Refined Processes, Products Exemplify Church’s “Joyful Imperative to Simplify and Focus”

Contributed By Aubrey Eyre, Church News staff writer

  • 25 March 2019

Changes to printed and online scripture resources produced by the Church are just one way the Church is trying to simplify the lives of members around the world, allowing them to focus on the core purposes of the gospel in their personal and family study.

Article Highlights

  • The Church wants to help individuals and families to simplify their lives.
  • Leaders consciously look for ways to simplify and improve products, processes, and policies to save time and resources.
  • These efforts help members focus on core purposes of the gospel in personal and family study.

“We can feel the Lord hastening His work to gather Israel. And with this hastening comes the joyful imperative to simplify and focus.” —Sister Michelle D. Craig

Steady improvements to websites, mobile applications, scripture products, curricula, and other materials produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been made in recent years as the Church has engaged in a conscious effort to simplify and improve its offerings to members, allowing them to focus on the core purposes of the gospel in their personal and family study.

“The leaders of the Church are setting an example in simplifying the work to help extend and increase the blessings of the Lord to individuals and families around the world,” explained Sister Michelle D. Craig, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency and a member of the Scriptures Committee. “We can feel the Lord hastening His work to gather Israel. And with this hastening comes the joyful imperative to simplify and focus,” she said.

This simplification “has been an effort of looking at everything in our processes from beginning to end and asking, ‘Where can we improve, and what would save either time or resources?’” said Brent Meisinger, a product manager in the Church’s scripture division. “Many people, from managers and linguists to skilled producers, designers, typesetters, and press professionals, help to inform all the improvements that are being made.”

“Much of our work is about helping individuals and families to simplify their lives,” said Rob Jex, scriptures product manager over the Gospel Library app. “This is where our jobs become most meaningful.”

Simplifying print products and processes

Starting December 15, the Church will reduce the number of styles offered for the aesthetic bindings of the scriptures. The effort to simplify and reduce printing and production costs of scriptures allows the Church to produce translated scripture materials in more languages.

As has been done in previous years, starting December 15, the Church will reduce the number of styles offered for the aesthetic bindings of the scriptures. Fourteen styles will be reduced in the English translations, which will also result in reducing six of the same styles in Spanish, and one style in Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean.

The styles being reduced include compact sizes across all languages in which they are available, snap-closure covers, and both brown and burgundy color options. (Military pocket-size products will remain available.)

“One of the purposes for this reduction is a movement towards more equity across languages,” said Kelly Gibson, one of the Church’s scriptures product managers. “Most languages have three or four options for their printed scriptures.”

Other changes have been made in recent years to help save time and resources in the printing of various styles of scriptures. The process for putting thumb tabs to mark the various books of scripture was recently revised to semiautomate an old manual process. Additionally, the introduction of a new digital press in 2013 has allowed translated editions in different languages to be more efficiently printed, even at lower quantities.

The introduction of a new digital press in 2013 has allowed translated editions in different languages to be more efficiently printed, even at lower quantities.

New technologies, new options

Use of the Church’s Gospel Library app, which was first released as a scriptures app in January 2010, has continually increased over the years. The capabilities and functionality have improved, allowing for personalized, home-centered gospel study experiences.

“Just a few short years ago, I never imagined that I would be using a digital device to study the scriptures,” Sister Craig said. “Using the Gospel Library app, with its unlimited margins, has allowed me to capture thoughts and impressions that otherwise might have been lost.

“The app has helped me study gospel topics more deeply and to organize my thoughts and other study materials in a way that makes sense to me,” Sister Craig said.

The Gospel Library app’s improved capabilities and functionality help members around the world enjoy more personalized, home-centered gospel study experiences.

Another major change, regarding the production of scripture audio recordings, began in 2014.

Previously, all audio recordings of the scriptures were done in professional studios with language coaches, script monitors, and sound engineers and producers. But a more efficient process has been introduced, where voice talents are provided with a high-quality microphone and an online recording program to produce recordings of a quality respectful of the scriptures. With the new system in place, the committee is moving forward with recording an increasing number of languages.

Changes continue to be made as part of an ongoing process, Meisinger explained. “We’re still looking at products, processes, and policies to see where else we can introduce efficiencies,” he said. “In every area, small changes can make a big difference. And with the help of the Lord, we will be able to find solutions we previously never thought possible nor imagined. His guidance is the most crucial aspect of this work.”

Audio recordings of scripture translations for the Church used to be done in a professional studio. Now new technologies allow voice talents for the Church to record audio of scripture translations at home before sending them in for approval. The simplified process has helped the Scriptures Committee move forward with recording an increasing number of languages.

Starting December 15, the Church will reduce the number of styles offered for the aesthetic bindings of the scriptures.