Scriptures: Digital or Print?

by Larry Richman on May 8, 2013

scriptures-digital-printIn the April LDS General Conferernce, Elder Richard G. Scott spoke the fact that we live in a world where technological advances occur at an astounding pace. He said “Depending on how technology is used, these advances can be a blessing or a deterrent. Technology, when understood and used for righteous purposes, need not be a threat but rather an enhancement to spiritual communication.

“For example, many of us have a personal electronic device that fits into our pocket. We are seldom without its company; we may refer to it many times a day. Unfortunately, these devices can be a source of filth and wasted time. But, used with discipline, this technology can be a tool of protection from the worst of society.

“Who could have imagined not very many years ago that the full standard works and years of general conference messages would fit into your pocket? Just having them in your pocket will not protect you, but studying, pondering, and listening to them during quiet moments of each day will enhance communication through the Spirit.

“Be wise in how you embrace technology. Mark important scriptures on your device and refer back to them frequently. If you young people would review a verse of scripture as often as some of you send text messages, you could soon have hundreds of passages of scripture memorized. Those passages would prove to be a powerful source of inspiration and guidance by the Holy Ghost in times of need.” (Read or watch the entire talk “For Peace at Home.”)

Today, we have many options for accessing the scriptures and other Church publications. The Church is definitely moving in the direction of providing materials in digital formats so we can access them on computers, tablets, e-readers, and smartphones

  • The 2013 version of the English scriptures is currently only available in digital formats. Printed editions will become available beginning in August. BYU also produces LDS View Gospel Library, a version of the scriptures you can download to your computer and use when you are offline.
  • The Gospel Library mobile app lets you study the scriptures, general conference, magazines, manuals, and other publications either online or on many different devices. You can highlight, bookmark, link, add personal notes, and add your own subject tags, and all this syncs across all your devices. (Learn more about the LDS Gospel Library mobile app.)
  • The Church used to print manuals for teaching Young Men, Young Women, and youth Sunday School classes, but beginning this year, teachers select from an online collection of lesson outlines those they think will best meet the needs of the youth in their ward. The lesson outlines are regularly updated with the most current resources and teachings and include videos, music and graphics. You can access the lesson materials via the website lds.org/youth/learn and mobile apps.
  • Read the article “LDS Leaders Speak to Youth Using Technology.”

The Deseret News article “The standard works, digital vs. print: What works for you?” contains ideas from several people on the pros and cons of using mobile devices vs. print editions. Some people like the convenience of carrying the digital versions to church, but like the intimacy of learning from an old fashioned physical book.

Which do you prefer to use?

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