Elder Bednar: To sweep the Earth as with a flood

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Elder Bednar speaks about the potential in sharing the gospel through social media in the 2014 Education Week Devotional address. (Ari Davis)
Elder Bednar speaks about the potential in sharing the gospel through social media in the 2014 Education Week Devotional address. (Ari Davis)

Elder David A. Bednar continued his 2009 BYU-Idaho fireside about the role of cyberspace in church members’ lives at BYU Education Week on Aug. 19.

“I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth, messages that are authentic, edifying and praiseworthy and literally to sweep the Earth as with a flood,” he said.

Elder Bednar, of the Quorum of the Twelve, repeated his warnings about the improper use of technology but emphasized using modern communication tools for good.

“Technology in and of itself is neither good nor bad. Rather the purposes accomplished with and through technology are the ultimate indicators of goodness or badness,” he said.

Elder Bednar shared the words of Elder L. Tom Perry, who served as a missionary at the time of contacting in the streets and knocking on doors. Elder Perry said people are less amenable to admitting strangers in their houses to convey the message of the restored gospel when their main points of contact, even with close friends, occur via the Internet.

Approximately 40 percent of the church’s missionaries worldwide will soon actively use digital devices to advance missionary work, convert retention and member activation. Elder Bednar invited church members to use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest alongside the full-time missionaries’ efforts to hasten the work.

“It is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fullness of times,” Elder Bednar said.

The church produced an Easter YouTube video titled “Because of Him,” highlighting what the Atonement of Jesus Christ has made possible. The video, shared by members and nonmembers alike, received 5 million views in 191 countries and territories throughout the world during Easter week 2014.

Elder Bednar listed other examples of ways members can get involved in sharing the gospel via social media. He cited an Instagram campaign that influenced 40,000 online conversations about prayer and an Instagram channel that suggests Book of Mormon reading assignments for each day of the year and educated members about the use of hash tags over multiple platforms.

Elder Bednar talked about another way members can share their beliefs with family and friends by sharing the church-produced, feature-length film “Meet the Mormons.” The church will release the film just after October’s General Conference, on October 10, in select theaters in the United States. The church will then release the film at church visitor centers and on television Internet movie channels and social media channels.

He repeated his warnings from his BYU-Idaho fireside address, giving four pieces of advice to avoid problems with cyberspace: be authentic and consistent, edify and uplift, respect intellectual property and be wise and vigilant.

“We should remember that the Internet never forgets,” he said. “Only say it or post it if you want to entire world to have access to your picture or message for all time.”

Elder Bednar said members have successfully begun harnessing the power of modern communication but that it is only a beginning.

“I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place, this day,” he said about spreading the gospel via modern media.

 

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