32,000 Mormon missionaries to get iPad minis

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm •  Published: July 3, 2014
Advertisement
;

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Mormon church is moving forward with its plan to arm missionaries with iPad minis and broaden their proselytizing to social media.

A test program that began last fall with 6,500 missionaries serving in the United States and Japan went well, prompting the initiative's expansion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release this week.

Church leaders expect to have the specially configured mobile devices in the hands of more than 32,000 missionaries by early 2015.

Using the iPad minis has proved an effective tool for missionaries to communicate with church leaders and keep in touch with people who have expressed interest in joining the Mormon church, said David F. Evans, director of the church's missionary department, in a video posted on Mormonnewsroom.org.

"We know in many parts of the world, the traditional forms of proselyting work very, very well," Evans said. "In some other places where technology and urban life has developed in such a way that missionaries have a harder time contacting people, we hope that these tools become even more valuable in those places."

Scholars say this is the latest example of the LDS church's gradual embrace of the digital age and its recognition that door-to-door proselytizing is not the most effective way to expand church membership.

The program will expand to all missions in United States, Canada, Japan and western Europe.

The iPad minis are outfitted with several apps that help men and women in their missionary work, including a gospel app that includes scriptures, manuals, magazines and other teaching materials. Missionaries are encouraged to use Facebook to find new members.

"You think about what you've seen missionaries try to carry in their backpacks over the years, and all of that fits into a very nice, small, compact device that they can take with them and utilize in their teaching and their proselytizing," Evans said.

Continue reading this story on the...