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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : What Non-correlated Technology Is Helping Your Ward? (More Importantly, How Can It Help Mine?) » What Non-correlated Technology Is Helping Your Ward? (More Importantly, How Can It Help Mine?)

What Non-correlated Technology Is Helping Your Ward? (More Importantly, How Can It Help Mine?)

Rusty - January 9, 2007

The former first counselor of our ward is a coding/programming guy and he created a database with all of our ward’s information on it. Legion are the uses and possibilities. Sadly, the two current counselors and the two clerks are all graphic designers (total coincidence by the way) who are still trying to figure out why the Church doesn’t use Macs, let alone how to utilize the database. There are, however, a couple other technologies we’re putting to work for us.

1) Google Documents: I’ve set up the Sacrament Speaker schedule for the year with the date, topic, space for a name, and space for contact info. This is great for us because both me and the other counselor can access it whenever we find someone to speak without having to contact each other or keep two separate lists. It also serves as a quick reference and record.

2) Google Earth: The Elder’s Quorum presidency united our ward list with Google Earth to allow us to open a map of our ward and have little pins showing where everyone lives. Bugs are still being worked out. I’d like it to have some better indicators for the bishopric’s use such as YM/YW/YSA/EQ/RS or active/semi-active/non-active or democrat/republican/independant (j/k on that last one).

What gadgets are your bishoprics/RS/EQ/youth/primary/SS presidencies using to streamline responsiblities?


  1. Check out my site Mormon Hacker. I have several posts on non-correlated technology helping people in their wards.

    For example, Google Calendars to schedule bishopric meetings.

    Comment by Brett — January 9, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

  2. Brett,
    I was reading over there and that’s what inspired this post. Good work!

    Comment by Rusty — January 9, 2007 @ 9:40 pm

  3. When the Lord’s work comes to a grinding halt because Google’s solar farm isn’t getting enough sun, He’s not going to be pleased.

    Comment by Peter — January 10, 2007 @ 12:35 am

  4. Amen Peter!

    Ah, the ol’ Mac users always griping that the world doesn’t use Macs as well. It’s never gonna happen, Rusty. Even if you’re 110% right, it will not happen, the same reason Americans only eat Cheddar cheese! So quite bothering all of us with your complaints!>:)

    Comment by Bret — January 10, 2007 @ 2:48 am

  5. Dear Bret,

    Sadly you are correct. The large majority of the uneducated masses of the world will not accept the beauty and simplicity of Mac. Just as the children of Israel refused to raise their heads in the desert when offered salvation from Moses, many refuse to humble themselves sufficiently to look to Mac for their computing needs. They would rather still be beholden to viruses, con artists, useless upgrades, mediocre applications and greedy IT professionals (who need to keep their jobs). For those of us that have seen the light and been blessed with greater understanding, it is so sad for us to see our brothers and sisters in such a blind state of unhappiness. Our only hope is to continue to preach the Mac and put our faith in the simple truths of Steve. We urge you to join us. Please just use the Mac operating system for one month. You will never have computing frustration again.

    Your brother in computing.

    Comment by Michael — January 10, 2007 @ 7:38 am

  6. Macs are PCs now anyways. :P

    Comment by Susan M — January 10, 2007 @ 7:58 am

  7. Dear Michael,

    Maybe when a Mac doesn’t cost 4x as much as a Dell.

    Your brother in computing,

    Comment by Jon in Austin — January 10, 2007 @ 8:41 am

  8. I am the exec secretary for our ward, and i brought some of these lofty ideas up in Bishopric mtg, and our bishop was concerned about privacy and such.


    Comment by Hayes — January 10, 2007 @ 8:55 am

  9. Macs are not the point here (contrary to what Bret wants to make of it). Please stay on topic :)

    Comment by Rusty — January 10, 2007 @ 8:58 am

  10. Hayes,
    Good point. We’ve discussed that as well. The Google Earth thing is a file that you have on your hard drive, it’s not on the internet so others can only access it if you send it to them. The Google spreadsheet is on the internet but only accessable with name/password just like email. So I guess it’s as private as email.

    Comment by Rusty — January 10, 2007 @ 9:00 am

  11. Hayes,
    If you’re interested in using Google Calendars for setting up bishop appointments, you can set it so only the Ward Executive Council can see it and use it.

    Comment by Brett — January 10, 2007 @ 9:55 am

  12. I’m trying to get the YW presidency and teachers (and youth if they’re interested) in my ward to use Google Calendar (I’m the secretary). So far one teacher likes it (she, like me, tends to lose the paper calendar handed out each month) and one teacher is horrified at the idea. She thinks privacy is too big of an issue, but I never include full names on birthdays (the only thing with names), and I just don’t see how someone knowing that our YW are doing facials tonight, for example, will cause any harm. Everyone else is indifferent.

    I’ve also tried getting the presidency and teachers to use email for things like reminders about presidency meetings, but so far no go. Everyone has email, and they all access it frequently (I asked when I got their email address(es) from them), but they prefer the phone. Email is just so much easier, but alas.

    Comment by Tanya S. — January 10, 2007 @ 10:08 am

  13. The Bishop is clearly concerned about privacy. I have tried to assure him that it is as secure as email. But, he worries that someone could hack into it, see that Member X has yet ANOTHER appointment with the Bishop, and erode the ecclesiastical trust.

    I imagine as the older members are retired from callings, and the newer generation rises up to the leadership spots, perhaps more modernization will be in store (and more efficiency).

    Heck, I am stil tickled-pink that we now have an OS on our computers at church!

    Comment by Hayes — January 10, 2007 @ 10:25 am

  14. I imagine as the older members are retired from callings, and the newer generation rises up to the leadership spots, perhaps more modernization will be in store (and more efficiency).

    Good point. It’s like my mom still being freaked out about buying stuff online. She’s certain someone will steal her credit card number and wreck havoc on her financial life. No amount of reassuring that internet shopping is safe will change her mind.

    Comment by Brett — January 10, 2007 @ 12:24 pm

  15. Anything wrong with using your stake/ward website (under lds.org) for (some of) these things?

    PS. For a ward that is less than a mile in circumference Google Earth doesn’t make much sense for us.

    Comment by Daylan — January 10, 2007 @ 5:06 pm

  16. Some of us older members would love to have you younger guys take over and use email, etc all you want. But there are a lot of older members who really are intimidated by the technology. Rather than being embarrassed and admitting it, they’d rather just use some other excuse for not having to.

    Comment by Don Clifton — January 10, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

  17. Our ward has a pirate website off of the church grid maintained by one of the bishopric members. It has mainly ward emergency prep. information, and photos of activities.

    Comment by gst — January 10, 2007 @ 8:02 pm

  18. Micheal,

    Like I said, you could be 100% right but I don’t care enough. My computing needs are simple and I get more annoyed at every Mac user feeling the need to sell the product to the world.


    Hey, I just made an off-the-topic interjection that so many of us often make in these posts. It wasn’t my intention to throw it off topic. Sorry.

    For on the topic, you’d think singles wards would be most on top of such technology but it is not so. In fact I think it’s worse. Singles HAVE TO be called the night before (or day of) whatever is going on for a reminder or else very little will get done.

    Comment by Bret — January 11, 2007 @ 12:28 am

  19. Our EQ presidency use Google Docs for collaborating on each week’s schedule. I make the basic schedule and we all add items as they come up each week.

    Comment by Kim Siever — January 11, 2007 @ 1:00 pm

  20. I’ve created a Ward Photo Directory. I take the CSV export from MLS and put it in a spreadsheet. Then I added a few columns for name of photo file, names of the people in the photo, email, etc. Then I wrote a program that parses the CSV file, and creates an OO.o Writer document with photos in it. The directory has been a bit hit. Getting the photos was the hard part. Nobody would email me. I had to take many of them myself.

    Comment by a random John — January 11, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  21. i wish our ward would just use email, too. our old ward had at least an rs list and it was SO handy. “sister x just had emergency surgery and we need babysitting for tomorrow and meals for three days.” “sister y is moving and has a free car, two couches, and three lovebirds to pawn off.” we could email with, “hey, does anyone in the ward cut hair or change oil?” and we’d have an answer soon enough. sounds kind of annoying, i guess, but it never was. it was soooo nice.

    in our current ward, more of the older folks have email listed on the ward website than do the younger ones.

    i want to do the google earth thing just for the fun of it, ha.

    Comment by pick a name, any name... — January 14, 2007 @ 10:02 pm

  22. Michael,

    Stick to less challenging and divisive issues.

    I’ll take a “Are Mormons Christians?” debate over a “Mac or PC?” debate any day. Far less rancor, profanity, and insults that way.

    Actually, I think that “Mac or PC?” may just be the great the pivotal American theological divide of our time.

    For the record, I use Mac.

    Comment by Seth R. — January 14, 2007 @ 10:26 pm

  23. Our Relief Society uses Evite for their activity. Very effective. The ward website is great if you can get the members onboard. Emails can be sent out to individual members, specific auxiliaries or the whole ward and our clerks have done a good job of snapping pictures and posting them into each families profile. The calendar is also nice because it has all of the stake events as well. Lastly, it’s nice to have access to the most current ward and stake directory. Again, the members have to be on board, and the ward and stake has to keep the site/calendar updated.

    Comment by Rob — January 26, 2007 @ 1:47 pm

  24. Our bishop uses his Blackberry to text the rest of the bishopric for various reasons. Also, the laurels president mass-texts all the girls in the group for mutual announcements and what-not. This only works because all 7 of them have cell-phones and text. Obviously this wouldn’t work with most groups, but it works great for them.

    Comment by Raizinbrant — September 16, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

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