Transcripts of the recent General Conference have been posted at LDS.org, including President Uchtdorf’s talk “Waiting on the Road to Damascus.” The talk was mostly a word of encouragement to those members of the Church who, for various reasons including self-doubt, are not full participants in their local wards. The focus of the talk was on the invitation to get past or around whatever the issue is, not on the details of the difficulties or doubts some people face.
Of course, his comments on blogging and social media were the most interesting part of the talk. He made these comments in the context of how members of the Church ought to be more open about sharing the gospel.
With so many social media resources and a multitude of more or less useful gadgets at our disposal, sharing the good news of the gospel is easier and the effects more far-reaching than ever before. In fact, I am almost afraid that some listening have already sent text messages like “He’s been speaking for 10 minutes and still no aviation analogy!” My dear young friends, perhaps the Lord’s encouragement to “open [your] mouths” might today include “use your hands” to blog and text message the gospel to all the world! But please remember, all at the right time and at the right place.
Brothers and sisters, with the blessings of modern technology, we can express gratitude and joy about God’s great plan for His children in a way that can be heard not only around our workplace but around the world. Sometimes a single phrase of testimony can set events in motion that affect someone’s life for eternity.
I am confident that the placement of the aviation joke right in the middle of the paragraph on blogging is a signal that this is the truly important portion of the talk. But what is he saying about social media? And what does he really think about blogging? [Divine response via Fleetwood Mac: Don't ask me what I think of you, I might not give the answer that you want me to.] I’m not quite sure what he means by “at the right time and at the right place.” I’m inclined to think the right place is T&S and the right time is pretty much anytime except during Sunday meetings. Or at least not during Sacrament Meeting. Well, definitely not during the blessing and passing of the sacrament itself.
I like his reference to “a single phrase of testimony.” That is a nice way of distinguishing between on the one hand the sort of explicit, structured testimony that happens at the pulpit in testimony meeting once a month and, on the other hand, the positive comments or references about our beliefs or about our activity in the Church that occur naturally in our daily conversation. Or emails. Or blog posts. As Pres. Uchtdorf notes, a single phrase of testimony can go a long way.
Blogging and Damascus, interesting juxtaposition. Saul took the road to Damscus expecting to throw Christians in jail and came back as a witness for Christ. Sometimes blogging brings surprises — it is never quite what you expected, is it?