When carefully used, the internet can help members coordinate the work of the Church, strengthen each other’s faith, and minister to people’s needs. It can also help with missionary work as people connect with friends and family and share Church content.
These guidelines will help members apply the principles found in General Handbook: Serving in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 18.104.22.168, to assist others in using websites, blogs, social media, and other online tools and resources in their Church callings.
Remember the following guidelines from General Handbook, 22.214.171.124, when planning to use a website, blog, or social media resource for a calling:
- The creation of a website, blog, or social media account must first be approved by the stake president (for stake resources) or bishop (for ward resources).
- The Church wordmark or symbol may not be used or imitated.
- The online resource should have a purpose and goal and be named accordingly. The name may include a ward or stake name. However, it may not include the official name of the Church.
- Members may not state or imply that the online resource’s content, images, or other materials are sponsored or endorsed by the Church or officially represent the Church in any way. Rather, a disclaimer should be included stating that it is not an official, Church-sponsored product.
- All content should be relevant for the intended audience and should be actively moderated.
- The online resource should include contact information.
- More than one administrator should be assigned to be responsible for the online resource. This can provide continuity when a person’s calling or assignment changes. It also keeps one person from being burdened with updating and monitoring the resource.
- When using images, videos, or personal information, consent from the content owner or the individuals involved is required. Consent may be obtained through a release form, a public announcement, a posted sign for a specific event, or written permission when needed. The country’s privacy laws should be followed.
- Online resources should not duplicate tools and features that are already on ChurchofJesusChrist.org, Member Tools, or other Church resources.
- Leaders and missionaries should coordinate to prevent duplicate communication.
- Online resources should be retired when they are no longer needed. Important media (such as photos and videos) should be preserved in the ward or stake’s history.
For additional guidelines, see internet.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Websites and Blogs
Calling-related websites or blogs can be created to share news, uplifting messages, and photos from recent activities. They cannot be official sites for a ward or stake and should never include personal information. Be sure to only post photos of individuals who have given permission. No commercial advertising should appear on the site.
Social media profiles, pages, and groups can be either public (open to everyone) or private (only accessible to those who have been invited to participate by a moderator). The choice should depend on the intended audience. Social media properties must be properly maintained and actively moderated to increase engagement, respond to comments, and ensure that any inappropriate content is promptly removed. Having more than one moderator or owner will help ensure active and timely moderation.
Leaders are reminded that because emails on the internet can be intercepted and read by others, they should avoid sending emails containing confidential or sensitive matters. Also, since members may send an email to a leader expecting that only the leader will read it, leaders should use a private email account that is not accessed by family members, business associates, or others. The Send a Message feature in Leader and Clerk Resources may be used to send bulk emails to groups of members or leaders within a ward or stake.
The Church provides a calendaring system at calendar.ChurchofJesusChrist.org that can be used to schedule meetings and events and reserve buildings. Ward and stake leaders can also set up private calendars to keep track of appointments. Make sure event descriptions do not contain confidential or sensitive information.
There are many internet cloud file–sharing services that allow organizations to share documents and collaborate through discussions. Only use reputable solutions that provide controls to limit who can access documents. Be careful not to share documents in these systems that contain confidential or sensitive matters. Document access should not be public. Sharing must be configured to use private access controls, sharing only with users in the group or specific individuals. Ward and stake leaders should counsel with their leaders to determine the proper use of document sharing.
Under the direction of ward and stake leaders, audioconferencing and videoconferencing solutions may be used to conduct virtual meetings with leaders or members. Leaders are encouraged to use a free, reputable solution that works well in their area.
If there are no sufficient options, leaders can set up access through the Church to a free Google G Suite account that will allow them to host meetings with the Google Meet conferencing tool free of charge. For more information, visit meet.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.