Likewise, a curious thing happens when you do a Google search on Mormonism. The overall results are almost overwhelmingly anti-Mormon. If it's just statistical, there's an incredible amount of anti-Mormon web sites out there. What is especially weird is the consistency of anti-Mormon sites in the number one slot.
If you have a Mormon-themed site that use Google AdWords, an advertisement placement program that monetizes a site, it will frequently display anti-Mormon ads from various anti-Mormon ministries. On the original S.P.A.M. site, we used a free social network service that embedded ads on our social network. It was Google-based and, as it scanned your site's content, it found extensive use of the word "Mormon" and it would tailor ads to that subject, and it would load up anti-Mormon info.
When ads from the Church are in the mix, those are usually sponsored ads that the Church pays for. Paid ads are prominent on the search page because Google makes money from them. Often, if it wasn't for the Church's paid ads, you'd see very little favorable information about Mormonism.
Recently, the Deseret News ran a story where Google displayed anti-Mormon information about the Church to the query "What is Mormonism?" The source of the definition was supplied by RaptureReady.com, which is an evangelical Christian website that promotes anti-Mormonism. The Deseret News article said that social media users discovered the definition and contacted Google to complain.
Complaining to Google is pretty fruitless. The inspired guidance given to Joseph Smith regarding anti-Mormons who publish lies about the Church is contained in Doctrine and Covenants Section 123. Section 123 suggests:
...gathering up a knowledge of all the facts, and sufferings and abuses put upon them by the people of this State [Missouri at that time];
2 And also of all the property and amount of damages which they have sustained, both of character and personal injuries, as well as real property;
3 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.4 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;
5 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...
One of the things that S.P.A.M. has done is to expose who are the anti-Mormons who operate in the dark on the Internet and expose them to the light of scrutiny. The Internet requires web site owners to register their web sites and domains with Internic and other regulatory organizations. That information is publicly available. Thus, using these common tools like "WHOIS," we can often identify those who lie against the truth and fight against God.
The Google definition that was put at the top of the list was placed there by a man named Todd Strandberg, the proprietor of Rapture Ready bookstore in Benton, Arizona. He has a web site for the bookstore. The WHOIS information for his web domain gives his public contact information. It is shown below:
Domain Name: RAPTUREREADY.COM Registry Domain ID: Registrar WHOIS Server: whois.networksolutions.com Registrar URL: http://networksolutions.com Updated Date: 2012-09-05T00:00:00Z Creation Date: 1999-03-16T00:00:00Z Registrar Registration Expiration Date: 2022-03-16T00:00:00Z Registrar: NETWORK SOLUTIONS, LLC. Registrar IANA ID: 2 Registrar Abuse Contact Email: email@example.com Registrar Abuse Contact Phone: +1.8003337680 Reseller: Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited Registry Registrant ID: Registrant Name: STRANDBERG, TODD Registrant Organization: Registrant Street: 1103 Watson Pl Registrant City: Benton Registrant State/Province: AR Registrant Postal Code: 72015 Registrant Country: US Registrant Phone: +1.5016806733 Registrant Phone Ext: Registrant Fax: Registrant Fax Ext: Registrant Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Registry Admin ID: Admin Name: STRANDBERG, TODD Admin Organization: null Admin Street: 1103 Watson Pl Admin City: Benton Admin State/Province: AR Admin Postal Code: 72015 Admin Country: US Admin Phone: +1.5016806733 Admin Phone Ext: Admin Fax: Admin Fax Ext: Admin Email: email@example.com Registry Tech ID: Tech Name: STRANDBERG, TODD Tech Organization: null Tech Street: 1103 Watson Pl Tech City: Benton Tech State/Province: AR Tech Postal Code: 72015 Tech Country: US Tech Phone: +1.5016806733 Tech Phone Ext: Tech Fax: Tech Fax Ext: Tech Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Name Server: NS1.RAPTUREREADY.COM Name Server: NS2.RAPTUREREADY.COM DNSSEC: not signed URL of the ICANN WHOIS Data Problem Reporting System: http://wdprs.internic.net/ >>> Last update of whois database: Thu, 25 Sep 2014 12:27:47 UTC
I don't post this information with the intent that anyone should harass Mr. Strandberg. I only do it so that his name will be indexed with Google's records and linked to the term "anti-Mormon." Section 123 doesn't urge us to boycott businesses, to threaten the livelihoods of individuals, or to use compulsion, or coercion in any fashion. We should not send nasty e-mails or try to get his Internet service provider to take down his site. Freedom of expression requires us to respect Mr. Strandberg's rights to say what he wants, no matter how execrable or untrue it may be.
The Lord simply inspired Joseph to make note of the facts and the individuals connected with circulating false information. Section 128 of the Doctrine and Covenants tells us that, what is written on earth is also written in heaven. Mr. Strandberg's efforts to harm Mormonism will fail and, at the last judgment--unless he repents, he will stand before Jesus Christ and have to explain and justify why he chose to fight against the Lord's saints and seek to harm Christ's own Church. What is written here will bear witness of his deeds. Hopefully, he will choose to repent.
It does seem that Google is anti-Mormon at times, but it is more probable that the vast amount of anti-Mormon activity on the Internet is reflected in Google's searches. It's one of the signs of the times. For decades, we latter-day saints felt like we were gaining acceptance. However, as Zion rises out of obscurity, the Gentiles are beholding it as "fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners" (Song of Solomon 6:10). Our growth and visibility frightens them. Satan knows his time is short and he exercises influence over those who heed his voice. Unfortunately, he has often found those who claim excessive religious zealotry to be easy to motivate and easy to deceive.
S.P.A.M. urges its readers to pray for Mr. Todd Strandberg, that his heart will be softened, and that the spirit of repentance will touch his heart.