Mormon App Directory

momorn-apps-logoI’ve written previously about the mobile apps provided by LDSMormonApps.com.

Now, Evan Mullins has created an interactive Mormon App Directory, a free listing of all the Mormon apps he has been able to find.

The directory lets you filter by price, market (Amazon Apps store, Google Play, or iTunes Store), price, and even developer.

The directory also has a contact form where you can submit other LDS apps you know about.

Spread the word about this great listing of apps that could be useful to Latter-day Saints!

 

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Movie: The Cokeville Miracle

cokeville-miracle-movieThe movie Cokeville Miracle opens on Friday, June 5. I had the chance to see it last night and loved the message about faith and prayer.

It is based on a true story. On May 9, 1986, in the small ranching community of Cokeville, Wyoming, a mentally ill man and his wife took an elementary school hostage for several hours before detonating a bomb inside a classroom where the teachers and students were being held.

cokeville-movie-memeThe movie shows how a terrifying a hostage situation can be. But it also shows how it turned out to be a witness of God’s love.

It is a story about faith. A sheriff whose children were in the classroom had to fight his own skepticism and unbelief as he hears many stories from the students of miraculous, heavenly interventions during the crisis.

It is also a story about prayer–the prayers of the children being held in the classroom, the prayers of their parents, the prayers of the townspeople, and even the prayers of people around the world.

The film is made by LDS filmmaker T.C. Christensen, who directed 17 Miracles, Joseph Smith: Prophet of the Restoration, and Emma Smith: My Story.

Here’s the movie trailer for The Cokeville Miracle:

Grammy-nominated violinist and LDS member Jenny Oaks Baker has released a new music video prior to the theatrical release of the movie.

The track, Suo Gan, is featured throughout the film. The music video depicts Baker as one of the deceased relatives of a child inside of the school who acts as a guardian angel. Many of the children from the hostage crisis identified deceased relatives as the angels protected them and helped them to safety.

Learn about the making of the movie Cokeville Miracle.

Follow the Cokeville Miracle Facebook page.

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7 Tips for LDS Using Social Media in Church Callings

7-tips-lds-social-media-callingsThe video below provides “7 Tips for LDS Members Using Social Media in Church Callings.” These 7 tips serve as a checklist for using the Internet to spread the message of the gospel.

Here are the tips distilled into a short list:

  1. Always get Priesthood approval before you create any website, blog, or social media outlet related to your calling.
  2. Pick a platform that is appropriate for your stake or auxiliary.
  3. Do not use or imitate the official Church logo in any way.
  4. Your site or blog profile should not be the official name of your church unit. Add “News” or “Friends” to the name and add a disclaimer informing visitors that your site is “Not an official page of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
  5. Always respect intellectual property and copyright laws. Only post what you have permission to share.
  6. Make sure you have proper consent before sharing anyone’s personal photos or stories.
  7. Actively monitor content on your page.

These ideas are not complicated or difficult to implement – you may be doing them already. Forms for permissions, examples of appropriate uses, and the rationale behind the guidelines are available at LDS.org by searching for “Internet usage helps for members” or by going to internet.lds.org.

The information above was excerpted from the article “7 Tips for LDS Members Using Social Media in Church Callings” on LDSTech.

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LDS Philanthropies: Worthy Causes

The following is information from LDS Philanthropies, the charitable-giving arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These are worthy causes you may want to consider donating to.

Making Missions Possible
2015 Goal: $30 Million

Nearly 30 percent of full-time missionaries come from non-self-sustaining areas and receive significant financial assistance from the General Missionary Fund. Read More

Watch Sister Marina's Story
Sister Marina Andrade developed and strengthened her relationship with the Savior during her mission. Though she fell ill and went home early in a wheelchair, she found the courage and faith to return to finish her mission—a mission made possible by generous donors who gave to the General Missionary Fund
Donate Online Now To The Missionary Fund

New Self-Reliance Services/PEF Initiative Ignites Hope
2015 Goal: $5 Million

With more then 15 million Church Members worldwide, it is not surprising to find members in many locations who lack the spiritual and temporal necessities of life. Read More

Self-Reliance program participants find hope and joy in applying the principals of temporal and spiritual self-reliance.
Donate Online Now To Self-Reliance/PEF

Saving Babies from Becoming Another Statistic
2015 Goal: $13 Million

Maternal and Newborn Care is one of many Humanitarian Services programs under Church Welfare. As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland traveled in a developing part of the world,…Read More

Helping babies breathe is just one of the many ways that Humanitarian Services, also known as LDS Charities, is blessing the lives of families throughout the world.
Donate Online Now To Humanitarian Services

Preserving the Past with FamilySearch
2015 Goal: $2 Million

On a mission to accelerate family history and temple work, FamilySearch is strengthening its efforts to capture records. Read More

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New Menus for LDS.org

LDSorg-menus-2015-05-19LDS.org has just been updated with a better navigation menu. This is another in a series of continuing improvements to make the Church’s official website more personalized and easier to use.

To help you quickly adapt to this change, watch the instructional video below.

Why Change?

The Church carefully studies any proposed changes to the website before implementing them. The changes have to be significantly better than the current state. The team that continually analyzes user feedback recognized the need to make the navigation more intuitive and to make resources easier to find.

To this end, user researchers, information architects, designers, and developers combined years of user feedback with extensive research to create a more intuitive navigation menu. New menus were then tested with 3,000 random visitors to LDS.org. On average, the new menus increased the “findability” of resources from 57% to 75%. (Learn more about the testing in the article “New LDS.org Navigation Menus Make Resources Easier to Find.”)

Goals of LDS.org

Studies show that members rely on LDS.org to help them:

  • Become better followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Serve in their callings and assignments.
  • Feel inspiration and hope.
  • Find practical helps for life’s challenges.
  • Stay connected with the Church.

Explore the New Menus

I invite you to take a few minutes to explore the new menus on LDS.org. You may need to refresh your browser to see the updated site. (Press F5 on a PC or command+R on a Mac.)

  • You’ll notice 5 major categories in the blue header: Scriptures and Study, Families and Individuals, Share the Gospel, Inspiration and News, and Serve and Teach.
  • Under some of the menu items, you will find new pages. For example, under Families and Individuals > Life’s Challenges > Hope and Help, you will find resources on topics like abuse, adoption, emotional and mental health, same-sex attraction, suicide, and unemployment.
  • See the new options under My Account and Ward in the upper right corner.

Look for resources you commonly use to be sure you know where to find them in the new menu structure. Then explore a bit. I’ll bet you find some great new resources you didn’t know about. Then share what you find with others.

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Your Online Image

lds-bednar-social-media-page

Chances are pretty good that you have social media accounts on the web to connect with friends and family. Maybe you use the Internet to communicate with members or do missionary work.

Remember that what you post, share, or display on the web in any form says a lot about you, and a lot more about the Church you represent, so a periodic assessment of your web presence is timely and appropriate.

  • Go to your social media accounts and scroll through the posts, tweets, pictures, and videos you have shared.
  • Ask yourself if they are a good reflection of you as a person.
  • Consider whether they portray you as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
  • Are there any changes you want to make in future things you share?

Portions of this article were excerpted from “7 Tips for LDS Members Using Social Media in Church Callings” on LDSTech.

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Gospel Library for Windows 8.1

windows-8Gospel Library for Windows 8.1 is closer to becoming a universal app that will work the same across all Windows devices. Your LDS Account keeps annotations in sync on all your devices and platforms.

The new releases for Windows mobile and desktops have added refinements that support peripherals, accessories and traditional file management tools. Links to social media and email make sharing easy throughout.

Learn more about using Gospel Library for Windows 8.1 by reading these two articles:

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Family History Mobile Apps On the Go

family-history-apps-lds

Many apps are available for mobile devices to help you with family history work—especially on the go.

The following article, “On the Go? Family History Apps Will Go with You,” originally appeared in the Church News.

With the accessibility of phones, tablets, and helpful apps being developed constantly, family history work is easier than ever before and is available to people of all ages.

During the RootsTech 2015 conference held in the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City on February 14, in a session titled “Family History on the Go Using Phones and Tablet Apps,” genealogist Crystal Beutler and app developer Rhonna Farrer joined forces to talk about apps and how to incorporate them into family history research.

“With the aid of our phone and tablet we are no longer bound to big blocks of time to get started or get our [family history] work done,” said Sister Farrer. “You will be surprised what you can do with your phone in just 10 minutes using your mobile devices. Next time you are … at the salon or you are waiting at a dentist appointment, … use [that time] to do family history.”

With many options available to do family history work on a mobile device, Sister Farrer and Sister Beutler shared a list of ideas—and apps—to help individuals get started.

First, they talked about websites that create a family tree that can also be accessed from a phone or tablet.

“You can do research on your phone,” said Sister Beutler. “Ancestry, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch all have tablet and phone apps. The apps sync with your computer so whether you are working on your computer, tablet, or phone, all of the information in your tree is consistent.”

In order to understand the difference between the sites, Sister Beutler explained their abilities and how they vary. With Ancestry and MyHeritage, an individual’s family tree is his or her own—meaning it cannot be changed by others unless they are invited and given permission to do so. These trees have the ability to share information with others publicly or be kept private. Individuals can view the trees of others if the creator has made the tree public.

“FamilySearch is different from Ancestry and MyHeritage in the sense that it is one global tree shared by all,” she said. “So everyone that is using FamilySearch contributes to and edits the same tree. We are all working together to find our ancestors and share pictures and stories about them.”

When someone creates a tree in FamilySearch, information they submit can be viewed and changed by others without their consent. Along with that, individuals can view and change information submitted by someone else without their consent.

“Ancestry and MyHeritage now have the ability to link to FamilySearch, so that means you can work in Ancestry or MyHeritage and then link to FamilySearch and contribute and extract information … without compromising your individual tree,” Sister Beutler said. “Right now, you have to do [that step] from a computer, but I am sure it is only a matter of time [before it will be available in an app].”

Another way individuals can do family history work utilizing their phone is through using a cemetery app.

“Sometimes you get stuck doing research,” said Sister Beutler. “A lot of times I’ve had success finding information about my ancestors using cemetery apps.”

A few different apps allow individuals to look up their ancestors in a database made up of contributions from cemeteries, historical societies, and volunteers. Often these apps also include obituaries, pictures, and biographies. Some even give the option to request a picture of a headstone.

“If you know where an ancestor is buried, you can request that a volunteer in the area photograph a headstone for you and upload it to the database where you can extract it,” she said. “And you can contribute to their database by taking photos of headstones and uploading them in to the app, which will then help other people who are looking for those people.”

Another tool for family history work is the camera on a mobile device. Too often there is only one tangible—and often weathered—photo left for generations in a family.

“The camera feature on your phone or your tablet can be used as a scanner,” said Sister Beutler. “If you are at a relative’s house and they have that coveted family photo that everybody wants and nobody ever gets around to getting the picture out of the frame, use your phone to take a picture of it. If you are in the library and you find a book full of information that you want, rather than running to the copy machine or writing it all down by hand, use your phone and take a picture of those documents. The same goes for old records in boxes you have—such as documents—use your phone and take a picture.”

Cameras are a great tool to create a digital inventory and capture family heirlooms and keepsakes.

“After scanning with your phone you can improve the quality of your photo with apps,” said Sister Farrer. Individuals can even enhance a photocopy of a photo with apps—and it takes only a few minutes.

Different apps use filters, allowing people to restore their photos to cleaner and clearer images, which can then be saved for other projects, printed from a phone, or used for more than just a family history. Some ideas the presenters shared were to use the images on reunion invitations, T-shirts, and other products.

One of the most important ways to use a phone or tablet to do family history is through apps that help document a personal history.

“Now it is really easy to create your personal history with your phone,” said Sister Beutler. “It only takes a minute or two to write down bullet points about certain events in your life. … [If] all you are going to get to are those bullet points, the memories will be priceless to your children and to your grandchildren once you are gone.”

A few apps the presenters suggested were Blogger, Day One, and Project Life.

“If you need ideas to write about, there are even places you can go to get help,” she said.

Many social media sites have “write your story” prompts that provide a weekly topic to help people get their histories written. Through documenting photos, thoughts, and experiences—even if they are brief—individuals are creating their own family history.

“We are the bridge builders between the past and the future,” Sister Beutler said.

Sister Farrer added, “We are building that bridge between the past and the future. If we don’t do it, who will?”

Visit RootsTech.org to view this session and other sessions from RootsTech 2015.

 

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Video: Seminary Funk – LDS Seminary Parody

seminary-funk-videoHere’s a Seminary Funk parody video that a group of LDS seminary teachers created on their last day of class. You may want to share it with your children or with others as a fun way to reinforce the value of seminary.

Here is the description posted with the video:

We are early-morning seminary teachers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Seminary is a four-year religious education program for high school youth. We meet five days a week to study the Holy Scriptures.

Currently there are over 390,000 seminary students in over 170 countries in the world. Many attend classes before school. The purpose is to help youth and young adults understand and rely on the teachings and Atonement of Jesus Christ.

In many areas (including north Peoria), teachers are not paid; we prepare lessons every day in addition to holding full-time or part-time jobs, family responsibilities, and influencing our communities. Over 250 students are enrolled in north Peoria, Arizona, representing Liberty High School, Sunrise Mountain High School, Basis and Glendale Prep.

For more information about seminary, visit seminary.lds.org.

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.

Lyrics by Jared Johnson:

This one’s for the real cool, those Mormon kids in high school
This one’s for those freshman, those sophomores, those upperclassman

Snorin’, droolin’, it ain’t looking too pretty
If you’re showin’ up, better show on time
‘Cause class starts at 5-fiddy (5:50)

I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
We’re gonna feel the Spirit, yeah
I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
If you talk too much, you won’t hear it, yeah
I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
We testify that the Church is true
I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
Yeah, we do it all for you

Mom sent you, Hallelujah
Dad sent you, Hallelujah
Your bishop sent you, Hallelujah
Cause Seminary Funk gonna give it to ya
Seminary Funk gonna give it to ya
It’s early morning and we’re at the church, don’t believe me, just watch

Don’t believe me, just watch

Stop! Wait a minute
It’s devotional, put some feeling in it!
We’re talking ’bout Church history
The pioneers in D&C (Doctrine & Covenants)
They went from Kirtland, to Missouri, Nauvoo, then Salt Lake City
Those early Saints, they were cold and hungry
They didn’t have a “fresh jar o’ Skippy”

I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
We got candy, muffins and donuts, yeah
I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
We got cheesy jokes, that’s a bonus, yeah
I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
We got games for scripture mastery
I’m too tired. (Wake up!)
Yeah, we do it all for free

Girls, tell me Hallelujah
Guys, tell me Hallelujah
Teachers, tell me Hallelujah
Cause Seminary Funk gonna give it to ya
Seminary Funk gonna give it to ya
It’s early morning and we’re at the church, don’t believe me just watch

Don’t believe me, just watch

Oh, what do you do in the summertime
When you get to sleep in and you’re feeling sublime
It might sound great, but it won’t be the same
I got a blank space, baby, and I’ll write your name

Seminary wake you up, seminary wake you up

Chase! Jump on it
If you know your scriptures, then flaunt it
If you’re righteous, then own it
If you’re livin’ the life, then show it

Chase! Jump on it
If you know your scriptures, then flaunt it
It’s early morning and we’re at the church, don’t believe me just watch

Don’t believe me, just watch

Seminary wake you up, seminary wake you up

Shout out to the Peoria Arizona North Stake
Liberty High School and Basis, we never go out of style
Take me to church, comin’ at ya like a dark horse
Give it up one more time for your teachers in seminary!


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The video below was made by the young men of the Pasadena Stake as as a surprise for the young women. This is a parody of the song “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction.

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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LDSface2face-bednar-1

In a historic event, Elder David A. Bednar and his wife, Sister Susan Bednar, answered questions from youth all over the world in a live “Face to Face” online event May 12.

LDSface2face-bednar-2There were 114,000 live streams in 10 languages to groups of youth in 98 countries. The streams were carried on youth.lds.org, the Mormon Channel on YouTube, the LDS Youth Facebook page, and the Church satellite system. A seminary class from the Philippines and a youth group from Guatemala also participated in the live event. Elder Bednar, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, called it “the largest mutual activity in the history of the restored Church.”

Using the hashtag #LDSface2face and Church social media channels, youth of all ages and nationalities sent in their questions, concerns, and remarks in the form of 5,000 comments on Church social media and over 10,000 tweets. Although Elder and Sister Bednar could not answer every submitted question, they expressed the hope that the youth would receive much more than he and his wife were able to say. “As together we interact, seeking for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, then people will … receive impressions and inspiration by the power of the Holy Ghost and they will hear things that are not said.” he said.

LDSface2face-bednar-3The Bednars answered questions about how they met, how to deal with opposition, what it’s like to be an Apostle, how to stand up for personal beliefs, and how to gain a testimony.

A young woman from French Polynesia asked about self-esteem and beauty. Elder Bednar used his wife as an example of beauty, saying, “If you want to know what virtue looks like, it’s sitting right here and that’s beauty. There is not another woman on the planet who is more beautiful than Sister Bednar, because of what is inside her.”

It was great to talk to an Apostle one-on-one,” said Alex Lyon, a young man who attended the live event. “Instead of being behind a podium, he was there with us. It was such a spiritual opportunity, and he and Sister Bednar gave me lots of ideas and answers to questions I’ve been dealing with for a while.”

LDSface2face-bednar-4The Bednars counseled the youth to seek their own answers by turning to the scriptures, and they counseled the youth about how to better recognize the promptings of the Holy Ghost. “When you have questions, you need to make sure that you include the Lord as your partner in seeking answers,“ said Sister Bednar.

Although it was promoted as an event for youth. All adults can benefit from the wise counsel from the Bednars. I encourage you to watch the “Face to Face” event with Elder and Sister Bednar. You can also download the video from that page to watch it later offline.

Below are a few memes created by members from the event:

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Streaming LDS Church Media

The following originally appeared as the articles “Streaming Church Media,” Part 1 and Part 2 on LDStech:

Many members stream LDS content to their mobile devices, laptops, and computers, but are at a loss when asked to use audio-visual equipment at Church or select add-on hardware to bring Church media to their HDTVs. If you need help, this begins a two-part article on media streaming. The first part will cover basic streaming options at home and in meetinghouses, and the second will focus on add-on products for Internet TV and how well they perform with LDS media.

Typical sources of Church content are LDS.org, Mormon Channel.org and other Church web sites, or public channels such as YouTube. LDS apps, such as Gospel Library, Mormon Channel, and BYUTV also offer streaming.

Basic Requirements

When you stream media, you need a receiving device connected to the Internet and a way to deliver the stream to the device’s display or to another digital display. When considering your streaming options, the stream may start as downloaded media from the Internet which you view at a later time with a media player. You are probably familiar with using your smart phone, tablet, PC, or Mac connected to the Internet for streaming through a web browser or from a mobile app. Another choice is a “smart TV” connected to a network with a built-in web browser.

When you add a second output device to view streamed content, the two must connect (wired or Wi-Fi) with some type of hardware and software. If your source is streamed from the Internet directly, where and how you connect can be crucial. An Internet browser will not stream from YouTube at the meetinghouse because it will be blocked at the firewall. The solution is to capture content at home and stream with a media player. Streaming from [your device with the content already downloaded] in meetinghouses is preferred to avoid bandwidth issues.

Wired Connections

To connect source and destination with a wired cable, the source device has to be compatible with the destination and both share a supported screen resolution. You set a laptop to mirror to an attached projector. A wired connection between a tablet or smart phone and an HDTV requires an adapter specific for the device and a cable to connect the two. Samsung has an adapter for Samsung android mobile devices. Apple sells a Lightning digital TV adapter or older 30-pin VGA adapter, and Surface tablets have compatible Windows adapters. Purchasing numerous adapters for meetinghouses to accommodate member preferences may not be practical, but some members purchase adapters and cables for themselves and use them successfully with meetinghouse projectors and digital TVs.

Network Devices

Becoming more common is the use of Internet TV add-on products for Internet streaming. Such devices are marketed as set-top boxes (iSTB), dongles, or gaming consoles. They deliver streaming on channels, apps, or “mirroring” from mobile devices. Products and processes to support Internet TVs will be covered in the next article.

The following is part 2 of the series of articles:

The Church has a keen interest in making the content on its websites, broadcast channels, and mobile platforms widely available in as many languages as possible. If you have a smart TV with a built in web browser, you need only connect the TV to your network and browse Church media. If not, you are a good candidate for an add-on product. There are a number of such devices; some are better or worse for streaming LDS media.

This article explores the more popular Internet TVs and how well they deliver LDS content.

They are marketed as set-top boxes (iSTB), dongles, sticks, or game consoles. Common brands include Roku, Chromecast TV, Apple TV, (Western Digital) WD TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox. They connect to an HDTV with a cable, are configured on networks, and deliver content through channels, apps, or “mirroring” from mobile platforms. Here’s a description of each:

Roku

A Roku has the most built-in channels for media streaming, and both Mormon Channel and BYUTV may be added. A Roku comes with a remote to turn it on, add channels, and make selections. A Roku stick has much of the same functionality as the Roku box. Roku does not have a built-in web browser so you are limited to the two sponsored Church channels, both of which feature live streaming of general conferences, BYU sports, CES firesides, music, or talk radio. You may also plug in a USB flash drive to your Roku and stream media you downloaded from Church websites using the Roku media channel.

Chromecast TV

Chromecast TV does not have channels built in, nor does it have a remote. To use a Chromecast TV for Church-sponsored media, you use an Android mobile platform and Android apps for Mormon Channel, BYUTV, or the Google Chrome browser with a plug-in extension to mirror or “cast” from your mobile screen to your HDTV. Not all mobile apps “cast” their screens, but LDS apps do. The connection is made from an icon that looks like a rectangle intersected by an upward pointing triangle inside LDS mobile apps or from the mobile browser.

Apple TV

Apple TV comes with a remote and has many channels built in, but does not allow you to add Mormon Channel or BYUTV. To stream LDS content connect, use an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to connect wirelessly to the Apple TV with Airplay and mirror from LDS mobile apps to your HDTV. Airplay is part of the iOS operating system, so you do not need to install a separate app, and mirroring works reliably over a range of Apple mobile products. Many stakes and wards use Apple TVs at meetinghouses because there are many iOS users. Streaming can be direct from Church websites, but best practice is to download content at home and use Airplay to mirror from a media player.

WD TV (Western Digital)

Western Digital supports the most media formats of all Internet TVs. A few entertainment channels are built in, but no provision is made for adding LDS channels. Instructions recommend installing a WD TV remote app to seamlessly control the WD TV from a Miracast-enabled smart phone, or use a USB flash drive with media downloaded in a supported format. Plug the USB drive into the port on the side of the WD TV and use the remote to select that port as your input source. On a home network, browse through shared folders on network devices and stream media directly to your HDTV.

Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire has many built in channels and the ability to add apps from the Amazon store. For users who have Amazon Prime with Amazon Instant Video, this may be excellent for entertainment. Voice commands to the remote make finding content intuitive. The only Church app currently supported, however, is Mormon Channel – Music, though screen casting on Miracast-enabled devices such as Kindle Fire is supported. The Church is evaluating, but at present Amazon Fire is not the best source for LDS content.

Other Internet TVs are on the market. The Church is currently evaluating Church media on Xbox. Gamers may find this welcome news. Before purchasing an Internet TV, look at reviews and talk to friends. From among the choices available, you are bound to find one that suits your needs.

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parent-child-discussionAdolescents who have open communication with their parents–whose parents are talking to them about the hard topics–tend to have stronger self-esteem and be higher critical thinkers and be more aware of the dangers of things like pornography. 

The following article originally appeared in the Deseret News National Edition, “The porn talk works: If parents dislike porn, kids will too.

Talking to children about pornography may not just help them dislike it, it may also insulate them against lowered self-esteem if a future romantic partner chooses to view it, according to a recent study.

The study, by researchers at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, found that children of parents who regularly talked about how they don’t like pornography because of the messages it contains and how it negatively affects individuals and society expressed more negative attitudes about pornography as college students. Those negative attitudes then translated into less pornography use, said author Eric Rasmussen, an assistant professor in the College of Media & Communication.

“When parents are saying ‘This has negative effects,’ kids are internalizing that,” he said. “Those conversations in middle school and high school actually persist into emerging adulthood when kids are off on their own.”

While numerous studies show active parental mediation, such as talking and explaining things, is one of the most effective ways to reduce negative media effects on children, this is one of the first studies to look specifically at active parental mediation and attitudes about pornography, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of Children and Media.

“There’s so much to be studied here,” Rasmussen said. “This gives us hope that research shows parents should talk to their kids about pornography.”

Stronger self-esteem

Researchers asked more than 300 college students about conversations they remember having with their parents as adolescents regarding pornography, times they had been caught viewing pornography, current pornography use for themselves as well as their sexual partner, plus questions on self-esteem and attitudes about pornography.

Both girls and boys who were caught looking at porn got more anti-porn talks from their parents, and in addition to developing more negative views of pornography were less likely to report lowered self-esteem when they knew their romantic partner was viewing pornography.

“Talking to adolescents about the negative effects of pornography appears to build the resilience of emerging adults when they become involved in a relationship with somebody whose actions could otherwise damage their self-esteem,” according to the study.

Such a finding is interesting, says Rasmussen, because numerous studies have pointed out the damaging and traumatic effects, particularly for women, of a partner’s pornography habits.

Rasmussen said they don’t know whether their resiliency finding is tied specifically to conversations about pornography or if it’s simply an indicator of healthy parent/child communication and parenting styles, which have also been shown to increase self-esteem among adolescents.

“It makes sense, because adolescents who are in an open communication environment with their parents, whose parents are talking to them about the hard topics tend to have stronger self-esteem and be higher critical thinkers and be more aware of the media’s role in their life,” said Stacey Hust, an associate professor of communication at Washington State University and associate director of the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion Research who wasn’t involved with the study. “That finding wasn’t surprising but it’s a fairly novel thing for a study to do, (and) I hope that it sparks other researchers to examine that.”

Talking matters

Having conversations about important topics is a good way to convey a sense of trust and confidence in a child and support their autonomy, explained Michelle Givertz, an associate professor of communication studies at California State University, Chico.

Autonomy-supportive parents not only talk to their children about choices and consequences, but they let their children choose so they learn what it takes to choose wisely.

Helicopter parents, or those who shield their children from consequences, may not only prevent experiential learning, but they may also avoid talking about important topics like drugs, bullying, sex or pornography because they “don’t think the child can handle it,” Givertz said.

“So I would think that extrapolating from that back to pornography, it’s about teaching kids from a very early age and not being afraid of issues,” said Givertz, who was not involved with the study. “It’s about open communication, age-appropriate communication little-by-little as things come up.”

Parents can even use media, positive or negative, to spark conversations about real life, says Hust.

Whether it’s a commercial, movie or music video, parents can ask their children questions about an individual or character’s behavior, dress or attitude, and whether those expressions align with or stray from family values — conversations that should begin “as soon as you’re willing to let a child use media,” Hust said.

However, despite a body of research with encouraging findings, there are several reasons why parents may not be having these conversations.

The first may be that they’re simply unaware of the extent and nature of what their children are watching, Hust said. Other parents are uncomfortable about certain topics and feel they lack the conversational tools, while others may simply be too tired and figure their teens won’t listen anyway — a finding that this study helps refute, says Hust.

She encouraged parents to become aware of their children’s media use, as well as consider their own feelings for certain media and then express those thoughts to their kids in the course of everyday life.

“Our kids are going to learn about sex and pornography from the media, whether their parents are involved or not,” Rasmussen said. “So if parents have any ounce of concern about how their kids approach media and pornography, this research shows that parents’ influence can be stronger than the media influence. Parents are in the best position to influence their kids’ media habits.”

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New Resources in Gospel Library Mobile App

Gospel-Library-mobile-app-iconThis article describes recent updates to the Gospel Library mobile app and resources added to the library in April.

With the Gospel Library mobile app, you can download and study the scriptures, general conference addresses, Sunday manuals, and other Church content. The app allows you to search, bookmark, annotate, link, and highlight content. When you log in with your LDS Account, all your notes and highlights will sync across all your devices.  Available for most platforms. See mobile.lds.org.

New Content

  • April 2015 general conference messages in text, audio, or video in 87 languages.
  • May 2015 Liahona or First Presidency and visiting teaching messages in 53 languages.
  • May 2015 Ensign, New Era, and Friend in English.
  • Book of Mormon in American Sign Language.
  • Hymns in 15 languages (Chinese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Kekchi, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Romanian, Russian, Swedish, and Ukrainian).
  • Children’s Songbook in 8 languages (Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Kekchi, Lithuanian, Ukrainian).
  • Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel institute cornerstone course in English.

Updated Navigation

The menus in the app were updated to make the documents in the library easier to find.

New Features

  • iOS 3.4.8 update:
    • Improved search (highlight results; display occurrences).
    • Made audio listening more prominent.
    • Optimized content layout for iPhone 6.
  • Began notifications within the app (Android) to notify users about new content.
  • Published a new User’s Guide in English for Android.

Usage

  • The mobile app is accessed by 2.5 million devices every month.
  • About 60 million sessions per month.
  • Users made 15 million annotations in April.

 

 

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Missionaries Who Return Home Early

brave-lds-missionaries-videoA group of LDS missionaries who returned home early from their missions have shared their feelings in a music video “BRAVE: A Message for Early Returning Missionaries.”

The video features 14 returned missionaries who ended their service short. Each missionary holds up cards that explain the difficulty of returning home early and words of encouragement for moving forward and keeping the faith.

The video was written and directed by Ashley Sargeant, who knows first-hand how hard it is to return home early from serving an LDS mission. Many missionaries who come home early feel ashamed, depressed, anxious, hopeless, and even judged. Ashley decided there needed to be more people speaking up and helping those who come home early—no matter what the reason—which led her to the creation of this new music video.

She has also created the website DontstopSargeant.com, a Facebook page, and an Instagram account as a network of support for both early-returning missionaries and those struggling to overcome mental health challenges.

I encourage you to share this video with those you know who have returned home early from a mission, are losing hope of moving forward with their life, or are considering abandoning their testimony.

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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