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Using social media to share the Gospel May 30, 2011.

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1 Using social media to share the Gospel May 30, 2011

2 President Spencer W. Kimball in 1979 address: Now, my brothers and sisters, it seems clear to me, indeed, this impression weighs upon methat the Church is at a point in its growth and maturity when we are at last ready to move forward in a major way. But the basic decisions needed for us to move forward, as a people, must be made by the individual members of the Church. The major strides which must be made by the Church will follow upon the major strides to be made by us as individuals. We have paused on some plateaus long enough. Let us resume our journey forward and upward. Let us quietly put an end to our reluctance to reach out to otherswhether in our own families, wards, or neighborhoods. President Nicholls cited this passage in his recent talk about growing the Federal Way Stake.

3 What is social media? A. Media that really enjoy being with other media. B. The use of Web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Social media enable the creation of user-based content.

4 Sample social media Web sites and applications Blog: (short for weblog); personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blog entries are generally made in reverse chronological order. LinkedIn: business/professional networking site. Twitter: popular instant messaging system that lets a person send brief text messages (tweets) up to 140 characters in length to a list of followers. facebook: allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of others…

5 Official Church facebook page

6 Mormon Channel on YouTube

7 LDS Church Twitter page

8 Elephant in the room…but isnt social media dangerous? Not if we follow Church guidelines for Internet and social media usage and use common sense. Key points: Place computers in commonly used areas of the home. If you use e-mail or social media sites, consider establishing accounts on a family basis, rather than for each individual. Actively monitor website access to help family members remain safe. Discuss Internet and media safety with children from an early age. Be alert and aware of media that enters the home through computers, mobile media players, and mobile phones. Share access or passwords to private e-mail and social media sites with your spouse. Have a strong firewall and current anti-virus software.

9 Why is the Church focusing on social media now? Social media/social networking are increasingly how people communicate and obtain information. (Particularly Gens X, Y, Z, AA, EE, etc.) Missionaries across the world have encountered a problem in recent years: after only a visit or two, an investigator who had shown real interest cuts off contact. Researchers have found that most of those investigators have one thing in common: they lose interest after finding negative, inaccurate information about the Church online. (

10 Its getting better. Six years ago, 80 percent of search engine results for the term Mormon were negative or inaccurate. Today the situation has improved. In some countries, Internet search results for Mormon are up to 80 percent positive. (

11 However, it depends on what search terms one uses….

12 Elder Ballard on joining the conversation: There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. All conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time. The challenge is that there are too many people participating in conversations about the Church for our Church personnel to converse with and respond to individually. We cannot answer every question, satisfy every inquiry, and respond to every inaccuracy that exists.

13 Elder Ballard: join the conversation by participating on the Internet Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including, and send them to your You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. It is essential that you are able to offer a clear and correct witness of gospel truths. It is also important that you and the people to whom you testify understand that you do not speak for the Church as a whole. You speak as one memberbut you testify of the truths you have come to know.

14 Elder Ballard: things to avoid Every disciple of Christ will be most effective and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of a follower of the Savior. Discussions focused on questioning, debating, and doubting gospel principles do little to build the kingdom of God. Many of you are returned missionaries and can carry on a meaningful conversation in the language you learned on your mission. Your outreach can be international. As you participate in this conversation and utilize the tools of new media, remember who you areLatter-day Saints. Remember, as the proverb states, that a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). And remember that contention is of the devil (see 3 Nephi 11:29).Proverbs 15:1 3 Nephi 11:29 There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. Our position is solid; the Church is true. We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the prompting of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven.

15 President Nicholls facebook challenge and vision Every bishop to identify and invite 25 people in their Wards to use facebook for gospel-centered purposes and have each one of them invite 10 people who live close by (neighbors, friends, school/sports associations). Some of these members invited could be youth too. They should talk about the church, share gospel videos, etc. People will just see whats happening and theyll want it too!

16 How are you using social media to share the Gospel?

17 Suggestions for getting involved from…. Fill out a profile. Share your testimony on your blog or record a video testimony on YouTube. Click the like buttons or share links on articles on Click like on the Church's official facebook page. Subscribe to MormonMessages on YouTube and share your favorites with your friends, or write a blog post about your favorite video and embed the video in your blog. Put an I'm a Mormon badge on your website (include a link that pops up embed code).

18 profile

19 More suggestions for getting involved from…. Share your favorite Scriptures from the Gospel Library Mobile Apps or share your favorite videos from the Mormon Channel ( Subscribe to and retweet some of the Churchs official Twitter accounts. Submit interesting news stories about the Church on or or StumbleUpon. Subscribe to LDS Newsroom at in your favorite news reader.

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