mask-of-anonymityIn a devotional address, Elder Quentin L. Cook reminded us to avoid wearing a mask and acting out of character. (See “Don’t Wear Masks“, New Era, March 2013, 2).

I feel this is especially true with technologies  today that make it possible to be anonymous when posting a comment or sending a message. Elder Cook reminds us that one of our “greatest protections against making bad choices is to not put on any mask of anonymity.”

He said, “It is common today to hide one’s identity when writing hateful, vitriolic, bigoted communications anonymously online. Some refer to it as flaming.”

I encourage you to always use your real name when using social media. Never create a fake profile. When you use your real name and people can see your profile and know who you are, it reminds you to be respectful in conversations. The Apostle Paul wrote: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God” (1 Corinthians 15:33–34).

Elder Cook said, “It is clear that evil communications are not just a matter of bad manners, but, if practiced by those who are Latter-day Saints, they can adversely affect those who do not have knowledge of God or a testimony of the Savior.

“Any use of the Internet to bully, destroy a reputation, or place a person in a bad light is reprehensible. What we are seeing in society is that when people wear the mask of anonymity, they are more likely to engage in this kind of conduct, which is so destructive of civil discourse. It also violates the basic principles the Savior taught.

“The righteous need not wear masks to hide their identity.”

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