Interacting Online as a Member Missionary PDF Print E-mail
Written by Beth Kirby   
Friday, 30 September 2011

Last April, President Uchtdorf’s talk Waiting on the Road to Damascus inspired me to look for more ways to be a member missionary. In his talk, President Uchtdorf encouraged us to use our hands “to blog and text message the gospel to all the world.”

Because I am shy in social situations but outgoing on the Internet, President Uchtdorf’s suggestion resonated with me, and I decided to put the advice into practice. As another general conference nears, I’d like to make a few notes about my online misssionary progress so far. 

Blogging

I decided to start a blog to record my experiences with the gospel. When I feel moved, I write entries on things that have powerful meaning to me. You can read my blog here.

The only problem with writing on my blog is getting enough publicity. I am not receiving comments on my entries, so I don’t know if anyone is reading it. Still, I have not given up. I announce blog updates to Facebook and Twitter, and have also included a link to my blog on my Facebook and Twitter profiles.

Good Reads

Good Reads allows you to list books you’re currently reading, have read, or plan to read. You can also rate and review the books. I post regular updates on Good Reads about gospel books I’m reading. For example, I added the standard works and other Church publications on my Good Reads bookshelves and then rated, reviewed, and posted these to Facebook and Twitter.

Goodreads also has a Goodreads Quotes section that allows you to search for quotes by various people. Not unsurprisingly, you can find many good quotes by our Church leaders, and you can use the “Like” feature to like the quote on Facebook. I recently found a quote by President Monson that I really liked. One of my non-member friends also liked the quote as well as retweeted it.

Facebook

In his April address, President Uchtdorf mentioned that when he and his family were asked how their weekend was, they often shared information about something that happened at Church or how the gospel helped them work through a difficult situation.

I now post a Facebook status on Sunday or Monday about something that moved me during Sunday’s meetings. I also post thanks when I receive answers to prayers or receive help through difficulties. I recently noticed at least one of my member friends doing the same. This is another answered prayer about being a member missionary – inspiring people around me.

Facebook’s Notes app creates an outlet to share my testimony. Notes can also be used to explain gospel principles that non-member friends may not understand. I expressed my testimony in Notes and plan to use it in other ways as part of my missionary work.

There are several Church-focused pages on Facebook, such as The Ensign Magazine and LDS General Conference. Whenever these sites post videos of previous general conference talks and Mormon message videos, I use Facebook’s “Share” feature to boost the signal. The more something is shared, the more visibility it gets.

Mobile Apps

Among the Church’s official mobile apps, two apps are especially useful to me as a member missionary: Gospel Library and Mormon Channel. Using these apps for personal edification has better equipped me to discuss the gospel with non-member friends.

For example, a non-member coworker was giving me rides to work while my car was in the shop. Almost every afternoon we ended up discussing the Church. I was often able to draw on something I’d heard on the Mormon Channel app to enhance the discussion we were having.

Also, the day after one of my conversations with this coworker, the LDS Newsroom feed listed an article addressing the exact same subject we had been discussing. Because I follow this feed, I was able to send him the link to the article. I doubt the timing of the article was a coincidence.

Another time, while reading previous general conference talks using the Gospel Library app, I came across a talk by President Boyd K. Packer. This particular talk addressed a topic that another coworker and I had been discussing. I then found the talk on the Church website and sent her an excerpt from that talk. I feel the Lord is helping me in my missionary efforts by guiding me to the right links for the missionary conversations I’m having.

Online Videos

I’ve been regularly posting links of Church videos and talks to Twitter and Facebook. In fact, LDS.org has a feature for liking articles and videos, so if you like the article or video, it will automatically post to your Facebook account. The site also allows you to share the content using Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and Delicious.

Sharing this content has helped me expand my LDS followers on Twitter. I’ve also found there are more LDS people on my Friends list in Facebook as a result of sharing on Facebook.

One time I posted a link to the General Relief Society meeting excerpts and the video of President Uchtdorf’s talk from the meeting. To my surprise, someone who has as their religion status, “Proud to be a FORMER Latter-day Saint,” liked these links.

Status Updates

Status updates can also have a powerful ripple effect. After one of President Uchtdorf’s talks struck close to home for me (as usual), I posted the following Facebook status: “President Uchtdorf strikes again… <3.”

This led to a non-member asking which country, because he thought I spoke of a political leader. I was able to explain to him who President Uchtdorf was. This was the same friend I carpooled with earlier, as I mentioned.

These status updates have led to all kinds of missionary discussions that I wasn’t having before. I will definitely be using the website’s features to share messages that touch me deeply during all future general conferences, as well as other Church broadcasts.

Conclusion

The easiest way for me to be a member missionary is through social networking. I know I am reaching people by the number of “likes” and comments I receive. Social networking also makes it easier for my friends to help me spread the gospel. The Internet provides a space for us all to engage in missionary work in powerful ways. I’m just beginning to see the potential.

 

Comments  

 
# JDD 2011-09-30 18:18
Awesome list of ideas!
 
 
# Dan Reisman 2011-09-30 23:46
I also have a blog in which I have entered every day since I started reading the Book of Mormon back in January: http://blog.mdrideas.com. No one has made comments, but I know that people all over the worlds are looking, because the views keep piling up. Let me know if you need any help.
 
 
# Tom Johnson 2011-10-01 08:30
Dan, I think a blog is a great way to increase the level of thought and reflection while reading the scriptures. Thanks for commenting.
 
 
# Beth Kirby 2011-10-02 06:23
The idea of tracking the "hits" on my blog never occurred to me. I'll have to see if I can put tracker on my blog (or see if Weebly offers one). Thanks!
 
 
# Austin 2011-10-02 08:51
Weebly.com actually does have a view tracker. When you log in from Weebly's main page, and it brings you to your home page, there's a list of all your web sights, (blogs). Next to your title of your blog, there's a blue button that says "Edit" on the right of that button, theres a grey one that says, "Stats". If you click on this button, it brings you to a page of all your statistics, showing you how manny views you've had, how many comments, subscribers, and any other information you may need.
 
 
# Elizabeth Irene Kirby 2011-10-02 12:54
Thanks! I'll check it out.
 
 
# Kirsten 2011-10-06 12:03
i have one too! http://cakehats.blogspot.com/

It is a great way for me to work through what i am studying and i have a few friends who follow me so it's nice getting feedback. i hope to expand my audience tho :)
 
 
# asdfasdf 2011-10-01 05:46
You need to do a better job redacting the names from http://tech.lds.org/images/stories/blog/sharedlnk.png

And the LDS General Conference page on Facebook is not church-sponsored.
 
 
# Tom Johnson 2011-10-01 08:28
Thanks for the note about the screenshot and the Facebook reference. I updated the post to fix these two issues.
 
 
# Todd Morgan 2011-10-24 17:48
Would love to discuss with you my website www.ldswitness.com I am looking to get 1,000 bloggers in the next 6 months. Make this a site for bloggers to congregate and talk about the church. help! contact me at yourvisiondecis ion@gmail.com. Todd Morgan
 
 
# Gideon Burton 2011-10-01 20:48
This is a great set of ideas. I work with the full time online missionaries and we often do firesides for members. We will bring these up. Thank you!
 
 
# Chas Hathaway 2011-10-07 09:07
Great ideas! The priesthood session of conference had a bunch of talks about sharing the gospel, and when I got home, I decided to do something about it. I've been searching out online conversations about the church where there isn't a member to clarify the true doctrine of the church. There are so many opportunities to share the gospel online!

I was even so excited about doing so that I created a website to help people coordinate missionary efforts online: http://ldsinternetmission.wordpress.com/ It needs work, but I'm hoping people will help turn it into a site to provide many opportunities for people to share the gospel together online.

I like the GoodReads idea. I've got a GoodReads account, but I've never thought of using it for missionary work.

Thanks again for the great post!
 
 
# Jolene Krahenbuhl 2011-10-07 12:51
Very impressive. I have a few friends that include links on facebook and blogs, but I haven't done it myself. I think it is a great missionary tool. I got one feedback on lds.org that we don't have enough thumb ups, so everyone make sure you include a thumbs up when your on lds.org, mormon.org or facebook.
 
 
# Kathryn Skaggs 2011-10-07 20:23
Very well done. Thank you!

tDMg
 
 
# Russell Bateman 2011-10-11 06:54
I cringe at the thought that some might call themselves to such a public ministry. Set a good example, say thoughtful and reasonable things.. these are both good. However, my personal opinion is that only the Brethren and a few tens of thousands of ministers have been called to preach publicly. I have read many things that vary between the ridiculous on the one extreme and very really casting pearls before swine on the other.

Good taste, careful measure and lots of reserve. And I think attending to the callings we have received is better advised than to take Elder Ballard's and Elder Uchtdorf's remarks as a free and open call to public ministry.
 
 
# Tom Johnson 2011-10-26 14:58
Russell, thanks for adding your thoughts on the topic. I think there's a spectrum of interpretation about sharing the gospel online, and certainly one could defend a variety of positions.

I've run into a lot of people who have a desire to share the gospel online lately. Some see it as a "war" of information that's going on. We have to be careful about gospel sharing so that it doesn't come across as heavy-handed or manipulative. I think at the end of the day, many members just want online information about the church to be accurate and representative of their faith. If we don't speak up, don't we risk being buried in anti-mormon results?
 
 
# Exxon Crystal 2011-10-21 11:17
I just stumbled on this website and like to know more about President Uchtdorf encouragement "to blog and text message the gospel to all the world"

What does it actually mean "the gospel to all the world" ?
 
 
# Tom Johnson 2011-10-26 15:02
Exxon, I'm not sure if I understand your question. I think the encouragement is to share the gospel online more actively. "All the world" refers to all the people online. If I'm missing your real question, please help me understand it better.
 

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