Prior: Part 5: Calendaring Need No Longer Be Odious

If all events at the branch, ward and stake level were all on one calendar, the calendar would be messy and difficult to use. The Church has fixed this problem.

The Church’s digital calendar system allows entities to each have their own calendar but it still functions as an overall calendar system. Individuals have the flexibility to only access calendars that are relevant to them.

Think of the calendars as clear overlays. If all the overlays are visible you can see every event taking place. Hide the calendar overlays you do not need to see and you will only see calendar events that are of interest to you.

A single woman, for example, would not need access to the Primary calendar, Young Women calendar, Elders quorum calendar, etc. She does need to see basic ward events, Relief Society, etc.

This sort of flexibility and personalization now exists in the Church’s digital calendar system. It just needs to be utilized properly.

As long as events are recorded on the right calendar, members can choose which calendars they include on their list with the “Choose Calendar” function and which calendars they see using the “Seeing Eye” function.

It also makes things easier to sync to your preferred digital calendar system, but more on that later.

Create and Delete Calendars as Needed

The Church automatically creates calendars for the entities that every unit has. HOWEVER, additional calendars can be created as needed or eliminated as needed. Calendar creation and calendar deletion does not need leadership authorization or approval. It just needs to be consistent with local policy. This is a simple administrative task.

For example, a counselor and I created a Building Cleaning Calendar recently. Our ward was assigned to clean the building every other month. We recorded the cleaning assignments on this calendar. The two Building Cleaning Coordinators and the two Building Representatives are Calendar Editors for this calendar.

What public calendars to have should be a leadership policy decision as well as what information goes where, just so there is some standardization.

For example, a secular calendar with secular events can be a useful overlay so that there are not conflicts with major holidays and events.

I would list major holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas along with Cinco de Mayo when there was a strong Mexican heritage and culture in the area. I would often note Daylight Savings Time if it was relevant as well. I think it best if the secular calendar is constructed at the stake level as a separate calendar.

The Church now recommends that most stakes need only one general calendar for the membership. Private calendars can be utilized as needed.

Private versus Public Calendars

Any calendar that is relevant to the membership needs to be a public calendar. That means it is visible to everyone.

Private calendars are only visible to those they are relevant to. This sounds obscure but it is not. For example, the Church recommends that the Bishop’s Interview Calendar be private and only visible to the Executive Secretary who presumably maintains the calendar and the Bishop himself.

Private calendars can be view-only or with editing privileges. For example, there might be a calendar for Ward Leadership Meetings. It would probably be edited by the ward clerk but every member of the Ward Council would be a viewer. These privileges are preferably bestowed by calling, rather than by name.

When callings change hands in the LCR, then the computer privileges are automatically bestowed on the new occupant of the calling and removed from the prior occupant.

If done by name, then everything has to be changed manually. It can be done, but it is tedious. It is better to just do things by calling and the Church emphasizes this. Once entered into the LCR correctly, calendar privileges change too.

The Church WANTS meetings, especially leadership meetings, to be shifted to private calendars.

For example, the High Council could have its own calendar which would reflect its own events and meetings.

I just checked my stake and there are only eleven current members of the High Council. Meetings that are relevant to such a small number of people should not be cluttering up a calendar for an entire stake when they can simply be made visible to only those eleven.

When there are so many meetings and events not relevant to ordinary members, is it any wonder that members ignore the calendar system? This confusion isn’t necessary given the simple, efficient, and elegant calendar system the Church has designed and made available to us.

How to Put Events on the Calendars

There are two ways to put events on the calendars. Both achieve the same thing.
  • Click on “Add Event.” It is at the top left corner of the calendar screen next to a circle with a plus in it.
  • Click anywhere on the actual calendar day you want to schedule something.
If you use the Add Event feature, you will have to choose a date. If you just click on the day, you won’t have to do that.

A menu will appear where you do a number of things such as the following:
  • Name the event
  • Decide what calendar it goes on
  • Select a time and duration of the event
  • Determine set-up and clean-up times
  • Reserve building rooms and equipment
  • Designate a contact person for the event
All of these are important and you need to be complete. Some of the most severe problems we are having with the calendaring system arise because people are not filling out these forms completely.

I will cover all this later, especially when I address “Rules to Calendar and Live By”.

A Personal Example

Last year my ward had a Halloween event. I saw and heard some brief announcements about it. However, it was not enough information for me to correctly conclude what was happening.

The event was sponsored and lodged on the Primary calendar. It mentioned a dinner and some other activities, primarily for children.

I did not give it much thought until I got a call a few days before the event by the Elders’ Quorum president for something else. In conclusion, he asked me, “Are you coming to the ward dinner?” Absolutely gobsmacked, I said, “Ward dinner?!” It took some time for him to assure me that it was a ward dinner.

The publicity I saw had not mentioned anything about bringing an item to a ward potluck so I had not processed that it might be a ward dinner. It turns out the dinner was catered. Ultimately, I did not attend for a number of reasons.

A few days later I was talking to one of my single women friends, a widow. I asked her if she went to the ward dinner. Her reaction was the same as mine, “Ward dinner?!” She was as gobsmacked as I was.

If the event had been put on the general events calendar for the ward rather than the Primary calendar, this may have triggered the realization that it was a ward event. If more details of the event had been included, this also would have helped.

However, I couldn’t make the right determination with the sketchy information I had. Apparently, others couldn’t either.

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

Assignment for Leaders: If you have access to a calendar, look over how to add something and review the information necessary to make it complete by using the "Add Event" or clicking on a day. Fill in the information for a real or imaginary event. You can always delete it when you are finished playing with it. This can help you see how things work.

Assignment for Members: You cannot "Add Event" but you can check out what is there. Choose at least one event currently on the calendars. Click on it. When the bubble comes up, click on “Event Details” in the bottom left corner and review what is there. This is the most complete information available.

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