“Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth, messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy, and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood,” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said during an address at Education Week at Brigham Young University on August 19, 2014.
“I pray we will not simply participate in a flash flood that rises swiftly and then recedes just as rapidly,” he said in a message that focused on the power of social media to communicate truth. Elder Bednar called our time a “unique season in the history of the world,” in which we are blessed with “a miraculous progression of innovations and inventions that have enabled and accelerated the work of salvation.
“Approximately 40 percent of our worldwide missionary force soon will be using digital devices as tools in the work of conversion, retention, and activation,” he said. “I am confident all of us also recognize how technology has accelerated family history and temple work, our individual and family study of the restored gospel, and made it possible for us to learn about, see, and experience the world in remarkable ways.”
He pointed to recent social media efforts including an Easter video produced by the Church, Because of Him, that was viewed more than five million times in 191 countries and territories, and the #didyouthinktopray hashtag, which led to more than 40,000 conversations about the need for prayer.
These and other efforts are “only a small trickle,” he said, calling upon Latter-day Saints to “help transform the trickle into a flood.” He also said that when using social media:
“We should not exaggerate, embellish, or pretend to be someone, or something we are not. Our content should be trustworthy and constructive.”
“Our messages should seek to edify and uplift, rather than to argue, debate, condemn, or belittle.”
“Be courageous and bold, but not overbearing, in sustaining and defending our beliefs, and avoid contention. As disciples, our purpose should be to use social media channels as a means of projecting the light and truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“Too much time can be wasted, too many relationships can be harmed or destroyed, and precious patterns of righteousness can be disrupted when technology is used improperly. We should not allow even good applications of social media to overrule the better and best uses of our time, energy, and resources.”
“We need not become social media experts or fanatics. And we do not need to spend inordinate amounts of time creating and disseminating elaborate messages.”