joseph-smith-prophet-restorationThe movie Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration is now available on Netflix.

The movie was first shown in the Legacy Theater in Salt Lake City, then released on DVD, and how on Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix.

This movie was the first full-length motion picture the Church released on the Internet. The movie is about Joseph Smith, the founding prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Here are all the ways you can watch the movie:

I encourage you to watch family-friendly movies like this on Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Roku because the more you watch them, the more likely it is that these companies will continue to carry such movies.

Here’s a trailer to the movie:

Learn more about streaming Internet television.

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Index of Resources to Learn About Missions

mission-prep-resourcesSugardoodle.com now provides an index of resources to learn about different LDS Missions. It is a portal of resources about each mission, including mission blogs, groups, addresses, maps, interviews with returned missionaries, and LDS-friendly travel videos.

The list points to the resources prepared by Alex Balinski at PrepareToServe.com.

The resources are constantly updated with new mission blogs and interviews with returned missionaries from each LDS mission. It’s a great resource to learn about the countries, languages, cultures, and people from around the world!

 

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LDS Church Statements on Moral Issues

In November, citizens in the United States will have the privilege and duty of electing people to political offices and voting on issues of public policy. The Church encourages its members to participate in the political process.

You can learn about the issues by researching information on the Internet, listening to debates, and talking with candidates.

lds-newsroomIn addition, the Church occasionally posts information at MormonNewsroom.org about particular moral issues on which it has taken a position.

The Church as an institution remains neutral regarding political parties and candidates. However, the Church also affirms its constitutional right of expression on political and social issues. You can find information about many of those issues at MormonNewsroom.org, particularly in the Topics and Background section.

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Explaining Temple Garments (Mormon Underwear)

St. Louis Mormon TempleThis article is one in a series of articles about explaining our Mormon beliefs to our friends. See other articles in this series.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released an official video and explanation about the sacred clothing members wear in the temple and the sacred underwear worn by members under their everyday clothing.

Some members of the Church are caught off-guard when they are asked questions about why we wear garments, often referred to as “Mormon underwear.” Because the garment is sacred and important to us, we often don’t talk about it much in public. However, there are ways to respectfully explain why we wear the garment and why it is  important to us.

I encourage you to read the article about temple garments and watch the video below:

Here are some additional resources with information to help you explain the wearing of garments to your friends–or even to your children:

  • Read “Garments Signify Sacred Promises” on Mormon Topics. Be sure to click on the portraits at the top of the page to watch Mormons explain what the temple garment means to them.
  • Read the topic “Wearing the Temple Garment” on LDS.org. You can find it in the menu on LDS.org by clicking  Teachings > Gospel Topics > Temples. Then scroll down to the section “Wearing the Temple Garment.” (Click  View More to expand the page to see it.)
  • Read the article on the Church’s Newsroom, “Do some Latter-day Saints wear temple garments?
  • Watch the video “My Mormon Underwear.” It’s a video on the YouTube channel Understanding Mormonism, where a member of the Church posts videos explaining his Mormon beliefs in a simple, authentic way.
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“Meet the Mormons” was a Success Opening Weekend

meet-mormons-movie-4The opening weekend of the film Meet the Mormons was astonishing.

  • The film was #10 in the nation in box office receipts.
  • It was #1 in 100 of the 317 theaters on opening day
  • It had the top per-screen average of the Top 20 grossing films in the country this week.
  • It had sold-out showings across the country, including New York City, Detroit, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix, Anchorage, Honolulu, and various locations in California.
  • It has already earned the #45 spot on the list of the Top 100 documentary films of all time.
  • It earned $2.5 million during the opening weekend, and to date has earned $3.9 million. (The net proceeds are being donated to the American Red Cross.)
  • Today, the film expands to 333 screens, with more expected for next weekend.

Read the article “How ‘Meet the Mormons’ Became a Hit Movie In One Weekend” from LDS Living to see how members engaged in social media to spread information about the movie that contributed to its successful opening weekend.

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, I heartily endorse it. Find a theater near you at MeetTheMormons.com.

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morning-lightReligion is an important part of our social fabric and civil society. It calls on us to serve our fellow man, to focus more on family and to contribute to the common good of the community. What’s more, it provides the structure for the inner longing for meaning that many seek in life.

With a recent poll suggesting that religion is losing influence in America, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints knows that it’s more important than ever to strengthen faith’s role and prominence in society. The Church recognizes that this can’t happen without locking arms (as it has done for many, many years) with other faiths. Sure, differences in belief and opinion have and will continue to exist in our pluralistic society, but love for one’s neighbor surpasses these differences.

In that spirit, the Church has partnered with Faith Counts, an organization comprised of faith communities representing over 100 million Americans. Launched this week, its website (FaithCounts.net) includes videos and social media memes aimed at telling powerful stories about how faith inspires, empowers, motivates and comforts billions of people. You can find these stories on the website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTubePinterest and Google+. You can also share your own experiences about how faith has influenced your life.

Watch the video below, and then read the rest of the story on the Mormon Newsroom.

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Young Women Video Shares Goodness

Young women and young men in Las Vegas, Nevada, made a #ShareGoodness video about their Mormon beliefs.

They got the idea from an Instagram video they made at EFY this past summer. They were also inspired to share their beliefs online because of Elder Bednar‘s recent address at BYU Education Week about using social media to flood the earth with the gospel.

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.

–Elder David A. Bednar

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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Activities Can Strengthen and Rescue Youth

youth-activitiesThe article “Strengthening Youth through Uplifting Activities” in the September Ensign explains the importance of well-planned activities and points out resources to help you plan them.

Successful activities provide youth with a wholesome setting to learn and live the gospel. They help youth prepare for their future roles, develop their talents and interests, learn leadership skills, and foster friendships as they interact with other young men and young women. Activities can provide opportunities for youth to perform meaningful service for others in the community. Activities can also help you build positive mentoring relationships with the youth.

Learn more about the LDS Youth Activities website, which can also be helpful in planning family activities.

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Video: Utah Names Part 2, Boy Names

utah-boy-namesLast year, I shared a video “Utah Names,” which I found very funny. The makers have now released “Utah Names Part 2: Boy Names.”

Here’s the first video:

And here’s their latest video:

Find more quirky names at VeryDifferentNames.com.

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Mormonism: A Christ-Centered, Global Faith

mormonism-christ-faithHere’s a simple video you can share with your friends to explain the make-up of the Church and what we believe.

Did you know that most Mormons live outside the U.S.? Or that the Church has more than 15 million members, spread throughout 29,000-plus congregations?

Watch “Mormonism: A Christ-Centered, Global Faith

Is there someone you know that you could share this with?

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Meet the Mormons for Family Home Evening

meet-mormons-movie-4If you haven’t yet had the chance to see the new movie Meet the Mormonsconsider it as a family home evening activity Monday.

Thousands of people saw the movie over the weekend. If you were one of them, could you do one of these follow-up actions?

  • Invite a family member or friend to go see the movie with you.
  • Rate the movie and leave a short review at one or all of the following sites: Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Moviefone, IMDb, and Ok.

Remember that Meet the Mormons is our story.  It is not just a story about 6 families.  It is a story about all of us as members of the Church.  If you want people to know who we really are, go see the movie and then invite your friends.

Read other articles about the Meet the Mormons movie.

When you share information about the movie in social media, please use the hashtag #MeetTheMormons.

 

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Meet the Mormons Movie Exceeds Expectations

meet-mormons-now-playingThe movie Meet the Mormons was the number one film in 100 of the 317 total locations on opening day, with sold out showings reported across the country, including New York City, Detroit, Miami, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Dallas, Phoenix, and various locations in California.

In the opening 24 hours, the movie ranked #10 nationwide in total box office sales.

The documentary-style movie Meet the Mormons portrays the personal stories of six diverse Latter-day Saints and their families. All net proceeds from the film will be donated to the American Red Cross.

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Wordles for October 2014 LDS General Conference

For the last several years, I have shown wordles (word clouds) of the text from each general conference, which show the  frequency of use of words (except words like it, the,and and). More frequently-used words are in larger type size.

Below are two wordles showing an analysis of text from all the talks from the October 2014 general conference, including the General Women’s meeting. Other styles of this Wordle in higher resolution can be found here, courtesy of Connor Boyack.

See wordles from previous LDS general conferences.

LDSconf-April-2014-wordle-1

LDSconf-April-2014-wordle-2

 

 

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Premiere of Movie Meet the Mormons

meet-mormons-movie-4meet-mormons-2Meet the Mormons is a full-length documentary commissioned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will be released exclusively in nearly 300 theaters nationwide October 10.

I’ve had the chance to watch  Meet the Mormons twice because of my role in promoting awareness of Church resources. I heartily recommend going to see it. How long the movie remains in theaters will depend entirely on how many people attend on opening weekend, Friday the 10th and Saturday the 11th.

Tonight, I attended a special premiere of the movie with about 500 prominent people, such as Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, Elder David A. Bendar, Mitt Romney, Governor Gary HerbertDavid ArchuletaMarie Osmond, David Osmond, Jimmy OsmondShayCarl, Stuart Edge, Stephanie A. NielsonShawn Bradley, Danny AingeSheri Dew, LaVell Edwards, Michael Ballam, Connor Boyack, and the Kid History guys.

All the cast members were also there: Bishnu Adhikari (the Humanitarian from Nepal), Ken Niumatalolo (the Coach), Gail Halvorsen (the Candy Bomber), Carolina Muñoz Marin (The Fighter from Costa Rica), Jermaine Sullivan (the Bishop), and Dawn Armstrong (the Missionary Mom). At the end of this post are some pictures from the event.

The excitement about the movie was palpable. Before the movie began, Elders Holland and Bednar talked about the effect this movie could have on the world. More people need to get to know Mormons and appreciate the effects of gospel living. The movie isn’t about the Church as an institution, but about its members and how their faith inspires them to live Christian lives. The purpose of this movie is not a proselytizing effort, but an attempt to help people understand members of the Church. The movie showcases the lives of 6 member families–and there are millions more people just like them who live Christ-like lives.

Below is a trailer for the movie:

Below is a gallery of pictures from the premiere:

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Text of October 2014 LDS General Conference

ldsconf-october-2014The English text for all the conference talks is now available at conference.lds.org and in the Gospel Library mobile app.

On LDS.org, click on the title of the talk to read the text. Click on the video icons to the right of the titles to watch the videos of the talks.

In the right margin of each talk, you will soon see display quotes and a short highlight video of the talk.

Translated texts will be posted to both web and mobile over the coming days.

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