Mormon iPhone apps could help Romney

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has released 8 iPhone apps to date, with the help of nearly 100 volunteer developers. Can one of them help Mitt Romney at the polls this November?

Religious apps for smart phones are nothing new. In fact,  you can even download several different editions of the Bible to your iPhone these days. But if there’s one iPhone app that campaign volunteers for Mitt Romney, the first Mormon to clinch a major party presidential nomination, might want to look into, it’s LDS Tools. Once downloaded, users can look up contact information for other Mormons, which could be a perfect tool when cross-checking voter registration lists, as noted by Mashable and CNN.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints isn’t new to creating apps. In fact, a look at their iTunes App Store offerings  reveals seven different downloads currently up for grabs. The apps cover everything from a gospel library to LDS Youth Groups. Of course the Mormon Church isn’t the only religious group to present smartphone offerings – in 2011, the Vatican launched an app that focused on Pope John Paul II.

But when it comes to development, the Salt Lake City-based church may have the Catholics beat. According to a 2011 press release, there is an army of about 100 volunteers who develop apps for the Mormon Church. Their first app, called The Mormon Channel, was launched in 2009. The development effort was first launched in 2006—before the dawn of the  iPhone—according to church technical program manager Tom Welch.

“We have a team of employees at the church who work on the projects, but we also enlist our volunteers who have expertise in these platforms to come and help,” Welch said. “These volunteers do everything from helping with design, t2o programming, to project management. We even have a group of people who answer support e-mails from customers. It’s a pretty big effort”

It was these same developers who worked on LDS Tools, the third app released by the church and currently the second most popular, according to the iTunes store. The app lists phone numbers and addresses of local church members and according to CNN, has been used by some Romney volunteers, even though both the campaign and the church frown upon such behavior.

“I’m sure the campaigns and the church are saying ‘you can’t do that,’ but people will fall on their sword for Mitt Romney and some people will justify the means,” said Dave Isbell, a church member in Nevada, in an interview with CNN.

But the app may not make much of a difference when it comes to getting out the vote or changing voters’ minds. According to the Pew Research Center, 65 percent of Mormons consider themselves Republicans, versus 35 percent of the general population. In other words, the group is already more than likely to vote for Romney. 

Photo via Justin Franz/iTunes Store

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