How to Give a Sacrament Talk with Impact

Here’s some ideas on how to prepare to talk in church. The LDS Church is unique because we don’t have paid ministry. We are the ministry. It’s up to us.

Remember a sacrament meeting talk is a sacred opportunity. Take it seriously, but don’t get too stressed out.

In addition to these points you may want to review this Forbes article that helps me and my colleagues remember what is helpful from a worldly point of view: http://bit.ly/greatpresenters.

Remember you will have a little help you may not have in a business speaking opportunity:

1- Prepare yourself. Pray for the spirit. Pray for those who listen to know how much Heavenly Father loves them. Get a blessing. Fasting is probably the most powerful way to prepare yourself of all you can do. If you receive inspiration or revelation about your talk you will have done the most powerful thing you can do to prepare both yourself and your talk.

The Holy Ghost, if present, will help you speak with the tongue of an angel. Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. Read 2 Nephi 32: 2-3.

2- Outline your ideas early.  Then you can be thinking of powerful ways to make the topic impactful. Decide your purpose. What do you want to accomplish? You will notice things and remember things in the days and weeks prior to your talk. Choose the main point and a few key sub points. Brainstorm first, then edit content later.

3- Think and pray about the specific needs of your audience. You may mention you are speaking specifically to the youth, or the singles, or the women, or the older high priests (who may be sleeping.) Go with the spirit. You may feel to change your approach. Don’t be afraid to do so.

4- Be passionate and enthusiastic. The word enthusiastic means “infused with spirit.”

5- Open up and share who your are. Give some of your “backstory” about your human side and how you overcame or grew. You don’t need to share specifics of past mistakes, but you can share things others can relate to.

I love this short video from my friend Lindsey Stirling who shares her own backstory of how she overcame anorexia as a teen:

Don’t be afraid to be real.

Be yourself.

Here is good pattern to use from God’s four aspects of communication.

Dr. Chauncey Riddle, of BYU teaches us that D&C 4 says we should love God with all four aspects of us: Heart, Might, Mind, and Strength.

Heart is desire or emotion. Might is influence or results. Mind is understanding or thought. Strength is the capacity of the body for action. Heart and Mind are your spirit. Your spirit and your body are your soul. Every thing outside of your soul is your Might or impact in the world. It is still part of you, but outside of the physical or spiritual you.

A good approach for any talk is to start with the Mind. This includes questions, ideas, scriptures, quotes or observations. Then move to the Heart with stories and testimony. Your personal testimony is when the Holy Ghost will come. Then go to Strength with a call-to-action and a specific challenge or take-away. These together will drive impact, influence, results or Might.

Mind is belief or thought. Heart is hope or desire. Strength is faith to act. Might is the end result or charity; the pure love of Christ. There is nothing greater.

How to start your talk:

1- Ask a question or share a compelling quote. Get people thinking quickly. Grab their interest.

2- Read a short, relevant scripture.

3- Make a relevant observation.

4- Comment on talks before you. This is usually the High Councilman technique where he congratulates and summarizes the talks before him. It is a kind thing to do and it works and it shows you were listening. This can be overused though, so watch yourself if you speak often so this doesn’t become a crutch.

5- Tell a story. President Monson and the Apostles are masters of telling stories. The Master Himself would craft a parable or story that had impact on several levels. When in doubt, use one of His or theirs.

President Thomas S. Monson is a master at telling stories

President Thomas S. Monson is a master at telling stories

6- Share an allegory or object lesson. This is often the most impactful thing you can do. Others will remember this and retell it if it is hard hitting and relevant.

How not to start your talk:

1- Don’t throw who assigned you the talk under the bus. Don’t go through how you were assigned the talk and how they just told you about it a few days ago. It makes both you and them look bad.

2- Define your topic. The dictionary is there for people to look up faith on their own. This is an old, worn out approach. We get it.

3- Don’t admit you are scared or nervous. All your credibility goes away immediately. You’ll be ok.

4- Don’t tell how much you don’t want to be there. Have faith you will have help. Faith and doubt can’t reside in the same person.

5- Don’t say “you don’t know me, but…” Just introduce yourself if they might not know you.

How to make your talk very interesting and relevant:

1- Teach something very compelling. Don’t just talk.

2- Don’t read the whole time. If you need to read, which is ok, pause and look up to your audience and say things or summarize in your own words occasionally. Practice in front of a mirror. If you are going to read, practice the words also so that you won’t struggle. Get some help if necessary. Help is ok.

3- Have a “quotable” one liner that is memorable. This is what your audience will probably share with others.

4- Teach something you are passionate and knowledgeable about. This is probably the single most important rule of great public speaking.

5- Make sure there is a call-to-action or take away. Give practical ideas that people can use.

6- Use humor sparingly, like President Hinckley or President Monson.

7- Back up or validate your points. Mention a clear scripture or doctrinal source, but don’t overdo the length of your sources. Mention books you found interesting.

How to end your talk:

1- Summarize the main point and key points.

2- The three E’s: Educate, Entertain, End on time.

3- Challenge to take your call-to-action.

4- Share your testimony and close in the name of Christ.

After your talk.

1- Get a little feedback. This is best from those who love you and that you trust to tell you what you did well and how you can improve for next time. Take a few notes.

If you do this, each talk will get better and better. Review your notes from previous talks and this list before you give your next talk. Save your notes and the final version of your talk so you will have it again for a later opportunity.

Just remember who you gave it to before.

God bless!

Welcome Baskets Help You Meet Your Neighbors

We moved to Mapleton, Utah nearly 2 years ago. We hardly knew anybody. We had been in Alpine, Utah for 18 years and felt like we had friends in every neighborhood.

We didn’t know where the church was, who are neighbors were, or any of the streets in Mapleton.

Then I was called to be Ward Mission Leader in a ward where there were only 5 non-Latter-Day Saints in the entire ward. What do you do?

You just go meet people. I got the ward directory, but like most wards, only about 1 out of 4 had taken time to put their pictures in the directory. So it was hard. We didn’t know where the classrooms were in Church. We didn’t know where anyone lived.

So after we found things out, we decided not to let that happen to anyone else who moved into our neighborhood.

So we made Welcome Baskets.

Welcome baskets are a great way to meet your neighbors and make it easier for new move ins.

Welcome baskets are a great way to meet your neighbors and make it easier for new move ins.

If you are a Latter-Day Saint you will like a map of the church building.

If not, you are welcome to come and see what a Mormon church meeting is like. And for everyone we have maps of the neighborhood, the city, and important phone numbers and a little history of Mapleton.

We bought a bunch of tin buckets with rope from Hobby Lobby, some tissue and plastic wrap from the dollar store, a bottle of Martinellis sparkling apple juice and some goodies like Pirouline hazelnut artisan rolled wafers, and we were ready to go. All under $10.

We soon ran out so we had to stock up 20 at a time. Now we are having fun taking them around and meeting all the new people.

Now we are going to go around and take pictures of everyone so we can finish the neighborhood directory.

 

Social Media Certification Great Preparation for How To Be a Social Media Missionary

The Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America is offering a Social Media Certification program, in six levels, complete with a patch for each level. The certification program has been put together by a Social Media Certification Advisory Panel that has designed the CORE Certification program to be earned in about 2 hours and the additional levels to each sequentially be more difficult yet impactful.

The Social Media Certification program will be great preparation for LDS youth and adults to teach them How to Be a Social Media Missionary to share social and digital media tips, techniques, and best practices. The Social Media Certification is non-denominational and applies to any non-profit, church, business, or personal use of social and digital media.

The levels are:

The Social Media Certification Patch has 6 sections: Core, Coach, Curator, Creator, Collaborator, and Consultant

The Social Media Certification Patch has six sections: Core, Coach, Curator, Creator, Collaborator, and Consultant

Level 1 = CORE Certification
Level 2 = Coach
Level 3 = Curator
Level 4 = Creator
Level 5 = Collaborator
Level 6 = Consultant

The Social Media Certification program is designed for both youth and adults. The focus of this certification program is:

  • Safety with social and digital media
  • Purposeful use of social media
  • How to prepare content for your own social media
  • How to comment and connect on social media
  • How to collaborate to improve your social media exposure
  • How to create great content on social and digital media
  • To encourage sharing of your story and beliefs
  • To increase capacity to share and support scouting

President Monson Teaches Four Ways to Find People to Share the Gospel

President Thomas S. Monson shares the best way to help a member family share the gospel by helping missionaries find people to teach. Watch first minute and a half. Transcript below.

“The best way for a mission to achieve its optimum productivity is to involve the members in the process of contacting, teaching, and fellowshipping.”

“For missionaries to ask a member family, ‘do you have any referrals for us?’ will yield minimum results. However, if the missionaries in the comfortable setting of the member families home discuss the plan of salvation, this provides answers to the universal questions of the human heart: Where did I come from, why am I hear on earth, where do I go when I die?”

“Then the stage is set for the penetrating questions:”

  • “First, whom do you know who has recently lost a loved one?”
  • “Second, whom do you know who has welcomed a newly born child to the family?
  • “Third, whom do you know who has recently moved into the neighborhood?”
  • “Fourth, whom do you know who has experienced difficulty coping with their teenage children?”

“Then the Lord has provided the answers to the questions of those who have had these experiences. They are far more apt to respond favorably to the member family’s invitation to learn.”

A Ward Mission Leader We Can All Learn From

Brother Vaughn Judi of the Mapleton 20th Ward moved to Mapleton about a year ago. He moved here from Emery County and was immediately called to be the ward mission leader.

The first thing he noticed when he moved to Utah, as he started going to meet people who are not of our faith in his ward, was that the reception he received was often somewhat chilly, something he had not experienced down in Emery County.

He hypothesized that so many well-meaning members of the church have approached these people for so long, that they had developed a defense mechanism whereby they immediately push back when approached about the gospel.

So instead, he just loved them, and was pleasantly persistent.

Last night I got to go on splits with Brother Judi for one hour. I’m in a different ward, but I called him up and asked if he needed a junior companion. I told him I wanted to learn from him what he does that is having so much impact in his ward and our stake.

You see, his ward teaches as many discussions as all the rest of our stake put together… every week.

He replied, I don’t do anything special, I just try and love and serve and be persistent.

I asked him how often he goes out, and he said, “we’re so busy teaching discussions, that I don’t get out as much to meet new people as I used to. But as soon as we don’t have enough people to teach, I just go out visiting again.”

He doesn’t like to think about the numbers, meaning our Stake goal of having two discussions a week per ward for the full-time missionaries. He says it puts it in a different perspective than what he likes to think of. Instead, he just thinks about the people and their needs.

But it is interesting, he has more ‘numbers’ than anyone else by a significant factor… By not focusing on the numbers at all!

As I met at his home, he had us start with a word of prayer. His prayer was pretty long, and he asked that the Spirit of the Lord would proceed us to the homes of those we were about to visit.

We visited four homes in one hour.

He pulled out a crumpled handwritten list from his pocket of all the families he had been thinking about lately.

It was written in pencil, not a computer printout or anything.

The first house nobody was home.

And he kept saying, “you know Sunday evenings aren’t always the best to find those at home who are not members of our faith, or haven’t been coming much lately.”

I asked why.

He grinned and looked at me like I was just a little slow and said, “today’s the last day of the deer hunt. And if you’re not coming to church it’s cause you’re out doing something else on Sunday, and you usually aren’t back until later in the evening.”

He continued, “So I also go out one or two nights a week, and I’m a lot more successful finding people at home.”

I ask if he calls to set appointments first, and he said “only if people ask me to.” He said, “I like to just visit, because it gets me into there lives.”

I noticed he had a stack of orange flyers on the floor of the car, they talked about a ‘trunk or treat’ party coming up on Halloween night. He said he always likes to have something fun or interesting to invite people to.

This was just on a circle in a neighborhood in the ward, in somebody’s driveway, with hot chocolate and donuts. Everyone we went to was interested in coming by, and bringing their kids.

The next three homes in a row all let us in to talk for a while. In each home we sat or stood and Brother Judi just chatted and talked and conversed and showed he cared, he knew a little something about each family, and learned a lot more as he conversed.

I asked him how he knew who to visit.

He said he worked closely with the bishop and the ward clerk to learn those who needed to progress to the next saving ordinances in the Gospel. Whether it was going to the temple, getting the priesthood, or having a spouse or child baptized; he had done his homework on each family and new what they needed.

He said he also watches who comes to church and who doesn’t.

He seeks them out because he cares.

Then he just helps them start reading the scriptures, saying their prayers, and coming out on Sunday to church. Every one of the families we met with seems to appreciate him and appreciated a little nudge here and there.

Before we went into each home, he reviewed with me the names of the mother and father, and each child or young adult. He had all their names written down neatly in pencil.

I watched what he said at the door.

He said “I’m still a little new here, and would love to just get to know you more, could we come in and just visit for a bit?”

Every single family that was home invited us in.

We talked about people we knew, the family pet, whether a cat or dog, the children in the home, the schools they were going to, the things they enjoyed, the hobbies that they had, the deer hunt and how it was going, the job of the wife or the husband, or just whatever came up that was of interest.

The common thing I noted was that Brother Judi was interested in everything they said. He leaned forward on the edge of his chair and kept the conversation going.

At the fourth home of the evening, as we were about to leave, he said, “we have a great pair of missionaries in our area who have some lessons that could really help you get to the temple, could I bring them by to share those with you?”

They said yes, and he set an appointment for the following Sunday afternoon at 2 o’clock.

At no home did we stay very long, just to the point when the conversation started to lag a little bit, we would say her goodbyes, commit to visit again, and go see another family.

We always offered to leave with a word of prayer, and every single family took us up on our offer.

He said the other thing he likes to do is offer for the missionaries to come by and just bless them and their homes.

And I’m thoroughly convinced, that the second and third families will receive that same invitation to meet with the missionaries and respond the same way, when they are ready.

And Brother Judi will follow up with love, until they do.

On my way home I stopped at our bishops house and shared the wonderful experience I had just had.

Then I called our stake High Councilman over missionary work and shared the same thing over the phone.

I asked them both, what would it be like if all of us were like Brother Judi?

 

How to Start a Prayer List

One of the most powerful things you can do as a full time missionary, ward mission leader, ward missionary or member missionary is to start a prayer list.

  1. The best place to start is to ask Heavenly Father who to add to your list before you begin. Ask in prayer who to pray for. Revelation and inspiration will bring to your mind people’s names you hadn’t thought of before.
  2. Then be very specific and include those you are finding, teaching, reactivating, etc.
  3. Also pray by name for other missionaries, both full time and members so they can also be assisted in faith.
  4. Post this list where you pray each day.
  5. Carry this list with you or save on your iPad.
  6. Include a select few or all to share with your family at home so they can pray with you.
  7. Include those on your prayer list in each fast you begin on fast sunday.
  8. Ask the Ward Mission Leaders to pray and fast by name for those on your list in their wards.
  9. Ask the members who are neighbors and the Ward Council to pray and fast by name for those on your list in their wards.
  10. Post reminders in the form of very simple post-it notes that say “Prayer List” in key visual locations in your apartment and car to remind you to pray constantly for your investigators.
An amazing article about prayer in the Bible Dictionary of the LDS Kings James Version of the Bible - Prayer is a form of work!

An amazing article about prayer in the Bible Dictionary of the LDS Kings James Version of the Bible – Prayer is a form of work!

Study the elements of Faith and Prayer in Preach by Gospel and remember the definition of prayer on page 753 of the Bible Dictionary:

“The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” – Page 753, Bible Dictionary, LDS King James Version of the Bible

How to Make a Map of Your Area

This is the login popup screen on lds.org at the top right of the home page that takes you to the maps function

This is the login popup screen on lds.org at the top right of the home page that takes you to the maps functio

My son left for the mission field today. He is serving in the Kennewick, Washington Mission. I have decided that as often as I can I will write a letter to my son with one more piece of advice as a full time missionary. These will be equally applicable to Ward Mission Leaders to use and to share with their Ward Missionaries and the Full Time Missionaries they work with. They will be short, and one topic. We will send letters to other missionaries, both Elders and Sisters. So they will all start with… Dear Elder/Sister,

Dear Elder/Sister, One of the most important things to do is to make a clear map of your area from the Maps section of LDS.org. Here are the steps:

1- Go to LDS.org and login at the top right with your Church ID and password.

2- Choose the Maps section when you login. Since I’m only a Ward Mission Leader, it shows my ward (red) and stake boundaries (green)

The ward map appears with a red background. The stake has a green background. It shows the Ward Chapel.

The ward map appears with a red background. The stake has a green background. It shows the Ward Chapel.

 

Select the Green Button that says View Your Ward and Stake

Select the Green Button that says View Your Ward and Stake

 

By clicking View Ward and Stake you will see all of the member locations in your Ward boundary

By clicking View Ward and Stake you will see all of the member locations in your Ward boundary

 

 

 

 

 

 

By selecting the Map Type box in the bottom right of the Maps screen the popup will appear that allows you to select road maps, satellite views, hybrids on Google, or a road map in Bing

By selecting the Map Type box in the bottom right of the Maps screen the popup will appear that allows you to select road maps, satellite views, hybrids on Google, or a road map in Bing

 

This is the Ward Map in LDS.org with View Ward and Stake selected in Satellite mode with every member location

This is the Ward Map in LDS.org with View Ward and Stake selected in Satellite mode with every member location

 

You can also select a Ward Map in Bing instead of Google Maps

You can also select a Ward Map in Bing instead of Google Maps

4 Social Media Guidelines from Elder Bednar

The following four social media guidelines come from Elder Bednar’s address during Campus Education Week at Brigham Young University on August 19, 2014 entitled, To Sweep the Earth as with a Flood.

1- Be Authentic and Consistent. “First, we are disciples and our messages should be authentic. A person or product that is not authentic is false, fake, and fraudulent. Our messages should be truthful, honest, and accurate.  We should not exaggerate, embellish, or pretend to be someone or something we are not. Our content should be trustworthy and constructive. And anonymity on the Internet is not a license to be inauthentic.”

“Authenticity is strengthened through consistency. The gospel messages you share will be accepted more readily if your Christlike example is evident in the ongoing pattern of your posts.”

4 Social Media Guidelines from Elder David A. Bednar at BYU Education Week in his address To Sweep The Earth as a Flood

4 Social Media Guidelines from Elder David A. Bednar at BYU Education Week in his address To Sweep The Earth With a Flood

2- Edify and Uplift.

“Second, we and our messages should seek to edify and uplift rather than to argue, debate, condemn, or belittle. As Paul counseled the Ephesians, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).”

“Brothers and sisters, 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.”

3- Respect Intellectual Property.

“Third, we and our messages should respect the property of other people and organizations. This simply means that you should not create your own content using someone else’s art, name, photos, music, video, or other content without permission. To assist you in creating uplifting gospel messages, we are pleased to announce that the content in the Media Library on LDS.org, unless otherwise indicated, has been cleared for use by members without seeking permission from the Church. Additional information about the use of Church media can be found at social.lds.org.”

“When you share messages online, make sure others understand that you are expressing your personal thoughts and feelings. Please do not use the Church logo or otherwise suggest that you are speaking for or on behalf of the Church.”

4- Be Wise and Vigilant.

“Fourth, be wise and vigilant in protecting yourself and those you love. We should remember that the Internet never forgets. Anything you communicate through a social media channel indeed will live forever—even if the app or program may promise otherwise. Only say it or post it if you want the entire world to have access to your message or picture for all time.”

“Following these simple guidelines will enable members of the Church around the world to create and share gospel messages that will cause the light to “shine forth out of darkness” (Mormon 8:16).”

A summary of the four guidelines given by David A Bednar for Social Media Missionary work in the LDS Church

A summary of the four guidelines given by David A Bednar for Social Media Missionary work in the LDS Church

He quoted the seventh chapter of the book of Moses in The Pearl of Great Price:

“And righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood” (Moses 7:59–62; italics added).

Then Elder Bednar gave an apostolic invitation:

“My beloved brothers and sisters, what has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning—but only a small trickle. I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood. Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.”

Then he left an apostolic blessing:

“As an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, I invoke this blessing upon you: that you may come to understand more fully the spiritual significance and blessing of living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, that you may have eyes to see clearly both the possibilities and the pitfalls of the remarkable technologies that are available to us today, that you may increase in your capacity to use these inspired tools appropriately, and that you may receive inspiration and guidance about the role you should play in helping to sweep the earth as with a flood of truth and righteousness. As you press forward in this holy work, I promise you will be blessed in mortality in the individual, specific, and necessary ways that will prepare you for eternity. I so bless you.”

And then he closed with his personal witness of Jesus Christ.

“I witness the Father and the Son live. The Savior stands at the head of His Church in these latter days. He is hastening His work, and no unhallowed hand can stop this work from progressing. Of these things I testify in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.”

Elder Bednar Urges Use of Social Media to Spread Gospel at Education Week

Taken from Daily Herald Article on August 19, 2014

Watch the full video of his talk at Education Week

Read the full text of his talk ‘To Sweep the Earth as a Flood

Hang onto your hats. Things are changing.

Elder Bednar urges use of social media to spread gospel at BYU Education Week - Daily Herald - Photo Ian Maule

Elder Bednar urges use of social media to spread gospel at BYU Education Week – Daily Herald – Photo Ian Maule

For decades, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been warned about the impact various media can have on them. Tools in and of themselves, they can be used for both good and evil, members were told.

The media have changed, and so has the emphasis.

General authorities of the church have begun using social media. The LDS church has an official Instagram account and has posted photos from around the world.

“The members of the First Presidency themselves specifically chose the photos to be posted,” Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said Tuesday at a devotional at BYU Education Week. “Some of the brethren now have their own Twitter accounts, including Elder Ballard, Elder Holland and me.

“Additional members of the Twelve may be active on Twitter in the near future. All of the brethren also have their own Facebook pages on which they communicate important gospel messages.”

The church also approved production of a feature-length film to help others better understand the LDS people. Called “Meet the Mormons,” the film will be distributed worldwide through digital channels. That will begin after the church’s October general conference, first in the United States and then in other locations.

The church has also announced content in its media library, found on www.lds.org, has been cleared for use by church members without seeking permission from the church.

“As Elder M. Russell Ballard explained,” Bednar said, “‘In Shakespeare’s time, he was limited generally to the Globe Theatre, but we now have a global theater. … The doors to the world are literally opened wide.’”

Bednar said the Twitter and Facebook presence, and the motion picture, are a start, and more will be coming. Some efforts have been made by the church itself; others have had their origins in the members.

“What has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning, but only a small trickle,” he said. “I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood.

“Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth — messages that are authentic, edifying and praiseworthy — and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.”

Part of the beginnings of that flood have included messages and images created by the church and its members and communicated through social media.

Bednar cited examples including a short video entitled “Because of Him,” which presents the message of hope, healing and salvation through the atonement of Jesus Christ.  It was viewed more than five million times during Easter week alone, in 191 countries and territories of the world.

Members have also posted photos of themselves on various media, telling about times when they pray and why. Another posting presents a 365-day program for reading the Book of Mormon in a year.

During broadcasts of the church’s general conference in October and April, there was a hashtag included on the screen. However, the idea is not new.

“Members have used this hashtag to promote general conference for years,” Bednar said. “The first use of the #LDSconf hashtag dates back to October 2008, when it was created by a faithful member looking for an opportunity to follow and share conference-related tweets — long before the church started using it.”

The technology that makes such communication possible is inspired, Bednar said. And it has been with a purpose in mind.

“The Lord is hastening His work, and it is no coincidence that these powerful communication innovations and inventions are occurring in the dispensation of the fullness of times,” he said.

“I believe the time has come for us as disciples of Christ to use these inspired tools appropriately and much more effectively to testify of God the Eternal Father and His plan of happiness for His children, of His Son Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world, to proclaim the reality of the restoration of the gospel in the latter days, and to accomplish the Lord’s work.”

The use of social media will continue to be more widespread among church missionaries.

“Approximately 40 percent of our worldwide missionary force soon will be using digital devices as tools in the work of conversion, retention and activation,” Bednar said.

It’s been more than 30 years since Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley anticipated this day.

“We are confident that as the work of the Lord expands, he will inspire men to develop the means whereby the membership of the church, wherever they may be, can be counseled in an intimate and personal way by his chosen prophet,” said Hinckley during the church’s 1981 general conference. “Communication is the sinew that binds the church as one great family.”

Bednar also referred to other church leaders who foresaw the communication technology, including Brigham Young.

“Every discovery in science and art, that is really true and useful to mankind, has been given by direct revelation from God, though but few acknowledge it,” Young was quoted as saying. “It has been given with a view to prepare the way for the ultimate triumph of truth, and the redemption of the earth from the power of sin and Satan.

“We should take advantage of all these great discoveries, the accumulated wisdom of ages, and give to our children the benefit of every branch of useful knowledge, to prepare them to step forward and efficiently do their part in the great work.”

Bednar also noted LDS Church presidents David O. McKay and Spencer W. Kimball for their remarks on the matter.

“Discoveries latent with such potent power, either for the blessing or the destruction of human beings, as to make man’s responsibility in controlling them the most gigantic ever placed in human hands. … This age is fraught with limitless perils, as well as untold possibilities” (David O. McKay in Conference Report, Oct. 1966, 4). 

“I believe that the Lord is anxious to put into our hands inventions of which we laymen have hardly had a glimpse. … With the Lord providing these miracles of communication, and with the increased efforts and devotion of our missionaries and all of us, and all others who are ‘sent,’ surely the divine injunction will come to pass: ‘For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth—the gospel must be preached unto every creature’ (D&C 58:64)” (Spencer W. Kimball. “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 10–11).

Spencer W Kimball quoted in Elder Bednar's Talk

Spencer W Kimball quoted in Elder Bednar’s Talk

He urged members to keep their lives in balance and emphasized a warning of consequences of misusing the media.

“Too much time can be wasted, too many relationships can be harmed or destroyed, and precious patterns of righteousness can be disrupted when technology is used improperly,” Bednar said. “We should not allow even good applications of social media to overrule the better and best uses of our time, energy and resources.

“We need not become social media experts or fanatics. And we do not need to spend inordinate amounts of time creating and disseminating elaborate messages.”

He also quoted Elder M. Russell Ballard, who taught that digital technologies should be our servants and not our masters.

But the combined small efforts of millions of members can have a great impact.

“May our many small, individual efforts produce a steady rainfall of righteousness and truth that gradually swells a multitude of streams and rivers,” Bednar said, “and ultimately becomes a flood that sweeps the earth.”

Elder Ballard Stresses Following Up and Setting Dates Quarterly

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke during the Sunday morning, April 6th, 2014, session of general conference, and told the story how he met his future wife, Barbara, and his persistent follow-up that was required to win her hand.

He followed up on two messages he gave in 2011 and 2013.

In his October 2011 talk entitled The Importance of a Name, he quoted the words of the Lord and said, “‘For thus shall my church be called in the last days, even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ (Doctrine and Covenants 115:4).

“With these words, the Lord makes clear that this is not only a formal title, but the name by which His Church is to be called. … Given His clear declaration, we should not refer to the Church by any other name, such as ‘Mormon Church’ or ‘LDS Church.'”

In his October 2013 Conference talk entitled Put Your Trust in the Lord, Elder Ballard had said, “I encouraged members to pray to be led to at least one person to whom they could extend an invitation to learn about the restored gospel before Christmas.”

“I’m a great believer in the principle of follow up. As it says in the missionary guide, Preach My Gospel, ‘extending an invitation without following up is like beginning a journey without finishing it or buying a ticket to a concert without going into the theater. Without the completed action, the commitment is hollow.'”

He then asked members to invite someone once a quarter to be taught by the missionaries.

He asked all members to obtain a copy of Preach My Gospel, the manual of missionary work for the Church, and said, “Read it, study it and then apply what you learn to help you understand how to bring souls to Christ through invitation and follow up.”

He continued with the question, “Can you even begin to fathom the extraordinary outpouring of atoning grace that will be ours, individually and collectively, according to the Savior’s promise to all who bear testimony in the process of inviting souls to come unto Him—and then following up on those invitations.”

He promised that if we follow up, the Lord will not let us down.

“I have seen the unspeakable joy that accompanies testimony-driven inviting and faithful follow up among members of the Church the world over.”