Mormonvoices website seeks help from BYU students

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Mormonvoices.org, a new scholarly website created for non-Latter-day Saint readers,  is looking for student volunteers to help debunk Mormon misconceptions from the media.

Scott Gordon, BYU alumnus and mormonvoices.org chairman,  said he would like support from BYU students.

“BYU students can really be the best for this work,” Gordon said. “BYU students are not afraid of critical thinking.”

[media-credit name=”Scott Gordon” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Mormonvoices
Mormonvoices.org is a sister site to the organization, “The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research” (fairlds.org), and is designated to  defend Mormonism.

Daniel Peterson, a BYU professor of  Middle Eastern studies, and a board member for the foundation and the Neal A. Maxwell Institute, said mormonvoices.org could be a missionary tool for members throughout the world.

Mormonvoices.org is not affiliated with the Church, but Gordon said he believes this can help empower its members.

”The growing visibility and reputation of the Church presents some remarkable opportunities to us as its members,” Elder Perry said in October’s General Conference. “We can help disabuse the public mind and correct misinformation when we are portrayed as something we are not. More important, though, we can share who we are.”

Peterson said people outside the Church often have misconceptions about what Latter-day Saints believe and who they follow.

“Many times people outside of the Church simply don’t know anything about us,” he said. “When you take the opportunity to let them know what you really believe, I think they will be surprised with how similar their beliefs are.”

Gordon wants a wide variety of Latter-day Saints to volunteer on the website. After volunteers register they will receive emails with links and information about sources in the media that refer to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Mormonism.  Then the volunteer is encouraged to look at the information and make it is correct,  not misleading.

“Mostly the critics are looking for quotes that shock and awe when they are making these stories,” Gordon said. “Their goal is to make it as negative as possible.”

Peterson said this is where volunteers contribute.

“They can leave comments about what we truly believe, they can write letters to the editors,” Peterson said. “A Mormon saying this is what we really believe can really discredit anything else the author has to say about us.”

Gordon said students can be the greatest assets because of their diverse of knowledge and skills. Mormonvoices are not looking for volunteers to pick fights with anybody but to instead provide a thoughtful response to the misconceptions.

“When people attack our beliefs, it is easy to become heated and opinionated,” Peterson said. “We need people that want to share their testimony, not bring up controversy or put down others’ beliefs.”

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