Digital versions of LDS scriptures gaining popularity

Mar 29 2012 - 6:06am

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Technology has brought about many changes in our lives, and now electronic gadgets have made their way into Sunday meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Members are reading their scriptures from smartphones, tablets, e-readers and iPads rather than from the traditional bound books of scripture.

Many who use the newest devices to study find them easier to use when searching for specific passages of scripture. Others like the fact that they weigh less and are easier to carry than the bound books.

And it isn't just the young and technologically minded people who are using these devices. Senior citizens are finding the new technology to their liking, too.

Eighty-eight-year-old George Talbot, of Kaysville, uses his iPad to study and search the scriptures. When he began using technology for reading scriptures, he used his smartphone.

"I had seen my children do it, so I decided to," Talbot said. "It is one of the easiest things, with all of the footnotes and references.

"Now I really enjoy (reading) on the iPad. I have done more studying of the scriptures than I ever have before," said Talbot, who explained that each passage gives references to other scriptures and to LDS Conference messages.

"I think it's awesome that it is technology I can use," he said.

And plenty of other people, of all ages, have happily embraced this new way of studying.

Barry Hadley, of North Ogden, uses his Nook Color Tablet.

"I can see (the scriptures) better on the Nook. I can make the words bigger, so it's easier to read. And it is much easier to look up a scripture," Hadley said. "I can see in the distance but not up close, so this works great."

"I use an iPod touch" said Stockton Harris, 14.

"It's more portable. It's just easer to carry," he said, comparing the iPod to books of scripture.

"I think it is easier to type in a scripture to pull up the scripture," he said.

Stockton downloaded the books of LDS scripture for free from the church's website. Others purchase it for use on readers and tablets.

"In my church, I think there are more kids using them (than those who use the books of scripture)," Stockton said.

His friend Thayne Burnett also relies on an electronic device for studying scriptures. He first used an iPod for a year.

"About a couple of months ago, I got an iPhone, so I just use that," he said. "Most of my friends use them."

Thayne's dad, Lawson Burnett, likes to study scripture this way, too. And although he has used his phone, he has more than one device with scriptures on it.

"Mostly I use my iPad when it comes to scriptures at church," he said.

"There is more stuff in a smaller space. It's quick and easy to switch around between books. You can see the lesson outline and switch with several books at the same time."

One Sunday School teacher said she prefers her students to use the books of scripture rather than electronic devices, because the kids could just be playing games rather than looking up scriptures.

Lawson Burnett agreed that games could be a problem: "When (the kids) get bored, they could just fire up a game." But he said he doesn't see it happening much.

Laura Harris, of Roy, is a Sunday School teacher who likes the students to use technology.

"As long as they bring scriptures (to class), I'm happy," she said. "It's a different world now -- people need to get used to it. Electronics are here."

Dave Hall also teaches a class in his LDS ward and said he likes to download movies from the Church website to use in his classes. He puts them on his smartphone and connects it to a TV in the classroom to help teach his lessons.

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