Friday, July 4, 2008

Conversations in Cyberspace

"There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time." Elder M. Russell Ballard

Back in the day (as my son likes to say) these conversations took place face-to-face or through letters. When I was a teenager, we didn’t have the internet so we didn’t have MySpace, Facebook, Chatting or Instant Messaging. The opportunity to communicate has now exploded and boundaries that existed some years back no longer exist.

We live in a time when we can converse about the gospel in any number of ways and the opportunities to do so are limitless. Elder Ballard encourages us to use technology to further the message of the gospel and to share our own experiences with others. Blogging has become a popular way to share our lives worldwide.

While we now have access to sharing the gospel in ways we never imagined years ago, it is important to remember that no matter how we converse about the Church, we must always do so with the Spirit.

Some people are simply curious about our beliefs and only want the basic information. Others have a genuine interest in changing their lives and are eager to learn about the restored gospel. Either way, we must present our message in a non-offensive and non-confrontational way.

Missionaries have been cautioned to not participate in “bible-bashing” or trying to convince someone of the truth by finding specific scriptures. I’ve learned over the years that you can find, and then interpret, scriptures to justify almost any cause. It does no good to argue about scriptures because contention is the weapon of the devil and none of those who participate in such arguments are edified.

Some years ago, a couple of members of another church stopped by my home with the intention of teaching me their beliefs. The gentleman showed me scripture after scripture to prove his points. I let him share his scriptures and then told him that I was young and didn’t know all of the scriptures yet, but that I knew, in my heart, that what I believed was right. I’d had a witness from God. He couldn’t dispute that.

Nothing is more powerful than bearing our testimonies. We do need to keep in mind though, as we use technology to teach others about the gospel, that we should always do it in the way the Savior would. We should be willing to answer questions and share our experiences, but never become embroiled in an argument, even in cyberspace. The Lord has blessed us with technology and if we use it correctly, we can spread the gospel in ways we’d never even imagined and change lives one conversation at a time.

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Shirley Bahlmann said...

And thank you for leaving a comment on my son, Michael's, new blog. He was sooo excited!
I'm adding your link to my blog. Happy writing!

Candace E. Salima said...

Excellent advice, Rebecca. Both from Elder Nelson and to remember that bearing our testimonies carries great power.

Josi said...

I bore my testimony today in church; I'm always so nervous and it annoys me, I shouldn't be nervous at all, but I always am, and then I critique myself and what I said and didn't say and should have said. I appreciate the reminder that I did the right thing and because of that it might be easier next time. said...

hi rebecca ~ beautiful post. well done. i have loved writing my "so grateful.." blog. this has and continues to be such a tremendous experience to journal and share.

and i was so pleased when i came up with my blog/computer ID name. some people have come to see me first because they were so intrigued by the name so grateful to be Mormon. i don't care if it sounds corny to some. it means something to me and i wanted anyone who clicked on me to know what matters to me.

great post again. enjoy, kathleen :)