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Bloggernacle Back Bench: Introducing two new Q&A tools

Published: Tuesday, May 22 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

A screenshot from the new "Answering Gospel Questions" site on LDS.org.

LDS.org

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Last week I saw a tweet fly by from @ldschurch: “A new online resource will help answer gospel questions about our faith and bring others to Christ.” I was intrigued. Clicking in, I found a page dedicated to “Answering Gospel Questions,” which includes some timely “Principles for Answering Gospel Questions” including this great counsel: "Be nice." And "Learn from each other." And even “Be comfortable not knowing all of the answers. If you don’t know the answer, it is OK to say so. Tell the person that you would like to follow up with them when you have had the chance to study more about their question.”

And you’ll notice at the bottom some additional resources that take you to pages dealing with “Questions About Church Doctrine,” “Questions about Church Policies and Practices,” and “Questions about the Church in the World.” Fascinating. Click in to learn more.

And I introduced the new Mormon.org widget on Friday but wanted to discuss it more in-depth. This new widget — a widget is a small piece of code you embed on your site, which then is activated as a small software application — is awesome, in that it has the power to showcase Mormon.org videos. But not only that, it allows visitors to your website or blog the opportunity to chat with the missionaries about gospel topics. And even more it has a tab that takes clickers into some frequently asked questions about the LDS Church.

I asked Ron Wilson, senior manager of Internet and advertising for the church, about why this new widget can be so powerful. "Social media is the new town square," he explained. "We provide widgets and social media destinations for those curious about Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so they can learn for themselves who we are, how we live our lives and what we believe." It isn’t hard to embed this little code into your website. The above link includes instructions for embedding it on the Blogger and WordPress platforms as well as includes the code for standalone websites. Check it out, then embed it into your site.

Now let’s find other solutions from the last week in the Bloggernacle:

Power pick: Going right along with the theme comes this lovely post about how questions should be used — as “An Opportunity for Honesty.” This blogger explains about how he met a woman with an adult-onset disability: “She shared with us how her therapist had dared her to go out in public and reintegrate into her life, and how hard it was at first. She then shared with us how, when she'd finally gotten to the point where she was comfortable with re-emerging, a child asked her parents at the grocery store, ‘What's wrong with that lady?’ This is where the woman becomes extraordinary. She asks the parents' permission to talk to their child and explains, ‘I was sick, and because of that now I have to talk differently.’ A very simple and honest answer. To which the child responded, ‘Cool! Can I try?’" What a simple truth that can be, as this blogger finds, used in all aspects of life be in in work, with gospel questions, in relationships and more.

Techie tip: On May 18, the Mormon Channel hit its third anniversary. Isn’t it funny how these tools and sites start feeling like they’ve been around forever? Here’s to many more years of offering amazing LDS video and audio content. As Shalyn Schumann Back, an associate producer at Mormon Channel, said, “On behalf of the Mormon Channel team, thank you for your support! We couldn't have done it without you.”

Emily Warburton Jensen loves searching through the LDS blog world for developments and testimonies that best capture the ever-evolving LDS online experience. Email: ejensen@desnews.com

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