The Gospel on the Go
A little over a week ago one of my Twitter follower and friend Tweeted me asking for some help on an article she was writing. I told her to email me and I would be glad to offer what little insight I might have. She said she was on a deadline on an article about LDS apps, and then asked, “What do you use? What features do you like? How do you think using apps like the scriptures, etc. are changing church meetings? Is this good or bad?”
Knowing I didn’t have a lot of time to put my thoughts coherently together, I told her I would just ramble and type my answers as best as I could. This is what I said:
“Personally I use the Gospel Library app daily, as well as the General Conference app (which isn’t made by the Church). I also LOVE the LDS Tools app on Sundays at Church. They are entirely integrated into my daily life and functions as a Latter Day Saint. I read my scrips every morning, can cross reference lightning fast, and love that the search feature allows me to learn faster/easier/more than ever before. The General Conference app is what I fall asleep to almost every single night b/c it’s a great way to keep the talks and topics fresh, but also ease into a peaceful sleep with my mind on the right things. And the LDS Tools app makes Sunday meetings a breeze. While everyone is is flipping through outdated rosters and trying to figure out where people live, I have everything up-to-date right on my phone or tablet, and can Google Map right where they are at and plan visits quicker that way.
“I remember when the first iPhone came out our stake president began using his iPhone to read scriptures, LDS quotes, and even stake callings and releases from his phone. It honestly upset a lot of people. They didn’t like it. It was too “distant” for them. I remember various conversations in meetings about it and even with friends. As a Verizon manager of course I was on the smartphone bandwagon and follow suit. People were continually poking jabs about “playing Angry Birds” or “Facebooking” during the block services at Church, when I was really just reading along w/lessons or the scriptures. In the past year though I have seen a total conversion, even in my stake and small branch. It’s not uncommon for Letters from the First Presidency to now be read via an iPad, or entire lessons to be taught using smarthphones. And I love it.
“I think it was telling that Tagg Romney, Mitt’s son, Tweeted a picture of his dad on checking his Twitter during a Sunday School lesson in Massachusetts last month. It was a very personal glimpse into the cross section of not just us as Latter-day Saints, but society, and even potential leaders of the free world at large. Society uses technology. Therefore, the Lord is using it to the spreading of the Gospel.
“This past Sunday the Alabama Birmingham Mission president, President Richard N. Holzapfel (on a vacay as Prof. of Ancient Scrip. at BYU) taught in our branch about Mormon.org, and how the Church sees that as a way to spread the Gospel everywhere. The scriptures say that the Gospel would be taught in every land and nation before the Lord’s coming. The Brethren think Mormon.org is part of that fulfillment. We cannot have full-time missionaries in Iraq or Iran, but those people have the internet. Even personally, from my own blog I can see where my visitors come from, and it is amazing to see that daily I receive as many visitors from Chinia, India, or the Middle East as I do from the good ol’ United States.
“As far as some quotes about technology, etc, and the Church, I wrote this blog post a few months ago. Maybe something there can help.”
What amazes me is the way that the Lord is using technology to spread His work.
A few years ago while sitting patiently in the Birmingham Temple and waiting for a session to start, an older gentleman sat down next to me and we started talking. We talked for a few minutes and he quizzed me about post-mission life, my callings, and my home teaching. I then asked what where he was from and what he did. He formally introduced himself, and to my surprise he held a prominent calling and served with a variety of General Authorities. We had a long and very pleasant conversation quitely sitting in the confines of the temple, and he told me of a meeting he had recently been to in which President Hinckley had pounded his hand on the table and told church employees to create the software they needed for their specific duties. When they responded they didn’t know how to do that, President Hinckley looked them firmly in the eyes and said something such as, “Yes, I understand that, but the Lord does. He will give you the technology.” Of all the neat things this wonderful brother told me that day in the temple, that one story most impressed me.
The Lord and His Church are doing amazing things to spread the Gospel and strengthen the stakes of Zion. Just last week we enjoyed a wonderful stake conference here in my home stake. The Sunday morning session of our conference was brought to my small branch building via webcast from a building elsewhere in our stake. That is truly amazing to me.
If you haven’t enjoyed the blessings of technology and the Gospel, you soon will.
I invite you to create a Mormon.org profile, download the MP3’s from General Conference, and share your faith via social media. The Lord’s work is on the go, and so are we. Now, more than ever before we are blessed with opportunities to enjoy the Lord’s words in more formats than ever thought imaginable. And more is on the way.
It’s up to us to utilize all the Lord has given us.
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