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Mormon missionary work moving online

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  • bloggy
    July 14, 2010 6:36 p.m.

    I've wondered what would happen to missionary work -- or church attendance, for that matter -- if we were to experience a pandemic. It's nice to know alternatives like the web exist for making connections and discussing faith. But I have a hard time believing that a face-to-face meeting won't be necessary at some point for most investigators, or for most church members as well.

  • Lee
    July 14, 2010 6:40 p.m.

    Hallelujah! Please stop annoying people by going door-to-door and tracting. Let people contact you on the internet.
    Just don’t collect names without permission or make unsolicited contacts on the internet.

  • John Charity Spring
    July 14, 2010 7:11 p.m.

    This is an extremely dangerous idea. Facebook and similar sights are well known for their facilitation of improper behaviors. Indeed, countless marriages and family relationships have been destroyed by situations in which persons of the opposite sex developed improper on-line relationships which quickly led to immoral physical relationships.

    Quite simply, exposing young missionaries to the dangers of Facebook could result in disastrous consequences. Facebook should be avoided at all costs by everyone who seeks to live a chaste life.

  • attentive
    July 14, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    Are we to imagine that everyone has access to the Internet or is a member of Facebook?

  • Al Thepal
    July 14, 2010 7:20 p.m.

    The Church has actually been moving away from tracting for some time, but in favor of working through members, at least in areas where their are enough members to do so. That is what my mission in Florida was doing. We still tracted a little, but mainly tried to work with members. This is the first I had heard of missionaries out in the field doing this, though (I know the mormon.org chat has been set up for a few years, but I think that is missionaries in the MTC).

    It sounds pretty cool, if it could work. However, at least in third world countries, I don't see traditional tracting leaving any time soon. Either way, the work of God will continue to go forth, and no unhallowed hand will stop the work from progressing.

  • WWJD
    July 14, 2010 7:26 p.m.

    this is a good idea. i'm glad the church is willing and able to find those looking for it by whatever means are the most convenient to the searcher.

  • Chad S
    July 14, 2010 7:38 p.m.

    Good progressive move by the Church. Knocking doors is a 99.9% waste of time. I always favored places where people who were interested could contact me. Nothing worse than upsetting an individual's day by bothering them at their home or on the sidewalk.

  • L
    July 14, 2010 8:00 p.m.

    While new tools are available, remember that these same tools are availabe to others as well.

    From my limited experience it seems easy for people not to be "genuine" on the internet. It is easy to smile (LOL) when you are not smiling. You can pretend to be rich when you are not, you can say that you are somewhere you are not, you can act interested when you are not and in fact you can "waste" others time without much effort.

    A number of years ago when a friend of mind would get a solicitating phone call, instead of saying he was not interested or just hanging up, he would put it on the speaker phone and say "tell me more."He would go on with his work and periodically he would say, "I don't understand,"tell me that again" or he wouls just say "Really","No kidding","yes" or just grunt a little.

    I hope this is not the missionaries experience and certainly I'm no fan of facebook. I'll be interested to see how this turns out over time.

    One thing for sure, given winter weather in Rochester, using the computer will sure be warmer

  • CJ
    July 14, 2010 8:13 p.m.

    Great idea, I tracted for two years as a missionary in a small foreign country that had been tracted out at least 500 times before I got there, it yielded nothing and was a tedious fruitless experience. I left glad for the experience but felt the whole two years that I was totally wasting my time. I tried to convince my mission President that we needed to do public service and help people directly but he felt that was a waste of time, thankfully the thinking on all of this has changed.

  • Jonnux
    July 14, 2010 8:20 p.m.

    My friends and I have joked about going onto World of Warcraft and other online games and running up to people and start proselyting them. It was always just a joke but it looks like it's becoming more and more a reality haha.

  • Brushowl
    July 14, 2010 8:25 p.m.

    This is nonsense. People in cyberspace are don't exist. They are just holograms. Soon we will have church meetings on the computer. Missionaries need to get of their butts and be with real people.

  • Blueblood
    July 14, 2010 8:32 p.m.

    Awful idea, I hope they watch the boys closely. Easy to get homesick or see/ read something they shouldn't. Missionaries in my mission got really really distracted by facebook. Hopefully it's supervised, very supervised.

  • davewhittle
    July 14, 2010 8:35 p.m.

    This is a huge step forward for the church - inspired!

    Actually, while face-to-face meetings are highly desirable, I know from personal experience that they're not necessary. In the early '90s, when I was representing IBM online from Austin, I became friends with an Illinois state IT executive. Our only contact was e-mail and occasional phone conversations, but he nonetheless became interested in the church after several of our exchanges, and our first face-to-face meeting occurred in the Nauvoo visitors center the day of his baptism.

    The spirit is not limited by time, distance, or anything else, with the sole exception of hardness of heart.

  • Pianoman99
    July 14, 2010 8:36 p.m.

    @. Lee
    you know you dnt have to answer your door if they "annoy" you...duh!

  • davewhittle
    July 14, 2010 8:43 p.m.

    John, nice satire. At first I thought you were serious, but naaah, you couldn't be. "Facebook should be avoided at all costs by everyone who seeks to live a chaste life?" RotF,L!

    If you are serious, then by your logic, missionaries like me should have never been turned loose in Japan, where pornographic posters are often found pasted to lamp posts in full view. Facebook is tamer than most parts of SLC.

    I applaud the church for their willingness to change their approach from the ineffective to the far more effective.

  • the truth
    July 14, 2010 9:28 p.m.

    While you can gain information online,

    find peolpe who wish yo meet with the missionairies

    you can never have spiritual learning experiences via the internet,

    ultimately there must be a meeting with investigators in person.


    And it is QUITE DISENGENEOUS to claim missinaries are annnoying,

    they come by MAYBE once a year to ask if you are interested in listening to them,


    yeah, that is really being bothered or annoyed by missionaries,

    what a bogus complaint.

  • Mc
    July 14, 2010 9:33 p.m.

    "Facebook should be avoided at all costs by everyone who seeks to live a chaste life."

    Facebook is no different that any other internet website in that it can be used for good or evil puposes. There is much good accomplished through Facebook including charitable events, connecting families and friends, and now, missionary work. Just because some people use it for evil purposes does not mean good people shouldn't use it for good purposes. As in all things you just have to use wisdom and be careful.

  • panamadesnews
    July 14, 2010 9:46 p.m.

    To: JohnCharitySpring

    It can be a good thing - it all depends how it is used. Many, especially young people, chat with their friends on Facebook. There are former mission presidents who chat with their former missionaries on Facebook. It is probably only a problem for those who are looking outside their marriage relationship because they are not happy. These are going to find someone else, whether on Facebook, or not.

  • my slc
    July 14, 2010 10:50 p.m.

    Good hecks John, what century are you from?

    You are on line; at least you know the power that the mass media has.

    Good for the LDS Church.

    I hated “tracting" way back when: the old days in San Diego circa 1973.

  • Sister Smith
    July 14, 2010 10:52 p.m.

    We all know that the Internet is just an extension of the Devil`s workshop. No good can come from having missionaries "on line" rather than exorting those unsaved souls in person.

  • Lee
    July 15, 2010 12:40 a.m.

    To the public, LDS missionaries have a reputation for being annoying. When the church stops “exhorting unsaved souls in person,” it will be more appreciated by the public.
    Providing information on the internet will give missionaries better respect. Take them off the sidewalk, and honor the peace and privacy of people’s homes.

  • donburi
    July 15, 2010 12:44 a.m.

    Awesome idea. It was only a matter of time. It will take awhile to work out the bugs and figure out the most effective way to do it, but eventually I think it will become an important proselyting tool. Obviously it won't replace face-to-face meeting, but it will be an important supplement.

    I know firsthand about the posters on lamp posts that davewhittle referred to. But it didn't stop us from going out to meet the wonderful people of Japan. In the same way, the dangers on the internet shouldn't prevent mission activity or the church from taking advantage of the huge benefits of social networking.

    Those of you who think it's a bad idea, I assume that you don't have cell phones, still use a horse and buggy, and have an outhouse in your backyard. Why are you online?

  • Devin
    July 15, 2010 1:02 a.m.

    Okay lets stop waisting our time with john chastity spring, everyone already knows his comment is bogus. But to Lee- im guessing you either aren't lds or you never served a mission if you are. don't speak about things that you don't understand from both sides. as a former missionary I spent a lot of time tracting and a lot of good came from it. the problem is lazy missionaries not having a good attitude about it- and cheating themselves of many rewarding experiences and miracles everyday. I don't think I annoyed the people that I first contacted by knocking on their door by watching them change their lives 100% around by coming to Christ and being happier than they ever had been before. And sister smith-sounds like you've had a bad experience or 2 with the internet but it has the capability of tremendous good. you think they would have even started testing this if it hadn't proved somewhat successful? no they wouldn't. be careful about your wording-it's not a wonder why those "unsaved souls" hate mormons so much when members say things like that.

  • Levi
    July 15, 2010 4:29 a.m.

    I think this is wonderful news!

    (but not for the reasons you might think so)

  • ProvoLow
    July 15, 2010 6:26 a.m.

    Interesting idea, but I'm on the fence too as to whether or not it will be effective in the long run. Similar to what "L" said above at 8:00pm, I am just not sure how well the intrinsic quasi-anonymity of the Internet will mix with the personal, spiritual connection necessary for good missionary work.

    I wonder about the story cited in the article where the lady didn't feel comfortable asking the live missionaries a question, so asked the virtual ones instead. This is not necessarily positive. What will she do later when she's uncomfortable with someone in her ward... go home and attend virtual church instead? Virtual relationships like facebook are great sometimes, but they are not an adequate substitute for in-person meetings.

    Some random person you encounter on facebook may be an earnest spiritual seeker, but it's really hard to tell when you're not speaking face-to-face. They could just as easily be deceptive or even malevolent.

    Like I said, I'm on the fence here... watching this experiment to see where it goes.

  • Larry Lawton
    July 15, 2010 7:30 a.m.

    'Way back in the dark ages -- actually the early 1960s -- tracting was useful, because housewives were at home. We could visit at the door, and make an appointment when hubby was home.

    No, I'd sure welcome a little help defending my faith online! he silliness that's out there!

  • sixpacktr
    July 15, 2010 8:04 a.m.

    I live in the boundaries of the Rochester Mission, and have already 'friended' the two Sister Missionaries serving in our ward. I think it will not replace door to door and member referrals, but is simply another tool to be used to reach those that might not otherwise be reached. And the blogs they have written are wonderful, full of the Spirit, and will touch some. These Sisters spend time tracting, teaching, etc., so they aren't on the web all day every day.

    The Church continues to try to reach all of our Heavenly Father's children, by whatever means are available. Think of the billions in the world that still do not have an opportunity for visits from FT missionaries. This will reap rewards.

  • Esquire
    July 15, 2010 8:07 a.m.

    This is really fascinating. Those afraid of the Internet should realize that it has been the greatest tool in the dissemination of information in the history of mankind. Yes, bad things are shared, but so are tons of good things, and intelligence is part of the power of God.

  • ScreenAge
    July 15, 2010 8:13 a.m.

    Actually, missionary work has been done online for decades, just by member missionaries instead of full time missionaries. I personally have hundreds of stories.

    The first happened well before Al Gore "invented" the Internet. In 1992, I was communicating with people in online forums hosted by the University of Alaska. One friend wanted to meet in person to discuss my philosophy and views. We had him to dinner and weeks later he was baptized. Of course today we are Facebook friends.

    With proper precautions and supervision, this could be a very positive thing.

    I don't doubt that there will be sad stories with this method of proselyting, but then again, there are tons of sad stories with conventional missionary work as well.

    Do your best, learn, improve and do your best again.

    This is a positive thing.

    Hopefully those overseeing it are very tech savvy, and cyber culturally aware.

  • E. Klinche
    July 15, 2010 8:45 a.m.

    Christ's commision was to go to all the world. All the extremes of the earth, as stated in the New Testament and Book of Mormon, and the Doctrine and Covenants.

    21st century life is a combination of real face contact and online time. Missionary blogs are a tremendous untapped resource; I recommend them to everyone.

    Tracting has its place as a source of finding converts, as my parents were in the 1960s, and as I found in the 1990s as an LDS missionary, but all eggs in one basket is a dangerous thing in whatever mode.

    For each hour online, an Elder or Sister should do an hour of service in the community. How does that sound as a winning formula for proselityzing the masses?

    All methods of finding people are good; the most effective means are through friends and neighbors. Be nice.

    May we all have the spirit of Christ and come unto Him through the covenants and ordinances of His Church.

    Invite a friend to meet the missionaries; go to a church activity/meeting.

    Share the gospel the way Jesus would like you to. For me, that might be volunteer service.

    The disabled? This may be ideal.

  • Idaho Coug
    July 15, 2010 9:22 a.m.

    Great idea. The Church has been proactive and flexible in trying to find the best ways to reach potential investigators. To NOT explore online methods would be foolish.

    One issue to consider is that investigators on the web may have a bit more information about difficult LDS history/doctrinal questions than the random person missionaries meet on the street or tract. If the missionary has no clue how to respond or simply dismisses certain concerns it may have a negative effect on certain investigators. My point is that the Church will hopefully put some thought into which missionaries are suitable for online conversations.

    And I am continually entertained by people like John who see Satan around every corner.

  • PAC
    July 15, 2010 9:45 a.m.

    If that is what the Lord wants I am all for it, but what about face to face contact?

  • Keith43
    July 15, 2010 9:54 a.m.

    Sister Smith,

    The internet is "an extension of the devil's workshop"; and, "no good can come from having missionaries on-line"? Didn't you come on-line to make your comments? In our present time, the Church depends upon the internet for just about every form of communication there is in the Church. Yes, the adversary does use every resource at his disposal, to spread his evil. I second Devin's counsel to you - "be careful about your wording". Ours is to bring souls unto Christ, not alienate them.

    In our missionary efforts, we are seeking the "honest in heart". Often times when missionaries are tracting, their appearance on the doorstep is more of an inconvenience for the person than anything else. This new medium of introducing the Church through the internet, will mitigate that problem and open many doors to the "honest in heart", that otherwise would not have occurred.

  • don
    July 15, 2010 9:59 a.m.

    Truth: The truth, Jesus answered, "I am the way the truth and the life,No one comes to the Father except through me(John 14:6). I hope you understand What Jesus is saying here? "But even if we or an angels from heaven should preach another gospel other than the one we preached to you,let him be eternally condemned. (Galatians 1:8)

  • MapleDon
    July 15, 2010 10:09 a.m.

    My son recently served at the MTC's resource center following brain surgery (he was sent home from his mission for the surgery and he's serving locally during recovery). He loved it. Several baptisms came out of the work he helped with.

    This is where people who have an interest in the Church, or just want a question answered, can go without a formal in-house meeting.

    Investigators who follow through with further discussions, or want a copy of the Book of Mormon, eventually meet full-time missionaries in their area and receive fellowship from members.

    I believe it's a great program.

  • DJC63
    July 15, 2010 11:15 a.m.

    I currently live in the Ward in Rochester, NY where the Elders are piloting this program. I am just as cautiously optimistic as anyone. I realize the dangers of putting internet social tools in the hands of young men, but there certainly are significant advantages as well. It seems that online methods are really helping with connecting with members, recent converts, and the younger generation. I'm glad to see the Church embracing the tools available to reach these demographics. No one missionary tool is going to reach everyone. I applaud the Church for its diversity of methods. From what I can tell, and I speak with the Elders multiple times per week, the program is going well considering the short time it has had to develop so far.

  • Big_Ben
    July 15, 2010 11:47 a.m.

    @Charles

    I am sure they are shaking in their boots.

  • Y Grad / Y Dad
    July 15, 2010 11:49 a.m.

    This is reaching a segment of the world in their "language." Yes, the missionaries have to be strong, but they have always had to be strong.

    Yes, someone could string them along on the internet, but I had people try to string us along as well.

    I spent half my mission trying to earn the Lord's blessings by working harder - banging my head faster, longer and harder on the brick wall. We DID find a few people by tracting.

    The last half we tried to work smarter. I had a companion who coached the local university's fledgling baseball team - and found young people to teach.

    Will this prove smarter still? It will be interesting to see. But I know that my genealogy done online isn't evil. Maybe this will prove to be a blessing as well

  • Stalwart Sentinel
    July 15, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    John Charity Spring: Jumps online to comment in an interactive forum to warn of the dangers of communicating online... I love it.

  • John Charity Spring
    July 15, 2010 12:13 p.m.

    There is a huge difference between the internet itself and specific sites such as Facebook. Failure to recognize this fact is like failing to recognize the difference between a grocery store and the harmful cigarettes held for sale in that store. It should be a distinction so obvious that it goes without saying.

    For those who fool themselves into thinking that Facebook has no potential for danger, you should view the information on websites for facebookcheaters and other similar sites. The sites contain proof positive that Facebook has led to numerous divorces and illicit relationships. No reasonable person would want to expose impressionable you minds to this harmful material.

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 12:22 p.m.

    You grumpy old men need to wake up.

    I'm surprised they aren't using texting...yet.


    1. Think about it, you're on-line right now.

    2. I'll bet you're dead-set against on-line Geneology too.

    Good grief.....

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 12:25 p.m.

    I can see where this is going.....

    If this works, and proves productive,
    and if EVERY member is a Missionary
    coupled with On-line access to anywhere in the WORLD...

    WOWZERS!!!

    Call me Progressive,
    but the idea of 13 Million Missionaries spreading the Gospel at the speed of light!!!

    I'm excited.

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 12:28 p.m.

    Sister Smith | 10:52 p.m. July 14, 2010
    We all know that the Internet is just an extension of the Devil`s workshop.

    ============

    Wow,
    Guess General Conference on-line is evil too Sister Smith?
    (Good grief?)

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    Sad to see the All-or-Nothing thinking contined on this board as well.

    It's just another tool for a Missionary to use.

    I seriously doubt Face-to-Face will ever stop.

    Tracting,
    Phone contacts,
    Service,
    Street contacts,
    Pass along cards,
    TV ads,
    Free Book of Mormons,
    Free DVDs,

    I tire of those who will never change...
    [I call that damnation]

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 12:50 p.m.

    John Charity Spring | 12:13 p.m.

    John, answer honestly -- you never even seen or been on FaceBook before -- have you.....

  • Bert
    July 15, 2010 12:54 p.m.

    WOW, what happened to the "led by inspiration" belief? Do you really think HF would allow our leaders to lead us astray if it wasn't what He wanted?

  • A Wise Guy
    July 15, 2010 1:30 p.m.

    Short geography lesson. Rochester is in "western New York", not "update New York". As you can see on a map, there is part of New York that goes straight north which is "upstate" Then there is a chunk of the state that juts out to the West. This is "western New York". Rochester is clearly in the western section.

  • j41005
    July 15, 2010 1:38 p.m.

    Jesus would be rolling over in His tomb, if He were still in it! Missionary work done online is not missionary work! Jesus went "door to door" and He certainly made people uncomfortable. I don't think he'd be sitting behind a desk typing out Bible verses in an attempt to "win souls." He'd be "in-your-face", telling it like it is, explaining the Father's will to mankind. He'd be sharing, caring and healing. He'd be eating a meal, laughing and crying with the sinner. That's how you win someone to the Lord. It's a sad day when we hide behind our keyboard and call it doing God's will. How is one to know who really is typing away at the computer? How do we really now who posts on Facebook or any other immoral site? If the LDS were really inspired by God why would He want them to use a site that has so much filth and perversion on it? I don't even want my kids using it and I certainly won't.

  • cmtam
    July 15, 2010 2:09 p.m.

    LDS liberal: Are you truly a LDS Liberal,I have never met a real LDS Liberal, They always cling to something in the Mormon religion or doctrine...pre-existence,you can't trust the Bible,...etc.. I left the Mormon Church and told my family I am leaving the church,because I became a Christian,that was liberating. The ironic thing is they thought I joined a cult. I'm a member of the LCMS.

  • Arizona Reader
    July 15, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    Come on people, these comments are getting out of hand. If this helps people to come unto Christ then so be it. If they (the Missionary Department) feel that it isn't effective for missionaries, then this pilot program will be finished.

    Also, there seem to be comments about not being face to face. These missionaries are just striking up referrals and contacts, they won't be teaching the lessons online. They will then set up lessons for other missionaries to go and visit.

    Let's be honest though. The best way for the gospel to be spread is the simple everyday things that you and I do. We who are members ought to be the ones to help move it forward. The missionaries should be teachers, not finders...that is our job.

  • Big_Ben
    July 15, 2010 2:17 p.m.

    @j41005

    you are a whiner who clearly does not understand this article in the slightest.

  • Stalwart Sentinel
    July 15, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    John Charity Spring - I don't think anyone is contesting the distinction you are making (internet generally vs websites specifically). My point, following your grocery store analogy, is that you are buying cigarettes (commenting on this forum) while simultaneously telling others that if they buy a different brand of cigarette, then they are foolish. It's tragically ironic, that's all; especially given all the choking we suffer from your second-hand smoke day after day.

    Back to the issue, my only concern is authenticity. I am sure the Church is considering this, but it seems others will be able to easily pattern themselves to be an LDS missionary and then tweak or falsify our teachings.

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 2:33 p.m.

    John Charity Spring | 12:13 p.m.

    John, answer honestly -- you never even seen or been on FaceBook before -- have you.....

  • alastair
    July 15, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    I believe we have a Prophet.

    Christ directs His church through the Prophet, and this is something the church is trying.

    I don't believe that all of this came about without a lot of praying first.

    I believe God trusts His missionaries.

    And I think we should all stop moaning about it.

    And if you don't like it, give the missionaries referrals yourselves and then they wont have to tract and go on the internet anyways.

  • hello people
    July 15, 2010 3:37 p.m.

    I would like the idea of having church online as well haha.

  • hello people
    July 15, 2010 3:45 p.m.

    I dont think this is a good idea.

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    cmtam | 2:09 p.m. July 15, 2010
    LDS liberal: Are you truly a LDS Liberal,I have never met a real LDS Liberal, They always cling to something in the Mormon religion or doctrine...pre-existence,you can't trust the Bible,...etc.. I left the Mormon Church and told my family I am leaving the church,because I became a Christian,that was liberating. The ironic thing is they thought I joined a cult. I'm a member of the LCMS.
    ===============

    Um, yes - liberal by Utah mormon standards.
    Most of the rest of the world would consider me Moderate, center-left.

    I'm sorry to hear you have left the church (for now), but I can understand.

    Sometimes, when someone doubts or questions "Mormonism" - rather than clarifying the question, those with no answers will question your testimony, or sincerity, etc.... and actually drive people away.

    I hope this was not the case with your family. I think their intentions were good, delivery could've been better.

    Good luck with finding your answers.
    We're always here for you Bro!!!
    You know where we are.

    Don't be a stanger,
    Hope to hear from you again.

    Chow!

  • John Charity Spring
    July 15, 2010 4:30 p.m.

    Stalwart has still failed to grasp the issue here. The internet certainly contains a few worthwhile sites, such as this forum. However, certain sites, such as Facebook, are far too dangerous and subversive to be played with. I do not touch cigarettes because they cannot be used safely in any quantity. For the same reason, I avoid Facebook and other social networking sites like the plague.

  • Joggle
    July 15, 2010 5:14 p.m.

    @John Charity Spring

    Based on my observation of your postings I have come to the conclusion that you condemn things you've never tried or investigated. Judging something as bad without knowing much about it makes your opinion less than worthless!

  • Joggle
    July 15, 2010 5:21 p.m.

    I would rather see missionary work go online because perhaps then....they'll find people who are actually seeking information about the Church rather than bothering people at their homes who aren't seeking the information and only see their approach as an unwelcome intrusion.

  • JediMormon
    July 15, 2010 5:35 p.m.

    "Facebook should be avoided at all costs by everyone who seeks to live a chaste life."
    I strongly disagree. Facebook is what you make it to be. All of my friends and family are on facebook. We find it a convenient way to keep in touch.

  • Stalwart Sentinel
    July 15, 2010 6:36 p.m.

    John Charity Spring - This gets better and better. You state "I do not touch cigarettes because they cannot be used safely in any quantity. For the same reason, I avoid Facebook and other social networking sites like the plague." In other words, you believe facebook cannot be used safely in any quantity, correct?

    1) The tobacco in cigarettes can be used for medicinal purposes ie Word of Wisdom.

    2) The Church obviously disagrees w/ you that Facebook cannot be used safely in any quantity. Please read... this article.

    Again, I expect that the irony escapes you.

  • cmtam
    July 15, 2010 6:44 p.m.

    LDS Liberal; "Sometimes, when someone doubts or questions "Mormonism" - rather than clarifying the question, those with no answers will question your testimony, or sincerity, etc.... and actually drive people away."Have you every heard of Amazing Grace, if so have you really read the words?
    "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me",or God saved me from the wrath of God. "The hour I first beleived" I was reading the Bible,when I was 'born again'. The Mormon church have their answers ,but they have the wrong question.

  • Dana
    July 15, 2010 7:03 p.m.

    J41005,

    Jesus did not go door-to-door, he went from town to town, and the people came to Him. He was not “in-your-face,” he was serene and peaceful. He did not “make people uncomfortable.”

    Your aggressive way of missionizing is what gives it a bad name. I agree with the church that moving missionary work online is the way to go.

  • John Charity Spring
    July 15, 2010 7:27 p.m.

    By the logic of Joggle, one can not reasonably be opposed to murder unless one has murdered or been murdered. In addition, one can not be opposed to drug addiction unless one has become addicted to heroin, cocaine, or methamphetamine. This is ridiculous logic. One can, and should, learn from the stupid mistakes of others without repeating those same mistakes oneself.

  • Elder Dave
    July 15, 2010 7:28 p.m.

    I posted here last evening, but the comments didn't make it to "posting". I'll try again.

    Are we moving in the direction of "Cyber Church" members?

    Elder David Bednar of the Quorum of the 12 in a fairly recent Fireside Address to the Younger members of the Church ADDRESSED the idea that too much internet time is Not a good idea. And he gave reasons.

    A number of people are concerned about the
    over-use of computers takes precious time away from the development of Normal "face to face" human communications Development. People many times behind the Keyboard & Monitor become "non-real" exaggerations of this. Country singer Brad Paisley a few years back did a song that was a Parody of this very phenomenia.

    Using "modern technology" for missionary work may have some use, but it will never replace That "face to face" bearing of testimony and Challenging to Prayer to learn the truth.

    It would be interesting to know what Elder Bednar
    thinks of this new idea.

    I doubt the all the 53,000+ missionaries will just sit behind a computer screen for the majority of the time to be missionaries.

  • the truth
    July 15, 2010 7:36 p.m.

    RE: cmtam | 6:44 p.m

    HOw do YOU know what the right and wrong questions are?

    Are there question you do not like, because you do not really want know the answer?



    Everyone is using he internet to some extent, even the LDS Church,

    as long as it is used for good, used wisely,

    as long as it doesn't lead to the spirit of contention,

    all is well.

  • LDS Liberal
    July 15, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    cmtam | 6:44 p.m.
    The Mormon church have their answers ,but they have the wrong question.

    =========

    Hey, cmtam -- just sitting here thinking about what you said, and your post makes me curious....

    So, What IS the right question?

  • Yomama1621
    July 15, 2010 8:14 p.m.

    I am a mom of one of the “Test Missionaries.” This is what he had to say about the article and comments.
    "So I just read that article. And I’m a bit shocked. I would say as one of those “Test Missionaries” that it's not accurate in some parts. If you were to follow ME around with a camera for a few days you would see that we STILL walk about the town all dressed up and we STILL knock doors even in the hot and muggy weather. We are not nerdy cyber missionaries that sit online all day. Here is the deal. Internet proselyting does not trump prime proselyting hours. That is the way it was set up from the beginning. We only use the Internet to proselyte during hours when people are out at work, or not usually home. And our time is very limited. Anyway, its a privilege to be able to do this and I too hope it spreads, because it has helped in the work here IMMENSLY!"


  • Yomama1621
    July 15, 2010 8:18 p.m.

    His investigators can add their friend to him. He can join groups in the town or business and that he can serve or help to soften hearts. He has access to all that is on line where otherwise he can’t. He can find a talk or video that will fit the needs of his investigators. We can help him in way we would never be able to before. Like encourage his investigators to go to church or read and pray. We can answer questions and encourage them in any way we can by building trust. But the bottom line is something that Elder Cook said in his letter home. Elder D. Todd Christofferson came to their mission in the early stages of this test to give training to the Elders. At the close of his testimony he said, “Christ actively leads and guides this church… He personally runs the church." So there you have it. It is hard for these missionaries to add to their workload but they are up to it and excited and we need to pray and support them in this work to push it forward.
    Hurrah for Israel!!

  • Lee
    July 15, 2010 8:25 p.m.

    The best way to gain converts is to be an example to others. Instead of having young people waste two years of their lives selling religion and making few sales, they should show themselves as examples of following Christ by good deeds and charity.

    I agree with others above that service to communities would attract investigators. Old-style proselytizing is wasteful of time and effort, and not good for public relations. Show people by your actions, don’t just tell.

  • Idaho Coug
    July 15, 2010 8:38 p.m.

    Re: John Charity Springs -

    I kinda made fun of John earlier. But I found some articles talking about how common infidelity has been through Facebook (according to divorce attorneys). It kinda surprised me as I have only seen it and used it as a fun way to catch up with old friends, relatives and classmates.

    So John is correct that Facebook has been used for immoral purposes. But other posters are also correct in that the internet and Facebook can also be used for very good purposes. I suppose it is like pretty much anything else in life. We need to use common sense and moderation.

  • Kitenoa
    July 15, 2010 10:48 p.m.

    Connecting through the internet is another wonderful tool for missionary work.

    I trust the missionaries of the LDS Church will continue to preach the Gospel with the confirmation of the Holy Ghost.

    They will be successful in their righteous endevours!

  • Joggle
    July 15, 2010 11:08 p.m.

    @John Charity Springer

    Let me clarify....things like murder and drug addiction are obviously harmful, but there are many other things that people condemn as harmful when in reality they aren't. If you've never had any experience concerning those things or learned as much as you can about them....you don't know. One can, and should, learn as much as possible about the subject before they judge something as harmful. Otherwise, you are condemning it without having enough information to really make a fair judgement. Your doom and gloom attitude reflects that!

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 15, 2010 11:24 p.m.

    I am not sure this is neccesarily more effective than going door to door and knocking. Contacting people in person has usefulness.

    On the other hand it is always worth trying new approaches.

    To cmtam,
    To claim that LDS teaching is that "you can't trust the Bible" is not justifiable. Many LDS leaders, including LeGrand Richards, would claim we hold closer to the Bible than most other Christian denominations. The issue often boils down to understanding the meaning of specific scripture passages.

    I would say some Latter-day Saints are too quick to attribute to mis-translation what is really the result of misapplying the Engish language when reading a certain passage. Enough words in English have multiple meanings, that some understandings of specific passages are the result of forcing a meaning on the passage that is not justified by the text.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 15, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    L,
    You have a good point about false leads. Of course, people can give you false addresses if you streetcontact them, and many like things. Still, with there being a number of people on facebook using false names and other made up information, it may have a higher tendency for leading to wasted time.

    I guess I always will think that face to face contacting is more useful. Still, with a large number of people residing in gated communities and the like, there are many who tacting will not reach.

    Still, I would say member referals, and each of us reaching out to our friends and seeking to help them experience the joys of the gospel we have is the best way.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 15, 2010 11:38 p.m.

    Devin,
    I am not convinced Sister Smith is a Latter-day Saint. She never even claimed such, and if she had it would not prove anything.

    It is slightly easier to lie on the internet than elsewhere. Of course, seeing people in person does not prevent it. I knew of a case where someone was baptized using a false name, false birth date, false birth place, made up a story about their mother kicking them out of the house for it and there were probably other lies as well. So being misleading and deceptive is not limited to the internet.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 15, 2010 11:52 p.m.

    Mr. Spring,
    Just because there have been multiple incidents of marital infidelity facilitated through facebook does not mean that everyone who goes on facebook will fall into marital infidelity.

    There are some specifics that need to be worked out in the system, and how widely useful it will be I do not know, but it is worth working with.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 15, 2010 11:57 p.m.

    Bert,
    If we assume every program we ever do is totally by inspiration, than why do we do pilot programs?

    God clearly allows us to make mistakes. He allows us, inperfect humans, to figure out ways to spread his gospel, and sometimes we use less than effective means, get things wrong, offend people and on and on.

    So I think it is altogether possible that this pilot program is ill-concieved. That is why they did not implement it world wide all at once.

    That said, I think there is potential here, although I am not sure how widespread it could really become.

    My experience with on-line help lines is they often degenerate into people sounding off complaints against the system, and there are often not enough staff to respond to posted gripes.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 16, 2010 12:04 a.m.

    j41005,
    Why did I think that Jesus went into synagogues, spoke to crowds from the mount, and spoke with people in crowds on the street? I do not recall any passage that mentions he knocked on a door anywhere.

    It was not until the 1960s that formal programs to train missionaries in foriegn languages were introduced.

    Reading my grandfathers missionary journal I realize there were all sorts of different rules.

    Today missionaries have to have a clear method of paying for their mission at the time of their call. In the mid-19th Century they went without purse or scrip.

    In the 19th Century most missionaries were married men sent away from their family. No single sister was called as a missionary until 1898.

    Technically what we refered to as tracting in my mission was not. Historically tracting meant you handed out a short tract, had the people read it, and then came back. We would set up return appointments or even teach a abbreviated first discussion and give them a Book of Mormon on the door step.

    When my father was a missionary they sold copies of the Book of Mormon.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 16, 2010 12:11 a.m.

    Dana,
    Jesus' driving the money changers from the temple did not make people comfortable. It was not about serenity. Nor was his calling the Pharisees "whited sepulchres" and the like.

    Your assesment of Jesus seems to be too second hand, or at least not thought out enough.

    Still, I have to agree that our evidence for him going door to door handing out printed tracts, or even copies of the New Testament is absolutly nill. I do not think he even handed out printed copies of Isaiah. (yes, I know he was bout 1500 years too soon for printing).

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 16, 2010 12:14 a.m.

    Based on a comment before I guess missionaries should not show videos, move by means other than walking, wear feet coverings other than sandals, and definantly not call people up on the phone to confirm appointments, because Jesus never did any of these. OK, the sandals one is a bit unclear, and I guess we can allow them to ride donkeys and sail in boats, but bicles, let alone cars, trains, buses, subways and airplanes, are clearly out of the question.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan
    July 16, 2010 12:20 a.m.

    Yomama1621,
    Thankyou for your comment. I feel a lot better about the program knowing that.

    There were areas on my mission where few people would answer the doors in the morning. I think my companion who complained about it was a little too negative, because we still had more answered doors and more conversations than many missionaries get anywhere in their missions. So this could be a good use of some time. If you are on for a short time, answer key questions and such it feels like you have done some good, which is more than you feel after knowking 20 doors with no answers.

  • financenco
    July 16, 2010 7:06 a.m.

    All the internet is, is another tool to use for those interested in the church. It doesn't replace any of the other ones. Just like everyone else is doing to get their message out. That includes all churches, businesses, schools, etc. Like any tool, it can be used for good, or bad. It is just that the church uses internet for good, rather then for the bad things that come out of it. That should be appreciated for it. Obviously you can't readily believe what goes on in the internet, I mean just read some of those anti-comments, that is a good example. I mean you have people on here who say they are or were LDS, but probably aren't. You probably have people who are LDS, but posing as non-members. No one knows, but the good thing about it is, if the person is really, sincerely wanting to know what we are all about, they will ask, and the church will send someone to talk to them. They will either find an authentic person, or a fraud.

  • cmtam
    July 16, 2010 8:45 a.m.

    John Pack Lambert of Michigan. "Many LDS leaders, including LeGrand Richards, would claim we hold closer to the Bible than most other Christian denominations. The issue often boils down to understanding the meaning of specific scripture passages."
    Wrong, Norman L Geisler,"There are some 5,700 N.T manusripts[over 500 M.S. since the KJV have been found] and they contain all or nearly all of the original text with over 99% accuracy. There is a distinction between the text and the truth of the text. While we can reconstruct 99% of the orignal text, 100 % of the truth comes through.
    It is a fact that the Bible has been copied accurately-so much so that we can be assured that nothing in the essential message is missing. Some Mormon scholars know this. One of the main reasons the LDS does not have a modern translations. Very few Mormons are aware of the science of N.T. lower criticism. I wasn't.

  • jkcook
    July 16, 2010 9:57 a.m.

    While you're all discussing the merits of social networking, don't forget many of us do NOT have wonderfully super fast, broadband connections. While I'm here in the States, staying with someone with fast DSL, it's great, but back home, even though I live in technologically advanced Germany, I have a connection of only 448 kbps, making watching conference or the Choir or other broadband-based activities a challenge--hundreds of pauses for buffering. And that's a great connection compared with many in less-developed areas. So I hope they don't give up on tracting and Open Houses and other more traditional methods for those who still aren't able to easily access social media.

  • the truth
    July 16, 2010 7:32 p.m.

    RE: cmtam | 8:45 a.m

    To acertain accuracy you have know what the original text was,

    if all manuscripts copied a bad source, then they all would neccessarily be inaccurate,

    and would be usless for proving accuracy,

    so the claim of finding manuscripts is NOT proof of accuracy,

    ALL manuscripts found seem to have come well after the apostles and Jesus Christ lived,

    while new manuascripts may prove the king james translation,

    so they can tell what was originally said,

    but only affirm the accuracies or inaccuracies of what we already have.

    since manuscripts come atleast hundred years or more after the lifetimes the appostles and Jesus, we know they are not the originals,

    so one can only accuracy of transaltion the manuscritps,

    but NOT to the accuracy of what the apostles may have said or written.

    we can see today how words are twisted and changed of modern day speakers,

    we can only imagine how things could have changed over hundred years or more after the lives of the apostles and Jesus.

  • the truth
    July 16, 2010 7:51 p.m.

    RE: cmtam | 8:45 a.m


    to sum up while we may be able to verify the accuracy of the

    we can NOT verify with any accuracy whether the authors of those manuscripts recorded accurately or whether thier sources were accurate.

    and after a hundred years or more after the recorded events you can be sure it wasn't all accurate.


    we know from basic tesst where a phrase is whipered fomr person to person in a class,
    that it can be radically changed and different by the time it gets to last person in the class.


    so WHO can acertain the information with the manuscripts is accurate?

    hence the need for contemporary communication and revelaton from God, living prophets and apostles,

    and other scripture that can provide second witness.



    While it is wonderful that hcurch find new ways to use internet as tool, and sharing information,


    it will never replace face to face teachng,

    you can never get fully the "spirit" over the internet,

    though the spirit can impress upon you the truthfulness of things you have read.

  • cmtam
    July 16, 2010 9:06 p.m.

    Truth: The best way to check this(The trustworthyness of the Bible)is to check out debates between liberal(agnostic) Greek scholars, Bart Ehrmans,and conservative(Christian) Greek Scholars(lower criticism) Bruce Metzger,Daniel B. Wallace,to name a few. These are world renown Greek scholars. They agree on about 95%+ of the NT document accuracy

  • calidad
    July 17, 2010 4:27 p.m.

    99.9% of door to door is worthless (Chad S)? Thank goodness for the .1%. I was baptized through door-to-door tracting, and am eternally grateful to 2 elders who 'bothered' me at home to tell me about a living prophet. I'm also thankful for online tracting. Communication backed by a loving spirit - in person or on screen - can move people to be better.

  • the truth
    July 17, 2010 6:38 p.m.

    RE: cmtam | 9:06 p.m.

    Clealry you misssed my point.


    IF I create document, a recods of waht I thoughy someone had said,

    and others copy it,

    the copies may prove the I indeed wrote down what I wrote down,

    they CAN NOT verify whether I accurately recorded what I heard.

    so yes I wrote what I wrote, but did hear correctly what thought I heard and did I remembered accurately what thought I remembered,

    is what I recorded accurate?


    YOu can have a witness testify in court, make a written statement,

    and have experts verify the that witness wrote the statement and indeed the witness's words,


    BUT is statement itself accurate? Did the witness get it right?


    Your so called experts can do the former but can NOT verify the those last questions,


    hence the need for modern revelation


    Experts can verify what witnesses THOUGHT Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, et al, said,

    but NOT what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and JOhn, et al, actually said.

  • Kimber
    July 18, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    Good Job cmtam! I have a similar experience except that I do not have, nor want a "replacement" religion. I know that the desire is there when someone "leaves" something and I researched and considered several other churches. But I found that basically, I am someone that doesn't believe in religion in general. I believe in Love One Another and this works for my life as I lift others up. Everything else (in my experience) has caused disagreement and debate which does not promote feelings of love and self worth.
    As far as John Charity Springs comments: You need to get with reality! People frequent and make friends on the internet. Yes, sometimes sad situations happen, but is that really any different than in real life? No, it's not. Get into the 21st century and with the real people and the real situations!

  • don
    July 18, 2010 1:46 p.m.

    Truth: If you are really searching for truth: There are many books on Geek N.T(Bruce Metzger for one) lower criticism a good intro would be the "King James debate",D.A. Carson, a search for truth, then if your serious about studying scripture you can take a intro Biblical Greek class,at least. I took Greek and philosophy at a secular university not a Christian school or BYU. If you haave the trut there should be fear to check it out.

  • cmtam
    July 18, 2010 1:56 p.m.

    Truth: I need to use my spell check. I meant "If you have the truth there should be 'no fear' to check it out". I took Biblical Greek and philsophy classes at a secular(agnostic)University and I'm a Chrisitan.

  • St Gorgeous
    July 18, 2010 6:06 p.m.

    Before I make my comment, I would like to point out the most important part of going on a full time mission is to bring souls unto Christ. But those who are on here whining about tracting and how hard is was, are forgetting the main convert that should come from your mission - YOU!
    Part of gaining a stronger testimony and truly being converted is seeing others lives change through coming to know their Savior and feeling the Spirit maybe for the first time in their lives. You can't really see that behind a computer.
    When you go home after your mission, the funny stories you can share with friends and family about those hard tracting days are priceless. Your testimony is only strengthened after the trial of your faith. I am all for doing more service on a mission and being seen in the community.

  • Brennbee
    July 18, 2010 9:34 p.m.

    I think Jesus was pretty progressive in his time, so why shouldn't we be in ours? Just a thought.

  • PanUzasny
    July 20, 2010 9:03 a.m.

    @John Charity Spring You clearly have faulty logic concerning Facebook. You claim that Facebook has helped cause problems with relationships and I agree with you. However, how many other relationships have had problems because people have developed inappropriate relationships at the workplace or with friends. Do you also suggest that men not work with women because there is potential for inappropriate relationships by associating with them? There are dangers to relationships everywhere you go and in everything you do, but that doesn't mean we shut ourselves in our homes because by going out we are surrounded by increased temptations. Yes, Facebook has its risks for temptation, but so does life. It is ultimately up to ourselves to control our thoughts and actions. I think this is a great idea and I'm interested to see what comes of it.

  • brent d
    July 21, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    I make my living working at home on the Internet. It is a great tool to keep people connected. I am hoping that some of my customers will trust me so I can share the Gospel with them, through the Internet and referrals to missionaries in their areas. To know that social networking is being used as a venue to share the Gospel is very fulfilling for me, as that is what I am going to do. All good inventions and technology CAN and SHOULD be used to share the Gospel. They can be used however people choose, and the adversary uses them, too. I've done tracting, but many are the advantages of using the Internet to connect, as mormon.org is now doing, making friendships between Church members and our friends of other faiths. I heartily endorse the use of the Internet by missionaries, full-time or member missionaries, as I am one of them! I hope the pilot proves successful, and becomes available to all missionaries! Yea!!

  • mp12
    July 26, 2010 3:00 p.m.

    I would like to make just a few comments.

    1. Clearly, by everything that has been shared in the article itself, comments that have been made, and honestly with some common sense, we can all rest assured that missionaries are not discontinuing tracting or face-to-face visits. Using the internet is just one more tool they can use to find those who are prepared so they can meet in person and teach them.

    2. Let me also point out that television is a medium through which a LOT of bad things can enter our homes. However, the church has used television for years and years... and might I add that this has been very effective. In my mission, I would guess that at least 10-20% of the baptisms were a result of someone requesting media (also a modern blessing) by a telephone call in response to a television commercial, or even by logging onto mormon.org.

    3. I would have loved to have this option when I was a missionary. Our church leaders are not stupid -- there are obviously restrictions and precautions taken to make sure this is a safe environment and an effective use of time.

  • mp12
    July 26, 2010 3:12 p.m.

    Ok one more thing. I think the comments about not being able to reach people without internet access are pretty silly. Obviously. Of course our leaders recognize that fact. The General Authorities travel the world. They see the people that don't have computers as well as the ones without running water or shoes. Clearly the missionaries are not going to ignore those people. I think it goes without saying that this is pretty common sense. Probably why the program was piloted in New York instead of Ethiopia.

  • mp12
    July 26, 2010 3:20 p.m.

    Ok one more thing. Obviously our church leaders recognize that the internet doesn't reach everyone in the world. They travel around the world meeting people. They've met people without computers as well as those without running water or shoes. Clearly missionary efforts don't ignore these people. It's all been considered. Probably why the program was piloted in New York and not Ethiopia.

  • mp12
    July 26, 2010 6:22 p.m.

    Ah... My computer froze and didn't post my first post immediately so I tried to re-create it and post again. Sorry! :-)