New Web site for youth now accessible
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Uniting Latter-day Saint youth around the world by giving them a sense of the gospel rolling forward is an aim behind a new youth-oriented Internet site the Church has just launched, according to Lee Gibbons, director of the Church's Web site, lds.org.
The new site, www.youth.lds.org
As of now, visitors to youth.lds.org are greeted by a screen introducing them to four general content areas on the site:
"For the Strength of Youth" features LDS young people around the globe testifying of the blessings of living gospel standards, consistent with the familiar Church-published pamphlet by that title.
"For Youth Today" offers daily inspired messages for youth from Church leaders.
"Mormon Messages for Youth" comprises inspiring videos for teens.
"From Every Nation" presents stories of youth from around the world who follow Jesus Christ in their everyday lives.
A key element in the content, Brother Gibbons said, is for "A Brand New Year, 2010." He described it as "10 high-quality, beautiful videos that have been put together for the youth.
"And the reason I say they are beautiful is that they come from throughout the world. The video crews went to a variety of countries with music that youth from around the world join their voices in singing. We've posted those videos in the context of this youth.lds.org site so they are always available to the youth, who will be able to interact around them and view them."
The new Web site was conceived in 2007 as part of a contemplated change in general direction for lds.org to make it more audience-based, rather than merely being a grand repository of information, Brother Gibbons said.
"By being more cognizant of the needs of the audience, and in bringing content to them, it helps meet the objectives of the prophetic guidance we receive," he explained. "We can capture the prophetic word and deliver it in a context that will be much more applicable to the audience."
For youth, that means making it convenient for them to consume the new Web site as part of the pattern of their daily lives "as they're on the Internet and as they're using their mobile devices and other things over time."
In that regard, the site will be interactive.
The "For Youth Today," content area, for example, has the feel of a blog. Youth are asked a specific question pertaining to a message posted on it from one of the Church leaders, and they, in turn, have opportunity to respond.
"They can see each other, thereby, living the gospel," Brother Gibbons noted. "The general pattern here is that we deliver the prophetic word and highlight the youth living the gospel."
He said it is a powerful thing for youth to see one another living gospel standards in a world where much of what they see, particularly in the mass media, does not reinforce those standards.
Brother Gibbons said the Young Women and Young Men auxiliaries of the Church are very much involved in the new Web site.
In fact, the general presidencies of those organizations "are the strategic direction providers of the site," he said. "They are the ones who are called and set apart to be in touch with the needs of the youth." As such, they now have opportunity to shape the content on this new site, with its worldwide reach.
In fact, the homepage has links to Web content for both the Young Men and Young Women organizations, as well as other links to such sites on lds.org as the scriptures, the New Era magazine, the Gospel Library, the Family Proclamation, Church Music and FamilySearch.org.
Brother Gibbons noted that the Internet itself has changed. It has gone from being merely an information source to being "very much a means of interpersonal communication," he said.
"And that is a difference we're embracing with this new site. So the content will change regularly. Youth should be attracted, by way of our doing so, to come back regularly and partake of what's there."