From the Washington Post:
Try this. Type “church,” “Old Testament” or even “friend” into Google, and the Web site of the LDS church, the Mormons, pops up near the top of the list.
In the age of the Internet, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has found a way to dominate what is arguably today’s most important information source: the search engine.
It’s all about Mormons controlling their own image, church officials say. They’ve been doing that for a century or more. And now, with two of their own vying for the Republican nomination in the 2012 presidential race, and a Broadway hit andreality television generating huge interest in the denomination, much is at stake.
“We’re jumping into the conversation because there is a big one going on about Mormons, and we want to be a part of it,” said Stephen Allen, head of the church’s missionary department. “When someone goes into Google, if the first 10 sites are people who hate us, we lose in terms of our message.”
Their doctrine requires Mormons to proselytize, and it would be foolish not to strategize at a time of heightened interest, church officials and supporters say.
There may be other reasons, as well. Recent polls have shown that many Americans hold unfavorable views of Mormons, who number 6 million in the United States, or 1.7 percent of the U.S. adult population. Many evangelicals, who make up a large part of the Republican base, question whether Mormons are Christian.
It remains to be seen whether such views will have an impact on the presidential campaigns of Republicans Mitt Romneyand Jon Huntsman, both Mormons.
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