by Kasey Tross
As I have mentioned on here before, in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints members hold "callings", which are basically volunteer jobs we are asked to do (and we usually say yes).
I am blessed that one of my callings involves writing. I am the Assistant Director of Public Affairs/Media Relations for my stake (like a diocese). My assignment is to write articles detailing the positive things going on with the LDS Church in our area and submit the articles to local print media (though few actually get published- that's just kind of how it is). I also help oversee the stake Facebook page and other social media.
It's an exciting and fun calling- people in public affairs get special access to secure parts of the lds.org website, and we even get our own special e-mail addresses. Because each stake typically has just 3 people who work in public affairs, our frequent training meetings are in conjunction with many other stakes, and our stake presidents attend the training meetings with us. The chain of command to the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is astonishingly short (I once got an e-mail from the Coordinating Council Director of Public Affairs letting me know that L. Tom Perry was requesting some stats from our Facebook page- ulp!)
Anyway, it's a calling with huge responsibility- I write the articles on church letterhead and submit them to local media without anybody looking over my shoulder, so they put a lot of trust in me- but it's such an exciting time to be doing it, and I have learned a great deal as I've served.
Earlier this month I had submitted an article about an unusual stake conference we were having in our stake- our stake president had asked us to meet at the Washington, D.C. temple (2 hours from our home in Richmond) for two sessions of conference: the first one at the Visitors' Center and the second one on the 7th floor of the temple in the Priesthood Room. I knew that temple worship is often a source of curiosity for those not of our faith, so I decided to submit this article and include some information about new exhibits at the Visitors' Center for those who might want to learn more.
This special conference took place yesterday and I was blessed to be able to attend with my husband. When we arrived home, I saw a notice in my inbox that the Mid-Atlantic Mormons Facebook page had mentioned our stake's Facebook page in a post. When I investigated further I saw that they had posted a link to the article I had written, which had been published yesterday by a local newspaper.
When I checked my e-mail later I saw an e-mail from the Richmond Coordinating Council Director of Public Affairs who very excitedly told me she had gotten an e-mail from Marcus G. Faust (yes, he's the son of THAT Faust) who had sent a link to my article to the entire North America Northeast Coordinating Council for Public Affairs (which covers Virginia up to Nova Scotia).
The full article is here: Local Latter-day Saints to make pilgrimage to Washington, D.C. for special worship service
So...it was kind of cool. And then my stake president mentioned it this morning over the pulpit in stake conference and thanked us for our work in public affairs, which was very nice because it's kind of an invisible calling. :-)
As exciting as this was for me because of the widespread recognition (what writer doesn't want their work read by a wide audience?) that's not why I wrote this post here at MMW. I wrote it because:
1. As Mormon Mommy Writers, some of you may get asked to do this calling at one point or another, and I wanted to share what a wonderful and exciting and rewarding calling it is.
2. One of the reasons this calling is so important, which they emphasize to us at every training meeting, is that for every positive article published about the Church, there are ten negative ones. Which means that if you are blessed with writing talents, whether you happen to have a calling like mine or not- it is time to use them to share goodness (#sharegoodness)- whether by a blog, your Twitter or Facebook, or whatever- share your faith! (This goes for all you non-Mormons of faith as well- I invite you and encourage you to share your love for the Savior in whatever way you can.)
3. HELP your public affairs people! We are always looking for story ideas- human interest stories, service projects- anything that's uplifting and inspiring and will help connect us to our communities. When you go to lds.org and look at your local stake leadership you should see the names and contact info for the people who hold callings in stake public affairs. If your stake has a Facebook page, they are the ones who run it and you can contact them through there. We need your stories!
This is the work of the Lord, and I know that as we use our talents to build the kingdom we will be blessed, not only with success but with an increase in our own personal testimonies and opportunities for missionary work.