He stood up, then he leaned over. The world watched as LDS Prophet Thomas S. Monson struggled to finish his remarks Sunday morning in the conference center.
Many posted, tweeted and talked about the prophet’s health throughout the rest of general conference. One person decided to do something about it.
Rebecca Carr, a BYU senior from Ozark, Missouri, started a social media campaign to support President Monson, which takes place from Oct. 4 to Oct. 10.
She helped create the hashtag #BecauseofPresMonson because she felt prompted to share her love and support after feeling “shaken” while watching President Monson’s struggling. People can use this hashtag to share quotes, memories, talks or comments about the prophet.
“It was almost heart breaking — having talked with a few friends, I know I’m not the only one that felt that way,” Carr said. “I got the clear impression to start the event. I rejected the idea at first, but soon realized that it truly was an idea from God. So, I got up, went to my computer, and started the event then and there.”
Carolyn Dyer, Carr’s sister, created the hashtag name #BecauseofPresMonson. Carr’s other sister, Jennifer Kohl, suggested they include the #ldsconf hashtag in the campaign.
Carr said social media helps unite others in supporting and sustaining President Monson. “Even with this event that I’ve started, I have felt my love for President Monson grow as I have read all the quotes and comments that people have shared about him over the past 14 hours.”
Others noticed President Monson and wrote about their feelings. Greg Trimble, a popular writer who often blogs about church-related topics, wrote a post titled, “President Monson … I Wish I Could Have Come And Held You Up.” The post has more than 70,000 views.
Trimble said he was waiting for the next session of conference, thinking about President Monson struggling, when he felt the need to write about the things the prophet is facing today.
“It was probably the shortest blog I’ve ever written and it was done in about 10–15 minutes,” Trimble said. “I just want to share goodness as often as I can and in whatever way that I can. In this case, I wanted to lift up President Monson with my writing since I couldn’t do it in person.”
Trimble wrote that as he watched President Monson struggle through the last half of his message, he became emotional. “For me, it was as if the words he was speaking at the moment took a backseat to the symbolism of what I was witnessing, and in that moment, it was as if his spirit was speaking directly to mine.
He then listed the hardships and trials President Monson has faced in just this year alone; the death of his wife Frances and his friends Elder Perry, President Packer and Elder Scott; the ever-growing vocal voices opposing the General Authorities during conference; calling three new apostles, all while bearing “the scrutiny, the questioning, the speculating.”
He wrote that he wished he “could have run up there and thrown his arm around my neck and shoulders to bear the weight of his body and the weight of his worries and concerns. I wish I could have held him up like he has done for so many of us in the church for so many years.”
Trimble said the reactions to his blog post have been amazing. His servers were crashed for half the day on Sunday. He said this is “a testament that there are millions of people who love and sustain President Monson. It was interesting to see that as people rallied behind President Monson, conversations began about other faith-related issues began.
“I watched self-proclaimed inactive members post about their love for President Monson, while active members rallied behind them by inviting them back to church and expressing their love to them,” Trimble said.
The #BecauseofPresMonson hashtag is just beginning to appear on Twitter. Carr said social media is a useful tool in sharing the gospel, and she’s felt her love for the gospel grow already.
“I’m truly grateful and humbled to have been prompted to start something for President Monson,” Carr said. “Part of the reason I also wanted to do it is because it’s nice to be able to do something for the man that has done so much for us.”
Trimble said he believes social media and online missionary work opens doors. “People everywhere in the world can sit down in their comfort of their bed before going to sleep at night and read your testimony of the Savior,” he said. “Never was there a more powerful way to share goodness with the world.”