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. Pete

    Mormonism = joke

    June 18, 2011 at 2:51 pm |

    The true name of the church should be obvious that they are CHRISTIANS. I believe in Christ. Mormons didn't change anything in the bible, they just added more footnotes so it would be easier to understand. We are all still children of God not matter what we want to believe.

    June 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  3. Larry

    as a former mormon I can tell you its nothing like a cult. it is howevr like many other religions boring & incredibly illogical. if you want to go into the local mormon church on a sunday morning & sit in service they'll let you. the only thing they're strict about is the temples kind of like those who run the vatican are about the vatican. mormons actually believe that christ would share something meant for everyone that only one person could read, that's weird. what they do have in common with the catholics on an high up level is a hatred of those who don't do waht they're told or those that those running the orginization doesn't understand like gays people w lots of piercings & tattoos. nearly all modern religions are founded on a bible created under the order of a king who hated many people. never seen the show but I hope it runs forever if it points out the absurdity of modern religion

    June 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
  4. Vince

    I'm a Christian and I think Mormons are not Christian. They are closer to scientologists.

    June 18, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • hillplus

      Well, it's a good thing that Christ is the one who gets to decide who is and is not a Christian. He looks upon the heart! 😉

      June 19, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  5. Grow Up

    Worship whatever God(s) you like. Just stop judging others and spreading divisiveness and hatred in the name of your God(s). Once someone starts believing they are part of the "chosen" then everyone else either needs to join the group of "chosen" or be despised. That is not a way to better yourself or mankind. Remember the World Trade Center buildings? They and 3,000+ people are no longer around because of such thinking. Stop it!

    June 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Yep, and how many people are wiped off the face of the planet everyday for control of resources? The amount of folks killed for blood or "conflict" diamonds since 9/11 is crazy.

      Sorry dude, humans will find anything or any reason to rationalize killing. It is not religion, it is the quest for power, control and revenge.

      But, if you want to believe that the Religions are the cause then continue to walk through life with blinders on focusing only on what you dislike in society.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  6. TJeff1776

    The printed statement under OFFENDED deserves some rebuttal. EVERY religion claims to be the best if not "the only one".
    Certainly the Catholics claim Peter past his authority to a Bishop in Rome, THEM from Pope to Pope to present day. Indeed,most Protestant sects trace their connections back to the original church. SO, the Mormons are no different from others in claiming "we are the ones". I suppose it behooves any interested IN GOD party to thoroughly investigate any
    particular religion and join the one of his/her choice. Certainly, to attack or persecute any church as OFFENDED is suggesting is the wrong way to go.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • bill

      Mormons are not christians. Gods do not roam the earth. We are not gods.

      June 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "Gods do not roam the earth. We are not gods."

      Hmmm... The goldfish in the bowl on my desk, might disagree with you. I control his universe. I cause fresh water to be added, food to be eaten and once pain when I dropped him. When his brother died, I took his corpse away. To an afterlife? The fish might think so.


      June 18, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  7. Zelda

    Mormons can get saved by accepting the atoning work of Jesus Christ and trusting Him alone for salvation. Mormons, please read the KJV Bible you have from cover to cover.

    June 18, 2011 at 9:19 am |
    • reality check

      They do read it cover to cover in Sunday School. This year they are reading the Old Testament. Next year they will read the New Testament. It's the reason why Mormons are the Christians with the highest understanding of the bible per a survey that tested such. Funny thing Zelda, I bet you haven't ever read your bible...cover to cover, while the Mormons rotate various scriptures from year to year as shown above.

      June 18, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • gremlin

      Mormons already have a salvation plan, thanks. I know protestants, especially those that think that the KJV is the only version think they are saving people by telling them that their religions are false, but really you just come off like superiority-complex jerks. I'd debate the problems with the blind hallowing of a version of a book that has been translated so many times that was penned by a bunch of throne worshippers that interpreted however the king told them to, but I know I'm wasting my words.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • JF

      Christians are certainly not in any position to critisize the Mormons. The Mormons took the Bible and added an updated edition. Christians took the Jewish Torra and added some books to it and called it the Old Testament. What's really bad is that the added books were written to valitdate the New Testament. Imagine that. I'm not religious but if I were I would probably be Jewish or Mormon. I would worship the origional text or I would worship the most updated. At least God has given the Mormons an update. The Christians haven't heard from him in almost 2,000 years.

      June 18, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • mickey1313

      all thesists are stupid

      June 18, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Lin

      Zelda, we do believe that it is only because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we can be saved. And yes, we do study the King James Version of the Bible (I'm currently in Mark).

      June 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "all thesists are stupid"

      Some. Not all.

      Your god does not exist. The ball is in your court...


      June 18, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  8. POD

    It's a cult.....but then again aren't they all.....

    June 18, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  9. LL

    It is sad to see the outright hate in so many comments. Those who claim to be so "enlightened" by their freedom FROM religion don't seem to be any improved sort of human. It's equally sad to see the intolerance of those who, upon hearing or seeing anything "Mormon", cannot wait to hatefully judge the church, while claiming themselves to be a believer in Christ. Somewhere along the line, the point of being CHRISTian seems, then, to have been lost. As is often asked, why can't we just get along with one another??? It doesn't matter what one believes: we all just need to get along or we are no better than the worst. I am LDS. I am not a "model" Mormon, but FOR ME, the LDS Church makes sense. Whatever your persuasion, it makes sense for you. We can all agree to disagree but there just isn't any room for rudeness and hatred. There is way too much of it in this world. This has been my comment. My name is Lynn and I am a Mormon.

    June 18, 2011 at 5:30 am |
    • TchrQrmPrs.

      I know! I think its sad that the LDS religion isn't fully accepted in society. So many people judge us according to our faith claiming that we're not Christlike when in reality they are segregating people who do nothing but wish to worship in their own beliefs!

      June 18, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • ProudLDS

      SO true! Most of comments here are representative of lack of knowledge and lack of Christianity. That's why the Church does not acknowledge the Book of Mormon play or negative comments. What we spend time on is teaching the gospel to those that want to hear. Now that's Christianity!

      June 18, 2011 at 7:59 am |
    • Offended???

      The Mormon Church has over 50,000 missionaries knocking on doors worldwide. Their message: “All churches are in apostasy. Joseph Smith restored the Only True Church. All other churches are not true. We are the only true Christians. You may believe in Christ, exercise faith and repentance, call upon Christ for redemption and be baptized, but, unless you do it as a Mormon, it means NOTHING! You will not return to God unless you are a Mormon.”

      So why are Mormons offended when they are told they are not Christians? Turn the question around. Mormons do not believe that any others are True Christians.

      Also, isn’t it a Mormon Badge of Honor to be persecuted? Don’t Mormons cherish their pioneer heritage because they overcame persecution? Whatever happened to being a “Peculiar People”?

      June 18, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • reality check

      Offended, you know nothing about the LDS church but your own made up beliefs towards them. You know the concept of hell you have? Well, Mormons don't believe in such. In fact, they believe that Outer Darkness/hell, can only be gone to if you want to be in it and don't want to be with God/Heavenly Father. They also don't teach that every church is wrong but that are truths in all but that Mormons have more of the truth, not unlike Catholicism or even the Baptists. FYI I am ex-mormon but I really can't stand made up stories when the truth is enough for me to reject it.

      June 18, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • Offended???

      Can a Christian, without Mormon ordinances, live with Heavenly Father in the afterlife? (I’m speaking of a Christian who has faith, repents of his sins, and receives the baptism of water and of the Holy Spirit.)

      Isn’t returning to live with Heavenly Father the definition of Heaven? What is the definition of being blocked from returning to God?

      June 18, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Lin

      Offended - I would NEVER say that someone else was not a 'True Christian.' I don't know what is in their heart or mind. Only the Lord knows that. You say you are offended that we think that you are not a true Christian, but guess what? I also don't like being accused, espeically by people who seem to mostly know inaccuracies about my church and its doctrines, of not believing that Jesus Christ is my Savior.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "Joseph Smith restored the Only True Church."

      Having watched an episode of South Park, about Joseph Smith's "revelation", I think the restoration unlikely.


      June 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Elbeau

      In anser to "Offended???"

      Joseph Smith wrote the following which is recorded in our scriptures (D&C 137:5-10):

      "I saw Father Adam and Abraham; and my father and my mother; my brother Alvin, that has long since slept; And marveled how it was that he had obtained an inheritance in that kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins. Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me, saying: All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it if they had been permitted to tarry, shall be heirs of the celestial kingdom of God; Also all that shall die henceforth without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom; For I, the Lord, will judge all men according to their works, according to the desire of their hearts. And I also beheld that all children who die before they arrive at the years of accountability are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven."

      June 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  10. kas

    I agree with zip. To have a president that believes this insanity is dangerous.

    June 18, 2011 at 5:15 am |
    • Ben

      How so? Expand...

      June 18, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  11. Reality

    The better name would be the "The Last Angel Con" –

    To wit:

    Joe Smith had his Moroni.

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
    Some added references to "tink-erbells".

    "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Apparently hallu-cinations did not stop with Joe Smith.

    "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."

    Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

    "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

    And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:
    "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

    "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

    "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel.

    June 17, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • roycers

      You sure like reposting this...

      June 18, 2011 at 12:53 am |
    • Reality

      Once again, reiteration is a major component of learning as demonstrated by the number of times the OT has been reiterated over the last 3000 years and the NT over the last 2000 years. Common Sense and Truth are simply catching up. Deal with it and learn.

      June 18, 2011 at 7:58 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Or do like everyone else and only read when we see your name and a few sentences and a single paragraph. 🙂

      The rest, is just mouse pass over.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Reality

      Mark, Mark, Mark,

      Tis good that we have scroll bars and mice. The "Angelic Con" review is for "newbies" and for those who have not been affected by the con. And for those who still believe in "tinkerbells", well you can only present to them some rational thinking.

      June 18, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  12. Kyle


    These people are so narrow minded! Been there done that. Get help!

    June 17, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
    • the_missus

      I was raised Mormon but am now agnostic. I find that Mormons are like everyone else, some are closed minded and judgmental, others are open minded and kind. At the end of the day narrow minded people would be like that no matter their religion. Your quick judgment of all of them, however, shows that you clearly belong with the narrow minded group.

      June 18, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  13. Chronix

    People who watch the show have another laugh when seeing this poster.

    June 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  14. Dear Atheists...

    Step in to the light



    June 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm |

      Dear Moron-EVOLVE!

      June 18, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • gremlin

      Thanks those were a total laugh. I only watched the first one, but the absolute misunderstanding of evolution and atheism and directed logic as to the nature of faith had me rolling on the floor laughing. Seriously, I think i'm going to cry. Wow.

      June 18, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • ikillstupid

      Has that EVER worked on an Atheist? No

      June 18, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  15. frank

    Do the people in the jungles with bones thru their noses get irritated when Mormons roll up with their creepy inhuman brotherly smiles and interrupt them at their cannibal feasts like I do when they bug me at my home?

    June 17, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  16. Think on THIS :) :D

    😀 🙂 😉


    June 17, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
    • Think on THIS :) :D

      This video dedicated to 'RAPTOR'

      June 17, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  17. We Love Mormons


    June 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  18. James Black


    June 17, 2011 at 8:13 pm |
  19. If You Want More Bacon, Watch Me, Dawg!


    🙂 😀 😉

    June 17, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  20. Ricardo

    I love how a play mocking and critizising religion has been used to promote 1 religion that just was choosen as an example.

    June 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
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About this blog

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.