April 10, 2014

I have a question.

Can I ask YOU a question?
Yes, you.
I can see how many people read my blog, but I can't see who you are or what you are like.
I assume if you like reading about my life, then I would like you in person.
(Plus, how many people have you honestly not liked?  I can't think of many.)

Anyway-- here is my dilemma.
I'm speaking on Saturday morning about using social media as a missionary tool.
Only, I'm not sure I really do that well.

Are you Mormon?  
Are you Christian?
Do you think my blog is a missionary tool?
How has this space increased your faith?
How has this space shaped your views of Mormonism?

I'm honestly not trying to request fan mail or love letters (or hate mail for that matter).
My husband is overly verbal and fulfills all my needs for praise.  
Ha! Even when I'm riding a Walmart scooter.
(I'm usually uncomfortable with praise, I prefer evaluation and contemplation.)
So, be honest.

Philosophically and honestly-- how is this mommy blog a missionary tool?

Do you wish I spoke more about my religion?  Less?
Are you interested in learning more about The Church of Jesus Christ because you know me?
How has your impression of Mormonism changed since you started reading my blog?

I know these questions sound presumptuous and even pushy.  
Please take them as genuine questions.
I think I speak of my faith naturally without trying to convert.
I honestly believe truth is eternal and that it rings true no matter what religion you practice.

Have I told you lately that I'm a Mormon and that I love it?

I do believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the restored church of Jesus Christ on the Earth today.  I believe in ordinances like baptism.  I feel that priesthood authority from God is required to perform sacred ordinances.  I have never felt undervalued as a woman in this religion.

I find renewal and strength and purification and perspective as I learn, worship, and covenant in holy temples.  I love Mormon temples!  I believe in modern-day revelation and I believe in prophets and apostles.  

I love the Book of Mormon.  It is scripture.  It is the word of God, it testifies of Christ, it teaches eternal principles hand in hand with the Bible.  Because I know God's voice, I hear Him as I study the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and the words of holy leaders.  

I know God has spoken to man and that He speaks to us still.  He used to call prophets and He calls prophets still.  He commanded His covenant people to build temples and perform holy ordinances long ago, and He abides in holy temples and seals holy ordinances still.  The Church of Jesus Christ is the same organization that existed in the primitive church.  I see this, I feel it, and I believe it.

As a young girl, I looked around at Mormon families.  They were happy, they were strong, and they were good.  I knew then, and I know now, that there was goodness in this Church that would provide an essential foundation for my own family.

Having seen and experienced the awful effects of addiction- drugs and alcohol, I whole-heartedly embrace a religion with strong health guidelines.  I love that Mormons don't drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, and avoid caffeine.  I love that.

I want my children to be modest, chaste, and clean.  There is safety and peace in a religion that teaches and lives the law of chastity before marriage and fidelity after marriage.  Raising my children around thousands of other youth with similar values is helpful and inspiring.

I 100% believe that you can teach truth and still love imperfect people.  Good churches must teach a holy life that requires us to strive, just like a good gymnastics coach must teach skills that improves ability.  There is happiness in obedience, forgiveness and forgiving.

Are Mormons Christians?  Oh yes we are.  I believe in Christ!  He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my Grace, and my salvation.  I know His touch, I am awed by the gentle truths of His life, and I love Him.  I have been born again, and again.  I need Him every hour.  He is near me and He is near you.  I know it.

The more I learn, the more I love this gospel.  It is good.  I love God's plan.  I know who I am.  I believe we are all brothers and sisters. 

Mormons are bright, educated, kind, charitable, good people. I love them.

I often think about YOU, who read my blog.  I imagine you as friends and fellow travelers.  I imagine most of you believe similar to me, whether or not you attend my same church.  I think you read my blog to see that you are normal.  It is nice knowing that there are other people in the world with messy haired, silly, sometimes happy, sometimes cranky kids.  

I try to share with you good things that I've learned.  I'm certain I could learn much from you. 

But honestly, if I had to pick one thing to share with you.  One thing that has shaped my soul, blessed my marriage, pulled me through every hard time... It would be The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Where would I be without this church in my life?

So, I'm not sure that I have ever really used social media as an effective missionary tool (meaning I don't know of anyone that has converted to Christianity or Mormonism because of my influence). 

But, I know you all know that I believe.
You know that I love.
And, you know that my God is your God, because truth is eternal whether you are Mormon or Baptist or Catholic or Buddhist or Muslim or Not Presently Participating. 

So, tell me what you think!
Who are you?
How is this social media space a missionary tool?
Answer fast because I'm speaking early Saturday Eastern time and I'm really curious what you have to say.
My topic- social media as a missionary tool.
I'm talking to leaders.  I'm nervous.
I know you can help.
Thanks.
And, thanks for reading my blog.
Life is good.


32 comments:

kristine barr said...

I am Mormon. I love your handling of the pain and unpleasantness of your recent health problems. I admire you for your thoughts about the temple. So I guess I do reeve some missionary benefit fro this social media.

Melanie said...

Hello Jenifer,
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I converted to the church at age 21 and have been a member for 21 years. Wow, I did the math and I have been a Mormon for half of my life!

Yes, I see your blog as a tool for missionary work. Sharing your faith, testimony, humility, life stories, challenges, and hope is an example for good to all, regardless of religious affiliation.

Since I am a convert it was a nice surprise to find another who came from similar background. I guess I thought I was the only one going through the joys of living a gospel life while the rest of my family sees things differently.

As for talking more or less about your faith. That is your personal decision. I do know from the other blogs I read that for me I choose to read information that is simple, clean, honest and inspiring. What inspires me is to feel the strength that comes through another's words and know that I too can be strong.

And yes, your General Conference post seemed to make it more obvious that you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Keep up the good work. You strengthen and inspire:)

Melanie Oyler

Tina said...

Jenifer,

I am also a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (putting the whole name in there per instruction from the last few Conferences ;-) and think that your blog is definitely a missionary tool. I read it because it strengthens my testimony through the testimony you share daily. I have shared a post or two with some of the Young Women in my ward for that same reason. Strengthening the testimonies of others is possibly the BEST missionary tool there is because they will then pass that light and truth (if only from a strengthened testimony) along to others.

I would think that those who read who are not members of our church are most likely drawn to the truth and light that are evident in the day-to-day events, trials, and challenges that we all have (in different forms) and your faith-based, optimistic, eternal-perspective response to them.

I don't know if any of that makes sense :-) Thanks for blogging - I know it takes a lot of time, but feel that it definitely has value and purpose!

Anonymous said...

My thoughts are very similar to those above. MIssionary work is more than just sharing the gospel with people who are not members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is helping all of Heavenly Father's children find the way back home, including ourselves and our own families. Your posts help me keep things in perspective, recommit to being better, and reinforce gospel teachings. The way you share your beliefs through your daily life is very non threatening and demonstrates the practicality of trying to follow the Savior. It shows that it is a way of life, not just a show. Your blog reminds me of a conference talk given by President Uchtdorf (I believe) in which he talked about how he and his wife shared the gospel by being more open about their lives....ie...not just saying they had a great weekend, but being specific about going to church and the how the message from the speaker applied to their life or whatever the case was. Your blog has the same effect. It testifies of Christ and the gospel through everyday living and leaves the door open for anyone who wants to know more. Thank you for sharing your life and your strength.

Jaime said...

I am not a Mormon. All my closest friends in high school were Mormon and I wanted to convert - although my mother wouldn't let me!

I think your blog is a missionary tool. I think you walk a fine line of being very gospel oriented without feeling disingenuous or too preachy.

You are open about your highs and lows, which makes you feel more "real" and relateable I think. You have a sense of humor about the nonsense while still being grounded in your faith and family and that is appealing to this non-Mormon gal.

Hope you continue to heal and your family is adorable and I like how they love each other!

Ane said...

I don't read blogs, but for some reason I keep reading yours. I am not mormon and just barely Christian (I am not very religious), but in spite of that I think it is partly the Christian content that makes me return to your blog again and again. I like how personal your relationship to God is, how your religion makes you strive to be a better person (although I know you would have been a good person regardless) and how it helps you through the tough spots.

One of the things I truly love about your blog is your ability to constantly remind me to be grateful for all the wonderful things in my life, just as you are grateful for yours. Life IS good but I tend to get forget that whenever all my first-world-problems get the better of me.

Do I consider your blog a missionary tool? I don't know. It made me look into the Church of Latter-Day Saints and I actually felt kind of disappointed to not be able to believe in its doctrine (I don't know if that's the appropriate word - English is not my first language). I guess I would like to be a part of the kind of community a church offers.

However, your blog does make me want to better myself, it does make me want to be kind and grateful, and I guess that is a pretty important part of missionary work as well?

I hope that made any sense - just thought I'd add a non-mormon perspective ;-)

The Wife said...

I am a Mormon. I LOVE reading your blog. It's one of the first things I do every morning after I log in at work (don't tell my boss!) As a mother of 3 I feel like I can relate to you on some level - some really small level. :) I feel you do a great job of keeping life real and sharing your faith naturally.

This blog has been somewhat of a missionary tool for me. As I read it I am sometimes inspired to try something new with my family. (After reading the post where you made your children write lines I used that exact same consequence just a few days later on one of my kids and it worked!)

Regardless of what your topic is I always click away from your blog feeling better about life. And that, my friend, is awesome.

Anonymous said...

I've read your blog on and off for about a year now. I think I first starting reading it because you post frequently, and I knew I would always find a new post to entertain myself with when I was bored at work. But I kept coming back because I like that you are a real person, with real problems, and you aren't afraid to share your triumph's OR your heartache's. Too many blogs and facebook posts I read only have the happy stuff, which is fine, but sometimes I need to konw that other people are having a hard time too. (Isn't that terrible of me? I'm sorry for saying that...you are a great person and I hate that you have serious health problems.).

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have been active my whole life. Reading your blog strengthens my faith, and helps me to know that even if my life isn't going as I had it planned out, it is still a GREAT life and a gift from God. I also like reading your blog because you acknowledge God in all aspects of your life.

My husband and I have struggled with infertility for 5 years. Although I don't wish trials or hardships on other people, it has been nice to come to your blog and to see that some trials last a long time. And that it's okay. In fact, if our trials give us the opportunity to get to know God, and to increase our faith in him, then isn't that a blessing? I've always hoped that if my friends and family were to think or talk about me, that one of the things they would say would be that I faced my trials with faith and a good attitude. I'm not sure that I'm there yet, but I see that in you. And that increases my faith.

Brian said...

Jennifer:

I bit about myself. I am relatively new convert of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. Funny enough baptized down the road from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

In short, I do consider you blog a source of missionary activity. I have always found your blog to be a source of strength and understanding on how to live an LDS lifestyle. While I understand your results may not be typical, your example of how to strengthen and sustain a marriage as well as a family through trials is an example that guided and still guides me towards being a bit better each day.

An important point to note here on missionary work is that as you know the general authorities have indicated that all activities that cause others to come on to Christ are missionary work. I would indicate to leadership that missionary work should look at less-actives, sustaining membership, as well as the standard baptism focus.

In reading your blog, I have come to understand that there are many types of members and that faith is expressed in many ways. I believe that your blog is the right level of LDS doctrine.

I was recently in a session at a YSA conference on online missionary work and the presenter, Stephanie Hatch Leishman, Online Strategist for MIT, indicated that the key to successful integration of beliefs is best done through integration of beliefs into your overall brand, rather than unconnected posts. An example she gave was that of an earth scientist using creation scriptures in a discuss of a dig. She also indicated that connections in your onlien network that were thought leaders were key. Something I think you do well. Her twitter is @hatchsteph. She might be able to answer a few questions for you.

Brian

Rachel said...

I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a mother of young children. I am already a member who is more strongly converted because of your testimony and life experience. I read because your faith strengthens my faith and teaches me how to be a mother. I learn about my most important role in life and what it looks like in our day. I find support and companionship in my mothering role through you because you talk about REAL life. You are an extraordinary woman who shares the ordinary things about life. So I feel supported and strengthened and less alone in my own chosen path which consists of the mundane, routine tasks of life. How does the gospel look in the everyday? I can read the scriptures and go to church but it is difficult to find examples of application on topics such as : simple birthday parties, healthy/unhealthy snacks, school lunches, pets, spending money, assigning chores, loving your husband, enjoying the mess of a busy family, finding joy amidst trials, etc. Marriage, parenting, and housework used to be things women had in common with one another. But it is difficult today to find women who value those roles and strive to fulfill them based on our values and priorities. Reading your explanation and defense of our faith and role as women gives me the words to be "articulate" as Sis. Beck asked us to be, and "ready to give an answer to him that asketh".

Social media is a great gift and blessing to me because I have a found a friend and teacher whom I would never meet in person. Thanks for sharing!

Kendall Orton said...

Hello everyone! I'm a Mormon, and have been my entire life. It's quite the irony that I ran into this blog because I'm a missionary working online! The internet is a great place to find people ready to be taught. Here we can openly share our beliefs and testimonies with many--I'm so grateful for the gospel and how it has blessed my life and for this chance I have to share it with others. To those of you who are interested, we're running a blog called Reallifeanswers.org where members can share how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has applied in their lives. I invite you to check it out--let us know what you think! Thank you so much, Jenifer, for your efforts and everyone for your faith.

HollyAdele said...

At stake conference, a woman spoke who was about to be baptized. She said she was introduced to the church by blogs. She read a bunch of mommy blogs and slowly found out that all these amazing women were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. So when her fiance suggested they find a church, she suggested the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I loved that story because I am a blogger myself. (http://theldsmothersroom.wordpress.com/about-me/)

I love your blog because you are a role model to me because of your family size. I'm headed that way, and... need all the help I can get. So you are helping me help other souls on their eternal progression. Missionary work? You decide.

Anonymous said...

I am not Morman. I was raised Catholic, but actually just am not a believer at all anymore I found your blog almost a year ago when I had percreta. Lost my baby at 18 weeks, lost ability to have more children (it was my second pregnancy) and almost lost my life. I still wonder why my baby had to die - I guess I am just not as deserving. I suppose I keep reading your blog despite any religious undertones - you really do come across as a nice person and genuine.

Sara Wright said...

I am not religious at all but started reading your blog during your most recent pregnancy. (I'm a Labor and Delivery nurse)I think we all get our strength from something. Yours happens to be mostly from your faith and religion. I have to say some of my strength comes from you! You are such and incredible women/mother/wife/inspiration to so many people. You make me realize that even you are normal! Keep up the good work, be it missionary or other...

Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm a mommy of three miracles from Alberta, Canada. I started reading your blog when I was on bedrest with my third child (as I was with all my children ;)). Number Three was born June 8, 2013, and for some reason I just kept following you (maybe to show me that on my bad days, there was someone out there in more pain than I and handling it with faith and patience. I am from a conservative Reformed faith, so I have to be honest that I usually skip over your posts on the Mormon faith, I thought that you'd want answers from all sides. Keep enjoying that growing family of yours, I love pictures of all the daily things that you post :)

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks Kristine!

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks Melanie! I never know what I am. My mom is a convert, I was baptized at 8. But, I think I'm a convert too.

I agree- I think missionary is just something you are as you live honestly and faithfully.

Jenifer Moss said...

Tina- thanks for that perspective. I do think truth and light are evident in day to day events.

Jenifer Moss said...

I love the idea that missionary work doesn't end with conversion. I agree- it is a way of life not a show. Thanks for reading!

Jenifer Moss said...

Jamie- I am real. Maybe too real. Ha!! And, I'm just another Mormon girl who'd be your friend. (It's never too late to join our ranks.) thanks for reading and commenting.

Jenifer Moss said...

Ane- thank you. What a sweet comment. One of the things I love most about Mormonism is the church community. I want that for you too. If you are still seeking at all, feel free to email me at mossmoments@gmail.com
Thanks for reading.

Jenifer Moss said...

I always appreciate your comments. I used sentences yesterday too! 200!!

Jenifer Moss said...

Haha. I'm still chuckling at your post. So many people have used me as an "at least I don't have it as bad as her" example. One of my good friends used to say she kept her house messy as a service, so her friends could all feel better about themselves.

In all seriousness, infertility has got to be one of the absolute hardest trials to endure. I admire your strength.

I have been thinking the EXACT thing lately- how trials really are blessings. I have a quote that says, "God grant me patience to deal with my blessings." So true. Thanks.

Jenifer Moss said...

Brian- teach me how to twitter! I'm lost. Thanks for responding as the first male. I'm sorry for any potty pictures or blogs about cervixes that may have made you uncomfortable. Ha! Seriously-- I'm in Rochester often. Let's meet for lunch sometime. Email me!

Jenifer Moss said...

Rachel- I absolutely agree with you! Yes- it is the how, the strengthening that is hard. I'm so glad you have found some ideas here. Thanks for commenting!

Jenifer Moss said...

Kendall- I just read about online missionaries in the Huffington Post. What a neat calling. You'll do great! I tried to call up the reallifeanswers blog but couldn't find it.

Jenifer Moss said...

The ripple effect- isn't that how everything good happens. Sometimes I inspire you so you can inspire them, sometimes they inspire me. Great point.

Jenifer Moss said...

Oh Sister. I am so sorry. I wrote to you in my next blog but would love to talk in person or via email if you would ever consider that. My email is mossmoments@gmail.com

I don't know why your baby had to die. But, I do know that many of the most deserving people I know have endured really hard things. You are not alone.

This has always been my favorite poem... It doesn't make things fair, but it does put hard things into perspective.
"Good Timber"
by Douglas Malloch
The tree that never had to fight
For sun and sky and air and light,
But stood out in the open plain
And always got its share of rain,
Never became a forest king
But lived and died a scrubby thing.

The man who never had to toil
To gain and farm his patch of soil,
Who never had to win his share
Of sun and sky and light and air,
Never became a manly man
But lived and died as he began.

Good timber does not grow with ease:
The stronger wind, the stronger trees;
The further sky, the greater length;
The more the storm, the more the strength.
By sun and cold, by rain and snow,
In trees and men good timbers grow.

Where thickest lies the forest growth,
We find the patriarchs of both.
And they hold counsel with the stars
Whose broken branches show the scars
Of many winds and much of strife.
This is the common law of life.

Jenifer Moss said...

Thanks Sara- were you my nurse? Thanks for your kind words, if you were my nurse than you probably already saw my bottom and you know that I am very normal. :). I love nurses.

Jenifer Moss said...

Oh Canada! Dare I admit your comment was one of my favorites. Thanks for reading my blog even though you skip some. First, we are sisters and friends. Right?! Mormon and Reformed Faith. I hope my blog never becomes so Mormon that I loose readers like you. Thank you for your comment.

Allie said...

This won't help for your presentation but I still thought lots about it today...I like that your blog helps others see one way to be a Mormon. i like knowing that there are blogs about Mormons who are willing to believe but point out cultural issues. I like that there are Mormon bloggers who share their passions and talents. I like the goodness of your blog and how the church has transformed you. You are putting your heart and soul into raising 8 children and you have some conservative views and it is lovely. And then there is the family in my ward who I adore who just has one child and they are very, very content and they are liberal and they are lovely. I love knowing that someone can know both kinds of Mormons and can walk away and say, wow...those people really believe. That is what I love. The fact that there are many ways we interpret our Sunday lessons and our values and who we are becoming...all while we have one very common thing that brings us all together...that there is a plan of happiness. That there was a restoration. And that God sent his Son and we can return.
I hope only good things come from your blog now and in the future. We have never met but I surely want to meet someday!

All weekend I kept thinking of the beauty and power of your post about keeping it in and down instead of up and out...I printed it out and put it on my bathroom mirror. That makes you famous I think!

PS...is it Tiffany who keeps her house messy as a service?! I swear she told me that once too! :)

Carissa said...

Hi! I'm a protestant Christian, I found you when I was going through the testing for previa or percreta. My baby was born in November, and she is healthy! Thank God!

But I keep following you, because you post about the children and I love that you are still lovingly, their mom. Not their friend or first name basis... you're their mother. I think that it's okay to minister to our children as our mission. There is honor there, it's quiet and unseen. The challenge is constant, and that seems to make it more sweet when the kids make good choices. ( I read your bedtime post, on how they have nice things like water, blanket and pillows... that worked on my 3year old :)

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