Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Perpetuating Rumors

A post on Mark Towner's blog (see here) made me think of the widespread problem of perpetuating rumors and falsehoods. With the advent of e-mail and the internet, it seems all too easy for people to pass on rumors and falsehoods without even checking if they are true. Mr. Towner has done that with his post. He says in part, "This is an actual job application that a 75 year old senior citizen submitted to Walmart in Arkansas." This statement is false and can easily be found on http://www.snopes.com. I frequently use Snopes to check on the truth of stories that seem pretty far-fetched to me.

Mr. Towner is not the only one to have this problem. A few weeks ago in my church meeting, an individual perpetuated the rumor that President Boyd K. Packer said "When you get to heaven, someone will ask you what prophet's time did you live in and when you say Gordon B. Hinckley, a hush will fall, and all present will bow at your presence." I had heard this before and knew it wasn't true because I had done research to see if it was something that President Packer had said. This past week, in the LDS Church News, it talks about the First Presidency of the Church releasing a statement that says in part "This is a false statement. It is not Church doctrine. At various times, this statement has been attributed erroneously to President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, President Boyd K. Packer, and others. None of these Brethren made this statement." I have heard of several bishops where this was read over the pulpit because the false statement had been perpetuated over the pulpit.

The internet makes it easy to perpetuate these rumors, however, with a little effort, the internet also makes it easy to check on the truth of stories.

1 comment:

Cameron said...

Too true. I've become the "truth getter" in my sphere of influence because I've often fact checked emails and stories and the like and will correct the false stories. So now I get email from people asking me to find out if a story is true.