Internet Usage Helps for Members


This web page supports the Church Internet policy found in Handbook 2: Administering the Church (2010), 21.1.22.

Summary

The Internet provides ways to express our faith in Jesus Christ, strengthen others, and foster what is useful, good, and praiseworthy. Church members are encouraged to be examples of their faith at all times and in all places, including on the Internet.

Details

Personal Internet Use

When you use blogs, social networks, e-mail, or other Internet technologies:

  • Mention the Church and link to approved Church materials when appropriate. You may share or copy Church media—including images, videos, and text found on official Church websites—if permission to do so is indicated on the website. Typically a “share” button or link is provided to indicate that you may share content. You may also refer to the site Terms of Use for further details. You may ask for permission to use other Church media online by sending an e-mail to permissionrequest@ldschurch.org.
  • Express your personal witness of the restored gospel as you feel impressed by the Spirit to do so. The message should be personal and not given as if you were speaking for the Church. Go to LDS.org and click Menu at the top middle of the page. Under The Church, click Sharing the Gospel Online for helpful information.
  • Develop your own materials that effectively convey your message.
  • Do not form groups or develop websites or blogs that give the impression that they officially represent or are sponsored by the Church.

Personal Internet Use in Church Callings

When used appropriately, electronic communication, such as e-mail and Internet postings, can help Church members coordinate the work of the Church, strengthen faith, and minister to the needs of others. However, electronic communication should not replace opportunities for in-person contact, such as interviews and stewardship reports.

The following guidelines apply if you create a personal website or blog or use other Internet tools as part of your Church calling:

  • State that it is not an official Church website.
  • Include your name and contact information as the person responsible for the website.
  • Refer, as appropriate, to your calling and the name of the Church, along with the name of the local unit and organization in which you serve. However, do not state or imply that the website or the information is sponsored or endorsed by the Church.
  • Place links, as appropriate, to official Church websites on your personal websites. These links may contain graphics with Church logos. However, do not imitate or use the Church logo in other ways.
  • Obtain proper permission before using artwork, music, or other materials if permission is not indicated on the website you take it from.
  • Understand and comply with privacy laws in the area where you live. Privacy laws typically require that people be notified and that they grant express permission before their personal information may be collected, shared, or used in public settings.
  • Use personal information found in stake and ward directories or other Church records only for Church purposes. This information should be shared carefully and only with those who need to access it to fulfill Church callings and assignments.
  • Store or display others’ personal information on your website, blog, social network, or other publicly visible software application only after notifying each person and obtaining his or her express permission.
  • Safeguard personal information. It should not be included in electronic messages, such as e-mail, text messages, or instant messages.

Use of Stake and Ward Websites

When kept current, stake and ward websites help members and leaders stay informed of items such as stake and ward activities and changes in Church callings. You can access these websites using your LDS Account user name and password. To create an LDS Account, go to ldsaccount.lds.org.

Members may contact their ward clerk or an assistant ward clerk and request that their information not be included in the directory on the ward website or in directories that are produced from it.

Church Websites

There are many official Church websites available to help individuals and families learn, live, and share the gospel of Jesus Christ. These sites offer a variety of resources for personal and family needs as well as for specific Church callings. LDS.org, mormon.org, store.lds.org, and familysearch.org are examples of official Church websites.

Avoid Internet Dangers

When using the Internet and related tools, protect yourself, your family, others, and the Church from the dangers found online. Some of these dangers include viruses, spyware, and other malicious software; identity theft; and pornography. Other Internet dangers include incorrect and misleading information about important gospel principles, excessive time spent on the Internet, and misrepresentation of people’s intent and identity.

Internet filtering reduces but does not eliminate these risks. Ensure that computers and devices connected to the Internet have proper protections in place. Protections include antivirus and anti-spyware applications, content filters, and other security tools. Internet safety may also be increased as family members help one another. Consider the following suggestions:

  • Place computers in commonly used areas of the home.
  • If you use e-mail or social media sites, consider establishing accounts on a family basis, rather than for each individual.
  • Actively monitor website access to help family members remain safe.
  • Discuss Internet and media safety with children from an early age.
  • Be alert and aware of media that enters the home through computers, mobile media players, and mobile phones.
  • Share access or passwords to private e-mail and social media sites with your spouse.
  • Talk to your stake technology specialist for other suggestions and advice.