The Mormon Church’s Attempt to Censor MormonLeaks Backfired, So More People Get To See This Slide

In another case of religious leaders not understanding the Streisand effect, the Mormon Church tried to stop MormonLeaks from publishing an internal PowerPoint presentation, so that means everyone now gets to see this slide of things Church leaders believe are leading people away from the Gospel:

PowerpointSlideScary

(They missed the most obvious reason people leave the Church: Mormon beliefs are just not true.)

Anyway, the Church filed a DMCA request demanding that MormonLeaks take down the file because it was part of their “intellectual property.” The site complied… until this week, when they republished the PowerPoint along with a letter from their lawyer to the Church that was the legal equivalent of a middle finger.

My client obtained this document lawfully and had a right to distribute it in its capacity as a journalistic resource devoted to discussing facts about the LDS Church.

It is our position that your takedown notice was a misuse of the DMCA

Even if my client were to never lay eyes or fingers upon it again, it would still be disseminated worldwide. You tried to blow out a single candle, but in the process, you knocked it over into a field of dried leaves. You may have extinguished that initial flame. However, your attempted censorship simply caused the document to be further reproduced and redistributed that even a hypothetical divine being could not possibly undo the dissemination.

If you really believe that this document needs to be shielded from public view, perhaps you should ask yourself why that is. I imagine that any efforts to keep your inner workings under wraps would be more of an indictment of how the LDS church is doing things than any criticism it could suffer by release of this earthly document.

In short, your efforts so far have backfired. Further efforts will backfire more.

In a way, it’s like Donald Trump‘s tax returns. By not releasing them, he turned them into a much bigger story than they should’ve been. All the more reason for whistleblowers to leak the documents to journalists like David Cay Johnston, who then have every right as to publish that information.

MormonLeaks did nothing wrong here. And frankly, I doubt anyone would’ve cared about the PowerPoint if that was the end of the story. As far as Church secrets go, worrying about the impact of pornography and what critics like John Dehlin are saying is hardly juicy. It’s the Church’s fault — by taking drastic action against MormonLeaks — that people are now seeing the ridiculous issues leaders are discussing in private.

Let’s hope that some people see it as the tipping point to leave the Church for good.

(Thanks to Jordan for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.