Filed under: Internet & Media, Mormon Missionaries
This is not my idea, and it is not a reality yet, and it may never become a reality. However, for those who have some knowledge of a Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints it may seem like a possible complement, even if may never become a complete alternative. After all, as Elder Bednar recently remembered us, we are on this earth to experience life with a body, and we cannot substitute certain experiences with a complete virtual life.
On the other hand, however, if we really want to preach the gospel to every creature on earth, we need to find a fast track, Mormon missionaries are “only” 52,000 right now and with the current reduction in birth rate facing Utah 9and other areas of the world), I do not think we will see that number grow too much in the next years. And how many hours do missionaries spend (or waste) walking or driving from place to place, getting discouraged, to reach a few people who are interested in the Gospel?
Obviously, being tired and discouraged is part of mortal experience, so there is some good to it. If the purpose is to strenghten their character, it may be good, but if the purpose is to reach every creature under the sun, then we need to find better avenues.
Naturally, if we as member of the Church learn to use the Internet as suggested by Elder Ballard we will see a great improvement in positive and successfull member-missionary work, and more true seekers found by members and missionaries.
But why we cannot include, as part of this faster reaching out to the world, online missions to our current structure, organized more or less like a normal mission, with mission presidents and so on? I am sure there is a lot involved that I am not considering right now, to create something that works, and at the same time follows Church‘s principles. But still, with Skype and all the rest, a lot more could be done to save trips and costs, by having at least a few online missions, staffed with missionaries that perhaps could not afford the cost, or the intensity of a “normal” mission.
As President Kimbal taught us many and many years ago,
When we’ve used the satellite and related discoveries to their greatest potential…then and not until then shall we approach the insistence of our Lord and Master to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
I think that online missions may become a reality in the future. As with everything in the Church, they will become a reality if this is what the Lord wants, and He will do it through his authorized servants, the prophets.
However, we are entitled to our opinions and to the prompting of the Spirit of God, and I think that in the future we may see something like online missions, or we may see more online activities in normal missions. We will see.
It was a blessing yesterday to be able to go to the Oquirrh Mountain Temple Dedication with my wife and my children. Thanks to the blessing of satellite technology we only had to cross the street to the closest chapel to our home to be able to participate in the event.
The Spirit of the Lord is particularly strong in those meetings and I was thinking how fortunate are my children to participate in a temple dedication while so young (actually it is the second time for them in a few months).
When I was their age, I did not know anything about mormon temples and the blessings associated with them. I did not know anything about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormon Church) and I really did not know what was the purpose of life. They are really blessed to grow up knowing those truths, but at the same time they are responsible to use well this knowledge, because with great knowledge comes great responsibility (or as in the Spider Man movie, with great power come great responsibility, since knowledge gives power).
Follow the link if you do not know yet Why Mormon Build Temples
Social networks are becoming always more part of the lives of many people around the world. This is particularly true for some countries. Recent data from comScore’s World Metrix audience measurement service show that Russia and Brazil had the most engaged social networking audiences in the world in May. In comparison, the U.S. only achieved the ninth place.
According to the data, the average Russian spent over 6.6 hours in May using online social networks, and viewed over 1,300 pages. The typical Brazilian networker dedicated slightly less time at 6.3 hours and viewed 1,220 pages.
The following video give an interesting persective on the explosive growth and increasing impact of social media.
I moved from Brazil to the US in 2000. Before that time, I had used the Internet, but not as extensively as I started using it in the US, during the MBA program. Before 2000 I had heard something about Internet pornography but I had not paid too much attention, because it wasn’t a problem for me neither I knew anybody personally who had issues with that (or who had someone in his family with that kind of problems).
However, after moving in the US, I started noticing that more and more talks were given in General Conferences about that subject. I particularly remember one talk given at a priesthood meeting by President Hinckley. It was shocking, but eyes opening. Since that day I have met several people that had to face such problem personally or who have someone in their family who is struggling with it.
The best solution to this problem is to never get involved in the first place. Larry Richman wrote recently
Imagine creating the perfect sin: one that would tear apart relationships, crush marriages, and destroy the spiritual strength of men. Such a devastating sin would need to be secret, easy to get, and so alluring it could become part of a secret life. This secret could draw a man away from his wife, his children, his job, and God. Then, why not make it free and even protected by the United States Constitution. Internet pornography is all of these. (LdsMediaTalk)
It is an interesting concept that of a “perfect sin”. It is particularly sad to see groups in the US and around the world who want to “protect” this evil. In other words, they want to make sure that families are destroyed without anything opposing it. It is easy to understand who is the real source of these plans, and how foolish are the men and women who follow him.
So, what can we do to protect our families? According again to Larry Richman, this is a possibility: Covenant Eyes Accountability Software. Escape the temptation by removing the secrecy of the Internet. Accountability software develops integrity by monitoring and reporting all Web activity to an Accountability Partner of your choice. I am not here to promote their sales, but it seems like a good idea.
Another good idea is to use the Internet for spreading light, so that we will not have time or attraction to look for pornography. I work for the More Good Foundation, and our goal is to spread light in the Internet. Light and darkness cannot occupy the same place at the same time. When I am working spreading the gospel online, I do not feel any temptation to search for things that are not good.
Perhaps, we should not only talk about and protect ourselves and our families from the evils that can be found on the Internet. Perhaps we should be anxiously engaged in good works on the Internet, so that we will not have time or interest left for being involved with what can only destroy us. Perhaps, one solution is to funnel the attraction that people has for the Internet toward a good cause, so that the light will diplace darkness.
Perhaps this is the “perfect solution” for the “perfect sin”.
Stop being defensive about your religion. That’s the message Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve delivered to 2,422 BYU graduates at the Marriott Center Thursday during commencement exercises for the Class of June 2009 and August 2009.
Ballard recounted the early struggles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which owns the university, and a resulting sense that church members need to adopt a defensive posture. Things have changed, he said.
“This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore,” Elder Ballard said. “Constantly anticipating criticisms or objections can lead to an unhealthy self-consciousness and a defensive posture that doesn’t resonate well with others. It is inconsistent with where we are today as a church and as a great body of followers of Jesus Christ.”
“Emphasize that Latter-day Saints follow Jesus Christ and what Jesus Christ teaches.”
More at Deseret News
I was hoping that the talk Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been translated in other languages, but I could not find most of them on the Liahonas. Fortunatelly, Larry Richman, who works for the LDS Church and knows how to find this kind of information, has made available on a pdf format the translations of that talk in many languages. Enjoy!
The More Good Foundation has just offered a new way to help members of the Church share their voice online and have a positive impact on the content that honest seekers find when they google information about Mormons. The foundation is offering you the chance to "adopt" one of their existing Web sites or to develop a new one of your choice in an area that you might have an interest. Learn more at http://siteadopt.org. The Foundation owns many domain names that can be used to create new websites.
Because you are a Mormon, people who visit the site will automatically learn more about who we are as a people, our diversity, and our varied interests. This can often lead to further interest in our faith and serves in a significant, yet simple way to dispel misperceptions that are otherwise prevalent on the Internet and in the media about Mormonism and Mormons.
If you decide to adopt a site, the foundation will design and host the site and then train you how to upload content, photos, videos, and posts. It can be an individual or group project. All you need to know is how to type and have an interest in a particular topic that you would like to share online as a Mormon in a positive way.
For more information contact Karen at the More Good Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.