Not long ago, a friend of mine shared with me an experience her husband had on Facebook. He was casually scrolling through the news feed when he saw that one of his LDS friends had “liked” a photo of gay couple posing with their 11 year old daughter on a cruise, and then posted a very supportive comment regarding their same-sex union. My friend’s husband was stunned. This man on Facebook was a faithful, strong and active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who didn’t realize that his actions of “liking” and giving supportive comments were actually encouraging something in opposition to the teachings of our Church. He then said the following:
If this good, faithful man doesn’t understand why this is troubling, how many other good members of the Church also do not understand? How many others do this, in spite of the fact that the Brethren have clarified this issue to the point that no one can misunderstand the Church’s position? Do Church members realize when they “like” and leave comments of approval on Facebook, they are condoning behaviors that the Lord has clearly defined as wrong and sinful? What kind of a message are they sending to others? To their children? To the youth they teach? Or to those they lead in the Church? By doing this, they are telling the world (through social media) that they don’t support or agree with the prophet or basic LDS doctrine. How are these good, faithful members missing this crucial point?
Many reading this may have had the same thoughts, being disappointed, concerned or surprised when they see LDS friends and family sharing, liking and commenting positively on things in opposition to God’s commandments and doctrine. Others reading this will be angry and immediately cast this man as being judgmental and intolerant. But in the context of LDS doctrine, is he really being judgmental? Really? Or is he simply shedding light onto something that goes much deeper than simply “liking” or commenting positively on a post or photo?
Elder Neil L. Anderson spoke about this in the April 2014 General Conference in his talk titled “Spiritual Whirlwinds.” He told the story of a young woman who was attacked by her friends for changing her Facebook profile picture to support her belief that marriage is only between one man and one woman. She was polite, did not back down and did not engage with those attacking her. Yet to her amazement, even her strong, active LDS friends chided and criticized her.
A few years ago, Elder Lynn G. Robbins gave a General Conference talk titled “Which Way Do You Face?” It’s a bold talk that gives us all reason to pause and consider which way we face and who we face when we interact with others—including on social media.It can be uncomfortable to take inventory on which way we “Face-book” when it comes to hot-button social issues and doctrines addressed in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. These things might include abortion, gay marriage, homosexuality, transgenderism, euthanasia, pornography, profanity, anti-Mormon/anti-Church leader articles, rainbow colored flags, rainbow profile pictures or pink “I Stand By Planned Parenthood” images. Yet we know that these outward indicators are the quickest ways of showing our friends and family who and which way we face (or “Face-book”).
How We Facebook Shows the World Who We Face
Our actions show who we do (and do not) stand by. It can be especially troubling and spiritually damaging when those with whom we have sacred stewardship over see us “like”, share, or comment positively on things contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Why? As Alma explained to his wayward son, “… when they saw your conduct they would not believe in my words” (Alma 39:11).We know the Savior would never want us to condone, encourage or congratulate anything which is in opposition to the standards and doctrines of the gospel. Yet, we can unwittingly do so on Facebook, blogs or dozens of other social media tools. On a side note, does everything we do to show love and kindness always need to be on display? Can we still wish others well privately, thus avoiding the appearance of publicly supporting things contrary to the gospel? There are countless ways to show love while navigating these potentially difficult situations.
In the same talk mentioned above, Elder Robbins gives some insight into why we might do what we do, despite knowing what we know.
Here are few of his points that we might consider:
Peer pressure tries to change a person’s attitudes, if not behavior, by making one feel guilty for giving offense. We seek respectful coexistence with those who point fingers, but when this fear of men tempts us to condone sin, it becomes a “snare”. The snare may be cleverly baited to appeal to our compassionate side to tolerate or even approve of something that has been condemned by God.
When people try to save face with men, they can unwittingly lose face with God. Thinking one can please God and at the same time condone the disobedience of men isn’t neutrality but duplicity.
Prophets through the ages have always come under attack by the finger of scorn. Why? According to the scriptures, it is because “the guilty taketh the truth to be hard, for it cutteth them to the very center” Their scornful reaction is, in reality, guilt trying to reassure itself.The scornful often accuse prophets of not living in the 21st century or of being bigoted. They attempt to persuade or even pressure the Church into lowering God’s standards to the level of their own inappropriate behavior … Lowering the Lord’s standards to the level of a society’s inappropriate behavior is—apostasy.
Some members don’t realize they are falling into [a] snare when they lobby for acceptance of [things] that are not in harmony with the gospel culture.
Christlike Love, Facebook and Other Forms of Social Media
There will be those who feel these above points are too direct, too judgmental or not loving. Lest we misunderstand what the true love of the Savior means, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland says the following:
Sometimes—and this seems the greatest irony of all—these folks invoke the name of Jesus as one who was this kind of “comfortable” God. Really? He who said not only should we not break commandments, but we should not even think about breaking them?
At the zenith of His mortal ministry, Jesus said, “Love one another, as I have loved you.”16 To make certain they understood exactly what kind of love that was, He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments”17 and “whosoever … shall break one of [the] least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be … the least in the kingdom of heaven.”18Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet in part because righteousness was always supposed to accompany it. So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified, we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy for it in others.
Jesus clearly understood what many in our modern culture seem to forget: that there is a crucial difference between the commandment to forgive sin (which He had an infinite capacity to do) and the warning against condoning it (which He never ever did even once). (Link)
We may be tempted to think that it’s harmless to “like” or give supportive comments on social issues that are contrary to the commandments of God. We might not realize that our actions could be advocating (or in Elder Holland’s words, hinting at advocacy) for transgression in others. Whether we like it or not, what we do on Facebook tells the world (through social media) whether we support or agree with the prophet or basic LDS doctrine. It may be innocent. Perhaps we don’t want to rock the boat. Perhaps we might think that if we show just a little support, it does no harm. We might feel that we’re being supportive friends. Perhaps we might even do this to show friends how loving, compassionate, open-minded and enlightened we are compared to “others” on social issues. (Smug self-righteousness goes both ways, and we all should avoid it whatever side of an issue we’re on). Yet knowing what we know, we cannot stand for righteousness while sitting down online and showing support or advocacy for transgression.
In his above quote, Elder Holland is trying to teach us that there is a better way—a higher level and manifestation of Christlike love. When we follow the Savior’s example of love and compassion, we understand that we are unable to condone or show advocacy for things contrary to the commandments of God. If love is truly our watchword (as it should be), as Elder Holland states, we simply cannot condone or show we approve of transgression in others. This is something that our modern culture seems to forget.
The Savior Never Forgot Which Way He Faced
Elder Robbins teaches us that the Savior, our great Exemplar, always faced His Father. “He loved and served His fellowmen but said, “I receive not honour from men” (John 5:41). He wanted those He taught to follow Him, but He did not court their favor. … In His life, He was confronted by scores of accusers but never yielded to their finger of scorn. He is the only person who never once forgot which way He faced.”
He continues, “May His inspiring example strengthen us against the pitfalls of flattery from without or of conceit from within. May it give us courage to never cower or fawn at the feet of intimidation. … When others demand approval in defiance of God’s commandments, may we always remember whose disciples we are, and which way we face.” (Link)As we navigate social media and have conversations with friends and family, we need to always remember to who we face. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we should aim to always face Him. At all times, and in all things, and in all places. These days, our online presence is a way we can be exemplify our latter-day discipleship. Whether it be the comments, photos or articles we “like” or share, we can show the Savior and others who we face—and which way we “Face-book.”Ayup. About the picture: This is Mormonism in a nutshell. White women with blonde hair are Nephites in America standing in front of a castle that was never built, white Nordic profile Jesus and a glowing picture of Joseph Smith, their pedophile philandering prophet that had sex with teenage girls and other men's wives and cheated his followers not once but twice with bogus banking schemes.
Lol. Now you get some understanding of why the church is so majorly fucked up. "Christlike Love" includes bigotry against gays and gay families. Best descriptive I could ever provide.BTW, the scripture quotes are from The Book Of Nephi which is itself totally bogus.