I don’t use Twitter, so I have completely missed the #DezNat phenomenon until now.
What is #DezNat? It is a Twitter hash tag used by people wanting to defend the Church. The reference appears to be to “Deseret Nation,” which I guess is meant to promote faithful members of the Church.
Why did the movement start? Here are some links that may describe some of the history:
To sum up what I have been able to discover, Twitter has long been dominated by questioning/left-wing/or anti-Mormons when it comes to issues related to the Church. People who post things that support the Church have been consistently derided or attacked, often mercilessly. (This is one of the many reasons I don’t use Twitter).
Sometime in the last two years or so, people began to fight back. They adopted the hashtag #DezNat. To hear supporters tell it, this finally created a sense of community where defenders of the Church (always in a minority) could find common cause. There finally were social media members willing to defend the people defending the Church.
Critics of #DezNat appear to make various claims: 1)#DezNat people are often rude and sometimes use vulgar language. 2)#DezNat people are homophobic, sexist, encourage death threats, etc. 3)#DezNat people are alt-right. 4)#DezNat people create mean-spirited memes. 5)#DezNat people sometimes go overboard and use some of the same tactics as the anti-Mormons they dislike.
This is a post that offers people the opportunity to either 1)defend #DezNat or 2)point out specific examples of bad behavior. I will be moderating comments, so no profanity and please look at M*’s comments policy.
Anybody who has followed this blog knows that I constantly have defended the Church. The tone police have often accused me of being too harsh at times. But I don’t use profanity, and I try to be as fair as possible, and I try to follow these guidelines (the link is a talk by Elder Von G. Keetch, a General Authority Seventy, to students at Brigham Young University–Idaho):
In 1 Timothy 4:12, Paul teaches that members need to be an “example of the believers.” However, Elder Keetch explained that being an example “is much more than just living the principles of the gospel for others to see. … Those same principles need to be part of our conversations, of our love for others, as part of the spirit we convey, as part of the faith that defines who we are.”
When confronted about beliefs it is easy to want to “sound a hasty retreat,” or “become defensive in a point/counterpoint debate,” said Elder Keetch, who gave several suggestions on how to become an “example of the believers.”
First, he told students that whenever there is a heated argument or contention, “the best way to proceed is with love, respect, and understanding, while never abandoning the conviction of truth that we hold in our hearts.” Furthermore, it is the most effective to follow the Savior’s example and to engage people one on one, he said.
How does the above apply to social media? I think we are all working that out. Does #DezNat defend the Church in a way consistent with the above advice? That is what I am trying to find out.