NEWSLETTER FOR NOVEMBER 2006
By John L. Harmer
During the past fifteen months the Lighted Candle Society had been monitoring a web site that was sponsored by the “GOOGLE” search engine. The web site was known as “Google Trends.” Last May we prepared a report on what we had learned from our research which was distributed on a very limited basis. The report was so distressing to those who read it that they asked that we not distribute it through our newsletter or post it on our web site.
On Thursday, November 16th, 2006, the Deseret News published a front page story in which the information contained in our report was published. Given that development we have decided now to release in this newsletter the information which we had originally intended to distribute in our newsletter of last June.
In this report we presented some statistics regarding the young people within the Salt Lake City area. Some who have seen these statistics have reacted very defensively. They have engaged in various forms of rationalization in which they have sought to minimize or reject the credibility and the significance of these statistics. Some have found ways to assert that the messenger was the villain and that the conclusions based on the statistics could not really be justified. However, as we have continued to monitor the data in “Google Trends” none of the critical conclusions that we reported last June have changed. Those conclusions contain a vital message for the parents of teenagers in the Salt Lake valley.
And what is that message? Very succinctly, the message is that among the young people within the greater Salt Lake community there is an epidemic of obsession with deviant sex. The factual data that justifies this assertion is contained on the two inside pages of our newsletter
SALT LAKE AREA YOUTH AND “GOOGLE TRENDS”
The most widely used search engine on the Internet is “Google.” Every student in the country above the 5th grade understands how to use “Google” in order to do research on any topic. Every day millions of people enter a topic on “Google” in order to be taken to a web site or reference source for that topic.
Last year “Google” announced a new service for merchandisers around the country. The service is called “Google Trends.” The service is a compilation of the topics that are submitted to “Google” by an Internet user who wants to learn more about that particular topic. “Google” began keeping track of those topics where the volume of inquiries was large enough to indicate a significant amount of interest in that particular topic in any given geographic area. By noting the Internet Service Provider (ISP) that the inquirer used “Google” could pinpoint with considerable accuracy the city from which the inquiry came. In Utah, “Google” could separate inquires from Ogden and Provo from inquiries that originated in Salt Lake City or St. George.
In announcing the new service “Google” was careful to present important disclaimers as to the reliability of the data. “Google” made no attempt to determine anything about the selected topic except its nomenclature. Unless a topic had a “significant” number of inquiries it was not one that was tracked by “Google Trends.” There was no effort to apportion the inquiries based on the size of the local population. Thus, inquiries from Salt Lake City were simply totaled in the same way that inquires from Chicago and New York were totaled. The city with the most inquiries on a certain topic ranked number one of the list, irrespective of the size of the city.
Notwithstanding the disclaimers, within a week after the “Google Trends” data was being provided highly paid marketing consultants around the country were using the data to advise their clients where certain items were “hot” in the marketplace. When “Google Trends” showed that in a specific geographic area a large number of people were inquiring about a specific item or topic the marketing consultants were urging their clients who manufactured or sold those items to focus on that market.
Over a period of six months the Lighted Candle Society monitored “Google Trends” once every two weeks to determine what were the topics where Salt Lake City was in the top ten cities of the country for that topic. We validated our inquiry by selecting certain topics that we assumed would be popular in Salt Lake City, such topics as “Apostle, Prophet, Jesus, Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, etc.” As expected, the greater Salt Lake City area (between Provo and Ogden) was in the top three or four cities of the nation for those topics.
We then selected topics that were from the local teenage “sex talk” vernacular. When we found Salt Lake City ranked above much larger cities in the nation we were confident that there was some mistake. We communicated directly with “Google” to make certain as to how the topics were quantified. There was no mistake. Now consider the results for just a few of the nearly seventy topics that we monitored on three different dates.
(NOTE: Each topic listed below was searched on three occasions once every two weeks over a six month period.)
GOOGLE TRENDS TOPICS REFLECTLING PREDICTABLE ITEMS OF INTEREST IN THE GREATER SALT LAKE AREA.
TOPICS: “Jesus,”; Joseph Smith; Brigham Young; Mormon; Book of Mormon, Chocolate, Family Values, Home Recipes, Apostle, and Saints.”
In all of these topics presumed to be of interest in the greater Salt Lake area Salt Lake City was consistently ranked # 1, # 2, or # 3 during the six week period.
Salt Lake City was never able to make the “top ten list” for such subjects as : “Wine, Yoga, Opera, ballet, China, Japan, etc.”
SELECTED SEARCH TOPICS USING CURRENT TEENAGE VERNACULAR:
TOPICS IN WHICH SALT LAKE CITY WAS RANKED NUMBER 1, 2, or 3 IN THE ENTIRE NATION.
“Google Trends” does not provide numbers. It takes a “substantial number” of inquires to make the “trends” listing. They do give comparative bar graphs for cities and topics. When asked to provide the comparison from Salt Lake using the two terms “Apostle,” and (lewd term for female breasts) the bar graph for the lewd term for female breasts was nineteen times larger than the bar graph for the word “Apostle.”
“SO WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?”
It is obvious that not all of these “Google Trends” inquiries came from teenagers. It is also obvious that individuals who have been using the Internet to find pornography would not need to go use “Google Trends.” They can go directly to known pornographic sites. So many of those inquiries reflected in the above statistics came from individuals who were searching for sexual titillation and did not know where to find it on the Internet.
One of the challenges we face as an organization is to avoid being distracted from our primary mission. The mission of the Lighted Candle Society is to engage in litigation with the producers and distributors of pornography and to engage in research and education that will strengthen the probability of success in that litigation. Given that mission the data provided above is outside of our focus in using the resources, both financial and human, that are donated to us. The majority of our financial support actually comes from beyond the Salt Lake area. At the same time we feel it is our responsibility to identify the tactics of the pornography industry and to use that information for the benefit of parents, educators, and ecclesiastical leaders.
The most subtle yet powerful introduction to pornography comes from the motion picture and television industries. Consider the following paragraph taken from the actual contract of a well known female star of motion pictures, Loretta Young. In her contract with Metro Goldwyn Meyer executed on June 6th, 1933, is the following paragraph:
“The artist agrees to conduct himself with due regard to public conventions and morals, and agrees that he will not do or commit any act or thing that will tend to degrade him in society or bring him into public hatred, contempt, scorn or ridicule, or that will tend to shock, insult or offend the community or ridicule public morals or decency…”
Compare that contractual commitment with the cover stories for most of the popular magazines that are on sale at your local supermarket or drug store. Motion picture and television stars vie with one another to publicly engage in conduct that is vulgar, immoral, indecent, and in every way reflecting a total lack of any sense of dignity or shame. The same is true of the majority of music entertainers that are most popular with young Americans. These are the individuals that our society explicitly and implicitly tells America’s youth are to be the most admired and emulated.
WHAT SHOULD YOU BE DOING ABOUT THIS THREAT TO OUR YOUTH?
ENCL0SED WITH THIS NEWSLETTER IS A FLYER REGARDING THE PUBLICATION BY THE LIGHTED CANDLE SOCIETY OF A NEW BOOK, entitled, “THE WAR WE WILL WIN.” As you read the information contained in this newsletter the question that obviously comes to mind is: “What should I do?” We submit to you that the most valuable thing you could do is to purchase and distribute to parents, teachers, ecclesiastical leaders, and to the youth of your extended family a copy of this book. Within the book we document the way in which the tidal wave of pornography has come into our lives, who produces it, who defends and assists the pornographers, and how we will ultimately prevail in eliminating the Goliath of hedonistic filth that is produced and distributed by the pornography industry and their fellow travelers.
IF WHAT YOU HAVE READ IN THIS NEWSLETTER IS OF CONCERN TO YOU THEN DO ALL IN YOUR POWER TO PLACE THIS BOOK WITH EVERYONE OF YOUR ACQUAINTENCE. By submitting your order before Monday, December 4th, 2006, you will receive a special discount of forty percent (40%) from the retail price of $24.95. You can purchase one or more copies for $14.95 plus a $1.25 charge per book for shipping and handling.