Provided by Liz Jensen
Liz Jensen loves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She relished her time as a full-time missionary in Croatia. She considers her faith to be the most important part of her life.
Yet, a few years after returning home, the 29-year-old wife and mother of three was struggling when it came to discussing her faith. This troubled her.
"Why, after I've been talking about this for 18 months, is it not easier to talk about? Why am I not more natural?" Jensen said. "How can I be friends with people outside my faith like the Savior?"
Through a series of events and spiritual promptings, Jensen eventually found her solution on the Internet. Although it was intimidating at first, she became one of many church members to embrace blogging as a way of sharing beliefs and doing missionary work. LDS Church leaders have also promoted blogging as an effective way of using technology to join in conversations about the church.
"For me the prompting to share my faith online and to start a blog that was centered on faith and its everyday application was unmistakable," Jensen said. "I feel that God is being very active right now in pushing his work along, and it’s been my experience that if we ask him how we can use what we have to be a part of things, he’ll inspire us to know how to do so in a way that is the best fit for us individually."
From church leaders
For several years now, members of the LDS Church’s First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have spoken out more and more about using technology and all channels of communication — including blogs — as a way of spreading the gospel.
In a commencement address given at BYU-Hawaii in December 2007, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve said the Internet is the modern-day equivalent of the printing press and urged members to join in online conversations and explain the Restoration in simple and clear terms.
“You can see how important the right words are today. Words recorded on the Internet do not disappear. Any Google or Yahoo! search is going to find one’s words, probably for a very long time,” Elder Ballard said. “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 do not speak for the church as a whole. You speak as one member, but you testify of the truths you have come to know.”
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, offered a similar message in his April 2011 general conference address, “Waiting on the Road to Damascus.”
“With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before,” President Uchtdorf said. “My dear young friends, perhaps the Lord’s encouragement to ‘open (your) mouths’ might today include ‘use your hands’ to blog and text the message of the gospel to all the world all at the right time and the right place.”
Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve encouraged the overall use of social media in his April 2013 general conference remarks.
“For those using the Internet and mobile phones, there are new ways to invite others to ‘come and see,’” Elder Andersen said. “Let’s make sharing our faith online more a part of our daily life. LDS.org, Mormon.org, Facebook, Twitter — all provide opportunities.
In the LDS Church’s Worldwide Leadership broadcast, Elder L. Tom Perry, also of the Quorum of the Twelve, said technology would play a pivotal role in missionary work.
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