I’m sure many of you are aware of the new Google+ Hangout feature, but let me explain briefly. Essentially it is a group video chat, where you can see video and hear audio from all the other participants in the chat. Google also provides a “On Air” feature which will broadcast the Hangout video and audio live on Google+, YouTube, and anywhere the video is embedded into a website. This provides the opportunity for live events to be broadcasted around the world quite easily, and for many people to participate in them, both by contributing directly with their webcam, or by just viewing the live broadcast, or viewing the recording later.
Some enterprising members, such as Sheila DuBois, have begun using Google Hangouts to broadcast live “firesides” on Sundays. I think this is an innovative use of the technology to help build up the kingdom, and allows members of the Church to connect in ways previously not possible.
This got me thinking. What if we had a Google Hangout to discuss the temple? This might be a good way to bring together some people who have interest in the temple, and discuss it in ways that will develop faith and strengthen testimony, and help us all learn more about it. I perceive we do not have nearly enough conversations about the temple in the Church. It is the focus and goal of nearly everything we do, and provides the most exalted blessings available to us, yet many of us do not know much about it. Of course, we cannot talk about certain sacred things with regard to the temple, most particularly the details of the ceremonies and ordinances, but in the words of President Packer, “there is much we can discuss… and we will” (Boyd K. Packer, The Holy Temple, 27-39.).
Because the temple is such a multifaceted subject, and because it can be a delicate topic to approach, I think it might be best to take as our guide the temple preparation manual published by the Church and which is freely available from LDS.org, entitled “Endowed from On High: Temple Preparation Seminar Teacher’s Manual,” and its accompanying student booklet, “Preparing to Enter the Holy Temple,” which is condensed from President Boyd K. Packer’s larger book length treatment in The Holy Temple. I think these manuals provide ample opportunity for discussion and addressing scholarship and topics surrounding the temple from many different angles, as I have witnessed having taught the class before. I can’t guarantee that we’ll delve into many of the apologetic evidences for the temple, but it should be a good discussion nonetheless. If you have another suggestion for a guiding text that might be better suited, please let me know.
I’m thinking we could take as the topic one lesson per week (or see how it goes), perhaps joining together each Sunday night for an hour or hour and a half, maybe beginning at 7:30pm, starting in a couple weeks on Sunday, August 5th. The broadcast would be available here at TempleStudy.com, on my Google+ feed, my YouTube channel, and wherever else the video might be embedded on websites (contact me if you’d like the embed code).
I have not made a final decision whether to do this. I’m interested to know your thoughts, and gauge interest, and how many people would like to participate in such an event, whether it be by contributing directly via webcam, or listening in and watching the live broadcast or the recording later. I think it might be very beneficial to all involved. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below here on TempleStudy.com (or via private contact). Know that if you want to be a contributor, there is a limit of 10 people at once that may be panelists in the hangout (and you must be a Google Plus member with webcam), so if there is a lot of interest, I may have to be selective. I may also invite certain people who I know and trust. An unlimited number of people may watch the hangout live or the recorded broadcast later, and you do not need to be a Google Plus member. More details to come later.