Greetings, my extended family, from across the nation and through the icomprehensible structure of that overhyped phenomenon known as the internet. :-)
I mentioned in my last article that I had visited the World Wide Web First Ward. Since then, I've also found a few other web sites created by members of the church. Some of them have discourses on the gospel and others are simply lists of members' personal interests along with their testimonies. One very interesting site I found is none other than the official web page of the Church at http://www.lds.org. I think that is so cool.
Among the first things I found when I first started "surfing the net" were a lot of anti-Mormon sites. This was really disappointing, but in time I found more LDS authored sites aand that was when I realised what a great missionary tool we have here. People can read the Book of Mormon on line and even download it onto their computers. They can read biographies of the general authorities of the church and read their testimonies. I personally hope to see more sites like this. Gosh, I could write one myself.
Far be it from me to predict what else could happen on the internet. I'll be the first to knock down any claims that it's a revolution. Point, click and wait does not a revolution make. But maybe one day we'll see internet simulcasts of general conference and firesides. Why not? These would be great supplements to the wonderful missionary effort that's already happening. As the internet stands now, it would a small supplement. Nevertheless, in the mean time, it's a great way to spread the word to at least a small part of the population. I often wonder, how many people who stumble on these pages or catch a radio or tv ad go on to investigate the Church a little more in depth. Certainlly, there are a lot that just brush it off... the majority, I'm sure... but even if it's only one person who is moved by them... how wonderful it is.
Undoubtedly, just as radio and television have helped to spread the Gospel in addition to the ageless methods of the written and spoken word, so I believe the internet will also prove to be a formidable tool. It already brings people with common interests together in the form of chat rooms and mailing lists... One interesting feature of these is the lurker... those people who sit back and watch the ideas flow... till they get up enough nerve to make a comment or, more importantly, ask a question.