The Mormon Church is stepping into the 21st Century. After decades of strictly door-to-door-based proselytizing, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is modernizing its traditional approach to missionary work by integrating the use of the Internet and social media.

A fascinating long-read published by the Atlantic details the church’s experimental adoption of services like Facebook and Skype to win over converts, as opposed to the traditional but increasingly ineffective door-to-door recruiting missions. But the growing use of technology goes beyond just social media; a mission in Russia, for instance, distributed iPod touches pre-loaded with translation software and Russian-language texts to help facilitate the conversion process.

“You’re not substituting the technology for face to face conversations,” said one mission leader. “You’re using technology as an adjunct, to better make a point.” True enough.

[via The Verge]