Using New Media for good

In what I’m fairly certain is the first extensive mention of blogs, social networking sites, and other “New Media” by a General Authority of the Church, Elder M. Russell Ballard spoke on “Using New Media to Support the Work of the Church” at yesterday’s (12/15) BYU-Hawaii commencement ceremony.  That his remarks are already available in their entirety, and placed front-and-center on the Church’s official website, is itself quite a remarkable thing.

I highly recommend reading the full address, but here are a few excerpts of note:

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.

The challenge is that there are too many people participating in conversation about the Church for our Church personnel to converse with and respond to individually. We cannot answer every question, satisfy every inquiry, and respond to every inaccuracy that exists.  As I said at General Conference in October, we need to remember that there is a difference between interest and mere curiosity. Sometimes people just want to know what the Church is. And some who seek answers want them to come directly from a member of the Church, like each one of you.  They appreciate one-on-one conversations.

. . .

[M]ay I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration.  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 can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including Newsroom at, and send them to your friends.  You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports.

. . .

The audiences for these and other New Media tools may often be small, but the cumulative effect of thousands of such stories can be great.  The combined effort is certainly worth the outcome if but a few are influenced by your words of faith and love of God and His son Jesus Christ.

Now, this blog is about a lot of things.  (I refer you to the long-standing description/disclaimer below the title heading.)  But in some small way, we have tried to contribute to a general feeling of goodwill toward the Church through our postings here.  It is very encouraging to read these words from Elder Ballard and feel an added bit of approbation for our work here and our influence, infinitesimal as it may be in the grand scheme of things.  To our fellow LDS friends and bloggers, keep up the great work!

To our readers: thanks for hanging in there with us.  We greatly appreciate your comments and support.

By the way, for anyone who’s read Elder Ballard’s talk and is interested, the 15-minute video interview with NBS’s Ron Allen is linked below.  It’s a good-‘un.

What it means to be Mormon
What it means to be Mormon

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