There has been much said recently about members of the Church using the Internet to share the gospel. (see Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet By Elder M. Russell Ballard)  Elder Ballard and Church Public Affairs have encouraged members to create blogs, leave comments on online news articles, create and post videos on YouTube, and share material from Church Web sites.  (see Guidelines and Helps for Latter-day Saints Participating in Online Conversations About the Church)

While it seems clear that the Church wants members to use their personal Web sites, blogs and social media networks to share the gospel and clear up misconceptions about the Church, many members still have a lot of confusion regarding what they can and cannot do with the Internet.  Part of this confusion is likely due to the language used by the First Presidency in their December 13, 2004 letter entitled “Authorized Church Web Sites.” In that letter, they outline how to identify official Church-sponsored Web sites, and state that unauthorized sites ”should be discontinued immediately.”

But suppose there is a Relief Society president who wants to start a blog to share information about food storage.  The blog could be used to share tips and tricks, recipes and ideas.  She would invite others to participate in the blog, to post comments or perhaps to be guest contributors.  Would such a blog fall into the realm of those not authorized by the Church?

I cannot speak for the Church, but I certainly don’t think this type of site is what the Church had in mind when they asked unauthorized sites to be discontinued.  According to my understanding of the guidelines referenced above, I think this type of blog would be appropriate, provided that the following points are followed.

  • Don’t leave the impression that your blog is an official Church site or associated with any Church unit.  For an example, click here to see the disclaimer on this blog.
  • If you use the blog to discuss gospel doctrines, remember you’re speaking as an individual member of the Church, sharing your personal perspective.
  • Remember that you’re always on the record. Everything you say or write could be on the Internet forever.
  • Link to videos, articles, and other resources on Church Web sites.   Church sites are full of resources on food storage and many other gospel subjects and we have been encouraged to share them.
  • Make an effort to include all interested parties, both in your ward and outside of it, both members and non-members.
  • Seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost.  How you use the Internet to further the work of the Lord is largely a personal matter between you and the Lord.  Guidance from your priesthood leaders may also be sought.
  • Clearly, the Church supports and encourages using the tools of the New Media (the Internet, blogs, social networks, etc.) to share the gospel.  Implicit also, I believe, is the notion that New Media can be used to support other aspects of the work of the Lord such as strengthening the Saints and serving in the Church.

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