“New ASL Products Available,” Ensign, June 2006, 78
ASL Book of Mormon Released on DVD
The American Sign Language Book of Mormon is now available in DVD format, making it easier for the deaf community to study the scriptures.
A common misconception is that the deaf community can simply read material the same as English speakers, but because English and ASL are structured differently, many of those who are deaf cannot read the Book of Mormon.
“With the Church providing the Book of Mormon in their language, deaf members can comprehend it just as you and I,” says Doug Hind, a special curriculum specialist in the Church Curriculum Department.
It also means no more lugging around a bag of 17 VHS tapes and no more cuing to select scriptures.
The DVD boxed set contains 17 DVDs, containing a higher quality version of the same footage on 17 VHS tapes. The DVD collection is $2.50 a set. While the footage may be the same, the most important feature of the DVDs is the ability to search the scriptures by every 10 verses. Previously, finding a specific scripture was difficult for the deaf—they just had to fast-forward and guess. Now they can navigate the scriptures at the touch of a button, and members with iPod technology or portable DVD players can take the ASL Book of Mormon with them anywhere. This full-translation format for ASL scripture appears to be the first of its kind.
“No scripture has ever been done like this as a true translation—even the Bible,” Brother Hind says, adding that the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price are currently being translated.
Monthly Messages Now Available in ASL
The First Presidency and Visiting Teaching Messages are debuting in American Sign Language (ASL) at LDS.org this year. The messages will be available each month on a new ASL page at www.lds.org/asl. General conference and First Presidency Christmas Devotional files will also be available on the page.
Previously many members who are deaf or hearing-impaired could read the messages only in print, which involved comprehending text and a verbal language on top of their primary visual form of communication. But the grammatical and conceptual makeup of ASL is significantly different from any spoken language.
The First Presidency and Visiting Teaching Messages in ASL are not the only recent milestone for the ASL community in the Church. Just months ago, the worldwide leadership training meeting was broadcast over satellite in ASL for the first time.
The First Presidency Messages and Visiting Teaching Messages are published in more than 50 languages worldwide.