CHAPTER TWO Posting, Sharing, and Religious Testifying New Rituals in the Online Religious Environment Kris Boyle, Jared Hansen, and Spencer Christensen Introduction In January 2018, Thomas S. Monson, longtime leader and 16th president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints passed away at the age of 90. In the days following his death, tributes from those inside and outside the church blanketed social media: “Thank you, President Thomas S. Monson,” one user posted on Twitter. “Your teachings have been the lighthouse that have guided me through all of the dark times in my life. I am eternally grate- ful” (Toone, 2018). Another user, who was not a member of the faith, tweeted, “I admired President Monson although I’m an Episcopalian. Rest In Peace @ ThomasSMonson.” Additional online tributes came from a wide array of pub- lic figures, including Donnie and Marie Osmond, former vice president Al Gore, President Donald Trump, and Senator Orrin Hatch (Utah leaders, 2018). Washington Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper, who is also a mem- ber of the LDS Church, took to Instagram to honor Monson, saying “This man had a smile that was contagious, spoke with pure joy and love to people about the Lord, and helped me personally grow my testimony and love for the gospel” (Toone, 2018, para. 7).
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