Church Materials—in Print or Digital?
August 2014

“Church Materials—in Print or Digital?” Ensign, August 2014, 16

Gospel Learning

Church Materials—in Print or Digital?

hand with smartphone

The man looked down at his hands. He flexed his fingers. Those hands could do so many things. Repair a leaky faucet. Build a table. Lead his wife across the dance floor with rhythm and style.

Then he glanced at the smartphone he’d recently acquired. His hands could do so many things. But could his thumbs do … that?

His Sunday School manual and well-worn scriptures rested next to the device. How he loved those scriptures! He loved the feel of the paper in his hand. All the handwritten notes. The simple weight of them.

And yet he remembered Elder Richard G. Scott teaching that with technology you could carry the standard works and much more in your pocket.1 He touched the faded leather scriptures. He had to admit he didn’t often carry them throughout the week.

But just the other day his grandson used his phone to share a line from one of his favorite recent conference talks. At the time, they’d been out for a Friday-night stroll.

The man didn’t have long chunks of time in his day to study. However, he could easily fit in 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there. He also wanted to access everything the Church had to offer digitally.

A knock sounded at the front door. “Hey, Grandpa!” his grandson said. “Ready to get started?”

The man grabbed his smartphone. His thumbs might not ever fly like those of his children and grandchildren. But maybe they didn’t have to.

“You bet,” the man said. “Teach me!”

As the weeks unfolded, the man discovered more about what his grandson taught him: that the digital world is …

  • Versatile. “There are some things, like video and audio, that you can’t have in print. Digital has everything in one place. You can also take and preserve notes along the way.”

  • Comprehensive. “It’s like a huge library. You can carry the Church publications in one hand and study them anywhere.”

  • Searchable. “Search features can help you quickly find what you’re after.”

  • Shareable. “If you like something, you can share it. It’s an easy way to share the gospel.”

  • Efficient. “You don’t have to wait for shipping. And you don’t have to find a place to put everything.”

  • Affordable. “It costs you nothing to access digital Church materials; and the more people choose digital, the more the Church saves on printing, mailing, and inventory costs.”

So what does this story have to do with you?

Nearly all printed materials from the Church are also available on LDS.org or in the Gospel Library mobile app. Going digital doesn’t mean giving up your printed materials completely—both may have their time and place in your life, but as you get ready for the coming curriculum year, consider evaluating which digital resources make sense for you.

Above all, don’t be afraid to take the digital plunge. There will always be someone around to show you the way.