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So you have the BIG idea that the Church or community needs to develop. Discuss that idea here. Maybe you just want to make a suggestion on a new forum topic. Let us know.
JSkabe-p40
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Postby JSkabe-p40 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 8:36 am

Recently a debate within our ward began as to whether auxiliaries could have their own blog or website. The Church handbook on page 175-76 (Book 1) states that only the Church website should be used. We sustain this decision, but it would be great if the church could create auxiliary forums that could be moderated by members of their boards or people with authority on issues. The Church is growing fast and these forums provide invaluable advice and information to new leaders in their callings.

The following are forums that my wife has frequented, but according to the handbook doesn't appear it should be used. It would be great to incorporate them within the church:

Primary - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PrimaryPage/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=10
Nursery - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NURSERY/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=9
Scouts - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Scouts-LDS/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=1

Just typing in LDS in Yahoo Groups, you will discover a list of over 2500 forums. Granted they are not all dealing with auxiliary issues:
http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=lds

What would it take to create a central repository of these types of forums and have the ability to have someone with authority to weigh in as a moderator? Currently, you will notice that they are filled with members’ opinions, but no clear authority.

What does anyone else think?

craiger
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Postby craiger » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:48 am

I think it would be a great idea to have those kinds of discussion forums. I think it could be something similar to this forum where people discuss ideas and challenges. It could be very helpful, just like the yahoo groups already are.

However, it seems like it would be difficult to have some kind of "authority" from a general board or something like that responding to questions. The church is organized so that auxiliaries support the priesthood and operate under the direction of the priesthood. Priesthood direction is organized into stakes and wards under the direction of stake presidencies and bishoprics, respectively, who are ultimately responsible for the auxiliaries in their area.

One stake or ward may decide to do something differently than other stakes or wards to meet their unique local needs and circumstances. And that is completely correct and proper for them to decide to do it how they see fit. Even if you look at something like the stake primary presidency, they do not have any authority over ward primary leaders. Their role is to provide support and general training. The bishopric is ultimately responsible for the primary in their ward, and they have flexibility to adapt the program to fit their ward's needs.

It doesn't seem like general board members or similar church leaders would be able to provide authoritative answers to local auxiliary leaders' questions. I would think that auxiliary leaders should be working with their priesthood leaders who have been given keys of authority over their units for authoritative answers.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Oct 16, 2008 10:54 am

I think the best way to understand the policy is that it is binding on church units and leaders. It's not intended to regulate personal behavior.

It is acceptable to create and participate in a forum about a calling, such as a forum of Primary Leaders.

It crosses the line when a forum for a specific unit like the "Springfield 1st Ward Primary" is created.

At least that's my understanding of the policy.
Have you searched the Wiki?
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Postby mkmurray » Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:11 pm

craig wrote:I think it would be a great idea to have those kinds of discussion forums. I think it could be something similar to this forum where people discuss ideas and challenges. It could be very helpful, just like the yahoo groups already are.

However, it seems like it would be difficult to have some kind of "authority" from a general board or something like that responding to questions. The church is organized so that auxiliaries support the priesthood and operate under the direction of the priesthood. Priesthood direction is organized into stakes and wards under the direction of stake presidencies and bishoprics, respectively, who are ultimately responsible for the auxiliaries in their area.

One stake or ward may decide to do something differently than other stakes or wards to meet their unique local needs and circumstances. And that is completely correct and proper for them to decide to do it how they see fit. Even if you look at something like the stake primary presidency, they do not have any authority over ward primary leaders. Their role is to provide support and general training. The bishopric is ultimately responsible for the primary in their ward, and they have flexibility to adapt the program to fit their ward's needs.

It doesn't seem like general board members or similar church leaders would be able to provide authoritative answers to local auxiliary leaders' questions. I would think that auxiliary leaders should be working with their priesthood leaders who have been given keys of authority over their units for authoritative answers.

craig proably sums up the major problems the best.

Here on this forum we sometimes share ideas and best practices. But we always have to be careful not to make it authoritative, unless it really is coming as authority from Church representation. This doesn't happen very often, because most things can (and should) be decided by local leaders who have the authority by virtue of callings.

So my point is that this current forum is subject to the same issues that craig is naming could happen in other forums.

Now with all that in mind, I have heard Joel Dehlin (Church CIO) mention he would like to see community sharing sites and things like that to help you in your calling (things like lesson preparation, etc.). I believe enhanced ways to get help with your calling are on the horizon.

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Mikerowaved
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Postby Mikerowaved » Thu Oct 16, 2008 4:57 pm

I agree with the above. I think it can be very helpful for groups of leaders with a common objective to share good ideas (and even bad ones.) Groups like this usually speak more in generalities, rather than about specific individuals or events, so individual privacy is generally not a concern. Although, if I could make a suggestion to each of these groups it would be to have some sort of disclaimer stating they are not official sites of the Church. I didn't see that in any of the ones I visited, although they frequently displayed the name of the Church.
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D.Webanalyst-p40
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Postby D.Webanalyst-p40 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 11:30 pm

JSkabe wrote:Recently a debate within our ward began as to whether auxiliaries could have their own blog or website. The Church handbook on page 175-76 (Book 1) states that only the Church website should be used. We sustain this decision, but it would be great if the church could create auxiliary forums that could be moderated by members of their boards or people with authority on issues. The Church is growing fast and these forums provide invaluable advice and information to new leaders in their callings.

The following are forums that my wife has frequented, but according to the handbook doesn't appear it should be used. It would be great to incorporate them within the church:

Primary - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PrimaryPage/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=10
Nursery - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NURSERY/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=9
Scouts - http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Scouts-LDS/?v=1&t=search&ch=web&pub=groups&sec=group&slk=1

Just typing in LDS in Yahoo Groups, you will discover a list of over 2500 forums. Granted they are not all dealing with auxiliary issues:
http://groups.yahoo.com/search?query=lds

What would it take to create a central repository of these types of forums and have the ability to have someone with authority to weigh in as a moderator? Currently, you will notice that they are filled with members’ opinions, but no clear authority.

What does anyone else think?


Blogs pretty much fall under the suggestions of Elder M. Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the Ensign » 2008 » July
Entitled "Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet". The use of blogs created by individuals can help to spread the Gospel. Concerns for ward use or calling use are many including security and privacy. Having a secure place for such types of blogs would be ideal. I have seen pages indexed by search engines still in the data bases after 4 years. Public postings in blogs and on web pages can last a very long time. Names, cities, addresses, can be a problem and create safety concerns. As far as how to manage callings and leadership positions the main website has those. Still, to be able to make those areas interactive is a good idea. Especially is there were a way to get answers to questions, etc from someone in authority.
http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=ccb1d48fa58db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=6fc43645a2cba110VgnVCM100000176f620a____

jdlessley
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Postby jdlessley » Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:51 am

D.Webanalyst wrote:As far as how to manage callings and leadership positions the main website has those. Still, to be able to make those areas interactive is a good idea. Especially is there were a way to get answers to questions, etc from someone in authority.
I know people want to get answers to issues directly from someone in authority. What they don't realize is that someone is readily available to them already. I'll take a quote from the Church Handbook of Instructions.
The Lord has organized His Church so there is accessible to every member a bishop or branch president and a stake, district, or mission president who serve as spiritual advisers and temporal counselors. By reason of their callings, these local leaders are entitled to the spirit of discernment and inspiration to enable them to counsel members within their jurisdiction.

Members are encouraged to turn to these leaders when they need counsel or have doctrinal questions. Members and local leaders will be blessed as they pray and counsel together to resolve matters of concern to them. Members should also be encouraged to seek guidance from the Holy Ghost to help them in their personal lives and in their family and Church responsibilities.
Expecting to jump the order and go right to a general authority without following this guidance will in most cases result in the issue being referred back to the local leader you should have gone to in the first place.

I don't know who a person has in mind when they talk about someone in authority. I suspect it may include people from the general authorities or even a Church employee. I guess it depends on the issue in question.

I agree that blogs, forums and other means of communication are good and serve as a means of getting ideas around. I don't expect the Church to sponsor such endevors when those technologies and capabilities already exist elsewhere. When a specific need arises that is unique to the Church and it is appropriate for the Church to expend the Lords sacred funds I suspect they will pursue a solution. The LDS Tech forums is a good example.
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Have you tried finding your answer on the LDS.org Help Center page or the LDSTech wiki?

James_Piper-p40
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Postby James_Piper-p40 » Tue Oct 21, 2008 7:06 pm

In one of my previous wards, our Bishop was concerned about a Yahoo group that we (Elders) started (for a reason I don't remember), to help with our home teaching and missionary work. He said that there was policies against this, even though we never named anyone (but we knew who/what we were talking about). I don't think he asked us to shut it down but I don't think it was used much after his post. :o

I would think that any Yahoo! group or similar that is Ward based could be a breeding ground for gossip. I also think people can get funny when they find out that people are talking about them on the internet.

sterlingb
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Postby sterlingb » Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:11 pm

James_Piper wrote:I would think that any Yahoo! group or similar that is Ward based could be a breeding ground for gossip. I also think people can get funny when they find out that people are talking about them on the internet.


I'm a bit johnny-come-lately here, but this leads to one of the reasons I completely avoid religious fora, including LDS. Gossip is one issue, but the most common issue I've found is an inability for people to disagree amicably and put an issue behind them. Too often things get so heated over the most trivial matters that it sours the entire experience.

I'm also a bit split on the resolution. Do you validate using external criteria (i.e. membership number) which enables temporary bans (and introduce privacy concerns), or do you go ad-hoc with all of those disadvantages?

Maybe a doctor-signed mental fitness form...:)

techgy
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Postby techgy » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:20 pm

sterlingb wrote:I'm a bit johnny-come-lately here, but this leads to one of the reasons I completely avoid religious fora, including LDS. Gossip is one issue, but the most common issue I've found is an inability for people to disagree amicably and put an issue behind them. Too often things get so heated over the most trivial matters that it sours the entire experience.

I'm also a bit split on the resolution. Do you validate using external criteria (i.e. membership number) which enables temporary bans (and introduce privacy concerns), or do you go ad-hoc with all of those disadvantages?

Maybe a doctor-signed mental fitness form...:)


In response to part of your question, no we do not validate against the membership number. We have a set of criteria which the moderators/administrators use to "validate" a new user and any posts that are made to insure that they are within our "Code of Conduct" which is posted in the Announcement forum.

Users are expected to follow those policies. I'd say that we have a great forum where respect for one another's opinions is honored and respected and which you can feel comfortable in offering a difference of opinion as long as you respect others (Golden Rule). :D


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