Monday, September 23, 2013

New Blogging Rules

The Area Presidency has instructed us to send this letter to all missionaries serving in the Europe East Area and their parents. If you have any family and friends who may be posting your emails or pictures online, please forward this email to them.

Dear Elders, Sisters, Parents, and friends of our missionaries and our returned missionaries,

We are grateful for each of you who diligently serve, have served or support those who serve in this great Area of the world.  We are grateful for each of our wonderful missionaries and we appreciate those who willingly share them with us at this very sacred time in their lives.

Living and serving in this special Area brings great blessings and also provides us each with an opportunity to learn sacrifice and consecration in order to help move the work of the Lord forward.  We are deeply committed to protecting the safety and well being of each precious missionary and member as well as the Church and have some special requests of each of you in order to protect them.

This unique part of the world has special social and legal sensitivities which do not exist in our home wards and which do not allow the same freedom of expression to which we are all accustomed. The Lord has blessed us all with incredible digital technologies and we all benefit from the use of emails, blogs, and other social media.  These tools however carry a responsibility and can be used to harm missionaries, members and the Church.  After much careful and prayerful consideration we ask each of you to willingly observe the following guidelines:
1. Laws in the countries of our Area prohibit the online sharing of any “personal data,” directly or indirectly, pertaining to another person.  Thus, we ask that you not share through social media tools any information  including photographs, names, addresses, contact information, or any other personal data  about individual members, nonmembers or missionaries.  If you currently have a public social media site or Facebook page where Area related material is posted, please immediately remove all posted photographs of missionaries, members and nonmembers as well as any written information about them.  If you wish to keep photographs on your site, please make that site private, and strictly control who has access to the site – by invitation only.  Please ensure that those invited onto the site can be trusted not to share or forward information made available on the site to ensure that we honor and uphold the law. Our missionaries are focusing on their missionary purpose, even on preparation days and we are asking them to be wise even regarding the number of photographs that they send home.
2. Church activities are subject to special regulations under local laws and noncompliance may result in legal problems for the Church.  Please do not share through social media tools  incfcluding emails  any information about or photographs of branch, member or missionary programs or activities (e.g. preparation day activities, zone conferences, other missionary meetings or missionary teaching activities, baptisms, humanitarian projects, etc.).
Please do not share, post or forward, through social media tools – including emails – any information regarding legal or other “challenges, incidents or problems” that you, the Church organization or its members, or other missionaries may encounter from time to time (e.g. visa problems, interactions with local police, apartment issues, etc.).  We are asking our missionaries not to share this information in their weekly emails, and their parents and friends to discontinue the practice of posting their emails or letters home, or portions of those letters on public social media sites such as, but not limited to blogs and Facebook.
3. Inappropriate comments about the governments, officials, customs or laws of our countries can create great risks for the Church and members. We are asking that you never share through social media tools, comments about political or social issues (e.g. international relations, the government or any political leaders, criticisms of the country or its people, etc.).
We especially ask family members and friends of our missionaries to refrain from posting through social media tools any photographs or other personal information that the missionary emails or sends home.  We are asking our missionaries not to share photographs or personal data of any individual in weekly emails to friends and family. 
Again, posting photographs or any other personal data of any missionary, member, or nonmember in this part of the world creates risks for the Church, the missionaries, the members and well as nonmembers.  We are thus sincerely asking for your support and cooperation in following these recommendations in order to help protect your son or daughter, as well as the members and the Church in this part of the world. 
In summary, we ask that you do not post your missionary’s weekly emails or any photograph of missionaries, members or nonmembers on public social media sites.  Please make any public site that contains photographs of missionaries, members or nonmembers private. Please remove all photographs of missionaries, members and nonmembers and other personal data covered above from your social media sites if you wish to keep them public.
Thank you for your sacrifices in this regard during this sacred time of service and consecration.
With gratitude,
President and Sister Gibbons

(From AnnaMarie): So, it sounds like I can post photos here (this blog is now private), though I'm not sure if Benjamin will be allowed to email photos. He's not sure either, and did send a few this week. It's like we're all going to have to break out the stationary and stamps and write actual letters.

Anyhow, this is from Elder Moore this week:

I can't remember my German. It's worse than I thought it would be. I didn't realize it until one night after planning it was my turn to pray and I was just like...I'm going to pray in German. Then I started praying and the words weren't coming out in German. I either couldn't remember or else it was coming out in Russian! How is that possible?? I was speaking fluent German in Germany to Carolin's family just weeks before entering the MTC! Ah well... Our President wants to go to the Amish, German-speaking people here in Russia, and I'd be going with him. Along with, I'm guessing, the new Missionary from Germany we will be getting next transfer. 

In February, when I got my call, I started reading the Book of Mormon again, and since then I've finished The Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, The Pearl of Great Price, and now I'm just starting the New Testament. I think I've learned more about the gospel since I got my call than I have my whole life. I just started reading the Book of Mormon in Russian from the beginning...I'm on page 10. So it'll take a while. Reading in Russian is slow, but I'm working on it and am faster than when I started. The first night in the MTC, I sat down with my companion and it took us 20 minutes to sound out the first half of the first verse of Nephi. Now we can read a page in 5 minutes! :D

As far as staying's been 4 or 5 degrees Celsius (40 F) this whole week. I wear my big fur lined Leather jacket now. :) The sun goes down really early...starts getting dark at like 7:30. and it's not even winter yet. A Russian told us in January it will be dark at 5. So Contacting is pretty hard when it's dark.

I don't really know what's going on with the whole blogging policy. There are new rules coming out for the safety of missionaries, so until I get clearer counsel...

The banner on the graffiti says "With the day of Space" or something like that.
Here is a picture of Me, Elder Batson and Yoda. :D

Have a great week! 

Elder Moore

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