The Google Apostasy Part 2 Does The Mormon Church Uses Paid Shills to Influence the Way People Think?

On Saturday, March 31, 2012 a blogger  by the name of Denver Snuffer claimed that the Mormon Church was using employees to post online responses using personas and anonymous identities with the intent to influence public opinion within church circles. Here are his comments below:

” The City Creek multi-billion dollar project has excited a lot of criticism. The result has been dismay by many faithful Latter-day Saints. Their anxiety over the project has become the subject of many conversations on the Internet.

To grapple with this outpouring of criticism and in some cases disgust, the church has paid employees and volunteers who post on-line responses using personas, or anonymous identities to beat back those who express concern. Many of the multiple personas are put up by the same church employee.”
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Snuffer is a faithful member of the church and an attorney. He did not explain how he obtained this sensitive information however; it is difficult to believe that he just made it up.

[Editorial Note: Snuffer has since been excommunicated from the church for apostasy]

Although I found his accusations fascinating, that the LDS church was using paid shills to influence the thinking of members of the church, I didn’t really put much additional thought into it.

Recently however, I encountered a situation that has caused me to focus my attention on this issue.

In my last blog post I commented on the recent remarks of Elder Marlin K. Jensen at Utah State University and how the current “Google Apostasy” represents the greatest turbulence and crises of faith among Mormons since the Kirtland apostasy back in the 1830’s.

Jensen had acknowledged that many Mormons were experiencing a crisis of faith because Google and the internet was bringing to light some very perplexing and distressing doctrinal and historical issues pertaining to the LDS religion. Jensen then assured the audience he was speaking to, that the church was taking measures to deal with the situation.

In that post I mentioned that the church had hired an SEO expert to try and redirect people searching on the internet to neutral and positive websites instead of negative anti-Mormon websites.  I speculated that they were probably doing some online reputation management work as well.

In my blog I also mentioned that I am working on a paper that will provide a biblical profile of the calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith that will explain why he did all of the bizarre, contradictory things that he did. I claimed that my paper would provide a legitimate biblical/prophetic answer for every single disturbing issue that skeptics of Mormonism like to bring up. ( I had hoped to release the paper by April 6th but now it is looking like it will be closer to May 20th)

Within a very short period of time I had several visitors make comments… three of the visitors that made comments are the topic of this post.
The first commenter I want to speak about had a screen name of “Ted“.

Ted took issue with one of the critical comments that I made where I claimed that the current general authorities of the Mormon Church were not very knowledgeable about church history or doctrine.

He felt that the talks from the brethren are inspiring and that they do contain scriptural references. He then appeared to be in somewhat of an agreement with me that difficult issues should be addressed more adequately by the Church on their websites. Here is one of his comments:

I love Rough Stone Rolling, and would love more direct approaches to dealing with challenging issues on the Church websites“.

This passionate statement appeared to be agreeing in part with some of the things I had said on my post.

Nevertheless, the person who was presenting himself as a hard-hitting and passionate member of the church ( who loves controversial books on LDS church history) made the authoritarian observation that:

..what these men [the general authorities] speak is scripture

I will come back to Ted and his very calculated remarks in a minute but for now, let me just say that the IP address from which Ted’s comments came is 216.49.181.254

Within 5 minutes after Ted posted his remarks, a fellow by the screen name of Evan Valenatine made the following declaration:

I am glad that the church is putting in an effort to counteract the effects of these websites, and I hope that they do more.

I will also return to Evan in a minute but for now, please make note of the IP address that he was posting from:

216.49.181.254

I thought it was interesting that these two different people were coming from the same IP address.

Perhaps they live in the same home or apartments I thought to myself.

At this point my curiosity got the better of me so I did a reverse IP address search to see who owns that particular IP address.

Guess who owns it…

Well, we will get to that in a minute. The story gets better.

A few days later a person using the screen name of “Mark-e-Mark and the Funky Bunch” paid my blog post a visit quoting Heber C. Kimball and warning that the “very first step of apostasy commenced with losing confidence in the leaders of the church

He then lovingly counseled me to “not rely so much on the logical“.

faith is rarely logical” he assured me.

You will never guess what IP address he was posting from so I will simply tell you.

216.49.181.254

That’s right, he was posting from the same IP address as Ted and Evan.

Imagine that, Ted, Evan and Mark-E were all taking issue with me, sticking up for the modern corporate church and they were all posting from the same IP address, what a coincidence!

I had a doctrinal exchange with Mark-e-Mark, and told him why I felt he was putting his faith in the “arm of flesh“. He visited me again to make a rebuttal.

Following his rebuttal, he apparently began making comments on another controversial LDS blog using a different screen name. Then, he had another thought that he wanted to make on my post. In his rush to make the response on my blog, he forgot to change the screen name he had been using to make comments on a different controversial LDS related blog site.

The screen name he mistakenly used this time was “I love the Circus

Naturally, that screen name also came from  216.49.181.254

He then acknowledged that he had made a mistake in using the circus screen name and changed back to Mark-E-Mark..

In the spirit of mocking me and my screen name, Mark-E-Mark decided to create a unique screen name of “onewhoiswaiting” which would apparently be dedicated to making comments on my blog. Apparently, in anticipation of cyberstalking my future posts he decided to go to the trouble of creating a screen name that would be dedicated to countering the information on my future blog posts.

As you have probably already guessed, all of these people and comments that I have been speaking about were coming from the same IP address and according to the reverse search service that I used, that IP address is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

After doing a little further research, I believe I have identified exactly who one of the people is. I have reason to believe he is a full time employee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. He was hired away from Microsoft and works in the LDS Church “user research” division.

Perhaps the user research division is the same division that Denver Snuffer was referring to.

I even know which arm of the church he works for and the general physical location of the building that houses their “user research” specialists.

The block it is on appears to be located on or  close to 21st South between 4th and 5th East in Salt Lake City Utah.

The map below shows an Arial view of the general location where their facility is located, according to the analytics provided by wordpress.

After realizing that Ted, Evan, Mark-E, and “I love the Circus” were all coming from the same IP address that is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints and that the people (or person)  posting comments appeared to be  employees of the Mormon Church, I wanted to give Mark-E Mark the opportunity to come clean and admit that he was a paid influencer working for the Mormon Church if in fact he was.

I made the following statement/question:

I am going to invite you to publicly acknowledge whether or not you are on the payroll of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.

I think readers of this blog have a right to know if you are an independent influencer acting solely on your own, or if you are a paid influencer who is attempting to do damage control and retain tithe payers for the LDS Church who are troubled about disconcerting things they are finding out about church doctrine and history.

Here is his response:

I am just a normal guy. My goal is not to influence anyone. I do act independently and if my statements are of influence, then so be it. That is for your readers to decide. I am not [a] paid influencer “attempting to do damage control and retain tithe payers for the LDS Church”. Truth stands on it’s own.

There you have it… That was his response

It also occurred to me that perhaps these people were just rogue employees of the church who were making these posts from their employers IP (some during work hours, some late at might) without being directed to do so. So I emailed MarkE and the others and showed them this post before posting it, giving them the opportunity to respond and explain what their real motivation was and whether they were directed by their employer or not.

It has been over a week with no response.

I have been feeling pretty important and honored to realize that the user experience department of the LDS Church  may be among my very small group of blog followers. Members of the church should be aware that this may be an activity the church is investing in.

Are the brethren concerned about the information I have been blogging about?

If so, they must deem something that I am saying to be disruptive enough to do this types of activity.

Is there something they don’t want you to know?

Things I have been blogging about

It is actually difficult to know for sure what concerns them the most because I have written over 300 posts and articles on a large array of issues  during the last three years.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know the truth about the fact that the Marvelous Work is a future event that takes place in the  third watch.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know the truth about Kirtland and the Jerusalem Isaiah spoke about.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know the truth about what really happened at the special conference at the Morley Farm and the fact that there are actually three levels of priesthood.

Perhaps they don’t want the truth revealed about the true role of prophets and how God does use prophets to teach false doctrine and lead the unfaithful and ignorant astray.

Perhaps they don’t want people to understand that salvation in the highest kingdom is only obtained through the spiritual rebirth and baptism of fire which they cannot administer.

Perhaps they don’t want people to understand that the stone that Daniel saw rolling forth in power has nothing to do with the current Mormon Church.

Perhaps they don’t want it understood that after the true Church of Christ was restored and then fell into apostasy, the name of the condemned church was changed to the Church of the Latter day Saints and then eventually to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.

Perhaps they don’t want people to realize that the church that came forth out of the wilderness of darkness, according to modern revelation, went back into the wilderness of darkness within a few years after the restoration.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know how to identify the seven signs of the only true church and to realize that those signs are vacant in the current Mormon church.

Perhaps they don’t want people to understand what ancient prophecy actually says about the ministry of Joseph Smith and about the atonement statute.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know the real truth about the succession doctrine and what really happened during the succession crisis.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know about why Joseph and Oliver kept the visitation of Christ and three angels at the Kirtland Temple and the related events contained in section 110 a secret from the saints.

Perhaps they don’t want people to know who Sidney Rigdon really is and why we have not seen the last of him

Perhaps they don’t want people to know the truth about section 132 and the spiritual wife doctrine

There are legitimate biblical and historical answers to every disturbing issue that skeptics bring up

The powers that be apparently don’t want people who are experiencing a crisis in faith to see the shocking, yet comforting and faith promoting  answers to all of the disturbing information out there about Joseph Smith and the LDS restoration movement. It appears they would prefer that people lose their faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ rather than to learn the truth about the modern corporate church.

My how the evolving leadership of the corporate church over the last 180 years has deviated from being focused on taking care of the poor and the cause of Zion, to building billion dollar shopping malls and encouraging shoppers to purchase $10,000 designer watches. It would appear as if they have become preoccupied with silencing the small voices like mine instead of listening to THE still small voice.

Naturally, I am curious to know who is over the  “paid employees and volunteers who post on-line responses using personas, or anonymous identities to beat back those who express concern.” if in fact Denver is correct.

In my next post I am going to provide a link to a synopsis of what actually happened during the 14 year public ministry of the prophet Joseph Smith.

In that synopsis I will provide a credible biblical explanation of what took place during the LDS restoration movement. In it, I am going to bring to light the disruptive information that the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter days Saints desperately don’t want to the membership of the church to know.

It will contain a response to all of the difficult questions being asked by skeptics and unbelievers.

[Related article that has since come out by the NYT “Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt“]

.Click here for Google Apostasy Part 1

.Click here for Google Apostasy Part 3

Click here for Google Apostasy Part 4

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Wikipedia
“A shill, plant, or stooge is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that he has a close relationship with that person or organization. Shill typically refers to someone who purposely gives onlookers the impression that he is an enthusiastic independent customer of a seller (or marketer of ideas) for whom he is secretly working. The person or group who hires the shill is using crowd psychology, to encourage other onlookers or audience members to purchase the goods or services (or accept the ideas being marketed). Shills are often employed by professional marketing campaign…..  Shilling is illegal in many circumstances and in many jurisdictions[1] because of the frequently fraudulent and damaging[vague] character of the shill’s actions..”

 

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14 Responses to The Google Apostasy Part 2 Does The Mormon Church Uses Paid Shills to Influence the Way People Think?

  1. James Uhl says:

    Thank you for this post. As one who has felt for a couple of decades that the church has slid off the road and is wallowing in a field of mud and weeds, I was SERIOUSLY considering leaving the church and pursuing the Gospel of Jesus Christ on my own. Denver Snuffer convinced me to remain a member and continue to pay my tithing thru his writings. Denver has been a breath of fresh air in a very musty, stuffy church full of illusions and half-truths.
    Thank you for you efforts.
    Brother Jim

  2. Thank you for visiting and for the kind words brother Jim-

    The gospel is verily true.

    We must ultimately focus on the message of the gospel and the atonement of Christ, not on those claiming to be messengers. Putting our faith in mortals is folly.

    Watcher

  3. Rob says:

    Wow, I just found your blog last week, only read a little bit, then found your post on LDSFF.

    Nice work here.

  4. John says:

    Great detective work! The euphemistic Strengthening the Members Committee is a sad commentary for the LDS church, although I’m still very grateful for gospel of Jesus Christ, the scriptures published and the personal service and association that is rendered in the Church. I really enjoy the research you do on all your subjects and the insights they offer and the direction it takes me to study, although I don’t always come to the same conclusions you do (I do not say that dis-respectively for I really think you have some good stuff – the Morley Farm stuff was fantastic). No doubt we must only follow the Lord. I also am grateful to those whom the Lord has shown heaven to and have the gift to know and to have so declared it (Joseph and those living today). I seek to receive the testimony of Jesus, the words of the prophets and have the gift of discernment to believe the words spoken in His name.

  5. John-

    Thank you for visiting and for the kind words.

    You are a remarkable person for being able to objectively read a differing view and be able to glean the portion that resonates to you without becoming paranoid or offended.

    It is amazing to me how many people have been driven to this post by various forces and yet of those who have come here, precious few have condescended to read any of the links I have provided. I suspect that the exmo’s have closed their minds because they have already rejected the gospel and the card carrying members have been indoctrinated by the church to never look at anything questionable or controversial.

    I find it interesting that LDS missionaries teach investigators to “prove all things, hold fast to that which is good” as part of the process of learning greater truth and yet the brethren warn people who have joined the church to not associate with those having contrary views and only read the appropriate literature that does not contain an alternate view of history or doctrine.

    I rejoice in your confidence to read someone else’s views on these matters and I rejoice in your right to disagree with anything I have written that you feel is in error.

    God bless you.

    Watcher.

  6. mxhudso says:

    I’m glad to see my friend Jim is “watching” Watcher’s blog.

  7. Steve says:

    Thanks for confirming and adding to Denver’s warning. Truly it is best to not lean on the arm of flesh.

  8. Toni says:

    I found your post informative and interesting, but I have to say that I found the word, “bazaar” disconcerting, and am respectfully asking that you change it. A “bazaar” is a shop in an open marketplace. I really think the word you want is “bizarre” which means, basically, strange to the point of being creepy.

    Anyway, my apologies for being so picky, but I’m really sure you did not mean to refer to a shop in an open marketplace.

  9. Toni-

    Thanks for catching the spelling mistake. It is bizarre that I did not catch it myself. LOL

    Watcher

  10. jABBA says:

    That’s funny, I always thought Denver Snuffer was a paid shill. I still think he is. In fact, one of the comments above says, “Denver Snuffer convinced me to remain a member and continue to pay my tithing thru his writings.”

    Denver Snuffer is like Glenn Beck… pretends to be one of the dissidents, so he can gain their trust, and then lead them astray on crucial issues. I just can’t imagine Jesus appearing to a Lawyer.

    As for the Chruch hiring shills to post positive comments about City Creek, I believe it 100%!

  11. jABBA

    You bring up an interesting possibility about Denver being a shill.

    He is certainly doing the Church’s bidding right now, no question about that.

    In some of his earlier blogs he was much more critical and controversial. Another possibility is that he was not originally hired as a shill but just wanted to sell books. Eventually he got called on the carpet by the boys in the Ivory tower and threatened with excommunication. After counting the cost and realizing that excommunication would destroy book sales and his reputation, he decided to help them do damage control. I find this to be a possible scenario because the tone and content of his blogs have radically changed in recent times. He actually used to write some decent stuff a long time ago.

    Some of the logic used in his shilling is beyond comprehension, like for instance, comparing a latter day loan program for schooling to the miracles Jesus did, like raising the dead. Another choice tidbit was his innuendo that for the first time in a ling time, a direct, thus sayeth the Lord revelation from God was going to be announced in general conference by the Lord’s anointed. The announcement that boys could leave a year earlier to go on a mission was a real yawner. (to reduce the chances that they would become inactive)

    Your comment about God not speaking to an attorney is priceless. If I was going to play the devil’s advocate I would remind you of Paul… but I am not.

    It is interesting that the original, 13th amendment (forbidding people that have special honors and that are members of the BAR and that hold titles of nobility, like esquire) from practicing law in a court of law or holding positions of public trust or of being a citizen of the U.S., would make a member of the BAR part of those in the secret chambers that the Lord has warned the church about. Just sayin

    Some of what he writes now seems incoherent to me. I am wondering if the conflict of mind and stress that he has experienced is slowly taking him into never never land.

    Anyway, with regard to your attorney statement, I am afraid you nailed that one too.

    Thanks for visiting

    Watcher

  12. Steve says:

    One,

    Of course you can do what you wish on your blog. I was just responding to your comments about Denver. Just as I might feel prompted to do if someone had dissed Joseph or the Book of Mormon.

    It is interesting how so many of us can come to such different conclusions given the same book and prophet.

    Thanks, Steve

  13. “It is interesting how so many of us can come to such different conclusions given the same book and prophet.”

    I’ll drink to that..

  14. wanderer says:

    This type of action(which I do not agree with) by the church brings up a question I have pondered for a fair amount of years. Wont bother with all the reasons I find it interesting so I will just ask what your thoughts on Helaman 2:6-10 are concerning infiltrating the enemy? Was this an exception to the norm? Due more in part because of the gov. factor? Something that will become a necessity for the church in the 3rd watch etc?

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