Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring, and, Dieter F. Uchtdorf the three highest officials in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, constituting the First Presidency of the Church, have taken an unprecedented and significant step to broaden their public outreach.  The LDS Church have launched individual profiles for each of the three spiritual leaders, considered by Mormons to be living prophets upon the earth today, on Google Plus --  a popular social network, similar to Facebook. (Update: And now Facebook, too!)

There has been no official word, as yet, as to why this decision was made, and specifically by whom. (This post updated throughout...)Although one tidbit of information I do know in how these profiles will be utilized, is that each profile will be linked to the person's personal content on via a system known as Google authorship markup. The way I understand how this works, is that when Google returns search results of a particular author whose content is 'connected' in this manner, a photo will appear next to the result; pretty cool!

Why is that important? I'll show you... I just did a Google search for "Mormon prophet blogs", which Pres. Monson did a few years ago when he wrote a guest post for the Washington Post's On Faith blog, and I (of course), blogged about it. Check out 'how' the search results show up in this screenshot I captured.

I'm actually the third result, however the top return does not show an image. The way that I am showing up here is an example of most likely why the Church has chosen to use Google Plus, but also the significance in a search result impact. Bottom line: Which result are you more likely to click on?

I feel confident in saying that this decision was not made without our leaders' full support. It will be interesting to find out more about how the Church intends to use social networking to "noise abroad" the messaging of the First Presidency of the Church. (Totally approved by top leaders -- all of them.)

I am also told that profiles are forthcoming for each of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on Google Plus as well. (Now there! Links belowThere is no word as to whether Facebook (Yes, they will be - has now been confirmed) will be included in this campaign in the near future; although one would think so. But clearly you can see why Google Plus is heads and shoulders above Facebook when it comes to its ability to help others find our message of the restored gospel on the Internet.

You can 'circle' each member of the First Presidency on Google Plus by following each of the links below.

Updated post: 6/13/13

If you do not have a Google Plus account, you will need to establish one first, in order to circle and follow the prophets... (pun intended)

President Thomas S. Monson has served as the 16th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since February 3, 2008.

President Henry B. Eyring was named First Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February 3, 2008.

Google Plus Profile: President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf was called as second counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on February
3, 2008.

Update 6/15/13 -  Quorum of Twelve Apostles now on Google Plus! Here are the links to each of their profiles:

Google Plus Links: Quorum of Twelve Apostles

President Boyd K. Packer on Google Plus
Elder L. Tom Perry on Google Plus
Elder Russell M. Nelson on Google Plus
Elder Dallin H. Oaks on Google Plus
Elder M. Russell Ballard on Google Plus
Elder Richard G. Scott on Google Plus
Elder Robert D. Hales on Google Plus
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland on Google Plus
Elder David A. Bednar on Google Plus
Elder Quentin L. Cook on Google Plus
Elder D. Todd Christofferson on Google Plus
Elder Neil A. Andersen on Google Plus

Update 6/8/13: Less than 12 hours and I am updating this post... In speaking with Church employees this morning, clarification was made that no other use will be made of these profiles other than 'Google authorship markup', as explained in this post; that's it. There is no plan to post content or use these accounts in any way, socially. 

However, I would still encourage those on Google Plus to circle the brethren, as I feel it will give authority to these accounts. If you look carefully at the example screenshot, that I posted for the "Mormon prophet blogs" search result, you will notice that Google shows how many people have 'me' in their circles. Apparently this little bit of information must be important, or why would they show it in the results? So, I'm going with the idea that the more of us that circle these accounts, or rather "follow the prophets" on Google Plus, this will help to increase authority in Google search results. (seo garble) For the rest of us, this is a small way that you can, without understanding how this all works, help to share the gospel online!

This is still significant! And which is why I chose to write about it, with only the information that I had. Many have been hoping for a long time that some type of official presence of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would make itself know on a social network (Pope on Twitter...) and although there will not be social interaction (Which by the way, just for the record, I do not encourage and so, personally, I am relieved.) this is a pretty big deal, from that standpoint. And really is historic!

Update: 6/ 13/13 - Deseret News published an article with more details, as to how the Church intends to use social networks and social media to share individual LDS leader's content online. Not much different than what I've said here, other than to confirm that the 'Church', and not the leaders' themselves, will post content to these profiles as they are established. And yes, I'm very glad to hear this is how these profiles will be used.

Second Update 6/13/13 - First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve now on Facebook, too. That was fast! Go LIKE President Thomas S. Monson's Facebook page, from there see other pages he likes and you will find all members of Quorum of the Twelve Facebook pages. (Links for Thomas S. Monson, Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdor below)

Another Update 6/14/13 - I've posted links to all Facebook pages of members of Quorum of the Twelve - below.


Facebook Page Links: Quorum of Twelve Apostles

President Boyd K. Packer on Facebook
Kathryn Skaggs

Come on over and Circle me, too! A Well-Behaved Mormon Woman on Google Plus

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