Technological developments are allowing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to collaborate, share and, most importantly, create.
"Create" is the name of an online program launched earlier this year that gives LDS Church members the tools to share their talents through media, whether it be photos, videos, music or audio.
"We want members to have good media that they can use to share the gospel," said Marianne Jennings, one of the developers of the create.lds.org Web site. "Members can use it for lessons, activities and blogs for church-related, non-commercial purposes. By members sharing their talents they're essentially sharing the gospel. That’s the whole idea of Create."
Through Create, members can upload their photos of temples, videos of families interacting, an audio recording of a meaningful testimony or uplifting music, or radio material to air on the Mormon Channel Radio, to name a few examples.
The goal of Create is "to help the church and other members spread the gospel of Jesus Christ," according to the Web site. The media will be available for church designers to use on the LDS Media Library Web site, where videos and photos are currently found.
"We realized that members didn't have a good source for media," said Scott Olsen, another developer of create.lds.org. "Create is a nice legal and safe place where members wouldn't have to worry about the weird stuff out there."
Added Jennings: "I think it's neat for the members too because this opportunity, and what we are asking of them (is) to help us and to share their talents. We have never asked that before; the church has never asked that before in this way. And members are feeling connected in a way they haven't felt before, by sharing their talents."
There has been a great response, both nationally and internationally, from members since Create debuted on May 25, 2011, according to Ashton Smith, another developer of the Web site. Because of the response, Create will open new media formats, including design and writing, in the coming months.
LDS Media Library, which can be found at http://lds.org/media-library, has benefitted from photos submitted through create.lds.org.
Create is in need of photography and videos from all over the world. Olsen stressed the importance of global media because of the international nature of the church.
But the primary objective of Create is quite focused.
"We need people living the gospel," Olsen said. "That’s our biggest need, worldwide."