An LDSTech International Trio PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Duerden   
Monday, 25 November 2013

Three International Attendees from the LDSTech Conference:  Mafoya, Caesar, Guilli

International attendees at the 2013 LDSTech Conference included LDSTech Chapter members from India, Africa, and Brazil, among others. The Chapter President from India was Uday Teki (see separate spotlight article). From Benin, Africa, was Mafoya Joel Dossoumon. From Brazil were Caesar Silva and Giulliane Cristine Nunes Ferraz.



Brother Dossoumon lives in Chicago now, but he came out to the conference this year after hearing about it from his friend Seth Ayim, who is the LDSTech Chapter President in Accura, Ghana.

Mafoya came to the United States four years ago to go to school. He has since graduated with a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, Illinois (last May). Now, like many college graduates, he is looking for work “in online communications, web content management, marketing, public relations, writing, anything.” And he is a published author and has a book of his experiences in Africa he has published.

He taught computer classes to adults as part of his LDSTech Chapter experience in Ghana – where he attended part of his schooling and got to know Seth Ayim. “I hope to go back and start more chapters in Western Africa.”

When asked about the potential of technology in Africa Mafoya said, “There is a tremendous opportunity in general, but for members who can use technology and take advantage of it in teaching and at other

Church events, the opportunity the Church has is great. Little things we take for granted here, like watching a live stream of general conference, means the world to those persons in Africa. Or the members can use phones to download scriptures and share them. There is a wide, wide world of possibilities for the Church in Africa.”

   Brother Caesar Silva was from Tomdrina, Brazil, and graduated from LDS Business College but is now attending BYU. He was eight years old when his family joined the Church in Brazil with his two brothers and sister.

Silva was a presenter of a new app at the Idea Sharing sessions on Thursday, during the conference. He is also a returned missionary (Brazil Sao Paulo Mission) where he regularly went to the Family History Center in his area to help non-members do genealogy and family history, which then opened the opportunity to give them the discussions, a win-win all around.

Also attending with Silva was a friend of his from Rio de Janeiro, Giulliane Cristine Nunes Ferraz. They met here in Salt Lake City while both were attending LDS Business College. She also graduated from there in May and now works at the Church Office Building.


When asked what they had gleaned from the conference so far, both said they had enjoyed the keynote speaker and were looking forward to Silva’s presenting his idea at the sharing session.

Br. Dossoumon said he had “learned about service, putting the work of the Lord first, using our talents to further the work - that seems to be the center of all the messages we received. It has been a humbling experience for me, seeing hundreds of highly skilled people eager to put their talents and skills to the service of others.”

2014 Innovator Summit PDF Print E-mail
Written by Gregory Claude Duerden   
Tuesday, 07 January 2014

Kickoff Your New Year With Chris Dancy at 2014’s New RootsTech Innovator Summit

Experience the largest event focused on expanding technology and business opportunities which leverage family history data. LDSTech members can use the early registration discount code IS59GC2 through 1/14/14 to get a discounted pass at $59 for Wednesday, or $139 for a full conference pass. [This offer expires January 15, 2014]

New for 2014, RootsTech Innovator Summit is a unique opportunity for software developers, entrepreneurs and technology business leaders to explore and influence technology solutions in the family history industry.

This year, we’ve created a day for a wider audience of innovators to participate in a great lineup of sessions and content. Attendees will have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from other developers, business leaders, academia, and industry experts on a Pre-Conference Kickoff Day, Wednesday, Feb. 5 2014. Additional tech sessions will be held all throughout the RootsTech conference (Feb. 6-8) and the Expo Hall from Thursday through Saturday, which also includes several business oriented sessions for innovators. 
Full details are online:

Full details are online:                          

New Innovations. New Opportunities.
To keep pace with expanding opportunities, family history organizations are increasingly working together to create compelling solutions. The evolving API landscape is creating a host of new opportunities.
World Class Content and Networking Opportunities
Join us for a FREE lunch on Wednesday with our keynote speaker Chris Dancy, "The Most Quantified Human," featured in WIRED, TED NYC 2013, and PBS. Network with people from innovative companies such as Disney, Google, and Lexmark, with more than 100 leading technology vendors in our massive exhibitor hall (Thursday-Saturday). There will be 30+ business/tech sessions including a keynote address by Chris Dancy, "Facebook of the Dead" Keynote/lunch, as well as Cydni Tetro, Disney; Robert Gardner, Google; Phil Windley, Kynetx CTO; Evan Carroll, (author, Your Digital Afterlife); many developer/API sessions

More information can be found at

LDSTech December Broadcast: Meetinghouse Copiers and Printers PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Duerden   
Saturday, 23 November 2013

Chris Ricks, the product manager of the Church copier and printer program, will give the presentation for the December Web Broadcast, Friday Dec. 6, 2013,  12:00 Noon MST. 

Learn about the printer and copier equipment located in your local Church buildings (primarily US & Canada),including the different roles and responsibility for those who are involved with this equipment and the program that the Church has in place to manage this equipment.

LDSTech has skipped the last two months broadcasts, due to the prep and recovery from the highly successful LDSTech Conference, but we are back on schedule to close out the year with our final 2013 Broadcast.

How to Attend the Broadcast

To watch the LDSTech broadcast, click at the time of the broadcast. If you would like to attend the broadcast in person, you may join us in the Riverton Office Building (3740 West Market Center Drive, Riverton, UT, Ground Floor, Zion Room A).

Each broadcast is recorded, so if you miss one, you can re-watch the recording at any time. In fact, if you tune in late to the broadcast, you can rewind the broadcast and play it from the beginning. See the Broadcast Archiveto view previous broadcasts.

Asking Questions

Viewers can ask questions through Twitter during the broadcast. If you don’t already have a Twitter account, you can sign up for one at When you ask a question, include the hashtag #ldstech in your tweet. For more information, see Twitter and LDSTech.

LDS Tools App PDF Print E-mail
Written by Greg Duerden   
Monday, 25 November 2013


The LDS Tools app is available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry to get your directory information, event calendar for your ward, branch, stake or district.. Clerks and executive secretaries can download additional membership data and reports for their ward, branch, stake, or district.

This app is available in many languages. It is available in the Internet 10 languages for both iOS and Android, as well as in English, Spanish, and Portuguese for the Blackberry.  LDS Tools is currently only available in English on Windows phones.

LDS Tools is available on and includes the following in the on-line drop-down menu:  Notes & Journal, Calendar, Maps, Directory, Patriarchal Blessing, Mobile Apps, All Tools, Newsletters, Lesson Schedules.

Clicking on Mobile Apps lists:  Gospel Library, LDS Tools, Mormon Channel, Bible Videos, Book of Mormon, LDS Music, LDS Youth, Scripture Mastery, Ensign.  Each app lists the phones (iOS, Android, Blackberry, Window phones, etc.) or platforms (Apple and/or PC) they are available on. There are also EPUB files of Church Publications for E-Readers.

The main languages availability for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, for all mobile apps are: Chinese,  English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish

New releases are promised early next year (2014) for iOS and Android to include a new maps menu, allowing users to locate meetinghouses and temples; and the ability to update their household visibility settings. (Note: In some countries, due to privacy laws, members are opted out by default, and members will have to opt in to make their information visible in LDS Tools.)

The Who, What, and How of Area Technical Senior Missionaries PDF Print E-mail
Written by Barbara Gardner   
Thursday, 15 August 2013

Howes sitting in front of Computers

After working for 13 years with the Church's Information and Communication Services (ICS) department, Ralph Howes was looking forward to turning the free time of retirement into full-time service. It wasn’t long before he began filling out papers for a full-time mission. At the same time the Africa Southeast Area Office in Johannesburg was asking for a replacement for their ICS technology specialist missionary. Because his skills were just what Johannesburg needed, a match was made. The Howes entered the MTC in August and were welcomed in Johannesburg by the beginning of September.

Elder Howes found himself in the middle of many ongoing projects including Internet connectivity in meetinghouses, rolling out opportunities to use webcasting, and identifying and supporting Stake Technology Specialists. But in Africa many areas are still too remote to connect to the Internet, and some members were too economically challenged to travel to a central location. Finding solutions to these needs required both high- and low-tech components and ingenuity.

First, media players were installed in remote locations. General conference sessions and other broadcasts were then recorded, downloaded onto thumb drives, copied, and distributed to meetinghouses on foot via “sneaker net” to the entire stake, allowing everyone to hear the voice of prophets and leaders.

Elder Howes helped in a pilot project to make computers more accessible to members in South Africa, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. With training, members are now able to prepare lessons, do schoolwork, perform research, do temple and family history work, and search out employment. These computers also help overcome the challenge faced by many African families who have a missionary in the field. With no reliable postal service, weekly letters home are unheard of, but with meetinghouse computers and a few lessons on email, families are staying connected!

After eighteen months in Africa, Elder Howes is currently serving as a Church-service missionary in the Church’s Temple Department. Does he enjoy using his technical training in the service of the Lord? Yes. He is in the process of filling out papers looking for another full-time missionary opportunity.

For Africa to request an ICS missionary replacement at the exact same time that a 13-year information technology veteran is filling out mission papers can only testify of matches being made in heaven. To ensure that this process can happen again and again, Anna Butler, Field Communications Analyst in the ICS department, is willing to be another hand in the Lord’s work.

“Full-time senior missionaries serving technical missions is fairly new,” Sister Butler said. On the same day that Elder Howes was filling out paperwork for a new mission, Sister Butler was participating in a bi-monthly phone conference with the 14 worldwide area offices, requesting each office to define which ICS needs could be fulfilled by senior missionaries. These area offices are located in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ghana, South Africa, Russia, Germany, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Philippines, and Japan.

Clarifying the role of full-time senior technical missionaries, Sister Butler said, “These missionaries will focus on serving as technology specialists. Just as any area in need uses welfare or family history missionaries, these areas will utilize the technology experience of retired professionals.”

It is one thing to have Church-wide technology needs identified and defined, and a totally separate thing to find qualified professionals to fill those needs as full-time missionaries. Brother Gary and Sister Marilyn Peterson are committed to fulfilling this effort. Having already served full-time missions in Denmark and Nauvoo, the Petersons were excited by the unique opportunity to be pioneers in the technology world of the Church.

Petersons standing side by side in front of their global map for senior missionaries

One of the first obstacles they addressed was a training program specific to each worldwide area office. Their solution involves a technical training that lasts between three and five days in addition to the traditional training the missionaries receive at the MTC in Provo. “We hope this specific training will help them feel confident as they do the work the Lord needs them to do,” Sister Peterson explained.

The Petersons will be instrumental in helping recruit missionaries. One effort to get the word out was during this summer’s Education Week on the BYU Provo Campus. As attendees discovered what full-time opportunities are available, Elder and Sister Peterson answered questions. Dozens of potential missionaries passed their contact information to the Petersons, and now the process begins for matching the right missionaries to the right corner of the vineyard!

The worldwide technology needs of the Church are varied and suggest exciting opportunities for couple missionaries. While Sister Butler gathers information on the "where" and "what" that needs to be done, and as the Petersons search out "who" is willing to do it, it is hundreds of "Elder Howes" that the Lord needs now.

Stay tuned for more information about these technical opportunities and more for senior missionaries.

LDSTech Missionary Form

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