Tech-Talk Feb 2017

Thank you to all who read this section. One of the great things about this new website we are now using is it helps me see what is actually being looked at, and what is not. We had 95 people visit the website last month but only 3 people looked at this section, even after I put in the monthly email that it had useful information. There are several sections, which have considerable time and effort put into them, which are in the same boat. At the end of this month if any section has less than 10 views I will not publish it anymore, unless I am specifically contacted that someone finds it enjoyable or makes comments on its post. I am trying to make this publication enjoyable and useful to you, my readers. The best way for me to know what you need and want is for you to comment on, or like, posts. Please help me to make this the most inspiring newsletter.

Here is a list of sections they may be removed.

  • Relief Society (3 views)
  • Priesthood (2 views)
  • Youth (1 views)
  • Primary (0 views)
  • TechTalk (3 views)

How to use This Site

As you can see we have moved to a new website. I will use this article to go through the various features of the new page. The page has 2 menus, one across the top and one down the right side. I will start with the top menu, and go through the options from right to left. The first option is Contact. When this is clicked you are taken to a page where you can write an email to me with any questions, concerns, and comments. If you use this option make sure to fill in the spot for your email so I can message you back. The next thing on the top menu says LDS.org. If you hover over that tab 2 other options will drop down, Calendar and Directory. If you click LDS.org it will take you to the front page of LDS.org. If you click Calendar, it will take you to the Ward/Stake Calendar on LDS.org. If you click Directory, it will take you to the Ward Directory on LDS.org. Remember when you are redirected to the Calendar and Directory you will need to log into LDS.org. To the left of the LDS.org option is Articles. If you hover over Articles a dropdown will appear with all the categories. If you want to see material just for the Relief Society, Inspirational quotes, Missionary updates, etc. just click on the category you want in that dropdown or on the top of the menu down the right side of the page. The last option to the left on the top menu is Main. If this option is clicked it doesn’t matter what page you are on you will be taken back to the main page that has the last 10 posts I have put up and instructions on the bottom how to logon to LDS.org and how to use this site.

On the right side of all the pages is another menu. This one has links to each of the categories, as just mentioned, and several tools to help you fully utilize this sight. The first tool, after the links to the categories, says Follow Blog via Email. If you click the Follow button it let you get email updates whenever I add content. Next tool is RSS Feed. If you use a RSS reader you can subscribe to either updates to the post or new comments with the links provided. The next tool is Top Post and Pages. If you click on the title of an article you want to read you will be taken to a page with the full article. Under the article are options to share the post with Twitter, Facebook, or Google+; under these links is another with a star that says Like. The tool on the right toolbar that says Top Post and Pages will list the 5 articles that have the most Likes. Next tool says Recent Comments. If you look at each of the posts there are 2 icons under each. The one on the left looks like a speech bubble if you click it you can look at the comments that others have made on that post, and you can type a comment of your own to tell others your thoughts on that article. The Recent Comments section of the right toolbar will show the last 10 comments that were posted. The last tool on the right toolbar says Views. This is a counter of how many times people have visited the page. So as you see this number go up you know that other people are reading the same things you are!

I hope you like this new site I have set up for your use. If you have any suggestions, use the contact tab 🙂

-Calvin Zundel

Relief Society Activity

Well, I did not get any responses about what interests or would help you in this section. I will give a brief recap of an activity I participated in last month. There has been a concern recently that people don’t understand or are unable to use the tools available on LDS.org. In response, the Relief Society had an evening of Technology and Hot Cocoa. It started with Brother Sanders, the Sunday School President, going over how to use technology while teaching. He showed us how to use the TVs available, and how to hook things up to them. He showed us how to download movies and play them directly off external hard drives or thumb drives. Then Shelby Jorgensen, who teaches the Family History class 2nd hour, showed us how to log on to Family Tree and some of the many changes the church has made there. She ended by showing us several 3rd party programs/apps that work directly with Family Tree and make the work much easier. Then Sister Rosier, the Relief Society Secretary, gave us a brief introduction to all the apps the church has developed for phones and tablets. After a short break to dive into the Hot Cocoa bar – which had a lot of mints, caramels, cookies, and chocolate – I gave a presentation on the ward section of LDS.org. Much of it was the information that I have been giving you in the previous Tech-Talks, but I went a bit more in-depth on how to edit your profile in the Ward Directory and explained how to use the Donation, Ward Calendar, Lesson Schedule, and Newsletter sections. It was a great evening that hopefully helped some of the Sisters:)

LDS.org in my life

I have enjoyed helping you all understand some of the tools on LDS.org these last few months. This segment brings that series to a close as I help you see ways to use this knowledge in your day to day lives. For next month’s topic I need your input. I want to know what you want to talk, or learn about. Help me know how to help you. Please email me, or post a comment here. Thank you for your continued support!

During the last two months I have taught you how to access the Ward Directory, the Ward Calendar, the Ward Newsletter, as well as where to find all The Church publications in several formats. So now that you can find all that information how does that help you? In my previous two articles I tried to include a few examples, but I would like to discuss here some examples from my life where each of these things helped me.

Let’s start with the Ward Directory. This is a very handy tool that I use all the time. I mostly use it with the LDS Tools App on my phone, though I do use it on the computer as well. There have been several times when I’ve needed to know who the president of an organization is, so I pull that up on the Ward Directory. Just a few weeks ago my wife wanted to drop something by another member’s house, so on the way back from church we pulled up their address on the Directory and were able to get directions right to their door. Having the app installed on my phone is extremely convenient because if I get a call from a number not in my contacts it will automatically check it against the numbers in the Ward Directory and have a popup with the name if there is a match. When I first got this calling, I used the Ward Directory on LDS.org to generate mass emails.

Several people have asked me why there is no calendar section in the newsletters. The answer is the Ward Calendar on LDS.org, which can also be accessed with the LDS Tools mobile app. If I ever hear about an activity I make sure it is posted on that calendar. I used it not that long ago when the Bishop asked me to make a flyer for the Fall Social. While making it I forgot what time the event was, but after a quick look at the Ward Calendar I had all the information that I needed. If you ever have a question about a ward or stake event the first place to look is the Ward Calendar on LDS.org, it has the most up-to-date information. If you don’t see the event you are looking for use the Ward Directory to contact the president of the organization that is hosting it. Because there has been such interest you will see a new section in this month’s newsletter with highlighted events.

As you may guess one of my favorite sections of LDS.org is the Newsletter. I spend many enjoyable hours each month getting it together for you 🙂 I know that about 40 people visited each of the previous issues, and more visited October’s then September’s. I hope that those numbers continue to grow as you help your friends find their way here and read what I believe are inspiring messages. Since each newsletter has the same theme as Sacrament Meeting it is a great place to start if you are called on for a talk.

Last month I showed you how to access the online scriptures, and just about everything The Church has ever published. One thing that I didn’t mention is that most are available in several formats. Most are available in mp3, so no matter where you are or what you are doing you can listen to the scriptures, your Sunday School or Relief Society lesson, the Ensign, a General Conference talk, Preach My Gospel, and much much more. Many publications, such as the scriptures and lesson manuals, are in epub and pdf which helps you read them off-line or on certain devices – like Kindle. My favorite feature of the Android App Gospel Library is once you have downloaded the text for an item you can use Text to Speech to listen to it without downloading the mp3. This has helped me many times listen to a lesson before I either participate, or give it, on Sunday. I shared last month how online notebooks have eliminated my need to print out Sacrament talks. I also have found it very handy to use the highlighting features when I prepare a lesson. I also make sure that every phone I buy has HDMI capabilities so I can mirror my screen on a TV and let others in a class I am teaching read along with my highlights.

I have also found that having access to archived church magazines helps me prepare Family Home Evenings. I grew up in a house that had at least the last 20 years of all 3 church magazines on hand at all times. Now with a few clicks I have access to all that material, and more – without taking all the physical space or subscription fees. This makes it very easy for me to get coloring pages, cartoons, and stories to help my young kids understand Family Home Evening topics. Have you ever seen the five disk sets for the hymnal or the primary songs? Most of the songs are available, for free, in mp3 format on LDS.org (with and without vocals). This has helped me immensely preparing primary lessons, and also when a branch I lived in had no pianist. Something else that has helped me teach my family the gospel is the illustrated children’s version of the Standard Works (i.e. Book of Mormon Stories, etc.). You may have seen them, they look somewhat like comic books. The Church has narrated them and made them into video files, which can all be downloaded from LDS.org. These are great little “cartoons” for kids to watch on Sunday. When I was part of the Young Men’s Presidency in my last ward all the lessons included several options of Mormon Messages to accompany each section. I found these to be a great way to get people involved and thinking about the topic of the lesson.

These are just some of the ways I have used the tools on LDS.org in my life, and in my callings. I implore each one of you to think of how you can more fully utilize these amazing tools that The Church has provided to you for free. I look forward to hearing your suggestions for next month’s article!

LDS.org Scriptures, Manuals, and Books

Have you ever needed to get a new set of scriptures because yours look like they are a rainbow with all the highlighting, underlining, and notes? Have you ever been asked to teach or sub a class, and not had the manual? Have you ever prepared a talk or a lesson and wished you could get all your quotes in one place? LDS.org has powerful tools that you can access from anywhere to help you with these problems, and many more! On the website you go to the icon in the upper right corner, like you would if you were accessing the Ward Directory or this newsletter, and press Notes (second to last option in the My Account section). Once you have logged in it will take you to a page with 5 options across the top; Scriptures and Study, Families and Individuals, Share the Gospel, Inspiration and News, and Serve and Teach. The Scriptures and Study tab gives you access to all the standard works, as well as giving links to the words of modern Prophets – such as General Conference, and more. Families and Individuals gives you links for/about Family Home Evening and doctrine about Families; as well as resources for Young Adults, Youth, and Children. Share the Gospel has missionary resources. Inspiration and News lets you access Magazines, General Conference, Music, Church News, Social Media, and more. Serve and Teach has resources for every opportunity to teach, and includes a link to the Media Library where you can not only find all the manuals for every class – but also lots of audio, video, and picture supplements to help your students learn. The best part, in my opinion, is that all this content is available off-line in an app for Android and i-Phone called Gospel Library. With this app you don’t need to haul around several volumes of scripture and a couple lesson manuals each Sunday for classes, it is all in you pocket on a device you would keep on you anyway. Once you have downloaded content to the app it is available to you anywhere anytime you have that device. One of the most useful, and powerful, tools with all of this is the ability to have personal highlights, bookmarks, journals, notes, and cross references – that if used with your LDS.org account you can have access to no matter what device or computer you use. To highlight on a computer click and drag over the section you want highlighted and a menu will pop-up that will let you personalize it, like change its color or add notes. To highlight on a mobile device long press on a word and the menu will change from general tools to highlighting tools, then you can drag your stylus(usually your finger) to highlight the desired passage. One of the most under used feature of this system is the notebook and journal section. The first page that we visited, Notes, has a menu on the left side that the first option says NOTEBOOKS. By default it only has one entry “unassigned”, but there is a plus sign next to NOTEBOOKS that will let you add more. Once you have a notebook you can add highlights and journal entries to it. If you have trouble finding a pen and writing in a traditional journal, but could remember to jot down a quick note each time you plugged in your phone before bed, this could be very useful for you. It is also a great way to keep a study journal as you read and highlight your scriptures. What I have found this is most useful for is preparing talks. I can gather quotes and then add them to a notebook, then add journal entries with what I want to say, and I can even reorder things once they are all in the notebook. As I have used these tools they have helped me out immensely in my gospel study, callings and assignments, and overall Sunday/church experience. Next month’s Tech-Talk will be about how to use the tools we have been discussing for the last 2 months on a daily basis. I will also help you effectively use your time in the car, like a daily commute.

The Power of LDS.org

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.