You are probably be here because of the online missionary work post. I hope you are anxiously engaged in this cause. It is a worthy cause that has huge potential. Click here to learn why it is so important to get involved.
If you engage in online missionary work, you will undoubtedly run into opposition. You will be persecuted. You will need to come back to truth a lot in your heart and mind. For this purpose, I have created a support group where you can come and share your experiences, receive encouragement and guidance, and find inspiration to do more. Optimally, you will have people in your ward who you can invite to be a part of this group. That way, you not only have support online, but in person every Sunday. Join the group by clicking here. With that said, here is our running list of things to watch out for:
These are blatant attackers who are vehemently opposed to the church and constantly strive to tear it down along with anyone who supports it. My advice: don’t engage with them. Just block them and delete their comments. If you are commenting on a different post (that you are not the author of) feel free to reach out to the admin of the blog or page or group and tell them what is going on. Vituperative conversations go nowhere. Contention through typed conversation will lead only to darkness. Don’t spend time with those who want to fight. They aren’t looking for answers. And the probability of you helping them or convincing them that they are wrong is next to nothing. It will only frustrate you. This is time you could be spending finding and helping the millions who actually are genuinely interested in seeking truth – people who have real questions. Just delete and block and get them out. Every major platform (like facebook, Google+, twitter, instagram, etc.) has a way to report abuse and block people from interacting with you. Use this and move on. If you do read their junk, read this post to help pump you back up. Then move on.
Most trolls are bullies as well. But there are people just out there to cause problems for some reason. Avoid them. Don’t engage with them. Just do the same as you did with the trolls. Block them, delete their comments and report them for abuse.
3. Anti-Mormon Websites
These will not help you. There are some who actually like getting into arguments. If you enjoy this, you have your agency and you can try to convince people, but I can tell you from a social psychological perspective, you probably won’t convince anyone of anything without real human interaction. Online social interaction does not thrive in contentious “you’re wrong – I’m right” environments. You are wasting time. I was in Israel with my wife once and we were considering going to Egypt when an Egyptian revolution broke out. They were killing Americans in the streets. Obviously, this was not the place for us to be. Even though Americans are good people, running into Tahrir Square in Cairo to convince Egyptians who had guns that Americans were good people and to stop their revolution. They would just shoot us. And you will just get “shot” if you, as a Mormon, go running onto blatantly anti-Mormon sites trying to engage with these people. If these people ever desire to understand and come back, this will not be the time that they do it. It will be on their terms in their own time. So avoid these places.
4. Anti-Mormon YouTube Videos
Don’t click on these. Not only are you drinking right out of their cup of confusion, but you are also helping their rankings. Even if you only go and click the thumbs down button. This is actually helping their ranking and it will get them even more views because Google ranks it based off of real human interaction. So even videos with a lot of thumbs downs will get more traffic because of it. Just don’t go there. You won’t do anything by commenting on these. Even the crazy people who put the temple ordinances on YouTube. Don’t try to go tell them that they are breaking the law. They already know that and the church also knows about it and they are doing everything they can to get them taken down. So just don’t go there or to any other anti-Mormon stuff on YouTube. There are TONS of other productive things you can do (in the list above) that will actually help people who are seeking. This will only cause anger and contention in your heart. Avoid it.
5. YouTube Video Comment wars on Good videos that promote truth and promote the Church
Once again, don’t get into these battles. They are pointless. It will only make you angry at people. And you won’t ever win a comment war. Typed contention is pointless and without real human connection, I believe you can’t resolve contentious wars of words. Don’t waste your time. Posting any comment does help these videos to rank higher. However, you should post a positive comment on this video that is original to you (not a reaction to others). This will also help the video to get more views.
6. Contentious Debates with Active LDS people online.
Some people think that this is useful. There are a lot of debates between members out there. Posts about women and the priesthood or about same-sex marriage or about misunderstood church policy or about whatever is the latest thing that Satan is using to cause contention. Satan knows that there are a lot of faithful members out there. He can’t get them to do bad things, but he can get them to argue about policy or about these fleeting issues. There was a controversial LDS post about Frozen that got almost 2000 comments. Most were people who were just getting into arguments about it. I won’t say whether I agree or disagree with what was said, but what if 2000 active members of the church spend the same amount of time doing one or two of the things on the list I created into a post to actually help people who ARE interested and curious? Just sayin’. That is a lot of time that could have been spent helping people who are seeking truth. I am not saying that we shouldn’t help to clarify in conversations where other members are sincerely asking. All I am saying is that Satan will do anything he can to distract good members of the Church by getting them involved in a battle of words in the comments section of a blog post and I personally believe that when there is contention involved, no comment can help someone resolve an issue that they have.