July 27, 2012 update: Newsletter is now out of beta and in full production on LDS.org. You can view it from the LDS.org Tools menu. See the help information for current details about newsletter: https://ue.ldschurch.org/ldsapphelp/newsletter.
Newsletter, a new tool on LDS.org, is now open for beta testing. Newsletter provides an interactive site that wards and stakes can use to provide local news to members. The application replaces the “News and Information” feature on the classic local unit website and provides a digital alternative to the paper newsletters that organizations typically create.
Once set up, articles for Newsletter appear in one column of news on the Newsletter homepage, arranged in reverse chronological order. Members can view the news they want to see by selecting the category on the right. The selected category filters the news.
In a recent interview with Community Business Manager Alan Smoot, Jeff Brown, a quality assurance lead for the Church, talked about his experience using a group of volunteers to beta test version 2.0 of the LDS.org calendar application released back in fall 2011. You can watch the interview as well as read a summary below.
“We wanted to get the community involved,” Jeff said, “to give us some better assurance.” Jeff and his team realized that they could not test for every scenario and in every environment. “As QA testers, we don’t understand all the scenarios; we don’t understand what people are going to do . . . and that leads to a lot of uncertainty when it comes to release time.”
The Church has released an early beta version of a new mobile app—FamilySearch Indexing—for iOS and Android platforms. You can start indexing right away by downloading the app. Just search for “familysearch indexing” in the iOS App Store or Android Market.
In order to use the app, you must sign in with your LDS or FamilySearch account. If you don’t already have an account, you can easily create one here.
Once you download the app, sign in with your LDS or FamilySearch Account.
In his October 2011 General Conference talk, Elder Bednar encouraged the youth to get involved in Family History. He said, “It is no coincidence that FamilySearch and other tools have come forth at a time when young people are so familiar with a wide range of information and communication technologies. Your fingers have been trained to text and tweet to accelerate and advance the work of the Lord—not just to communicate quickly with your friends.” (The Hearts of Children Shall Turn)
During my high school years, my mother would take me to the family history library. She would put me in front of a microfilm reader with a list of names to look for. I tried not to fall asleep or get sick to my stomach as the film scrolled by. If I was lucky after five hours, I might find one name or a family.
Due to advancements in technology and information sharing, there’s so much more available now. When we were first married and had kids, I researched one of my family lines back to the first three land owners of Canada. As more children came and grew, I researched Denmark, taught family history as a volunteer at the Ogden Institute for five years, and now teach at genealogical conferences, blog, write articles, and act as president of the genealogy branch in my city, while I continue to do my own family history research.
Historically, clerks and other Church leaders have been required to be at their respective meetinghouse to perform administrative work because the Member and Leader Services (MLS) software could only be accessed from the clerk’s PC located at the meetinghouse. As a result, many clerks and leaders complete their administrative work on Sunday to avoid travelling to the meetinghouse during the week. Simple reports like the New Member Report can only be viewed or printed at the meetinghouse.
In order to ease the administrative burden of Church leaders, MLS functions are being added to LDS.org. Church leaders and clerks can now access records, reports, and other helpful resources from any computer connected to the Internet. This effort supports access from home or other locations, decreasing travel costs and time commitments. Making it easier for leaders and clerks to perform their administrative responsibilities will allow them to spend more time ministering to members.
Lesson Schedules, an LDS.org application that allows you to schedule lessons for priesthood and auxiliary organizations, is now in beta. Lesson Schedules replaces the old lesson scheduling features that were available on the Classic.lds.org site. Members are invited to test out the beta Lesson Schedules application and provide feedback.
You can visit the beta site for Lesson Schedules by going to https://lds.org/lesson. Log in with your LDS Account. Note that any data you enter into this beta site will be erased when the site goes live.
"Using MLS Functionality on LDS.org" is the topic for our next LDSTech Broadcast, scheduled for February 3 and February 7, 2012. You can attend a live or recorded broadcast at the times listed below.
Using MLS Functionality on LDS.org
Many MLS (Member Leaders Services application) features are now available in a web format through “Leader and Clerk Resources” on LDS.org. These web resources provide information and reports about priesthood quorum, auxiliary, and general membership; organization and calling lists; and other tools. By providing these resources in a secure, online location, leaders and clerks can spend less time managing administrative duties and more time ministering to members.
Choose your training session now
Click the Attend button on the day of the event. Try to join fifteen minutes before the scheduled start time. You will be asked to fill out a five-question survey before being directed to the training session.
While many of us enjoy reading our printed set of scriptures and hand-writing notes in the margins, the online scriptures on LDS.org provide the same text as the print version and have additional features, such as pop-up footnotes, My Study Notebook, and audio playback, that might be helpful in a number of ways.
You can access the scriptures on LDS.org by clicking on Menu, and then under the Study, click Scriptures. The scriptures homepage shows links to the standard works in the sidebar.
Listen rather than read
While you’re viewing a chapter online, you can listen to the scriptures like an audio book by clicking Listen in the right-hand navigation list.
The Gospel Library App helps bring the scriptures, conference addresses, and other gospel works into members’ lives. In this article, a few members share their experiences using Gospel Library.
On The Road
“My husband and I were stopping for lunch on our way to Las Vegas. We went into a fast food restaurant. Near the end of our meal, I noticed there was a scripture reference on the bottom of my cup inside the edge. There was another scripture reference on the burger wrapper. So when we got back on the road, I was curious what scriptures they thought were important to covertly share with the world. I pulled out my iPod and looked at my Gospel Library and read the scriptures out loud. Then we had a little discussion about the scriptures and the restaurant. It actually helped us get through the heavy, construction backed-up traffic by giving us interesting conversation and putting our mind set on a calmer plane.
“It is nice to be young enough to be able to learn some of the new technology and old enough to appreciate it. It’s amazing how things are changing. I am wowed by what I know, which isn't that much, and look forward to learning and exploring new things.”
The 2012 LDSTech Conference will be held March 28-30 in Riverton, UT. The LDSTech Conference consists of two days of information-packed sessions about Church technology, community sessions for testing and developing Church software, and opportunities to interact with other community volunteers.
Breakfast and lunch are provided each day of the conference. Be sure to bring your laptop, tablet, and mobile devices for development and testing. During the conference, you can expect to do the following:
Learn about new Church technologies, sites, and applications. Browse information booths, attend technology sessions, and participate in tutorials and workshops.
Help beta test and improve new, unreleased software. Identify bugs and other issues to help development teams refine and improve applications.
Lead community projects. Get involved in project leadership by managing and prioritizing tasks, integrating community volunteers, and coordinating development.