Originally, I started my blog (Or so she says…) as a way to fill a gap that I was seeing in the blogging world. I really wanted to offer women something beyond just crafts and recipes (but, those too!) Then I thought it would be fun to build my blog enough to make money. Who doesn’t want a new pair of shoes now and then..guilt free? Ive been blogging for a few years now and own plenty of flats and wedges. But, something was missing. I got to the point where it wasn’t really worth it anymore, but I didn’t know why. Building a blog takes a LOT of time, and for the time I was putting into, it just didn’t bring enough fulfillment. My blog had to mean more, or what was the point?
Those feelings festered in me and were only amplified by the upsetting things I was coming across on the internet. I couldn’t believe the things people were saying about stay-at-home mothers, family values, religion, and more specifically, my religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It hurt my heart. You know, in my offline world, I don’t really spend my time around people who disrespect the things I hold sacred. But, as a professional blogger, you don’t have much choice. Sure, you can click to a different site, but to be an internet presence, you are constantly bopping around and stumble upon those things pretty easily. How could these people have such disrespect and be so loud about it?? Do people believe them? Are they changing minds for the worse? All this time I thought just ‘being a good example’ online was enough. But, it’s not. Not anymore. Not for me. I knew I had to do something loud, in a soft way.
I thought. I thought and I thought. What could I do? Nothing came to me, and I still felt the same. Sad. Heartbroken. Wondering if blogging was worth it. But, then I prayed. I let Heavenly Father know that I wanted to help Him. I knew that he was aware of the madness on the internet, and maybe there was something I could do to help. He answered me and put a lot of special ladies in my path, also bloggers, who were willing and ready to step up.
I’ve found that there’s a fear, among LDS bloggers, to share their feelings about the gospel. Sometimes it’s because their blog is focused on food, crafts, or home decorating, and bringing up the gospel would confuse their readers. Other times it’s because the blogger feels like they would be alienating non-members. And, lastly there is a fear that they will be turned down by advertisers. All legitimate fears. For sure, every one of those things crossed MY mind, as well as the bloggers that agreed to help me.
But, when those fears came, I would remember people like Lehi, Nephi, Alma, Abinidi, Joseph Smith, and many more. I would remember how they would share the gospel with a high probability that they might lose their lives. It was very real and even the case with some. But, they did it. They shared the gospel, just like they were asked to. If they could lose their lives, I sure as heck could lose some readers. Right?? Oh, but it’s scary!
Along with these 32 LDS bloggers, we collected our testimonies and put them into a packet. Several of us did posts on our blogs letting ‘those who are interested’ know that if they emailed us their address, we would send them the packet, explaining why we are LDS and a free Book of Mormon. It hasn’t even been a month, and I am so surprised at the amount of orders we have received! It is so exciting to me and refreshing to know that there are still people looking for the truth, and willing to look past all the bitterness and falsehoods that they see online. They are willing to come to a legitimate source and find out for themselves.
In many, many of the emails I’ve received, people have thanked us for being willing to share our feelings with them and give them the opportunity to learn more about the Mormon church. Several people have mentioned how they have LDS friends, but they’ve never really opened up about their beliefs, so they are happy that we will. Part of me thinks, ‘How sad. There are people that want to know, and we’re not saying anything.’ But, there’s another part of me that thinks, ‘How exciting! Here I’ve been so nervous, and maybe I don’t need to be! There are lots of people that really want to know!’ Putting myself out there and seeing the response has only made me feel more courageous and eager to help my Father in Heaven.
Some members seem to want to keep their membership in the Church a secret. They have their reasons. For example, they may believe that it is not their place to share their beliefs. Perhaps they are fearful they might make a mistake or be asked a question they can’t answer. If such thoughts ever run through your head, I have some advice for you. Simply remember the words of John: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18). If we simply love God and love our neighbors, we are promised that we will overcome our fears.
Today’s “manner of conversation” seems to involve the Internet more and more. We encourage people, young and old, to use the Internet and the social media to reach out and share their religious beliefs.
I promise you that if you will respond to the invitation to share your beliefs and feelings about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, a spirit of love and a spirit of courage will be your constant companion, for “perfect love casteth out fear” (1 John 4:18).
~ L. Tom Perry
Opening up and making myself known and available as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been exactly what I needed. My blog is still time-consuming, but now it’s fulfilling. To be able to share my feelings of the gospel with someone brings a happiness to me that no amount of money, readers, advertisers, or shoes ever could. Ever. I love how the Apostle Paul said, ‘I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation.’ I want to be like that.
God is preparing people to receive your testimony of restored truth. He requires your faith and then your action to share fearlessly what has become so precious to you and to those you love.
~ Henry B. Eyring
When sharing the gospel, I think it’s important to remember that without the spirit, we cannot influence those to come to Christ. That’s something that’s hard for me, as a natural sassy-pants. But, the gospel is important enough to me that it’s worth biting my tongue and doing it correctly, which means making it a matter of prayer. Inviting the spirit to help me speak.
There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller. But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time.
As you participate in this conversation and utilize the tools of the new media, remember who you are—Latter-day Saints. Remember, as the proverb states, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). And remember that contention is of the devil (see 3 Nephi 11:29). There is no need to argue or contend with others regarding our beliefs. There is no need to become defensive or belligerent. Our position is solid; the Church is true.
~ M. Russel Ballard
I have learned so much these past few months! I’ve learned that Heavenly Father really needs our help, and if we ask with the intention of listening and doing, he will direct us in what he would have us do. I’ve learned that by sharing the gospel, I am risking so little in comparison to so many others, and it’s worth it. I’ve learned that there really are so many people who would love to hear about our church and appreciate when we open up. And, I’ve learned that sharing the gospel is one of the most rewarding things we can do, not only ourselves, but for others, as well.
To read more about the Book of Mormon Bloggers program, check out this post!