Learning About Mormonism on the Internet

December 15th, 2007  |  Published in Mormonism

Welcome to Above Yourself, a blog about self-improvement and faith. If you're new here, you may want to subscribe in a reader or subscribe by email. Many of the topics here are related to my faith in Jesus Christ and Mormonism, but all are welcome to share their own beliefs. Thanks for visiting!

My primary reason for starting this blog was because I wanted to have a place where I could share my own personal feelings about gospel topics with the world. My hope is that some of these words will reach those who don’t know much about Mormons and Mormonism, but who want to know more. I know that there are many, many places for learning online, but I feel the same way as Elder Ballard, a leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also known as the Mormon church) who described the potential of this new medium in a commencement speech he gave today at BYU-Hawaii. In this speech, he describes how members of the church can use the Internet and other “new media” to spread the message of the church. It is certainly true that political events have people talking more and more about the Mormons, and as Elder Ballard said, “conversations about the Church would take place whether or not Church members decided to participate in them.” It is our opportunity to join in on this discussion.

Today we have a modern equivalent of the printing press in the Internet and all that it means. The Internet allows everyone to be a publisher, to have their voice heard, and it is revolutionizing society. Before the Internet, there were great barriers to printing. It took money, power, or influence and a great amount of time to publish. But today, because of the emergence of what some call New Media, made possible by the Internet, many of those barriers have been removed. New Media consists of tools on the Internet that make it possible for nearly anyone to publish or broadcast to either a large or a niche audience. I have mentioned some of these tools already, and I know you are familiar with them. The emergence of New Media is facilitating a world-wide conversation on almost every subject including religion, and nearly everyone can participate. This modern equivalent of the printing press is not reserved only for the elite.

–M. Russell Ballard, Using New Media to Support the Work of the Church, Brigham Young University-Hawaii’s graduation ceremony, 15 December 2007.

In my personal view, the Internet is becoming an ever-increasing resource for learning things. It’s an ever-increasing trend for blogs to give better coverage than traditional media on all kinds of topics, from local sports teams to personal finance and beyond. As they continue writing about these topics, bloggers tend to gain a view of their topic that is in many ways unique; for example, sportscasters don’t often interact directly with fans as part of their daily routine, so a sports blogger can provide commentary in their own way. Opinions are more easily shared, and interaction between writers and readers is encouraged from the start.

There are many ways to share the gospel online. For more ideas, you can visit the More Good Foundation Blog and Know Your Neighbor, which both have many excellent resources and ideas. You can also read a summary of Elder Ballard’s speech, or the full transcript. Do you have your own ideas or experiences on how to share your thoughts on Mormonism? Let us know in the comments.

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