It's been a while since I've posted on this blog, but a friend over on Facebook offered me a challenge yesterday, that I couldn't pass up! In fact, he posted it on my wall! This post is my response to that challenge...
My friend is actively involved in helping to train LDS members in his local area on the WHY and HOW of using Social Media to, as Elder Holland taught -- "the most powerful way to counter darkness is to fill the world with light." In preparing his training materials, my friend said he thought of me! After all, it was through Social Media that we met, online. His challenge or invitation, was to share "a few of your thoughts and maybe a good story of something good that has come from your efforts to connect and share".
All who know me, KNOW that I'm a sucker for talking to anyone who will listen about the wonderful opportunities available online to share information about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It's not only fun, but it's a great way to magnify your desire to be a member missionary. In the process, I've made some wonderful new friends, both members and non-members alike.
Using Social media to spread the gospel, can be very effective. A few years ago, in response to what I felt was a great lack of positive and credible information about the LDS Church, online, I began writing over on Hubpages, as LdsNana-AskMormon. And just so you know, I don't consider myself a "writer"! This was my way to hopefully better educate others about Mormon beliefs and the LDS Church. I began writing just prior to Elder Ballard's landmark talk, given at BYU Hawaii -- now titled "Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet" where he expressed these thoughts and many more which were not only encouraging to me personally, but very validating of my online activities.
You have a great opportunity to be a powerful force for good in the Church and in the world. There is truth in the old adage that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” In many cases it is with words that you will accomplish the great things that you set out to do. And it’s principally about ways to share those words that I want to talk to you.
I want to focus on Elder Ballard's use of the word "TRUTH". Regardless of what some people might think, I am NOT technology savvy. And you don't need to be either. Yes, I use many Social Media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter. (and a host of others occasionally) I write on Hubpages and I even have a few blogs that I've been terrible at keeping up on over the past year. With most everything I do or say online, using any of these platforms, I have one goal in mind, always -- and that is to publish "truth".
When I began to engage with others online, about my LDS faith, I made what I believe was a critical decision about how I would communicate. I realized that I didn't need to defend my faith. I came to understand that my voice only needed to be one that shared what I believe. I try to never take offense at what others might say or think about Mormonism. I never debate. And believe me, I've had plenty of offers! With this approach, I have built many relationships with those of other faiths. Relationships that have created mutual respect for beliefs, regardless of differences. Truth is often bold, and I'm fine with that. Truth is light! If I can go about my day shedding a bit here and a bit there, I know that I'm doing my part to literally fill the world!
I think of myself more as sending forth little rays of light/truth to shed on others as I go along each day... And if someone decides to stop and soak in those rays for only a brief moment, and then maybe again on another day, well then I think I'm doing my part. The most rewarding experiences I have by doing this, are the many positive relationships that I've developed over that last few years. I've had countless opportunities to answer questions about my beliefs. I currently have a number of online "pen pals" that I have ongoing discussions about religion. This is such a privilege for me. I'm always thankful when someone is able to ask a Mormon, and know that they have had a positive experience.
Here are a few things that I do, using Social Media, to share the gospel online:
I've taken the time to join the I'm A Mormon campaign and I've set-up my profile! I'll continue to add content...
Almost daily I visit official LDS Church Websites to discover that which I will then share links on Facebook, Twitter, etc... What I share about the Church comes from very credible sources.
I pay attention to positive information that other LDS friends are sharing online and will then also share it! I use the "share" feature on Facebook and the ability to re-tweet links on Twitter, a lot!
I take a stand publicly on issues that affect the family, by sharing current information. Many are aware of my active voice in preserving traditional marriage.
I've published articles on Hubpages to better educate about Mormonism and what I believe.
I'm very open about my purpose online with all whom I come in contact with. I am @LdsNana on Twitter and LdsNana-AskMormon on Hubpages. SO, anyone who decides to "follow" me knows right up front what I'm all about! Currently I have over 500 people who pay attention to what I write over on Hubpages and nearly 5000 who follow my tweets on Twitter. Attaching LDS to my monikers is a great daily reminder for me, too!
I invite All to either follow me or become my "friend" on Facebook, etc... I know that for many they are uncomfortable with allowing anyone to see what they post and know about their lives, but to me if I'm posting all of this really "good" stuff --- then follow away! Think about it:)
Mind you, I don't do all of this every day. But, I pretty much do something all of the time. With that said, if you're still confused I would invite you to follow me and just watch for a while. You'll get the hang of it and in no time will fast become a part of that radiant light, that leads to even Greater Light!
I'd love to hear comments about how others are using Social Media to share the gospel online...
Using Technology | LDS Media Talk: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"