Friday, October 21, 2011

Sharing The Gospel Online: Pointing Someone To An LDS Church Link Without Being Intrusive, Disrespectful, Or Spamming

Sharing the Gospel can be one of the more difficult tasks for some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, particularly for those who are introverts and who may not have ever filled a full-time mission. We don't want to be accused of spamming. We are reluctant to be intrusive or invasive.

However, natural contextual opportunities to share the Gospel online do crop up. If someone experiences a death in their family, we can express our condolences and then point them to an LDS link which provides our perspective on death. Whether this ultimately helps them or not is irrelevant; our mission is to proclaim the Gospel, and leave it to the Holy Spirit to take care of the conversion process.

Here's an example of my own interaction on the F2 Board. An individual started a thread in which he describes being suddenly dumped by his wife after 10 years. After reading his entry, I was inspired to consult the LDS Topical Guide on Divorce. Here's the pertinent part of the exchange:

His post, posted 10/21/2011 11:54 am: [Wife just told me she wanted a divorce] Said I will never be able to give her the life style she deserves. She said that after 10 years she's given up and is ready to move on.

I'm beside myself with grief. How long does it take to get over a 10 year relationship?

My response, posted 10/21/2011 12:03 pm: The rest of your life. You will never completely get over it, but with the passage of time, you will take control of the memory, detoxify it, and become thicker-skinned. Handled properly, the experience will be ultimately beneficial. Adversity is our greatest teacher.

At least she dumped you now, while you're still relatively young and probably still competitive in the "meat market". Perhaps you may find some of the articles on this site helpful in beginning the healing process:

Notice how I start out emphathizing with the guy and then try to redirect his grief and hostility towards beginning to heal. Notice how I refrain from dumping on his wife, which would be judgmental; I strive to focus my counsel exclusively upon him. Notice how I lead him to the link to the LDS site without unleashing a hard sell of the Church. This guy doesn't need a hard core sales pitch for the LDS Church at this time; he simply needs ideas which can help him cope more effectively with this adversity.

Notice how my counsel contrasts quite favorably with that of others who post on thread. The others are planting negative attitudes towards women in general; I don't.

Of course, the F2 Board is a place where there is much discussion, syntax, and even illustrations which many LDS members may find disgusting. But when we reach out to try to pull someone out of the gutter, we inevitably risk getting splashed with some of the runoff. The constant companionship of the Holy Ghost offers us protection against being damaged by the runoff. We can't bring the world to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ by staying in our comfort zones and preaching to the choir. We have to go to where the hurt is.

Who knows what will ultimately happen to this guy. Perhaps he'll cater to our ultimate fantasy, and we will read about him in the LDS Church News 20 years from now becoming a Seventy. More likely, he'll continue his life as it is now. What counts is that we sow the seed, and leave it to the Lord to determine how, when, where, or if it germinates. Go forward in faith -- faith precedes the miracle.

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