Sunday, March 22, 2009

I had the opportunity to give a talk today at church during Sacrament meeting, I am really not a big fan of giving talks and so when I was asked I wasn't too happy. The 2nd counselor in the bishopric who had asked me to base what I spoke about on a hymn entitled Who's on the Lord's Side? Who? It was not a song that was well known to me, so I had to take some time to re-read it and understand the words and the meaning of the song several times. Finally while talking with my mom I decided to take it in the direction of how we can continue the Lord's work in our actions and the things we share on the internet. I was asked to talk for about eight minutes, I was really nervous about being able to cover that long, but have no worry it ended up being nearly 15 minutes long :D. At the beginning of my talk I mentioned that when I get nervous I talk really fast, but everyone that talked to me afterward told me that I didn't talk too fast and that I was really composed.

Introduce Yourself:
Hello, for those of you who don’t know me my name is Beth Mathews, I moved into the ward in January and I live in Log Up. I’m from Toledo, a little town on the coast of Oregon. My communities name for fame is that our local aquarium housed the whale from the movie Free Willy or Keiko as his name was before he was moved to Iceland.
(they thought it was funny when I mentioned Free Willy/Keiko :D)
I am the youngest of six kids, 4 brothers, 1 sister, 3 nieces, 2 nephews and I am a sophomore here at BYU majoring in Early Childhood Education.
You will have to forgive me if I talk really fast, I am not a big fan of giving talks and when I get nervous I talk really fast…my mom told me to be sure to SLOW DOWN, so I will try and do that.
Actual Talk:
There is a hymn entitled Who’s on the Lord’s Side and it begins with “Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who? Now is the time to show. We ask it fearlessly: Who’s on the Lord’s side? Who?”
Charles W Dahlquist the Young Men’s General President said in the April 2007 General Conference that this is a question that should be in the mind of each young man and each young woman the world over: “Who’s on the Lord’s side? “And our resounding answers should be, “I am!”
But how do we know if we are on the Lord’s side and how can we show it? President George Albert Smith, said quoting his grandfather: “There is a line of demarcation, well defined. On one side of the line is the Lord’s territotry. On the other side of the line is the devil’s territory…if you will stay on the Lord’s side of the line, you are perfectly safe, because the adversary of all righteousness cannot cross that line.” What does that mean? It means that those who are living righteous lives, keeping all of the commandments of our Heavenly Father are perfectly safe, but not those who trifle with his advice and counsel."
There are many ways that we can show that we are on the Lord’s side, Elder Ballard has shared a way that is part of our lifestyle already..he strongly suggested that we use things that are part of our lives to share the gospel and our testimonies of it: Forgive me but I am going to read a large piece of his talk..he says it so much better than I could.
How different your world is today. If you read newspapers, the chances are you read them on the Internet. Yours is the world of cyberspace, cell phones that capture video, video downloads and iTunes, social networks like Facebook, text messaging and blogs, hand-helds and podcasts. As many in my generation are just getting onto email, that’s already becoming old hat to most of you. Last Christmas my children gave me an iPod. With careful instructions, they handed me that wonderful little device, and I had only one question after they got through. It was: "When will I ever find time to use this little wonder?"
This is your world, the world of the future, with inventions undreamed of that will come in your lifetime as they have in mine. How will you use these marvelous inventions? More to the point, how will you use them to further the work of the Lord?
Today we have a modern equivalent of the printing press in the Internet and all that it means. The Internet allows everyone to be a publisher, to have their voice heard, and it is revolutionizing society. Before the Internet, there were great barriers to printing. It took money, power, or influence and a great amount of time to publish. But today, because of the emergence of what some call New Media, made possible by the Internet, many of those barriers have been removed. New Media consists of tools on the Internet that make it possible for nearly anyone to publish or broadcast to either a large or a niche audience. I have mentioned some of these tools already, and I know you are familiar with them. The emergence of New Media is facilitating a world-wide conversation on almost every subject including religion, and nearly everyone can participate. This modern equivalent of the printing press is not reserved only for the elite.
I am sure many of have either heard of or seen the newest movie that the Church put out entitled, Why Mormon’s Build Temples. It was first posted on the Church’s youtube Channel. In just 96 hours after it was originally posted miracles happened. The day after it was posted it became the #10 most watched video on youtube- meaning that it was on the youtube homepage. Two days after it was posted google video ranked it as the number one hot video. 3 days after the posting the Church’s youtube channel was ranked as the #4 most-subsribed channel for the week. Just barely 96 hours after it was originally posted this movie had received nearly 200,000 views. Sunday, 4 days after it had been posted the comments on the video shifted from almost exclusively being made by members to being made primarily by non-members. Some comments left on the video included:
I really liked how the video portrayed people's views not of the mormon faith. It really is true that the ordinances performed in the temple isn't secret, they are sacred and anyone who wants to know about them can turn to the Bible.
i am not Mormon but i know that the temples are the place to be apart with the Lord to feel his presence, it's like the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem. My wish is to see a Temple in Port-au-Prince the Capital City of my Country Haiti, because I think Haitian could feel this presence in they own country!
It always amazes me how much can be done with the internet and how far we can spread the word with just a simple thing like this video, we may not be able to change the world’s mind but we can share what we know to be truth and continue to strengthen ours and others testimonies.
Continuing on his talk, Elder Ballard said: “Now some of these tools – like any tool in an unpracticed or undisciplined hand – can be dangerous. The Internet can be used to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ and can just as easily be used to market the filth and sleaze of pornography. iTunes can be used to download uplifting and stirring music or the worst kind of anti-social lyrics, full of profanity. Social networks on the Web can be used to expand healthy friendships as easily as they can be used by predators trying to trap the unwary. That is no different from how people choose to use television or movies or even a library. Satan is always quick to exploit the negative power of new inventions, to spoil and to degrade and to neutralize any effect for good. Make sure that the choices you make in the use of new media are choices that expand your mind, increase your opportunities, and feed your soul.
That 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.
The challenge is that there are too many people participating in conversation about the Church for our Church personnel to converse with and respond to individually. We cannot answer every question, satisfy every inquiry, and respond to every inaccuracy that exists. As I said at General Conference in October, we need to remember that there is a difference between interest and curiosity. Sometimes people just want to know what the Church is. And some who seek answers want them to come directly from a member of the Church, like each one of you. They appreciate one-on-one conversations.
Now, to you who are members of the Church, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration. Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can start a blog in minutes and begin sharing what you know to be true. You can download videos from Church and other appropriate sites, including Newsroom at LDS.org, and send them to your friends. You can write to media sites on the Internet that report on the Church, and voice your views as to the accuracy of the reports. This, of course, requires that you, all members of the Church, understand the basic, fundamental principles of the gospel.
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 Jesus 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. Many of you are returned missionaries and can carry on meaningful conversation in the language you learned on your mission. Your outreach can be international.
Last semester I had the opportunity to go to Taiwan to teach English at a preschool, when the preparations first began I started a blog to share with my family and close friends what was happening, I continued it throughout my time in Taiwan- sharing pictures and experiences and using it as a journal for my time. In December when I returned I had enjoyed writing my blog so much that I decided to keep it. In the past I had mostly just blogged about the random things that happen in my life, things that were fun to me, in February I even posted every day a different way of saying I Love You..by the end of the February my brother told me that he was sick of seeing hearts. But recently I have started to have readers from all over some from China, Russia, Austrailia, Indonesia, Finland, France, Argentina, Peru, and many others. I am not sure how all of these people find my blog, but I realized that with all of these different people reading my blog I have a chance to maybe not change how they feel about God or about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints completely but I do have a chance to make a difference and let them know how I feel. So I posted the movie Why Mormon’s Build Temples and I posted good comments that I could find towards the church during the Big Love issue by non-members.
We all have people for who we are a voice; we all have opportunities to make a difference to these people, whether they are mormon or non-mormon for whom we can be a strength.
Last year I was in a Freshman ward and as such saw many of my ward brothers preparing and leaving for their missions, many of them created groups on facebook to have their friends guess where they would be serving, one in particular that stood to me was this one:
Many people have asked me why I would be sacrificing two years of my life to go on a mission. Do not worry, I have had my doubts about going but I think that is natural when making a decision such as this one. I came to the conclusion that if I did not know what I would be teaching to be true, I would not go. I know that Christ lives. I know His church that He organized is once again on the Earth today. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I know that the Book of Mormon is true scripture. I came to not only believe these things but to know these things through reading the Book of Mormon and sincerely asking God through prayer it is true. I have felt the spirit of God touch my heart to know these things to a degree that I cannot deny it. You can have this knowledge also by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to know if it is true. It will bless your life beyond measure as it has blessed my life. This message and truth I will be teaching on my mission. The joy that comes from serving a mission is far greater than any other joy I could experience in my life as I know that it will bless God's children. For this reason am I going, to serve Heavenly Father's children by inviting them to come unto Christ and be baptized in His name.
We all participate in one or another of these activities; we can use them when we are asked “who’s on the Lord’s side” to respond with a great “I Am!” I know that by using this great technology to spread the gospel and its truth not only will our lives be blessed but so too will the lives it reaches. I am grateful for the opportunity to live in this time and share what I know, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!

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