200,000 Historic Books Online Free

free-online-historical-booksThe Family History Library now has 200,000 books available for family history research on its website. A growing host of partner libraries, organizations, and volunteers are digitizing historical books and making them available online for free.

The effort began in 2007 to help genealogists and family historians find ancestors. FamilySearch has set up mobile digitization pods at partnering libraries and organizations across the United States. Volunteers are scanning family histories, local and county histories, telephone and postal directories, and other books of historical significance.

To search the digitized records, sign in to FamilySearch.org, then select Search, and then select Books. Or, once you are signed in, you can go directly to books.familysearch.org.

Libraries, organizations, or individuals who want to participate may contact Dennis Meldrum, project manager at FamilySearch, at meldrumdl@familysearch.org.

Learn more by reading the article “FamilySearch Reaches Milestone with 200,000 Historic Books Online.”


Update to the Gospel Library Mobile App

Gospel-Library-mobile-app-iconBeginning today, when you log in to the Gospel Library mobile app, it will be updated to make the documents in the library easier to find.

Below is a screen shot showing what the main navigation will look like.

You will notice some new categories, such as the following:

  • Jesus Christ is a new category to make it easier to find content about the Savior.
  • Lessons groups all the lesson manuals together.
  • Magazines groups all the magazines together.


This is the new category Jesus Christ:


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meet-mormons-dvd-walmartThe movie ‎Meet The Mormons‬ is now available on DVD and Blu-ray in retail stores, including 3,500 Walmart stores nationwide.

Meet-the-Mormons-DVDIt has over an hour of never-before-seen footage and bonus features. One of the bonus features is a new story about “The Artist,” Italian-born Giovanna Nezhati. The DVD and Blu-ray have soundtracks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

See a list of all the stores where you can find Meet the Mormons.

Kathryn Allen has written an article “9 Things to Do with an Extra Copy of Meet the Mormons.” If you can buy extra copies, she gives some great suggestions on how to use them to #ShareGoodness.

Learn more about the movie Meet the Mormons.


2015 LDS Mutual Music Video and Song Downloads

fragile-lds-2015-mutual-theme-videoThe Church has released a new music video “Fragile” to highlight the 2015 mutual theme.

The music video depicts a young man and young woman who struggle with their identity and face bullying. “Remember what you are worth” is the simple, yet powerful message of this song. We must be kind to others, and when we ourselves are hurt, we must turn to Jesus Christ, who knows and loves us always.

You can download the entire 2015 Mutual Album, which includes “Fragile” by clicking here. (The download begins when you click.)

If you want to download selected songs, visit the 2015 Mutual Resources page.

Read more about the 2015 LDS Mutual theme.


7-tip-social-media-lds-callingsThe video “7 Tips for LDS Members Using Social Media in Church Callings” gives helpful tips in using social media for your calling. It was made by the Church’s Pacific Area office.

For more instructions, see my article “Using the Internet in LDS Church Callings” and the page “Use of Online Resources in Church Callings” at internet.lds.org.


Mobile Apps for Mormons

The site Mobile Apps For Mormons (LDSMormonApps.com) has 4 mobile apps I think your family will enjoy.

  • LDS Prophets & ApostlesDo you know the LDS leaders? With this fun and inspiring mobile app, you can learn about our present leaders and all the latter-day prophets.
  • LDS Scripture Mastery. Learn all 100 Scripture Mastery verses.
  • LDS Articles of Faith. An easy to use game to learn, memorize, and test your memory on all 13 Articles of Faith. (An Apple iOS version is also coming soon.)
  • LDS Prophets & Apostles Lite. Do you know the church leaders? Learn present leaders & all latter-day Prophets!

The apps were created by Evan Mullins, a web developer by trade and a Mormon by faith. With his love for the Lord and a career in web development, he naturally gravitated toward making tools that could help him explore and express his LDS faith digitally. He has a passion on working on apps that everyone can enjoy and also learn by using. Some of the apps are free and some are 99 cents.


Want one of these apps for free? Evan will give a free download to the first person to answer one of these questions correctly:

  • Who is the oldest current apostle? (Post your answer below to win a free download of and LDS Scripture Mastery.)
  • Since the Church was reorganized in 1830, which apostle lived to be the oldest? (Post your answer below to win a free download of LDS Prophets & Apostles.)

One free download per person.


Boy Scout Website for LDS Scouts & Leaders


This LDS Scouting website at ldsbsa.org helps new and veteran Scout leaders in their many duties.

The following article originally appeared in the Church News Website a key resource for LDS Scouts, leaders:”

So, you’ve just been called as the ward’s new Cub Scout den leader or maybe the troop Scoutmaster. You’ve accepted the call, buttoned up your new uniform and you’re anxious to get started.

So what next?

It’s a fair question — particularly for members who are new to Scouting or perhaps haven’t worked on a merit badge in decades.

The answer is a mouse click away.

A resource-rich, user-friendly website, ldsbsa.org, is online to help priesthood and other leaders, parents and Scouts of all ages learn the ins-and-outs of the storied outdoor program for boys.

“We felt like we needed something to fill in any gap between Scouting and the Church,” said Mark Francis, the director of the LDS-BSA Relationships Office. “The intent of the website is to provide new [Scouters] with a clear process on becoming a leader.”

Instruction for new leaders in the Scout ranks — ranging from Cub Scouts to the priest-age Venturing — is readily available at the site. Sections are also found for ward and stake leaders to help them best support their local Scout units.

For example, if a man is called to direct the 11-year-old Scouts, he will learn how to register as an official Scout leader and where to receive his required training. Even a Scouting novice can, within weeks, be functioning as a well-trained, registered Scout leader.

It’s no coincidence that the Varsity and Venturing elements of Scouting, which serve the teachers and priests quorums, respectively, are prominently included in the site.

“The Church is doing a lot to strengthen the Varsity and Venturing programs,” said Brother Francis.

A section for parents also helps moms and dads learn about Scouting’s rank advancements, merit badges, Cub Scouting and anything else they need to support and assist their Scout-age sons.

Brother Francis added that the site is designed to be dynamic. Updates and new blog entries are added almost daily. Visitors can also use the site to sign up for the LDS-BSA Relationships’ Facebook and Twitter pages to receive up-to-the-minute LDS Scouting information.

The website also doubles as an archive for news articles and magazine stories that chronicle the Church’s relationship with Scouting that stretches back over a century.

“And we’re always looking for feedback to improve the website,” said Brother Francis.


Answers Received at April 2015 LDS General Conference

answers-ldsconf-2The General Conference section of LDS.org (conference.lds.org) has just published a page titled “Answers Received at General Conference.” It gives examples of personal questions asked by members and inspired answers they received during the April 2015 general conference.

answers-ldsconf-3General Conference gives us an opportunity to learn from living prophets, listen to the Spirit, and receive answers to personal questions. I found it helpful to review the list of questions on this page and reflect on the inspired answers given.

What answers did you receive and how can you share them with others?


LDS Family Home Evening Marks 100th Anniversary

familyFamily home evening is one of the most prominent institutions on Latter-day Saint teachings and culture. Although it has been around since the early days of the Church, April 27, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of the formal institution of it.

It was on that day in 1915 that President Joseph F. Smith and his counselors in the First Presidency sent the following in a letter to local Church leaders:

Dear Brethren and Sisters:

We counsel the Latter-day Saints to observe more closely the commandment of the Lord given in the 68th section of the Doctrine and Covenants (25-28):

“And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of Baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents;

“For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized;

“And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.

“And they shall also teach their children to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord.”

The children of Zion should also observe more fully the commandment of the Lord given to ancient Israel, and reiterated to the Latter-day Saints: “Honor thy father and mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

These revelations apply with great force to the Latter-day Saints, and it is required of fathers and mothers in this Church that these commandments shall be taught and applied in their homes.

To this end we advise and urge the inauguration of a “Home Evening” throughout the Church, at which time fathers and mothers may gather their boys and girls about them in the home and teach them the word of the Lord. They may thus learn more fully the needs and requirements of their families; at the same time familiarizing themselves and their children more thoroughly with the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This “Home Evening” should be devoted to prayer, singing hymns, songs, instrumental music, scripture-reading, family topics and specific instruction on the principles of the gospel, and on the ethical problems of life, as well as the duties and obligations of children to parents, the home, the Church, society and the nation. For the smaller children appropriate recitations, songs, stories and games may be introduced. Light refreshments of such a nature as may be largely prepared in the home might be served.

Formality and stiffness should be studiously avoided, and all the family participate in the exercises.

These gatherings will furnish opportunities for mutual confidence between parents and children, between brothers and sisters, as well as give opportunity for words of warning, counsel and advice by parents to their boys and girls. They will provide opportunity for the boys and girls to honor father and mother, and to show their appreciation of the blessings of home so that the promise of the Lord to them may be literally fulfilled and their lives be prolonged and made happy.

We request that the Presidents of Stakes and Bishops throughout the Church set aside at least one evening each month for this purpose, and that upon such evenings no other Church duties shall be required of the people.

We further request that all the officers of the auxiliary organizations throughout the Church support this movement and encourage the young people to remain at home that evening, and devote their energies to make it instructive, profitable and interesting.

If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings will result. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will be developed in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power to combat the evil influence and temptations which beset them.

Your Brethren,
First Presidency
(in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1965–75], 4:339).

familyThat formalized family home evening, although it had been a practice since the early days of the Church. In a letter by Brigham Young to the Church, for example, we find evidence that he urged parents to bring their children together and teach them the gospel in the home frequently. (See Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, chapter 13).

This month might be a great time to emphasize family home evening with your children. If you haven’t been as regular with it as you would like to be, now is a great time to recommit.

And regular home evenings are not just for families with children. Couples can study the gospel together and singles can meet with other singles.

Learn more about the history of family home evening.



pornography-useIt’s not a matter of if kids will see pornography, but when. On the Internet, at any time in every home, any child can see explicit content in just a few clicks.

Since it’s virtually impossible to “porn-proof ” your family, how can parents teach young people how to avoid it and how to manage accidental exposure to it?

Pervasive Pornography

It is estimated that 30% of all data transferred on the Internet is pornographic and that all the 400,000-plus pornographic websites had about 450 million visitors a month combined—more than the monthly viewership of Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.

Parents need to talk with their children about sex and pornography before they become teenagers. Statistics show that both male and female children see pornography at an increasingly younger age–usually before they are emotionally or psychologically prepared to process it. And they learn from pornography an unhealthy and unrealistic view of sexuality. It’s called the “pornification of sex.”

Parental Reaction

It is easy for concerned parents to panic when they learn that their kids are watching pornography, but shaming the behavior can lead to serious addiction down the road. Shame can set in motion a vicious cycle of sex and pornography addiction, as children who are humiliated or punished for looking at pornography may simply learn to hide it and turn to it more and more to feel relief from guilt. Before long, they may be unable to function without it, which is dangerous especially for teens, who are still forming their identities. As they hide their addiction, they begin to lead a double life, and begin to identify themselves as a “porn addict.”

A healthy response is for parents to talk openly with their children. Help your child see you as an ally to fight the problem together. Children need to feel safe going to mom and dad and talking about it.

Parents can teach children why pornography is harmful. When parents simply tell children that pornography is “bad,” then children who are attracted to pornography begin to think they are bad people. Parents need to explain why pornography is bad.

Much of the information in this post is adapted from the article “How to talk to your child about the negative effects of porn.”

See LDS resources on avoiding and overcoming pornography.


LDS Game: Book of Mormon Heroes, The Servant of Helaman

Earlier today, I wrote about the LDSTech Gospel App & Game contest.

Below is an example of an LDS young man who is creating a game based on the Book of Mormon. Here’s his description of the game and why he is doing it:

book-mormon-game-helamanHello, I am Levi Hilton. I am 13 years old and enjoy creating computer games. I have made other video games but I decided to make one that is based on the Book of Mormon. This game has gospel messages and your kids won’t need to worry about any inappropriate ads or content. Some of the clues in the game need the scriptures to be figured out. In this game, the hero is the servant of Helaman spoken of in Helaman 2. Kishkumen and the Gadianton Robbers are at large. Who will stop them?

One of the things I want this game to do is make people feel that the Book of Mormon is real. Most people don’t know about the servant of Helaman and how exciting the story is. I am trying to make a game that follows the story in the scriptures. The world map is based on the description of where the cities are listed as being in the Book of Mormon. And the type of money used is the same as in the Scriptures. There are also many other different references like these.

If I can get your support in kickstarting this game, I will make it free for everyone. This game may only be used with a PC, or a Mac with a Windows simulator.

Below is a video from his Kickstarter campaign where you can see screenshots from the game and contribute to it if you like.


LDSTech Gospel Game & App Contest 2015

lds-tech-gamesLDSTech encourages developers of all levels and abilities to join in a contest to Create Something Worthy, as part of the 2015 Gospel App & Game contest.

The contest encourages developers to create worthy LDS games and apps. Have you ever wished that there were more games that uplift and inspire? Do you have an idea for an app to make your life as a Latter-day Saint more productive?

Enter the contest and have fun! Many starter ideas are on the contest page. Get together with others developers and creative people to make it happen.

Contest submissions are due by September 18, 2015. For rules and additional information, see “LDSTech 2015 Contest.”

See a list of the apps that were submitted in the 2014 Gospel App & Game Contest.


LDS Youth: Testimonies of ‘Why We Believe’

LDS-Youth-Testimonies-Why-We-BelieveWhat do Mormons believe? A group of teenagers in Southern California explain why they believe, and what it is like to grow up in the LDS Church.

In this touching video, they respond in impressive ways to some of the most common questions of their faith:

  • Why do you believe that Jesus Christ is your Savior?
  • Why do you live commandments? (Word of Wisdom)
  • What is it like being a woman in the LDS Church?
  • How do you know Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?
  • How are you blessed by being part of an eternal family?
  • Why do you believe the Book of Mormon is true?
  • Why do you believe in temples?
  • How do you know that God answers prayers?
  • Why do you want to serve a mission?
  • How do you know the church is true?

Here’s the video “LDS Youth: Testimonies of ‘Why We Believe’.” If you find it inspiring, please share it.

Here is a list of other member-created videos I have shared. If you find other videos you think I should share, please post a comment below.


New Features on FamilySearch


Below are highlights of a number of features that are relatively new to FamilySearch.org:

Pedigree Views

You can now view your family pedigrees in a traditional view, as a fan chart, and as a portrait chart showing photos of ancestors that have been submitted to FamilySearch by your relatives. With a descendency chart view, you can see your descendants and maybe spot ancestral lines to which new information can be added. The charts can be printed and shared with others. One FamilySearch user makes place mats from her ancestral fan chart so her children can have dinner with their ancestors.

Record Hints

With a feature introduced about a year ago, FamilySearch automatically compares people in your ancestry with its vast database of indexed records—the indexing having been done by FamilySearch volunteers—and then offers “hints” of records that you might access.

If the hinted record is indeed a match, you can add information from that record to your family tree. Record Hints can be accessed from two places in the Family Tree section of FamilySearch: the descendency view of a pedigree chart or an ancestor’s individual details page.

FamilySearch Apps

The family history center can be on your smartphone if you use apps such as FamilySearch Tree and FamilySearch Memories, both of which can be downloaded free from Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

FamilySearch Tree lets you view the details of your FamilySearch.org Family Tree. It helps you see connections with your ancestors by looking through the stories and photos. It also lets you add more photos and stories to your family branches.

FamilySearch Memories makes it easy to collect, preserve, and share your favorite family memories. You can quickly record photos, video, and audio to capture events, heirlooms, pictures, and family history stories. You can tag people and events, and all this syncs to FamilySearch.org. You can also make voice recordings and it will turn the audio into text.


The Memories section of FamilySearch.org lets you upload photos and stories about your family and ancestors. You can then tag them and link them to people in your tree. You can record the stories by speaking into a smartphone and uploading the recording or by copying and pasting from a word processing document or email.

In Family Tree, all of the information for living people is private and can be accessed only by family. Items in the Memories section, such as a photo or an audio file, can be made accessible to a wider audience.

For more information about these features, see the article “New Features You’ll Find at FamilySearch.org.”


Video: Family History and the LDS Temple

In the following video, Elder Alca talks about his experience using Family History and The Washington DC Temple.

I loved my mission and how it allowed me to utilize my abilities! Watch how Family History helped Elder (now RM) Alca find out more about his ancestors!

Posted by Gabe Guerrero on Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Here is a list of other member-created videos I have shared. If you find other videos you think I should share, please post a comment below.