SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has created social media profiles for the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Facebook and Google+.
The profiles will be maintained not by the church leaders themselves but on their behalf by the church and "act as an official social media presence for each of them," according to Church News and Events.
Jared Covington, senior adviser over social media for the LDS Church, said the profiles will allow those following the pages to receive updates on the "ministry of the Brethren." Links to talks, articles, videos and other relevant content will be posted to each leader's profile. Related social media content, such as Pinterest-worthy quotes and images, is also found on each profile.
“These pages will allow people to find the modern words of living prophets more easily,” Covington told Church News. “It allows us to highlight content that is tied to specific brethren. Our hope is that members will really dive in and feast upon this content.”
The following LDS Church leaders now have Facebook profiles:
- President Thomas S. Monson
- President Henry B. Eyring
- President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
- President Boyd K. Packer
- Elder L. Tom Perry
- Elder Russell M. Nelson
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks
- Elder M. Russell Ballard
- Elder Richard G. Scott
- Elder Robert D. Hales
- Elder Jeffrey R. Holland
- Elder David A. Bednar
- Elder Quentin L. Cook
- Elder D. Todd Christofferson
- Elder Neil L. Andersen
In addition, a number of organizations within the church also have a strong social media presence. The church magazines, Mormon Messages, Family History Library, LDS Seminary and Institute and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, among others, have official Facebook profiles, and a number of others have Google+ pages.
Covington said "liking" the pages “makes a public declaration to your friends that this is what you believe. … It is a subtle declaration of your faith. You can be actively engaged in showing your beliefs and sharing them with your friends through the simple action of liking or following a page.”
Acceptance of social media has been slow by some but adopted earlier by other religious leaders. In late 2012, Pope Benedict XVI joined social media, as has his successor, Pope Francis. The LDS profiles were launched last week, less than a month after the church announced that Mormon missionaries would begin using social media, the Internet and digital tablets as proselyting tools.
The creation of the official profiles was also an effort to streamline content. Before, there were 45 unofficial Facebook profiles for LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson alone. Creating official profiles helps followers know which pages are maintained by the church and "protects individuals from fake pages," Covington said.
To know whether or not a social media site or page is official, look for the LDS Church logo.