I have a friend who loves to go to the temple. He loves the feeling he gets within its hallowed walls, and he loves doing work there for his ancestors. When he told me about his feelings about the temple, I was impressed and suggested that he might want to create a Web site about his temple so that others could learn of his love for temples and temple work.
He was excited about doing this, and went off to work on it. I didn’t hear from him for a couple of weeks, so one day I called him up and asked how it was going. He told me that shortly after our previous conversation, he had gone to the temple and mentioned to the Temple President that he was going to create a Web site about the temple.
The Temple President cautioned my friend that he may want to check with the temple department of the Church first. “After all,” said the President, “the Church doesn’t want Web sites about temples created.”
When I heard this from my friend, I realized that there was a lot of education to do. It is true that in March 2001 the Church sent a letter to ecclessiastical leaders instructing that all Church Web sites be taken down. This is the specific wording that was used in the letter:
…the First Presidency has requested that local Church units and organizations should not create or sponsor web sites. They have also determined that existing sites should be discontinued.
The policy was later clarified in a letter sent in December 2004, where it was stated that Church unites were not authorized to create sites apart from the official sites created by the Church. Further, it was stated that:
This restriction includes but is not limited to temples, missions, visitors’ centers, auxiliaries, quorums, classes, Scout units, and committees for special events.
This is obviously where my friend’s Temple President got the idea that my friend should not create a Web site about the temple. The Church policy states that the Temple President is not authorized on his own to create an official site about the temple, but there is no restriction on individuals and non-Church groups from creating or sponsoring their own Web sites about temples.
For instance, the Elder’s Quorum President in the Danbury Park East Ward cannot create a Web site for the quorum and post personal information, quorum events, and provide ability to sign up for welfare assignments. These activities carry potential problems with privacy rights and security issues. However, that restriction does not extend to individuals who could create Web sites that talk about priesthood quorums and the amazing work they can do. The difference is that you are creating a personal site *about* the Church, rather than an offical site *from* the Church.
It is in the Church’s interest for people like my friend to create Web sites that help to spread the word about how the gospel (or some aspect of the gospel, such as temple work or priesthood quorums) has positively affected lives and brought people to Christ.
Do you have a story to tell about the Church? The Church is supportive of stories being told in a faithful, respectful, and positive manner; this helps the Church.
So, spread the word–individuals and non-Church groups can be anxiously engaged in creating the type of Web sites that will help the Church.
Questions? Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org