Every few months, there is yet another story in the news or LDS blogging community where a person is getting thrown under the bus for expressing his or her LDS beliefs on a sensitive topic in an inappropriate or offensive way. Very few LDS bloggers have PhDs in public relations, so it’s going to happen. Still, if you want to avoid going viral in a bad way, here are my suggestions for writing a post to stand up for the LDS Church positions on sensitive subjects. (My Church is sometimes called the LDS Church or Mormons, but the full name is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.)
1. Do get informed before you post. If you’re standing up for the LDS stance or doctrine on a subject, be sure to understand what that stance/doctrine actually is. The Church has issued some fairly recent clarifications on several of the controversial topics, so do read the Church’s most recent press releases or General Conference talks about the issue. Pray about what you’ve read.
2. Pay attention to tone. As you read the Church’s press releases and talks on the topic, pay attention to how things are stated. You’ll notice that the Church is firm and resolute, but avoids using hyperbole, sarcasm, or loaded language. That’s a good example to follow. You can also put the Church’s official position in quotes to set the tone, and then elaborate with your own thoughts and feelings.
3. Don’t target one person or thing. Try to make your point without using one specific person, movie, song, event, etc. as an “example of evil.” If you want to use specific examples to illustrate your point, use 3 or 4 different examples, and keep your focus on the principle, not the examples.
4. Don’t make jokes. It is a rare talent to be able to make a joke about a sensitive topic without offending everyone involved in the issue, even your allies. I do not have this talent. You probably don’t have it either.
5. Have a few friends read it first, and give you feedback. Give their comments some thought and prayer. Ask your Visiting Teachers or Home Teachers to give you feedback! They’re always asking if you need anything, and you’re always saying no. They’ll be so happy to hear, “yes, I need something!”
6. Sleep on it. If you’re posting about something that is sensitive, especially if you feel very emotional about it, then sleep on it a night or two before you post it. Then re-read your post, and see if anything jumps out that you want to take out, tone down, add, or enhance.