Meetinghouse Internet benefits
All content on this page is moving to LDS Help Center under the Meetinghouse Technology topic. This page was supposed to be deleted at the end of October 2012.
Internet access in your meetinghouses can provide a number of benefits to your ward or stake. An overall benefit of implementing Internet in your meetinghouse is that it will most likely lead to an increased member presence and activity in your meetinghouses. These resources and tools allow members to be in meetinghouses more regularly to fulfill their callings, learn the gospel, and help other members. This increased presence can lead to greater social support and strength among members. The following list covers the most common benefits in greater detail.
For clerks and secretaries
Member and Leader Services (MLS). Transmitting and syncing MLS data with Church Headquarters can take a long time. Some clerks spend an hour or more waiting for the synchronization and transmission processes to finish. With the Internet, this process takes a matter of seconds. Additionally, clerks can train Relief Society and Elders Quorum leaders on how to use MLS effectively, such as how to input visiting/home teaching information and print reports.
Clerk and leader training. Clerks and other priesthood leaders can view training (more than 20 videos) on the Record-Keeping and Auditing Training site on LDS.org. Clerks can watch training videos together and discuss the training as a group, rather than viewing them at home individually. Additionally, priesthood leaders can ensure clerks complete the necessary training to learn their callings.
Calendar review and coordination. During meetings such as ward council and bishopric, leaders can plan activities and schedule events on the Church calendar. The calendar can even be projected onto the wall for general viewing and updating in large meetings. This dynamic management of the calendar accommodates the changing nature of event schedules, allowing leaders to account for constant updates and cancellations and resource overlaps that occur in planning meetings.
LDS Online Store. Clerks can order materials through the new Online Store. Rather than taking notes on needed items and returning home to order those items online, clerks can review available items alongside bishops and other leaders in an immediate, direct way. Rather than requiring a special unit password, the Online Store authenticates users through their LDS Account and looks at callings in MLS to determine store offerings. Leaders will automatically have access to order materials for their ward or stake, such as manuals or webcasting equipment.
Clerk forums. Clerks can search the LDS Tech forums for resolving issues to questions about membership and financial record keeping. These forums are monitored by Church Headquarters staff in the Member and Statistical Record department; many questions may already be answered in past forum threads.
Financial information retrieval. Financial clerks often need to find ZIP codes and full street names for donors outside the ward who abbreviate these locations or leave them off their donation slips. Additionally, clerks often need to look up information for financial transactions, such as who to make a reimbursement check payable to and the address. Other times clerks need to find official names of scouting councils, or utility companies or other bill payees for welfare situations. Access to the Internet allows them to quickly locate the needed information.
MormonChannel.org. Clerks often spend large amounts of time sitting in the clerk's office. Interview schedules, tithing settlement, and other supporting roles leave the clerk in the office for prolonged periods of time. The Church's radio station and podcast, mormonchannel.org, can provide a source of uplifting Gospel instruction and entertainment during these times. The Mormon Channel streams talks and hymns on an ongoing basis.
General conference. For meetinghouses without satellite, Internet access can transform the immediacy of general conference for your members. You don't have to wait for a DVD in the mail, or download the files onto a flash drive. As long as you have the bandwidth, you can show general conference with a simple laptop by projecting it onto a screen and connecting to your meetinghouse's audio system.
Family History research. Family history consultants or teachers who need to train members on Familysearch.org can show live demonstrations of the system. Members can log in and receive guidance and training on how to use the system effectively for family history research.
Employment services. Members can search for jobs on ldsjobs.org. Employment specialists and other leaders can hold training to guide members through techniques for searching and applying for jobs. You can show members how to evaluate job postings and company profiles. You can teach members how to upload their resumes, configure job alerts, browse third-party job sites, and more.
Multimedia enhancement in lessons. Instructors can integrate online multimedia about scripture stories, principles, or teachings from prophets and other leaders from the various resources of the Church. For example, instructors might pull in a video from Mormon Messages, show an excerpt from a General Authority talk, or show a clip from a multimedia resource on Mormon Channel. Accessing these resources online allows teachers to quickly leverage the multimedia resources of the Church to deliver more powerful lessons.
My Study Notebook. Members studying the gospel in Sunday School classes can use the new Study Notebook to save and tag clips from different Church sources into collections that they can share and review together with other members. Instructors can also pull together collections of quotes that they title and tag by lesson, and then distribute these collections to members electronically rather than compiling and printing handouts.
Resources to combat pornography. You can help members avoid pornography by harnessing resources on the Church's new Combating Pornography site. This site contains an abundance of information and video excerpts from leaders. Highlighting quotations and other resources from the site, such as during Elders Quorum or Young Mens lessons, can point struggling members toward an invaluable source of information in a more impressionable way than merely telling users to check out the site at home.
Missionary work. Leaders have encouraged members to look for opportunities to share the gospel on the Internet, such as on blogs and other social media. With the Internet in your meetinghouse, you can show members how to embed Mormon Message clips in blog posts, how to add their I'm-a-Mormon profiles to Mormon.org, how to use URL shorteners to share links to resources on Twitter or Facebook, how to embed LDS widgets on their websites, and more. Leaders can also guide members by showing effective examples of missionary work online. They can have actual source material and examples to comment on, rather than merely pointing out general principles of online sharing.
LDS.org resources. When assigning members to give talks or teach lessons, leaders can show members how to use the resources on lds.org, such as the Study by Topic page. Members can learn methods for keyword searching, locating lesson material, saving quotations and other excerpts in the Study Notebook, finding images and the graphics in the Media Library, and generally navigating the vast repository of magazines, manuals, conference talks, scriptures, podcasts, and articles on the Church's site.
Member directory access and accuracy. You can verify and update member information in the church directory quickly. For example, you might place a computer in a location for members to access so they can update their phone numbers and e-mail addresses on a regular basis, without requiring the clerk to find out this information and process the update. Keeping member contact information accurate can increase the ability of leaders to both contact and locate members.
LDS Maps and route planning. Online maps, such as LDS Maps or Google Maps can help pinpoint member homes and driving directions for visits. This can be critical for presidencies who plan visits during a meeting at the Church and then drive directly to the locations. LDS Maps, which ties in with the new directory, shows locations of member homes, meetinghouses, stake centers, temples, and other Church landmarks on an interactive map.
Personal Progress and Duty to God. The new Young Women Personal Progress site and Young Men Duty to God site allow youth to sign in, see requirements, and track their progress. Leaders can also monitor requirements and update completed activities. Although members can access this at home, integrating this tool into Personal Progress lessons at Church can increase awareness and usage.
For bishops and other local leaders
Bishop and stake president tools. Bishops and stake presidents can log into the leader section of lds.org (access is restricted based on your calling), and see a number of tools relevant to their callings. They can see detailed membership information, leader training, member focus lists, notifications, action and interview lists, callings, key indicators, reports (such as the Quarterly Report, Temple Recommend Status, Unit Statistics, Members Moved In, New member, Birthday List, Attendance Rolls, and other reports), communications, schedules, messages, and other tools and resources. These resources help bishops and stake presidents better understand and meet the needs of their members.
Missionary recommendation submissions. The Online Missionary Recommendation System allows bishops and stake presidents to submit member recommendations for missionary service electronically. Bishops can sit down with missionary candidates and walk through the requirements and steps together online. Meetinghouse access of this tool reduces the burden on bishops to complete these tasks alone at home.
Meetinghouse webcasts. Webcasts broadcast audio and video from a meetinghouse to other locations. Webcasting is frequently used during stake conferences to broadcast conference sessions to a secondary location (since one building may not be able to accommodate all stake members at the same time). Webcasts are also used for training, reducing the travel in stakes or areas where leaders are remotely located. Webcasts increase the virtual face-to-face time between leaders and members.
For seminary and institute students
Seminary resources and monitoring. Seminary instructors can access video and audio clips, quotes, and other resources from the Seminary and Institutes site to assist with daily instruction. They can also access tools to help them create and manage lessons and presentations. Students can log in to the site to view grades and attendance. Parents can also log in to monitor attendance.
Institute study environments. In meetinghouses with institute, instructors can access the multimedia resources from the Seminary and Institutes site. Students can also gather with other students to use institute buildings as study areas for their collegiate studies, building friendship and support among other LDS college students. Additionally, some institutes provide students with four-year college educations through distance learning programs. This can make college education affordable and accessible to students in situations where travel and cost prohibit higher learning.
For facility managers
Remote facility management and monitoring. Internet-enabled appliances (IEAs) allow you to put facility components that typically require manual control online so you can access and manage the component remotely. For example, by adding Internet-enabled controllers to various components in the meetinghouse's heating, ventilation, and AC system (HVAC), you can enable remote monitoring and management through a web interface of these systems. This is not a distant technology, but an increasingly common implementation in meetinghouses, as it facilitates security monitoring, temperature regulation, lighting adjustment, and other facility monitoring and control without requiring the facility manager or representative to be physically present in the building. Internet-enabled appliances also extend to irrigation systems, solar panels, physical access controls, and other building equipment with electronic components.