Religion – Stay N Alive

Want Religion or Politics? Try My New Blog

In my day job, I’m constantly wanting to share a bit about what I believe, but a tech blog like this isn’t the best place to do that. At the same time, I am fairly opinionated about politics. For that reason I’ve created a second, separate blog for religion and politics I’m calling “Stay N Faithful“. If you like that type of stuff, please check it out! I think you’ll find out, just like tech, I have a very down-to-earth approach to religion and politics. I do things only because they make sense, but I’m very passionate about it.

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In the meantime, stay tuned here for more tech articles just like always.

LDS Church Launches New, "Social" for Learning About Mormons

mormon.orgJust last night, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a newly redesigned to help those that are not members of the LDS Faith to know who their Mormon neighbors are.  The site, which takes a more “Social” approach to learn about the Faith, attempts to show you who your Mormon friends are, by letting them tell you about the Church.  The effort is perhaps one of the most social efforts from a technology standpoint in Church history.

Browsing the site, visitors can immediately search for people with like interests, locations, and ethnicities, showing that no matter where you are or what type of life you live, there is probably a Mormon who has been in, or is currently in similar circumstances.  In addition to being able to search around you, prominent Mormons are also featured, and you can learn about such influential Mormons such as Jane Clayson (Johnson), former morning show anchor and Journalist, or Chris Carlson, Creative Director at the Library of Congress.

The site features testimonies of members, answers to questions, videos, and information all about the Church, mostly by members of the Church themselves.  It includes very interesting and entertaining videos about featured members, which are scattered throughout the site and you can embed on your own website or blog.  The profiles are all written 100% by members, and include links to Twitter, Facebook, and even blogs that the members may write.  For each article about the Church (such as this one on Jesus Christ, or this one on The Book of Mormon), visitors can share and like the articles on Facebook and Twitter or e-mail.

So if you get a chance, head on over and check out the site – look for people like yourself.  Look for people that live around you.  There’s a good chance one of them is a Mormon.

You can read my profile here:

My name is Jesse Stay and yes, I’m a Mormon. 🙂

Disclosure: In my day job, I am currently working as the Social Media Architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While they are currently my employer, this article by no means represents any official announcement, declaration, proclamation, or doctrine on behalf of the Church.  All claims or topics written are solely my own opinion and not the opinions or official word of the LDS Church.  To be clear, regardless of my day job, I am still a member of the Church and I still believe its teachings and will always have beliefs to share surrounding the Church and its teachings.  What I write here should be considered as such.

LDS (Mormon) Church Facebook Page Surpasses 300,000 Likes on Facebook

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no stranger to technology.  With several of the web’s most traffic’d websites, a very popular Youtube Channel (MormonMessages), one of the top Facebook Pages, and a great host of mobile applications enabling members to read scriptures and listen to talks from leaders wherever they are, there’s no doubt the Church knows what it’s doing.  One of the big efforts the Church has built is its Facebook presence on its official Pages.   Today, the Church’s official Page surpassed 300,000 likes and growing on Facebook.

Currently the Church has Pages for its Mormon Messages (53,000 likes), the Church’s Family History Library (3,300 likes),  and even the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (46,000 likes).  The Church’s main, official account,, serves to be an outlet for the highlights of each of the Pages and other announcements for the Church to its members.  The Church keeps its Page regularly updated with interesting items for its members.

The LDS Church has a worldwide membership of over 13 million members.  Those members speak over 90 languages, and the Church broadcasts its message out to each of those twice a year in its Semi-annual General Conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah every year.  With such a broad audience, it’s important for the Church to have an outlet to enable members to access that content, and find useful messages they can then bring back to their local areas and congregations.  In addition, Facebook enables a great way for members to share information and inspiring messages from the Church with their friends.

It’s rare you see much word on the use of Facebook in a religious setting, but it makes complete sense in regards to virally spreading a message around the world.  I’m very excited to see these messages spread, and if anything, this can be an interesting thing to watch if you’re a faith-based organization looking to get word out to your members in creative ways.

Mormon or not, if you want a refresher to your day and enjoy inspiring messages to lift up your day, be sure to like the page at (oh, and don’t forget to click “like” on this article)

Disclosure: In my day job, I am currently working as the Social Media Architect for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While they are currently my employer, this article by no means represents any official announcement, declaration, proclamation, or doctrine on behalf of the Church.  All claims or topics written are solely my own opinion and not the opinions or official word of the LDS Church.  To be clear, regardless of my day job, I am still a member of the Church and I still believe its teachings and will always have beliefs to share surrounding the Church and its teachings.  What I write here should be considered as such.

Who are the Mormons?

MormonFor those of you unaware, I am Mormon.  I try not to preach the religion topic too much on this site unless it has to do with Technology, but I did realize there wasn’t much on this blog talking about who I am and what I believe in.  I’m hoping to correct that and while I certainly don’t want to impose, I want you to be able to find out about it if you choose to learn.  For that reason, I’ve created a dedicated Page on this blog to this topic, and I hope you don’t hesitate to ask questions.

I may also at some point share my personal thoughts about the subject – it is a very personal topic that I think is worth sharing at some point.  My faith expands to my very root and core, and goes way beyond my belief (which I feel strongly about). It is something I was born into.  It is something my Ancestors practiced as they were persecuted for their beliefs in the early days of US History.  It is something I have challenged and tried and gained my own testimony of as I have grown up and learned of my own freedoms and choices.  It is something that “just makes sense” to me, and having travelled the world I have yet to find anything (while there are many good things out there) that matches what we believe.  This is something that is very much a part of me, just as much as my passion for technology and new media.

I hope you spend some time checking out the section I added on the right, “Learn About the Mormon Church“.  In addition, be sure to check out the official Mormon topic Page on that was just released, talking about who a Mormon is, what the term means, and why we are who we are.  This is something very important to me, and while I respect we all have varying opinions and beliefs, I hope you can at least learn something from it.

Here are some useful links:

What Mormons Believe

Learn About the Mormons

What is “A Mormon”?

Read the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price Online

Read the Gospel Library on your Mobile Phone

Please, if this inspires you or you feel inclined, don’t hesitate to click “like” above or share it with your friends! (Retweet, post on Facebook, etc.)

Happy Mormon Christmas! (From a Mormon)

905450_merry_christmasThe Tonight Show did a hilarious remake of Orrin Hatch’s “8 Days of Hannukah“, just for Mormons (since Hatch is a Mormon).  I thought it was very tactfully done – I’ll be singing this all Christmas!

To learn about what Mormons really believe, be sure to check out, or this site which has some great videos on what we believe.

Finally, a Tactful Anti-Prop 8 Video!

With all the attacks against Mormons and other groups, I have been wondering why anyone could be against Prop 8 and support the people behind the no campaign – I was actually somewhat a supporter of the anti-Prop 8 campaign until my faith began to be attacked for supposedly not allowing me to support what I was indeed supporting. As a Mormon, I just couldn’t stand for the attacks against my faith and videos like this one. Because of that I’ve been on the defensive, perhaps supporting more of the pro-8 campaign than I would have originally felt comfortable with doing. However, finally, perhaps the anti-prop 8 crowd is getting it as this awesomely tactful and funny Anti-Prop 8 video has surfaced on Funny-or-Die. Like it or hate it – you can’t go wrong with Jack Black or Mr. Doogie Howser himself!

I introduce to you, “Prop 8, The Musical”:

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See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

To the No on 8 campaign and all those protesting my church – Let’s find more positive ways of promoting this campaign. Hopefully we’ll see much more of this in the near future.


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Salt Lake City No on Prop 8 Rally from Reid on Vimeo.

I came across this video tonight after a protest they called a “hate rally” in downtown Salt Lake in front of the headquarters of my Church. You can see the temple, one of the places we worship, and the place my wife and I were married in the background. It’s normally a peaceful, tranquil place to be – I enjoy visiting, and feeling the spirit that is there. This video was not like that. From an outside standpoint, I see a lot of anger, a lot of hate, a lot of people mad at my religion, and frankly that has an affect me because this religion brought me up to be the person I am. It hurts a lot to see so many people hating something that has brought me so much joy.

Then, I see stories like this one of people wanting to boycott Utah because “Mormons are in Utah” and “Mormons supported Proposition 8”. Tracking Utah and SLC on Twitter I’ve seen a lot of Tweets, some from people I talk to regularly and would consider friends doing the same thing. And at the same time I’m thinking for the most part I’m on their side – I don’t know what I would have voted for if I were in California, but I do know I don’t fully understand why my faith thought this proposition was important enough to publicly announce support. Frankly I don’t care and I don’t think it should matter. Do those in other states not realize that there are people in Utah on their side?

After all, the “No on 8” campaign did raise more than the “Yes on 8” campaign so surely they can’t be blaming this election on the campaign contributions of the “Yes on 8” campaign. After all, regardless of the Mormon Church’s involvement it was its members who contributed as a whole, and many members who contributed to the “No on 8” campaign as well. What happened to Democracy and the choice of the people being the reason elections are won? Campaign contributions weren’t the cause of this proposition going through. Frankly, if the Mormon church had not stepped in, the pro-campaign wouldn’t have had anywhere near as much money as the anti-8 and the vote would have been unfair. I’m not saying I’m pro-8, but I think the pro-8 campaign won this fair and square.

Then there’s these “lists” I keep seeing passed around showing members of the Mormon church who donated for Prop 8. Ironically, many of those were put together by members of the Mormon faith, living in Utah!. Where’s the “list” of those Mormons who voted against the campaign’s contributions? Where are the “lists” of Catholics who contributed, or Evangelicals or Jews who contributed to the “Yes on 8” campaign? What about Gay people who contributed? The bias in this campaign, especially after the fact seems as though the Mormons were the only ones fighting for the campaign, when in reality, the Mormons were actually in the minority when it came to total voters voting for the proposition. Add to that the Mormon-targeted videos like this, see why I feel hated?

Yesterday, I saw article after article of protesters protesting my faith’s religious places of worship, yelling at passers-by, and much of the same things you’re seeing in the video above. Yet, I see no one protesting at Catholic places of worship, Jewish synagogues, or Evangelical ministries.

This hate hits at the very cause these people are fighting for. Bigotry, equal rights, and freedom for all. As a Mormon, I don’t feel very free right now. I feel really hated. We need to all stand up for freedom, equal rights, and liberty for all – attacking a single faith for sticking up for their own rights to worship accomplishes nothing.

Freedom is accomplished peacefully, without hate or guile, with equality for all. Hate, and even anger, gets us nowhere.

I’m closing the comments on this post for the first time on my blog – if you guys want to discuss this on FriendFeed, so be it, but I’m writing this simply to get my feelings out on this subject. Those of you on FriendFeed know my position on this. I think the approach these protesters are taking is wrong.

Proposition 8 – It’s Not Exactly Cut and Dry

your_vote_counts_button_3.jpgI’ve been standing back for awhile listening to the various sides in the blogosphere on Proposition 8 in California. The proposition is in response to a Judge overturning proposition 22, a law which attempted to define marriage being between a man and a woman. The Judge declared the law unconstitutional, making Gay marriage legal in the State of California. Opponents against the Judge’s decision have organized Proposition 8 to amend the State Constitution, thereby making marriage between two of the same gender illegal. I thought that since many of my readers are in California I would chime in.

As a Mormon (aka, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), like Louis Gray, I’m very torn on this issue. I had several gay friends in High School, and while I wasn’t very close with them, they were some of the nicest people I knew. Frankly, I wish the world had more people as nice and genuine as many of the gay people I know. I know many of my gay friends would never be able to change even if they wanted to – it’s part of them. It’s something as natural to them as eating is to you and me.

At the same time, my religion teaches me “that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.” To me, our church’s manifesto on this subject, “The Family: A Proclamation to the World“, is one of the most beautiful and divinely inspired pieces of writing in these modern times. It teaches me that “all human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” This includes those that are Gay – yes, we believe they have a part in God’s plan as well, and I believe this to be true. Unfortunately, in my religion it cannot include marriage.

While I’m grateful I don’t have to make the decision on whether I’m voting for or against this amendment, I do understand the great difficulty others are having showing love towards those with same-gender attraction, while at the same time following what their faith teaches them is sacred and true. Here are some of the major issues they are contemplating:

Natural/Human Rights

Those against the amendment say that Gay people are born gay. There are conclusive studies that show there could be genetic evidence of being gay in both gay and lesbian people.

At the same time the pro-8 supporters argue that despite some being born gay, regardless of whether it can be proven or not, that voting “no” on proposition 8 will encourage under-age “experimentation” for those that may not have been born with the trait. At the same time, some studies of a “gay gene” have been debunked as being biased and lacking concrete evidence, supposedly because the scientists themselves were homosexual.

The Human Rights issue simply isn’t clear enough yet to prove someone can be born gay or not to make it as clear as someone being black or white, or man or woman. And even if it were, there are other issues that come into play that add a whole lot more complexity to the legal definition of marriage and how that definition could affect society.

Parental Rights, Education About Homosexuality

This is one I can’t quite wrap my mind around (of course, I can’t quite wrap my mind around most of this). Those for voting “yes” on 8 argue that parents will lose power to control what their children are being taught in schools. In fact, there are cases in Massachusetts, where a Kindergartner was taught a story about 2 gay parents without notification of the parents. The “no” on 8 would argue that the parents were told about this in a letter sent out earlier in the school year. At the same time, in San Jose a professor was fired for quoting a textbook, stating that homosexual behavior could be influenced by “genres” and “environment”. There are also many other cases from Massachusetts legalizing Gay marriage listed here.

All this ends up sounding very bigoted however to the “no” on 8 supporters, if you can prove, and believe that homosexuality comes from birth. Based on the links above though, these are both highly contested viewpoints in the scientific community. I think you’ll find in the comments below that this continues to be contested (if I can predict correctly).

Church Rights / Freedom of Religion

If I were to have to vote, this is the main thing that would end up influencing me. To me this is the most convincing. The fact is, entire religious doctrines are at stake with this amendment. This is the main reason the LDS Church is involved (and just to set the record straight, it was the Catholic church, not the LDS church that instigated this).

If this amendment takes place, I predict there will come a time when all religions have to accept Gay marriage into their doctrines. Already, this has become an issue in Massachusetts where at least one religious faith is being sued for not allowing a Gay marriage to take place on their property. There are also other cases. This isn’t a matter of letting religions just do what they want to do and keeping the legal definition separate from the religious. Things all change when it becomes legal. I can’t have government forcing my religion to change its beliefs. That takes away from my right to worship. I’m very concerned about this one.

As you can see, the issue of Proposition 8 isn’t very cut and dry. There are many studies, and many issues, all conflicting with each other. The one fact I think we all agree on is that we want our Gay friends and neighbors to all have the best life they can possibly have – I think we all agree they have a right to that. I’m just glad I’m not the one having to make the decision to vote for or against Proposition 8. I hope I’ve presented at least some of the studies, on both sides, for you to make your own decision. Please feel free to discuss in the comments!

LDS Church Ranks Top Among Churches on Alexa

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An article on the website, LDSMediaTalk, pointed me to an interesting statistic today. It appears that the official website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,, ranks at the top of all organizational Church websites on the internet. In fact, at #3,095 and having peaked at near 2,500 at the beginning of October, it is one of the most visited websites on the Internet.

Looking at the rank, and the current membership of near 13 million members worldwide, one would wonder if it’s not just members visiting the site. Could it be mere curiosity about the Church, activity of members themselves, or does the Church itself have a more technical background than others? As a practicing member of the Faith, I have to admit these numbers were surprising to me, and I don’t have an answer to those questions. It isn’t too surprising though, in that the Church has pioneered many technologies around Family History and recently has encouraged its members to blog and use the internet for good. The church has also created a Youtube channel at

Amazingly, the church’s other main websites, (a website for Genealogy enthusiasts), and, at 11,342 and 63,314 respectively, also rank fairly high when compared to other religious websites. Here are the Alexa rankings of other large Religious organizational websites: – 25,990 (Nation of Islam) – 576,153 (Southern Baptist Convention) – 204,346 (Jehovas Witnesses) – 19,072 (The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – just for the non-believers) – 70,560

Being not as centrally organized, I had a difficult time finding a single source for Hinduism, Buddhism, or Judaism. I also realize that Nation of Islam is only one sect of beliefs within the Islamic faith – I would be interested to see any other major Church websites out there you may be familiar with. It would be nice to see a greater presence on more Church websites like this. What other Churches rank high in Internet visibility and traffic?

LDS Church Switches to MoveNetworks in Time for Annual Conference

med_6786Audience34.pngJust in time for its Semi-Annual General Conference, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently switched all of its video for the conference to MoveNetworks. The Church will be streaming the conference live throughout the weekend using the service, and has started its broadcast with a stream of the Annual General Relief Society conference, a worldwide meeting for women of the Church (the Church houses the worlds largest volunteer womens organization, called “The Relief Society”). MoveNetworks powers video for popular sites such as CW, Fox, and ABC.

The move to MoveNetworks continues a long legacy of technology improvements, giving the church high-quality, live video over the internet to its membership of 12 million plus people worldwide. Each talk, prayer, and musical number (the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs at each conference) will be clipped and available in segments via the MoveNetworks player.

The LDS (or Mormon, as it is called) Church is well known for its technology efforts, in particular in the areas of Family History, and has websites at,, and It has recently built a presence on Facebook, its CIO is on Twitter and FriendFeed, and you can now even chat with missionaries via their site online. Looking at their news site (which you can subscribe to via RSS), they even have links to Digg, Delicious, Facebook, Reddit, Stumble, and more. The Church is the largest centrally-US based church founded in the United States and continues to be one of the fastest growing churches worldwide.

You can watch the conference live online via their website in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and American Sign Language. You can also watch it in select areas on Cable and Satellite television, all starting tomorrow morning at 10:00 am Mountain Standard Time. Sessions will be recorded and available on the site afterwards.

Disclaimer: I am a practicing, believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ascribe to its teachings. Although I avoid preaching on this blog, as I would any other church or organization, I enjoy sharing technology related stories about large organizations such as this.