BYU Women’s Conference: Using technology to share the gospel

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Ari Davis
Elder Gary E. Stevenson speaks at the closing session of the 2017 BYU Women’s Conference. In his remarks, Elder Stevenson urged women “to find more humor and less discouragement” in ideal images portrayed on social media. (Ari Davis)

Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve explained the importance of using technology to share the gospel at his concluding address of the 2017 BYU Women’s Conference.

“One of the most precious gifts to treasure within our families and to give to others is the knowledge of the Savior, or of Jesus Christ,” Elder Stevenson said.

Elder Stevenson highlighted how the development of technology has enabled the sharing of the gospel since the inception of the LDS Church through print, radio, television and more recently, web platforms.

“There is a clear pattern of the adoption of these technologies to build the Lord’s kingdom here on earth,” Elder Stevenson said.

Elder Stevenson emphasized the internet as one of the best ways to reach out to others. He said there have been over 260 church-sponsored websites since the LDS Church officially began using the internet in 1996, reaching members around the world in different countries and languages.

These websites receive millions of visitors each year, according to Elder Stevenson, with LDS.org receiving over 24 million new visitors a year and Mormon.org receiving over 16 million yearly visitors.

Elder Stevenson said church-sponsored mobile applications and social media are the fastest and easiest ways to share the gospel.

“This is a very fast moving and dynamic digital modality that’s almost incomparable in speed of change,” Elder Stevenson said.

A few examples he mentioned include Gospel Library, Mormon Channel, LDS Tools, LDS Music and FamilySearch Tree.

Elder Stevenson said the Church has a social media initiative to use Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Snapchat to share uplifting messages, citing examples like Elder Holland’s video about depression.

Elder Stevenson identified five major risks of using social media and internet platforms after pointing out the virtues of technology:

  1. Wasted time
  2. Reduced face-to-face interaction and social skills
  3. Inappropriate content
  4. Idealized realities
  5. Debilitating comparisons

Elder Stevenson recognized the final two risks as especially difficult for women to avoid.

He shared an experience about a time when his daughter tried to recreate a Pinterest recipe but failed. Elder Stevenson said instead of feigning perfection, she shared a picture of her “Pinterest fail” on social media and used humor to alleviate “undue pressure.”

“Hopefully, we can learn to find more humor and less discouragement when confronted with images which may portray idealized reality, and which too often lead to debilitating comparisons,” Elder Stevenson said.

Elder Stevenson shared another personal experience about a particular family photo. He said despite his family’s perfect appearance in the photo, the series of events leading up to the photo included blood, tears and grass stains.

“The world usually is just not as bright as it appears on social media,” Elder Stevenson said. “Nevertheless, there is much good that has come and will come through these new communication platforms.”

Elder Stevenson pointed out the use of technology by missionaries and encouraged members to share the gospel “one step at a time” by becoming more effective in using technology appropriately to testify to and uplift others.

Elder Stevenson ended by encouraging women to seize the opportunity of sharing the gospel in simple ways through technology.

“May each of you have the courage to blog, pin, like, share, post, friend, tweet, snap and swipe up in a way that will glorify, honor and respect the will of our loving Heavenly Father.”

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