The Devotional talk at Education Week 2014, by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, will be remembered as an important moment in the use of social media by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (You can watch the entire talk and learn more at social.lds.org.)
Elder Bednar said that his topic was a continuation of his 2009 BYU-Idaho fireside about the role of technology and cyberspace in the lives of members, which was entitled “Things as They Really Are.” In that talk he discussed the spiritual pitfalls of modern technology and some tools in our world today. This continuation is about what those technologies and tools can do for good.
With almost 40 percent of the missionaries using social media and technology now, Elder Bednar said “An important aspect of the fullness that is available to us in this special season is a miraculous progression of innovations and inventions that have enabled and accelerated the work of salvation: from trains to telegraphs to radios to automobiles to airplanes to telephones to transistors
FamilySearchDevCon (Developer Conference) 2014 will be held September 25-26 at BYU Conference Center in Provo, Utah. The 2-Day price is $95.00, for keynotes, sessions, discussions, demos, food, information, networking opportunities, and prizes.
FamilySearch is leading the family history arena in collaborative development of projects. This Developers Conference is an invaluable opportunity for programmers, developers, and software companies to meet, learn from, and share technical information with industry peers.
Registration is open and available for the 2014 LDSTech Conference, October 16 & 17 (registration is free online at the LDSTech Conference page). It is never too early to make flight reservations and lodging arrangements.
This year’s conference will again be held at the University of Utah’s LDS Institute of Religion Building, on the University of Utah campus (1780 East South Campus Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112).
The conference will be held all day Thursday and Friday, October 16 and 17, 2014. Attendance is free of cost, and a light breakfast (if you get there by 8 a.m.) and lunch are provided each day. To learn more about what to bring and how to prepare, visit theLDSTech Conference wiki page. Updates will be provided as training, project, and
The Joseph Smith Papers Project is a fascinating trip into the early history of the Church. The project, led by the Church Historian’s Office, gathers documents that pertain to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The project’s purpose is to provide a record of the life and history of the Joseph Smith, Jr. so scholars and students can easily access the foundational documents of the Church.
The Joseph Smith Papers Project not only gathers the documents but publishes complete and accurate transcripts of them, both in print and electronically. Large portions of the collection will be published in many print volumes. In addition, transcripts of all known and available Joseph Smith documents are being published on the Joseph Smith Papers website (see http://josephsmithpapers.org/), along with
Several BYU Information Technology students, under the direction of Associate Professor Derek Hansen, recently wrote test scripts for software used for mission finances and administration.
“They roll out a new version of the software regularly,” Hansen explained. “Each new version needs to be checked for code-breaks. Students helped by writing test scripts to simulate using the software to make sure everything works properly.”
Four students worked for almost two years writing scripts which run as part of the automated testing process. The problems, if they show up, can then be debugged. Several such problems were identified by the students.
“It was a great experience for the students, who were able to develop new skills and interact with professionals in a real world work experience. It was like a short internship, but with an important emphasis on
An article in the Mormon Newsroom recently noted changes in missionary work as digital media becomes more common throughout the world.
After going through a pilot program of 30 missions and 6500 missionaries – primarily in the US and Japan – the mobile device program will be expanded to 162 missions (and 35,000 missionaries by the end of 2015) all using iPad minis, cell phones, and online chat in their work.
The article highlights a video by Elder David F. Evans and an announcement about missionary technology from the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve Apostles.
Many members dream of someday serving a full-time mission after they retire. Many members don't know, however, that there is a new opportunity to serve as full-time technology missionaries. We currently have these opportunities for Spanish-speakers.
Area technology specialists (ATS) are needed in various locations around the world, but especially in the Dominican Republic and Guatemala. These Spanish-speaking ATS missionaries will be providing training and technical support to stake technology specialists (STS) in the areas. Applicants need to be fluent in both Spanish and English.
Husbands and wives can serve together as area technology specialists, or one spouse can serve as an ATS and the other can have another assignment based in the same location and/or area office.
ATS assignments may include supporting area leadership, facilities management groups, or missions with help for their technology needs. ATSs serve under the direction of the Area ICS (Information and Communication Services) Manager.
Required experience is not excessively technical but does include "skills with computers, printers, copiers, scanners, wired and wireless networks, the Internet, and audiovisual equipment" as the stated on the opportunities website (http://tech.lds.org/mission).
If you or someone you know has interest in this missionary service, please contact our ATS coordinators, Elder Gary and Sister Marilyn Peterson at
, or at (801) 240-6226. For more information about open positions, go to http://tech.lds.org/mission.
LDSTech announces the 2014 Gospel App & Game Development Contest, held as part of the 2014 LDSTech Conference.
The Contest begins immediately. Everyone is invited to develop a gospel-centered iOS, Android, or Windows game or app that will help flood the marketplace with quality entertainment alternatives for our families.
Harness your creative and programming skills to create something worthy. Pass this along to your family, friends, and neighbors to get them involved. Visit Gospel App & Game Development Contest for rules, starter ideas, and more information.
Final submissions are due October 10, 2014 – a week before final judging at the LDSTech Conference. Get started now!
For the past few years, it seems job applicants have been lining up around the block to fill vacant positions.
While this may have allowed for an overall static human resources budget, recent studies have shown that hidden costs of turnover equal a substantial percentage of a new hire’s wages. While sometimes hard to measure, these costs include recruitment, training, building trust, and loss of productivity.
Recruitment and training of Church service missionaries (CSMs) are provided by fulltime Church employees, and lost productivity hurts the entire organization. Multiply that in a program that depends on personnel that work in six, twelve, and eighteen month increments, and the problem becomes significant.
Sister Brenda Frandsen, LDSTechCSM in Mesa, Arizona, has been able to help resolve that issue. Sister Frandsen and her husband have served three full time missions: as office missionaries in the Taiwan Kaohsiung Mission from 2008 -2009; as public affairs missionaries in Taiwan from 2010-2011; and as media missionaries in Hong Kong from 2012-2013.
During her Hong Kong mission, Sister Frandsen implemented SharePoint throughout the area and developed a high level of skill while also building trust with her peers. As the time for the Frandsens to depart Hong Kong neared, the concern grew as to how to fill the space Sister Frandsen would leave behind. It would not be a simple matter because of her unique programming and language skills.
The solution was found in technology. Sister Frandsen continues her media mission and support of the SharePoint software as an LDSTechCSM from her home in Mesa, Arizona. She meets with her peers by WebEx on a weekly basis and remotely accesses individual computers when necessary to troubleshoot, help, and support those still in the mission field.
LDSTech missions offer an opportunity for highly skilled full time missionaries to continue their work even after they return home. If you are a mission leader and have lost a highly skilled missionary but would like to retain their expertise through an LDSTech Church Service Mission, contact Elder Allen Bottorff or Sister Cheryl Bottorff at (801) 842- 4771, or email them at
The Church has updated its flagship site, LDS.org, many times since it was first created in 1996. From a basic domain-claiming site in the early days of the Web to today’s robust, information-rich experience, the Church has offered more and more content to members and to the world.
Part 1 of this article reviewed the development of the Church’s public face via technology, from the early days of radio to the earliest developments of an Internet presence.)
The year 2000 also saw major redesigns and content added to the website. The Church’s message called “The Living Christ” was posted on January 1, 2000, followed by the first Internet version of the scriptures in May of the same year.
The conversion of the scriptures from a print version to an online version proved to be very beneficial. Errors were revealed such as wrong references and typos. The Church was able to clean up the scriptures by posting them online.
At the turn of the millennium, the website shifted focus a bit. Designers allowed it to be more dynamic, allowing users to customize content. Ideas for features such as a youth site, a portal, feedback, calendar, news were planned. Some of these ideas are only now being launched.
The goal was to release the new site on June 30, 2000. Using a content management system put out by Vignette, and a language called Tcl, the site was created. It presented huge challenges to the Church and developers. The site required major hardware upgrades. With less than a week to go before launch, the website was still not functional.
One problem was so difficult that Vignette experts were called in for support, but the result was many of hours of work with no success. Ultimately, the consultants gave up and went back to their hotel, at which point the remaining team members made it a matter of prayer. Within a half an hour, ideas came in and the problem was solved.
On June 30, Elder L. Tom Perry pushed a button that launched the website publically.
By July 2000, the website had over 20,000 users per day. Later that year, the Church launched additional language capability for Newsroom and the LDS Catalog.
The Meetinghouse Locator not only provided support to the members but also made the Church realize that many of the addresses were out of date and wrong.
In July, the stake and ward websites were first piloted and released to the general membership.
In October 2001, in preparation for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, the Church launched www.mormon.org, designed specifically for those who are not members of the Church. It was previously called “Sharing the Gospel.”
The Young Women’s general presidency helped design email pass-along cards to invite people to learn about the gospel. Elder Dallin H. Oaks announced these cards and the new website in general conference.
Within one minute of his announcement, the servers became overloaded. The IT team realized that the outage had been caused by the number of cards being sent out by individuals who were supposed to be listening to the rest of Elder Oaks’ talk.
In December 2001, the “Places to Visit” section on LDS.org was added. (Interestingly, today the “Places to Visit” section is used mostly by mobile devices.)
Country Websites were added in 2002, which allowed countries to use templates to create language-specific websites.
The Perpetual Education Fund content was also added, along with temple open house reservation systems in 2002, starting first with the Nauvoo temple.
Also in 2002, LDS.org went down for three days due to some tables that were deleted in a database. During the outage, backups failed and a new program was created to ensure that major outages would never happen again.
Another redesign was in the making in 2003. The current website was getting too crowded, and the Church developed fly-out menus and trained all developers to use Java.
In 2007, LDS.org 2.0 website was launched.
The redesign changes from the original site to version 2.0 resulted in a lot of usability questions. With this in mind, the LDS.org 2.0 website was left up when the LDS.org 3.0 was released in November 2010. As a result, the transition to 3.0 went relatively smoothly.
The newest version of LDS.org uses an XML database with XQuery for accessing data. LDS.org 3.0 has much more advanced technology and now includes Calendar, Directory, Maps, and other tools, all of which use the internal Java stack.
The history of LDS.org has been full of prayerful and inspiration-driven experiences. The site has evolved along with the Web, often solving problems in innovative and award-winning ways. LDS.org has become a key method of spreading the gospel using modern tools, blessing the lives of members and non-members throughout the world.