We really need writers. It’s usually easier to find members who are willing to edit other people’s articles than people who accept the challenge of writing their own articles.
At this time, we especially need articles on basic principles of the gospel. It should be relatively easy for any member of the Church to write an article of 800-1000 words about one of these basic topics. It shouldn’t take too long, probably an hour or so, and it should be a valuable experience.
Here’s a challenge: Try to write an article about a basic gospel principle and then ask three friends to also write an article. Below you will find a list of suggested topics. You can choose one and write it in quick order, and then send it to me. I will find editors to review and improve it, if necessary, but we need the raw material–your writing.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when you write about basic principles. You just need to rewrite in your words information you can find in many different places. A list of possible resources for you to use when writing an article is shown below:
1) Gospel Principles or Gospel Fundamentals: go to http://library.lds.org/ (On the left side menu choose Curriculum, Home and Family, Gospel Principles or Gospel Fundamentals) 2) All about Mormons: go to http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons 3) Mormon.org : go to http://www.mormon.org 4) BBC: go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/mormon/index.shtml 5) LDS.org, search by topic. Go to http://www.lds.org
A few possible topics related to basic gospel principles are faith, repentance, atonement, baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, priesthood, scriptures, prayer, temple work, forgiveness, Word of Wisdom, sacrifice, the Sabbath day, fasting, service, law of chastity, eternal marriage, and tithing.
Another possibility is for you to write a testimony or an interesting experience you had in your life that is related to the Church and the gospel.
Finally, if you have old talks you gave in Church, you may think of reviewing and adapting them for being published on the Internet. Remember to make sure that they are appropriate for non-members and geared toward their language and needs.
I hope you and your friends will be able to help by just giving a little of your time.Read More
I’ve been a writer for years and years; everything from newspaper articles to full-length books. (Do a search for my name sometime in Amazon.) One thing that I’ve learned in all that time is that writing for the Internet is different than any other type of writing you can do.
Don’t get me wrong–writers always need to be concerned about such fundamentals as audience, tone, level, and person. They also need to be concerned about organization and approach to the subject at hand. But the thing that makes successful Internet writing different is that writers need to be mostly concerned with focus. Each article written for the Internet needs to have a tighter focus than anything written for the off-line world.
How is that focus implemented? Through the identification of a keyword or phrase that represents the target of your writing. Once you know that, you need to make sure that your writing keeps circling around that keyword or phrase, using it in natural ways that are recognized by both the reader and search engines.
Because of this need for tight focus, not all writers are successful in plying their craft on the Internet. (Where success is measured by the ability of search engines to recognize the focus of a piece of writing and the resultant ability of searchers to find that writing.) Writers need to give conscious thought to what focus they will be using, and let it affect every other aspect of their writing.
If you are concerned about how successful your writing is for the Internet, the More Good Foundation can help. We can examine your articles and give you feedback on how well you are doing at meeting the requirements of “tight focus.” If you’d like some assistance, let me know; drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In that same regard, I’m quite excited about our upcoming Webmaster’s Roundtable, which will be held on Thursday, February 16. This meeting will feature the comments of Tom Dalton, Director of Consulting Services at 10X Marketing (recently acquired by Innuity). Tom will be leading a hands-on discussion of a how to optimize Web pages and sites. I’ve had a preview of what Tom will be discussing, and trust me–you won’t want to miss it! Tom has proven, concrete ways to make sure your pages are noticed by the search engines for the best ranking possible. Come with your questions; Tom will have answers borne from years of getting the best results for his clients.
As mentioned, the Webmaster’s Roundtable be on February 16, starting promptly at 4:00 pm. The meeting will be on the BYU campus; we are still trying to nail down the exact location. We’ll send a special notice to you when we have that detail secured. I hope to see you there!Read More
Pool Our Talents with the Updated Task Tool
We are pleased to announce a dramatically improved task tool. After logging into the Member Portal, you’ll see a list of available tasks on the right side of the page. These are volunteer tasks with which we or another member need help. There are several types of tasks — foreign language translation, graphic design, web programming, writing an article, and more.
You can click on a task to read more about it and decide if you’d like to do it. If you decide to accept the task, it is added to your “My Tasks” section. It will remain there until you complete it or decide you can no longer work on it.
Each task you complete helps build the Church’s presence on the internet and makes it more likely that persons seeking for truth will find it.
If you need help yourself, we’d be glad to post your task on the task list so another talented member can complete it. Please submit your request through the Contact Us form or by emailing anyone of us. My email address is rmiller AT moregoodfoundation DOT org.
We’d like the task list to become a hub for giving and receiving help. By pooling our time and talents, we can help honest seekers of truth find it.Read More
I’d like to say thank you to all those who have contacted me lately about starting a new Website. We expect that having lots of sites, each with lots of content, will have a powerful impact on search results. We will let you all know when these sites are up and running. It is very important that we are all linking our sites together, using keyword relevant text in the links (instead of click here).
We have been focusing on temple sites these past few weeks, with a special emphasis on the phrase Mormon Temples. You can find a list of the new sites we have created at the bottom of my comments. If you have your own website please add a link to any or all of these sites. You may find one that is close to your home, or one of your favorite temples. Odds are fairly good that you live near a temple that is not yet on this list. We can help you create a site for your favorite temple in just a few days, or you can add a couple more pages to your already existing site.
On a different note, many of you want to help with the Foundation’s efforts but may lack the skills to create a whole new site. We can help. If you are wondering what you can do (and what we can do for you), feel free to give me a phone call at 801-705-5122 or write me an e-mail at email@example.com. Let me know what it is you enjoy doing and together we kind find some ways for you to get involved.
On the other hand, you may have some great skills but are having trouble finding something worthwhile to do. Again, contact me so that we can find something for you. We are constantly starting new projects and need all the help we can get. The possibilities are great; we just need to make the initial effort. Here are some of the great websites we have created so far for individual temples, focusing on content that is easily understood by non-members:
* Oakland (www.OaklandTemple.org) * San Diego (www.SanDiegoMormontemple.org) * Las Vegas (www.LasVegasMormonTemple.org) * Manhattan (www.manhattanmormontemple.org) * Newport Beach (www.NewportBeachMormonTemple.org) * Los Angeles (www.LosAngelesMormonTemple.org)
We need links to these sites; please consider adding the links to your own sites, to one or all of these temples. Soon we expect to have sites available for the following temples:
* St. Louis
* Salt Lake
* Jordan River
Again, if you would like to have your own temple site, let us know and we can help you with it.Read More
In the last few weeks we have made some exciting changes to our website at www.MoreGoodFoundation.org. We hope that it will help better explain the purposes of the Foundation to those who first visit the site. When you invite friends to join our efforts, it will be easier for them to understand our purposes and the way to make a difference. We are open to your suggestions about how to make our site even better. We are not done yet; it’s an ongoing process. Once in a while go back and take a look at the changes and let us know what you think.
One of the changes is on MormonWiki.com. There we have started new pages in Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, and French. What we need now is help to translate instructions and administrative pages from English to these other languages.
We are very grateful to Fernando, who lives in Londrina, Brazil, who was the first to start this process of translation into Portuguese. Any Foundation members who know one of those languages can help in translating pages (or adding new content) by simply logging in at www.MormonWiki.com and starting to make changes.
We really need more help to translate and write more pages of the Mormonwiki.com in all languages because this will help us to gather material that can be used to create many pro-LDS websites.
This is a call to action: We need contributors to write or edit at the site. Your writing doesn’t need to be perfect, and you dont have to spend hours and hours. Just write a short article, simple but full of “mormon keywords” on one of the topics we need (see the list of such topics, accessible through the wiki home page by clicking on “Articles that need to be written”.)
We are sad when we continue to see bad content all over the Internet. We have the duty to help those “who are blinded by the subtle craftiness of men, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, and who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it” (D&C 123:12).
The Internet can be a powerful tool for helping many people to find the truth, but only if they can *find* the truth. Right now the Internet is being used mostly to keep people from finding the truth. We need to change that.
We have several new projects moving forward, but we need special help with our temple projects. Please take a look, for example, at:
We need similar or better content for each of the temples. We have a real need for temple pictures. If you are willing to share your pictures of temples so that they can be used in such sites, let us know right away. If you would like to provide personal experiences or other articles about any of the temples, we need that too. These can be about any temples, since we need sites for all of them.Read More
Just a little over a week ago, my wife and I packed up the holiday decorations for another year. The holidays were over, the visitors gone, the dinners enjoyed, and the memories cherished. With the tree, presents, and other decorations all put away, our living room and dining room suddenly had a lot more space available.
It is the same way with our lives. When there are cyclical changes–a new year, another birthday, a new child come or gone, a job or class change, or a new calling–we pack up old things and survey the landscape of our time to discover that we suddenly have a lot more of it available.
As you charge into 2006, you may find that you are in such a situation. Let me invite you to consider allocating some of that newly found time to creating better LDS content for the Web. Do you have a story to tell? Can you help others tell their stories? I guarantee you that when we tell our stories wellthose stories we know so well and should not trust others to tell in an unfaithful way–it can change lives.
When I remember the times I have been touched by the Spirit, every time it is because someone is conveying their “story” to me. That story may be in the scriptures, or in a conference talk, or in a testimony meeting. It may be in counseling with others in my ward, or it may be in hearing about life’s lessons from another. In each instance that the Spirit confirmed what was being said, the thing being confirmed was a story from someone’s life or experiences.
Tell your stories. Tell them truthfully and faithfully. You don’t need to cast your pearls indiscriminately, but you can share your stories with others and touch their lives; you can make a difference. As LDS people, we are not telling our stories in a way that they can be understood and appreciated by those not of our faith. We all need to do a better job of that.
When you tell your stories on the Internet, I’d love to hear about it. (You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.) And, if you’d find it useful, the More Good Foundation is ready to help you tell your stories in the best way possible. We can help make sure the widest number of people can read and understand your stories. We can help you see how many people you are touching.
If you can help, let us know. If we can help, let us know. Either way, let us know.
My best to you and your families in the new year.Read More
Some Church-related topics lend themselves nicely to a central, authoritative reference place–topics like Church government or Church history. Anecdotal topics, on the other hand, like “What it’s like to be a Mormon missionary” or “Why I am grateful for my temple marriage” could be meaningfully written a thousand times. Each of our stories would be different. And that’s precisely what the Internet needs and what search engines will value–not one “authoritative” story that is duplicated on many websites, but 1000 *different* stories that personally defend and promote the Gospel. Then these stories need to be linked to each other.
If you haven’t yet done so, please take the time (perhaps this Sunday afternoon?) to write about your mission, or your marriage, or your family–something you feel strongly about. Write it using words a person of another faith can understand. It might help to visualize a non-Mormon friend or colleague to whom you’re writing.
When your story is complete, post it on your own blog or website. If you don’t have a blog or website, use the New Site Tool (located in our Member Portal) to sign up for one, or contact us. We can set you up with a blog or website for free, no matter what your technical experience.
Once your story is published online, add the link to our database using our Link Tool, or e-mail it to us. We’ll help facilitate linking between the stories so that we all gain more exposure. Your story will make a difference to the thousands of persons of other faiths who search for more information about us each week. They will be touched by your faith.Read More