Elder Pearson Says Independent Voices Are Needed to Sustain Faith

Mormon leader calls on members to engage on social media

News Release

“More needs to be done to increase awareness of, access to and confidence in trusted resources by Latter-day Saints and seekers of truth,” said Elder Kevin W. Pearson of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

 

The general authority spoke Friday, August 3, 2018, at the FairMormon Conference held in Provo, Utah. This is the first time a senior leader of the Church has addressed the conference. Speakers at the annual event cover thought-provoking Church topics in the areas of history, science and theology.

“Independent voices are needed in reaching out to those among us who are struggling to find and sustain faith and in responding to those who unfairly criticize, misrepresent, distort and demean the history, doctrine and leadership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” he told the audience gathered at the Utah Valley Convention Center on the last day of the three-day conference.

Elder Pearson said the Church’s effort to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world presents a “massive challenge” due to a lack of awareness of the Church.

He said as many as 6.6 billion people of the 7.6 billion who inhabit the earth have never heard about the gospel. “Of the remaining 1.0 billion people who likely have heard of the Church, approximately half have an unfavorable impression about us.”

“Technology will be a key to overcoming the challenge of awareness,” explained Elder Pearson. “Much of the content needed for websites and YouTube must come from independent sources … and individual members of the Church. Your voices must be heard on social media, wherever you live.”

He continued: “We must be a voice for truth. We must have the faith and courage to speak up and engage in social media in a positive, responsible, noncontentious and effective way. We can simply share what we know and believe with others.”

The senior Church leader discussed research that shows that 70 percent of the inhabitants of the earth are not accessible to missionaries, but more than half of the people have access to the internet and over two-thirds have a mobile phone. The average internet user is spending six hours per day using internet-powered devices and services.

“The internet has become the most powerful and dominant source for information on virtually any topic or question. … The internet can either lead individuals to the truth or away from it,” he added. “There are thoughtful, faithful answers to virtually every question, issue and concern being raised by critics and skeptics of the Church.”

Elder Pearson has counseled with members struggling with their faith while serving as a general authority over the past decade. “In virtually every instance it began with an issue or concern about a Church policy, practice, leader or historical question. None of us is immune from this.”

In fact, he shared his own faith journey when pondering questions about historical and doctrinal issues some years ago. “I have learned the importance of always looking through the lens of faith. I have learned the importance of staying focused on the primary questions and avoiding the distraction of lesser issues and concerns.”

“I pray that each of us will be true and faithful to the end in following the living Son of the living God and that each of us will be patient, compassionate and supportive of others making their way along their own faith journey,” he concluded.

The Church has many websites and social media channels designed to share messages of hope and faith with a global audience, including LDS.org and MormonNewsroom.org.

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