Feb 23, 2014

Social Media: This is Sharing the Gospel. This is Hastening the Work. (Stake Conference talk)

Yesterday, I was blessed with the opportunity to speak in the Roswell Stake Conference.  (A stake is a regional group of congregations)  I was pretty nervous up to the moment I finished my talk.  However, after I sat down, it really hit me.  What an honor it was to be asked to speak to these wonderful people of Eastern New Mexico and share with them a message which hopefully brought the spirit with it and helped them in their quest to hasten the work.  I felt even more blessed to have my father along my friends Keri Estavillo and Susan Pierce accompany me all the way to Roswell to support me in this endeavor.

Keri, me, and Susan after an inspirational Stake Conference
As I spoke, I could see so many familiar faces from my very own Clovis Ward (A ward is a congregation) supporting me as well.  I also know many of my friends at home were watching via the broadcast.  I'm thankful to everyone who supported me as I prepared my talk and gave me the courage to speak in front of so many enlightening people.

My amazing visiting teacher, Cambria, drove out to see me speak!
Here is the transcript of my talk for any who missed me speak, or for any who want to read this message.  I hope that it will motivate and assist you in your missionary efforts.

My name on the program!
 Social Media:  This is Sharing the Gospel.  This is Hastening the Work.
Talk in Roswell Stake Conference, Saturday February 22, 2014, 6:30pm


Sharing the Gospel doesn’t have to be hard.  It doesn’t always have to be some grand gesture or huge step out of your comfort zone.  It can be as easy as tweaking something you are already doing.  This really hit home to me during conference when we were exhorted to share the gospel and help in the hastening of the work. The following quote by Elder Nielson was the push I needed to start doing my part in this critical work, “We each must develop and carry out our own personal game plan to serve with enthusiasm alongside the full-time missionaries.”

I like social media.  I’ve spent entirely too much time mastering Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter so, I thought why not use that seemingly frivolous skill to the Lord’s advantage as my own personal game plan in spreading His word. Using baby steps, I first decided to participate in November’s 30 days of gratitude on Facebook.  All this required was one post daily highlighting something I’m thankful for.   Many of my thanksgiving posts were specific about the people in my life, and many were dedicated to specific blessings I’ve received from having the gospel in my life.  They weren’t long posts, and they weren’t extravagant posts.  They were simple and meaningful, really just the basic “I’m thankful for my new calling to serve in the church.  I’m thankful for the temple covenants and ordinances that make us an eternal family.” This is sharing the gospel.  This is hastening the work.

Immediately after conference, online posters containing favorite quotes from conference sprung up all over the internet.  I pinned a few to a board on Pinterest and I shared many of them via Twitter and Facebook.  The next time I checked my social media outlets, I saw many “likes” “shares” “favorites” and “pins” of those very same quotes by both member and non-member friends alike.  I’ll bet some of those friends have no clue that the people saying those quotes are latter-day prophets of the Lord.  They probably think the quote is inspirational or looks neat.  No matter the reason, they are taking the gospel message, heeding it, and helping to spread the Lord’s words to their friends. How easy this was to just click a button and watch the work of salvation move forward.   This is sharing the gospel.  This is hastening the work.

The beginning of this year, I achieved my life-long goal of going through the temple to receive my own endowments.  This wasn’t without preparation.  With my heart full of excitement and anticipation for this day, I kept my Facebook friends apprised of my progress up to and through that glorious day.  Many of my friends and family members had questions for me regarding different aspects of this journey ranging  from “What is a temple?” to “What goes on inside the temple?” and “What did you have to do to go to the temple?”  With all these questions, many of them identical just from different people, I wanted to make sure I answered them appropriately in a way to help them understand the magnitude of this endeavor and its eternal repercussions.  I desired to give them a solid and accurate picture of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that led me to this point.  Instead of answering each question to each individual repeatedly, where I would risk rushed responses, I decided to start a blog I could direct them toward, which would answer these and many more questions.  Thus began my blog, therunningmormon.com.

Here I write mostly about my family home evening experiences, the gospel in my own life, and my interests—mainly running.  My blog is meant to be shared to help those who read it grow their own testimonies and educate them in what a real Mormon is.  Now, writing a blog takes a bit more time, effort, and planning than updating a Facebook post, but you can include so much more information in this journal-type setting.  Lds.org gives wonderful suggestions on sharing the gospel online.  The best advice it offers is just to: post about your day-to-day life and your interests, share experiences at church or family home evening, share inspiring words, and update often.  This is sharing the gospel.  This is hastening the work.
Each one of these outlets offers a no pressure environment, not only for you to share the gospel, but for readers to learn about the church.  Those who’ve maybe had long-time questions, but not felt comfortable talking to someone about them, now have a forum where they can have those questions answered in a fashion best suited to them.  Maybe this will lead them to talking to missionaries or coming to church in the future.  Maybe it won’t.  But either way, they will have benefited from the information they were able to glean from your efforts and hopefully their testimony of Jesus Christ will have grown.

Notwithstanding, the best action you can take to start sharing the gospel yourself is simply to pray.  As Elder Ballard said, “The key is that you be inspired of God, that you ask Him for direction and then go and do as the Spirit prompts you.”  It’s okay to come to our Father in Heaven in prayer to ask Him what He would have us share today, and to ask how He would have us share that message.  Before I write a post, I pray and ask for His guidance so I will write the words that will most benefit my readers.  As I look back over past blogs, I notice a distinct difference between posts from my own mind and posts inspired by the Holy Ghost.  Ask, and He will guide you.  Ask, and He will give you strength.

President Uchtdorf said, “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 message 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.”

The current prophet, President Monson said, “Now is the time for members and missionaries to come together [and] labor in the Lord’s vineyard to bring souls unto Him. He has prepared the means for us to share the gospel in a multitude of ways, and He will assist us in our labors if we will act in faith to fulfill His work”

I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God to restore His true church upon the earth.  I know the Book of Mormon is the most true book on the earth today.  I know Jesus Christ is my Savior and the Savior of all mankind, that He loves us so much He suffered more than we could ever comprehend to give every single one of us the chance to reach exaltation and eternal life with Him.  I know that each of us here today can hasten the Lord’s work in our daily lives.  He will guide us and give us the strength to keep this commandment and all of His commandments.  All we have to do is ask in prayer and listen to the whisperings of the spirit.  They will come in the exact time and place they are needed. “For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea in the very moment, what ye shall say.”  (D&C 10:6)   

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

6 comments:

  1. This is one of my favorite topics. Too bad I'm out-of-state and missed your talk...but glad I could read it. As a YouTuber, and fellow blogger and twitter user (sorry, haven't really gotten into Pintrest) I think it's awesome and inspired that the church recognizes and is embracing the opportunities provided by social media. From creating and sharing your own mormon.org profile to live-tweeting general conference, it's as fun as it is sprititually fulfilling to use the internet for good (as Mormon YouTube Al Fox says).

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    1. I agree completely! I forgot to talk about Mormon.org. You're right, it's a wonderful tool to share your testimony and answer some common questions about Mormons using your own words and experiences.

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  2. Wow Rachel, what an awesome message. I'm so happy for the tremendous spiritual blessings you've received in your life. I'm sure your mom and dad are so proud.

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  3. I'm definitely more of a "like" and "share" type of Gospel message spreader. While I have a testimony, I'm much more comfortable keeping it myself, yet I know that is "hiding my light under a bushel". I'm taking baby steps to sharing more of what I believe. Most of it just comes down to being to true to myself. To what makes me happy, to what I believe and to what is the true me and not the me someone else wants or expects me to be...I'm still learning how to do that though. So it's baby steps. I'm proud of you for knowing who you are, and being so courageous to share yourself with the world.

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    1. Baby steps are the way to go! Everything is taught to us "line upon line" and "precept on precept", so I think it's the same process in building up our personal courage in sharing those gospel principles. I also look at it as sharing something we love. For example, military spouse organizations love to share and advertise their events because they love their unit. These are great in building a social structure for dependents. So, why not use that attitude in sharing something we love that delivers eternal blessings? This is the thought that gave me my courage. You are doing great!

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