Bloggernacle Back Bench: The new website mormontopics.org

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 18 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

A screenshot of the new mormontopics.org site.

mormontopics.org

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A subsidiary of Mormon.org, mormontopics.org arrived on the LDS web scene a little more than a week ago and I must say, I’m impressed. Designed as a go-to place for those seeking information about the church, mormontopics.org answers some of the most asked about questions both online and off.

Questions include, “Do Mormons belong to a cult?” “Why is marriage so important to Mormons?” “What role do politics play in the lives of Mormons?” and even “Do Mormons practice polygamy?” Regarding this last one, the site answers that no, Mormons do not, but goes on to answer a secondary question of “Why are some people still confused about this topic?” to which it answers, “For a period of about 75 years starting in the 1830s, some members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints practiced plural marriage. Mormons believe this was one of the rare instances where God has commanded polygamy. The other best-known period was during the early history of the Hebrew nation, when the Bible records that the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob, and kings David and Solomon among others, practiced polygamy (see 2 Samuel 12:8). In 1890, church President Wilford Woodruff issued a declaration which led to the end of the practice of plural marriage in the church. Today it is not possible to be a polygamist and remain a member of the church.”

So not only does the site include direct answers but secondary answers if deemed necessary to help alleviate any additional concerns. Plus, there are videos on some of the answers (check to see if there is a play icon on the photos), as well as a revolving set of “Answers from Mormons” — testimonies from individual members taken from the mormon.org profiles that serve to add personal insights into the questions being asked. Oh, and did I mention there’s a “Chat Online” feature as well? Yes, this is most impressive. Check it out and send to your friends if they have questions.

Speaking about cool resources, Jeffery Cannon, a web editor for the Joseph Smith Papers Project, describes in this new Mormon Message video what kind of Mormon history treasures one can find on the josephsmithpapers.org. Guess the central focus of the site: documents! Cannon explains, “We’ve tried, and continue to try, to make accessing the documents as easy as possible. We want everyone with an interest in the documents to be able to use them to learn more about Joseph Smith.” Cannon also describes what types of transcriptions, images, and clickable features you can find throughout the josephsmithpapers.org site. Click in to explore!

Now, let’s look at Bloggernacle takes on other Mormon topics:

Power pick: The Visitor's Choice awards were just awarded in the Ninth International Art Competition: "During the past five months, visitors cast over fourteen thousand votes for their favorite works of art in the Museum’s Ninth International Art Competition: Make Known His Wonderful Works. The winning artworks are among 198 pieces created by Latter-day Saint artists from 28 countries for the triennial competition. The art will remain on display at the Church History Museum through October 14, 2012." Cool. And speaking of art, check out this new Mormon Message video depicting how artist Gary Ernest Smith produced a wonderful landscape mural within the Brigham City Temple. Beautiful!

Techie tip: “If you're still using the stake and ward websites on classic.lds.org, be advised that stake and ward websites will be retired at the end of 2012, possibly earlier. You will need to use the new tools on lds.org beginning in 2013.” So explains Tom Johnson of the LDSTech blog in describing the importance of “Transitioning from Classic Stake and Ward Websites to the New Tools on lds.org” and how to do it. And, the how-to part of this post is particularly helpful in describing the new tools, explaining how to migrate from the old to the new and listing links for additional helps. Click in to read all about it.

Jeffrey Cannon and the Joseph Smith Papers online

Jeffrey Cannon, online editor for the Joseph Smith Papers, says that the website contains documents and transcriptions not included in the printed volumes. Online users can zoom in to images of the documents or click on highlighted names or places to view biographies and reference material. Visit the Joseph Smith Papers website josephsmithpapers.org.

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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