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. blackfootsmj1

    The evidence of everything Joseph Smith ever said is in the Book of Mormon. Before you call Mormonism a cult, at least educate yourself. With the facts. The Book of Mormon may very well be the most complex literary work ever published in the English language. The Book of Mormon has added over 180 proper nouns to the English Language. Shakespeare added 30.

    Read this then tell me Joseph Smith "wrote" it, or that he copied it from the Bible.

    There is a reason Mormons cling to the Book of Mormon. When you have a divine witness, what greater witness can you have than one from God?


    June 19, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • Kolobian.King

      Ooooohhh! I almost forgot to include this one:
      Mormon Temple – Club 33 (Anyone is welcome to Disneyland, but only a few people with proper attire & $$$ will be allowed in. The rest of you are welcome to enjoy the view from outside.)

      June 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Erik

      Your remark is completely off base. Yes, the temple club is restricted, but not based on income or attire but on obedience to God's commandments. Nothing more, nothing less. By making such a comment you demostrate just how uneducated you are.

      June 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  2. hethathathanear

    If you want to find out if you are falling into the trap of a cult, read the history of that cult. DO NOT read what they provide for they will ever change the truth just as they change the truth of the gospel os their lie will be more acceptable. Before anyone says you crazy Christians look at your own past and the Inquisition and the Crusades, let me make this clear, that is the Catholic church and has nothing more to do with God than the LDS, both will keep you on the highway to Hell. Why so negative and hateful? If you believe a lie and that lie gets you killed (Yes I packed your parachute for you and everything is ok. But the truth is the raisers are all cut and the reserve is a pillow)the person who deceived you is a murderer. If you end up believing a lie that keeps you on the path to Hell where you will suffer and be tormented for all eternity in flames how much worse is the person or cult that is keeping you lost. What would Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Creator, the Judge of all the Earth the Prince of Peace say about the cults to the real Christians.

    I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. Revelation 2:2-7

    Why are the false religions so believable to some? Because Satan has been a manipulator of the Word of God since man was created. If you understand what a spin doctor is you will understand that partial truths always help make lies seem real.

    For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

    June 19, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Max

      The mormon church is a cult, and it's origins is even more weird. Besides the made up "new" bible "discovered" by the founder, Joseph Smith was also into the occult, and was a divinor and treasure witch. Not surprising for an antichrist.

      I believe this campaign season with the mormon church waxing bold with its wickedness will be the time that God cuts this weed down. Gear up for witnessing, as God will do something wonderful and always listens to the prayers of His people.

      June 19, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Chris

      Christianity is itself a cult.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
  3. Cojack

    I do not believe any of this, but , I do think it is needed to maintain order.....If we didn't have it, we would need to invent it...

    June 19, 2011 at 6:06 am |
  4. midge

    It's interesting to note the angry tone of comments that accuse Mormons of being a Cult! etc. etc.. So much anger. Jesus said "By their fruits ye shall know them". The angry "yellers" can't possibly be the fruit Jesus was talking about. These are the kind of people who may have thrown early day Christian saints to the lions. Now we have latter-day Christian saints, and they are often as misunderstood and mocked as the early saints. Thankfully, sans lions. But the prejudice is still there. Mormons (Latter-Day Saints) don't yell at non-members, call them names, tell them they are cultists and teach classes about how bad other faiths are. They are not jealous. They are a loving people striving for purity and this is evidenced by their fruit. Jesus gave us the best clue.

    June 19, 2011 at 1:05 am |
    • Lance

      "Mormons (Latter-Day Saints) don't yell at non-members, call them names"

      "The angry 'yellers'"

      "These are the kind of people who may have thrown early day Christian saints to the lions"

      June 19, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • Sean

      I became a member of the LDS church about two years ago. Ok, so some of the stories I find are a little silly, but you know something? They as a whole from everyone I have met have been the most laid back, nicest, selfless people I have met. Its the ones per se swinging the swords, calling names and "killing in the name of God" (figuratively) that are problematic. So live and let live, learn or share from others, but maaannn, some people need to relax! 🙂

      June 19, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Mark

      Midge, you said "don't yell at non-members, call them names," which I agree today is true (after all you want to convert people), but if you read what Mormon founder Joseph Smith said, you would know that LDS members were vehemently opposed to other Christian religions. Joseph Smith even attributed words to God saying that God the Father told him directly that "All other religions were an abomination in HIS eyes." So before you say LDS members are loving to all other members, remember what Joseph Smith said... and what Smith falsely attributed to God when he made up all those revelation stories.

      June 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mark Stoddard

      Excellent repsonse and right on the money.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • Lin

      Mark, your quote of Josph Smith is incorrect. Please read the account of his first vision for the correct wording.

      June 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  5. Pastafarian

    Yay for absurd religious beliefs!

    All praise to our great pasta lord!

    June 19, 2011 at 12:57 am |
    • Chris

      Be graced by His noodly appendages!

      June 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Lori

    Talk to LDS missionaries or read some of what members of The Church of Jesus Christ actually believe.

    June 19, 2011 at 12:28 am |
    • Lance

      Hi Lori, I absolutely agree that people should talk to Mormon missionaries in order to make an informed decision. However, I absolutely add that they should also talk to critics of the LDS church, ex-Mormons, and historians. I think making a decision about religion should involve at least as much skeptical investigation as one would engage in before buying a used car, don't you?

      June 19, 2011 at 1:21 am |
    • Lin

      So Lance, following your logic, someone considering converting to Juda ism should talk to a few n a zis to make an informed decision. Or maybe consult the work of Christopher Hitchens for an informed decision on converting to Christianity. If I want to find out about a particular religion, I personally think it is best to talk to a member of that faith, not find a hater or bitter former adherent.

      June 19, 2011 at 8:45 pm |
  7. Bill Fitzgerald

    Hey cleveland Jim, I gained a testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith Immediately upon listening to the Missionaries. Knew it was true, no doubt. Never have doubted it since. And now 25 years later you tell me we believe in magical clothing? Oh and the indians are from the tribe of Joseph, not Judah, so now you are o for two and lets make it three strikes and you are out because Joseph was not shot by U.S. officials. Where do you come up with this stuff. Sounds like you are the one who believes in crap because that is what you just revealed as not one bit of your info is true and I will testify with my hand on the Bible and the Book of Mormon against your words.

    June 18, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • dave

      Sooooo...you're trying to say that temple garments aren't real?

      What about the fact that you HAVE to pay 10% to the "church" in order to receive a "card" that allows you into the temple?

      June 18, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Lance

      "Knew it was true, no doubt. Never have doubted it since."

      If you have absolute knowledge as you claim, why add the disclaimer that you never have doubted it since? Also, since you're claiming absolute knowledge beyond doubt, what role does faith play in your... er, faith?

      June 19, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  8. James Black


    June 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
  9. Reality

    The better name for the Book of Mormon (musical and Joe Smith's version) would be the "The Last Angel Con" –

    To wit:

    Joe Smith had his angel, 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 18, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  10. Sad to See

    All I can say of those spewing the hate and derision of another person's religious beliefs: if you had been born in early 20th century Russia or 1920s adn 1930s Germany, you are the type that would have been first in line to burn Jewish villages in pogroms and happily accept the job of herding Jews into death camps.

    June 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • MS

      There's a big difference between saying your religion is stupid and calling for your death. It isn't a slippery slope.

      June 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • Epimetheus

      What have you been smoking? I fail to see how other people's unwillingness to share and validate other's religous delusions implies that they believe in religious persecution. Your logic, or lack of it, is frightening.

      June 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
  11. Jez

    Multi ethnic Mormons?... Puleeze!

    June 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • M

      There are actually more Mormons outside the US than inside. They hit the inflection point a few years ago. Most aren't white, if that's what you're getting at.

      June 18, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Lawrene

      It's a white only club. Other races are frowned on.

      June 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • M

      Wrong again. The largest single ethnic group among Mormons is Hispanics.

      June 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Lance

      There are lots more Mormons outside the US than inside, and shame on you for implying anything else! The fact that most of them are inactive children is irrelevant I tell you, irrelevant! And the fact that virtually none of them have any actual authority or representation within the higher levels of Mormon priesthood is irrelevant I tell you, irrelevant! It's all part of a plot Satan hatched to obscure the truth that the LDS priesthood has never ever been racially exclusive.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • Erik

      It is true that blacks could not hold to priesthood for a long time. That did not preclude them from joining and being taught. The fact is, it was discussed and brought to the Lord many times. It wasn't like the leaders of the church were deliberately withholding something. It was what the Lord wanted. But now there are several members of the seventy, Genral Authorties that are of African descent and many members as well. They know the history and will tell you how thankful they are to be members of the church. It is ignorant people that really like to bring this up and play the race card. If you look at US history, one of the reasons that Missouri being a "Neutral" state was that the South knew that the large Mormon voting base would have voted against slavery.

      June 19, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  12. Cleveland Jim

    Magical underwear, the indians were jews, the prophet was shot by US law enforcement. If you believe this garbage we need to invent a new word for how stupid you are.

    June 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • M

      Mormons don't believe these things either. Maybe a little fact checking would help you avoid these mistakes in the future.

      June 18, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Erik

      Maybe my word should be MD/PhD, because I believe and that's what I am.

      June 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • John

      Wrong on all points. Mormons don't believe Native Americans were Jews. Mormons believe that some Native Americans are descended from the tribe of Joseph. Further, Joseph Smith was killed by a mob of individuals. Some were farmers, some were preachers, some had other occupations. Mormons don't say that Joseph Smith was killed by U.S. law enforcement.

      June 19, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  13. Lou

    I have my own campaign: I WAS a Mormon. And I like that much better. The church is all nice on the outside, but the doctrine is all about Joseph Smith. Their sacrament meeting is all about getting people to say that they believe in the church and Joseph Smith.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • hillplus

      Not true. I invite everyone to come to church and find out for themselves. Christ is the center of the faith.

      June 19, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  14. Choco LateBoo Bees!!!


    June 18, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  15. cliff

    seriously, how can any educated person in this day and age belief any of this crap? calls into question their critical thinking skills.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Evidence


      June 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Evidence


      June 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Evidence


      June 18, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  16. Choco LateBoo Bees!!!


    June 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  17. Choco LateBoo Bees!!!


    June 18, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  18. Rock Out To Kyuss!


    June 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  19. randy

    I live in a small community which is dominated by the LDS Church even though the community is mostly Hispanic. The schools and the local government are dictated by this. It is outrageous how intolerant and bigoted the LDS Church is in this community. After reading the Book of Mormon twice and comparing it to Catholic literature and Fundamental Christians belief, I’ve concluded that humanity will believe about anything as long as there is claim to Authority.

    June 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said: "After reading the Book of Mormon twice and comparing it to Catholic literature and Fundamental Christians belief, I’ve concluded that humanity will believe about anything as long as there is claim to Authority."

      The best way to determine "truth", is through evidence and logic. When people lack evidence, and are willing to suspend their critical thinking...then all that is left, is what someone else tells them is true. They must depend on someone else's revelation, or interpretation. They base their faith on hearsay.


      June 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Mark

      I moved my family to Utah for work 4 yrs ago, and it's been great! Sure you get some mormon wackos, but generally speaking the mormons in my neighborhood are good people. My doctor is a mormon. My kids t-ball coaches are mormons. They offer great family oriented communities.

      June 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • M

      The LDS Church has always encouraged people to find out truth for themselves through thought and experimentation. If you've read the Book of Mormon and Bible, thought about them and sincerely prayed about them, then that's all they ask. People like #Ra below will never even do that, and thus, will never know what the LDS faith is really all about. They'll always be relegated to slinging tired stereotypes, attempting and failing to inflame people of faith.

      June 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  20. Ra

    I detest most religions, but some redneck claiming Jesus spoke to him is crap. Long live the inbred cult!

    June 18, 2011 at 2:55 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.