You're darn right when I find out an Apostle of the Lord, Elder David A. Bednar, will be the keynote speaker at the BYU Education Week Devotional, this Tuesday, August 19th, on the topic of Social Media I'm going to blog about it. Especially when, coincidentally, I will be there. Boo-Yah!

You also may have heard that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has updated Handbook 2 with new guidelines for using social media and the Internet.
In addition to the new handbook language, a companion article has been published that gives examples of what can and cannot be done: Use of Online Resources in Church Callings

“Members are encouraged to use the Internet to flood the earth with testimonies of the Savior and His restored gospel. They should view blogs, social networks, and other Internet technologies as tools that allow them to amplify their voice in promoting the messages of peace, hope, and joy that accompany faith in Christ. 
Members are encouraged to share messages from official Church websites and social accounts, as well as their own words, images, and media. As members express their own thoughts and feelings, they should not give the impression that they represent or are sponsored by the Church. 
As members use the Internet to hasten the work of the Lord, they should exemplify civility and focus on sharing praiseworthy messages that strengthen those with whom they come in contact.” (Handbook 2)

How did I get so blessed to hit this unprecedented event, when I haven't attended #byuedweek in well over 10 years? Seriously, this was a last minute decision to go/come. (I'm in Utah right now -- just got in today.) Honestly, I don't believe this is coincidence at all. Do you? It's as though the social media stars have aligned so that I could attend, in the flesh, seeing as I have such a love and passion for sharing the gospel online via social media and have been doing it for quite sometime.

You might recall that I was invited to speak at BYU Women's Conference just this last May on a related topic -- Social Media: New Ways to Share the Gospel Online. I genuinely believe that social media is the Lord's Power Tool. I'm still planning on posting my presentation, soon. (Post in draft, some technical difficulties getting slideshow to setup properly. Sigh.) Hopefully, it will be fully in keeping with what Elder Bednar will teach and counsel us about this week and perhaps I may even update some of my content with the new counsel and direction --- I imagine that I will.

But that's not all. My current calling, kind of unprecedented, too:  Social Media/Blog Specialist on my local Mulit-Regional Public Affairs Council. (MRPAC)True. As you can see, my life of service and choice of activity revolves around this topic. From my perspective then, it seems only fitting that someone upstairs has finagled things so that I will be sitting in that Marriott Center come this Tuesday morning. Thank you!

How to Watch BYU Education Week Devotional Online, August 19, 2014:

Now, for those of you just as interested in this topic as I am (which should be many of you, seeing as you're on the Internet reading this post and you're a covenant member of the Church) Elder Bednar's address will be streamed live at 11:10am MDT on BYU-TV and the Mormon Channel. Be sure and visit to learn more and definitely don't miss this devotional.

I'd also like to encourage those of you active on various social networks, such as Twitter (#TwitterStake) and Facebook, to help share Elder Bednar's words in real-time using hashtags #byuedweek and #byudevo as a way to get more involved and really show the power of social media to broadcast a message, broadly. Because that's how we use social media when one of the Lord's Special Witnesses' speaks. Right? What a wonderful and fun opportunity to be a part of this event.

And, FYI, rumor has it that Elder Bednar's presentation will be very social media friendly with perhaps an invitation to participate in real-time on the Internet. (Maybe.) So, consider yourself being given a head's up on how cool this broadcast is going to be and how you can be part of LDS Church History!

Okay, I'm really spreading rumors today... but I've also heard in some of my online LDS circles that we might even hear about a new Church website (or initiative) in conjunction with this broadcast. Sort of a way to bring many of our efforts to do good online, together. Just sayin. I have absolutely NO inside, official scoop -- other than it all seems to fit a pattern I've seen in the recent past and Church social media 'stuff'. 

Anyway, I'm excited and hope that you are, too. And, really, really hope you'll join me and share this event and the buzz surrounding it in real-time, this Tuesday. (And this post to get the word out.) Okay, done rambling. Don't miss it! These are truly exciting times!

Lastly, in preparation for the devotional (because his address is part 2) the Church is encouraging members to review Elder Bednar's powerful address: Things As They Really Are. If you've never listened or read this talk, it's a must. I took the time on my flight today to re-read it and really study it. Whoa! I thought it was great when he first gave it (I was teaching Seminary at the time), but oh my it is even more relevant now. All I can say is, read it and prepare to be taught by this Apostle of the Lord, big time

"Obedience opens the door to the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost. And the spiritual gifts and abilities activated by the power of the Holy Ghost enable us to avoid deception—and to see, to feel, to know, to understand, and to remember things as they really are. You and I have been endowed with a greater capacity for obedience precisely for these reasons. Moroni declared: 
“Hearken unto the words of the Lord, and ask the Father in the name of Jesus for what things soever ye shall stand in need. Doubt not, but be believing, and begin as in times of old, and come unto the Lord with all your heart, and work out your own salvation with fear and trembling before him. 
“Be wise in the days of your probation; strip yourselves of all uncleanness; ask not, that ye may consume it on your lusts, but ask with a firmness unshaken, that ye will yield to no temptation, but that ye will serve the true and living God” (Mormon 9:27–28)." 
Elder David A. Bednar,
From a Church Educational System fireside address delivered at Brigham Young University–Idaho on May 3, 2009.


Kathryn Skaggs

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