“Sharing the Gospel Worldwide,” For the Strength of Youth, June 2021, 8–11.
I remember when my father brought home the first television set to our neighborhood. All my friends came over to our home and watched with wonder how the black and white picture could come through that small 12-inch square box.
When I began my mission in England in 1948, the most common way for people to get news was through the newspaper and radio.
How different your world is today. Yours is the world of the future, with inventions undreamed of that will come in your lifetime. How will you use these marvelous inventions? More to the point, how will you use them to further the work of the Lord?
Over the centuries, the Lord has had a hand in inspiring people to invent tools that facilitate the spreading of the gospel. The Church has adopted and embraced those tools, including print, broadcast media, and now the internet and social media.
The internet and social media allows everyone to have their voice heard, and it is revolutionizing society. This has facilitated a worldwide conversation on almost every subject, including religion, and nearly everyone can participate.
The word conversation is important. 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.
All of you know that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are constantly reminded and encouraged continually to share the gospel with others. The Church is always looking for the most effective ways to declare our message.
Preaching the Restoration of the gospel has always been special to me. I loved being a missionary in England. I loved being a mission president in Canada. And I love my present calling, which allows me opportunities to share the message of the Restoration of the gospel to the world and to testify that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820. Through Joseph, the gospel that Jesus established in New Testament times was brought back. It had been lost with the deaths of the Apostles of old. I can share with the world the knowledge that priesthood authority, the doctrine, and the ordinances of the New Testament Church are once again on the earth. This is the most important work that we can participate in.
Now, may I ask you to join the conversation by participating on the internet, particularly with social media, to share the gospel and explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration.
Most of you already know that there are many ways to begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from the Church and other appropriate sites and share them with your friends. You can comment on posts about the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of those posts. This, of course, requires that you, and all members of the Church, understand the basic, fundamental principles of the gospel.
Others have recorded and posted their testimonies of the Restoration, the teachings of the Book of Mormon, and other gospel subjects on YouTube and other popular video-sharing sites. You too can tell your story to those who are not Church members in this way. Use stories and words that people will understand. Talk honestly and sincerely about the impact the gospel has had in your life, about how it has helped you to overcome weaknesses or challenges, and helped define your values. Your audience may often be small, but the cumulative effect of thousands of such stories can be great. The combined effort is certainly worth the outcome even if only a few are influenced by your words of faith and love of God and of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has no doubt had a powerful impact in your life. It has, in part, shaped who you are and what your future will be. Do not be afraid to share with others your story, your experiences as a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. We all have interesting stories that have influenced our identity. Sharing those stories is a non-threatening way to talk to others. You can also help overcome many misperceptions about the Church through your sphere of influence.
Every disciple of Christ will be most effective and do the most good by adopting a demeanor worthy of a follower of the Savior of the world. Discussions focused on questioning, debating, and doubting gospel principles do little to build the kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul has admonished us to not be “ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Let us all stand firmly and speak with faith in sharing our message with the world.
As you participate in these conversations, remember who you are. You are a Latter-day Saint. 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. We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the promptings of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ, which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven.
May the Lord bless you, guide you, inspire you, and enlighten your mind, that you will know how to participate in this vast, worldwide conversation that is going on. Let your voice be heard in declaring the great and glorious message of the Restoration of the fullness of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ.