In the last few years the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS or Mormon) has made quantum leaps in its use of technology in communicating to its members and to the world, causing many churches to look on with “Mormon Envy”. Even the Roman Catholic Church, with over 1 Billion members worldwide doesn’t compete with the exposure and efficiency in communication the LDS Church is reaching.
With about 14 Million members worldwide, the LDS Church has pulled together some outstanding resources to not only help its members stay connected to their own faith better, but to help the entire world understand the Mormon Church better.
There are about 12,000 Mormons living in the Charlotte vicinity that goes from Gastonia to Monroe (East to West), and from Salisbury to Rock Hill (North to South). There are around 17 church buildings in the same area where their members attend church.
More than most churches, the LDS Church has caught the vision of utilizing technology to accomplish its goals, evident anyone that looks to see what they’re doing.
Effective Use of The Internet
The Coveted Page 1 Google Results
Every organization in the world covets the page 1 results of a Google search. If you googled the word “Mormon” no more than a few years ago, the resulting page you would get would be a list of poorly done anti-Mormon sites, and some links to news about the Mormon Church from other news sites.
Well, that has changed. Today if you Google any of the words listed below, you will see that the majority of page 1 results are some of the most well-done sites on the Internet, done by the LDS Church or its members. They even dominate the most widely used name in all of Christianity: “Jesus Christ”.
Here’s the breakdown of what’s happening on Google today:
PAGE 1 GOOGLE SEARCH RESULTS – SITES RETURNED
Search Phrase LDS Sites Anti-Mormon or Other News/Wiki/Blog
“Mormon“ 60% 13% 27%
“Jesus Christ“ 50% 25% 25%
“Joseph Smith“ 56% 22% 22%
“Latter-Day Saints“ 82% 6% 12%
On top of all of this, if you look at the Mormon and non-Mormon sites that are returned, you will notice an ocean of difference in quality and quantity of information. Many of the non-LDS sites that show up seem to be done by an amateur on his or her home computer. Or they may be a simple personal blog. By comparison, the sites done by the LDS Church and its members appear very professional and well put together; the type you would expect to see in a new-age technology business. Clearly the LDS Church has “leveled up” its in-house technical resources.
The following are just a few of the many sites operated by the LDS Church:
LDS.org – The mother of all Mormon websites
LDS Newsroom – News outlet for press and others to receive news about the Church
Mormon.org – Basic information about the LDS Church for non-members
Family Search – The most robust resource in the world for Genealogy and Family History
Mormon Channel – The LDS Church’s official 24 hour internet radio station
Church Magazines – All LDS Magazines online
Jesus Christ – A site devoted to their beliefs about their Savior
Mormon Times – A newspaper and site owned by the church
Church Media – Online resources with videos, audio MP3s, and PDFs of church material
LDS Temples – A site about Temples of the LDS Church throughout the world
Combating Pornography – A site dedicated to helping people with pornography addiction
LDS Scriptures – An Internet version of the LDS scriptures
In addition to official LDS websites, you will find many sites done by LDS members that cover anything from “Famous Mormons”, to “Mobile Mormon Resources”, to “Mormon Apologists”, to “Articles about the LDS Church” to “Food Storage”. There’s even a site dedicated to “Hot Mormons” (I didn’t know they were Mormon!).
In addition to websites, the Church has excelled and putting together a social media campaign that rivals the exposure of even the “funny” viral media out there. Between their websites, the “Mormon Messages” YouTube Channel receiving millions of hits, and its FaceBook and other social outlet presence, the message of the LDS Church is almost as omnipresent as the God it preaches.
Broadcasts and Webcasts
For years the LDS Church has had the ability to broadcast conferences and other events in Salt Lake City throughout the world via the church-owned satellite system to every congregation. Now they’ve gone a step further by using the Internet to broadcast even local conferences and meetings to many meetinghouses in their own Stake (a geographical area consisting of about 8-12 congregations). There are 3 Stakes in the Charlotte area of around 4,000 members each. When any Stake wants to broadcast a meeting, they can do it via Internet to all of the building within its Stake boundaries. This saves many people from traveling to a central meetinghouse, and allows them to participate in their own local church building via the “big screen”.
Between the Church and its technically oriented members, there is a huge groundswell of applications for mobile devices becoming available. For Mormon device owners of the iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and others, there is a host of applications that give members access to most of the information available via the other Church websites. One site that consolidates many of these device apps is LDS Mobile. The days of Mormons carrying around bags full of books at church are going by the wayside, and being replaced with a single device-carrying Mormon.
Tools for Leaders
No church in the world knows more about how their members are doing, and where they are, than the LDS Church. With the “Home Teaching” program the leaders of each local congregation have an insight into each member’s status and needs. Enter the LDS leader’s secure resources about their members utilizing the Internet. Leaders have access to (non-sensitive) data about each member wherever they need it. In addition, leaders have instant access via web or device of any other leader’s information in the world if they need to contact them.
Clearly the LDS Church is laser-focused on communication within its borders and to the world. And clearly it is working. With its apparent “blitz” from seemingly every direction you would have to live in a cave to not be exposed to information about this church.