Members Encouraged to “Share” and “Tweet” the Gospel
Contributed By By Jace Whatcott, Church News staff writer
- Use social media to enhance and deepen relationships and to express your faith in the Savior and the gospel.
- Strive to have your online presence reflect your values and your standards.
- Be civil in your online interactions with others, and remember to always be Christlike no matter what.
In the Wentworth Letter, written in March 1842 to John Wentworth of the Chicago Democrat, the Prophet Joseph Smith declared that “the truth of God [would] go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it [had] penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear.”
This prophecy could be interpreted as being fulfilled by pairs of young men in white shirts and ties and by pairs of young women in skirts preceding the coming of the Savior by eventually knocking on every door and proclaiming with their mouths the truth in every city. However, with the advent of the Internet and various forms of social media, the prophecy may be fulfilled by the gospel of Jesus Christ being shared in the form of text, images, audio, and videos all across the world via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and Instagram. [Learn more about these sites.]
While missionaries will continue to be sent all across the world, social media has enabled the gospel to cross borders and break boundaries so all of God’s children can hear the good news of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, not just His children who live in countries that are open to proselytizing missionaries.
Along with the consistent encouragement from the Brethren to put social media and the Internet to good use by “making technology our servant,” as Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said in his recent CES devotional address, the Church has come out with some guidelines that will help make a member’s “social media mission” as successful as possible (see “Be Still, and Know That I Am God”). [Find the full page of guidelines and links to the official Church social media sites.
Use social media to enhance and deepen relationships and to express your faith and testimony in the Savior and the gospel. Social media can be such a powerful tool for helping you stay connected with those you care about. Take the opportunity to express your love for them.
With the use of social media, members can share their testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ not only with members of their family and with members of their wards but also with citizens in their communities as well as acquaintances across the globe.
Some may struggle with stepping up to the pulpit on fast Sundays to share their testimony of the Savior. Others may find approaching their friends and neighbors to be frightening, and even overwhelming. Social media gives you the chance to share what’s dear to you without feeling as much anxiety.
Find opportunities to befriend and follow those who may be struggling or less active in your wards and stakes. Sometimes it’s hard to get in contact with those who have lost their way because of disconnected phones or changed addresses. Social media knows no bounds because it doesn’t require a phone number or an address. Use social media to help locate less-active members.
Reach out to those who have strayed from the path, and continue to show them love and support. You don’t necessarily need to share gospel-related media with them. Just make it clear that you are their friend and that you are there for any of their needs.
Strive to have your online presence reflect your values and standards. Be sure that what you like, share, favorite, or retweet on Facebook or Twitter is characteristic of a disciple of Jesus Christ. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your bishop seeing what your activity is like on Facebook or Twitter, it would be best to avoid that particular content.
You are in absolute control of what you share on social media, but you can’t necessarily control what other people post to their accounts. However, you can control whether or not those posts remain where you can see. Both Twitter and Facebook give you the ability to delete or hide content that you don’t approve of.
Be civil in your online interactions with others. While Jude exhorts the Saints to defend their faith by “earnestly contend[ing] for the faith” (Jude 1:3), Christ tells the people in ancient America that “the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil” (3 Nephi 11:29). Share the gospel with genuine love and concern for others. Be bold, but avoid being overbearing. Avoid conversations that turn into arguments over whether or not your religion is better than another’s.
Express your personal witness of the restored gospel, as guided by the Spirit. When appropriate, share a humble and sincere testimony of what you believe. The impact of sharing videos, articles, and images can be increased by accompanying them with your personal witness of the truthfulness of the things that you are sharing.
Always be an example of a follower of Christ in your interactions with others in social media. In his letter to Timothy, Paul said, “Be thou an example of the believers” (1 Timothy 4:12). Whether that be on the web or in the street, your actions need to be consistent with those of someone who is a “[witness] of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).
The most important thing to remember is to be Christlike in all of your social media interactions. Share the gospel with love, no matter the means of the delivery.