How to Share the Gospel Online
From Chapter 6 PEM:
In 2005 a study was done, and 80-90% of websites that talked about Mormons were anti-Mormon.
Some blogs written created in response to this study are mormonperspectives.com (accept new bloggers and helpers), nextdoormormon.com (looking for new and returning members to blog with them) and reallifeanswers.org (they answer questions using Christ’s gospel). They are meant to answer spiritual questions people have.
What is love is one of the most searched questions on Google. Ablogaboutlove.com was created to answer this question.
There are three roles to play in a blog:
- Writer – one who writes the post
- Reactor – one who comments on the post
- Extender – one who finds others who could benefit from the post and share it
If you do blog, do not share false doctrine. Make your message easy to understand. As you share the gospel online, it becomes easier to share it in conversations. You can ask nonmember or less active friends to read drafts of your blog before you post.
The Spirit “does not diminish by distance.” If you write with love and with the Spirit, those reading will be able to feel it.
www.everydaymissionaries.org is a great resource. There are quotes from the book, and stories from those who apply the principles.
From my experience:
Much of today’s conversation is done online.
- An excellent missionary tool is Mormon.org. Each member of the church is encouraged to create and maintain a Mormon.org profile. This helps nonmembers get a look into the lives of individual Mormons all over the world.
- To help do missionary work via email, you can add a scripture, a prophetic quote or a link to your mormon.org profile at the bottom of your email signature.
- Blogging is an increasingly popular way to share information about your life. If you have your own blog, try to make it a natural habit to talk about the gospel in your posts.
Those of us who do not have a blog of our own can respond to other members’ blog posts with our testimonies. Or, we can share a blog post with our comments.
Sometimes we may feel prompted to respond to nonmembers’ blogs with our testimonies of certain truths. Recently, a man from my neighborhood extended an invitation to read and respond to a blog post that attempted to prove Christ was resurrected, solely based on historical evidence. I felt I should respond. I thought about and prayed about how to respond for a few hours before I did. I testified of the importance of faith in knowing of Christ’s atonement and divinity. I even spoke of the Book of Mormon being another testament of Jesus Christ. I do not know if I touched anyone’s life or not, but I felt the spirit as I wrote, and my testimony grew.
- Social media may be the most popular way to communicate with others quickly. Because I have made a covenant to be a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places, I want my Facebook page to be a holy place. I want people to know my Facebook page is safe to view, free from contention and vulgarity. I want people to know from first glance that I am a Christian, even a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
To make sure I am being a good example on Facebook, I recently went through my FB page and deleted old pictures, liked pages, etc., that would set a bad example.
I have decided to not post or say anything on my FB page that is negative or that spawns from a contentious or angry heart. I will delete any contention that is posted on my page.
I will not like a post with a funny or even inspirational message if the picture is inappropriate or the page from which it originates has an inappropriate name (many of these page names are full of profanity).
As well as being a good example on Facebook, I also strive to be a missionary there. Here are some things I have done:
- Like pages created by the church (apostles, church newsroom, etc)
- Add my religion and church websites to my profile
- Share uplifting experiences as the Spirit directs
- Invite people to activities and to church
- Share spiritual quotes from the apostles and prophets.
- Pay attention to who “likes” your spiritual posts or shares. Some of these people may not be members and might like to hear more from you.
The website for hastening the work suggests that we focus on relationships and messages that bring us closer to Jesus Christ. We are asked to use the Spirit as we find ways to share the gospel online and to have courage to share our testimonies of the Savior when we feel prompted.
Elder Ballard asks us to “remember who we are – Latter-day Saints.”
Elder Bednar from Education week this year:
- Does what it impede or invite the Holy Ghost?
- Does it enlarge or restrict your capacity to live, to love and to serve in meaningful ways?
Share the Truth at Work in a Proud and Confident Way (Chapter 4 PEM)
Satan doesn’t want us to share the gospel at work, and he is the reason for the belief that it is politically incorrect to discuss religion. Remember that the Lord wants us to share the gospel whenever an opportunity presents itself.
You can be a missionary through word or through deed.
Brother Christensen said at work it can be distracting or disrupting to give out actual tangible items at work. He shares the gospel at work more easily by putting his beliefs in words online.
Using Mormon words in everyday conversation, [having a URL in your email signature, or having a picture of the temple on your desktop] can lead to conversations about the gospel, where you can direct a person to your website, or Mormon.org profile.
Most people believe in God and enjoy talking about religion.
If you are in a position at your work where you would train others, or give suggestions for improvements, you can use personal spiritual stories to illustrate your points. Brother Christensen talked about home teaching when discussion plans for employees. He also used stories from scriptures, or other spiritual experiences to help show the need for certain character traits, such as forgiveness. Finally, he made a point as a professor to teach with love. He would pray each day for his students to feel his love and God’s love for them when he taught.
Sometimes we get worried about discussing religion with scientists or academics, but it is important to remember that we are not opponents, but are on the same side. Sometimes Satan deceives, but God never said to avoid science and academics.
“Truth, from whatever source makes it known, helps us to become more like God.” Henry J Eyring
There is no science vs religion, just true verses false. There is no superiority or hierarchy of types of truth. However, truth can’t be inconsistent with truth. If two points disagree, one or both must be wrong or incomplete.
We should describe gospel principles as fact, just like we would with any scientific study.
President Hugh B Brown: “We don’t need to ‘defend’ the gospel in a military sense. Rather, we should do with religion as we do with music, not defend it but simply render it. It needs no defense.”
Hard question: Age of the earth/Evolution
“I remember when I was a college student there were great discussions on the question of organic evolution. I took classes in geology and biology and heard the whole story of Darwinism as it was then taught. I wondered about it. I thought much about it. But I did not let it throw me, for I read what the scriptures said about our origins and our relationship to God. Since then I have become acquainted with what to me is a far more important and wonderful kind of evolution. It is the evolution of men and women as the sons and daughters of God, and of our marvelous potential for growth as children of our Creator.” —President Gordon B. Hinckley, “God Hath Not Given Us the Spirit of Fear,” Ensign, Oct. 1984, 5.
______________________________________________________________________________________________1909 The Origin of Man, written by the First Presidency – Joseph F Smith was the prophet:
How Old Is the Earth?
Short answer: We don’t know because the scriptures don’t give enough information. The church takes no stance on this.
Long answer: There are three theories.
- If it took literally six days to create the earth, it is about 6000 years old. (not a common theory)
- If each day was really 1000 years (one day to the Lord being 1000 years), the earth is about 13,000 years old. (Many believe that the earth must be much older than this, but some scholars say that tremendous catastrophes in the earth’s history sped up the processes that would normally take thousands of years).
- The word day means era, or undetermined length of time. Each “day” could have lasted millions of human years. This theory can resolve inconsistencies with science and religion.
Do we know how the earth’s history as indicated from fossils fits with the earth’s history as the scriptures present it? – By Morris S. Petersen, professor of geology at BYU
- Among the life forms God created were apparently many species now extinct.
- Elder James E. Talmage, a geologist, wrote in theDeseret Newson 21 November 1931:
“Geologists say that these very simple forms of plant and animal bodies were succeeded by others more complicated; and in the indestructible record of the rocks they read the story of advancing life from the simple to the more complex, from the single-celled protozoan to the highest animals, from the marine algae to the advanced types of flowering plant—to the apple tree, the rose and the oak.”
- The sequence of the creation of life on earth as recorded in Genesis—first plants (Gen. 1:11–12), then animals (Gen. 1:20–23)—is duplicated in the fossil record: plant fossils precede the appearance of animal fossils. This agreement shouldn’t be surprising because the God who created this earth is the same God who inspired the prophets. A conflict arises only when we assume that God has revealed all he is going to reveal on the subject or forget that scientific theories change as new discoveries are made.
- The scriptures reveal why (not necessarily how) the earth was created, and what laws and principles a person must follow to obtain eternal life. The goal of science, on the other hand, is to learn how (not why) the world was made and to understand the laws and principles governing the physical world.
- The existence of [dinosaurs] is indisputable, for their remains have been found in rocks all over the earth. What eternal purpose they played in the creation and early history of the earth is unknown. We can only conclude, as Elder Talmage did, that “the whole series of chalk deposits and many of our deep-sea limestones contain the skeletal remains of animals. These lived and died, age after age, while the earth was yet unfit for human habitation.” (“The Earth and Man.”)
- A story published by the New York Tribune on 17 November 1873 relates a meeting in Salt Lake City between President Brigham Young and Professor O. C. Marsh of Yale University. Professor Marsh was one of the leading paleontologists of his time in America. His specialty, fossil horses, was the subject of the two men’s conversation. Brigham Young sought information concerning the occurrence of horse fossils, especially in America. His purpose was to answer critics who challenged the mention of horses on this continent in the Book of Mormon. Everybody knew, said the critics, that there were no horses in America until the Spaniards introduced them. Professor Marsh’s research of horse fossils, however, clearly established the presence of modern horses in America long before the appearance of Spanish people in America.
- Fortunately, we need not know all the details of the Creation to take advantage of the essential saving ordinances of the gospel and conform to divine standards of progression. The scriptures and the inspired counsel of the prophets are sufficient to lead us back to God. But this does not mean that science has no place in our eternal pursuit of truth. The more we learn of God’s handiwork, the more we come to know him and love his works.