“If most of the information you get comes from social or other media, your ability to hear the whisperings of the Spirit will be diminished.”1
My heart seemed to stop at these words from President Russell M. Nelson in his closing remarks of the October 2021 general conference.
These days, I see divisive views about gospel truths on social media. Before this conference, I had been running into more confusing ideas than ever before. They were often posted by influencers (users with many followers who have gained a reputation for their knowledge of a specific topic) and friends (most of whom are members of the Church).
The overall message on their posts could be summed up as:
“We don’t have to believe everything about the gospel—we can choose what commandments and principles work best with our lives.”
Many faithful people I looked up to were sharing this view, and my heart felt divided because a lot of them did have intriguing ideas.
But hearing President Nelson’s statement brought a profound question to mind:
Who am I following?
“Jesus Christ—and His prophets—of course!” was what I wanted to answer.
But then I considered who I was following, especially on social media. I realized that I had been searching for answers to spiritual questions from influencers and people who shared my concerns more than I had been seeking personal revelation through prayer, scripture study, and temple attendance
Now that was a humbling moment.
We are warned in the last days “that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh” (Doctrine and Covenants 1:19).
I was unsettled when I realized how often I was doing just that.
With this in mind, I considered the following questions:
Just like people in the scriptures, many people today are quick to disagree with truth shared from the Lord’s prophets when it isn’t what they want to hear or when it doesn’t fit into their lifestyle (see Mosiah 13:3–4 and Helaman 13:26–27).
Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy shared, “When individuals or societies separate themselves from the teachings of the Lord … they look for alternate teachings that allow them to live the way they want—without that pesky guilt.”2
President Nelson also said:
“The voices and pressures of the world are engaging and numerous. …
“If you are not also seeking the Lord through daily prayer and gospel study, you leave yourself vulnerable to philosophies that may be intriguing but are not true.”3
When I was not seeking answers from the Lord’s credible sources (through the scriptures, His prophets, the temple, or the Spirit), I wasn’t hearing Him, and I started to resonate more with answers proposed by those I was following on social media.
But knowing that Heavenly Father loves all His children perfectly and that He has called His prophets to guide us back to Him, I realized I needed to seek truth through them and the Spirit rather than through snappy social media posts.
One of the greatest gifts Heavenly Father has given us is the Holy Ghost, who can help us choose to act in faith, find truths, change our hearts, and understand and accept truths of the gospel we may feel conflicted about at times.
As President Nelson reminds us:
“We choose those to whom we will turn for truth and guidance. …
“Never underestimate the profound truth that ‘the Spirit speaketh … of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be’ (Jacob 4:13; emphasis added). ‘It will show unto you all things what ye should do’ (2 Nephi 32:5).
“Nothing invites the Spirit more than fixing your focus on Jesus Christ.”4
And whose words testify of Jesus Christ and constantly plead with us to focus on Him?
Our living prophets and apostles, the prophets in the scriptures, and the Holy Ghost, of course.
No matter our questions, if we go to Heavenly Father with a desire to believe, seeking answers through His means, He will confirm truths through the Spirit and, if necessary, help us soften our hearts over time.5
Alternative versions of gospel truths can be enticing. It can be tempting to keep the parts that we like and agree with while disregarding the bits we don’t completely understand or care for. But that’s not what the Savior invites us to do.
What He does invite us to do is to “come, follow me” (Luke 18:22).
Through much prayer and pondering, I’ve realized that following Him means obeying His gospel with my whole heart, not just half-heartedly, longing for the gospel to change.
If the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to help us become like Him, whose life was far from easy, perhaps that means that being His disciple won’t always be easy or convenient either.
But isn’t that the point of growth and refinement? It’s never the most comfortable process, but it is worth it.
As Elder Thierry K. Mutombo of the Seventy taught, “When we choose to follow Christ, we choose to be changed.”6
And those changes could include a change of lifestyle, of perspective, of heart, and even of those we follow on social media. For me, it’s been all the above.
Despite many who are asking us to follow them, we can choose to follow the One who matters most. I have reaffirmed my desire to follow Him completely even if I don’t understand every commandment, every part of Church history, or every policy completely at times. As I’ve done so, I have felt His loving, enabling power bring joy to my soul—He is truly the person I trust to shed light on the truth in the face of conflicting topics and divisive ideas. He is the one who gives me hope and envelopes me in perfect love.
I know He can do the same for you if you choose to follow Him.