Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are known the world over for knocking on people’s doors to share the gospel. Now people interested in the faith can figuratively knock on Mormons’ doors on the Internet to better understand their beliefs.
In a revolutionary new launch of Mormon.org 4.0, 2,000 Mormons have completed profiles, 13,000 more are in process, explaining why they live their faith and why they are a Mormon. That number is expected to eventually jump to 100,000 as the Church continues to ask its members on LDS.org to consider sharing their faith on Mormon.org.
“The response was incredible,” said Ron Wilson, manager of Internet and marketing. “We read story after story of how this Church has impacted these people’s lives. While every story was different, there was a commonality of a life impacted by striving to follow Jesus Christ.”
For example, when asked what it’s like to be a member of the Church, Shannyn Marie began by saying, “It's like being a part of a large family who cares for one another. There are so many people from different backgrounds and situations with diverse talents, but we are all unified in our morals and beliefs.”
Members also share personal stories and answer dozens of other, more specific, questions such as “Are Mormons Christian?” “What part does prayer play in your life?” “Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol?” and “What do Mormons believe about the Bible?”
“The previous version of Mormon.org was an excellent resource for people seeking to know more about Mormonism to get official information from the Church about our beliefs and practices,” said Scott Swofford, director of media for the Church’s Missionary Department. “The goal here is for people to understand that any institution, any collection of people, is really just a manifestation of the beliefs of its members. It’s not so much what we believe but what we do because we believe that makes Mormons interesting.”
A significant media campaign will begin in late July to raise awareness of the new Web site. It will combine elements of traditional and nontraditional media including online, television and radio spots and billboards. “Like the new Mormon.org, that media campaign will put our membership as the face of the organization,” Swofford said.
The Church will continue to collect member profiles on an ongoing basis. Profiles can be added to and edited on an ongoing basis by the Latter-day Saints who create them.
The profiles are reviewed, but not edited or modified. They are left in the original form as they were submitted. “When you read those profiles you get inside people’s hearts, and it is pretty obvious right from the get-go that people are sharing their own beliefs,” said Stephen B. Allen, managing director of the Missionary Department.
Space is provided on the profiles for individuals to link to their personal Facebook and Twitter pages and their blogs. That feature will make it possible for individuals seeking to better understand the Church to connect directly with individual Mormons. Church members can create a profile at new.mormon.org by logging in with their LDS Account. Only English profiles will be available this year, but other languages will follow.
Originally launched in 2001, Mormon.org has provided an inviting destination for people seeking online information about the Church. Nearly half a million people visit the site each month. While the Church continues to share its message through over 52,000 full-time missionaries (over one million have served since the Church was founded in 1830), many individuals prefer to first seek information about the Church on the Internet before they speak with a missionary in person. Mormon.org plays a critical role in providing that content.