As I’ve mentioned in past posts, as well as on my page ‘About My Blog Topic’, the brethren and other LDS church leaders are increasingly encouraging us as members of the church to join the online conversation. Indeed, it is exciting to hear and see of some of the ways that members of the church are embracing this challenge and harnessing many of these online technologies (see the end of this post for some examples of this).
Elder M. Russell Ballard, in 2007, described these online tools as the modern day printing press. He states, “The Internet allows everyone to be a publisher, to have his or her voice heard, and it is revolutionizing society” (“Sharing The Gospel Using the Internet”). We only have to look at the LDS Church as an example to see the means by which it has harnessed these new media technologies:
- The ‘I am a Mormon’ campaign
- Websites – For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for non-members, for youth, and for Family History
- The Mormon Channel.
- Mormon Messages – videos, interviews and information
- Twitter – @LDSMissionaries, @friendLDS, @LDSMessages, @mormonchannel, @mormonmessages, @ldstech, @FS_news, and @mormonnewsroom
When you think upon the printing press analogy, you may recognise the momentous impact that these new media technologies can have on the world at large. I love history, so for me, understanding that these new technologies can assist in bringing many people out of spiritual darkness, just as the printing press did in the 13th Century, and offer something they have never had access to before, excites me. I see it as a tool for a reformation of many things spiritual.
These new media channels, such as social network sites, blogs, vlogs, tweets, and interactive websites, are now becoming available to use by the average ‘Joe’ and ‘Jane’. At least, we can share ideas, opinions and stories that may be of interest to the world. At best, we can use them to further progress the Lords work here on earth, and help dispel the false information that is being so readily published.
For many of us this can be scary. For me, a student of the Internet even, it is daunting to say the least, but if we are prepared it can offer some wonderful opportunities for each of us to share our story in an honest, personal, and loving way. “…if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.” D&C 38:30
Most recently, Elder L. Whitney Clayton, of the Presidency of the Seventy (see my post ‘Advice on Representing the Church’), encouraged all members of the church to tell their story. In this discussion he recognises that it may not come naturally to many of us; we may need to work on it. Elder Clayton suggests two very important things we can do to prepare:
- Be well informed
- Be friendly
The purpose of this series is to assist you in being prepared by understanding the in’s and out’s of using the Internet as a means of sharing your story. Part of being well informed not only includes being informed about your subject (the gospel, which is worthy of a series of its own), but also being well informed about the safest and easiest ways of navigating this great space, the best way to share your story, what to share, and skills and ideas needed to deal with different situations that arise.
For this purpose, the ‘Joining the Conversation’ series will be divided into four parts:
- Online Privacy and Identity Protection
- How to Share Your Story
- What to Share
- Handling Difficult Situations
Each week, for the next four weeks, I will share a new part from this series. I encourage each of you to explore the suggestions and resources offered here. We can all participate in the work of the Lord in our own unique way.
Please feel free to make suggestions, corrections, or comments where you feel the need. But, for some, this blog may be an opportunity to simply dip your toes a little further into the waters of the World Wide Web.
So, come on in, the water is fine
Examples of how some LDS members have joined the conversation:
- Women in the Scriptures
- Seven Cherubs
- Mormon Women
- Helaman’s Army
- A Well Behaved Mormon Women
- Mormon Mission Prep
- Mormon Midrashim
If you have any other LDS blogs, vlogs or websites, that fit within the terms ‘Joining the Conversation’, that you would like to share then please do so below.