Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Call for testimonies and personal life stories

August 12,2013

I am not sure if you have heard anything about a digital mission, but we are starting one out here in Boston. The idea is that missionaries review articles about big life questions or things that happen that might cause those questions, then they will comment and leave a link to attach a personal story and testimony of a member. 

Our mission president did this and shared it with two investigators who had decided to stop receiving visits from the missionaries. Both of whom were baptized these past few weeks. You may not have quite the same experience, but you never know who will be touched by your story when they run into it online.

Here is the Vision:
There are a lot of people searching for answers online and don't know where to find them. We want to connect those asking these types of questions with the members of the church. To do this, we have created a blog,, to collect deep personal experiences and testimonies in the form of blog posts to answer these questions.

Here are the blog categories and potential sub-topics (please don't limit yourself by the sub-topics, they are just meant to give ideas):

Challenges in life- Trials, hope, redemption, hurt, grief, change, death, doubt

Everyday faith- Scriptures, church, traditions, standards, prayer, fasting, self-image

Love & Relationships- Marriage, family, Dating, friendship, parenthood, ancestors

Purpose of Life- meaning, purpose, reasons, gifts, identity, growth, potential, happiness

Who is God?- Jesus Christ, science & religion, heaven, revelation, mercy, holy ghost.

Tips for writing:

1. Write in first person. This is your story from your prospective. It's ok to use "we" sometimes but this is your story and it will be more important for the reader to hear you say "I believe in baptism". 

2. Use your authentic voice. Forget what you thing you should be. Just sound like you. Write in your voice and in the way you normally communicate. Take out "like" or "um".
3. Write what you know. You are not prepping a lesson, but sharing a deep personal experience that has left a mark on you. Write what you know, what you experienced and then end with your testimony.

4. Avoid using "Mormon language". Any group acquires a language of their own. Our church has acquired our own set of terms to describe things. But you are not communicating to members of the church. So check the language you use.

5. Bear your testimony (without saying " I bear my testimony". Your testimony will be the most important part of the piece. This is your story and the perspective you've gained through living. let the reader know what you have learned and bear testimony to them of the principles. "I believe" or "I know" is more suitable.

6. Finish with your main point. The easiest way to finish is to reiterate your main point. If you are not sure what your main point is, maybe it is time to find out.

7. Balance the abstract and concrete. Pay attention to how many stories (concrete) vs concepts (abstract) are used. we need to see the human experience (concrete) applied to the concepts (abstract) to grasp concepts. But we need to be challenged with abstract concepts like faith and right and wrong to help us learn from the stories.   

We are enlisting the help of the members. Of course each of the missionaries will be writing a story of their own but they are really wanting to get the digital mission going. They have the programmers and the resources, but they are not able to link the online readers to articles written by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints if they don't have any articles. I thought well there are around 250 missionaries who will be writing an article. Then next week we will be asking two members in our ward to write an article. I thought, I have a whole ward back home that I can ask to help too. Then maybe extend it to the stake leaders there in Missouri. Of course this is only a suggestion, but I would like to suggest that you try it.

1. Seek inspiration to know which topic you should focus on and what life story you might be able to share to bear your testimony about a gospel principle and how it helped you in this particular point in your life. 

2. Write a blog post. Around 500 words.

3. Send it to me for review #1. 

4. Share it with two non-member friends who you trust or want to share the gospel with (also I would suggest making this a matter of prayer). Ask them to review it and tell you what message they took away from it. Adjust the message based on their responses.

I hope you can join in and share your testimony so that someone out there looking for answers might be able to be touched by your's.

Love always,

Sister K.Brown

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