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Mormon mobile phone apps have strong roots in volunteer work

Ben Christensen, Cliff McCollum, Michael Morrow and David Gaona have never met, but they share the same hobby: Each is a part of an army of approximately 100 volunteers who help create mobile phone applications (apps) for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tom Welch, a senior Church technical program manager, started the volunteer effort in 2006 with the launch of LDS Tech. Church members can use this website to fill out a talent profile and see which projects best fit their skill set.

“We have a team of employees at the Church who work on the projects, but we also enlist our volunteers who have expertise in these platforms to come and help,” Welch said. “These volunteers do everything from helping with design, to programming, to project management. We even have a group of people who answer support e-mails from customers. It’s a pretty big effort.”

The Church currently offers four free apps on several mobile phone platforms: Mormon Channel, Gospel Library, LDS Tools and Scripture Mastery. The Church’s first app, the Mormon Channel, was launched in June 2009. Since then, the apps have been downloaded over 800,000 times.

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