In a mobile-centric world where youth are constantly bombarded with voices competing for their attention, the Gospel Living app provides one way youth can use their devices to create a gospel-centered environment, Church leaders say.
The purpose of the app is “to draw us closer to our families, friends, Church leaders, and especially to the Lord,” explained Elder Gerrit W. Gong of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in a recent Church News interview.
“We hope this tool deepens testimony. It can help bring together in Christ our gospel learning, service and activities, and personal development as we plan, record and share things which happen each day that are fun and deepen our faith and testimony,” he said.
The Gospel Living app — a new mobile experience for youth demonstrated by Elder Gong during the November Face to Face event for Children and Youth — was launched globally on Feb. 12 in English and several additional languages. The app was launched in Spanish, Portuguese, French and Japanese in January.
Disconnect from the world, connect with the Savior
Sister Bonnie H. Cordon, Young Women general president, said social media apps often create a comparison culture and a feeling of trying to impress one another. But with the Gospel Living app, “we can share the wonderful inspiring content we find and bless others without the pressure to impress.”
“I personally love that the app gives us the opportunity to soften the noise of the world,” she said. “We are so connected with technology, and this app gives us the ability to use that technology to lift our spirits where other sources may tear us down. It is a convenient tool to help us immediately connect with and point us toward the Savior.”
The features of the Gospel Living app allow youth to access uplifting media, track goals and plan activities. They can record impressions and be reminded about what they’re working on. The app is also a safe place to communicate with leaders, parents, families and each other.
While the Gospel Library app serves as a “library” for the study of gospel-related content, the Gospel Living app can help youth in “living” and applying the gospel in their daily lives.
“The app helps us bring together different aspects of our lives,” Elder Gong said. “We’re reading articles, we’re watching videos, we’re communicating with friends — all these things are wonderful, and they are especially wonderful when we can do it in a way that is Christ-focused.”
Brother Stephen W. Owen, Young Men general president, said the app’s features can help youth establish “holy habits” or “righteous routines” when using technology.
“The Gospel Living app is a counterstrategy that can thwart the adversary’s attack on the youth,” he said.
Though youth already have tools on their phones to connect with each other, most aren’t gospel-centered, he said. “The Gospel Living app gives them a tool to help them participate in the work of salvation and exaltation and strengthen one another as they meet life’s challenges.”
A tool to live the gospel and bless others
Writing things down isn’t exactly something Gabriela Pegoretti Borges likes to do. So when she downloaded the new Gospel Living app and saw she could track her goals as part of the Children and Youth program, she was thrilled.
Borges, 17, from Joinville, Santa Catarina, Brazil, said she loves having a tool on her phone to help her focus on the Savior. “I saw there are a lot of things that talk about Jesus Christ and some things that I didn’t know about the gospel,” she said. “It’s helping me do the things that He did.”
Milla Lemos Nascimento, 17, of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, said she has been using the app to plan activities with her Young Women class presidency. She loves looking at activity ideas, messaging her class and leaders, and reading uplifting articles.
“The app helps me remember Christ more. I am always looking at the app on my cellphone, and this helps me see the importance of turning to Heavenly Father,” she said. “The app helps me find answers, improve my habits, and learn more about the gospel.”
The Gospel Living app can help bring a spiritual dimension to many aspects of living the gospel daily, Elder Gong said.
“We hope our classes and quorums learn and grow together, that our youth leaders and each young man and young woman will encourage and help each other grow, develop and experience the joy of continuing on the covenant path. We can feel a sense of belonging. We can help take care of each other. We can share with a broader group of friends,” he said.
Brother Owen added, “We can be grateful that the youth are using their phones to strengthen positive relationships. By using the Gospel Living app, their device can also become a source of inspiration and light.”
A developing platform
Currently, the Gospel Living app features content designed for youth, but more content may be added with future releases. “This platform may over time be expanded in a number of ways,” Elder Gong said. “But it was created first for our children and youth so they would have something they could use.”
The Gospel Living app is not a requirement for the Children and Youth program. “We want everyone to be blessed by the full program, whether or not they use the app,” Elder Gong said.
“No matter where you are in the world or in your life, if you use the app or don’t use it, the key is really to draw closer to our Savior, to our families and leaders, and to our classes and quorums. This is a wonderful tool that may help us, but the Spirit, the program and our spiritual development are not dependent on it.”