Following the prophets just became a little more literal.
As of Sunday night, Elder M. Russell Ballard became the first apostle of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to tweet. And the followers came flooding in.
Thank you to all who tuned in to the devotional. It was a joy to be with you, both those in San Diego and throughout the world. #CESDevo
— M. Russell Ballard (@M_RBallard) May 5, 2014
This came right after Elder Ballard gave a CES devotional where he encouraged church members to use technology and social media to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
“Handheld devices such as smartphones are a blessing, but they can also distract us from hearing the still, small voice,” Elder Ballard said in his devotional address. “They need to be our servants, not our masters. For example, if later tonight you share inspiring thoughts from this devotional on social media, your smartphone is a servant. If you randomly surf the Internet, your smartphone is a master.”
Since his first tweet Sunday, the LDS Church public affairs has verified Elder Ballard’s Twitter account (@M_RBallard) and he has gained over 10.9K followers.
The LDS Church has also verified Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s (@J_R_Holland) personal Twitter account. On Tuesday night, Elder Holland tweeted for the first time ever.
Being with missionaries is the greatest. Tonight it was the MTC in Provo, with all international MTCs listening in. pic.twitter.com/Iq7JRMhB8Q
— Jeffrey R. Holland (@J_R_Holland) May 7, 2014
The LDS Church will not be verifying the apostles Twitter accounts until they are being actively used, meaning the apostle has tweeted.
“The Church has maintained official Facebook and Google+ pages on the behalf of Church leaders for some time now,” said LDS spokeswoman Jessica Moody. “Some senior Church leaders will now be using those channels and Twitter to personally share their words, thoughts and teachings. Two apostles, Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, began using Twitter within the last week, and other Church leaders will also be using Twitter in the near future. This is just another step Church leaders are taking to use social media to share the gospel and communicate with the world.”
Currently, the Church isn’t making any statements on how the top leaders will be using their personal accounts, but some have speculated it will be used primarily for outbound messages.