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Friday, May 23, 2014

The Dangerous Filth of the Internet

I find myself increasingly saddened by the wickedness I've seen recently online. We live in a wicked world, and it is sad to see such vileness, and wickedness spread across the internet.

In your mind, you may have already consigned this to a blog post condemning pornography, well you would be wrong. There is another pernicious filth being spread across the internet. Like pornography, it is also a dangerous and disgusting habit. It may just as great of a danger to members of the church as digital smut.

This particular sin is brought into our homes through internet users emboldened, and made courageous by the anonymity of the internet. Many are well-meaning church members just trying to do what is right. Others intentionally spread their filth like butter and syrup on bad pancakes, blaming their actions on the rights and duties of the priesthood, or their righteous indignation.

What is this filth I speak of? It is the same filth Jesus rebuked in his mortal ministry. It is hypocrisy, hate, and bullying. I have seen it in memes, comments, blog posts, and passing comments all across the internet. Sometimes it comes in light humor, such as a recent post I saw about linger-longers, and the awkward conversations we've all had with people we weren't comfortable with. It was meant to be humorous, but instead condemned the lonely, needy, and brokenhearted. Some come in pure meanness, such as multiple comments made in recent blogs about dating, sexuality, and other hot topics. One church member even responded to a post saying he would "punch in the face" anybody who disagreed with his beliefs.

Yes, we have been called to preach repentance to the world, but what does that mean? The answer can be found in the way Jesus treated people when he was here on Earth. I've heard it justified that Jesus said some particularly harsh words, but it is important to look at who he spoke those harsh words to. Study the New Testament if you are unsure. Did he condemn the awkward, unkempt guy who has a hard time speaking to girls? Did he condemn the homosexuals and lesbians? Did he condemn those seeking equality among their fellow humans?

No, he condemned the bullies, the haters, and the indignant. He condemned those who would stand between God and his children. He condemned those who only chose the right so their neighbors, wives, children, and bishops could honor their works. He condemned the "vipers" who laid in wait to accuse somebody of grievous sin, and demand that they be stoned to death.

Brothers and sisters, when Jesus comes to Earth, he won't turn first to the stoners, the druggies, the drunks, the LGBTs, the inactives, the non-RMs, or whatever group doesn't follow every commandment to the letter and demand repentance. No, he will turn to the members of the church, and ask why we have alienated so many of his children. He will ask why we have not loved our neighbors, why we have not clothed the beggars, why we have not fed the needy. He will ask why we have condemned so much of the world, instead of putting our arms around them, and showing them the way. We, as members of God's true church, are held to a higher standard than the rest of the world, that means that we will be held accountable first. That means that all of our unkind words, our bullying, our shunning, and ostracizing will be upon our heads. I daresay that it will be better at that day to have lived sinfully as a nonmember than to have spread hatred and injustice as a member.

Paul truly spoke that men in the latter days would be "lovers of their own selves," (2 Tim 3:2) but we know better, and need to love our neighbor instead.

From the scriptures:

Matthew 5 and 3 Nephi 12
Matthew 7:4-5
Matthew 23:13
Mark 12:38-40
John 13:34-35
John 17
2 Timothy 3
Mosiah 2:32
3 Nephi 1:24
3 Nephi 11:29-30
4 Nephi 1:3