DON'S FREEWARE CORNER - JUL 2018

SOME SCRIPTURE STUDY AIDS ON LDS.ORG

2018 Donald R. Snow - Last updated 2018-08-17

Don's Freeware Corner notes are printed in the UTAH VALLEY TECHNOLOGY AND GENEALOGY GROUP (UVTAGG) Newsletter TAGGology each month and are posted on his Class Notes Page at http://uvtagg.org/classes/dons/dons-classes.html  where there may be corrections, updates, and additions.

INTRODUCTION

Most of the members of UVTAGG are LDS Temple and Family History Consultants and use the LDS Church's website  https://www.lds.org/?lang=eng  where there are lots of helpful study aids for religion. This Freeware Corner article will discuss how some of these work on computers using the Windows 10 operating system and most work exactly the same way on mobile devices, e.g., smartphones and tablets. The operating systems for most mobile devices today are Android, the operating system by Google, and iOS, the operating system by Apple. The website lds.org has been written so it will run on each of these operating systems. The lds.org website is completely free and is open to anyone, whether members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or not. It is constantly being upgraded with many helpful databases, scripture information, gospel study lessons, Church magazines, and Church history items. It even allows you to make your own bookmarks and write your own notes or journal entries. All of these can then be read on any of your devices where you can get to the Internet, e.g., at LDS meeting houses, each of which has a wi-fi connection. Since all LDS chapels use the same wi-fi password, once you enter the password, your device will automatically connect in any other LDS chapel (at least in the U.S. and Canada) without you having to enter the password each time.

THE LDS SCRIPTURES

The LDS Church uses four books of scripture called The Standard Works. These are the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. These have been translated into many foreign languages and have been posted on  https://www.lds.org/?lang=eng . To get to these on the website click Scriptures and Study. In this category, besides the Standard Works, you'll see Prophetic Teachings, Learn More, and several other items. Under Formats and Downloads you can download copies of the scripture books in various languages. Notice that the scriptures are stired by the books they contain and the chapters in that book listed, so you can get where you want fairly quickly. In the Bible there are also paragraph markers, but I don't see any way to have it reformatted in paragraph form which would be very helpful in reading. Perhaps that will be an addition to the formatting sometime. When viewing a chapter of any scripture, at the top are several icons so you can Listen, Download, Print, or Share it. Clicking the Listen icon you hear that chapter being read aloud. With my new hearing aids there is a way to "pair" my smartphone with my hearing aid, so when I click on the Listen icon on my smartphone, it starts reading the chapter and I hear it in my hearing aid. If you want to print part of the chapter, highlight it and click the Print icon. There is even a place, way down at the bottom of the list of scriptures, where there is a link to request a free Bible or Book of Mormon. This is of particular interest, if you are not LDS.

FOOTNOTE REFERENCES

In any of the scripture chapters you see an icon Show Footnotes on the right side. The footnotes are turned off by default for ease of reading, but clicking that icon turns them on in all of the scriptures you read from then on, until you click Hide Footnotes. Clicking a footnote opens a small window with the reference in it. These include definitions of terms, links to the Topical Guide or elsewhere, and references to other scriptures, both in that book of scripture and in others. The scripture reference shown is underlined and is a link to jump to that reference immediately, showing it in that small window. This means you still see your place in the scripture chapter you were reading and don't have to relocate it. Clicking the reference opens it in that small window and below it will be a link in case you want to see it in full context of the chapter or book it is from. Since these open in the small window, you don't need to hold down the CRTL key to keep your place where you were reading, like you do with most other websites. To close the small window, click the X in the upper right corner or just click anywhere else on the screen. You don't see the Show Footnotes icon unless you are in one of the chapters of a scripture book. These procedures make it much easier to read the footnotes than in hardcopy scriptures.

SCRIPTURE HELPS

Under Scriptures, besides the Standard Works, are Study Helps and About the Scriptures. The Study Helps includes the Topical Guide, the Bible Dictionary, the Bible Chronology, Bible Maps, photographs of Biblical areas, Church History Maps and Photographs, videos of Biblical events, and many other items. These are all very helpful to show you the context of the scripture, see locations and the geographical terrain, and indicate distances traveled, etc. Many of these are available in the hardcopy versions of the scriptures, but they are so much easier to use in the electronic versions, if you know how to get to them. The maps or photos can be made larger or smaller electronically or you can make screenshots and show them for comparison, etc. There is a Videos section containing more than 100 short videos at present, with more being added all the time. These are about scriptural events and most are from 1 to 4 minutes long and can be used in study, teaching classes, or for family home evenings. The ones I've looked at are very well done and really illustrate the event, so you understand it more.

CONCLUSIONS

This just scratches the surface of what is on the lds.org website and we have discussed just the scriptures and helps. In other Freeware Corner articles I'll write about using the General Conference reports, the Church magazines, the lesson manuals for Sunday School, Relief Society, and Priesthood Quorums. All the current lesson manuals and Church magazines are on lds.org and all the early General Conference Reprots and Church magazines are on Internet Archive and we'll discuss those later.
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