As we move further into the information age, the possibilities for priestcraft multiply.
A few recent incidents have me wondering about the dividing lines between priestcraft and legitimate business.
First, I received a number of e-mails a few months ago encouraging members to try to bring The Work and The Glory movie to local theaters. As far as I could tell, the e-mails were sent to ward lists. They were couched in terms of the us-versus-the-world dichotomy: “Don’t you wish that there were more family-friendly movies in theaters? Help us bring TW&TG to a theater nearby.”
But some members quickly objected to the use of church e-mail lists for promotion of a commercial venture. TW&TG may be family-friendly, but it’s also a private, money making venture. Eventually, the senders apologized for sending the e-mails.
Second, some colleagues pointed to a private, for-profit website that uses a style sheet and page format nearly identical to the church site ldscatalog.com. This seems to raise its own ethical questions. Is it okay to copy the look and feel of the LDS site? Is this legitimate, or is it an attempt to possibly confuse buyers into thinking one’s own site is officially linked to the church?
Where is the line between priestcraft and legitimate commerce? I’m not sure, but things knock-off T-shirts, copycat site designs, and use of e-mail lists all make me uncomfortable.
In any case, if you were wondering whether it’s too late to scoop up the address Priestcraft.com . . . it is. The address goes to a site owned by followers of the Jehovah’s Witness early leader (and later schismatic) Charles Russell.