Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Public Relations in the Scriptures

Those who have read the last two day's posts in the blog might be ready to complain that the Church has an office of Public Affairs. This is true, and there is a scriptural mandate for it. That mandate is found in Doctrine and Covenants 123. This was an extract of a letter written by Joseph Smith when he was imprisoned in Liberty Jail after having been betrayed by those he had supposed to be his friends. While he was in prison, they were engaged in telling lies about him to the public. In the letter he outlined the public relations that should be followed by the Church
We would suggest for your consideration the propriety of all the saints gathering up a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them . . . And also the names of all persons that have had a hand in their oppressions, as far as they can get hold of them and find them out. And perhaps a committee can be appointed to find out these things, and to take statements and affidavits; and also to gather up the libelous publications that are afloat; And all that are in the magazines, and in the encyclopedias, and all the libelous histories that are published, and are writing, and by whom, and present the whole concatenation of diabolical rascality and nefarious and murderous impositions that have been practised upon this people—That we may not only publish to all the world, but present them to the heads of government in all their dark and hellish hue. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:1–6).
So the saints in general, and Public Affairs in particular, has the unenviable task of gathering all the misstatements and both publishing them and pointing out how they are false. Joseph Smith also warned those who were inclined to neglect or minimize this particular duty:
Therefore it is an imperative duty that we owe, not only to our own wives and children, but to the widows and fatherless, whose husbands and fathers have been murdered under its iron hand. . . . And also it is an imperative duty that we owe to all the rising generation, and to all the pure in heart—For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it—Therefore, that we should waste and wear out our lives in bringing to light all the hidden things of darkness, wherein we know them; and they are truly manifest from heaven—These should then be attended to with great earnestness. Let no man count them as small things; for there is much which lieth in futurity, pertaining to the saints, which depends upon these things. (Doctrine and Covenants 123:9–15)
I note that Church Public Affairs has a section on their website that deals precisely with this kind of thing.

This sort of public relations we need more of.