The most useful aspect of this blog is that I can get the news of Daniel’s missionary experiences out to family and friends. A blog is an efficient way of distributing his emails and sharing his photographs, along with the ability for visitors to share comments. So this blog will be publishing at least until December 2010 which is when Daniel comes home from Washington.
With new technological tools, you can further the work of the Lord by joining the ongoing conversation about the Church:
Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including newsroom.lds.org, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. This, of course, requires that you understand the basic principles of the gospel. It is essential that you are able to offer a clear and correct witness of gospel truths. It is also important that you and the people to whom you testify understand that you do not speak for the Church as a whole. You speak as one member—but you testify of the truths you have come to know.
Far too many people have a poor understanding of the Church because most of the information they hear about us is from news media reports that are often driven by controversies. Too much attention to controversy has a negative impact on peoples’ perceptions of what The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really is. (M. Russell Ballard, “Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, Jul 2008, 58–63.)
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
Speaking at April 2011 General Conference:
With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before. In fact, I am almost afraid that some listening have already sent text messages like “He’s been speaking for 10 minutes and still no aviation analogy!” My dear young friends, perhaps the Lord’s encouragement to “open [your] mouths” might today include “use your hands” to blog and text message the gospel to all the world! But please remember, all at the right time and at the right place.
Brothers and sisters, with the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity. (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Waiting on the Road to Damascus“,” Ensign, May 2011)
Answering our accusers in the Savior’s way:
Experience shows that seasons of negative publicity about the Church can help accomplish the Lord’s purposes. In 1983 the First Presidency wrote to Church leaders, “Opposition may be in itself an opportunity. Among the continuing challenges faced by our missionaries is a lack of interest in religious matters and in our message. These criticisms create … interest in the Church. … This provides an opportunity [for members] to present the truth to those whose attention is thus directed toward us.” (First Presidency letter, Dec. 1, 1983)
We can take advantage of such opportunities in many ways: a kind letter to the editor, a conversation with a friend, a comment on a blog, or a reassuring word to one who has made a disparaging comment. We can answer with love those who have been influenced by misinformation and prejudice—who are “kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12). I assure you that to answer our accusers in this way is never weakness. It is Christian courage in action. (Robert D. Hales, “Christian Courage: The Price of Discipleship,” Ensign, Nov 2008, 72–75)
According to the Deseret News, Elder Cook’s blog post may be a first by an apostle. Writing on Patheos.com, Elder Cook entitled his article “Partnering with Our Friends from Other Faiths.” Here is an excerpt:
Becoming partners in the defense of shared moral principles starts with sincere efforts by religious faiths to understand and learn from each other. One of the sweetest experiences I’ve had is to accompany other faith leaders on tours of our newly built temples, our most sacred buildings, when they are open to the public. As a result, these religious leaders come to know and understand us better. Likewise, we gain a greater understanding and appreciation for their beliefs. It’s heartwarming that those of other faiths would take the time to appreciate something that is deeply personal and meaningful to me and other Latter-day Saints.
With this newfound understanding, no faith has a desire to compromise on its doctrine or beliefs. These relationships are not ecumenical; that is, we are not trying to come to an agreement on principles of doctrinal practice, but instead there is a mutual respect for each other’s beliefs and a desire to collaborate on important issues where we find common ground.
For his religion class this semester, BYU professor Richard Holzapfel changed his usual scripture log assignment to an online blogging assignment where students write their thoughts and feelings on gospel subjects. From LDS Living:
I read Elder Ballard’s call for members of the Church to engage in the online dialogue about the Church this past summer [Ensign, July 2008]. It hit me. We can continue doing missionary work in Provo and at BYU because “The world is our campus,” and the world is alive online. The Church Web site is important, however, people will more likely listen to real, flesh and blood members than the official Web site.
After we discussed it a little in class, I realized that blogging can actually be a pretty effective way to get ideas and opinions out there, and in the context of this assignment, increase the amount of pro-Mormon material on the Web.
In 2010 Richard Neitzel Holzapfel was called to serve as the mission president of the Alabama Birmingham Mission.
Even the Church has a blog.
The Public Affairs Department announced the launch of the Newsroom Blog 18 August 2009. The purpose of this blog is to supplement the Newsroom Web site with additional stories from the Church that may not lend themselves to a news release, and to provide additional context and background on stories that appear in the news media.
Finding and Sharing the Gospel Online
The October 2009 Ensign has a very positive article about blogging online. It covers blogging about the Church in everyday life; creating blogs about full-time missionaries; using other online forums; sharing your testimony online; being a blogging missionary; and blog saftey and courtesy. See also Guidelines and Helps for Latter-day Saints Participating in Online Conversations About the Church.
Rebecca Renfroe, from Idaho, USA, used to blog and read others’ blogs almost daily. Her mind was always in “compose” mode—mentally writing a blog about what she did with her children instead of just doing things with them. She realized there had to be a balance.
The Spirit helped me to recognize that having a blog was not the problem—devoting too much of my time and energy to it was. I had literally been giving portions of my life away: trading away quality time with my children and my husband, trading away time for serious, in-depth study of the scriptures, and even trading away hours of sleep that affected my ability to serve others, to be sensitive to the Spirit, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sister Renfroe learned not to let good things get in the way of better things, as Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled: “Just because something is good is not a sufficient reason for doing it. … Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.”
Read the whole article which also mentions positive uses of the Internet.
Sharing the Gospel Online
An article in the September 2010 Ensign, “Role of Members Important in Sharing the Gospel Online,” has a section about blogs:
For members who don’t have the time or skills to create an entire Web site, blogging offers a convenient alternative. . . .
Hundreds of members of the Church throughout the world are using their blogs to share the gospel with family and friends. It’s normal for bloggers to share things that are important to them, so it’s a natural place to talk about the gospel.
The article also covers the new Mormon.org, the More Good Foundation, and social media web sites.
Introduction to Sharing the Gospel Online
Try this for a concise introduction to Sharing the Gospel Online. Share via Mormon.org, social media, or blog.