Implications for Missionaries.

Any discussions around the Gospel Library App on various mobile and electronic devices.
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mkmurray
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Postby mkmurray » Fri May 28, 2010 12:45 pm

Carl Jokl wrote:It seems like the driving force behind this is a level of distrust towards the missionaries (I could be wrong as maybe it is about ease of use but am not convinced of that). I was a missionary about 10 years ago. Owning a PDA was against mission rules. Having a mobile was against mission rules. There was a general paranoia that missionaries having technology would mean that the technology would distract them from their missionary service. Missionaries now have mobile phones but it seems that the paranoia of technology in the hands of missionaries still exists.

It very well could be that the "driving force" as you say is that the Priesthood department (and ultimately the Brethren) are/were afraid that shiny new technology could distract missionaries from doing the Work more than help them. However, there is also a possibility that this was only a secondary concern. Someone shared with me their idea of another possible explanation for the hesitancy, which I share here just to show that there really is no one and only one assumption that can be made without having intimate knowledge and being directly involved in the decision making (and inspiration receiving since ultimately the Brethren made these calls).

It is possible that there is a certain stereotype invoked with men in nice business clothes holding fancy electronic gadgets. It could be that we don't want to give potential investigators or passer-byers the impression that young missionaries are really wealthy, busy business men. Perhaps it's a stretch of an argument, but it has just as much merit (or rather lack of evidence) as your assertion does.
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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Fri May 28, 2010 12:58 pm

Carl Jokl wrote:Well there have certainly been many things to think about. I regret my choice of expression for my original post. Should I revise it or is it a bit late for that now?


Many of the responses will only make sense in the context of the original post. If you were to edit the original post, people reading this thread would likely be confused about what the responders were talking about.

So I would recommend that you simply make a new post, explaining how your current thinking now differs from the wording of your original post (perhaps quoting portions of it, where that would be helpful).
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Postby russellhltn » Fri May 28, 2010 1:00 pm

Carl Jokl wrote:If the clarification of the situation is as you suggest then the issue may be different. I did wonder if the cost situation would be different when buying in bulk but I am not closely enough acquainted with the administration within the Church to know how the Church goes about making such contracts.


I don't know it for a fact, but for a commodity item like phones, I'd expect the church to do it the same way a large business would: As long as the quality was acceptable, cost would be the primary criteria for selection.
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Postby russellhltn » Fri May 28, 2010 1:06 pm

GregAnderson wrote:Then, last year, we received a brand new computer and, again, it had a read-only optical drive.


If it's like the ones I got, it included a flash drive.

For casual use, I'll take a flash drive over a burner any day.
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gregwanderson
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Postby gregwanderson » Fri May 28, 2010 2:26 pm

My niece recently told me that her Stake President (I will only be specific enough to say that this is in Utah) has specifically prohibited the use of electronic devices in their church meetings. While I admit that I don’t know more than what my niece told me, the clear implication is that he doesn’t trust the youth to use these devices responsibly in church… that he expects them to be texting or using Facebook all the time.

Personally, I don’t like the policy. So I’m encouraged to hear that an apostle acknowledged other gospel library formats (besides paper books) in a leadership setting. There seems to be a general perception in the church that The Brethren have encouraged people to study using paper books instead of other formats. (If memory serves, a recent Mormon Channel interview of Elder Scott included a moment where he berated other formats, but this could easily have been interpreted as nothing more than a personal preference.)

My point? I’m glad I’m not in the same stake as my niece. I also think that it’s counterproductive to be completely distrustful of our youth’s use of electronic devices. There must be a way to encourage responsibility before they’re already returned missionaries without blanket prohibitions. After all, these are just tools. They can be used for construction or destruction and they will be part of society for a long, long time.

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carljokl
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Reading the Scriptures More

Postby carljokl » Fri May 28, 2010 11:46 pm

Whatever else is said about the scriptures on electronic devices, I read the scriptures more now that I have them on my phone than I did when I had them just on paper. I don't carry my paper scriptures around everywhere with me but I do practically take my phone around everywhere with me. When stuck waiting for a bus or a train or while traveling it is easy to just go to the scriptures and start reading. Sometimes I have even done controversial things like read the priesthood lesson ahead of time (something which I would almost never do otherwise).

I have access to the scriptures on my mobile but many don't and that is why I will be spending the bulk of this long weekend working on the JavaME app.

Whatever the rocky start this thread may have had I am still glad we are having this discussion because I have been given something to think about. As a technologist I can solve technical problems but it is not within my power to change attitudes, perceptions and policies.
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Postby lajackson » Sat May 29, 2010 8:03 pm

GregAnderson wrote:My niece recently told me that her Stake President (I will only be specific enough to say that this is in Utah) has specifically prohibited the use of electronic devices in their church meetings. While I admit that I don’t know more than what my niece told me, the clear implication is that he doesn’t trust the youth to use these devices responsibly in church… that he expects them to be texting or using Facebook all the time.


Well, we did have to specifically tell the youth to turn off their cell phones and quit texting each other during a youth conference fireside. We couched it in terms of common courtesy, but if there had been a jammer available, we would have turned it on. [grin]

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Postby kcowolf » Sat May 29, 2010 9:28 pm

mkmurray wrote:It is possible that there is a certain stereotype invoked with men in nice business clothes holding fancy electronic gadgets. It could be that we don't want to give potential investigators or passer-byers the impression that young missionaries are really wealthy, busy business men. Perhaps it's a stretch of an argument, but it has just as much merit (or rather lack of evidence) as your assertion does.


This. If missionaries are usually carrying fancy electronic gadgets, they become attractive targets for theft. American missionaries probably have that reputation already to some extent -- enough of them carry cameras everywhere they go, and cameras are still a luxury in some places. The one time I got robbed on the mission, they were thorough enough to take my watch. I'm glad I didn't have my camera or a phone on me that night.

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Postby carljokl » Sun May 30, 2010 1:07 am

It has been mentioned in here about missionaries having "Fancy Phones". I would just like to point out that I am not pushing for phones which are really fancy rather ones which are just a little less basic. Having been looking through a lot of phone specs on the Motorola website and seeing even phones aimed at the budget and entry level markets which support JavaME. Traditionally 80% of phones produced supported JavaME though I expect that to have changed due to the rise of Android and iPhone. Even some of the most basic phones would meet the minimum requirements to support JavaME and so I suspect the reason that these phones don't might be some licensing cost i.e. it is not felt cost effective to licence use of JavaME on a phone which is so cheap. I suppose such costs remain an issue even if moore's law has meant that virtually every phone produced today would meet the minimum requirements.
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Postby lajackson » Mon May 31, 2010 5:10 am

Carl Jokl wrote:I am not pushing for phones which are really fancy rather ones which are just a little less basic.


Oddly enough, the reason missionaries have a phone is to use it simply as, well, a phone. They use it to contact their district/zone leaders and the mission home. They use it to contact investigators, and to contact members to help with the work.

Most mission presidents instruct missionaries to use their cell phones for no other purpose than to replace the phone that used to be in the apartment.

With that in mind, I imagine that the Church then goes with the low bidder.


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