The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is moving forward with its plan to arm missionaries with iPad minis and broaden their proselytising to social media.
A test program that began last autumn with 6,500 missionaries in the US and Japan went well, prompting the initiative's expansion, the church said. Church leaders expect to have the devices in the hands of more than 32,000 missionaries by early 2015.
Using iPad minis has proved an effective tool for missionaries to communicate with church leaders and keep in touch with people who've expressed interest in joining the church, said David Evans, director of the missionary department.
"We know in many parts of the world, the traditional forms of proselyting work very, very well," Evans said. "In some other places where technology and urban life has developed in such a way that missionaries have a harder time contacting people, we hope that these tools become even more valuable in those places."
Scholars say this is the latest example of the LDS church's gradual embrace of the digital age and its recognition that door-to-door proselytising is not the most effective way to expand church membership.
The program will expand to all missions in US, Canada, Japan and western Europe.
The iPads have several apps including a gospel app that includes scriptures, manuals and other teaching materials.
Missionaries are encouraged to use Facebook to find new members.