Mormon Thoughts About the Temple Using Google Voice

google-voiceSo, we’re going to try something a little different and creative, something that I haven’t seen done anywhere else on the internet, and certainly not in the Bloggernacle, so we’re setting a new precedent here.  You get to hear so much from me, but we don’t often get to hear from you, the readers, except very briefly in the comments or sometimes in private emails with me.  I’d like to hear more of your thoughts, insights, stories, feelings, testimonies, things you’ve learned, good books you’ve found, and experiences about the temple.  What does the temple mean to you?  I want to hear your voices!  You all have so many rich things to share that could add to our understanding of the temple, and I want to tap into that treasure-trove of faith and cumulative voice. 

The way we’re going to do this is using a brand-new service called Google Voice.  I love new technology, and especially when I can find new ways to use new technology to further the work of the kingdom of God.  In this case, I’ve found a way that I can use Google Voice to collect voicemail from you, sort through them, and then embed those messages into a future post on TempleStudy.com for all to hear.  Here is how it’ll work:

  1. Click on the “Call Me” button below.
  2. Enter your name (or just type “anonymous”), your phone number, and please select the checkbox to “keep number private.”
  3. Click the “Connect” button.
  4. Google Voice will call your phone and connect you directly with my TempleStudy.com voicemail.  (It might take a couple minutes for the call to come through after clicking “Connect”)
  5. You’ll hear a short recorded message from me, and then you’ll have the opportunity to share your message.  (You can share your name if you want, or keep it completely anonymous).
  6. You have a limit of 3 minutes, so you might want to keep your eye on the time.
  7. Once you are done, you just hang up.
  8. I will receive your voicemail, and a transcription of your message.
  9. I will sort through all the messages, and in a couple days I will post some of them on TempleStudy.com for all our readers to hear.

It’s as simple as that.  Easy!  This should be a fun experiment, and will give you an opportunity to share your insights and feelings about the temple, and how the temple has made a difference in your life.

You don’t have to be a member of the LDS Church to share your thoughts about the temple either.  If you attended an open house of a temple in your area, or have other experiences with Mormons and LDS temples, please share them.  Of course, please keep comments positive; I will not publish derogatory messages.

So this is a great way to literally make your voice be heard using “New Media,” just as Elder M. Russell Ballard has encouraged:

This is your world, the world of the future, with inventions undreamed of that will come in your lifetime as they have in mine. How will you use these marvelous inventions? More to the point, how will you use them to further the work of the Lord?

Words create conversations, and conversations create understanding… In many cases, it is with words that you will accomplish the great things that you will now set out to do.  And it’s principally about ways to share those words that I want to talk to you today…

The Lord over the centuries has had a hand in inspiring people to invent tools that facilitate the spreading of the gospel. The Church has adopted and embraced those tools, including print, broadcast media, and now the Internet…

Today we have a modern equivalent of the printing press in the Internet and all that it means. The Internet allows everyone to be a publisher, to have their voice heard, and it is revolutionizing society.  Before the Internet, there were great barriers to printing. It took money, power, or influence and a great amount of time to publish. But today, because of the emergence of what some call New Media, made possible by the Internet, many of those barriers have been removed. New Media consists of tools on the Internet that make it possible for nearly anyone to publish or broadcast to either a large or a niche audience… The emergence of New Media is facilitating a world-wide conversation on almost every subject including religion, and nearly everyone can participate. This modern equivalent of the printing press is not reserved only for the elite…

Again, readers or viewers are free to add their comments and join in what becomes an ongoing, worldwide conversation…

That word conversation is important. There are conversations going on about the Church constantly. Those conversations will continue whether or not we choose to participate in them. But we cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches. While some conversations have audiences in the thousands or even millions, most are much, much smaller.  But all conversations have an impact on those who participate in them. Perceptions of the Church are established one conversation at a time…

Now all of you know that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are constantly reminded and encouraged to share the gospel with others. The Church is always looking for the most effective ways to declare our message…

Now, … may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet, particularly the New Media, to share the gospel and to explain in simple, clear terms the message of the Restoration [including the temple].  Most of you already know that if you have access to the Internet you can … begin sharing what you know to be true…

We are living in a world saturated with all kinds of voices. Perhaps now, more than ever, we have a major responsibility as Latter-day Saints to define ourselves, instead of letting others define us…

Others have recorded and posted their testimonies of the Restoration, the teachings of the Book of Mormon, and other gospel subjects [like the temple] on popular video-sharing sites.  You, too, can tell your story to nonmembers in this way.  Use stories and words that they will understand. Talk honestly and sincerely about the impact the gospel [and temple] has had in your life, how has it helped you overcome weaknesses or challenges, and helped define your values. The audiences for these and other New Media tools may often be small, but the cumulative effect of thousands of such stories can be great.  The combined effort is certainly worth the outcome if but a few are influenced by your words of faith and love of God and His son Jesus Christ

Do not be afraid to share with others your story, your experiences as a follower of the Lord, Jesus Christ. We all have interesting stories that have influenced our identity.  Sharing those stories is a non-threatening way to talk to others. Telling those stories can help demystify the Church. We’ve recently been made aware that the reason many people believe we are secretive is because they think our worship services held in 18,000 plus chapels that we have around the world are closed on Sunday’s to nonmembers. Most think they can only attend if someone invites them. They’ve gained some of that perception from stories in the media about the requirements for entering one of our 126 dedicated temples.  They confuse our temple worship with our Sunday worship. You could help overcome this and other misconceptions through your own sphere of influence, which ought to include the Internet…

Let us all stand firmly and speak with faith in sharing our message with the world.  Many of you are returned missionaries and can carry on meaningful conversation in the language you learned on your mission.  Your outreach can be international…

Our position is solid; the Church is true. We simply need to have a conversation, as friends in the same room would have, always guided by the promptings of the Spirit and constantly remembering the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ which reminds us of how precious are the children of our Father in Heaven…

Let your voice be heard in this great cause of the gospel of Jesus Christ.1

This is taking Elder Ballard’s admonition and counsel one step further and allowing you to literally let your voice be heard about the temple.  And you can even keep it completely anonymous if you like.  But most of all, as Elder Ballard said, don’t be afraid to share with others your story, your experience, and your testimony.  It could change lives.

Notes:
  1. Elder M. Russell Ballard, “Using New Media to Support the Work of the Church,” 15 December 2007, BYU Hawaii graduation ceremony. Emphasis is mine. Link. []

One Comment

  1. Ryan
    Posted March 26, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if I’ll call but if you have an invite, I’d love to get it. :)

    I’ve been trying to get an account with Grandcentral/Google voice for like a year now

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