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June 17th, 2011
09:20 AM ET

As ‘Book of Mormon’ takes New York, city gets Mormon church ad campaign

By Julia Talanova, CNN

New York (CNN) - First came the popular Broadway musical “The Book of Mormon,” which won nine Tony Awards on Sunday.

Now, the actual Mormon church is hitting the Great White Way, with a big electronic billboard just around the corner from where "The Book of Mormon" is playing.

The new billboard is part of a broader “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign the church launched Thursday in New York, which also includes signs on taxicab tops and subway ads.

The ads show people from diverse ethnic backgrounds doing things like smiling, mountain climbing, riding a motorcycle and surfing, all with the tagline “I’m a Mormon.”

The Times Square Billboard is around the corner from the Eugene O’Neill Theater, where “The Book of Mormon” opened earlier this year. The irreverent play is by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

"Our Church is known for our efforts to share our message,” said Richard G. Hinckley, Executive Director of the Missionary Department for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the official name of the Mormon church. “This is one way to get to know us — through the lives of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

New York joins nine other cities in an ongoing campaign launched last year. The LDS church says New York State has seen a rise in its membership over the past decade, growing to 78,000 members, a 75 percent increase since 2000.

The ads will be on display for the summer, with the church launching additional U.S. cities this fall.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Mormonism • New York

soundoff (825 Responses)
  1. Live Treffen

    hello!,I like your writing so much! proportion we keep in touch more approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert on this area to unravel my problem. May be that's you! Looking ahead to see you.

    April 28, 2012 at 7:55 am |
  2. Mike

    As an active Mormon, it is always so interesting to me to read these comments and see how I am viewed by others and by the media. For anyone who is interested, I have a sort of profile which explains why I am a Mormon: http://mormon.org/me/2G66/

    October 9, 2011 at 1:36 am |
  3. D. Hansen

    Let me get this straight. Joseph Smith, who had little formal education, writes a 532 page fiction book with multiple story lines, more than three major ethnic groups that intermingle with one another, creates over 200 new names, many of which have Hebraic origin (Mosiah for instance), writes in chiasmas poetry, accurately predicts latter day pollution, international intrigue, the dispersing of the Gospel message and a host of other fictional and hysterical points was WRONG? Pretty bright guy, for a deceiver...not to mention that AT ANY GIVEN TIME, all he had to do was abandon his testimony that he saw the Living Christ, who Mormons uphold as God, and His Father... make it all go away Joseph by denying this ever happened, and you and Emma and the family can go lively quietly somewhere until the end of your lives. No...the book he translated was not of his origin, and the Church he founded was not either. It has stood all tests, all ridicule, all persecution, all attempts to defame it, and all musicals written about it. By your fruits ye shall know them, and there is not adequate capacity to show all those fruits. Simply put...if you aren't a believer, that is fine. But, the test still remains...have an honest heart, hear the message and ponder it and ask the Lord if it is correct. Meanwhile, Mormonism is sweeping the earth, just as Joseph prophesied it would in 1830 when he released his fictional tale called the Book of Mormon...

    June 28, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • SquareRootOfMinusOne

      D. Hansen, I agree with you that "the book he [Joseph Smith] translated was not of his origin". Its origins are striking similar to the Qur'an and I would venture to say that they both have the same origin.

      I totally disagree that the Book of Mormon "has stood all tests,... all attempts to defame it" Not by a long shot. I just presented 3 tests and the LDS community has failed miserably in handling them. These 3 tests are 3 quotes were taken from wikipedia.org (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Church_of_Jesus_Christ_of_Latter-day_Saints):

      Test 1: "Differences between the LDS Church and most of traditional Christianity include ... a doctrine of 'exaltation' which includes the ability of humans to become gods and goddesses in the afterlife." Reference used is: Carter, K. Codell (1992), "Godhood", in Ludlow, Daniel H., Encyclopedia of Mormonism, New York: Macmillan, pp. 553–55, ISBN 0-02-904040-X, http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/u?/EoM,3734 ("The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods."). This all sounds like what Satan said to Eve "you shall be as gods" (Gen 3:5). I'll side with the Holy Trinity on this one.

      Test 2: "He [Joseph Smith] also introduced the church to a full accounting of his First Vision, in which two heavenly "personages" (LDS interpret them to be God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ) appeared to him at age 14. Long after Smith's death, this vision would come to be regarded by the LDS Church as the most important event in human history after the resurrection of Jesus." What about Pentecost!? Is Joseph Smith's vision more important than Pentecost!?

      Test 3: "Under the doctrine of [new] continuing revelation [such as the Book of Mormon], Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus, under the direction of Heavenly Father, leads the church by revealing his will to its President" This is in direct contradition to Jude 1:3 which says that the faith was "once for all delivered unto the saints." (ASV) I'll side with the New Testament on this one.

      You are correct that "by your fruits ye shall know them". Mormons have written on-line that I am "weird" and "obsessed". Interesting fruits presented by the Mormons.

      You wrote "the test still remains...have an honest heart, hear the message and ponder it and ask the Lord if it is correct." Batter Up & BeamMeUpScotty have noticed that Mormons are post-modern relativists. BeamMeUpScotty wrote "Do you mean that Mormons are relativistic as in touchy-feely people? In that case I agree. I've witnessed that first hand. They told me to wait for a "burning in the bosom" and that would be a signal from God to me that their faith is right. They do put aside their thoughts and concentrate on their own touchy-feely experiences."

      "Meanwhile, Mormonism is sweeping the earth" and even more so is Islam. So by your logic I should become a Moslem?

      I can go on and on but what I've presented is enough for now.

      July 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm |
  4. Marie Kidman

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGSvqMBj-ig&w=640&h=390]
    `

    June 23, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  5. A.Pal

    I really like this cnn religion site and checking out these comments is one of my guilty pleasures but sometimes it just kind of brings you down. I grew up LDS and for the most part still consider myself a Mormon yet one of the things I have a difficult time with my church and all religions is how often the members put other faiths down. There are plenty of things about the LDS faith that I DO NOT agree with as well as plenty of things I do find that bring happiness into my life.
    One of the difficulties I find with all faiths is how often the founder is such a revolutionary for their time (in a social and spiritual way) yet often the followers try to implement the exact same teaching thousands of years later when the world has greatly changed. I do like to supplement my faith with other teachings as well...some of my faves: The Dalai Lama, Jim Wallis, Thich Nhat Han, Rob Bell, and Gil Fronsdal among others. All faiths have messages of love that can enrich and enlighten.
    Does it really matter if there was an angel Moroni, if Jesus was the son of God, if Siddhartha Guatama reached enlightenment, if Muhammad communed with Moses and Allah? I argue that it does NOT. There is so much power in the more than historical meaning that can inspire and uplift. Instead of worrying about who hold the keys to heaven after we die let's instead focus on bringing the kingdom of heaven to Earth through peace, charity, compassion, understanding. After all there is no way any of us can know 100% what happens when you or I pass on but I can bet you if you sincerely live the golden rule and there actually is some kind of heaven not only will you have had a happy life but you'll be sitting pretty there as well. I apologize for my rant but I just hope we may love one another and reach out with understanding despite our differences.

    June 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm |
    • M

      I really agree with you about trying too hard to emulate spiritual leaders that lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Like you said, many of these leaders were progressive for their time, but not all of their culture, teachings and actions will apply to modern life. Things change. People change. I think that is why the LDS faith puts so much emphasis on having a living prophet. Joseph Smith was wonderful, but he isn't here to help us now or to explain his teachings. Many of his teachings still apply, of course, but not all of them. We do, however, have a living successor that can tailor the message to the people of today and the unique problems we face.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • BCarroll

      I disagree with your analysis of belief systems. It does matter what you believe about Jesus Christ.Mormonism talks about Jesus but does not believe the same as traditional christianity. The same goes for belief in God. Reasearch what they believe about each one. Jesus is not God, they deny the Trinity, believe God was once a man of flesh and bone. Check out their belief system. We are talking about our eternal destinity and we sure want to get that right. Eternity is a long time especially if you get it wrong and end up in the wrong place,Hell. The Bible is the only true book about about Jesus and God. It sets the standard for christianity

      June 24, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  6. Mosihasteen

    The biggest problem with Mormonism is that there is not one shred of scientific fact ANYWHERE to indicate the book of Mormon is historical. The Pearl of Great Price has been known to be a fraud since about the sixties when the papyri were rediscovered at NYU and properly translated. They had nothing to do with the story joseph Smith concocted about Abraham, etc. This would make J. Smith a false prohet. But the folks in the church don't seem to want to believe any of this, despite their educational levels.

    June 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • M

      The papyri were burned up in a fire. There may have been similar papyri found, but not the ones that were translated.

      June 21, 2011 at 12:59 am |
    • M

      As to your other point about the lack of scientific fact, isn't that sort of the point of religion? There are no scientific facts that Jesus was a real person, yet millions of people believe in him. Why do rational people believe the words of a book when there is no evidence? Well for starters there is *some* evidence. People feel something inside when they learn about Jesus. To them, that is evidence. That is something that they are picking up with one of their senses. The same holds true with Mormons who believe in the Book of Mormon and the Bible.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • A. Benjamin

      Hey Mosihasteen,
      You can come to know the Book of Mormon is true by using a scientific method. First, read the book. Second, sincerely ponder its teachings. Third, ask God with a sincere heart, real intent, having faith in Christ if it is true. If God told you the book is true, why would you need to worry about artifacts? The book is its own proof.

      June 21, 2011 at 1:16 am |
    • G

      They found Nahom in Yemen. Right name, right place, right time period.

      June 22, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • Greg

      Religion is not scientific, it is about faith. Do you discount all religions because no one has proved the existence of God?

      July 1, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.