A number of Internet users have been struck by the EXMO virus. The EXMO virus can infect both PC and Mac users, leading to severe and lasting damage. The effects include the following:
- Damage to memory, wiping out all data pertaining to spiritual experiences, and faith-promoting or testimony-building events.
- Corruption of the hard drive, making it impossible to store data and facts that portray the Church in a positive light.
- Alteration of logic processing, such that the writings of Ed Decker appear to be logically sound.
- Damage to graphics drivers, such that kindly, good-looking old men like Gordon B. Hinckley appear as demonic beasts.
- Large quantities of spam sent to everyone in the address book. The content of the messages varies in complex ways, but they typically contain sarcastic criticism of Mormons or scandalous rumors about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
- Automatic generation of spiteful contents in e-mail sent to LDS people, including frequent uncouth inquiries about the underwear being worn by the target.
- Damage to the clock, such that the user’s system remains stuck in the distant past, typically prior to 1978 and frequently focused on nineteenth century dates associated with the Mountain Meadow Massacre or polygamy.
- Deteriorating performance of some software. Most notably, electronic versions of Jeopardy may no longer be enjoyable for those infected with the so-called SickofJennings variant of the EXMO virus. Word processors such as Microsoft Word may also become corrupted, resulting in automatic replacement of many names with silly abbreviations. For example, “Mormon” becomes “Mo”, the Book of Mormon becomes BoMo, the Mormon Church becomes “the Morg”, etc.
- Automatic downloading of offensive images and other inappropriate material from unsavory Internet sites. The computers of infected users often have images of Mormon underwear and Temple garments in various folders, along with bizarre documents from “anticult” extremists.
If you or someone you know has been infected with the EXMO virus, don’t panic. Their system can be cleaned and restored to a healthy state, if they are willing to take the proper steps. Infected people should carefully read the user manual. For further help, contact technical support – an entirely free service. Other online resources may also help. Former victims have been able to have their memory entirely restored, their logic processing returned to normal operation, their clock reset to the present, and their hard disk repaired. They have even been able to enjoy Jeopardy once again.
Returning to the real world, those do leave the Church and become ex-Mormons often have very sincere and logical (from their perspective) reasons for doing so. My post above is meant as a tongue-in-cheek jab at some of the antics of antis who claim to be ex-Mormons or who are ex-Mormons (people who leave the Church but can’t leave it alone). In fairness, we need to realize that a significant fraction of our brothers and sisters who leave the Church are not antagonistic and don’t accept the silliness we see from some of the more virulent anti-Mormons.
Frankly, it’s very easy to find reasons to leave the Church. Even among the disciples of Christ, John 6:61-69 (esp. vs. 66) indicates that many became offended and left Him. If early Christians were offended by Christ, how much easier is it for Christians to be offended by fallible mortals in Christ’s church? I’ve known good, honest people who were deeply offended at comments or actions of fellow members, of Church leaders, of historical figures in Mormonism, or were offended at Church policies, biases among members, etc. Some have genuine trouble with doctrines, with gender roles, with moral issues, and so forth. I could choose to leave the Church for things that I struggle with as well. I wish to emphasize the word “choose.” Leaving the Church is a choice. Regardless of the offense or the issue, it is a personal choice that must be made: do I accept the Restoration, do I choose to follow Christ in this divine but human-filled Church, or do I choose to let offenses or differences drive me out?
I believe we must each choose to cling to the iron rod, even when we can’t see past momentary mists of darkness that come from our blindness, the deceptions of others, temptations of the adversary, or genuine flaws and stupidities of other members. Though we may find the sacrifices or offenses from others too painful at times, may we have the attitude of Peter, when asked if he also would leave, said to Christ, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” This is where testimony becomes important. When we know through the power of God that the Restoration is real, that the Church of Jesus Christ is upon the earth today, that the Book of Mormon is divine, then we can have strength to overlook the faults of men or to bear the challenges of sacrifice and choose to stay on that strait and narrow path that leads to life. Where else should we go?