Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why I Use My Twitter Account The Way I Do

The first week in July I spent at the World Jump Rope Championships, an open international tournament hosted in Washington D.C. This year we had ten countries and about 450 competitors participate, most of which hailed from the United States. This tournament is somewhat unique because there are no qualifying rounds and the teams that come represent themselves and not countries as a whole. Thus the tournament is very open and one thing I enjoyed most about watching this tournament was seeing competitors from different teams and different countries actually mix and match and compete with each other in one event, then against each other in another event.

The entire tournament was streamed live online across the globe and we had a giant turnout. I had the opportunity to commentate during the tournament with my friend Jimmy McCleary which was one of the most fun things I have ever done. We just sat on the microphone for three days talking about jump rope, interacting with jumpers and spectators around the world, laughing, joking, and hopefully adding some helpful insight for those watching who are not as familiar with our sport. 

As part of our responsibilities as the commentators, we utilized Twitter, Facebook, and the World Jump Rope blog to connect and communicate with our audience, making the whole event interactive and even more fun, especially for the spectators. Leading up to the tournament, we strove to build awareness about the tournament and particularly about the live stream so that we could reach the greatest amount of people, and we hit Twitter and Facebook hard to gain followers on our personal accounts and on the World Jump Rope account. 

Just before the tournament started, I was taken aside and talked to about my personal Twitter account. Outside of the tournament, I used and continue to use my Twitter account mainly to share religious and inspirational insights and quotes from the prophets and apostles, both ancient and modern, with some additional tweets about life, product reviews, and funny or fun things that happen, etc. And I guess that some people began to follow me on Twitter, then didn’t like that I was tweeting religious things and complained, not to me of course, but to the organization. (To clarify, this is not about the fact that I was taken aside and talked to. On the contrary, I am grateful that I was informed and that whole part was handled in a professional and supportive manner.)

When I was made aware of the situation I was a bit shocked at first and then realized that of course this was going to happen. A-people just like to complain, and B-I’m sharing the gospel, of course there’s going to be opposition. Nonetheless, I was bothered by the whole thing for quite a while and struggled to figure out the best way to handle the situation. I didn’t want to create problems for the organization and those who asked me to be a part of the event, I didn’t want to lose an invitation for next year, but I also didn’t feel that I should just drop my standards and duty to share the gospel at the first sign of a struggle or conflict.

As I debated and prayed about what to do, I went up to my room and turned to the scriptures for guidance because, as Nephi taught, “the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do” (2 Nephi 32:3). At that time, I had been reading the first chapters of 2 Nephi in the Book of Mormon. I opened to where I had left off and a line that I had highlighted years ago jumped out at me:

Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth...”

I almost laughed out loud at the directness and simplicity of the answer I received. This was nothing new, but it was the reminder and help that I needed to be at peace and know what to do moving forward.

Jeremy Lindström was asked to be a commentator for the live World Jump Rope stream and to try to draw a crowd to spread the sport of jump rope. People thought Jeremy Lindström would do a good job in that capacity. And I did my best to live up to that expectation, fulfill my commitment, and do my part to add to the overall success of the event and I loved every minute of it. However, I am who I am because of the way I choose to live my life. Everything I do and who I have become is a conglomeration of everything I know and believe. Jump rope, music, schooling, family, every experience I’ve ever had, and most of all faith in Jesus Christ have all contributed to who I am today. Without one of those parts-especially my faith-I am no longer the Jeremy Lindström everyone knows. I am who I am and what you see is what you get. There isn’t a jump rope version of me, a church version of me, a weekend version of me, or any other version of me. There’s just the one version of me you know.

I am who I am because of my faith in Jesus Christ. I am who I am because His great atoning sacrifice allows me to change and always strive for perfection. I am who I am because of how I feel and the success I see when I live the standards He taught when He was on the earth.

The most important thing for me or anyone else to do is to tell the world about Jesus Christ and His Atonement. The full verses that I quoted above in part read: 

“Wherefore, redemption cometh in and through the Holy Messiah; for he is full of grace and truth.

“Behold, he offereth himself a sacrifice for sin, to answer the ends of the law, unto all those who have a broken heart and a contrite spirit; and unto none else can the ends of the law be answered.

“Wherefore, how great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth, that they may know that there is no flesh that can dwell in the presence of God, save it be through the merits, and mercy, and grace of the Holy Messiah, who layeth down his life according to the flesh, and taketh it again by the power of the Spirit, that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead, being the first that should rise.”

The truth of Jesus Christ and His Atonement transcends any other knowledge or truth on earth. And the duty to share this truth transcends any other earthly duty. “How great the importance to make these things known unto the inhabitants of the earth.” I share jump rope because jump rope enhances lives and is just super fun. I share the gospel because it changes lives and is the source of true and lasting happiness.

I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. So yes, I am vocal about my faith on Twitter and on Facebook at times because those are virtual versions of who I am in real life. And that is no more intrusive than knowing me and associating with me in person because all of my actions are driven and guided by my faith in Christ. At World Jump Rope I decided to proceed and use my Twitter as normal and continue to do so because the greatest thing any of us can do is make known the blessings of the Atonement to all.

Jesus Christ lives. He is the Messiah, our Redeemer, and the Savior of the world. He appeared with His Father to Joseph Smith in 1820 to restore His Church as it was when He walked the earth. He gave us the Bible and the Book of Mormon and living prophets to teach us about His Atonement, repentance, forgiveness, and to guide us down the path that leads to true happiness and eternal life.