King, with his wife, Michelle, recently returned from serving as mission president of the Georgia Atlanta North Mission. He described how going door-to-door is less effective because there are gated communities that don’t allow missionaries, and when missionaries can reach the door, people are rarely home. When they are at home, they don’t want to be bothered. Missionaries can’t call on the phone because people don’t answer their phones, they text, he said. The way into homes and hearts can be through tools like Mormon.org, videos, electronic devices and conversations. People can also learn more about the church by visiting a new website, Mormontopics.org.
“In my opinion, missionary work still comes down to us preaching the gospel the same way the Savior did, with the Holy Ghost,” King said. “You find that soft spot in their heart by using tools like Mormon.org.”
Wilson shared some statistics that illustrate the church’s effort to use the Internet and social media to accomplish missionary work.
The church’s Facebook page has 835,000 fans. Its potential Facebook reach is 115 million (fans and friends).
The church’s Youtube channel has 19,000 subscriptions and 30 million video views.
The church’s Twitter account has 21,000 followers.
The church’s GooglePlus +1 account lists 3,700 friends.
In the past 12 months, Mormon.org reports:
110,000 member profiles.
15 million visitors.
640,000 chats with missionaries.
46 million page views.
Profiles in 20 different languages.
"Social media is today’s town square,” Wilson said. “So we try to use those platforms to help people find content about members of the church, wherever they are comfortable, so they can share with friends or talk with people. Our goal is to get as many tools to members of the church as we can to spread the gospel.”
When asked if the “Mormon Moment” will continue, the panel agreed that only time will tell. The missionary department and Bonneville Communications will continue to look for ways to improve Mormon.org. The panel encouraged members to have the courage to “engage” in conversations through social media.
“Church members need to reframe how youthey think about missionary work,” Burton said. “Be willing to speak up and share your thoughts and engage in a conversation.”
Wilson added a suggestion of his own.
“If someone asks you a question and you don’t know, have the courage to say, ‘I don’t know, but I’ll find out for you, or I’ll send you where you can learn about it.’ No one knows everything,” Wilson said. “Just be yourself, share in whatever way feels most comfortable to you.”
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