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High-Tech Conversion: 32,000 Mormon Missionaries to Get iPad Minis

The Mormon church is expanding a program that gives missionaries iPad minis and broadens their proselytizing to social media. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a news release this week that a test program that began last fall with 6,500 missionaries serving in the United States and Japan went well. That has prompted the church to expand the initiative. Church leaders expect to have the specially configured mobile devices in the hands of more than 32,000 missionaries by early 2015. Most missionaries will cover the cost of the $400 device. Church scholars say it is the latest example of the LDS church's gradual embrace of the digital age and its recognition that door-to-door proselytizing is not the most effective way to expand church membership.

"We know in many parts of the world, the traditional forms of proselyting work very, very well," said Elder David Evans, executive director of the church’s Missionary Department. "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."

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— The Associated Press and NBC News