“Mormon.org Redesign Connects Members and Investigators,” Liahona, Dec. 2010, 76–77
Since its launch in 2001, Mormon.org has helped people get straightforward, honest answers to their questions about the Church. Those answers came primarily from Church headquarters.
Mormon.org’s most recent update—including a complete redesign—still offers plenty of answers and a way to contact missionaries. But now, thanks to a new online profile feature, many answers come directly from Church members around the world.
Visitors to the new site—which will begin appearing in languages other than English in mid-2011—will be able to sort thousands of member profiles by gender, age, ethnicity, religious background, and other qualifiers to find Church members who are similar to themselves. Once on a profile page, users can read testimonies, ask further questions, and in some cases, connect with Church members on social networking Web sites. This peer-to-peer contact allows investigators to get a non-authoritative viewpoint of the Church.
“When people search the Internet for information, they give more credence to the opinions of their peers than to what an organization says about itself, especially when it comes to organized religion,” said Elder Richard G. Hinckley, Executive Director of the Missionary Department. “That is why member profiles are such a valuable part of the new Mormon.org.”
The new Mormon.org is divided into four major areas, each focused on teaching about a certain aspect of the Church: Our People, Our Values, Our Faith, and Frequently Asked Questions.
This section contains the member profiles, allowing investigators to learn more about the gospel by “meeting” those who have gained testimonies of the restored gospel.
“The one thing that helps people get past misconceptions about the Church is if they’ve had the opportunity to know a Mormon,” said Ron Wilson, manager of Internet and marketing for the Missionary Department. “They realize the negative things they might be hearing about the Church don’t line up with the lives their Mormon friends are living.”
The Our Values section teaches what members do as a result of their beliefs. It explains some of the Church’s priorities, including humanitarian aid, families, education, service, and family history. This section will help investigators connect Church doctrine with the way members live their lives.
The Our Faith section explains fundamental doctrines of the Church. Everything in this section of the site can answer the question, “What do Mormons believe?” This section also provides context for other areas of the site. Visitors to the site can learn about our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior, the Restoration of the gospel, Joseph Smith, the plan of salvation, the Book of Mormon, and other topics.
Church members create the content for this section by answering questions on their personal profiles. They answer FAQs in their own words, helping visitors to learn about the Church from its members.