Time is running out. By the end of 2012, the stake and ward websites on classic.lds.org will be gone. Wards and stakes are strongly encouraged to begin using the new stake and ward tools on lds.org. If you use the computer for your calling, you will need to know what will and will not be available and how it has changed from the old to new set of tools.
Many of the tools available in past years for members in the Church were accessed from a Church unit page. Tools such as ward calendar, membership directory and lesson schedules were accessed from this single page. To understand the change taking place, imagine replacing Microsoft Word with the whole suite of tools offered by Microsoft Office. This allows members to use the new tools in five unique ways:
1. Simplification: each tool will have its own interface and feel like a separate program. Users will be able to use exactly what they need.
2. Power: the new tools allow for greater functionality, upgraded features and more in-depth usability based on specialized tasks.
3. Integration: separate tools will work together seamlessly without the need for importing information or waiting a week for updates to appear.
4. Personalization: each member that uses the new tools will have access to exactly what they need based on their calling.
5. Security: access to the tools will be limited to members who have a login account with lds.org.
To access the new tools, go to lds.org on your computer or mobile device. At the top of the lds.org website click on sign in/tools menu. Enter your name and password. Each tool requires you to sign in with your LDS account. Your LDS account is associated with your membership record number (MRN). To find out your personal number, talk to a ward clerk or member of the bishopric. After you setup your account, you can personalize your name and password.
The process of migrating information from the old tools to the new tools depends on the specific tool. For example, the old directory migrates easily to the new directory automatically except for any pictures that were uploaded. Members will need to add photos to the new system for them to appear. The LDSTech online forum has a great article about migrating to the new tools. It can be found at tech.lds.org/blog/528-migration.
As mentioned before, the new tools will contain powerful features that will assist members with their callings and membership in the Church. Here is a list of the new tools and how they can be used:
Each member can control the visibility of his or her profile, setting whether the entire stake can see the household profile, just the ward, or just the leadership.
Members can print a directory right at home with all the members, just leadership or complete with photos.
It’s possible to create different calendars for each organization in the ward and then select what calendars you want to view or print together so there is no overlap or scheduling conflicts.
Anyone in the ward can be given access to manage a specific calendar so one person doesn’t need to coordinate all calendar events.
Lesson schedules highlights
Every class, including Primary, can create individualized lesson schedules for every class in the ward. Classes can post lesson schedules so families know exactly what is going on and when.
A “standard” class with a lesson schedule can link directly to lesson materials online.
In place of printed newsletters or emails, the new online newsletter allows specified members to publish news on a blog for ward members to read and enjoy.
Attachments such as a .pdf, Word document or PowerPoint can be added to the site for use by the ward.
LDS maps highlights
You can set up fast offering and home and visiting teaching routes by viewing the locations of all ward members on a map.
Wherever you are in the world, you can look for a ward to attend or temple to visit. Depending on your IP address, Church locations will appear on the map nearby.
As members accept and utilize the tools prepared to assist them in their callings, the work of the Lord can go forward with greater effectivness and efficiency. The digital evolution just over the past ten years has affected the Church tremendously. In a devotional given at BYU-Idaho in 2006, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve explained, “Knowledge has always been important, and today we are at the threshold of new and exciting major technology. Certainly this technology revolution could have enormous benefits for the Church and for your fellow human beings.”