New Online System for Temple Prayer Rolls Announced

Intellectual Reserve
Geoff Openshaw

Geoff Openshaw

Now you don't have to wait to attend a temple to be able to ask for blessings for your loved ones.

Those familiar with Latter-day Saint temples may know that the sacred edifices observe a practice of maintaining a “prayer roll” within the temple. Prayer rolls serve in a similar capacity as praying for a loved one in times of need, illness or any of life’s many maladies and concerns, albeit in the most sacred setting available to Latter-day Saints and with expected potency of faith behind them.

Temple patrons typically find prayer roll submission boxes throughout the floors of the temple. The pieces of paper with those names are then added to the actual prayer roll, where those participating in temple work are asked to be particularly mindful of the individuals on the rolls. The submitted names are not actually announced or revealed to anyone in attendance; prayer rolls are strictly anonymous and collective.

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced that a new online system will now be made available to improve access and streamline submission of names to temple prayer rolls.

One must have a Church account (we used to call those LDS accounts, but well, ya know) and simply visit a temple’s information page, which one can access from the Church’s list of all temples.

The process from there is pretty straightforward. Find the temple in question, click on it, then on the temple’s page, there’s a new link under “Prayer Roll” to submit names. That takes users to a portal where one can type a name into a field, click the + button to add it, and continue adding names or submit when ready.

Screenshot of the information page for the Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple | ChurchofJesusChrist.org

The Church has said this will send the name to the temple in question, although it’s worth noting the final submission page has a URL of “https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/temples/prayer-roll,” so it’s unclear what back end work is at play to ensure the names go to the temple in question. (And in a test, you can go straight to this URL and submit names, bypassing the temple selection page entirely, which raises questions about how anyone doing that will get the names to a specific building.)

Submissions are limited to five individuals at once, in keeping with the practice not to “stuff” the prayer roll box.

In addition to using the website interface, Church members can also use the “Temples” section of the Member Tools mobile app to submit names, starting on August 25, 2020 for Android and September 1, 2020 for iOS. And this might be one of the first times in memory that a tech feature developed by the Church was given to Android before iOS. Then again, most missionaries seem to get Samsung phones and tablets nowadays, so….

Also worth noting – if you submit a name to a temple that is closed, the name will automatically be routed to the nearest open temple. That’s a nice consolation in the time of COVID, when we’re barely getting into phase 2 for temple reopenings.

Technology moving us forward! What do you think of the new feature?

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