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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.