Friday, July 27, 2012

My Wheat and Tares Proposal about an on-line edition of the Ensign

Six ways to bring the Ensign Magazine into the 21st Century

By: Stephen Marsh
July 27, 2012
There has been a lot of talk about having more meat, more depth, yet not excluding people nor rendering church publications less accessible.  So, why not have an expanded version of the Ensign on-line to provide more depth, and to have an on-line presence worthy of the modern world?
New Ensign Tablet Version
After all, the church is working on an app, at least one for tablets, if not phones.  So starting with that, not just an app for the same content, but what if there was real meat put on-line to expand the Ensign every month, to make real use of the potential of an on-line venue?
If there was, I’d suggest that the following things could go in the on-line addition to expand the material that is in the print edition, and to provide substance — six things:
  • Some history (articles along the lines of Margaret Blair Young’s By Common Consent post on Jane Manning James or otherwise — real, in depth history)
  • some expanded gospel doctrine lessons (along the lines of the series of Gospel Doctrine notes Julie Smith has been posting at Times & Seasons — real, solid, in depth expansion of the lesson material)
  • a couple historical sermons in their complete text (instead of excerpts as we get in the “Teachings of” we could have two worthwhile sermons from history).
  • a policy/practice reminder — but more formal/structured than the print edition versions  along the lines of the yearly or so article on how mental illness is not sin and is cured by doctors, not faith; — articles such as:
    • how failure to pay child support [or taxes, etc.] renders someone unable to get a temple recommend;
    • how to deal with verbal abuse;
    • how if there is violence in the home you need to flee the situation in most cases;
    • how the Church 12 step program works;
    • how depression related suicide is the result of illness, not moral weakness;
    • how … (you get the idea — and can probably suggest topics).
  • “I have a question” — bring back the old column.
  • A forum for discussions of the additional material.
What would you like to have added to the Ensign on a monthly basis — especially if page count was no longer an issue (as would be the case with an on-line edition)?
Do you think the idea of more depth, in a centralized location, is a good idea to draw people into a deeper approach to the gospel or do you think it wouldn’t be worth the effort?
Would you submit an article if there was a broader and deeper Ensign available?

1 comment:

Scott Hinrichs said...

I like the idea of having greater depth available online. Articles in the paper magazine could even reference more extensive versions of the articles.

While materials of this nature would not be limited by printing and distribution costs, there are still costs involved, such as fact checking, editing, correlation, etc.

When it comes to publishing policy matters, it should perhaps be realized that the Church's recent move is to reduce specific general rules. The recent editions of the handbooks of instruction have gone to more principle based directives. More specific instruction should originate from area and local authorities.