Today Elder Ballard spoke at the BYU-Hawaii graduation and urged graduates to use the Internet to share the Gospel. He mentioned blogging, podcasts, Facebook, video-sharing sites, and “people using … search engines to hunt for topics about the Church.” Here are selected portions:
The emergence of New Media is facilitating a world-wide conversation on almost every subject including religion, and nearly everyone can participate.
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.
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. …some who seek answers want them to come directly from a member of the Church, like each one of you.
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 and 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.
Others have recorded and posted their testimonies of the Restoration, the teachings of the Book of Mormon, and other gospel subjects on popular video-sharing sites. You, too, can tell your story to nonmembers in this way.
Use stories and words that they will understand.
Elder Ballard also cited the Indy Books blog, where Bookslinger chronicles his daily missionary work.
I think this will prove to be a landmark talk.
Full transcript: Using New Media to Support the Work of the Church
Press release: Apostle Urges Students to Use New Media
(Thanks to several people who sent me this.)