Digital Only: Young Adults
Sustaining Apostles with My Heart, My Hand, and My Social Media Feed
Standing up for what’s right is still right, even when people tell you that you’re wrong.
I started sharing my testimony on social media when I was a teenager. But it was easier back then to stand up for my beliefs. At the time, most of my friends were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shared similar values to mine. Social media was different too. People were less inclined to tear others down. If they didn’t agree with you, they would simply scroll away.
That all changed as I entered young adulthood. Suddenly people had issues with my beliefs, and many of my friends were choosing paths contrary to the teachings of the gospel. And when one of the Apostles was being torn down all over social media, I was shocked that I couldn’t see anyone defending him.
So I did.
Over the next week, I received threats and hateful messages from strangers and friends alike about my post. I cried every day. I wondered if I had done the right thing. I even felt a bit like I’d been abandoned by God. After all, I’d tried to stand up for His Apostle, and I’d received nothing but hate.
But I held on. I didn’t take down the post.
Slowly, the narrative changed. Yes, I was still on the receiving end of those hurtful messages, but to my surprise, others started to stand with me. I watched as members from around the world supportively shared my post. My gratitude for not being alone soon turned to humility as I realized that finally, the good messages outweighed the bad. God had not abandoned me. Instead, He’d sent more disciples to stand beside me.
Standing by the Lord
Standing up for the Lord (or His servants) has been hard throughout history. Remember those who stopped following Christ when His doctrine seemed too hard? (See John 6:60–66.) Or how Judas betrayed Him for money? (See Mark 14:10–11.)
But standing by the Lord and His chosen servants is possible. For every scripture story of someone denying Christ, there are several of someone standing with Him. Abinadi stood against King Noah to testify of Christ alone (see Mosiah 11:20-27). Samuel the Lamanite faced an entire nation—and their arrows—to preach the gospel, and the Lord protected him (see Helaman 16:2). Helaman’s stripling warriors went to battle so their fathers could keep their covenants (see Alma 53:16). Joseph Smith restored the Church. Paul became one of the greatest missionaries in history.
And what did they have in common?
They all stood by the Lord—even when it was hard.
So how can we be like them? How can we stand by the Lord when persecution arises? I’d like to suggest three actions that helped me hold on during times of uncertainty, questions, or doubt:
Pray with a plan.
Praying with a plan is powerful. When we come to our Heavenly Father with a well-thought-out decision, the Spirit will help us know if our plan is His will (see Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–8). Like the brother of Jared, who brought the Lord some stones and an idea to make them shine, we can prepare before counseling with Heavenly Father (see Ether 2–3).
Before you post, react, or do something you’re nervous about, pray to Heavenly Father. Tell Him your plan, your intentions, and your worries. Ask Him to help you.
Hold on to what you know.
Answers and aid don’t always come right away, so hold on. If you’re receiving hate for your beliefs, remember why you chose God in the first place. Hold tight to that decision. It’s OK to have questions. It’s OK to not be 100 percent sure what you believe.
Peter had enough faith to walk on water until the circumstances around him made him falter and doubt. He looked down, focused on that doubt, and began to sink (see Matthew 14:30).
But if we keep our gaze firmly on the Savior, we will not sink.
Doubts, questions, and fears will naturally dispel as we grow in the gospel. And there are resources to help answer our questions. But until answers come, hold on to what you know, what you love, and what you believe.
Give it back to God.
When you stand up for what’s right, you may face backlash, but you’ll probably also receive some praise from those who share your beliefs. Either way, turn things over to God. If relationships feel broken, turn to the Lord. If you gain thousands of followers, give the credit to the Lord. Our woes are His woes. Our victories are His victories.
As we let the Lord share in all of our experiences, our testimonies will be strengthened, and our resolve to stand beside Him will increase.
The Lord Wants Us to Help Him
We could have been born at any time. We could have been amid the five thousand whom Jesus fed or the Nephite descendants who went to war with their brothers. Instead, we were born at this time. That’s not by mistake. We were sent to earth in these latter days to help gather His children, share the good news of the gospel, and prepare as many as possible for the Second Coming of Christ. The technology available to us helps us do that by connecting us with people all across the globe.
It might seem scary to stand up and speak out for what is right online, but it’s worth it. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.” In doing so, he said, “You will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall.”1
Our Father in Heaven needs us to be His hands and stand up for what is right. He needs (and trusts) you and me to stand beside Him, His prophets and apostles, and His teachings. It may not be easy. It probably won’t be popular. And it will require courage. But it was worth it for me, and I know it will be worth it for all of us as we stand for what’s right day by day.