April 12, 2021
It is recommended that the First Elder and all apostles’ presence on Social Media and engagement with the public be limited. See Appendix E.
Those called to the ministry by divine appointment should recognize that this ministry supersedes all other personal interests, and that the means of ministry should be calculated to reach people where they are. This involves transcending cultural boundaries, education levels, and identity politics.
Public posts on Social Media do not support the cause of unity, and are often misunderstood to represent official positions of the Fellowship and other associated leaders and members on doctrine, politics and other matters. Such will cause division of purpose among the leadership. The public cannot differentiate personal opinions from official positions from those in high office. This is why representatives of companies are encouraged to be private with controversial views.
Discussions on social media in general are not conducive to mutual understanding since the majority of human communication is nonverbal, and written discussions through text convey nothing of intent that is normally conveyed through intonation and body language. Spontaneous written conversations do not allow the same level of care and self critique that thoughtful works prepared for publication require, while still creating a traceable public record, which others may save and share.
It is recommended that each elder of the Fellowship prioritize the Fellowship, and focus on publishing materials pertaining to his or her ministry that are widely accessible to the public, leaving more divisive doctrines, opinions and interpretations to private conversation and keeping commentary on current events to a minimum, as the internet is flooded with these already. All public statements by general authorities rightly fall under the purview of the Scripture Committee due to the tendency of these writings to be viewed as establishing official doctrines and positions.
First Presidency Response
May 4, 2021
It is not the will or desire of the First Presidency to silence or censor anyone, therefore we reject this item. However, we do appreciate and understand the need to represent the offices each of us have been called to. Even Jesus offended the people of his day, so much so that they had him crucified. We cannot try to please everyone by hiding our thoughts. Even silence will undoubtedly become a cause for complaint and offence as it promotes a lack of caring and understanding.
Zion isn’t built by preventing people from speaking their mind, but by loving everyone in their differences. It’s not about creating a single uniformity of thought but learning to love one another in our uniqueness.
After the Council of Elders met, it was concluded that this point should be nullified by the Council. All agreed that we should remember the our callings and responsibilities as we present ourselves to the public, as when we do we are also representing our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.