10th International Art Competition

paintingEvery three years, artists from around the world participate in a theme-based competition hosted by the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City.

Many well-beloved pieces of LDS artwork have come from these competitions. Jury-selected artworks for each competition are exhibited at the museum and are eligible to receive one of several awards. The museum purchases a select number of art pieces from those exhibited to expand its collection and for future Church use.

Entries can be submitted between November 3, 2014 and February 27, 2015. Visit the Church History website for more information.

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International Day of the Bible November 24

teen-reading-bibleOn November 24, the National Bible Association is sponsoring an “International Day of the Bible.”

People are encouraged to read, share, or express creatively their favorite passages from the Bible at noon on the 24th.

In addition, those who wish to post or promote scripture online are encouraged to use the hashtag #BibleCelebration. The event is also supported by the American Bible Society and the YouVersion Bible App. Other organizations are encouraged to participate. Learn more on their website, Facebook page, and on Twitter.

child-reading-bible

Last year, the National Bible Association named Salt Lake City as the National Bible City for 2013, which included a concert on Temple Square and public Bible readings.

In English, the Church publishes the King James Version of the Bible complete with study aids, such as Bible maps, a Topical Guide, and a Bible Dictionary. All these study aids are also available in the Spanish LDS edition of the Reina Valera edition of the Bible.

The Church provides the full text of the Bible online at scriptures.lds.org where you can also listen to a high-quality audio recording. When in any chapter, just click Listen in the right margin, or click Download to get your own MP3 file for listening offline. (If you want to download entire books, or the whole Bible at once, you can get a convenient .zip file at audio.lds.org).

scripture-study-young-manLatter-day Saints are counseled to study the scriptures daily and apply Biblical teachings in their lives as they seek to live as disciples of Jesus Christ.

In weekly Sunday School classes, Mormons study a volume of scripture in-depth each year. Last year, they studied the Old Testament, and they will study the New Testament in 2015.

Latter-day Saint youth also study the scriptures in their daily seminary classes during high school, and in college-level institute classes.

Mormons study the Bible in their homes with their families. They regularly read scriptures with their families, and on Monday nights traditionally have a “family home evening” where they teach the gospel to their children.

Watch the video “The Miracle of the Holy Bible:”

The video “What the Scriptures Mean to Me” describes the personal value of the scriptures:

Learn more:

 

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New FHE Lessons Help Teach Children about Pornography

mom-teaching-kids-about-technologyThe Church has published a series of family home evening lessons to help parents discuss pornography with their children and to equip children with skills to respond appropriately to pornographic content they likely will be exposed to.

The following lessons can be accessed on the OvercomingPornography.org website:

The lessons include basic doctrines and principles about the sacredness of the body, sexual intimacy, following the Spirit, choosing good media, appropriate action steps for when a child sees pornography, and repentance.  They also include age-specific activities parents can select based on the needs of their family.

Some parents may feel uncomfortable discussing the topics of sexual intimacy and pornography with their children, or they may not feel like it is necessary until children are much older.

Elder Richard G. Scott counseled, “Parents, be aware that the addiction of pornography can begin with youth at a very early age. Take preventative action to avoid that tragedy” (“To Acquire Spiritual Guidance,” Oct. 2009 general conference).

Read more in the article “New FHE Lessons Help Teach Children about Pornography.”

 

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#ShareGoodness Idea: Why Are You Mormon?

why-mormonMembers of the YSA Temple Beach Ward in Laie, Hawaii, created the video “Why Are You Mormon?” to inspire people to think more about the question “why do you believe what you believe?”

Today’s #ShareGoodness Idea: Think about the real reason why you are a member of the Church. When you tell people “I’m a Mormon,” explain why your life is better because you are a member. Explain the joys of the gospel. 

The young single adults in Hawaii created this video as part of a stake-wide assignment to help boost missionary work. The stake president assigned each ward to make an “I’m a Mormon” video that incorporated Jesus Christ or #BecauseOfHim as the main focus.

The ward mission leader and another member teamed up to film ward members doing things that they loved to do, just living their regular lives in beautiful Hawaii. They wanted people to see that members of the LDS faith are just normal people.

When all the videos from the wards in the stake were finished, they were shown in a stake leadership training meeting. They then posted it on Facebook, where it went viral.

They feel that the video was a big success and look forward to making more videos that can be used as missionary tools to flood the earth with goodness. Mahalo.

This is one article in a series of ideas on how to #ShareGoodness with others. For more ideas of easy, practical things you can do, see the book 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online.

Here is a list of other member-created videos I have shared. If you find other videos you think I should share, please post a comment below.

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Register Now for RootsTech 2015 & Family Discovery Day

RootsTech Family Discovery DayRegistration is open for RootsTech, February 11–14, 2015, the world’s largest family history conference with tens of thousands of participants worldwide.

The Family Discovery Day is on Saturday, February 14, 2015. It is a free, fun, and informative day to help families discover, share, and connect their ancestor relationships. Speakers and guests at the free RootsTech Family Discovery Day will include Elder Quentin L. Cook, Elder Neil L. Andersen, Sister Bonnie L. Oscarson, the cast of BYUtv’s Studio C, Olympian Noelle Pikus Pace, blogger Al Fox Carraway, and a special guest performer to be announced soon.

family-discovery-day

The rest of the conference features an innovator summit, expo hall, well-known keynote speakers, more than 200 classes, hands-on computer labs, and nightly entertainment. It will be held at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Live streaming is also available so people can participate worldwide. Learn more about what will be at RootsTech.

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Final Supercut Video of “Glorious” from Meet The Mormons

archuleta-invitationOn October 24, David Archuleta invited you to record yourself singing your own version of the song “Glorious” from the soundtrack of the movie Meet the Mormons.

Over 420 people posted their versions, which have been watched collectively over 720,000 times. Here is a playlist of the top 30 submissions, sorted by most viewed. The most viewed (by Working with Lemons) has over a quarter of a million views.

Here is the final supercut video featuring people from all over the world:

Here is a playlist of all the Glorious submissions.

Thanks to everyone who submitted videos and to those who participated by watching and supporting this cause in any way.

Stephanie Mabey wrote the song “Glorious,” and it was originally released on her album “Wake Up Dreaming.” The rendition sung by David Archuleta was used in the soundtrack for the movie Meet the Mormons.

Watch the movie exclusively in theaters. Browse theater locations.

Read other articles about the movie Meet The Mormons.

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Ministering Resources Available to Ward Councils

ministering-resourcesStake and ward council members now have access to a new Church web page called Ministering Resources, available at ministering.lds.org, to help individuals and families with their temporal and spiritual needs, including difficult and sensitive issues. Access is available to those with current callings in stake and ward councils through their LDS Account.

counseling-topicsResources previously available only to bishops and stake presidents have been updated and expanded with specific guidance about how to help victims of abuse, those who struggle with addictions, single expectant parents, pornography users, those who experience same-sex attraction, and those struggling with financial and employment issues.

Under the direction of the bishop, ward councils can use Ministering Resources to counsel together for the benefit of individuals and families within their ward boundaries.

From the Ensign, November 2014.

These resources will be translated into Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish in the coming months.

 

 

 

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Keeping Kids Safe on Facebook

facebook-safetyThe Facebook page Help Your Teens Play it Safe offers a few tips parents can use to keep their kids safe on Facebook.

Facebook lets you control the audience of your posts. Therefore, encourage your kids to review their privacy settings and to make sure they consider the audience when sharing content on Facebook.

Facebook encourages parents to set clear boundaries with their teens and use the same rules for online social activity as they would in real life. Think of social media as a get-together at one of your child’s friends’ houses. You should give permission for your teen to attend, and even though you aren’t there to monitor his or her behavior, consider your level of trust for your teen to have good judgment and act responsibly.

You need to find a healthy balance between your safety concerns and your teen’s growing independence and need for privacy.

The page Help Your Teens Play it Safe talks about the features on Facebook to help teens and children stay safe. I encourage parents to review the page and have discussions with their children about how to use Facebook responsibly.

Adapted from “Social media sites offer safety tips for parents.”

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New Essays of Public Interest on Gospel Topics Page

gospel-topics-page

For some time, the Church has been upgrading the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org (topics.lds.org) to provide an enriched experience for personal and family gospel study. This has included upgrading some pages and adding new topic pages to provide more doctrinal and Church history resources.

Three weeks ago, the Church completed a series of essays on the topic of plural marriage (polygamy). Much of the information in those essays had been published in various sources and had been known among long-term and well-read members, historians, and Church leaders for many years. To facilitate the study of Church history and doctrine, the Church gathered this information into a single location.

This has attracted the attention of the media, which has recently published many stories about it. The Church’s newsroom site just published the following commentary to give context to the various essays in the Gospel Topics section:

For many years the Church has had a reference section on its main website for various “gospel topics,” listed in alphabetical order. Beginning in November of 2013 the Church began supplementing the material there by publishing in-depth essays on topics of special public interest, including accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the Book of Mormon translation process and many more (see complete list below). The Gospel Topics page on LDS.org was then redesigned to better serve as a personal study resource for Church members.

Three weeks ago, the Church completed a series on the topic of plural marriage (polygamy), which has recently been the subject of a large number of media stories. Below is additional context for those essays.

Much of what you’ll find in the essays on polygamy has been published in diverse sources and known among long-term and well-read members, historians and Church leaders for many years. The Church has now gathered this information into a single location as a convenient means of placing these resources in the hands of all members.

The fact that Joseph Smith had plural marriage relationships is not new, of course. Indeed, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints publicly asserted Joseph Smith’s practice of polygamy—over a century and a half ago, especially in debate with other faith groups who traced their origin to Joseph Smith and who asserted that he did not practice plural marriage. But although polygamy was practiced among early Church leaders and members, its practice was officially discontinued more than 100 years ago.

The Church recognizes the wide interest in many of these topics. Recent research like the Joseph Smith Papers Project, has gathered more information than ever before about early Church doctrine and practice. The Gospel Topics pages are meant as a personal resource for members as they study and teach about the history and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We live in a world where there is so much information available on every topic. And particularly in the age of the Internet, there are both good and bad sources of information. As a Church, it’s important for us to research and provide official, reputable, historically accurate information about our history and doctrine.

A complete list of the in-depth essays is listed below:

  1. Are Mormons Christian? November 20, 2013 [See my summary of this page.]

  2. First Vision Accounts November 20, 2013

  3. Race and the Priesthood December 6, 2013 [See my summary of this page.]

  4. Plural Marriage and Families in Early Utah December 16, 2013 [See my summary of this page.]

  5. Book of Mormon Translation December 30, 2013 [See my summary of this page.]

  6. Book of Mormon and DNA Studies January 31, 2014 [See my summary of this page.]

  7. Becoming Like God February 24, 2014

  8. Peace and Violence among 19th-Century Latter-day Saints May 13, 2014 [and Mountain Meadows Massacre]

  9. Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham July 8, 2014

  10. Plural Marriage in Kirtland and Nauvoo October 22, 2014

  11. The Manifesto and the End of Plural Marriage October 22, 2014

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10th Anniversary of Preach My Gospel

preach-my-gospelThis month marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the manual Preach My Gospel. Both missionaries and members have been encouraged to read and study it.

In the April 2014 general conference, Elder M. Russell Ballard invited us to obtain and read a copy of the manual.

You can reach the digital version of Preach My Gospel using the short web address PreachMyGospel.lds.org. It is available in all the following formats:

Read the article “10 Ways to Celebrate Preach My Gospel’s 10th Anniversary” for ideas on how to use the manual in family home evening activities, church lessons, and personal study.

Preach My Gospel would make a great Christmas gift to a prospective missionary.

See other resources for missionary preparation.

preach-gospel

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New Version of LDS Music App for iOS

lds-music-appVersion 1.7.0 of the LDS Music app for iOS has now been released in the Apple Store. Besides improving the app experience, it now includes content in several new languages!

The app now includes the following:

  • The hymnbook in German, Korean, Italian, Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish, Latvian, and Traditional Chinese.
  • The Children’s Songbook in German and Traditional Chinese.

Other updates were made to correct typos, combine the Authors and Composers tabs into the new People tab, provide faster downloads, use less storage space, add support for iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and simplify the screen to change languages.

If you already have the app installed, it should update automatically when you use it.

The development team needs more volunteers in several languages to help get more content out in the coming months.

What languages are you waiting to see in the app?

 

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#ShareGoodness Idea: What You Share Reflects Who You Are

This is the first article in a series of ideas on how to #ShareGoodness with others. Every Sunday, I will publish an easy, practical thing you can do to share the joys of the gospel with others.

Today’s #ShareGoodness Idea: What you share reflects who you are. Share pictures or comments on social media about gospel-related things.

Watch this #ShareGoodness video for ideas on what to share:

 

  • Post a picture of your family at the temple and explain why you were there and what it means to you.
  • Comment about something that makes you feel grateful. Especially during November, talk about the large and small things that add joy to your life.
  • Post a video of your ward Christmas party and mention what your ward means to you socially.

For ideas on what to share, visit social.lds.org or follow the hashtag #ShareGoodness.

For more ideas of easy, practical things you can do, see the book 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online.

 

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Have You Taken Elder Bednar’s Challenge Yet?

Bednar_David_AHave you taken Elder Bednar’s challenge yet to ‪#‎sharegoodness‬?

Brothers and sisters, what has been accomplished thus far in this dispensation communicating gospel messages through social media channels is a good beginning—but only a small trickle.  I now extend to you the invitation to help transform the trickle into a flood.  Beginning at this place on this day, I exhort you to sweep the earth with messages filled with righteousness and truth—messages that are authentic, edifying, and praiseworthy—and literally to sweep the earth as with a flood.

Each Sunday, I’ll be posting a #ShareGoodness Idea on this blog. Catch the first one this Sunday.

For ideas of easy, practical things you can do, see the book 101 Ways to Hasten the Work Online.

#HastenTheWork #ShareGoodness

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Teachings for Our Time 4th Sunday Lessons

teachings-for-our-timeFrom November 2014 through March 2015, Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society lessons on fourth Sundays should be prepared from one or more talks given in the October 2014 general conference.

In April 2015, talks may be selected from either the October 2014 or the April 2015 conference. Stake and district presidents should choose which talks will be used in their areas, or they may delegate this responsibility to bishops and branch presidents.

Those attending fourth-Sunday lessons are encouraged to study the selected talks beforehand. Conference talks are available in many languages at conference.lds.org.

From the Ensign, November 2014.

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New Way to Find Cousins for Temple Work

new-way-find-cousinsFinding names for the temple is now easier than ever by viewing your family tree from a different angle.

Visit the Descendancy view of Family Tree to see which of your cousins are ready for temple work. Then reserve names today.

With the new “descendancy view” on FamilySearch, it’s now easier than ever to find a name to submit for temple work. You can find your cousins using these 5 easy steps:

  1.  Sign in to FamilySearch.org and go to the Family Tree.
  2. Change the tree view to the fan chart.
  3. Select a family member from the outer ring on the fan and place that person in the home position.
  4. Change the tree view to descendancy, and then click to show 4 generations.
  5. Look for green temple tags that indicate that ordinances may be needed for the displayed cousins. Work your way around the outer ring of the fan, and when finished, move back one generation and repeat steps 3-5.

You can also fill out a My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together booklet and add photos and stories to FamilySearch.org.

Watch the video below about how this tool can help you expand the branches of your family tree to find cousins that need saving temple ordinances.

 

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