Whatever media we read, watch, listen to, or interact with has an effect on us. Wholesome entertainment and social media use promotes good thoughts and righteous choices and allows us to enjoy ourselves and connect with others without losing the Spirit of the Lord. Unwholesome media use separates us from that same Spirit.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has always used technological advancements to move the Lord’s work forward. This includes media such as radio, television, film, the internet, and social media. In 1974 President Spencer W. Kimball prophesied that technology would help spread the gospel. “The Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse,” he said. “Our Father in heaven has now provided us mighty towers—radio and television towers with possibilities beyond comprehension—to help fulfill the words of the Lord that ‘the sound must go forth from this place into all the world’ [Doctrine and Covenants 58:64]” (“When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 10).
Advancements in technology have brought us opportunities to share the gospel and access gospel-related content in ways earlier generations couldn’t imagine. For example, the Church uses the internet and social media to further the Lord’s work across the world. The Church’s website, ChurchofJesusChrist.org, provides scriptures, leaders’ teachings, news, videos, and other media for all who are interested. Church leaders have social media accounts in which they share spiritual messages and interact with members and those of other faiths.
Church leaders have also encouraged us to use social media to share the gospel with others. Elder David A. Bednar said, “Social media channels are global tools that can personally and positively impact large numbers of individuals and families. And I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and more effectively to … accomplish the Lord’s work” (“To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood” [Brigham Young University Education Week devotional, Aug. 19, 2014]).
As we share gospel truth on social media, we can be authentic and seek to uplift others. We can pray to “find those who will come and see, come and help, and come and stay” and then share our faith “in natural and normal ways” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Missionary Work: Sharing What Is in Your Heart,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 17). Elder Bednar said, “Share the gospel with genuine love and concern for others. Be courageous and bold but not overbearing in sustaining and defending our beliefs, and avoid contention. As disciples our purpose should be to use social media channels as a means of projecting the light and truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ into a world that increasingly is dark and confused” (“To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood”).
In spite of the blessings and opportunities media offers us, dangers exist. Media is often used for evil purposes, and we need to avoid viewing pornography, creating contention, comparing ourselves to others, and wasting time. To avoid such purposes, we can develop rules for our family’s use of technology and media and encourage all family members to follow them. Elder Gary E. Stevenson explained, “With so many appropriate and inspired uses of technology, let us use it to teach, inspire, and lift ourselves and to encourage others to become their finest—rather than to portray our idealized virtual selves. Let us also teach and demonstrate the righteous use of technology to the rising generation and warn against the associated hazards and destructive use of it” (“Spiritual Eclipse,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 47).
Parents can educate themselves and their children about the risks and benefits of using social media, games, and mobile apps. Parents can also regularly review their children’s use of media and technology and unplug themselves and their children from media when it is doing more harm than good.
“Because of its sheer size, media today presents vast and sharply contrasting options,” President M. Russell Ballard has taught. “Opposite from its harmful and permissive side, media offers much that is positive and productive. Television offers history channels, discovery channels, education channels. One can still find movies and TV comedies and dramas that entertain and uplift and accurately depict the consequences of right and wrong. The Internet can be a fabulous tool of information and communication, and there is an unlimited supply of good music in the world. Thus our biggest challenge is to choose wisely what we listen to and what we watch (“Let Our Voices Be Heard,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 16).
“Things as They Really Are”
“So, Can I Watch It or Not?” youth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org
“Out of the Best Books, Movies, or Music,” youth.ChurchofJesusChrist.org
“Music and Dancing,” For the Strength of Youth
“Sharing via Social Media,” Sharing the Gospel
“Helpful Music Resources,” Ensign, July 2015
“Apostle Offers Counsel about Social Media,” Ensign, January 2015
“Taming the Media,” Ensign, August 2014
“Media with Merit,” Ensign, June 2014
“Entertainment and Media,” Ensign, February 2013
“Choose the Right Media,” Friend, April 2012
“It’s ‘Only’ Violence,” Ensign, June 2003
“Setting Family Standards for Entertainment,” Ensign, June 2001
“Q&A: Questions and Answers,” New Era, September 1993
“Helping Children Understand the Media’s Influence,” Ensign, January 1987
“Four Ways to Become a Media-Savvy Family,” Church News
“Viewpoint: Practice Media Safety,” Church News
“Millions to View General Conference Worldwide,” Church News
“Media,” Lesson Helps for Teaching Children