Prior: Part 7: Togethering, Not Separating: Calendaring in the Modern Latter-day Saint Age

This may have been more relevant when I covered the history of things, but I wanted to cover it here.

In order to understand where we are now, you have to understand where we’ve been. Once you know that, you can understand why we have the problems we do right now.

In the past, there wasn’t a calendar for the general public. There was a master calendar that circulated almost entirely amongst leadership. It was exclusively a paper system.

People made notations on a physical calendar, often a personal one, noting if there were conflicts and trying to arrange things so they would work for the ward. Substantial time in local leadership meetings was spent “calendaring.”

Given the small physical space they had to work with on the calendar, significant time was spent abbreviating things and using acronyms so the maximum amount of information could be inserted into the small space.

The purpose of all this was just enough information for everyone in leadership to keep things straight because they already knew the details.

This effort resulted in a leadership calendar for leadership ends. It helped leadership do its job but it wasn’t really relevant for the membership. Leadership had to know when the building was occupied and free and when and what could be scheduled in the time and space available as well as what all was happening.

The general membership didn’t have access to this leadership calendar. What the public saw was usually just something on the bulletin. Announcements were made verbally, usually in Sunday meetings or bullet items on the bulletin.

Occasionally, efforts were made to create a general membership calendar. Sometimes it was handed out monthly with the bulletin. Sometimes it was an insert to the bulletin or placed on the back of the bulletin. It also was generally filled with abbreviations and acronyms because paper space was limited.

Items were generally just brief references. They never contained any details because there just wasn’t room. However, these paper calendars became more available when photocopying became more available.

It was into this system that the digital calendar was born.

Members are not in the leadership and other meetings. They need the details of events. They cannot get them any other way. They need the information that flows freely among leadership.

Today’s Digital Calendar System

So, is it a choice between an old-style leadership calendar for leadership ends versus a calendar of events and details for the general membership? No, it can be both! That is the beauty of it!

The Church has designed the calendar system in such a way that it can serve leadership needs as well as member needs including supplying members with all the details they need to know about what events will involve even if they never set foot inside a leadership meeting.

It’s not only possible, it’s desirable. And, it’s easy!

Both a Leadership AND Membership Calendar!

Leadership and events relevant to just members can be separated by using public or private calendars. If a calendar event is general and the entire membership needs to know about it, it should be put on a public calendar with lots of luscious details.

Leadership meetings, leadership training and leadership events that are only relevant to specific entities and persons should go on private calendars. The Church is now endorsing this. It wants these meetings off of the public calendars. They are cluttering things up and making it difficult for members to see the things relevant to them.

Splitting off meetings and general events on private and public calendars would ensure the digital calendar does not end up as a leadership tool for leadership ends.

Leadership can still see all its events and they can use all the abbreviations, acronyms and cryptic references they want because it is likely that everyone understands them.

The general membership will get its information, with exquisite details bereft of abbreviations, acronyms and cryptic references that so many of us don’t understand.

We could ALL benefit from this!

Next: Part 9: The Building is Involved So Include It!

Assignment for Leaders: Take a hard look at the events on your calendars. How many are meetings and events relevant only to a few? If you have the power, look into moving items from public calendars to private calendars to declutter them and make them more relevant to members.

Assignment for Members: Resolve to do what you can to declutter the calendars when and if you get into a leadership position. And you will … Right now, ask for these items to moved to private calendars.

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