Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is The LDS Church Paying LDS Members To See "Meet The Mormons?"

Recently, a blog called "nearing kolob" posted an article that raised the question of whether or not the LDS Church is paying its own members to see the film. They even posted a screen shot of an email they feel is evidence that the LDS Church is paying members to go see this film. See below: 
In looking at this screenshot of this alleged letter that was sent out, I find it interesting that the show times of the film is blacked out and the location of the theater is blacked out. And we can't see the name of the person who drafted the letter. To me, that seems odd. That information isn't confidential or private. It is public information. Yet it is blacked out. Another thing that is odd about the photo above is the cost of the movie theater tickets. I have never heard of a theater where the cost of a film is $15.00.
But lets get back to the question. Is the LDS Church paying its own members to go to the film? I don't think so. I saw the film last night. The Stake provided the tickets to the film for free. That means that the Church paid for the tickets. However, they're providing free tickets to anyone who accepted their offer of free tickets.  I will post a screen shot of the email I got from my stake regarding this offer to see the film for free. See below:
Here's the screen shot of the email I received when I requested tickets for the film:
The reason why there is a "controversy"over about the LDS Church either paying for a portion of the cost of a ticket or paying for the entire ticket because they feel that the LDS Church is doing something similar to what a record company sometimes do in buying their own records just to get the music on the best  seller list.
However, I don't think this is what the LDS Church is doing. I don't think they are intentionally trying to inflate the box office numbers just to get more media attention. Is it possible that the Church is doing this? Yes. But local Wards and Stakes encourage people to participate in Church sponsored activities such as youth conference, scout camp, girls camp and other activities and depending on the activity, sometimes the members will either pay the entire cost or part of the cost of participating in the activity. Sometimes the local branch, ward or stake will pay for the entire cost of the activity. In the event where members are to pay for cost of the activity, there are members of the ward who may not be able to afford the cost of the activity. In that case, those that don't feel they can afford it have their share paid by the ward. 
Is it right to use "tithing funds" to for Church sponsored activities? I think so. This happens all of the time. The Church would not be using fast offering funds to subsidize or provide free tickets for this film. However, tithing funds, at best, are being used to pay for the tickets indirectly since wards are given a budget each quarter, and the budget is supplied by tithing funds. To pay for the cost of these tickets would probably come from the ward's budget, which is used with the bishop's or stake president's approval.
I'd like to point out that other religions use funds that they have received from their members to pay for Church sponsored events. It happens in other faiths too.
For me, the fact that the LDS Church is helping people afford the cost of the movie ticket or providing free tickets is not an issue for me. I assume it is not an issue for a large majority of Church members.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Making The LDS Church Enjoyable For People With A Hearing Loss

Going to church isn't easy if you have a hearing loss. I know because I have a hearing loss myself. It is a challenge that most people aren't aware of unless you have a friend or a relative who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing or if you have served an Sign Language Mission for the LDS Church. 
For many people, hearing loss can keep someone from enjoying church or from being fully active. Why? It can be a challenge to enjoy what is being said during Sacrament meeting or to participate in Church activities. If a person with a hearing loss attends General Conference, they will have a hard time hearing the General Authorities speak unless they are sitting in an area reserved for Deaf and Hard of Hearing members. Even going to the Temple can be a challenge despite the fact that it is very peaceful and quiet inside.
People think that wearing hearing aids will help improve the person's ability to hear. Actually, hearing aids can only do so much because there are other factors that an affect a person's ability to hear. Such factors are sound quality, distance from the sound source and the person, ambient noise and reverberation, the quality of the hearing aids and the percentage of hearing loss are just some of the many factors that can affect a person who is wearing a hearing loss ability to hear. 
However, there is technology that eliminates all of these different factors that affect a deaf person's ability to hear. Its called hearing loops.
What Are Hearing Loops? 
A Hearing Loop, (also known as a T-Loop or Induction Loops), takes the desired speech or sound signal signal straight from the basic source (microphone, television set, music speakers) and broadcast directly to the listener’s hearing aids. The signal at the listener’s ears is free from distance issues, reverberation and ambient noise interference. Thus, it provides a person with a hearing loss with the ability to enjoy what is being said at Sacrament meeting or General Conference without any interference of any kind. 
How do Hearing Loops Work?