This is part 2 of a two-part article on hastening the work of salvation. Part 1 explained what is involved in hastening the work and part 2 describes ways that you can hasten the work by using online tools and social media.
Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles often speak about using technology and channels of communication to share the gospel.
In December 2007, Elder M. Russell Ballard gave a commencement address at BYU-Hawaii in which he encouraged members to use the Internet to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people around the world. He called the Internet the modern-day equivalent of the printing press and he urged members to join in online conversations to 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.”
“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.” (“Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet,” Ensign, July 2008, pp. 58-63)
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf offered a similar message in his April 2011 general conference address:
“Sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before. . . . 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!
“With the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard . . . around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.” (“Waiting on the Road to Damascus,” Ensign, May 2011, pp. 70-77)
In his Campus Education Week Devotional on August 20, 2013, Elder M. Russell Ballard said the following:
“From the beginning of time there have been articulate men and women who have had unusual powers of persuasion. Those with gifts of communication have always had great influence, but the influence of persuasive communicators has never been greater than it is today. Because of the Internet, and particularly the popularity and proliferation of social media—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and heaven only knows what else has become popular that I’m not aware of yet—anyone can talk to anyone about anything. Today anyone who is clever, articulate, and glib can find an audience and develop a following. Unfortunately, not everyone who has cultivated the ability to communicate uses their powers of expression to spread or teach truth. And not everyone has the help of the Holy Ghost to think straight.”
He then explained how to “think straight” about the basic doctrines of Christ and concluded with the admonition: “May God bless you to have the courage to study and to know the simple truths of the gospel and then to share them every chance you get.”
You can watch the video or read the text of this talk “Let Us Think Straight” at speeches.byu.edu.
In the June 2013 Worldwide Leadership broadcast, Elder L. Tom Perry said technology would play a pivotal role in missionary work.
“As missionaries enter this new age where they will use computers in the work of the Lord, we invite the young and the old, the adults, the young adults, the youth, and the children everywhere to join with us in this exciting new work by becoming Facebook friends with the missionaries in your area on your own computers and sharing their gospel messages online and by becoming involved in missionary work yourselves.”
In the April 2014 general conference, Brother Randall L. Ridd taught the following: “The divine purpose of technology is to hasten the work of salvation. As members of the choice generation, you understand technology. The Lord expects you to use these great tools to take His work to the next level, to share the gospel. You were chosen to participate in His work at this time.” (“The Choice Generation,” Ensign, May 2014, pp. 56-58)
In August 2014, at the BYU Campus Education Week, Elder David A. Bednar said, “The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fulness of times. Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and much more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father, His plan of happiness for His children, and His Son, Jesus Christ, as the Savior of the world; to proclaim the reality of the Restoration of the gospel in the latter days; and to accomplish the Lord’s work.”
Elder Bednar then stated, “Brothers and sisters, what has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning—but only a small trickle. I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.” (“To Sweep the Earth As With A Flood,” David A. Bednar, Campus Education Week, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, Aug. 19, 2014, bit.ly/LDS098)
Watch the video “What the Apostles Say About Sharing the Gospel Online.”
Why God inspires the invention of technology
Over the ages, prophets have taught that modern technologies are revealed to build the Kingdom of God.
In 1862, President Brigham Young taught: “Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind, has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it. It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan. We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 9:369, 31 Aug 1862)
Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “Now, do you think that these discoveries and inventions by…Edison, by Bell,…and by the other inventors and discoverers…have come just because these men have been sitting down and concentrating their minds upon these matters and have discovered them through their thought or accidentally? Not in the least, but the Spirit of the Lord, the Light of Christ, has been back of it, and has been impelling them to do these very things; and why? Because the time is here; it is ripe. We are ready for these discoveries, these inventions, and they all have a bearing upon the restoration of the gospel and preparation for the time which is yet future, but which is shortly to come, when Christ shall reign on the earth, and for a thousand years peace shall be established. That is what it is all for.” (Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 1. Compiled by Bruce R. McConkie. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1954, pp. 180-181)
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “I believe that the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse.” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, October 1974)
Elder Boyd K. Packer declared: “When the servants of the Lord determine to do as He commands, we move ahead. As we proceed, we are joined at the crossroads by those who have been prepared to help us. They come with skills and abilities precisely suited to our needs. And, we find provisions; information, inventions, help of various kinds, set along the way waiting for us to take them up. It is as though someone knew we would be traveling that way. We see the invisible hand of the Almighty providing for us. For instance, inventions in the fields of travel and communication have come along just as we were ready for them…The airplane did not come as an accidental discovery…Revelation was involved. It came precisely when we could use it to move across the world to restore the Gospel…When we are ready, there will be revealed whatever we need—we will find it waiting at the crossroads.” (Regional Representatives Seminar, April 1, 1977)
Elder Russell M. Nelson said: “We are blessed to be living in such an exciting gospel dispensation. God is inspiring the minds of great people to create inventions that further the work of the Lord in ways this world has never known.” (“Computerized Scriptures Now Available,” Ensign, April, 1988)
We are blessed to live in this remarkable age of miracles. God has inspired people to develop methods of communication that were only dreams just a few short years ago. It is hard to believe that the Internet has only been around for 20 years and social media for 10 years. Today, advances in technology are not measured in years, but in months and weeks.
Using technology to share the gospel
The Lord is hastening his work and expects members to step up the pace, open our mouths, and use our fingers to tell others about the happiness that comes through living the gospel.
A member of the Church writes:
Last April, President Uchtdorf’s talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus” inspired me to look for more ways to be a member missionary. In his talk, President Uchtdorf encouraged us to use our hands “to blog and text message the gospel to all the world.”
The easiest way for me to be a member missionary is through social networking. I know I am reaching people by the number of “likes” and comments I receive. Social networking also makes it easier for my friends to help me spread the gospel. The Internet provides a space for us all to engage in missionary work in powerful ways. I’m just beginning to see the potential.
You can have an influence for good in many direct and indirect ways. There are many things you can do in the normal course of your day to stand up for what you believe and share light with others.
Although we have a growing number of full-time missionaries in the Church, real growth in sharing the gospel will happen when all members take more seriously the Savior’s mandate to invite people to come to Him and when they begin to use all methods available to them to share that invitation.
In the April 2013 general conference, Elder Neil L. Andersen said, “For those using the Internet and mobile phones, there are new ways to invite others to ‘come and see.’ Let’s make sharing our faith online more a part of our daily life. LDS.org, Mormon.org, Facebook, Twitter—all provide opportunities.”
Smartphones and social media apps make it easy to stay connected with friends and family. However, along with sharing news, remember to share inspiring and uplifting messages. The Church and others provide lots of quotes, pictures, and videos that can inspire and uplift. A quote or scripture may be just the thing one of your friends needs to hear today. And when your friend shares that with another friend, the effects can be far-reaching.
Not all members understand or use these modern communication methods, but every member can share the gospel in his or her own way. Begin by using what you know. If you have a Facebook account, occasionally share a gospel-related message. Find a video you like and share it along with a personal message about why you like it. Talk about how the gospel guides your daily life. You may be amazed at how many people will find inspiration from your experiences.
Also, don’t be afraid to learn something new. Many blogs and how-to videos can teach you new things about the Internet, social media, and other methods of communication. For continuing ideas on how to use technology and social media to hasten the work, subscribe to my blog at LDSMediaTalk.com.
Watch the video “Why You Should be Part of the Mormon Conversation Online.”
To learn about easy, practical things you can do online, see the book 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online.
This is part 2 of a two-part article on hastening the work of salvation. Read part 1 to understand the various aspects of hastening the work.