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LDS Missionaries Turn to Technology

LDS Missionaries Turn to Technology

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LDS Missionary iPadThe LDS Church has now adopted the new world of technology 100%. Now even missionaries, who have been prevented from even touching technology previously while serving missions, are now being given iPads and Smartphones to make technology part of every-day missionary work.

First the LDS Church has begun rolling out iPads to missionaries in the United States. North Carolina was one of the first to receive them. Initial missionaries weren’t given much instruction on how to use them in missionary work. Only some guidelines and then were left to their own creativity to connect with members and non-members alike to drive demand to hear the missionary discussions.

Here’s the summary of what LDS Missionaries are now doing with technology:

  • LDS Missionaries now have iPads, which the LDS Church has locked down to where missionaries can only use the programs already installed. These programs allow missionaries to create a missionary Facebook account and connect with Mormons and non-Mormons alike. They can actually teach lessons on Facebook as well via messaging back and forth.
  • iPads also are equipped with FaceTime and Skype, so they can video chat/teach investigators on their iPads. Once they finish a “live” lesson, they quickly get on FaceTime to connect with others eager to hear the message and do it all online. The number of lessons being taught is beginning to expand rapidly using technology.
  • The apps on the missionary iPad also contain all missionary coordination with members and non-members. This includes their appointments, who they’re teaching, when and what they are teaching, progress of each investigator, etc. etc. etc. Ward Mission Leaders also have access to this same information online (called the “Area Book”) that used to be kept in a paper book at the missionary apartment, which no one had access to except for the missionaries.
  • Email – yes, missionaries can now send and receive emails (of course, not recommended to be emailing their girlfriends back home every day). 🙂
  • Scriptures, Videos & Lessons – And of course, the LDS Tools app and other tools are added to the iPad so the missionaries can play videos right from the iPad, teach lessons from it, and read and study their scriptures on it.

Each missionary receives his or her own iPad to work with. This new change allows the missionaries to carry MUCH more with them on a little device, in terms of teaching tools than they ever could before.

And the way the LDS Church has set them up, they can continually add more features and apps to the missionary iPads simply by having all the missionaries in the world run an “update” to get the new stuff.

The LDS Church has come a long way in the last few years, and now leads the world in using Internet technology to further the work of the Lord.

Checkout this article showing the miraculous progress the LDS Church has made over recent years in “owning” the Internet content around its teachings.

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-lds-church-s-mormon-message-almost-as-omnipresent-as-the-god-it-preaches

14 Comments

  1. I was hoping my future missionaries could get away from the technology “distraction” their generation faces everyday. As I watched 2 full-time missionaries in my ward sacrament meeting last Sunday, I was sad to see them both using their tablets the whole time they were at sacrament meeting. How do you feel the spirit and learn to be receptive to its promptings when you are constantly on your tech device? Unfortunately, when missionaries are already “addicted” to technology, since that’s the generation they grow up in, they just CANNOT put it down. Definitely more a distraction than a help for the majority, I’m afraid. Please stop this trend now

    • 1 And now, it came to pass that after Abinadi had spoken these words he stretched forth his hand and said: The time shall come when all shall see the salvation of the Lord; when every nation, kindred, tongue, and people shall see EYE TO EYE and shall confess before God that his judgments are just.
      (Mosiah 16:1)

      Good sister, your concern is real and appreciated. But without dismissing it, I wish to tell you that this is the Lords will and technology is not going away. There have been already countless discussions made via Skype. Discussions that simply would not have happened otherwise. Now we see the literal fulfillment of this ancient prophecy of Abinadi with technology. We are penetrating countries and areas of the globe that may not be currently available. What a blessing!!!

    • Maybe those missionaries were using the LDS library while listening to the talks. I know that those devices are very limited as to what they can do. It would be the same as reading your opened scriptures while listening to a talk. I have felt the spirit many times that way.

    • Though I have seen too many youth and young adults use technology improperly for texting and even listening to music in sacrament and other Church meetings, I will also admit that since the first month I got back from my mission, I have used my tablet during the whole course of sacrament meeting. Instead of pencil and paper, I use OneNote and take down new ideas and spiritual impressions just as I would as a missionary out in the field. I am a big believer in using technology for spiritual edification once you have learned to not become addicted or snared in its tools. In my humble opinion, parents who have the responsibility of instilling righteous habits in their children should put limits on such items and establish rules and associated discipline for their misuse. Beyond this, these people are left to themselves to exercise their own free agency as they enter adulthood and, as missionaries, receive these tools as instruments in bringing about righteous designs and there and them make the active decision to moderate their own usage habits.

    • Yeah, I see how that could be a distraction. Unless, maybe they were messaging someone to come to church with them, or struggling in some other way. We need to sometimes give people the benefit of the doubt, and let their leaders and the Lord take care of it. I mean, if we know the iPads are being abused, we should probably report it – but we need to be careful to jump to conclusions.

      • Report it? What is that going to do?

    • Totally agree with Diana. It was bad enough the AP’s had smartphones when I left my mission (not too long ago). But yes, you can tell what kind of missionaries they were. One of the apostles commended the progress of technology and how it can be you to our advantage. He addressed that capabilities of being able to access scriptures via technology these days, yet testified of the spirit that exists within the printed books. Technology will never compare to the real printed scriptures.

      • Mon: I don’t wish to belittle your comment but it is absurd to even suggest that somehow paper scriptures are somehow superior to the scriptures you read on your smartphone or tablet. Gospel Library is a wonderful tool that greatly enhances my gospel study. I use it daily to study the gospel, I use it to prepare lessons and talks and use it when I am having gospel discussions with non member and less active friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Its ability to easily add references and notes that give me instant access to not only other scripture references but also conference talks and magazine articles. Because it’s so easy to look up references contained in the footnotes, I am much more likely to study passages of scripture, talks and lessons in much more detail because it takes a single screen tap to go to a reference and then a tap to return to where you started. Using notebook and user references, I can add notes of impressions I have about a talk or scripture and have easy access to it in the future on my tablet, phone and online on any computer. All my notes and markings are kept in sync on all my devices so if I don’t have my tablet I can use my phone. When I go to the gym, rather than watch TV while I use the bike or tread mill, I can watch and listen to a conference talk or listen to my scriptures as they will read to me. The same is true as I drive. To be honest,right now I am not sure where my “paper scriptures” are as I haven’t used them in many years.

      • The what? “real printed scriptures?” Just what kind of magical thinking imbues a scripture reference read from the good old Bible with greater power than the same passage read in a scriptures app, with instantly tappable hot links to cross references, Bible Dictionary, Topical Guide, 40 years of related conference talks, relevant images from the Gospel Art Kit and references to well known works such as Jesus The Christ, The Miracle of Forgiveness, Every lesson manual you can think of, years of back issues of church magazines, Preach My Gospel, the ,,Proclamation on the Family and even the General Handbook of Instructions?

        You are absolutely right, there is NO comparison. Technology has revolutionized gospel study. It is also why the temples long ago ceased using the old fashioned ceremonies in favor of technological solutions.

        If you just can’t feel the spirit of the gospel unless it is coming out of printed and bound paper (a fairly recent technology), then maybe you are looking at your leather bound paper standard works as more of a good luck charm than an actual source of understanding. If you were truly seeking knowledge then your technophobic Luddism would not be such a stumbling block.

    • I’ve been accused many times of texting in church when in fact I was looking up scriptures.

      Nonetheless, I have also seen games being played. So your point, while being overly sweeping, is valid in some cases.

    • Diana:

      You should definitely speak with the missionaries in question !

      Ask what they are doing on the iPad during Sacrament mtg.

      Tell them what you think it looks like, and how you feel about it.

    • The missionaries cannot have games on those ipads nor chat to friends with them. They have missionary report forms, missionary videos, scriptures and lesson manuals, Ensign magazines, ward locations and meeting times, etc. on them.
      Those missionaries were doing missionary work, just the same as sometimes missing a meeting to pick up an investigator or whatever.
      For Pete’s sake! Why are YOU so suspicious that you think missionaries are texting with someone like a girlfriend back home, during the meetings!
      Who says the missionaries are “addicted” to technology? I have not seen that ever at any time. Did you know that they are required within their 1st six months to get on a computer to take a written driving test before being able to drive a mission vehicle? That is required in the U. S. and Canada–and what is wrong with that? Then they copy their test answers onto a CD by computer and turn them in to the Mission Home.
      For Pete’s sake, Dianna!!
      When I was a missionary we had film strips and projectors we had to carry with us for teaching and heavy, bulky tape reel-type tape recorders. Now, with these required ipads, missionaries have in a very convenient and portable manner all the missionary videos PLUS scriptures, student and teacher lesson manuals, missionary report forms–no longer mailed but emailed directly to the Mission President, can call the mission home in an emergency, etc.
      If the prophet and President of the Church, his counselors, and all the Quorum of the Twelve had determined that this is the way to go, why do you question, doubt, worry, etc.? I just do not understand.
      “I’m afraid” you say. Fear is from Satan. Why are you under his influence instead of the peace and comfort and assurance of the Holy Ghost? Are you doing something you need to discuss with your bishop?

  2. I agree with both Dianna and Jon. It seems the youth today have a hard time with their electronic devices. I do not, however, think this is their fault. A lot of what “youth” do reflects the direction and guidance their parents and leaders give them. We can’t be in their lives 100% of the time, as this would thwart our Heavenly Father’s plan and their free agency. We are all given trials, some have issues with electronic devices, some have issues with judging, some want to remove the mote from our brother’s eye but can’t seem to recognize the beam in our own. Setting examples for the youth and being a support to them is what’s best. If you find a need to confront missionaries about their tablet use during sacrament meeting, I would suggest speaking with the ward mission leader. He may be able to bring it up to the Elders in a way that won’t seem overbearing to let them know that the members of their ward are watching.

    With what the Lord had revealed and inspired in terms of technology, there is no reason we shouldn’t use it. If you have a moment, read the story of the iPhone. I’m not saying the iPhone is divine, but from what I can tell, against all odds, it was released. Now, missionaries are using the same iOS created for the iPhone to teach, as Jon put it “Discussions that would not have happened otherwise.” This is a miraculous age in which we live, and tremendous things are happening all around us. I thank my Heavenly Father everyday for the opportunity to live in these times.

  3. To say that using technology in sacrament is a sin, or a distraction would be saying the church is unchanging. This is simply not true. Being a youth in the latter days I can testify of the power of technology has to further the lords work. I have personally felt the spirit reading a text message from a friend, a friend who texts an uplifting and spiritual message to a group of more than 100 of my peers every single week. I can almost guarantee this friend has at some time been texting these things from a sacrament meeting. This same friend also asks me personally every week how I am doing, and how I am feeling USING TECHNOLOGY!. The power of a testimony is not confined or restricted to face to face conversation. If you don’t believe me then watch this video and tell me you don’t feel something, ( http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=3446112587001 ) or call a friend and tell me if you have a meaningful conversation. Contrary to the beliefs of many, God created technology, Not lucifer, and our Heavenly Father did it to bring his children together. The world has never been more connected and intimate then it is now in these latter days. I must say that anyone who cannot see technology for its infinite potential to do good, is far behind in the work of bringing our brothers and sisters unto Christ. I personally testify of the good fruits that come from having technology. Mon, printed scriptures will never match technology because they are not for the same purpose. Printed scriptures are where we learn of Christ, Technology is where we perform the Work of Christ, and bring his children together. Something a book cannot accomplish.

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