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Sharing the Gospel Online
Joining the online conversation about the Mormon faith
Joining the online conversation about the Mormon faith

Sharing the Gospel Online's posts

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There are a lot of different ways to define what it means to be "Christian." But I consider myself a Christian in the best sense of the word, and I want others to know it: following Jesus Christ is more than just something I say I do--it's something that makes up who I am.

I've participated in the ever-growing #LDSconf community for years now on Twitter. We tweet thoughts, insights, links, and favorite quotes throughout General Conference. I've posted before about the pros and cons of tweeting during General Conference, but there is one huge upside I want to mention specifically here: member missionary work.

When the Twitter stream is overflowing with #LDSconf hashtag, heads start to turn: "what are all these Mormons talking about?" Let's build on that opportunity: this weekend as we watch General Conference, let's also use the hashtag #Christian to discuss teachings that help us understand and draw closer to the Savior. 

As we reach out to our Christian sisters and brothers, joining them in meaningful worship of the Savior by sharing His words and teachings, we will be able to tell our own stories (rather than waiting for others to tell them for us), and we'll start gospel conversations all over the internet.

(all links are active on the blog)

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Post by +Reed Davis about the fear of confrontation in missionary work:

This is my first of several posts which will address common obstacles that prevent us from doing missionary work. I believe almost everybody is scared of confrontation. I know I used to feel this but do not anymore and I wondered why. I realized that I used to think it was my job as a member missionary to convince my friends that my way was right. The issue was that I was not truly bearing my testimony as I was missing a key part of the formula. I re-wrote the formula to state the following;

You are not trying to convince them that your way is right; you are only sharing what you believe and why. If you still fear, it is because you do not yet know how to explain why you believe what you believe. So start with why you believe and work your way forward.

Explain to yourself or a friend why you believe the church is true and why you believe the key doctrines are correct. Can you do it in a clear and understandable way? Can you do it without doubt? If not, dive deeper into your thoughts and studies and work with God to more fully convert yourself to those things. As you do this, you will find your ability to do member missionary work will increase and you will no longer fear confrontation because you cannot deny the powerful confirmation of the spirit. Remember that no matter how smart somebody is, they can never take those feelings away from you.

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It's pretty safe to bet that a high percentage (95%?) of members of the Church don't feel like they are successful member missionaries. We want to share the Gospel, we really do! But we don't.

Part of the reason we don't share the gospel is that our definition of "success" is off. We're shooting at a target that is too often impossible to hit. We have two choices. We can either stop trying (we miss every time anyway!) or we can take a closer look at the target we've been aiming for. It seems that most of us define the goal of member missionary work to be 1) bring a friend/neighbor to church; 2) find someone for the missionaries to teach; or 3) lead a friend/neighbor to baptism.

Now, don't get us wrong. All three are important and worthy goals. But while they all require our efforts, each is ultimately dependent on someone else's agency. We'll never force anyone to come to Church against their will, and we wouldn't want to. So none of these three things is a good target to shoot for--none of them defines what a "successful" member missionary is.

Here's one definition of success, one that moves the target back into the realm of things we have control over. Shooting at a target that is impossible to hit is no fun anyway.

A successful member missionary is one who has gospel conversations with friends, relatives, and neighbors and extends them invitations as directed by the Spirit.

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Share Alert!! This is probably the biggest news interview for our Church since Mike Wallace interviewed President Hinckley. I am going to post this to my FB wall and Google+ profiles today, and I hope you'll join me. Let's get our friends watching this, it should be interesting:

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This week, the church will open up on network television's biggest stage about the subject of heaven.

The church dispatched Elder William R. Walker, a general authority who oversees the temple department, to New York City for a historic sit-down interview with Barbara Walters at the Manhattan Temple site last month. The interview will be part of a two-hour special titled "Heaven: Where is it? How do we get there?" that will air on ABC stations throughout the country Friday night at 8 p.m. MDT.

The "Heaven" special originally aired back in December 2005 and featured interviews with religious leaders from virtually all of the leading world religions. But the LDS Church was not among those featured.

With nine out of 10 Americans claiming to believe in heaven, the show was one of the most-watched programs in the history of network television.

"We felt the program was so good and so strong we wanted to rerun it," Walters said. "And with Gov. Romney running for president, we felt it was very important to include the Mormon point of view this time."
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Click on the link for the rest of the article and a short video trailer of the interview.

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We're called the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. That last word there might mislead people, though. We don't believe we're "saints" as in "Saint John" or "Saintly"--we aren't calling ourselves awesomely faithful and worthy of having cities named after us.

Nope, for us, the word "saint" means something different. It means we believe we've made a deal with Jesus Christ where He'll cover for our mistakes if we promise to join His team. Since we're on his team, we're known as "saints," not because we're awesome, but because that's what the team is called.

"Those who know don’t talk. And those who talk don’t know." -Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Ginsburg said this to reporters wondering about the Court's soon-to-be-released ruling on the Affordable Care Act, but it got me thinking. Up until now, the same could very well be said about too many members of our Church, couldn't it? Those who understand the ins and outs of the Church don't talk, while those who misunderstand the Church are not afraid to share with the world?

Fortunately, things have recently started to change, especially as we more fully catch the vision of sharing the gospel online.

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One thing that keeps this blog going is the potential for missionary work that takes advantage of social media. We should blog, tweet, post, pin, tumbl, and/or email interesting and provocative Mormon-related news articles and opinions. The media have been quite sincere in their portrayals of the Church (for the most part--there are always outliers), but even with their sincerity they sometimes get things wrong. 

And the folks in the comment threads almost always get things wrong :)

So, if someone makes a claim about the Church that just doesn't sound right, where can you go? Here are a few useful resources we recommend wholeheartedly: (list of hyperlinks on the blog)

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This is most likely the world's first Word of Wisdom-inspired meme. And it's a big one, inspired by a Mormon turning down a drink:

[Think of this like a digital pass-along card....]

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We will always be the overeager twentysomethings with a nametag until we start telling our own stories, and social media is the perfect place to share our personal stories about our faith.
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