The tools offered on LDS.org, the official Internet site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are so numerous that many of us may not know just what is available. According to LDS.org product manager Larry Richman, “The website provides a wealth of content and information to members of the Church and to others about the Church. It is hard to narrow its purpose to just one objective, because it can be use in so many different ways.”
So how can you use LDS.org? What can this website offer to make your calling, your personal gospel study, your family life, and your friendships even more successful? The ways are as numerous as the links you’ll encounter.
Just Plain Cool
Larry Richman remarks that most people are amazed when they discover some of the tools the website offers. Here are some of his favorites:
· “The Gospel Library is the most popular page on the website,” says Richman. Users can study the gospel through the words of ancient and modern-day prophets in over thirty years’ worth of Church magazines and in current Church curriculum publications. These resources can also be downloaded to a PDA.
· And it gets even better! Have you ever thought you’d like to listen to the scriptures during your afternoon commute? By clicking on The Scriptures link and then on the specific book of scripture in which you are interested, you can now download all the audio and burn it to a CD so you can listen whenever and where ever you choose. Thanks to this resource you can do all this and not infringe on any Copyright laws.
· LDS.org also supplies current and relevant information to assist in helping build strong families and information that can help in church callings. Using the lessons, activities, and agenda available through the Home and Family page can make planning a meaningful family home evening much simpler. And through the Serving in the Church page, Church leaders and teachers can find ideas for lessons, guidelines, and suggested lesson material to help plan a captivating lesson.
· The award-winning “Interactive Church Music Player” (click on “Gospel Library” on the home page and then on “Church Music”) is another great tool. “The music player was custom built for the Church,” explains Richman. “There’s nothing else like it.” Here users can view the sheet music to Hymns and the Children’s Songbook. If you are trying to learn to sing the alto part of a certain hymn, the music player can play just that part. You can also change tempo and the key. Not only that, but your new arrangement of music can be played for you and the sheet music can be printed. If your calling involves music, the “Church Music” page is one you will want to bookmark!
· Preparing food storage is not an easy task, especially when you don’t know where to start. LDS.org’s Provident Living page (after clicking on “Provident Living” on the LDS.org home page, then click on “Food Storage and Emergency Preparedness”) also provides help and guidance for starting and maintaining your food storage. “With the food storage calculator you can type in how many people are in your family and what type of things you like, and it will calculate for you how much you need and what types of food you should be storing,” says Richman.
Stay Tuned: Upcoming Improvements
Because of tremendous growth, LDS.org and the websites connected to it ([mormon.org], [familysearch.org]) are currently in the process of being rebuilt. These new sites will be launched in the beginning months of 2006. “The priesthood executive council has oversight of LDS.org and so a lot of the direction for these changes comes from them as well as the feedback from the users,” says Richman. This feedback will result in an even more user-friendly site that will give users across the globe valuable resources.
For example, the site will become fully readable and navigable in ten languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). It will also become more organized according to user need or interest. And as needs continue to grow along with the Church, even more changes to the site are on the horizon. In the future, wards and stakes will more easily able to share information and collaborate, and there will be even more interactive sites to aid in training. For additional information on these and other upcoming changes, visit [lds.org/highlights].
The LDS.org home page will lead you on a virtually never-ending tour of tools and enriching material. Discover what’s available for you! These are the main links you’ll find on the site’s home page.
Clicking on this link will redirect you to [mormon.org], which will help you and your friends and neighbors learn about the basic beliefs of the Church—the Church’s belief about families, the nature of God, and the purpose of life. You can refer friends who are interested in learning more about the gospel to this link.
Read the complete text of the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price here. This page also provides terrific search options. For example, if you want to search for scriptures on “charity” in the book of Enos, simply click on the Book of Mormon link and then on the Enos link and then type “charity” into the search box at the top of the page. You will then be presented with a list of all the scriptures in that book that use the word charity.
You can also change your display options in a variety of ways: read the scriptures with or without footnotes or the Joseph Smith translation for example. The page also contains a variety of study helps such as Bible and Church history maps and photographs of Church history sites.
Looking for help on an upcoming talk or lesson? This is the page for you. Read from Church publications and Church curriculum or listen to archived BYU radio broadcasts. See the “Gospel Library” sidebar on page XX for a more detailed explanation of all that this page makes available.
Home and Family
Find ideas and suggestions for building a stronger family. See the “Home and Family” sidebar on page XX for a list of resources available through this page.
Stake and Ward Websites
Did you know your ward or stake may have its own personalized website? Find out from your bishop or ward website organizer what your username and password are and then sign in to find out about upcoming events and other news.
Serving in the Church
Are you looking for a Sharing Time idea or a story to illustrate your Relief Society lesson? Maybe you want some topic ideas for Enrichment night or ways to motivate the youth with Personal Progress or Duty to God. Regardless of your specific teaching assignment, you can find a great deal of help at this page. Find manuals, great lesson ideas, articles, guidelines, and activities for the Melchezidek Priesthood, Young Men, Relief Society, Young Women, Primary, Sunday School, and Military Relations.
Use this site to find contact information and downloadable photos of all the Church’s temples or read about the most recent events regarding temples. You can also look up guidelines specific to individual temples such as whether or not it has cafeteria service, if it rents clothing, and if you need to make an appointment.
Newsroom for News Media
This one isn’t just for news media—it’s for anyone interested in current news related to the Church. Browse archived topics or read about the Church in your area or a specific area of the world. And if you want access to brief biographies of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, Relief Society General Presidency, or Joseph Smith and Brigham Young (perhaps for things like lessons or learning games), the Newsroom page is a great stop. After clicking on “Newsroom for News Media,” then click on “Quick Facts,” and then on “Leaders’ Biographies.”
This “Quick Facts” link provides a number of interesting tidbits of information such as “‘Myth-Conceptions’ about the Church,” “Facts and Figures,” and “The Missionary Program.”
Looking for a great service opportunity for your ward? Find out how the Church is helping others around the world and how you can help in that aid. Also learn how to improve your own spiritual and temporal welfare. Read more on page XX.
Clicking on this link will redirect you to [familysearch.org], a fountain of help for those interested in family history. Learn how to get started, share your information with others, and use the Family History Library system. FamilySearch is the largest genealogical site on the web and contains over one billion names in its searchable databases. If you’re just getting started, this site provides step-by-step tutoring to help you find your ancestors. If you’re a veteran family historian, then you already know the wealth of information this invaluable resource contains.
Learn about the history of the Church; historic sites and places to visit; and museums, libraries, and Church archives.
Order Church Materials
Could you use a new Gospel Art Kit but you don’t live near a distribution center? Maybe you are just about to go through the temple for the first time and would like a new temple dress. Is it time to renew your Ensign subscription? Shop online and order materials from Church Distribution through this page.
Locate a meetinghouse; find missionary and service opportunities; read about special events and celebrations; search for employment; and learn about Church colleges, universities, institutes of religion, and more.
Share the Gospel with a Friend
Fill out and submit a referral form for a friend who might be or is interested in the Church.
It doesn't require a degree in computer science--it doesn't even require much computer savvy at all. The Church has designed its site to be accessible and easy-to-use for all skill levels. To some, this gem of a resource has been hiding, but don't let it remain undiscovered. Log on and learn what it can help you accomplish.