Friday, December 20, 2013

The LDS Church Is A Global Church

The LDS Church has created an infographic to help people understand that it is a world wide religion that is practiced by people around the world. The Mormon Church started with six members in a small log home owned by Peter Whitmer, Sr., in Fayette, Seneca County, New York on April 6, 1830 and now has grown to 15 million members world wide.
See the graph below to learn all about world's 4th largest religion:

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 183rd Semiannual General Conference Broadcast Scheduale For Deaf Members of The LDS Church

The LDS Church has released the schedules to view General Conference with American Sign Language Interpretation on multiple television and online formats. Look at the schedule below. If you know someone who is Deaf and is a member of the LDS Church, please refer them to this schedule. This is also a great missionary opportunity to invite those who are non-LDS Deaf to learn more about our Church.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Broken History

Note: I have asked Audrey Bastian to be a guest blogger today to write about a missionary named Elder Elam Luddington who served in Siam in 1854 becoming the first missionary in Thailand and what his experiences were in serving among those who had disabilities. Audrey Bastian is a professional writer and freelance American Sign Language interpreter in the Washington DC metro area. She received her master’s degree in International Law and World Order from the University of Reading in England and a bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in Arabic from Brigham Young University. She is currently working on a narrative non-fiction account of the first Mormon missionary to Siam in 1852.
How would we render Mormon history differently if we viewed it through the lens of broken bones and disability? 
Elam Luddington became a historic figure when as one of four missionaries assigned he arrived alone in Bangkok on April 6, 1853. Twenty eight years earlier at eighteen years old Luddington’s career trajectory looked promising but as a mariner based out of New York. He mounted the first rung of that ladder as a steward and cook on a sloop running cargo on the Hudson River. Then he apprenticed himself out to construct a large brig. In his autobiography he wrote, “I took quite a liking to the sea and clipper ships, brigs, and schooners with all sails set and colors flying.” A fall, however, may have driven him onto a new path and eventually a journey without purse or scrip through Southeast Asia. Luddington there faces ‘the broken’ in raw and close encounters.
In 1825 Luddington embarked on the “John Adams” carrying a cargo of cotton to the Bay of Havre de Grace, France then Liverpool, England. At Liverpool he recalls:
Here, while discharging cargo between daylight and dark I fell down the hold and  broke my left arm. It was not properly set, and is lame to this day.  
(Elam Luddington Autobiography.  
http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~vkbush/elamlud.html, Accessed on July 10, 2013.)
A fall down the hold may not seem significant at first until we discover that he never stepped foot onto a ship again employed as a mariner. Could the lame arm have anything to do with his sudden career change? Certainly the lives of every seaman depended on his shipmates. Hand over hand pulling and pushing of life at sea required two strong arms. A man with a low functioning arm would have been a liability to a sea captain.
Whatever the case, his career shifted dramatically inland eventually leading him to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints or the Mormons. Do we remember that he crossed the Plains twice, once as a Mormon Battalion soldier, and once as a pioneer company leader with that arm? Do we remember that sitting in the Church’s October conference of 1852 he received a ‘call’ across the pulpit to proselyte in Siam partially lamed? The very physical limitations he incurred precluding his original employment on ships, however, enabled this historic voyage to Siam. 
Shifting our anchor into the Pacific, Southeast Asia has the highest percentage of people with disabilities in the world. Poverty, accidents (like Luddington’s), inaccessibility of medical care, wars causing disabling injuries, malnutrition affecting growth and brain development and the penal system of cutting off limbs for petty crimes were all common during the 1800s.
Elam Luddington, a quiet man with a mild disability of his own, arrived on the shores of Calcutta in 1853. In his missionary journal he traveled Southeast Asia referencing injuries. These ranged from religious rites causing pain or death to scenes of bloody warfare. He specifically records fighters who lost limbs during a struggle and the penal system of Siam torturing and starving prisoners or chopping fingers and hands. 
Luddington arrived in China just before the Second Opium War. The Qing government ratified The Treaty of Nanjing in 1843 significantly reducing its power at the trading ports. Chinese society slowly unhinged and so did its coastal welfare structure. In Canton Luddington zooms in on some people with disabilities and their situation. He writes:
The mame, the holt, the [blind] & most deformed objects of pity these poor invaleads rooling in poverty & dirt, gathering the crumbs or chow chow or sumthing to support nature I hav often seen them sucking the stalks of old shugar cane beging in the streets & sullers, to keep from starving to death. 
(Elam Luddington, Missionary Journal The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Archives MS 6104)
Although he may not have seen himself as disabled, impaired or impoverished like the “deformed objects” he describes, nonetheless he also begged for his own bread and shelter every night as a penniless missionary; journeying with his own lame arm. This vivid and tragic depiction reveals not only the broken in body, the broken in spirit, but more widely, the broken society. 
Chinese likely saw the scene differently. Is this an example of Chinese humanity or dogma? For example, did either Chinese culture or even Cantonese law stipulate that sellers divvy their excess food to people with disabilities? Luddington then might have witnessed an element of Chinese welfare: providing food at the markets. Indeed we may be glimpsing acts of Chinese humanity toward people with disabilities despite however backward it appears to our age of disability rights. Luddington described his own situation thus:
I wos looked upon, as only fit for transportation or an outcast from the hopes of Eternity, or a poor Mormon Elder from Utah. 
(Elam Luddington, Missionary Journal, see above)
In the chaos of pre and post war Canton, Chinese and specifically these people with disabilities found ways to stay alive and so did Luddington. 
We would have to dig further into how other provinces in China regarded and cared for people with disabilities to compare the coastal region and the interior. We could also compare the way the British now ruling Canton treated their people with disabilities. Ironically Dickens had just published Hard Times the previous year attacking the Utilitarian idea of happiness for the majority, effectively creating misery for anyone outside of it; the very poor and disabled. 
Using logic, not everyone in Canton disregarded the needs of people with disabilities. Even in the 1850s there were likely crusaders especially people with disabilities themselves striving for better conditions. A human “rooling in poverty & dirt” will not survive long without a network or scheme of some sort. The will to live encourages some level of resourcefulness and fraternity. 
Likely Luddington’s observations do not represent the true identities of people with disabilities in Canton. Perhaps the “invaleads” he witnessed recently walked as other men on the streets only days or weeks before? Perhaps they succumbed to the injuries or accidents that led any man of the 1850s into that condition. Why did Luddington choose to write about these people in his journal, though? Besides the shock of seeing them “gathering the crumbs” could he also acknowledge that he himself teetered on that same desperate life. Though broken, Luddington and those that he witnessed carried on one more day. And through his words we gain insight into conditions leading to the Second Opium War and the life of an impoverished Mormon missionary from deepening our focus on people with broken arms and disabilities.
Building on the work of Mormon/Asian historian, Lanier Britsch, and former mission president to Thailand and Brigham Young University professor, Michael Goodman, a narrative non-fiction book is in process to bring the tale of Elam Luddington to a wider audience. 
You can follow the research and writing:
Facebook: facebook.com/MissionSiam1852
Twitter: @AudreyBastian
Official website: MormonsLeftandRight.com

Sunday, June 23, 2013

LDS Sign Language Missionaries Benefit The Most From The LDS Church's New Missionary Program

Today, the LDS Church held a historic broadcast to announce some bold new changes in its missionary program. The best part is the announcement that missionaries would be spending time on social media networks in an effort to improve missionary work.
Elder (L. Tom) Perry also announced changes Sunday in how missionaries will spend their time finding people to teach. Because many people prefer to connect online, missionaries will use the Internet and digital devices in their ministry, Elder Perry said. He noted that missionaries will use “mormon.org, Facebook, blogs, email, … text messages” and other platforms to reach out to people. “The Church must adapt to a changing world,” Elder Perry said.
Speaking earlier in the day to new mission presidents, Church leaders said that missionary use of the Internet and digital devices such as iPads will begin in phases and only in designated missions for the rest of this year. The Church anticipates these tools will be available to missionaries throughout the world sometime next year.
For me, this announcement should have been made a long time ago. I served as a Sign Language Missionary in the New York Rochester Mission from 2000-2002. The reason why this policy would have been helpful to me as a ASL missionary is because Deaf people communicate using different social media sites and other electronic communications devices. Most Deaf people I knew in Rochester communicated via text messages, e-mail, or used a number of social media sites to communicate. They also used videophones to contact one another. But we couldn't use any of these methods of communication which made it difficult to set appointments or get referrals or talk to them about Church related issues.
While many people are excited about this policy, I believe that American Sign Language missionaries will benefit the most from this program. When I got back from my mission, I continued to do missionary work with the ASL missionaries in San Diego and Anaheim. I frequently met with the Mission Presidents to advise them on how to improve the missionary work for Deaf missionaries. I also met with Church leaders in Salt Lake City to discuss way to improve the missionary work nation wide. One of the recommendations that I consistently suggested was allowing ASL missionaries to have access to the Internet and to be allowed to do missionary work online. 
I believe that ASL missionaries are the most creative and innovative missionaries the Church has. We are constantly looking for new ways to share the gospel and for new ways to improve our lessons so that the Deaf people who investigate our religion will truly understand what they are learning. We constantly think out of the box. However, in my experience as an ASL missionary and in working with other ASL missionaries after my mission, other missionaries and Mission Presidents had difficulty in accepting the unique ways we tried to share the gospelrc. Now, with this new policy, I think it will be much easier for ASL missionaries to proselyte among the Deaf and to really let our creativity and passion for the work explode. 
In addition to the new policy in allowing missionaries to use the Internet, the LDS Church is making a renewed efforts to get everyone in on doing missionary work and doing in on a united front. The LDS Church has been working hard to get members involved in the work. The Church has encourage members to join in on the missionary work online and unvieled new pass along cards for members to use that has a QR code that will link them to a website if the person scans the code on their smart phone or tablet. 
I would like members invovled in the missionary work among the Deaf. We need your help. It is just as easy as doing regular missionary work online and you help out with the work internationally. I would like to recommend a few ways you can be invovled in helping share the gospel with Deaf people online. The LDS Church has great websites. Also, many members have already jumped in creating online material that you can suggest the Deaf people you meet to lean about the gospel. Below are some great sites: 
Although there are not too many websites dedicated to sharing the gospel to Deaf people, I think that with the new policy of allowing missionaries to use the Internet, more people will be involved in creating websites and social media sites to reach out to the Deaf. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Spiritual Reasons Why Natural Disasters Occur

It feels like major natural disasters are happening with more frequency as we see natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina and Sandy, monstrous tornadoes, earthquakes in diverse places and volcanoes erupting in different parts of the world. Many people wonder if there is any meaning behind these natural disasters. 
The scripture explains that God uses these events for many purposes such calling people to repentance, administering punishment for wickedness and disobedience, separating the righteous from the wicked and warning as well as announcing Christ's return. 
Lets review the scriptures to see what the spiritual significance of these events could be:
  1. The Commotion in The Environment is the Earth's way of Testifying of Christ As the Savior. See D&C 88: 88-90.
  2. The Commotion in the Environment is to serve as a voice of warning of Christ's imminent return.
  3. Immediately prior to Christ's return on earth, there will be earthquakes, storms, tempests and thundering. This can be clearly seen prior to Christ's appearance somewhere on the American continent after his crucifixion in 3rd Nephi chapters 8 through 10. See also Isaiah 29:6, 2 Nephi 27:2, D&C 29:13 D&C 43:18; D&C 45:33, 48; D&C 49:23; D&C 84:118; and D&C 88:87.
  4. It is also a method by which God speaks to both the righteous and wicked JS—H 1:45 in the house of Israel in the latter days. See 1 Nephi 19:11
  5. It will be a means of shifting the wheat among the chaff as those who do not believe in Christ are destroyed by natural disasters, disease, warfare and famine while those who believe in Christ will be preserved.  See 1 Nephi 19:11, D&C 43:25, 2 Ne. 6:15
  6. Natural disasters will be used to show God's unhappiness and anger towards the wicked which will serve as means of chastening and punishing them for their sins and because they won't repent. (See Psalms 83:15, Psalms 11:6 , D&C 87:6, D&C 29:17, Moses 7:34, Moses 8:17, Moses 7:38 , D&C 97:26, D&C 97:22, D&C 112:24
  7. To punish those who have killed the Prophets. See 2 Ne. 26:5, 2 Ne. 26:6 
  8. He will use natural disasters such as famine to get people to repent. See Ether 9:28, D&C 43:22
  9. These natural disasters are an attempt to gather the nations of the earth under the protection of Christ. See D&C 43:25. However, such events can also be used to punish the wicked and scatter them throughout the earth. See 2 Ne. 10:6 and Isaiah 30:30.
  10. To release God's people from oppression. See Moses and the 10 plagues of Egypt.
  11. An earthquake will occur to initiate the resurrection of the righteous. See D&C 29:13 and  
  12. These natural events will be a part of God's judgment for earth. See D&C 97:26, JS—H 1:45
  13. These natural events are the natural consequences of sin, wickedness, spiritual and physical pollution on the earth and is considered one of the signs of the Last Days. See Mormon 8:31.
The Book of Mormon explains in 3rd Nuephi 10:14 that these events have been prophesied by God's prophets who have recorded these prophesies in the scriptures and that these prophecies about the natural disasters on earth have been or will be fulfilled.

Granted, it is difficult to tell if a natural disaster is just a natural occurrence or if there is something more deeper than that.  1 Kings 19: 11-12 reminds us that it is important to remember that not all natural disasters are messages from God. However, for whatever reasons why these events do happen, and despite the horrible things that do happen as a result of these natural disasters, its important to remember that God still interacts with His Children today as he did in the past and that we can use these events to draw closer to Him.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Music And The Spoken Word In ASL For April 2013 General Conference


The LDS Church has a weekly 30-minute radio and television program of inspiring messages and music produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints called Music and the Spoken Word. The music is sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is longest-running network program in America which has been running since 1929.
Twice a year, prior to the Sunday morning sessions of General Conference, this program is interpreted into American Sign Language and broadcast over the Internet. You can watch it on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 9:30AM (MST). The music signer will be Minnie Mae Wilding-Diaz and the interpreter will be Brad Holt. You can watch Music and the Spoken Word in American Sign Language on the Internet HERE.
 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

How Deaf Members Of The LDS Church Enjoy General Conference In The Conference Center

When A Deaf person comes to Salt Lake City to watch a live session of General Conference, the LDS Church goes through great lengths to make sure that the Deaf person can enjoy General Conference in American Sign Language. 
Located inside the General Conference Center and hidden from public view is a room entirely dedicated to interpreting each of the sessions of General Conference in real time as it occurs. Among the many languages that Church provides translation for during General Conference is American Sign Language. Take a look at the impressive roster of languages that is interpreted during General Conference: 
Below is myself in the one of the rooms where the translations take place during General Conference.
In one of the rooms is where American Sign Language Interpreters sit in front of the camera and interpret the talks as they unfold. Either the Choir sings or when the audience the hymns, a Deaf person will interpret the music in front of the camera. What is being done in that room will be broadcasted to  Deaf members who are either in the audience at General Conference as well as those who are at home watching it on television or the Internet. The recording is seen in the Church's broadcasting room as seen below: 
For Deaf members who have come to the Conference Center,  the Church has set up two television screens for the Deaf members to watch. The reason why there is two television screens will be explained more in detail in a little bit.
Throughout General Conference, Deaf members will either be able to see the the talks translated into American Sign Language on the left screen or watch the conference just with closed captions on the right screen.
The reason why there are two screens is that not all Deaf people understand American Sign Language. There are many reasons for this. Some Deaf people were not taught ASL as a child but learned how to speak. Others learned different types of Sign Languages such as Signed Exact English (SEE), Pidgin Sign Language, the Rochester Method, and Cued Speech. Some deaf individuals have become Deaf later in life and never had the opportunity to learn ASL. There might be other Deaf individuals who know ASL but prefer to watch it with closed captions. As a result, watching General Conference with closed captions or in ASL gives Deaf members the freedom to choose to watch either screen to help them enjoy General Conference.
The LDS Church is aware of that not all Deaf people communicate in the same way. I appreciate the Church's sensitivity and efforts to make General Conference easily understood for all Deaf members in the Church here in America. Perhaps, some day in the future, the LDS Church will provide this opportunity for all Deaf people around the world in their nation's sign language

Thursday, March 28, 2013

April 2013 183rd General Conference Broadcast Scheduale For Deaf Members of The LDS Church

The LDS Church has released the schedules to view General Conference with American Sign Language Interpretation on multiple television and online formats. Look at the scheduale below. If you know someone who is Deaf and is a member of the LDS Church, please refer them to this scheduale. This is also a great missionary opportunity to invite those who are non-LDS Deaf to learn more about our Church. 

1.  Internet ASL Schedule
2013 General Relief Society Meeting
Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 30 6pm LIVE

1) Type conference.lds.org
2) Click on “Live Conference”
3) Click on “Watch Live”
4) Click on “Select Another Language”
5) Choice “American Sign Language ASL”

April 6-7th General Conference
Saturday and Sunday Sessions
April 6 & 7, 2013

 April 6 and 7 at 10am and 2pm LIVE

1) Type conference.lds.org
2) Click on “Live Conference”
3) Click on “Watch Live”
4) Click on “Select Another Language”
5) Choice “American Sign Language ASL”

April 2013 General Conference
Priesthood Session
April 6, 2012

Provided in the Conference Center or in your local meetinghouse only.
2.      KSL, Comcast, and BYU TV ASL Schedule
2013 General Relief Society Meeting
Saturday, March 30th, 2013
KSL Television 5.3

March 30 at 6pm             LIVE                 (English)
March 30 at 8pm             Rebroadcast      (ASL)

October 2013 General Conference
Saturday Morning Session
April 6, 2013

KSL Television Channel 5 and 5.1
April 6 at 10am  LIVE (English)

KSL Television 5.3
April 6 at noon Rebroadcast (ASL)

Comcast 105
April 6 at noon Rebroadcast (ASL)

BYUtv & Global
April. 14 at 10 am Rebroadcast (English and ASL)

April 2013 General Conference
Saturday Afternoon Session
April 6, 2013

KSL Television Channel 5 and 5.1
April 6 at 2pm  LIVE (English)

KSL Television 5.3
April 6 at 4pm Rebroadcast (ASL)

Comcast 105
April 6 at 4pm Rebroadcast (ASL)

BYUtv & Global
April 14 at 1pm Rebroadcast (English and ASL)

October 2012 General Conference
Priesthood Session
October 6, 2012

Provided in the Conference Center or in your local meetinghouse only.

April 2013 General Conference
Sunday Morning Session
April 7, 2012

KSL Television Channel 5 and 5.1
April 7 at 10am LIVE (English)

KSL Television 5.3
April  7 at noon Rebroadcast (ASL)

Comcast 105
April 7 at noon Rebroadcast (ASL)

BYUtv & Global
April 21 at 10am Rebroadcast (English and ASL)

April 2013 General Conference
Sunday Afternoon Session
October 7, 2012

KSL Television Channel 5 and 5.1
April 7 at 2pm LIVE (English)

KSL Television 5.3
April 7 at 4pm Rebroadcast (ASL)

Comcast 105
April 7 at 4pm Rebroadcast (ASL)

BYUtv & Global
April. 21 at 1pm Rebroadcast (English and ASL)
3.      Closed Caption (CC) Schedule
2013 General Relief Society Meeting
Saturday, March 30, 2013
March 30 6pm LIVE

Provided live in the Conference Center or in your local meetinghouse only.

Rebroadcast at 8pm:
18 BYUTV (Southern UT)
21 BYUTV (Northern UT)

April 2013 General Conference
Saturday and Sunday Sessions
April 6 & 7, 2013
April. 6 and 7 at 10am and 2pm LIVE

5 KSL
5.1 KSL - Digital
18 BYUTV (Southern UT)
21 BYUTV (Northern UT)
143 SiriusXM
374 Direct TV
9403 Dish Network

April 2013 General Conference
Priesthood Session
April 6, 2013

Provided in the Conference Center or in your local meetinghouse only.
4. Roku ASL Schedule
April 2013 General Conference
Saturday and Sunday Sessions
April 6 & 7, 2013

April 6 and 7 at 10am and 2pm LIVE

To stream general conference through a Roku player, download the Mormon Channel app from the Roku Channel Store.

Live video broadcast: Mormon Channel > Broadcasts and Events > Live Broadcasts

Languages: American Sign Language, English

Archived video broadcast: Mormon Channel > Broadcasts and Events > Conference

April 2013 General Conference
Priesthood Session
April 6, 2012

Provided in the Conference Center or in your local meetinghouse only.
5. Local Meethouse ASL Schedule
Please check with your local leaders as to when ASL interpretation will be provided in your area buildings.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What is General Conference?

In the next few weeks, you will see an increase in social media from member of the LDS Church and members of the press talking about General Conference
What Is General Conference?
It is a semiannual meeting for members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) that meets every April and October.  When people speak of General Conference, they are talking about two day long meetings consisting of four main sessions of the Conference starting on Saturday morning and ending Sunday afternoon. Each of these four main sessions are two hours long starting with a two hour meeting in the morning followed by a lunch break and another two hour meeting afterwards. On Saturday night, a special two hour meeting is held specifically for male priesthood holders. 
For women, a special meeting is held for all young women on the on the Saturday a week prior to the April conference while women in the Relief Society have their meeting on the Saturday a week prior to the October conference. 
In total, there are of six two-hour sessions: four general sessions, one Priesthood session, and a session for either women or teenage girls. 
What Happens During General Conference? 
Each two hour session begins with a prayer offered by someone in the LDS Church leadership. Then there will be a series of sermons, known as "talks", given by members of the Church leadership with hymns sung during the selected breaks in the two hour session. At the end of that session, a closing prayer is given at the end of the session.  
Throughout the two hour session, a member of the Church leadership who will conduct the meeting which consists of introducing the people who will be giving the prayers and talks and which hymn will be sung. Almost always, a member of the First Presidency will conduct the meeting. Typically, the Prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the first speaker of the first session on Saturday evening and last speaker of the fourth and final session on Sunday evening. 
After the first two hour session, a lunch break is given in which members of the Church will have dinner at home, or at a meeting house or at a restaurant. After the lunch break is over, the next two hour session begins again with the same format of prayer, talks and hymns. Hymns are usually sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. However, LDS missionaries who are living at the Missionary Training Center (MTC) and have not left to the areas where they will proselyte have frequently sung at General Conference. Sometimes, youth or young adults will sing as a choir.
Typically, during the second session of the General Conference, Members of the Church who are present at the Conference Center or watching it being broadcasted are asked to raise their hand to either support or oppose the Church Leadership. This begins with introducing the Prophet of the Church, followed by the counselors in the First Presidency, then the Members of the Quorum of the 12 and then other Church leaders. A vote is requested after each introduction. After this, an auditor will speak to give a short accounting of the Church's finances followed by another person who will explain give a statistical report of the Church such as many members are in the Church, how many church buildings there are and other important statistics. After that, the speeches and hymns begin.
Where Is General Conference Held?
Currently, General Conference is held at the LDS Conference Center where all sessions of the conferences are held. It is located in downtown Salt Lake City across from Temple Square.
When Does General Conference Begin?
General sessions commence at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (Mountain Time) on Saturday and Sunday. Priesthood Sessions begin at 6 p.m. and are only viewed at local LDS Church meeting houses and are only available to male Priesthood holders. Sessions for either young women or Relief Society Women are also only viewed at local LDS Church meeting houses.
How Can I Attend General Conference?
You do not have to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to Attend General Conference. Anyone can attend. The tickets are free of charge. If you plan on physically attending the General Conference, you can obtain tickets by your local ecclesiastical LDS Church leader known as a Bishop. You can also obtain tickets by writing to church headquarters. Standby tickets are also available by waiting in line at the the Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square many hours before the Conference begins. You may not be able to make it into the LDS Conference Center itself but may be seated to watch it in overflow rooms on screens in various places such as Temple Square, including the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building
Can I Watch It On Television Or The Internet?
You can also watch it on television, on the Internet, by radio or by watching at your local LDS meetinghouse. 
If you plan on watching it on television Check your local cable provider.You can also watch them on either Dish, DirecTV, and C-band in some markets on the BYU TV station. To be very specific, it is viewed live on BYU Television on the Dish Network, Channel 9403 and DirecTV, Channel 374. If you are in the United States and wants to get BYU Television, go to the BYUTV website. Also, BYU Television International also broadcasts General Conference on man Cable systems in Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese. If you are in Latin American and want to watch General Conference on BYUTV, go to the BYUTV international website. Also,  The conference usually airs on the LDS-owned media outlets KSL-TV and KBYU-TV.
If you have other devices to watch television such as Roku, you can watch it on the Mormon Channel.
If you plan on watching it on the Internet, the LDS Church has a website where you can watch it online in multiple languages. 
You can also listen to it on the Church's own official radio station, Mormon Channel or at online on the Church's radio system and at KSL (AM) or KBYU (FM) which broadcasts the four general sessions of General Conference live. So, if you are on the road or don't have television or the Internet, check your local radio listings or find the Mormon Channel on your radio.
If you want to watch it online, you can watch it on the Church's official General Conference page in which you can watch it being streamed live in various languages including American Sign Language. You can also watch previous General Conferences either on the LDS Church's YouTube page or purchase them from the LDS Church. You can also watch it on Facebook at Facebook.com/LDS
You can also watch them at your local LDS Church meeting house which is broadcast by satellite around the world either simultaneously or time delayed to accommodate for differing time zones.
The cool thing about having a variety of options to watch or listen to these General Conferences is that the Mormon Church makes these meetings available to 83 countries, transmitting to over 7450 church facilities worldwide and airing over 20 television and 2177 cable stations. 
Can I Watch Or Listen To The Conference In My Langauge? 
The LDS Church has volunteer language professionals translate the talks into over 90 languages live during the Conference. For Church members, this means that 98% of church members can listen to general conference in their native language.
What Does The Inside and Outside of LDS General Conference Center Look Like?  
See below for some photos I found on the Internet. I have added captions to the photos to help explain what you are looking at.
Bird's eye view of the Conference Center
Inside the Conference Center
This what the Conference Center looks like during a session
Church leaders and Choir sits on the stage facing towards the audience
Any other Interesting Facts About General Conference? 
Yes. See the infographics below: 

Monday, March 18, 2013

New ASL Branch Created In Mesa Arizona

Last Sunday, on March 17th, 2013, exciting changes occurred for Deaf and Hard of Hearing members of the LDS Church in Arizona. Due to the growth of Deaf members of the LDS Church, the Phoenix 34th Branch grew so big that it had to be divided which created a new Deaf branch in Mesa, Arizona.
The Phoenix 34th Branch will now be known as the Phoenix Branch.  The new branch will be called the Mesa, Arizona branch. They will also be known informally as the ASL Phoenix Branch and the ASL Mesa Arizona Branch. The LDS Church no longer calls these congregations "Deaf" wards or branches and prefer to call them ASL wards and branches because people who know ASL or are CODAs can also be members of that congregation. 
See below for more details about this exciting news for Deaf members of the LDS Church: 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Deaf Mormons Excited About The Announcement of 58 New Missions

Ever since the announcement of lowing the age of eligibility for male and female members of the Church to serve missions, it has increased the numbers of missionaries going out into the field. As a result, the LDS Church has announced the creation of 58 new missions to accommodate the rapid growth of missionaries. 
Ever since the announcement, many Deaf members of the LDS Church are wondering if this will have an impact on the Church's efforts to proselyte among the Deaf. Many Deaf members are hoping that the creation of these new missions will also mean that more Deaf missions will be created which will give more opportunities for Deaf members to share the gospel with others. 
The announcement will have an impact on the following American Sign Language Missions with the new missions in parenthesis: Oregon Portland (WA-Vancouver and OR-Salem), Washington Seattle (WA-Federal Way), Idaho Boise (ID-TwinFalls and ID-Nampa), Illinois Chicago, Missouri Independence (new KS-Wichita), Virginia Richmond (VA-Chesapeake), Arizona Phoenix (AZ-Gilbert and AZ-Scottsdale), California Anaheim and California Los Angeles) ( Irvine, Bakersfield and Rancho Cucamonga). 
I hope the LDS Church will consider adding more American Sign Language missions. As someone who has served an American Sign Language Mission and has worked with many ASL missionaries, I know that there is a huge need for Sign Language missionaries in the US and around the world. For example, in Southern California alone, there is a a need for ASL missionaries around and between Orange County and San Diego in places like Oceanside, Carlsbad, Long Beach and Arcadia. Many members live outside the boundaries of the California Anaheim Mission and the California San Diego Mission and there are people who can be taught in those areas. 
Many Deaf people are excited for the announcement of new missions because it is seen as an opportunity for the LDS Church to increase their efforts to reach out to the Deaf people. They hope that more Sign Language missions will be created in America and around the world so that more Deaf people will come unto Christ. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Harry Reid Accused Of Accepting Bribes From Utah Business Man

During the 2012 Presidential election, Harry Reid accused Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes while Hollywood actor Jason Alexander claimed that Romney hasn't been paying his tithing. Both claims were outright LIES. The underlying assumption that Harry Reid wanted to get the American people to believe was that Mitt Romney is a criminal who hasn't been caught yet. However, we just may find that Harry Reid is a hypocrite when he made those false allegations.
We are now learning that Harry Reid is being accused of accepting bribes from Jeremy Johnson, a Utah businessman, with Utah Attorney General John Swallow, as the middleman who brokered the deal between the businessman and the Las Vegas Senator to make a federal investigation into his company go away. Jeremy Johnson claims to have proof of the whole transaction:
To back his allegations, Johnson provided an email from Swallow that Johnson identified as key in supporting his claims. Johnson also granted access to at least several dozen other emails, two financial records, several photos and a transcript of about 60 pages of a secretly recorded April 2012 meeting Johnson had with Swallow, who was then Utah’s chief deputy attorney general.
The documents appear to support Johnson’s story that in 2010 Swallow brokered a deal between Johnson and Richard M. Rawle, owner of the Provo-based payday-loan company Check City, to enlist Rawle to use his influence to get Reid involved on behalf of Johnson and I Works, Johnson’s Internet marketing company that was under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.
....
Copies of emails show Swallow worked with Shurtleff to arrange meetings between Johnson and top Utah officeholders.
Then, with the FTC investigation continuing, Johnson said Swallow suggested Reid could make problems with regulators go away — for a price.
"I said, ‘OK, what do I need to do?’ He’s like, ‘OK, it costs money,’ " Johnson said, who claimed Swallow was adamant he make a deal.
"I think he told me, ‘Richard Rawle has a connection with Harry Reid,’ " Johnson said.
He said Swallow at first wanted $2 million to enlist Reid’s help. But I Works was no longer profitable and he did not have the money, Johnson said, so they eventually agreed on $300,000 upfront and $300,000 later.
Harry Ried's false accusation was an attempt to get a certain percentage of the American people to believe that Mitt Romney was not the squeaky clean man he appeared to be. However, the truth is Mitt Romney is more representative of how Mormons really are than Harry Reid is. Mr. Reid might be Mormon, but he's anything but a squeaky clean guy. 
Liberty Central has discovered that he may have also engaged in a pay for play scheme in by awarding government contracts in exchange for campaign money: 
"In fiscal year 2010, Arcata won a 1.36 million dollar contract for the Continuous Threat Alert Sensing System (CTASS) according to OpenSecrets.org after spending $50,000 to lobby the Senate. What the site fails to mention are the multitude of Arcata donations to Harry Reid and the Nevada Democrat Party. In addition, Arcata stands to gain another two million dollars in 2011, also a no-bid earmark directed by Senator Reid. The requests for these earmarks can be found here and here.
The Wong family, owners of Arcata Associations, have a long history of donating generously to Harry Reid. Their donations are over $130,000. Here is a PDF of all the donations."
Some might argue that such a quid pro quo arrangement is just the usual part of how politics is done in Washington D.C. Some would even argue that awarding earmarks is a Constitutional power that members of Congress have. However, Hot Air destroys that argument: 
"Reid and others in Congress defend the earmarking process by claiming that the Constitution vests Congress with the authority to appropriate funds, not the executive branch, and that earmarks more closely represent the intentions of the founders.  That’s absurd on several levels, but let’s focus on one pragmatic consequence of the earmarking process for this example.  The executive branch agencies have bid processes for purchasing systems and services, which in theory at least create competition and better outcomes and reduce bias in procurement.  Earmarks bypass the bid process entirely.  Arcata Associates doesn’t have to worry about competitors producing a better product, because Reid has in effect already picked the winner.
It’s just another example of Congress refusing to live by the same rules and regulations they impose on others.  In this case, that has big implications for waste, fraud, inefficiency, low quality procurements, and corruption."
The reason why this pay for play scheme is especially heinous is because of the timing of the donations. Once again, Liberty Central explains why this is bad news for Harry Reid and the American tax payer: 
"The most recent donations indicates a possible quid pro quo relationship between Arcata and Senator Reid. Arcata executives gave the Nevada Democratic Party $20,000 on June 5, 2009.
To understand why the timing of this large donation raises eyebrows, one must understand the timing of the congressional earmark process. For an organization to obtain an earmark, the organization must submit a request to Sen.Reid’s by their appropriations request deadline. In 2009, Sen. Reid’s deadline was at the end of February.
After receiving submissions, Reid would go through the many submission and some of them to submit to the Appropriations Committee for consideration. Thee committee’s deadline for submissions is sometime between April and June (the deadlines vary from year-to-year; this would most likely happen in mid-May). Between then and when the bill is released, Reid would prioritize the list of requests he submitted. Members typically submit many requests to the committee, but only some of these are funded. For example, in Fiscal Year [FY] 2010, Reid submitted 58 requests to the committee, of which 31 were funded.
Taking into account these priorities, the committee releases its bill with the list of earmarks. In 2009 (the FY 2010 bill), the committee released the bill on September 10, 2009. The FY 2011 bill was released on September 14, 2010.
On or about June 5, 2009, Tim Wong and his wife Shari each gave the Democratic Party of Nevada $10,000—the maximum about allowed by law. Note that June 5 is in between the date when requests were submitted to the Appropriations Committee and when the committee releases their list of earmarks.
On or about April 20, 2010, Buck and Aurora Wong each donated $2,200 to Harry Reid—nearly the maximum of $2400. Again, the timing here raises questions."
Reid's actions, if true, violates ethical and legal obligations that elected officials are expected to follow. Moreover, his unethical behavior are even more troubling for the Latter Day Saints as we see a high profile member of the Church engage in practices that do not reflect on how Mormons engage or should engage in business and politics. As members of the LDS Church, we have higher expectations for those who go into politics and are highly visible members of our faith. We expect LDS politicians to not engage in potentially corrupt and criminal activities that may reflect poorly on the Church and its members.

Mitt Romney lives up to those standards. Harry Reid appears not to.