. They will see the word “Mormon” at that point for what it is, and not as a place holder for some wierd cult, which is likely what the word signifies for them right now. I’m sorry if emphasizing our true identity aggravates you. But I assure you that it is not comparable to your unethical friends disguising Amway. Rather, it is the other way around–the world attempts to disguise us with the signifier “Mormon.”

  18. April 7, 2005 at 12:35 am

    I like the idea. One snag is that links from blogs seem to be given less weight by Google. But I suppose enough links might do the job…

  19. Wendy
    April 7, 2005 at 1:55 am

    “If you don’t have a website, but want to start one to help out, go to a free weblog site like http://www.blogger.com . You can set up a blog for free, and put up discussion and links on it (such as links to Mormon Temple).”

    That sounds a bit “Welcome To My Website” to me, Kaimi. See, e.g.:


    et al

  20. J. Scherer
    April 7, 2005 at 7:45 am

    I don’t fully understand the need to shield investigators from anti-mormons. I recall doing that exact search and many others while investigating. More equal representation on this front would be desirable, however I was exposed to it all while investigating making a rough road to baptism. However, my testimony was strengthened by resolving the issues raised. I learned alot about false spirits and discernment through these experiences. Wouldn’t it be better for a person to hear all that is out there before covenanting with the lord than hearing it after and breaking covenants?

  21. Todd Lundell
    April 7, 2005 at 8:51 am

    My experience as a missionary in Japan was the opposite of John description of Europe. If you introduced yourself as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no one would listen. But if you said you were from the Mormon church, then people would usually let you speak (at least for a little longer). That is mostly because Kent Derricott (SP?) is a prominent TV personality, and returned missionary, in Japan and everyone knows he is Mormon. They like him; thus, they don’t mind hearing a little more about the church.

    I think the idea to stress more the fact that we are the Church of Jesus Christ was and is a good idea. But throwing out references to Mormon throws out a lot of good will that the church members have worked to develop. In the corporate world, no one would think of ditching the name “Mormon” b/c of the good will attached. Even with the bad that often can be associated, I think most people have a positive view of Mormons. “The Church of Jesus Christ,” while an accurate description, doesn’t carry with it the same history (mostly positive, I think) that “The Mormon Church” does. The former can also get lost among the many small sects of Christianity and not be recognized as the world-wide organization that is the Church.

    Also, is it just me, or have the Bretheren deemphasized this point in recent years? After coming out strongly against use of the word “Mormon”, it seems like there was something of a retreat. We are still emphasizing that we are the Church of Jesus Christ, but not caring so much that people refer to us as the Mormons and even capitalizing on the good will associated with that name. In fact, I saw a recent LDS commercial that used the line “brought to you by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as the Mormons” – or something like that. It didn’t really surprise me b/c that is the trend I have noticed.

  22. Jim Richins
    April 7, 2005 at 10:06 am

    Google’s indexing algorithms are very complex, secret, and resist card-stacking efforts like what we are describing. I’m not saying that it would be a bad thing to link to better and/or more authoritative websites, just that we shouldn’t have too high expectations for influencing the search engine rankings.

    BTW, another good Temple site is http://www.ldschurchtemples.com. I’m not sure if the site is official, although if it is not, the site designers went to some effort to make it appear as if it is.

    One aspect of the complexity can be seen if you search on any number of LDS-related terms. The exmormon site Kaimi mentioned ranks fairly high in most cases. This is because search terms are semantically correlated as well. Thus, to be effective, we would have to have a widely distributed set of links that address a range of search terms, such as “Mormon”, “Temple”, “Endowment”, “Vicarious”, “Sealing”, “Priesthood”, etc.

    A great area to link to legitimate Temple information would be in genealogy. If you are doing Family History, then you know what PAF is. PAF has a feature to help you publish a web page of ancestry information for yourself. If you linked prodigiously to Temple info sites here, that would likely help, too.

    Yet another aspect is the way Google (and others) gather statistical information about websites. One method they use is with web crawlers or ‘bots. If you own a website and do not allow bots to scan it, it won’t matter what links you put on the site (or, at least, it will matter less). There is an Internet protocol that (theoretically) controls how bots can access sites, which specifies using the robots.txt file in the root directory of your web site. If a bot writer wants to comply with the standard and play nice on the ‘Net, s/he will program it to obey the instructions included in this file. Some site owners, out of unjustifiable paranoia, set their robots.txt file to refuse all bots, including legitimate ones from reputable search engines. This basically cuts the site out of any chance of a good search engine ranking.

    I don’t recall the specifics, but if you google “robots.txt” you should find plenty of info for editing/updating your robots.txt file.

    Another method for gathering data is with the Google Toolbar, and other similar browsing “helpers”. These applications seem like spyware, but they are something different. You can set your Google Toolbar to report statistics, which (assuming you don’t browse too many porn sites) may help to improve the LDS Church’s website rankings.

    I use the Google Toolbar, and allow it to report my statistics (this is a function you can turn on or off as a user, as I recall).

    The bottom line, however, is that the Google index is built on billions of pieces of information per day. In order to guarantee that Google stops listing that exmormon site with a high ranking, we would have to hack it to take it off the air.

    (If you want advice on how to do that, you’ll have to contact me privately… :) )

  23. Todd Lundell
    April 7, 2005 at 10:18 am

    Note that the Church is actually trying to take ownership of the term “Mormon” by correcting publications that refer to fundamentalist groups as a “Mormon sect” or “polygamous Mormons.” Not sure how to make a link, but go to: http://www.lds.org/newsroom/mistakes/0,15331,3885-1,00.html

    Seems to me that the Church is trying to protect the good will in the name “Mormon” by disassociating it with uses other than to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

  24. Wilfried
    April 7, 2005 at 10:30 am

    Very interesting contribution from your experience, Todd (# 20 ). The point is indeed to combine both as much as possible: Mormons = Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I concur with your experience: if people have associated “Mormons” with something positive, they’re most likely to listen to the missionaries or find out more by themselves. In the seventies, the Osmonds, always identified upfront as Mormons, have been instrumental in converting thousands to the Church, especially in Europe. A TV-personality, a top athlete, an excellent performing group etc., identified as Mormon, does always a lot of good for our PR. It’s much more difficult, in daily language, to have those people identified as “Latter-day Saints” or LDS, once you’re out of the Utah realm. And in translation LDS does not lead us anywhere yet, while Mormon is a universal word. Of course, we can’t repeat it enough to avoid misunderstanding, all this is only meant as a first and helpful step. The aim is to get to know the Church of Jesus Christ.

  25. Ronan
    April 7, 2005 at 11:32 am
  26. Wilfried
    April 7, 2005 at 11:44 am

    Yes, Ronan, and as you probably know, http://www.mormon.org was added much later. And I remember well the Church had to fight to get it back from another organisation / individual who had obtained it earlier and was not sympathetic to the church (was it not even a p*rn site?). Same fights in other countries over the past decade. The Church conducted a legal battle for years in Germany about http://www.mormonen.de, which was an anti-mormon site. That site used as argument in court that the Church had officially stated “Mormon” and “Mormonen” was not our official name, and of course they had papers to proof it. And so the Church reversed its position and tried to proof by all means that we were the only ones entitled to the M-words. All this explains what Todd also referred too in connection with apostate “Mormon”groups: the Church is reclaiming the M-words as it’s legal own.

  27. Google Bomber
    April 7, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    Hooray for google bombing!

  28. April 7, 2005 at 1:51 pm

    I agree with Wilfried on the Mormon issue. I work with reporters — it’s difficult enough to get them to get the name of a university right. There’s no way that the full name of the Church and the suggested abbrieviation “Church of Jesus Christ” is going to catch on.

    The AP Style manual has conceded somewhat on this effort by the Church pr department, but I don’t see newspaper reporters following it.

    The manual states:

    Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The
    Note the capitalization and punctuation of Latter-day. Mormon church, LDS church or the Latter-day Saints can be used, but the official name is preferred in first reference in a story dealing primarily with church activities.”

    Interestingly enough, AP also says:

    “SPLINTER GROUPS: The term Mormon is not properly applied to the other Latter Day Saints churches that resulted from the split after Smith’s death.”

    This is, of course, routinely ignored — especially by the international press.

    Previously, I had thought that we should agitate at the very least for the LDS Church as the preferred second (or even first) reference. But after reading recent stories about the FLDS and thinking about how uncomfortable close those two are graphically, I think that the best course is to continue to try to make Mormon a positive reference, to reclaim it and resignify it as something positive (to most people). Of course, I think that LDS pr people should push for the AP standard to be widely used in newsrooms, but I this has to go hand-in-hand with idea of us reclaiming the M-words.

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  31. David Salmanson
    April 8, 2005 at 10:34 am

    Remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned how hard it is for even good faith outsiders to find out information about the church? This is square one. As a reasonably knowledgeable outsider, I still have trouble running web searches because I never use the right terminology.
    I think like an outsider and usually get an anti-link. For example, a search for “Baptism of the Dead” leads to a couple of positive websites, a bunch of negative ones, and some others (for example, the Catholic Church’s take on the practice). But none of these websites is an official LDS site.

  32. FranH
    April 9, 2005 at 3:51 pm
  33. Geena
    April 9, 2005 at 4:06 pm

    If the PR people are tearing their hair out over Mormonism references, it’s their/our own fault!

    Who else remembers the following–some of which still occur today?

    1. GAs and at least one prophet singing “I am a Mormon Boy” in General Conference.
    2. The MORMON Tabernacle Choir
    3. MORMON tea
    4. MORMON Crickets
    5. Meet the MORMONs
    6. Mormon Rap
    7. Mormon craft store (forget the name, but it started with “mormon” and was on Temple Square)
    8. Contact/ask your MORMON neighbor

  34. Kaimi
    April 9, 2005 at 4:16 pm

    Yes, the church definitely has definitely shown conflicting attitudes over the years on the question of “Mormon” versus “LDS.”

  35. Left Field
    April 9, 2005 at 6:05 pm

    There seems to be a common misperception that the church objects to all uses of the term “Mormon”. According to the style guide, “Mormon Church” is not appropriate. However, the term “Mormonism” is acceptable, and the church says that it is acceptable and correct to refer to chuch members as Mormons, or to use the term as an adjective or part of a proper name. Therefore, all of the terms listed in comment 33 are still considered appropriate by the church.

  36. Wilfried
    April 9, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    Yes, it is obvious the Church is at present struggling with use of the M-words. The tendency was, a number of years ago, to try to get rid of them in favor of the official name with Jesus Christ at the center. However, that official name contains no adjective like Catholic, Lutheran… And you need an adjective to identify so many things. That explains the success of the acronym LDS which got the value of an adjective (LDS missionaries, LDS Social Services, and even, though unwanted but widely used, LDS Church).

    But the next problem was that the M-words continued to be used, mainly by outsiders. With the internet came the issue of anti-Mormon sites using the M-word in their URL’s. Moreover, the media continued to identify as “mormon” other related churches, polygamists, etc. This led the Church to reclaim the M-words as it’s trademark. So now you can read on the official Church website, in a reaction to “mistakes in the news” : “There is no such thing as a “polygamous” Mormon. Mormon is a common name for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Church discontinued polygamy more than a century ago. ”

    The Church Style Guide for the Media reads (as Left Field pointed out):

    “Please avoid the use of “Mormon Church,” “LDS Church” or “the Church of the Latter-day Saints.” … When referring to Church members, the term “Latter-day Saints” is preferred, though “Mormons” is acceptable. “Mormon” is correctly used in proper names such as the Book of Mormon, Mormon Tabernacle Choir or Mormon Trail, or when used as an adjective in such expressions as “Mormon pioneers.” The term “Mormonism” is acceptable in describing the combination of doctrine, culture and lifestyle unique to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    However, I could not locate the text any more on the general Church site (www.lds.org), but the official Australian URL of the Church still carries the text as of today. Moreover that site adds the recent text:

    When referring to people or organizations that practice polygamy, the terms “Mormons”, “Mormon fundamentalist”, “Mormon dissidents”, etc., are incorrect. The Associated Press Style Guide notes: “The term ‘Mormon’ is not properly applied to the other … churches that resulted from the split after [Joseph] Smith’s death.”

    Also a fascinating topic for linguists dealing with semantics…

  37. Jettboy
    April 9, 2005 at 9:35 pm

    If you type in the search “LDS Temples,” you get a better selection.

  38. April 10, 2005 at 9:03 am

    I happened over here from seeing A Soft Answer’s link to this post.

    >”The M-word should be considered tantamount to the N-word, in my opinion, because that is how it is used by people not of our faith.”

    Well, guess who took the N-word back, sir. The people it was used negatively against. They don’t let others define it for them anymore.

    How dare anyone let someone else define what the word Mormon means. Mormon was a man and a rather good one at that. The word Christian is getting a VERY bad reputation around the world and in our own country. The very word turns many people off. By the analogy above, it should be abandoned because of how it is used by many not of the Christian faith.

    IMO, that would be way off base. I’m not ashamed of Christ. I’m not ashamed of Mormon, either. And if people call us Mormons with disdain, that’s their problem – a problem which I’m sure was far worse 150 years ago. My responsibility is, if I choose to be part of the groups considered Mormon and Christian, to live a life that exemplifies the principles Christ taught, regardless of what book those teachings came out of. I will not be ashamed of either moniker.

    I was raised a Lutheran but I don’t recall anyone ever accusing me of worshipping Martin Luther. If they had (and maybe this happened in the 15-1600s, I don’t know), I would have explained to them who Martin Luther was.

    There are members who cringe and change the subject when polygamy is brought up. If someone thought polygamy was not ordained of God when it was happening, then I suppose that is a good response. However, if they don’t feel that way, then why run from the topic instead of defending it in the proper context? Same goes for this “M-word” as many of you are calling it. If you are not ashamed of Mormon, then don’t be ashamed of being called a Mormon. Just be glad someone’s talking about “Mormons” at all and use the opportunity to educate them on what that means.

  39. April 15, 2005 at 9:49 pm

    In creating links, you can further influence search engine results by using the “title” parameter in the link. For example, here is a link I just added to my template at Mormanity: Mormon Temple. The title section controls the text that is displayed when the cursor is over the link, and provides additional information that influences many search engine rankings. It’s a good idea to add title information – and it’s a good way to add other key words without making a link very wordy.

    For what’s it worth, I’d like to point out that the first pro-LDS Website listed in the top 10 Google results for “Mormon temples” or “Temples Mormon” happens to be one of my LDSFAQ pages, http://www.jefflindsay.com/LDSFAQ/FQ_masons.shtml dealing with questions about temples and Masonry. In addition to adding links to the mormon.org site using “Mormon temple” as a term in the link, I’ll also add some using “Mormon temple.”

    Anyway, thanks, Kaimi, for raising our awareness about this issue.

  40. April 15, 2005 at 9:52 pm

    Oops – I meant to show the HTML code for my Mormon temple link. Here is the code to add a title to the “Mormon temple” link:

    a href=”http://www.mormon.org/temples” target=”window” title=”Mormon temple, Mormon temples, LDS temple”

  41. Benyamin Abrams
    April 16, 2005 at 6:47 am

    Dear Bloggers;

    I don’t know if this could be a new subject; but I was thinking of this while I was reading the Mormon/Google comments.

    Words are defined by their use by the public or the public’s interpretation of the meaning of the word. In the late 1800’s, I would be proud to be gay.

    Ten years ago, I moved from Washington, D.C. area to southwest Missouri. I live in Carthage, Missouri. It is a small town of 15,000. After being here a short time, I was amazed at the ignorant and basically stupid beliefs that my neighbors had/have about the Church.

    A member of the Miami Oklahoma Ward (our Stake has units in three states) told me about a comment that his best fishing buddy made recently. His friend told him that he no longer believes what his preacher tells him about Mormons. There is no way that the preacher’s comments (definition) of Mormon and Mormonism fits the actions of this member.

    Besides, I am amazed at the lack of knowledge and attention by the members of my Ward on their neighbors. On Sunday, my wife and I take walks about the neighborhood. After seven wonderful years of marriage to me, she is accustom and knows that if I see someone that I will stop and talk to them.

    I am not doing this to brag. I know all the people on our block and several blocks around our house. My immediate neighbors throw dead the branches in their yard to my burn pile. With another member, I have given Priesthood blessings to two neighbors and one of them was a preacher. I have given a non-member and two inactive members subscriptions of the Ensign for many years. Though my wife and my health are not always great, we have had neighbors for dinner or just a dessert.

    I am not suggesting that this will solve the Google problem. I am just saying that members of the Church can do a lot more to change the definition of “Mormon” by their positive interaction with non-members and inactive members.

    In teaching Elder’s Quorum, I try to define words by replacing them with other words. For the lesson on debt and financial responsibility, I replaced the word “interest” with “the cost of money.” A lot of the brethren including one with a business told me that now he looks at interest in an entirely different matter when he thinks of it as “the cost of money.”

    My step-son recently received his call to the Recife, Brasil mission. A year or more prior to his calling, I had been talking to almost everyone including grocery clerks about his going on a mission. Constantly, I would receive the reply, “Where is he going?” I would explain the process. I could mention it again a couple of months later and receive the same reply. I have been in sales and know that people normally remember only 10% of what you say.

    Frustrated, I tried a different line. Austin is waiting for his mission call. This is understandable. He wants to go on a Mission. He doesn’t know where he going because he hasn’t received his Mission Call.

    I have noticed that too many members of the Church have a scripted position, talk, reply, attitude etc. when they are dealing with non-members and inactive members. Besides, members hold certain biases about non-members and inactive members.

    I enjoyed the comments about Mormon bad in Europe but good in Japan. Sometimes we need to use our hearts, minds and intellect.

    Anyway thanks for allowing the meanderings of an old man.

    Benyamin Abrams

  42. April 27, 2005 at 5:23 pm

    You might also try putting up some links and information on Wikipedia.org: See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_Temple.

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