Anti-Mormonism and YouTube

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One obvious but relatively benign example of anti-Mormonism online is found on YouTube. Below are a couple examples from the “I’m a Mormon” videos. Just because I’m Mormon doesn’t mean I have to like a particular video (although I’ve yet to watch one I haven’t liked but I like lots of things in life); I as a Mormon might even dislike one or all of the “I’m a Mormon” videos and give it a thumbs down. Being Mormon doesn’t mean I have to like them and not being Mormon doesn’t mean I have to dislike them. However, almost every video uploaded by the LDS Church receives a significant number of thumbs down. After a while the thumbs up sometimes overtake the dislikes and some videos never receive a majority of dislikes but most do – simply because they are videos by the Church.

Now, not all the thumbs down are necessarily by people who are anti-Mormon, some are by people opposed to religion in general, but I’d venture to guess that most of the thumbs down are people who are specifically anti-Mormon; they might even think that disliking the videos has any consequence, such as the Church might stop posting videos – they won’t until they are ready to move on to some other way of spreading the gospel. That’s why I said this is relatively benign anti-Mormonism – it doesn’t really matter whether or not a video gets a lot of thumbs up or thumbs down. Sure, we’d like everyone to like the videos but that’s not going to happen. Disliking them won’t stop the Church from posting the videos. Besides, anti-Mormons don’t bother us Mormons very much because we (as a church) have been dealing with them since 1820 (or, 1830 if you want to link them to the year the church was founded in modern times). Most of us try to ignore the tinkling cymbals and sounding brass – they will eventually run out of energy and wind. People hated and persecuted and killed the Savior but He rose triumphantly from the grave and will eventually return triumphantly to the earth where He will rule and reign. People hated and killed Joseph Smith but doing so only gave his testimonies greater power. The Church did not die with Joseph Smith, nor will it ever be lost from the earth for it is the Lord’s Church.

I just think it’s sad how much time and energy people spend hating other people or hating the Church (in the U.S. the LDS Church is one of the least favorably viewed religions) or hating Mormons; I’ve never understood hate in general though. I’m not saying that the people disliking these videos on YouTube necessarily hate Mormons, but it’s largely driven by anti-Mormon sentiment.

I know there are many worse anti-Mormon actions out there, including a number of videos on YouTube, but they’re not worth mentioning or addressing. A number of years ago I decided anti-Mormon literature and videos were not worth addressing or trying to correct because I don’t like dealing with the evil spirit associated with such material. That’s why I said these dislikes on YouTube are pretty benign – even if they are driven by negative prejudice – because they aren’t lies about the Church or half-truths; they are simply actions of people who have lots of better things they could be doing but don’t.

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4 thoughts on “Anti-Mormonism and YouTube

  1. Charem

    If I may speak directly? I have a few feelings on my own about this topic – but to put sum it up, I think you may be thinking this issue to be a bit grander than it actually is.

    Let me explain. I found this post in your blog by accident; I’ve never visited this site before. I found you while searching Google for “mormon videos youtube”. The reason for my search was simple: I was looking for a way to perhaps turn off the many Mormon videos continually (almost 90% of the time, even when I was watching videos wildly unrelated to…well, any religion whatsoever) showing up in the Promoted Video spot, above the Related Videos. Either that, or to find a way to add my two cents into a discussion about the situation. I found a few other complaints, so I know it’s not just me that’s bothered by the religious influx occurring on YouTube lately.

    This might make me sound pretty hateful or anti-Mormon or whatever, but I’ve actually got nothing against your religion. I’ve had a sensitivity to any religion being pushed at me for years, thanks to a rather bad childhood where I was forced to believe certain things and not given any choice in the matter… It wasn’t Mormonism I was forced to believe, but well, the bad experience has made me completely non-denominational, to put it simply. So it’s a little bit upsetting to be bombarded with all these featured videos; it feels like I’m getting pushed around by a religion yet again.

    I may have a sensitivity, but over-saturation of something like this can irk other people too. I think this alone may count for the dislikes you’ve noticed on Mormon videos. I’m sure there are haters of your religion that have done this, but I think most people are simply youtubers who are annoyed by ‘all the dang religious videos’ popping up over and over again for them. It’s not hate so much as annoyance, and it’s annoyance of the over-saturation, not the religion itself.

    And of course you’ve always got Internet trolls, who just like to cause trouble; they could also be to blame for the dislikes. This is more their wanton desire to get a rise out of others rather than them actually hating something, so again, it’s not about Mormonism to these people either – it’s just something they can troll.

    While I don’t feel your opinion is entirely incorrect (and it’s never wrong to have an opinion, after all), I believe you may be making a mountain over a molehill over the motivations of the youtube populace.

    Regardless, thanks for reading. =)

  2. Jared

    Thanks for the visit and comment. Nothing in your comment was hateful. While you make a valid point and I dislike ascribing motivations to people, it’s not a stretch to tie much of the disliking of those videos to anti-Mormon behavior (actually, I don’t have to pin motivations on any one for behavior; all I did was point out behavior separate from motivations). If someone like you is annoyed by all the religious (including Mormon) videos popping up on YouTube, you have a few actions you can take: 1) Try to find a way to turn them off (which isn’t really possible because promoted videos are ones that someone paid money to have Google promote on YouTube – it’s simple advertising); 2) Stop watching YouTube videos; 3) go and dislike all the videos (which doesn’t do anything other than take up time); 4) ignore the videos; 5) or send a complaint to Google about the videos (which will do nothing because Google only takes down videos for specific reasons and not just because someone doesn’t like a video or series of videos).

    It’s hard to understand anti-Mormonism if you haven’t been a target of it. I’m not trying to turn myself or any Mormons into victims but Mormonism was attacked as soon as it started (actually it had been attacked for 10 years prior to the LDS Church’s official organization date). I’m not trying to say that Mormons have more anti- behavior directed towards us than other groups (although for major religious groups in the U.S., the LDS Church is one of the least liked) but there is considerable effort, time, and money spent attacking the LDS Church.

    As for all the dislikes (thumbs down on YouTube) for Mormon Messages videos, even if the behavior isn’t hateful or spiteful, it is still anti-Mormon behavior no matter how benign it is. It means that there is a significant portion of people who take the time to give a “thumbs down” to every Mormon Messages video (or most of them). Regardless of the motivation for doing so, that is a lot of time spent doing something opposed to the actions of the LDS Church, which fits the definition of anti-Mormon behavior. People might do this out of annoyance, love, hate, bigotry, boredom, humor, or something else – the motivation I don’t know, but the behavior is there regardless of the reasons behind it.

    Anyway, I wasn’t trying to turn a molehill into a mountain, I was just pointing out that the molehill exists.

  3. I have to admit that I’m anti religion as a rule. I tried searching out the right religion but it wasn’t for me. But being a mormon or a scientologist is pretty far out there as religion goes. Have you watched the south park episode on mormonism that is 100% accurate? Have you truly studied how your faith was founded?

  4. Jared

    To answer your questions – No and yes. To learn more about the LDS Church, visit mormon.org, lds.org, or talk with missionaries from the church.

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