Hot Mormon Gossip

Has the Church really made an unsolicited offer to buy Facebook (see here which spun off to here)? It’s hard for me to swallow that the Church would be willing to cough up the billions needed to acquire the social-networking site, and it’s even harder for me to believe that Facebook is entertaining any such purported offer after having brushed off buyouts from some pretty big guns over the past few years and sold a 1.6% stake to Microsoft for $240 million. Assuming for the moment that this rumor has some truth to it… why would the Church even consider this? Is it really that much of a genealogical gold mine? Wouldn’t privacy advocates be pitching fits over any use of that kind of data for Church purposes? What about other faiths? I can see it now… protests against Facebook staged by Evangelical and Jewish groups who claim the Church is co-opting Facebook to stockpile names of people to baptize (once they’re dead of course).

45 comments for “Hot Mormon Gossip

  1. Kaimi Wenger
    August 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    Very interesting rumor. I doubt it’s true.

    If it is, can I do my home teaching via Facebook?

  2. Steve Evans
    August 20, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    A: No.

  3. John Buffington
    August 20, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Is it April 1st already?

    Where did the time go?

  4. Marc Bohn
    August 20, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Clearly saying it’s a dubious claim is putting it mildly… I’m just interested to see if anyone can make a half-way convincing argument for why the Church would ever consider an acquisition of this sort. Then again… even in the real world a lot of things don’t make sense. I’m still scratching my head over Blockbuster’s failed bid to acquire Circuit City.

  5. MikeInWeHo
    August 20, 2008 at 5:55 pm

    Are significant numbers of LDS really sheltered enough to believe a rumor like that? Once again I suggest, with all due respect: Some of y’all need to get out a bit more. I’d be happy to show you around West Hollywood and buy a non-alcoholic round or two at a very nice gay bar.

  6. porter rockwell
    August 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Seeing as how Facebook is blocked at BYU, I doubt the Church would consider buying it.

  7. MCQ
    August 20, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Mike, I’ll be in LA in October for the Kings of Leon concert. I’d be happy to hoist a few diet cokes with you.

  8. August 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    This rumor has no foundation whatsoever.
    Lyman Kirkland
    Church Public Affairs

  9. Marc Bohn
    August 20, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    A compelling argument Porter Rockwell.

  10. Marc Bohn
    August 20, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    An even more compelling argument Brother Kirkland.

  11. August 20, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I’m still distraught that I can’t do home teaching via Facebook. Not fair!

  12. August 20, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    Twitter Teaching! It would give “Come, Follow Me” a whole new meaning!

    OK, I’d better shut up or I’ll be dodging lightning bolts the whole way home…


  13. August 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Twitter, now that’s a good idea! I’ll just tell my visiting teacher and home teacher to keep track of me using my facebook status. “Having a great day!” = no need to visit me this month, “Drowning in despair” = pls bring funeral potatoes ASAP thx.

  14. Aaron Brown
    August 20, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    I, for one, believe the rumor. All the Church has to do is sell off some of its 97% stake in Coca-Cola and it should be able to buy Facebook no problem.


  15. August 20, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    I about choked on my drink with laughter. I\’m still tee-hee-ing.

    And yes Kaimi – you can totally do your home teaching just as long as it\’s in before the end of the month!!

  16. Alex
    August 20, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Facebook is not blocked at BYU

  17. NoCoolName_Tom
    August 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    Porter Rockwell,
    Please don’t shoot me for my impertinence, but are you sure that Facebook is blocked on BYU? Because it wasn’t at the end of Winter Semester 2008. However, MySpace is blocked, and has been blocked for many years.

  18. MikeInWeHo
    August 20, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    MCQ: Deal. Track me down via email or Facebook and you’re on.

    I should host a WoW friendly L.A. bloggersnacker in the VIP lounge at The Abbey:

    That would be a blast.

  19. Jeremy
    August 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Facebook is NOT blocked on BYU. But MySpace IS.

    That’s all the evidence I need.

    (Along the same lines, I think the church is buying Google, because BYU blocks YouTube but NOT Google Video.)

  20. MCQ
    August 20, 2008 at 7:39 pm

    Awesome Mike! You should think about coming to the concert with us. It’s at the Nokia Theater on the 15th. I think Susan M is going to meet up with us as well.

  21. Nate W.
    August 20, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I should host a WoW friendly L.A. bloggersnacker in the VIP lounge at The Abbey

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read all day!

  22. DKL
    August 20, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Jesus has a ton of Facebook pages. Perhaps that’s what the Church is after.

  23. Marc Bohn
    August 20, 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Wow. And I’ve never friend’ed him. What does that say about me?

  24. Mahonri
    August 20, 2008 at 8:43 pm

    Maybe the Church is licensing technology to bundle into New Family Search to allow members to set up their own family history sites – online Books of Remembrance.

  25. Meredith C
    August 20, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    I was visit taught on Facebook last month. It was awesome.

  26. August 20, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    What Alex said. I’m coming to you live from Education Week on BYUcOug4rs network. FaceBook comes through just fine. So does MySpace.

  27. August 20, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    My home teacher (that I appointed) lives 350 miles away and messages me on AIM faithfully at the end of every month. =)

  28. DavidH
    August 20, 2008 at 11:47 pm

    In our ward, not only is facebook, myspace, instant messaging, and texting allowed for home and visiting teaching, but we are moving to using bar code technology (now that it has been beta tested on recommends) for in person HT and VT visits. Each family gets a bar code reader; when we visit, we swipe our HT or VT card through the bar code reader at their home to get credit.

    We are also moving towards using the bar code reader to count Sacrament meeting attendance. Upon learning of this, the stake clerk (who allocates budget funds), insists that all members will be on the honor system (1) to remain in the meeting for at least five minutes after swiping their attendance card, and (2) not to bring and swipe the cards of nonattenders.

    Next year, we are considering following the Brethren’s example of General Conference: Sacrament meeting will be streamed live over the internet so that we can listen while eating lunch, doing the dishes, caring for children, relaxing (or napping) and other spiritual, Sabbath appropriate things. Sunday school and PH and RS will be by webcast or conference call, with members free to interject over the internet their insightful Sunday School answers.

  29. August 21, 2008 at 12:14 am

    Great.. Now sunday school is going to be like VH1’s pop-up video.. we’ll watch some teacher streaming live from a studio while a lesson-appropriate Arnold Friberg painting pops up on the green screen behind him. Little known factoids will pop up in bubbles all around him while below him a block with commentary from the “class” will steadily scroll by…

    MoRoNi1263 says: OMH! Coriantumr is teh Shiz LOL!1!!1

  30. MJB
    August 21, 2008 at 12:23 am

    This is probably not true, but the church has a history of buying cutting edge technologies and running them as separate, for-profit businesses. First publishing, then broadcast properties etc. They run them separately and generally do not get involved in programming. Church owned television stations have and do run steamy soap operas, Geraldo Rivera, Opera etc.

  31. Ranbato
    August 21, 2008 at 8:39 am

    They just misread the name —

    They thought is was Faithbook

  32. NJensen
    August 21, 2008 at 9:18 am


    Well, the 20-something admin. assistant in the Church Office Building that suggested the acquisition does have a kind of lisp now that you mention it…

  33. MikeInWeHo
    August 21, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Question: Is Lyman Kirkland really commenting from Church Public Affairs??

  34. NJensen
    August 21, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Well, he does have his own Facebook profile:

  35. MikeInWeHo
    August 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    It would be something new if official Church PR reps starting commenting as such in the Bloggernacle, wouldn’t it?

  36. Marc Bohn
    August 21, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    There appears to be a Brother Kirkland that works for the Church’s Public Affairs who’s task it is to review “blog and other “new media” traffic for the Church.”

  37. meems
    August 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Wow. Kind of Orwellian.

  38. August 21, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    8H7Lpm Hello!,

  39. August 21, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    meems (36): “Wow. Kind of Orwellian.”

    Not really. I’m pretty sure its part of recent trends in PR. I practically certain that such people exist for large corporations like Microsoft, Apple, and other large computer firms, as well as very forward-looking firms, have employees with this job description.

    If you really like reading blogs, it might be a fun job to have.

  40. Marc Bohn
    August 22, 2008 at 2:54 am

    Someone tries to argue why the rumored acquisition of Facebook was believable.

  41. Marc Bohn
    August 22, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    A counter-argument on why the rumor was ridiculous.

  42. August 22, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Just to confirm what Kent says: yes, most credible PR firms/in house departments do *some* level of blog tracking. How it is done and how much of it is done varies widely. So it’s a fairly common practice — and not just one used by large corporations.

    However, the real debate PR right now is what you do beyond tracking. Some organizations don’t respond at all; some respond only to make factual corrections [which seems to be the Church’s policy]; some designate staff to interact with blog/social network communities and do so in above the board way; some spam bloggers with pitches; some create fake identities and use them to make comments. Those who engage in that last approach are invariably outed and (justly) derided.

  43. mike
    August 22, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    About ten years ago I was the EQP and one of my computer-savy counselors started quorum E-mailings. I thought it was so progressive, but also dangerous in some vague unclear way.

    One of my sucessors had an experience that made him less unclear in his opinion. He had been raised in the LDS church. But he went far astray as a teenager and ended up an alcoholic who needed several weeks of inpatient rehab to get back on his feet, which he did. Along this life’s path he married a woman, a fellow rebel from an Islamic country with an extremely attractive figure. She visited our ward activities and allowed their children to attend primary, but she did not gain a religious conviction and did not get baptized.

    Joe (not his real name) was a recent graduate from the singles ward, without honors. He got into a quarrel with fellow singles ward dishonorable graduate Bob (not his real name) over a dating relationship with a girl that Bob supposedly “stole” from Joe. In order to get even, Joe took some digital pictures of the EQP’s wife in her typical skimpy summer clothing at a quorum picnic on a hot day and electronically undressed her. He sent pornographic images of the “naked” EQP’s hot young wife socializing with various quorum members to the entire quorum mailing list and he made it look like the pictures came from Bob.

    The Bishop disfellowshipped Bob who denied doing it and he lost his girlfriend and disappeared into inactivity. The police eventually figured out that Joe made and sent the pictures and prosecuted him. He narrowly escaped a jail sentence. This EQP was a close friend and he confided with me how much this angered everyone involved especially his wife; who already had issues with modesty having been raised wearing a burka and thought she had found the right nitch in expressing her physical self without going too far. She felt like she could never come to a Mormon gathering again as long as she lived. He asked me what I thought he should do to Joe. I explained the old principle of Blood Atonement and volunteered to execute this punishment, which made him laugh. We also considered Biblical flogging. Needless to say, the quorum E-mail was shut down for a few years without protest from me. (But it is back up again.)

    I’d say to be very careful how you use these tools. The potential for good and for evil is great.

  44. September 1, 2008 at 1:21 am

    Good day!,

  45. James Rowley
    October 1, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    I don’t know much about Facebook, or anything like that. But I’ve been hearing a lot about an announcement coming at General Conference that each ward and stake is going to be asked to organize an Emergency Preparedness Presidency. Anyone else heard this? Is it true? If it is true does it mean something Big is coming?

    James Rowley

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