I don't mind paying for a digital device for my future missionaries but I
do mind it being an iPad. I really get why it is easier to choose one device
and keep development and security easy but I abhore Apple and their products.
Last thing I want is for my kids to become comfortable with them and end up
choosing Apple in the future. Not only that, there are much less expensive and
capable Android devices available. Choose one of them and develop for that
I thought missionaries were supposed to abstain from TV, an internet device is
worse than TV. Missionaries, and our society, are better off without both.
Aren't missionaries supposed to live in the world, but not be of this
world. Lest you think I'm a luddite, I have a degree in information
systems, been working in the field for 20 years. iPads for missionaries are a
15% increase in baptisms. 48% increase in missionaries. Supply much greater than
demand. No one in the lds church I imagine would have thought such a
small increase in baptisms compared to missionaries would have happened.
I'm an android user as well, but I think I might invest in Apple in the
near future if the Church is going that direction. :)
I totally agree about iPad not being the best option. Apple is notoriously
over-priced and under-featured and lacks the versatility of Android devices. At
least allowing the missionaries to choose between Apple and Android would be
much better, if you ask me. Android devices that do the same thing would likely
be FAR less expensive. Goodness, my brand new 32GB Google Nexus 10 from
Walmart's website was less than $400 (and it's an awesome tablet). As
for the missionaries being "comfortable" on these devices, well, that
comes as no surprise. Anyone 35 years or younger is likely comfortable on a
computer and tablet. Our generation was practically bottle-fed on computers. :)
@jasonhyeriPads are the true tablets.
Yes, Android is cheaper but is plagued by continuing incompatibilities between
versions and various hardware makers. Also a huge issue is security. The
annoying tight control wielded by Apple over apps that can be sold in the Apple
Store has led to increased protection from the types of problems the open source
Android world has experienced. Google has tried hard to "close the barn
door" by tightening up control but the problems persist. My field of work
for years has been banking including both Internet banking and Mobile banking.
The security issues of Android in that field have exceeded those of Apple's
IOS by 400%!
What's a self-supporting area?
I'm a part-time service missionary servicing feedbacks from users of an app
known as Gospel Library. Gospel Library is probably the #1 app used by
missionaries. The article didn't mention Android devices, but Gospel
Library is developed for both Apple devices and Android devices. Since
missionaries are paying for their own devices, I would hope that the church
would allow missionaries to choose between Apple and Android.
I am pleased to see the "safety moment" implementation. I continue to
call for LDS leadership to work to keep missionaries safe. I have family and
friends belonging to your Church who serve. Statistics mean little to me. I
want them home alive and safe, not hurt or dead. As for the
iPad's, I agree with much of the Church's approach. I disagree in the
following: the Church should pay for the iPad's (not the missionaries), and
frankly the Church should not be having missionaries use iPad Mini's in
poor areas like Central America where crime rates and violence are high. In my view, if the Church was smart, they would be thinking about having
the missionaries continue to use those pocket-size paper day planners, which
make them far less susceptible to theft. I am tremendously concerned in
particular for the safety of the younger women and also the senior citizen
missionaries. How are they going to defend themselves? There is
tremendous upside to this technology, and the Church would do well to further
develop missionary safety in this crime-ridden, scary world.
It takes a lot of resources to make programs for missionaries and members to
use in gospel study and especially for scheduling and contacting members and
investigators. People can become involved with LDSTech to learn more about how
they can help each other. Android and IOS devices require APPS or programming
to allow more requirements for missionaries to fully utilize one device or
another. Resources and bugs or debugging requires time and effort. Security is
also an aspect for privacy for information and the device itself, if lost.
I support the church in every way. But I think this is a very bad idea on very
level. Can you imagine elders sitting around in there apartments with an iPad?
Bad idea. And, at $400.00, that's not a good price. Cart before the horse
I don't have exact numbers, but the number of people using Android to
access Gospel Library is almost equal to the number of people using Apple
@ Chris B. “The Standard of Truth has been erected. No unhallowed hand can
stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies
may assemble, calumny may defame. But the truth of God will go forth boldly,
nobly, and independent till it has penetrated every continent, visited every
clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, until the purposes of God
shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah will say, ‘The work is
done.'” Joseph Smith
@Chris BIt is LDS church.
"Chris B" An astute observation as far as it goes but another, less
obvious, factor comes into play. The number of people returning to full
spiritual activity who had slipped outside the Lord's way is about equal to
the new converts. Missionaries spend nearly as much time teaching those who
have drifted away as they do teaching new investigators. What I'm trying
to say is that the effectiveness of missionary work is not merely by the number
of new members but overall activity level of the entire body of the church,
which is increasing.
You can buy refurbished Ipad's which will save you money. I only buy
refurbished and never had a problem with any of my devices. Regarding the 15% increase in Baptisms which is good but to be realistic how
many of those recent converts are still going to church after a year? Maybe 25%
or less depending on the area.
For those of you who are not familiar with new technology, there's
something called parent control. I am more than sure once the missionaries have
their device the Mission President will come up with some sort of password to
block from pornography and other bad sites.Having missionaries using
new technology is not bad at all. First of all, it is much easier to study the
scriptures in the iPad than the physical books, and much lighter as well. Why
should missionaries carry four heavy books when they can carry one device with
all the scriptures, plus church magazines, videos and handbooks on it? It just
doesn't make sense keep leaving in the past when clearly the Lord is
pointing to the future and developing science for a good use.This is
a wake up call for old timers!
Chris B,It takes a while for the full results to be seen. I am
confident we will see an equivalent increase in the convert rate as the impact
of these new missionaries is fully realized. Those of you who aren't LDS
are just looking for things to poke at. Most of us members of the Church
aren't even looking at the numbers. That's not our concern and we
don't teach our missionaries to care about how many people they teach. The
missionaries focus is on each individual they have the opportunity to work with
and helping them build a relationship with their Savior.
I'm the CEO of a top mobile app development company that develops for both
Apple (iOS) and Android. I have nothing personally against Android, but it does
have security issues. In fact, 99% of all mobile security problems and hacks
happen on Android devices. We work hard to make our Android apps as good as what
we can do for iOS but there are so many Android hardware devices and only 12% of
their users are even on Androids current operating system (compared to 89% for
iOS) so we have to try and make our apps backward compatible to several pervious
versions of their operating systems. I like the fact that it's an "open
platform," but it makes it insecure, hard and expensive to develop for, and
hard to keep the controlled environment that the Church requires. Apple is a
animal about making sure none of their 1.2 million apps have any pornography.
Android is the wild west and doesn't police pornography. The Church locks
down missionaries iPads devices to restrict them to certain functionalities that
the missionaries need.
oddman,And yet weren't the missionaries before the increase
working with those who "drifted away"?Do you have
evidence(not anecdotal) that the new increased size is working
disproportionally(compared to before) with those who have "drifted away"
I'm well aware enough to know that missionaries have always worked with
those who have "drifted away" as they've visited some of my former
roommates who were Mormons but left. And again, anecdotes or "I talked to
someone who knows" doesn't prove anything.
Wait a sec. $400 for an ipad? You can get 'em on Amazon for $272.
What's going on here?
How unfortunate, yet totally predictable, is the "armchair quarterback"
mentality of so many of these comments. They imply that the Brethren are out of
touch with reality, their decision to allow iPad Mini's was hasty and
clearly hasn't been thought through." Folks, I dare say
you haven't a clue about the depth of research -- and revelation -- that
goes into making a decision like this, not to mention the committee meetings and
approvals that must ultimately come from the very top leadership of the Church.
The problem here is nicely summed up in the way Aggie5's
comments began: "I support the Church in every way. But . . ." Just
like President Packer's timeless message about "however" and
"therefore." Can't wait for this attitude to show up in the
Celestial Kingdom when people look around and say, "Oh, this is not at all
the way I envisioned it. I think those colors clash too much, and wouldn't
those flowers look better over THERE, etc.etc."
Why do so many people care what device they picked? You don't think they
did some research? Apples the safest, and easiest to put safeguards on. And I
don't understand why people think it's a bad idea. If you've been
a missionary in the past few years, you understand how having the capabilities
as well as the missionary based apps (planner, teaching records) will really be
useful. Many missions have allowed ipod touches for years.
I think it is a great idea to equip the missionaries with iPads. I know many
thought that giving missionaries cell phones was a bad idea, but I have seen in
my own ward how much more efficient the missionaries are with them. Often the
sisters will text my wife when they need assistance teaching. This will also
allow a teen preparing for a mission to use an iPad in preparing for the mission
and then take all that information with him/her.The only downside I
see right now is that cost. If you are planning on a mission and know ahead of
time you can plan for the added expense. I am the ward clerk and see that many
families really struggle to make the monthly mission support payment and this
may make things more difficult for a short period.
@Chris B We wouldn't have had a 15% increase in baptisms without having the
increase in missionaries. Besides, what does numbers (quantity) have anything to
do with this? If a young man or woman wants to serve a mission, let them. As
someone already pointed out, they do more than find new converts, they are
energetically assisting with reactivation. And if you are honest with yourself,
you know how immature an 18-year-old male can be. I'd rather have them
serve a mission and learn and develop a few things.As far as others
criticizing the choice of Apple, having access to the Internet, vulnerability
for theft, having to buy them themselves. etc.--really, stop and think about
this. Don't you think the Brethren have considered all these things? Do you
not see how carefully and slowly they make changes? iPad's have been out
now for years and you are all treating this like it's something new. It
never fails to surprise me how members are quick to criticize church leaders and
decisions here on the comment section of the DN.
Those commenters who are worried about missionaries sitting around the apartment
playing on an ipad are short-sighted. That's like saying that missionaries
shouldn't have a car because they might go to an arcade. The fact is,
having an ipad has no bearing on whether missionaries are faithfully following
mission rules or not. Those who wish to do nothing will find a way to do
nothing, with or without an ipad. Plus, the way these ipads will be set up,
they won't be doing anything but missionary work, and everything they do
will be easy to monitor. These devices would have been an incredible aid to my
mission 15 years ago. Think of the training and teaching that mission
presidents can accomplish without traveling anywhere. They will be skyping and
training missionaries on a level that was impossible before. Think how the ipads
will allow missionaries into homes through computers that would have been just a
slammed door before. And yes, ipads are better than android devices and more
likely to be secure and easy for tech-ignorant missionaries to learn to use.
I know men/women issues are a sensitive topic for the church right now, but I
have a sincere, respectful question.If I could have interviewed Elder
Evans, I would have asked him why women are required to be older than men to
serve. I always thought that it was just a left over tradition of some sort, but
then in 2012 they lowered the age for all missionaries and yet still kept the
women older. Just wondering why...
I have to admit that technology has changed missionary work dramatically. If the
comments on this board are any indication the primary issue today is no longer
"saved by grace" versus "saved by works" - its Apple versus
Last Sunday, two men who are church employees reviewed the church website and
showed some of the videos that are available there. Members were amazed that
such spiritual content was available online. The two men didn't go into
Gospel Library, but I thought to myself that almost all of the spiritual content
available at the church website is available for free from that app: all of the
scriptures, conference talks going back to the 1980s, videos from Mormon
Messages and other church sources, handbook 2, church manuals for almost all the
classes, church magazines going back to the 1980s, syncing between Apple,
Android, and the church website, and support for over 100 languages.I don't know how the church and mission presidents are controlling access
by missionaries, but I have faith that they know what they are getting into. The
missionaries who use Gospel Library love it! They are of a generation that has
grown up with digital media, and the church is wise to bring that experience
into missionary work. Digital media is here to stay. Whether we accept it or not
is up to us.
I agree with CougMan - I have both an iPad and an Android phone. I agree that
Apple is more expensive and Android is more open and that both are quality
options. However, the design goals of Apple are more consistent with the goals
of the church for missionaries.And even if many are leaving the
church, being led astray by the philosophies of men, that says nothing about the
effectiveness of the inspired plans and directions of the church. The scriptures
make a telling point that the true path is "strait and narrow, and few
there be who find it." If we ever get to the point where the
church seeks direction from the rank and file to be more popular with those who
love the sophistries of our day, rather than from the Lord to do His will, THAT
will be the time I start to question my devotion to the church as being the
earthly organization (and therefore inherently imperfect) that the Lord directs
to accomplish His holy will on Earth.
@CougMan:Thanks for sharing. I have an iPad (which I love) and an
android phone. You just helped me make an important decision...when my contract
is up I'm going for an iPhone. As far as the missionaries
having iPad minis...let's have faith that this generation of CTR ring
wearers will do just that on their missions, CTR!
iPad vs. Android. Geez, is that the best line of discussion we can have on this
One more consideration. Many of our youth have been exposed to pornography
before their missions begin. Some achieve an addiction level of exposure. As
Elder Oaks has said, the atonement may provide a healing influence where the
temptation goes away. However, for many, the atonement provides support as they
cope with the addiction over the long term. In other words, the addiction does
not go away. Just as we would not suggest that an alcoholic keep a fifth of
whiskey in his home to prove he can overcome temptation, youth with addiction
level experiences with pornography need electronic devices can be locked down
completely so access to pornography is just not possible. This is where
Apple's closed operating system comes into play. It's comforting to
know that the benefits of technology can be leveraged, while the pit-falls
controlled. Android devices are open, but therefore not able to be closed down
from porn access like the iphone. Sad but true.
Mmmm... Technology. I have lately found it difficult to send messages to
friends, family and colleagues via carrier pigeon or telegraph. They all insist
on these new fangled text messages or email. The nerve of people, most
especially the Church wanting to have members of the missionary force use
technology that will allow them to be better equipped to access the streams of
data flowing from the leaders of the Church. Imagine the gall! As for the
consternation concerning the use of Apple products: please tell me is it the
high regard for security, in-house innovation (not design by theft by Google and
Samsung), leading technology that is actually designed for the "rest of
us", actual interest in advancing education, technology growth or simplicity
of design that just chaps your sensitivities? I have worked on both hardware and
software development of both Apple products and Windows products (on a Mac
interestingly enough) and found not only the Apple products to be expeller but
also service after the sale. Can't say that for Android. Missionaries using
an iPad. What a great idea! They can carry the entire library of Church
publications on an iPad. It just works.
@ Chris B: If you read the article, you will see that the 15% increase is over
last year, not prior to the change. Last year there were around 80k
missionaries. Sounds pretty good to me.
RJOhnson,The 15% change is over the same period that missionaries
increased 48%Supply greater than demand
I think it's a bad idea to make the missionaries pay for these devices.
Many families scrimp and save and barely get by to keep their missionary in the
field. At $400 a pop, for 88,000 missioinaries, we're talking about
increasing the collective debt of our missionaries by over 35 million dollars.
That's a lot of money for the young people who go, as well as for
fixed-income seniors who serve during retirement. Before the Church develops
world-class shopping malls, it ought to be paying for these devices.
I would have been ashamed to pull out a $400 device in front of some of the
people I taught and I served in a wealthy country.
The Ogden mission has been using the iPads for several months now. To access
the internet they have to go to the church to access the WiFi to sync their
devices. The iPads come preconfigured with the apps and security necessary to
keep the devices "safe" for missionary use. So a missionary probably
wouldn't buy an iPad prior to going on a mission and take their personal
device with them. They would probably get information from their mission on how
to purchase the device prior to going to the MTC and they would get the device
when they get to the MTC or in their mission. Since they would then keep the
iPad after their mission they would then probably be able to wipe the device to
use as a normal iPad.I get the security issues with Android. I do
understand it is easier to manage apps and security for one device. I just
really despise Apple and the way they do business and this just provides a way
to train a whole group of young people to use Apple devices. That is what I
don't like as I really think overall Android is a better platform.
CougMan! I have a great idea for an app! Call it "Sabbath Mode". I
would love to be able to set my iPhone so that during the hours that I am at
church, my phone automatically goes to silent then back to regular after church
and also that I could only access specific apps (gospel library etc.) during
church hours and that push notifications, texts, calls, etc do not show up until
after church is over. This would help a lot with getting distracted in Sunday
School and would be great to put on my kids' phones, too. Maybe even add
the option of having it set to a regular time period each week (for regular
church time) and also being able to turn the mode on at other times with the tap
of a button for a 30 minute period, (great for teen driving) or for a 2 hour
period (if you go to the temple). I always put my phone on silent when I go to
the temple but then forget to take it off and miss calls or worse, e.g. when the
phone is on silent in your locker, but an alarm goes off!
Being in the world, but not of the world....uh, if the Gospel is going to be
brought to the darkest regions of the world, it is through the medium of the
internet. It can be a record keeping device, more serviceable than a pen and
pad of paper, which they use, also.There can and should be controls
on access to certain areas of the internet...those of you who are computer geeks
out there know how that can be done; and believe me, in allowing this, so does
the Church.The IPads will also serve the function of providing
missionaries with communications capability, to investigators, and to them from
investigators, in many cases, and is a few instances, could save their lives;
providing location and immediate accessibility to the local authorities.Not a problem that I see.
Way to go, Deseret News. So much for safety moments. Every missionary is now a
target for thieves. This terrible iPad decision is going to be reversed in
I am frustrated with the insinuations that I am "armchair
quarterbacking." I find them inaccurate for the following reasons: First, I would like to know how wanting missionaries to be safe,
particularly those who serve from my circle of family and friends, is not
something everyone agrees on. I would like to see such comments made to the
families and all those who know missionaries who died on their missions. Second, missionaries and their families are being asked more and more to
shoulder financial burdens. I have been asked to contribute (I will not, I feel
the Church should pay). Those in my family struggle economically. Money does
not grow on trees. The Church can use their tithing and fast offering funds to
pay for these things, instead of spending millions building malls like City
Creek and purchasing real estate in Missouri, Florida, and Philadelphia. Third, every good entity needs ongoing feedback to improve things and do
better. Are you going to appreciate an employee on the phone or in a store
telling you to stop "armchair quarterbacking" when you complain or offer
feedback? No, you won't, and neither do I.
I too have wondered why Sisters age was not lowered to the same as the young
Elders. So, if post surge to nearly 90,000, it drops to 70,000 after the 2 years
difference is made up, we will still have an increase of 12,000 more
missionaries, most probably from Sisters who would otherwise have not served.
I'm thinking the percentage of Sisters will go up from the current 28 or
29% after the surge recedes, correct?
So as a mom to two missionaries. One in the field a year and the other in the
Mexico CCM, will I get a bill for $800 from the church. Sorry, but budgeting for
a mission, let alone two is difficult. Then throw in another "oh by the
way" cost later in their missions, will be too much for some families.
A lot of commenters seem to think the church execs made some impulsive decision
and now missionaries are going to roll into Best Buy, pick up a tab, and start
downloading apps like Gospel Library off the web. As a missionary parent and IT
professional, there are some key things that allow me some confidence in this
direction in: A) These iPad minis have been tested for many months by THOUSANDS
of missionaries in many missions. B) They are locked down and highly secure with
their personal data and with their means of web access; also, C) the church is
NOT paying retail. Managing multiple OS platforms under their
constraints for 80K F-T missionaries and another 10-20K people that support them
or are F-T admin employees world-wide isn't very practical.
Time will tell. There are many areas of the US as well as foreign countries
where'-Apple picking' is common. This is the stealing of Apple
products from the user's hands. This may work out and it may be a mess.
What happens when the device is stolen or broken? The parents I assume replace
it. However, I agree that it is a surbetb method of study, one I use myself!
If a church or its missionaries want to use technology, fine. That's their
business. But stop asking me (a non-member relative to
economically-challenged LDS missionaries currently serving) to do the following:
1) to pay one dime for it when the LDS Church allocates so much of
its funds towards other non-essentials (City Creek Mall, Philadelphia rental
units, Florida ranches, etc.)2) to believe LDS Church leaders,
missionaries, and members have solutions for every problem.3) to
expect that Apple iPad Mini's are impenetrable to disobedience, hacking,
technical difficulties, etc. 4) to think my family, friends, and
other young men, women, and senior couples are going to be safer (in my view,
missionaries are walking targets now).5) to understand that a
missionary's personal information, records, and the like are going to be
inaccessible.If the LDS Church leadership has acted already on much
of the feedback provided, fine. Good for all of us. That said,
let's build on those things. I ask that we please be civil
and positive when people are offering well-intended feedback designed to promote
safety, efficiency, and productivity in LDS missionary efforts. Everyone (LDS or not) has a voice and should be heard.
I say the numbers does ever peak. 100,000 would be the answer to my prayers and
will help spread salvation not only to the non-Christians but help these young
missionaries work out their own salvation.
@ CougManFor what the church is doing you can lock an Android down
as much as you can an Android.I was personally looking at a
missionaries iPad mini at church yesterday and he showed how the App Store was
unavailable on their iPad.It wouldn't be too complicated to do
something similar with a Samsung Android device.All the stuff you
mentioned wouldn't be an issue on any type of device that is locked
down.Apple iPad have no advantage in my eyes to comparable Samsung
devices especially if they are both locked down like I saw the missionary in my
I think the missionaries were much better before the age change then the kids
coming out now. Frankly, many are just not ready to serve a mission. We need to
be open with our kids that it is ok to wait till your truly ready to serve even
if it means waiting a bit longer then others.I too appreciate the
safety moment as my heart breaks that someone may lose a child on a mission. We
need ALL to come home.
Brother Benjamin Franklin: You took offense because someone stated you were arm
chair quarterbacking but after your last statement where you stated you were a
non-member then that statement would seem to be some what correct.You stated that the cost shouldn't include a mall, apartments in Philly
and then a farm in Florida. Well let me take a stab at the mall. No tithing
funds or other offerings are used in that mall. It is solely one that falls
under a business venture and an organization ran by the church. This business
pays taxes just as you and I do and gets its funds from those who have leased
room in the mall. That is where that money comes from. So stating it is part of
the tithes and offerings is a mistake and not part of this issue.The
apartments in Philly is again a business venture that will be used to house
temple workers who have to travel to work in the Philadelphia Temple. The
excess rooms will be leased and again taxes probably paid just as the mall.
Again no tithing or offerings used in its construction or operation.
Ah ha! I put 2+2 together. About the $400 cost, that is. A 16gb iPad mini does
run about $299 or less these days. However, the same configuration that is data
enabled runs about $400. The missionaries are going to need Internet access no
matter where they go. And the church is not going set up WiFi in every apartment
that they live in, what a hassle. They may also need to stream content at an
investigator's residence. So they need data enabled iPads.