10 LDS websites that will make your pathway bright

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The new and improved FamilySearch website, run by the LDS Church, preserves and shares the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world.

The new and improved FamilySearch website, run by the LDS Church, preserves and shares the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. (Photo courtesy of FamilySearch.org)

Looking for a new tool to enhance your scripture study? Need to find that perfect video for your family home evening lesson? Want to hear inspirational stories about faithful saints all over the world?

The Internet has it all.

“These online sites, used in addition to standard resources like scriptures and general conference talks, are really vital because they offer a rich context for us to understand things about the gospel and the church,” said Rachel Hunt, a Provo native and Ph.D. student studying philosophy of religion and theology at Claremont Graduate University. “These websites help us to be more thoughtful about things we’re reading or learning or experiencing. They offer places for us to share our testimonies and experiences and doubts.”

If you’ve only visited lds.org and mormon.org, you’ve barely scratched the surface. The Church runs a number of other sites to enrich anyone’s religious experience. And beyond that, there’s the bloggernacle — the Mormon portion of the blogosphere — which provides a place for dialogue that you often won’t hear in Sunday School.

Here are 10 such LDS websites that will make your pathway bright. (Official LDS Church websites are noted with an asterisk.)

1. Revelations in Context*: A perfect accompaniment to the 2013 Sunday School curriculum, this Church-run site shares stories behind the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. “The details on this site really help us understand what we’re getting from the scriptures themselves,” Hunt said.

2. Mormon Messages*: One of many series under the Mormon Channel umbrella, Mormon Messages are short videos from the Church about values and principles important to society. There are more than 100 to choose from, so start with some of our favorites: In the Spirit of Thanksgiving, Courage, A Book of Mormon Story and  Daughters of God.

3. The Mormon Women Project: The Mormon Women Project features the stunning diversity and immense strength that are core to the seven million women who are currently members of the LDS Church.

4. By Common Consent: BCC is a foundational member of the bloggernacle, with its range of scholarly, comedic, political and personal posts. The group seeks “truth, reason and honesty” with their perspectives on faith, providing a place of charitable discussion for all.

5. FamilySearch*: Thanks to a 2013 revamp, FamilySearch beautifully preserves and shares largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. Also, FamilySearch now provides a place to upload photos and stories of ancestors — it’s just as fun as Facebook!

6. The Exponent: From 1872 to 1914, church members in Utah published the “Woman’s Exponent,” a Mormon women’s newspaper. In the 1970s, a group of women decided it was time to give modern Mormon women the same voice — this time under the name “Exponent II.” The group now has a popular online forum with daily posts. Hunt is one of more than two dozen writers who contribute to the site.

“It’s a space where I’ve been able to use my voice and listen to other voices,” Hunt said. “It lets me mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. It helps me to be a more informed and compassionate member of the Church.”

7. The Joseph Smith Papers*: For the first time, all of Joseph Smith’s known surviving papers, including foundational documents of the Church, will be available to the public and easily accessible. The Joseph Smith Papers project is an ongoing effort to gather and publish these works, giving a more complete history of early Mormonism and the life and work of Joseph Smith. The most-visited document on the site is the Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book, which reveals fascinating notes from the first Relief Society meetings in 1842.

8. LDS Scriptures*: Sure, you can study the scriptures from your bulky quad, but having every chapter and verse on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone is the ultimate convenience. Plus, when you’re signed in to your LDS.org account, you can easily highlight passages, share gospel content with others and click from footnote to footnote without flipping pages.

9. Relief Society General Presidents*: At the first meeting of the Relief Society, President Emma Smith declared, “We are going to do something extraordinary.” Since then, millions of women have done extraordinary things under the direction of the 15 Relief Society general presidents who have followed Emma Smith. This site shares biographies and stories about the women who have led the sacred work of the Relief Society.

10. Modern Mormon Men: You’ve heard of Mormon mommy blogs. Now check out the manly mommy blog. This site explores what the modern Mormon man is made of and draws from an eclectic group of male and female writers. Look forward to laughs (see: Testimony Bingo) as well as thoughtful analyses about Church doctrine and culture (see: The Infantilisation of Young Single Adults).

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Ashley Dickson is a Virginia native now living in Boston. She graduated from BYU with degrees in journalism and home and family living, then spent three years writing and editing for Utah Valley Magazine. She left the mountain West to earn a master's degree in library science and now splits her time between motherhood, editing for a financial research firm, and keeping a connection to Utah by writing for UtahValley360.

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