I began curating quotes related to each week’s “Come, Follow Me” study guide in July 2023 and quickly faced an unanticipated learning curve when it came to navigating the Church’s archives. After six months of trial and error (and a lot of prayer), here are three tips for using the Church’s website to augment personal study.
1. Make the most of available tools.
The sheer amount of information available in the Church’s archives can be overwhelming. Simple searches like “faith” or “repentance” yield hundreds of results. Even when search terms are more specific (“Acts 12” or “John the Beloved”), a person can spend hours combing through results that aren’t always useful.
Thankfully, the Church’s website features tools for streamlining the process. Using the “general conference” and “magazines” filters, for example, can significantly narrow down a search pool, while specific details in link previews can help someone decide if a talk or article is worth pursuing further. For instance, the words “see also” followed by the search term usually means that the research topic is mentioned only in passing.
2. Use discernment, even for good voices.
A narrowed-down search pool can still include dozens of talks and articles. Every one contains gospel truths and valuable information; but even those good, true voices can compete with each other, making it difficult for someone to know what Heavenly Father is trying to tell them. As someone sincerely seeks guidance, however, the Spirit can cut through the noise, helping an individual know which gospel principles are most needful for them in that moment.
3. Don’t read, watch or listen to everything.
Speaking to Church News about the variety of channels through which the Book of Mormon is now available, Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “Not everybody needs to use every channel. I think most of us will be fine picking one or two or three that we use, and then use them well and effectively, become familiar with them. ... So nobody needs to use all of them, but everybody can use at least one of them to share or to learn.”
The same can be said of the many, many resources available on the Church’s website — more than any one person can study. The trick for each individual is finding what works for them and letting go of the rest.