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LDS Social Media Presentations and Best Resources for Sharing the Gospel Online

With two of my beautiful daughters
Presenting at the 2014 BYU Women's Conference on the topic of sharing the gospel via social media will no doubt be a highlight journal entry when I someday write my personal history. Not because I feel like in doing so it was some great personal achievement; no, quite the contrary. Rather, because it was so far-fetched that someone like me, an ordinary member of the Church, who happens to enjoy sharing the gospel online was invited to do so. I consider this privilege a great testimony of how the Lord uses the weak things of the world to accomplish His great work. I am continually a humble witness of this principle of power!



For quite sometime (not sure why I've waited so long?) I've been wanting to share with anyone interested the audio from my BYU presentation and a little slide show I put together after the conference, with some notes to go along with it. I'm doing this for two reasons, 1) To journal my presentation so I have a record of what I taught, and 2) In hopes that it might be instructive to those who want to learn how to share the gospel online and hear my personal story.


There are a few standout 'lessons' that have come to me, very personally, as a result of having this experience of being invited to speak at Women's Conference, and that I hope to share, someday. But for now I'll keep those to myself. (Although you'll get a hint of what I'm referring to in the audio of my presentation.)



Social Media:The Lord's Power Tool



Slide Presentation: Social Media: The Lord's Power Tool



Social Media: The Lord's Power Tool - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires



I tend to be one who when given specific counsel with a promise, according to personal obedience, enjoys claiming it. That was my experience in accepting, preparing and then finally presenting at Women's Conference -- stress and all! And I would be a liar if I said it wasn't a very intimidating experience for me. As opinionated and passionate as I am about the gospel, and love teaching it, I am not a seeker of the limelight, at all.



Getting up in front of over 1800 faithful LDS women to speak about social media, of all things, was a daunting thought when invited. I was sure that maybe 20 might attend such a class. But I was wrong, the house was packed. And of course, it didn't hurt one bit that my co-presenter was the inspiring Stephanie Nielsen of the NieNie Dialogue blog! What a sweetheart to meet her and to feel of her kind and passionate spirit of which we both share a passion: sharing the gospel online through blogging.

Since Women's Conference, members have had more training from LDS leaders on the use of social media and the Internet when Elder David A. Bednar gave a landmark address during the 2014 Education Week. I was fortunate (or rather blessed) to be in attendance during that devotional and to feel the power of the Spirit testify to me of the importance of this modern technology to flood the earth with the gospel of Jesus Christ -- and my part in that great movement. (And yours, too) Such an exciting time to be alive!


For a multi-stake training I was asked to do, I put together this slideshow to highlight specific points of Elder Bednar's address:



Slide Presentation: To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood
(Presented at a multi-stake social media training in Southern California)



To Sweep the Earth As With a Flood - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

(You can download slide show and access my notes here: https://www.haikudeck.com/to-sweep-the-earth-as-with-a-flood-inspiration-presentation-cjs9bnCYz6#)


And because I didn't get my little slideshow published prior to Elder Bednar's address, it has given me the opportunity to update my social media presentation with some of his counsel that I shared in the above training -- good news for all of us. I was compelled to do this because I have been invited to give a workshop on social media for my own stake Women's Conference and needed to combine the two sources for a complete presentation -- a perfect opportunity to bring it all together!



Slide Presentation: Using Social Media to Spread the Gospel
(Presented at the Murrieta Stake Women's Conference, February 28, 2015)


Spreading the Gospel Through Social Media - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires



Also included in this blog post, are some of what I believe are the most important online resources for helping us as members share the gospel online via social media. I hope you find this post helpful and feel my passion for this important facet of what I have felt compelled to spend my time and talents doing, online, for a good eight years now.

tDMg


Kathryn Skaggs


Note: I apologize for the formatting below. I will see what I can do to fix this ASAP. Thanks.



Some of the Best Resources for Sharing the Gospel Online:

Elder David A Bednar: To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood Video and text: https://www.lds.org/prophets-and-apostles/unto-all-the-world/to-sweep-the-earth-as-with-a-flood?lang=eng




Hastening the Work website: 
LDS.ORG: HASTENING THE WORK OF SALVATION
List of Official SOCIAL MEDIA Accounts for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: 
Using Media for Sharing the Gospel
MORMON NEWSROOM: http://mormonnewsroom.org
My ‘go-to’ LDS news source for what’s happening in the Church, official positions of the Church, and excellent commentary on a variety of topics: social, political and doctrinal.
See: Church Has Strong Presence on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter
AN INTRODUCTION TO RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
HELPFUL VIDEOS TO HELP YOU CATCH THE VISION OF ONLINE MISSIONARY WORK:
Special Broadcast: The Work of Salvation
"Ward and stake council members, their spouses, full-time missionaries, and other interested Church members gather to learn from prophets and apostles how to better participate in the work of salvation. In a special broadcast, President Thomas S. Monson and members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles share messages about how each of us can see ourselves in the work."
Mormon Channel Video: Sharing Your Faith Online
“This clip features a discussion with Elisa Scharton, Ron Wilson and Lyman Kirkland about how the Church is working to create content [a.k.a. social media) that's shareable on sites such as Mormon.org, Mormon Newsroom and others.”
Video: Spencer W. Kimball: Go Ye Into All the World (Referenced in my Women’s Conference presentation — a must watch!)
Also the text, slightly different, of this same prophetic, regional presentation he gave shortly after surprisingly found himself Prophet of the Church: https://www.lds.org/ensign/1974/10/when-the-world-will-be-converted?lang=eng
Video: Elder Russell M. Ballard: Be Still, and Know that I Am
Video: Elder Tad R. Callister: What is the Blueprint of Christ’s Church
Video: The History of Mormonism
MORMON.ORG: Website for Investigators: http://mormon.org
Create a Mormon.org Profile: Your personal URL is the new online pass-along ‘card’ to invite investigators to ‘come and see’: http://www.mormon.org/create
Chat with Mormon Missionaries link: http://www.mormon.org/chat
Meet With the Missionaries: (Set up appointment to meet with local missionaries) http://www.mormon.org/missionaries
Resources on my personal blog: A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman
Helpful Talks and Commentary: Engaging With Those Who Want to Debate or Advocate Their Interpretation of Facts
Role of Women in the Latter-days:
Books I Recommend:
Request Free Book of Mormon link: http://www.mormon.org/free-book-of-mormon 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online by Larry Richman 
The Power of Everyday Missionaries: Clayton M. Christensen
Clay Christensen: “A while ago my friends and I decided to search the Doctrine and Covenants for blessings that the Lord promised to those who accept the call that God has given each of us to be missionaries. Some of the promises the Lord has made to those he calls to preach the gospel relate to the power and strength they will receive as they do so:"
•   None shall stay you (1:5).
•   You shall receive strength such as is not known among men (24:12).
•   I myself will go with you and be in your midst. Nothing shall prevail against you (32:3).
•   Power shall rest upon you. I will be with you, and go before your face (39:12).
•   Your enemies will not have power over you (44:5).
•   The Lord will stand by you (68:6).
•   No weapon formed against you shall prosper (71:9).
•   I will uphold you (93:51).
•   The gates of hell shall not prevail against you (17:8).
•   You shall have power to declare my word (99:2).
•   Your tongue shall be loosed, and you will have the power of God unto the convincing of men (11:21).
•   Your mouth shall be filled and you shall become even as Nephi of old (33:8).
•   You will not be confounded. It shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man (84:85; 100: 5)
•   Your words shall be scripture; shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, and shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation (68:4).
•   Your arm will be God's arm. He will be your shield and buckler; He will gird up your loins; and put your enemies under your feet (35:14).
Other blessings the Lord has promised to those who share the gospel relate to personal purity and increased faith:
•   You shall stand blameless before God (4:2).
•   You shall be lifted up at the last day (17:8).
•   You will be given a testimony of the words of the prophets (21:9).
•   You shall have revelations (28:8).
•   Your sins will be forgiven (31:5; 36:1; 60:7; 62:3; 84:61).
•   You shall have great faith. (39:12).
•   You will be able to keep God's laws (44:5).
•   The Lord will make you holy (60:7).
Still other blessings for those who engage in missionary work pertain to happiness, health and prosperity:
•   You shall have blessings greater than the treasures of earth (19:37-38).
•   Your back shall be laden with sheaves (31:5; 33:9).
•   I will take care of your flocks (88:72).
•   Your family shall live (31:5).
•   The Lord will prepare a place for your family (31:6); will provide for them; and open an effectual door for them from henceforth (118:3).
•   You shall not be weary in mind, ... neither in body, limb nor joint ... and you shall not go hungry, neither athirst (84:80)
•   A hair from your head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed (84:80, 116).
•   Your joy shall be great (18:14-15).
•   I will bear you up as on eagles' wings; and you shall beget glory and honor to yourself and unto the Lord's name (124:18).
And perhaps most extraordinary of all, He has promised to fill us and our work with the Holy Ghost:
•   I will send upon you the Comforter, which shall teach you the truth and the way whither you shall go (79:2).
•   The Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record of all things, whatsoever ye shall say (100:8).
•   I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left; my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up. (84:88).
Source: http://devotional.byuh.edu/media110419
Speech given at Brigham Young University-Hawaii
April 19, 2011
Clayton Christensen 
Professor, Harvard Business School

Some of my personal thoughts about using social media to share the gospel --  coupled with what other have shared with me:
Positive communication and interactions with others online demands mutual respect. We may not always agree with each other’s perspective, opinions and/or beliefs, but we must respect the other person’s space to hold these differences and share them publicly -- and we expect the same courtesy in return.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the very gate to man’s eternal freedom and happiness. It is the “Way” by which we can be reconciled with our God and return back into His presence—not alone, but with our families; forever! It is the hope by which we have faith that we will see loved one’s now parted from this life, with a surety that all will rise from the dead -- and live again!
Because of limited time, Mormons tend to interact with members almost exclusively and so we need to actively LOOK for ways to share the gospel with others. One way to widen our circle of friends is through social networking. In this way we can increase the opportunities for having these gospel related conversations with those not of our faith. 
What interests do you enjoy not necessarily church relate, such as reading, traveling, photography, writing, interior design, fashion and beauty, cooking, health and fitness, hiking, painting, parenting, sewing, crafts, camping, etc. There are online groups you can join to help you connect with others who share these same passions — Google it! 
1-The Church needs you! Every one can make a difference, no matter how "tech savvy" you think you are - or not.
2-Don't be overwhelmed. Take one small step at a time. If you don't understand social networks, talk to your kids, grandkids, or someone in your ward. Resources are available.
3-You decide how overtly religious you want to be in sharing the Gospel. Make it a matter of prayer. Seek the guidance of the Spirit. Some people are very comfortable being direct, while others prefer to be more subdued and take a different cadence. Again, take it at your pace, but doing a little something is better than nothing at all.
4-The Church provides a lot of good content. But so do volunteers who create memes, videos, and other shareable content. Share content and express yourself in a way that you feel comfortable.
5-Create your own content (if you want). Just because the Church produces it doesn't mean that is all you can share. Be anxiously engaged (D&C 58:27) and the Lord will bless you and your efforts.
MOST IMPORTANT: Do something! If even 10% of members got involved and shared one piece of content, our numbers would blow up. The Church is getting less “prescriptive” so create content you enjoy sharing.
It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends.

John Dehlin Excommunicated for Severe Amnesia Problem

And now, ladies and gentlemen… if I could direct your full attention to the center ring of the “Dehlinite” circus, where John himself proudly announces via national media and public radio the results of his LDS Church disciplinary council:  Excommunicated for apostasy!

Duh.

And this, from his sidekick, Peggy Stack, of the Salt LakeTribune:





"The official charge against the founder of the "Mormon Stories" podcast was "conduct contrary to the laws and order of the church," but the letter from Dehlin's North Logan LDS stake president, Bryan King, called it "apostasy" and cited evidence for the unanimous decision:

Margaret Blair Young: As Sisters in Zion

"God be with you till we meet again..."
Guest Post by Margaret Blair Young

My father is a linguist, and so I have spent all of my life exposed to different words and sounds. When other families went to Disneyland, we went to Guatemala.  Inevitably, I learned a couple of languages, and then incomprehensible sounds which could not possibly make sense suddenly did.  Then I could pick up a string of words, and finally the thought.  I revert to Spanish if my father, who can’t hear well, indicates that he didn’t understand me.  Some extra hearing comes to him when I use that language.

One of his last joys (his life is winding down, though he is still with us) is in helping me prepare to go to Africa.  

Dad traveled throughout the world during his eighty-four years.  His patriarchal blessing told him that he’d be “an ambassador for the Lord in many lands.”  And so he has been.  He is fluent in all fo the romance languages, Chinese, Finnish, Russian, and more dialects than you likely have never heard of.  I have seen him converse with native Mayans, native Chinese, native Russians, etc.  He does it in their language.  I remember so well the moment when our whole family was in Patzicia, Guatemala and Dad was speaking in sacrament meeting.  All of those present were fluent in the dialect, Cakchiquel, but only a few were truly fluent in Spanish.  Dad started in Spanish and then said, “And now, if you’ll excuse me, I would like to speak in Cakchiquel.”

Ganel-Lyn Condie: LDS Women are Not Perfect But We Trust Our God

Guest Post by Ganel-Lyn Condie

Today, I read a public statement from someone that is no longer a member of the LDS church. She said this of current members of the church "only the least talented, least articulate, least nuanced thinkers, least likely to take a stand against abuse, and the least courageous people thrive in the Church today.” THIS IS NOT MY TRUTH!

For evidence, I offer a book that I have worked on for over 3 years. I Can Do Hard Things with God, is an anthology of women that are SMART, articulate, VERY HIGHLY EDUCATED, dedicated, BRAVE, courageous THINKERS. The women profiled aren't perfect but we trust our God, we sustain a Prophet, we live our faith EVEN when things are HARD, very HARD. This book is a small sample of LDS women. I know that many, MANY non-Mormon readers have already bought the book. I pray those that are Mormon, Muslim, Jew and Catholic, and non-LDS everywhere will read these few personal stories and see that the belittling statements of a few do not represent the intelligence I see all around me in the lives of the members of the Mormon faith.

Is Mormonism declining in the 21st Century among educated Americans?

Guest Post: By Michael Terence Worley

Recently a number of people have claimed The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is struggling.  A common recitation of the claim is that once members learn about certain facts about the faith, gain “thinking skills,” or learn about the Church’s positions on social-political issues they will leave.  For instance, a noted critic of Mormon teachings on women, Kate Kelly, said recently: “The Mormon faith has become a place that incentivizes the survival of the least fit. … [O]nly the least talented, least articulate, least nuanced thinkers, least likely to take a stand against abuse, and the least courageous people thrive in the Church today.”


This claim is frequently repeated in a variety of ways. But what do the statistics show? Are the more learned Latter-day Saints leaving the religion of their childhood while the less educated remain affiliated with the Latter-day Saint faith? By and large, not so. Let me explain.

The Pew Research Center has released a 2011 study stating in part:

“Mormons who have graduated from college display the highest levels of religious commitment (84%) followed by those with some college education (75%). Mormons with a high school education or less exhibit substantially lower levels of religious commitment (50% score high on the scale) than their more highly educated counterparts.”

This shows that whether or not the church is growing or shrinking as a whole, its shrinking isn’t coming from the most educated. In fact, it seems the more education one has, the more likely they are to be a faithful Latter-day Saint.  While some educated latter-day Saints some do leave, many conversations are taking place about how to help deal with such issues. More importantly, the data is showing many more educated Latter-day Saints stay than leave.

LDS Apostate Says Only Dummies Thrive in Mormonism

In a recent post by Kate Kelly, (excommunicated by the LDS Church for blatant apostasy) she feebly attempts to defend John Dehlin (who stands to also be excommunicated) by trying to offend faithful Mormons for keeping temple covenants, suggesting that the Church is losing control of its membership.

According to Kelly, “The Mormon faith has become a place that incentivizes the survival of the least fit. Since strict obedience is demanded and harshly enforced, only the least talented, least articulate, least nuanced thinkers, least likely to take a stand against abuse, and the least courageous people thrive in the Church today.”

Interpreted what she actually means to say is that, because the Mormon faith is a place where the faithful gather to make and keep sacred covenants with God, members considered in good standing (by choice) don’t use their time and talents to undermine and advocate contrary to the teachings and counsel of living prophets.

Rather, faithful Mormons boldly live their religion in the face of relentless accusations suggesting that to uphold the commandments of God is un-Christian, weak, and judgmental and will land them on the wrong side of history!

I’m not sure what Kelly hopes to gain by trying to insult the general membership of the Church, but I can assure you that most members will see it as just sad. And seeing as how similar ploys didn’t work for her, I seriously doubt that more public shaming of the Church (or us) will change anything about another’s Church discipline.

Kelly may have a law degree, which she feels makes her smarter and more qualified than many of us to… what? Oh yeah, to advocate publicly contrary to leaders of the Church – or God. But as for me, I much prefer to exercise willing obedience and use my God-given talents to stand for what I believe and with those whom the Lord has called to lead His Church.

And in the process, if I’m considered among “the least talented, least articulate, least nuanced thinkers... " I’ll continue to consider it a ‘badge of honor’ and count myself among the likes of many of you and those who have gone before us valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ.

tDMg

Kathryn Skaggs

You might also enjoy reading these other responses: 

Is Mormonism declining in the 21st Century among educated Americans? by Michael Terence Worley

LDS Women are Not Perfect But We Trust Our God by Ganel-Lyn Condie