Here is a summary of the top articles from LDS365.com during 2013, along with comments about why they were significant and will continue to be significant in 2014.
LDS365.com provided many articles about each LDS general conference. Prior to each conference, I wrote several articles on how to access conference in person, on the Internet, using mobile apps, on Roku Internet TV, television, radio, and on social media channels. I also wrote about ways to prepare yourself and your family to make conference a better experience.
People enjoyed the recommendations on how to share conference on social media, including a list of recommended hashtags. Then after conference, I let you know immediately when the text, audio, video, and music from the conference was available. I shared conference memes and wordles, and encouraged families to study the conference talks.
General conference is the Church’s premier event and the Church will continue to give it a high priority in translating, broadcasting, and publishing conference talks. The major themes from each conference are highlighted in Mormon Message videos and in articles in the magazines over the next six months. Online curriculum materials are also updated after each conference with quotes from the conference.
The article about the updated edition of LDS Scriptures was very popular. The page listing the language translations of the Book of Mormon is highly referenced every year. And the article 5 Things You Didn’t Know About The Book of Mormon was shared widely on social media.
Technology & Tools for Members and Leaders
Several articles on LDS365.com during 2013 highlighted the Church’s expanded use of technology.
- Newsroom begins using Intsagram
- Use of geolocation and digital maps
- Updated home page of LDS.org
- Video gallery of the life and ministry of each president of the Church
- Improved LDS tools (calendar, directory, newsletter, and lesson schedules)
- Social media pages for LDS leaders
- Improved LDS.org search
- Videos and images
- Use of social media
- Published the 2013 update of the scriptures digitally before the printed version
- Website For Chinese Nationals (MormonsAndChina.org)
- LDS.org made mobile friendly
- Improvements in mobile apps
Read a review of how the Church measures up to the websites of America’s top 20 churches.
Many people rely on LDS365.com’s comprehensive lists of all the Church websites, Facebook pages, Google+ pages, Instagram accounts, LinkedIn pages, Pinterest pages, YouTube channels, and Twitter accounts.
Hastening the Work of Salvation
Throughout the year, the “work of salvation” was emphasized as one great whole, including missionary work, retention, activation, temple and family history work, and teaching the gospel. See yesterday’s article What is “Hastening the Work of Salvation?”
In June, the Church invited all members to a special Work of Salvation broadcast, which emphasized that missionary work is part of the work of salvation, and that it needs to be done by members and as well as full-time missionaries. The Church launched a new website Hastening the Work of Salvation: A Unified Effort in Conversion, Retention, and Activation, which included helps for priesthood leaders, ward councils, ward mission leaders, members, and missionaries. It also included personal study guides to help youth prepare to receive the priesthood, receive temple ordinances, and serve full-time missions. Learn more about the role of the rising generation in hastening the work of salvation.
Teaching and Learning
During the year, the Church continued efforts to enhance both teaching and learning. A new Come, Follow Me curriculum was implemented in youth classes in Sunday School, Young Men, and Young Women. It marked the first new curriculum implemented digitally rather than as printed manuals. The digital versions can be distributed worldwide inexpensively and can be updated regularly. The curriculum emphasized teaching in the Savior’s way—teaching people and not lessons. Youth now participate more and they are more engaged in their own learning. Each month during 2013, I published an article about the teaching topic of the month and provided references to additional resources.
The Church also provided more resources for learning by enhancing the Gospel Topics section of LDS.org. The section provides information about Answering Questions About LDS Church History as well as enhanced pages about polygamy, race and the priesthood, and Are Mormons Christian? In addition, the Church published more of the Joseph Smith Papers collection online and another book.
FamilySearch.org was improved in many ways this year. The stand-alone PAF software was discontinued as the Church put all its efforts into Family Tree, which lets you collaborate online with relatives to tie all family lines together into a single pedigree of mankind. The Church encouraged the collection of stories and photos and provided more online research help. They created a program called RootsMapper that visually shows ancestor migrations. They put online 100,000 family history books and over 5 million Family Group Sheets previously submitted on paper from 1942 to 1969. The Church has the largest collection of family history records in the world.
And for people who don’t have a computer, the Church provided a booklet My Family: Stories That Bring Us Together to do family history work offline.
Indexing continued at a staggering pace, including reaching a milestone in 2013 of a billion records indexed. In March, FamilySearch hosted RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the North America.