Ever wonder what lesson you will be having 3rd hour? Ever put off paying your tithing because you forgot your checkbook? Have you wondered who your children’s Sunday School teacher is? Have you missed an activity because you were not sure what time it started or where it was held? These, and many more situations, can be helped with LDS.org.
LDS.org can be used for so much more than research for a talk, watching General Conference, or letting your friends find out about your beliefs. With an LDS.org account you have access to many tools the Church has created to help members live their faith, and make life a little bit easier. How can you access these tools? Once you go to LDS.org in the upper right hand corner there is an icon that looks like a person in circle with the text “My Account and Ward”– click on that icon. There will appear a list of many different options and a button that says Sign On. If you click any of the options, or the button, a screen will appear that asks for a User Name and Password, if you know yours type them in and press Sign In. If you don’t remember your User Name or Password there are links that you can click that will step you through the process of recovering either of these. If you have never made an account, or don’t remember if you have, click “Register for an LDS Account”. That link will step you through creating an account, or remind you if you previously set one up. If you are making one for the first time you will need your Membership Record Number found on your Temple Recommend, or you will need to ask one of the Ward Clerks for it. Once you have signed on if you clicked one of the options in the list the website will take you to the tool you clicked, or if you used the Sign On button it will take you back to the main page of LDS.org where you can press the same icon to bring up that list of options/tools.
One of the most useful tools on the list is the Directory option in the middle column, under “My Ward”. It contains a list of all the ward members, with numerous sort and filter options. The best part of this tool is it is always up to date with the latest information that The Church has on each and every individual in the ward. If a member has a new email address, phone number, or street address, (and has informed the Membership Clerk, or updated it themselves), it is immediately corrected on the website. The Directory also has the option to add pictures so if you need to know what the Relief Society President looks like you can check the Directory so you can get the name and the face together. When you get into the Directory it will default to Households, this is an alphabetical listening of the adults by last name. There is a textbox with a magnifying glass that you can type in a name to find a certain member. On the left side of the screen is a list of filters. These can be used to see just members in leadership roles, (like the Elders Quorum Presidency), or all the members of a certain organization like the Mia Maids. Above this list of options is a dropdown that says “Mt Pleasant 4th Ward”. This can be changed to see members of other wards in the Stake or to see the Stake Leadership. The most important option in the list on the left of the screen is “My Household”. This option lets you see what information the Directory has for you and your family; it is also where you can change your own Phone Number, Email, and Picture.
Under Directory in the “My Ward” menu is the Calendar option. This shows scheduled events for the Ward and Stake. If you ever wonder if Young Women’s was scheduled for Wednesday, or if that Ward Party started at 6pm or 7pm, or the dates of a Stake Blood Drive – the first place to look is this Calendar. Some organization regularly update their events here, others have yet to use this powerful tool. If you have any questions if a particular group uses the Calendar please contact its President or Group Leader so we can all make the best use of something the Lord has made for our benefit.
After the Calendar is Donations. This option is a virtual Tithing Slip. This reduces the need to track down a member of the Bishopric and gets rid of all the clutter of the yellow carbon copy sheets. With this tool you can pay Tithing, Fast Offerings, or any other contribution that the paper slips are used for. Once you have used this system it remembers the bank account information entered to simplify subsequent transactions. This system also keeps a record of each “slip” so you can review previous donations and if you have a reoccurring contribution you can resubmit a previous donation. You can also access tax and yearend reports instead of waiting for a clerk to give them to you.
The next option is Ward Map. This tool uses the information from the Directory and puts it on a Google Map, with the ward boundaries highlighted. This is great for getting directions for Home/Visiting Teaching appointments. It has the same search option on the Directory, the only difference is when you click on a member/household it not only shows their contact information but zooms into their location on the map as well. The best part of this tool is you don’t need a computer to access this information. “LDS Tools” is a publicly available free app for Apple and Android so you can keep all the information from the Directory and Ward Map tools in your pocket at all times. On the “My Ward” menu there is a Lesson Schedule option. This tool lets you know what is going to be taught in the 2nd and 3rd hour classes. I am in the process of setting up this tool for use. I have a few of the classes in and hope to get more and more configured as the year goes on. If you would like to use this tool and do not see your class please tell your instructor to contact me(Brother Zundel) so I can get the required information.
The last option that I will go over in here is the Newsletter. I will be continually updating this section as I get new information, and include an archive so you can access “back issues”. The presidents of each auxiliary are also able to add articles to this part of the Ward Website. I will send out an email to the ward the first of each month with the headlines of each of the articles. I appreciate any and all help to gather information that will be of interest to the members of the ward. If you have a Missionary Moment, an Inspirational Story, pictures of a Ward Event, etc. please send it Pleasant4thNews@gmail.com. I am trying to have a standing section for each auxiliary so you can access uplifting information for you personally from your local leaders. If you do not see information for a group that is important to you please have its President contact me so the situation can be rectified. Next month I will continue helping you know what LDS.org has to offer by introducing you to the Study Helps available.