Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles over the next few weeks exploring the world of LDS blogging.
In the April 2013 general conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve shared the story of how the Cambridge Massachusetts Stake in Boston turned to online resources in order to share the gospel.
During his conference address, Elder Andersen quoted one of the youths participants as saying: "This isn’t missionary work. This is missionary fun." The phrase has since circulated on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media sites.
Elder Andersen used this quote as he addressed the importance of Latter-day Saints being open to sharing their beliefs with others. He encouraged members to share their faith online and via Facebook, Twitter and other social formats.
In 2009, Elder M. Russell Ballard visited the Cambridge Massachusetts Stake in Boston with Elder Clayton M. Christensen, an Area Seventy, for a young single adult education meeting, as recounted in Elder Christensen's book "The Power of Everyday Missionaries." The topic was finding creative ways to share the gospel online.
"In response, we established a 'digital mission' through which we could learn how to do this," Christensen writes.
Since then, four blogs have been created. Volunteers, as well as "called" church members, have dedicated some of their time to create blog posts answering frequently asked questions about the church. Both the Massachusetts Boston Mission president and a members of Area Seventy have been involved in the project.
Reed Davis, 31, who served a full-time mission in the Brazil Belem Mission, joined the forces and has led the initiative for the past year.
"You have people who are searching online about Mormons or who are interested in Mormons, and Mormon.org is the place for those questions," Davis said. "But you have millions and millions of people looking for the truth but they know not where to find it, for those deep questions like, 'What is death?' and 'Why am I here?’ ”
Davis explained that members are providing information online for those who are exploring such questions but not a specific organized religion.
"If you draw those questions out, it's not instant conversion, but you can have a deep doctrinal discussion with them about those questions," Davis said.
The project is called the Boston Digital Mission, though it's not actually an official LDS Church mission. Those involved currently run four blogs: Mormon Perspectives at www.mormonperspectives.com, a place for discussing current events; Next Door Mormon at www.nextdoormormon.com, where members share personal, faith-building stories; Real Life Answers at www.reallifeanswers.org, a question-and-answer format regarding life questions; and Young and Mormon at www.youngandmormon.com, a place for youths to share their beliefs online.
"It's where the future of sharing the gospel is," Davis said. "You can reach your friends in a comfortable way, you can reach nonmembers. For some reason people are really comfortable sharing deep, dark personal experiences online than they would in face-to-face conversation, which is really weird but it's the virtual reality."
Davis has also found several opportunities to reach out and invite those of other faiths to serve and participate. Before each blog post in published, each contributor asks someone of another faith to review their post.
- LDS dad among finalists for Doritos Super...
- Book review: Young widow's memoir presents a...
- LDS mission president's wife dies
- At BYU, Catholic archbishop seeks friends,...
- Faith, friends and football: Stanford...
- Does Colorado baker's anti-gay marriage cake...
- Family motto helps LDS couple put parenting...
- LDS missionary collapses, dies during ward...
- Does Colorado baker's anti-gay marriage... 33
- At BYU, Catholic archbishop seeks... 29
- Hamblin & Peterson: Bible wars among... 22
- Defending the Faith: A tribute to... 15
- LDS mission president's wife dies 15
- Why the world needs rich Christians 13
- Religious response to postponed... 11
- Faith, friends and football: Stanford... 9