In 1829, 24-year old Joseph Smith walked into the red brick print shop of E. B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York with a manuscript copy of The Book of Mormon. That tiny press would print the first edition of a volume of holy scripture that has been revered by millions as the sacred word of God.
At the same time, in the same print shop on the same printing press, one Abner Cole was printing the first anti-Mormon newspaper articles. He even stole copyrighted material (namely the Book of Mormon) and printed it without permission. He did this in an attempt to spoil the anticipation for the Book of Mormon and to try and ruin the market for the book before it was even printed. Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, and Joseph Smith each confronted him about his violation of copyright and Abner Cole stopped.
Thinking about this little known story, I decided that although times have changed a lot since then many things remain the same.
We have the Internet which, like Grandin’s Press, can be used to publish sacred scripture and truth or be used to publish anti-Mormon vitriol and hate. Anti-Mormons have even gone so far as to publish copyrighted and sacred material online (such as the temple ordinances) in order to deter people from further investigating the truth.
Of course, I think Joseph, Hryum, and Oliver were right to confront Abner Cole. So, shouldn’t we also confront those who are using the Internet to tear down the kingdom of God? I think we should. The trick is how do we do it? A lot has been said about that. Let me just say that truth is its own best advocate. The best thing we can do is “speak the truth in love.” That is, we speak up to be heard, but do it in a way that is not contentious or that puts others down. But above all, let’s speak up!