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Online missionaries? LDS meetinghouse tours? Been there, done that

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  • Daniel Leifker San Francisco, CA
    June 24, 2013 7:24 p.m.

    I remember when LDS missionaries visited my house in the early 1990s. I told them I used something called "the Internet" at work, and they became very curious. They actually went to their bishop and asked for permission for me to "show them the Internet," because they were afraid it was similar to TV, which was off-limits. The bishop said "okay" (I'm sure he was utterly mystified by their request) and the very next week they popped in and I showed them the Internet over a ridiculously slow dial-up modem that paged through unintelligible Usenet newsgroups at a molasses-slow rate. (This was before browsers.) And even back then, the first thing one missionary said was, "I wonder how the Church could use this thing."

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 24, 2013 7:47 p.m.

    This, in my opinion, is going to cause more problems than it solves. I don't think it will be as effective as knocking. Will we be raising a new group of members......couch missionaries?

    I hope I am wrong. Just concerned.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    June 24, 2013 11:57 p.m.

    Elder Perry was quoting Joseph Smith when he said "the greatest and most important duty is to preach the gospel". Preach My Gospel page 12 has the full quote.

    I'm excited to see how the missionaries use these tools. I know I heard people in Paraguay say "your church is so beautiful, but it is always closed. When is it open?"

    I loved the thought of here they come instead of there they go. We need to be a part of the work not just send missionaries off and expect them to do it. It was a great training.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    June 25, 2013 4:51 a.m.

    What a lousy headline. The headline is negative and flippant and does not portray the true content of the story.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    June 25, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    Effective as knocking?

    Do you think "knocking" is effective? What a complete waste of time. There are missions out there that average 1/2 a baptism in 2 years because "knocking" is so lame and ineffective.

    People are too paranoid to let someone in their house. They also are too concerned what their neighbors will think of them if they let the Mormons in.

    Networking will be 1,000 times more effective.

    We have been doing missionary work with both arms tied behind our back. We are "knocking" by banging our head against the door. Totally ineffective and has been for decades.

    These kids are going to run circles around "knocking". They know how to network better than all the old timers. I think it is should be limited to 1 hour a day either. What are we scared of? Missionaries becoming couch potatoes? It's not going to happen.

    I can't wait to see what they can do. This is going to be awesome!

  • DonP Sainte Genevieve, MO
    June 25, 2013 7:18 a.m.

    The church always tests a new program months or even a few years before it's rolled out to the entire church. I can remember when the three-hour block was being tested in several stakes before it was formally adopted. It just makes sense to work out the specific details before adopting churchwide.

  • EPJ Grantsville, UT
    June 25, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Read Moses 7:62 in the Pearl of Great Price. In part it reads that in the latter days, "righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten. . . and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood."

    Today's faithful youth is the "righteousness", the Book of Mormon, and the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is the "truth", and the internet is the "flood", (or in todays jargon, "going viral"). This is fulfillment of prophecy!

  • JWB Kaysville, UT
    June 25, 2013 8:20 a.m.

    Cada quien con su gusto or each person has their own way of being touched by the Spirit. There are so many tools and this is a great concept that has a benefit for some in some locations. However, the Lord gave us agency and part of that is choice. Some are interested in using various tools, some direct and other less direct in knowing about something.

    In today's marketing, when advertisers and businesses make it look so enticing to go on a vacation, try cigarettes, wine cooler, whiskey in various types and forms even appearing to be non-substance abuse forms, it is amazing how some get linked into those drugs.

    People on the street and at school lure your children and grandchildren into activities that rip their lives from real freedoms they used to have. Now you don't know where they are or what they are doing.

    Losing a child, "Been there, done that!" I don't ever want to go through that again.

    Having a chance to do and learn good things is what anyone wants in life. This is an opportunity for people to learn from missionaries who know living truth.

  • John20000 Cedar Hills, UT
    June 25, 2013 8:26 a.m.

    The internet has no borders. The gospel will be preached everywhere.

  • arand Huntsville, u
    June 25, 2013 9:25 a.m.

    Hopefully, they will be using their IPads and computers for teaching and not playing Angry Bird. The temptation will be great.

  • XelaDave Salem, UT
    June 25, 2013 9:54 a.m.

    LDS missionary efforts have almost always been time and place based- the use of social media has the chance to make that very different if we are going to have missionaries working with people outside of their "assigned area"- in other words back home, in past areas, outside boundaries, etc.- the pay offs seem high but so do the inherent problems associated with such a change- it will call for a different type of mission president as well it would seem- should be fun to watch and see it evolve much like so many areas of life have done with such a connected world.

  • 9MM Murray, UT
    June 25, 2013 10:17 a.m.

    One will have the strength of ten.
    These missionaries will have ten times the power, maybe even a hundred times the power to preach the Gospel. I could only have dreamed to be so enabled in preaching the Gospel.

  • Wacoan Waco, TX
    June 25, 2013 10:21 a.m.

    I love the comments. Will missionaries become couch potatoes (pew potatoes)? And there are other temptations. As DonP notes, the programs are tested first. The Church has a good idea of the impact on missionaries and missionary work. Red is a little more negative about going door-to-door ""knocking" by banging our head against the door" and a little more enthusiastic about the new tools than I am. He thinks it will be 1,000 more effective; I am in the 10 to 20 range, but even that takes 1/2 baptisms per two years to 5 to 10. It should allow for more effective socialization as investigators and new members will be friends with established neighbors. The changes are exciting.

  • fliebynight Billings, MT
    June 25, 2013 10:22 a.m.

    I live in Billings Montana and as stated in the article the missionaries have been online here for a few years. It's very effective. They still knock on doors and do the other things that we all did but they are able to have an impact literally worldwide. Good examples in the article of how it has been effective. Will there be shortcomings? Of course, always are. Doesn't mean we don't do something because of the downside. Focus on the positive, aka faith.

  • boyz2many Vienna, VA
    June 25, 2013 10:23 a.m.

    My son was in the Canada Vancouver Mission (2010-2012) They were a test mission. He set up a facebook account for his area and used it to contact members/non-members. They used it to advertize young single adult activities that non-members/inactive members began coming to more frequently. It was a great tool for them. He had no problems staying away from farmville. I think some of us under estimate this generation of LDS youth.

  • bdckpakccd Plano, TX
    June 25, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    People in this time turn to the Internet when they are "searching". It only makes sense to be easily "found". In the city where I live, almost no one is home during the day time, and our missionaries are often found begging for service opportunities as a way to fill their day time hours. This will open many opportunities for them.

    I have a son currently serving a full-time mission and his correspondence with his high school friends has been a very powerful influence for good. I'm delighted with the opportunities electronic communication gives us to share the gospel!

  • Johnny Triumph American Fork, UT
    June 25, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    The great stone is rolling faster and faster and will not be stopped!

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    June 25, 2013 11:20 a.m.

    I admit, this announcement kind of confused me, because the missionaries who taught me when I was investigating the Church and right after I got baptized used Facebook to teach and stay in contact with me and I thought nothing of it. And now the Internet is the primary means by which I do missionary work. So, LOL! One step ahead of you, brethren. ;)

  • Thidder MAPLETON, UT
    June 25, 2013 12:32 p.m.

    Being effective depends on the missionary and work effort. I baptized over 70 people, (the mission average was 14 in two years) all but 4 came from long hours of tracting. Give me a good companion, good shoes, and good maps and I will out produce an ipad, no question about it.

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 25, 2013 2:40 p.m.

    Thinking back on my mission, it might have been better if we had done tours of the chapel. I have to wonder if some people would have been better off having been to the chapel before Church started. There was of course the baptism I was at that did not happen because the person got lost on their way their, but since it was at a chapel other than where their ward met, this might not have helped.

    On another site someone said they had security concerns about the sister missionaries in their ward giving a tour to possibly sketchy people at the chapel. However that seems odd, since going door to door, you are open to more direct attacks by sketchy people.

    I know when I was in Ann Arbor we would occasionally have people just show up at the Institute building

  • John Pack Lambert of Michigan Ypsilanti, MI
    June 25, 2013 3:04 p.m.

    One factor is that many people live in gated communities or other areas that are literally off limits to tracting. We have to find ways to reach out to people in such situations.

  • bob j Maryborough, 00
    June 25, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    KNOCK NOCK. "WHO'S THERE" ? "THE LORD JESUS CHRIST".

    There are many kinds of doors at which a knock can be made and it may take time before the right one is opened, but THAT DOOR will be the one which our good Lord has told us that He will open.

    Bob J.

  • portlander Arlington, WA
    June 25, 2013 7:11 p.m.

    Wished I had these tools in the Lansing Michigan mission 1980 & '81. Great experiences, wouldn't have traded it for the world...And don't think that Satan didn't try either. I got offers there that were unreal, but I stuck it out to the end. And I am so grateful that I did too!

    However, the average in baptisms per missionary per year was exactly one! I was a part of 8, so that means the 2 years that I served, 3 missionaries went home without any baptisms. After all these years, it still makes my old heart ache for them.

  • Gemini Australia, 00
    June 26, 2013 10:07 a.m.

    Innovation & technology are all great tools to help the "work" along. These new missionaries at 18 are young and some have had addictions with media/porn, etc. before they came on their missions. I know firsthand of someone who would have really taken advantage of this medium for his personal addiction and not the Lord's work. Mainly because it was available and he couldn't restrict himself. I just hope that there will be clear guidelines and accountabilities as these missionaries are allowed a whole hour online. A few clicks in the wrong direction could make or break a missionary. Yes, it is entirely a "honor" system and they have to be obedient but whose going to know when a young Elder "inboxes" some cute young investigator. I hope there are more positives than negatives that come from this - all I can see is Satan now has more reason to up the ante on temptation with the release of these new tools in the mission field that were not there before. Caution should be exercised with missionaries (male or female) that have a history of problems with media I would hope! Forward & onward - with caution & faith!