BY: Kyle Wilson
My last companion in Australia was Elder William Hopoate — one of the most famous rugby all-stars in Australia. When he turned down millions of dollars to serve a Mormon mission, it went viral. As we served together, I realized his influence did much more than simply touch the people he came in contact with. His good example and selfless sacrifice affected the general public’s opinion of the LDS faith. The people in Australia are more receptive to the gospel of Jesus Christ because, for perhaps the first time, they were able to see the Church in an incredibly positive way through the media.
Upon my return home three weeks ago, I was excited to see a similar thing happening in America. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in the national spotlight for many reasons. From David Archuleta to Jimmer Fredette to Mitt Romney, the Church has definitely been receiving time in the spotlight. This short time has the potential to become a key point in the history of the Church.
We as BYU students can be particularly valuable in changing and influencing public opinion about the Church. For the most part, those enrolled at this school represent some of the best minds the Church has to offer. We need to participate in this moment because doing so has the power to completely transform the public’s perception of The Church of Jesus Christ for the better.
As was the case with Elder Hopoate, the “Mormon Moment” is creating a lot of talk about the Church. Whether or not we support Romney politically, it is nevertheless true his campaign is drawing interest in the Church. Here we have a faithful, active Mormon who could potentially earn one of the most influential positions in the entire world. Questions are being asked, viewpoints are being shared, information is being collected and opinions are being formed, but it won’t last forever. Therefore, it is important we answer questions, share our viewpoints and give accurate information so others may form an honest and positive opinion of our faith.
This can have the greatest impact when done online. Consider this: when a curious American types the word “Mormon” into their browser, what will they find? As BYU students we can do much to help fill the web with uplifting and accurate information.
A great place to start is on Mormon.org — the official church website created specifically for nonmembers. On the site there are thousands of profiles. Nonmembers can search profiles based on age, ethnicity, location, previous religion and more to find a profile they can connect with.
Creating a profile is fast and can be done by going to Mormon.org, clicking on “profile” at the top left of the screen and following the instructions.
Other ideas include sharing a Mormon Message on your Facebook page, inviting others to view Mormon.org and posting uplifting and thoughtful comments in relevant blogs and news articles.
Elder Hopoate’s good example will last for decades. The same can happen for us. We may not see it now, but our combined effort at this time has the power to generate a real change in the face of missionary work worldwide. As people come to understand our beliefs, they will be prepared to follow Jesus Christ. Let’s each do our duty to fill the web with wholesome, uplifting information about what it truly means to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ.
Kyle Wilson is a sophomore from American Fork studying Construction and Business Management . This viewpoint represents his opinions and not necessarily those of The Universe, BYU, its administration or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.