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.
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.
Once your create a religion like Morman, Catholic, Baptists, Muslim, Buddha and the rest, they start to set rules and regulations and then say they "This what God wants, this is what God says", NOT.
I worship daily, pray daily and give to my fellow man/woman/child, just not in an organzied religion.
So where do you get your ideas of God? If not from a text, then where? It just seems like we're praying to a deity of our own creation if we do so independent from everyone else.
I don't know what your problem with Baptists is but we (as in my Church) study the Bible and do as the Bible says (and that's been around for almost couple thousand years)... my Preacher doesn't make rules up as we go along through life. If it's quoted in the Bible then we abide by it... if it's not... it's always up for debate. There is a lot of GRAY issues in the Bible but it does break down to a clear understanding of what's Biblically acceptable. Just my two cents...
If you get your ideas of god from a text aren't you just praying to a deity that someone else invented a long time ago? At least sosad isnt a blind follower...
"It just seems like we're praying to a deity of our own creation if we do so independent from everyone else."
Dan – That's EXACTLY what god is. There are 4,300 different monotheistic religions. That means AT LEAST 4,300 religions are praying to a god that doesn't exist. AT LEAST 10 BILLION PEOPLE ARE WRONG. If there is a god, you have a .00023% chance that it's your god. And with all the evidence pointing to god (that would be zero) you're wasting your entire life based on some pretty crappy odds.
I'm a Mormon. I have seen several of the "I'm a Mormon" ads and can see what our church is trying to convey. As several comments on this story indicate many think of us Mormons as nutty brainwashed fools. Opponents of Mormonism also try to point out certain doctrinal beliefs that don't follow mainstream religious in an attempt to put us down. Instead of trying to argue doctrinally and stir up anger and contention I think our church is trying a less confrontational way to change that image. Matthew 7 has, "Ye shall know them by their fruits ... Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit." Instead of arguing with people the Mormon church is suggesting you try and get to know a few Mormons in your community. By getting to know who we are you can see that we are not crazy brainwashed zealots who don't know how to think rationally. There are Mormon congressional reps, military commanders, policemen, doctors, CEOs of major corp., CIA employees, artists, scientists and etc. Mormon are in fact good citizens who work hard, tend to be well educated and are fiercely loyal to their native countries where ever they may be. The Mormon church's point through this ad campaign is to show that a church that is filled with crazy brainwashed zealots doesn't produce good upstanding citizens. By looking at the church's fruit (it's members) you can know a lot about a church's core doctrines and practices.
As most church's do we have some quarky beliefs by many non-member standards, but what church doesn't. However if you go to any church meeting (all are welcome) you will quickly realize that what we focus on is trying to be good people who are tolerant of others. The biggest surprised I had in reading comments was the allegation that we teach hatred and intolerance. The exact opposite is the reality. We are taught very strongly in church to never be critical of other religious organizations and not to foster hatred and intolerance. Even with people we disagree with. Everyone deserve the right to believe in their own faith and deserves respect. Most of my friends are not Mormons and come from all religious backgrounds including atheist. We have had many religious discussions and I never had any inclination to dislike someone because they believed differently. In fact I find it fascinating to hear the diversity of beliefs. In short all the Mormon church is trying to do with these ads is help shed a lot of misconceptions about our faith, as the comments in the article clearly show exist, by asking people to get to know some of their Mormon neighbors and acquaintances. We are not perfect by any means and many of us struggle with life's pitfalls, but we work hard to be good people and upstanding community citizens.
Misconception #1 that they are trying to change: That your not a cult...MORMONism is a CULT
"brainwashed fools" = all religious folks, sorry morons are not alone.
I notice that whenever a Mormon talks about doctrine, they never quote the Book of Mormon. It's always a verse or two out of the Gospel or Old Testament.
Also, I don't think I've ever known a general or admiral to be Mormon. Be interesting to know. Time for google.
Xenu, and the rest of the space armada would agree with you. Oh and by the way, Scientologists are doctors, lawyers, and actors, but it still doesn't legitimize, nor make rational the religion they follow.
Boxer – here ya go!
Alma 41:10...Wickedness never was happiness
Heleman 5:12 12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.
If you all notice... those of us whom are Mormon are not critical to others, we just like to correct and state the facts. This is because we have a SURE FOUNDATION.
You are one of a very few of Mormons who see it that way....I know first hand and have seen and experienced it what lengths they will go to make ones life miserable because I challenged their doctrines and beliefs...when I say challenged, I mean with grace and peace...I have had many missionaries come to my house and all they wanted to give me was the teachings to the Book of Mormon...I would always resort to the Bible and show them scriptures from the New Testament as why I believe the BOM is not another Word from the Father above....I welcomed them into my home with respect and did not treat with hate, but rather with Love....
What I got afterwards was a validation of why Mormonism is what it is...they(LDS missionaries-I have caller ID) would call me at work and hang up on me...I have been harassed at my work face to face by members of the church....I extended myself to a customer and offered to pick up her box spring and take it to her house for her because she was an elderly lady. When I went to drop it off at her house, she gave me a BOM and proceeded to tell me that LDS was the one true Church on this earth...I was floored by the efforts they have made to continue to convince me...the only choice I made is that I have children from a lady who is a member and I have always refused to accept their BOM and agree that Joseph Smith was a prophet....there is far more I can tell you, but you wouldn't believe it....so we will leave it at that....
James, you have made many comments all through out and all are negative. I'm sorry you feel so inclined in be critical, why you feel you must go out of way to make such comments is beyond me.
Tommas: I am a nuclear engineer and am quite capable of strong independent thinking. I live in a community that is filled with PhD scientist from all walks of life, most likely the highest PhD per capita in the world. Our community also has many more churches (all faiths) than most. There are many many deeply religious people here who are also considered so of the most brilliant people on earth. There are also many atheist as well, and we all get along just fine as everyone I have met so far is respectful of others opinions. Stating all religious people are brainwashed fools is a little shallow.
Boxer: One reason we quote the Bible because we believe in it, my guess why we don't quote the Book of Mormon much in public forums is because most would not be familiar with it and it wouldn't mean much to them. You can go to http://www.famousmormons.net and they list many famous Mormons as the name implies.
Xenu: I don't know much about Scientologist so I'm not going to be critical of them. I also don't know any well known scientologist except for Tom Cruise. Mormonism has many members who are considered great people in the public eye. Many famous Mormons don't make a big deal out of being Mormon, so you would probably be surprised if you look at link above. You are right that having a few famous people following a religion doesn't make it legit, nor am I trying to suggest it is. What I was implying was that there many good outstanding people who are Mormons which suggest (right or wrong) that the Mormon church doesn't produce a bunch of mindless fools who have nothing but negative impacts on the community.
Neither of these boneheads make any sense to me. Why did you post this boring video?
I am truly amazed at how many people actually believe in the book of mormon. It really is a cultural way of life, an American way of life that pulls them together. When any body, ANY BODY, simply looks at the bible, they will clearly see God warning mankind about men like Joseph Smith. Satan is not the red faced demon with horns etc, he is actually one og Gods most beautiful angles who went his own way. Satan clearly wants to decieve man and is doing so with the mormon faith. Have you ever wondered why there is no archeological evidence for this ancient civilization in America that the book of mormon speaks about. I truly hope people of the mormon "faith" will see the truth and not be led astray as they have been. they simply are towing the line in that community.
"Have you ever wondered why there is no archeological evidence for these ancient events in the Middle East that the bible speaks about."
It works both ways.
Hey, Larry –
Yeah, I just got back from the museum and had a look at the tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain. They are pretty cool. Oh wait..... I don't think they are around anymore, are they? Ha ha ha.... your logic is too funny!
Larry, you gotta wonder what Satan is all about. One day he's an angel called "Light-bearer," and the next he leads a third of the angels in an uprising. What did God do to these guys to cheese them off so bad? A new dress code? Casual Friday? Pay cuts? Given that God made them and can unmake them with a fingersnap, they had to be willing to die for this revolt. Does that mean God made his angels so cheap that a third of them were ungodly, or that He did something to them that made them reject not only Him but the entire principle of Good? Maybe they all had to get Universal Health Care.
Wow. A Christian asking Mormons for scientific evidence. Larry, do you really not understand the irony of your comment? Are you that clueless?
Luckily, the God of the Universe, and of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob is also sovereign. He has pre-ordained the beginning from the end. Therefore each believes what makes sense to them because it is how God planned it from the beginning. Thus, Mormons are all part of the plan too, even though they are a cult that mocks God. The sad part is that most of them whole-heartedly don't believe that. Again though, by divine design. So as Yeshua said quoting the prophet Isaiah, "He who has eyes, let him see, and he who has ears, let him hear"
You give money to "the church" and they spend it on business projects like the SLC shopping mall. Which, apparently, has grown from $1 BILLION to $4 BILLION! What shopping mall costs $4 BILLION to build? For that matter, what shopping mall costs $1 BILLION – or even $500 MILLION?
Let's think this through – you give money to "the church" and "the church" gives it to contractors to build things for "the church". So the question is: who owns the construction companies (or large stakes thereof) that are doing the work? Who is benefiting most from the large influx of cash "the church" is receiving?
If you are mormon and reading this – I would seriously question where your hard-earned money is going. You may be on the "inside" now, but what will it take to be excommunicated out?
Wow, your in-depth understanding of the financials of the Mormon church astound me. How'd you get to be so smart?
I guess its better than giving money to a church and having them spend many millions on hush-money settlements so that they can continue to let pedophiles torment other churches.
Surfer dude, why don't you create an actual objection rather than just attacking the person you're replying to? People will probably take you in doing so, just a thought.
Yes, other religions do bad things, but that somehow legitimizes the bad things yours does? Um, no.
All organized religions collect money from their followers and spend it however they please, often on projects that are profit-based, like this SLC shopping mall. HOWEVER, it isn't just the Mormons who should be concerned about this, or about the Catholic church using their money as hush money, etc etc etc. We should ALL be concerned, because none of these churches pay so much as a penny in taxes. Just think of how much deficit reduction we could accomplish if they did?
you ARE a cult! and one of the weirdest, fantasy, BS fairy tales ever created.
Another angry little person. The blog is full of them this morning. Amazing.
Yes. I went to his funeral.
I see that LDS has dispatched it's wing of defenders. Whatever. Religion varies widely and we are all free in this country to choose what helps us feel more connected to God/theUniverse/Nature, etc. Go ahead and get cozy with the Mormons. Just don't say you weren't warned.
"wing of defenders?" That's a good one!!! ha ha ha.....
Surfer Dude- Are you at all engaged in this forum, or are you just taking a break from romper-room? If you sincerely want to defend the indefensible, start making some coherent statements.
I am ex-LDS (ex-mormon) and typically am considered anti-LDS, but so much garbage/lies have been written here that I find myself acting as apologist. Now that is truly sad. There really is no need to make up lies like: there is a gay reeducation camp (there isn't), that mormons don't read the bible cover to cover (in sunday school they read all scripture cover to cover with this year concentrating on the Old Testament), that they are polygamist (they aren't but many other religions are and you will actually get excommunicated if you not only are polygamist, but actively support it.)
So what, these people and many others that pratice religion, I believe, have a right to that belief.
I'm spirtual, not religious, and enjoy keeping my beliefs to myself and others that share the same beliefs.
So thar, that's my opinion.
This is not cool. It is a set up question and the guy was not adequately prepared to answer. Mormons do not believe that they are saved by works alone.
sounds like theres a lot of butthurt out there about their stupid religion... dum da dum dum DUMB!
i do enjoy yelling and laughing at them when they come to my door and tell me how i can be "saved"
.... and you believe in......? Why don't you tell us here on CNN about YOUR faith? Would love to know what is in your little mind – or are you too afraid of what everyone else will say about you? c'mon, dude – speak up!
Now you sound moronic because no mormon missionary ever talks about how to be "saved".
Well, i am a man of science and logic, therefore most religions dont make sense to me and i feel they are for those who are lacking in self fulfillment. God, on the other hand, i cannot disprove, nor prove so i am indifferent to that.
to me religion serves 3 purposes:
1. to separate ignorant people from their money
2. as a catalyst for war
3. to hold power over people through morals which often arent even followed by the higher ups.
Just dropped on here to see if the hatred, bigotry and vitriol are still running rampant against Mormons and I not surprised that you haven't let me down. Interesting to see how angry and bitter you are to something that you don't even understand – must be something quite wrong in your own lives to spend time trying to hack apart someone's religion. I feel sorry for these people and how they are still wearing the white, pointy hoods ready to hang anyone because of their hatred for a people and religion they don't understand. Thanks for not letting me down, bloggers – still plenty of hatred to go around – you are a pretty pathetic group of people.
well they spend time trying to recruit new members, going door to door...whats the difference?
We understand you believe in a big OVERLORD that will DESTROY US ALL except FOR THE CHOSEN.
Tell it to reader's digest.
Thanks for helping me prove my point. Immediate hatred. So interesting in our time of "tolerance" for all. Pretty funny!
Actually, it's Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom who will destroy you all.
Don't worry, we aren't conned by the Scientologists' spiel of self-indignation either.
Dont even stress about it Surfer Dude. CNN, Youtube, ESPN, or anywhere else where people can comment on anything will be full of trolls with nothing but negativity to spew forth. Not a good representation of real people. Ignore 'em.
i tolerate your silly religion and dont hate you for it.
thats what gets me, whenever someone speaks out against religion it is immediately viewed as hate. tolerating something means you dont have to like it, but that youll put up with it – STRAIGHT FROM SOUTH PARK
Juggling Squirrel-Jesus, my name is Commander John Shepard, and I approve of your message.
"still wearing the white, pointy hoods" White pointy hoods are part of Religion too, my sunburned friend. All part of the great Chain of Being. Remember, the Bible says "There's one! Get him, boys."
To you, you may view it as hate....I don't have an inclination of hate in me, as that doesn't serve a purpose to anyone....what I do have is my experiences with the Mormon faith and all that I have seen first hand...I will help and treat everyone regardless of religion or color because that's what I know is what I have in my heart for mankind as a whole....One thing I will never ever do is make others lives miserable and go out of my way to do so because I have challenged my opposition to the BOM and their prophet Joseph Smith...I have four beautiful children from a mother who is a member and I have always resisted to join their faith because of the BOM, their other doctrines, and Joseph SMith, not because of some of the great experiences I have had interacting with them....those experiences were great up until I refused to join the Church and knew that what they were teaching is not truths from the Father above.....I am speaking from 13 years of being indirectly involved with members of the Church and what I experienced...and yes, I have read the entire BOM a few times over, looked at the History of the Church, and have been able to pray about it many times as have never received the answer from the Father above as it's the truth...
If you would like, you can go ahead and say whatever you would like to me...I will respond with a Thank you and God Bless, the truth will set you free!!!!!
People need to stop commenting on James's comments. We get it, you think we are part of a cult. Believe what you may but no matter what you say it will not change the minds of anyone who does believe and only make those who dont more interested in finding out more. I thank you James for make others interested in finding out more about our devoted community.
No dum-dum, religion is the cult.
I grew up in Salt Lake but was never part of the Mormon church. I had been to that church with some of my Mormon friends before but I never understood why anyone would call that church? There was no life there. It seemed like a bunch of people serving time that really didn't want to be there. I grew up Christian and loved church because I felt hope and love and God there. Whenever I've asked my Mormon friends why they believe in that religion, the only answer I get is, "The church is true." Which doesn't make any sense to me. I've never heard any of them tell me a personal experience they had that made them put their faith in that religion. I love my Mormon friends dearly, and they are some of the kindest people I know, but I just don't understand where the faith truly lies. In general, I believe that faith is the most personal thing someone has and it's no one else's business unless both people can talk about it with an open mind. If you believe there is no God then that is your right and I respect that but it is also my right to believe in God and see him in everything around me. I just wish that people could be more tolerant of all religions so that we could learn from one another instead of making fun of what we don't understand....
Deut. 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.
Rev 22:19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Honestly. The Gospel of John was added after the Book of Revelation. Surely that was only talking about within the Book of Revelation. As for Duet... what about the New Testament... should that have been added?
I love how you idiots think watching a YouTube clip is going to change someone's basic beliefs. "Oh look, cute kitties and a preacher. Maybe there IS a God after all." Stop posting that tiresome stuff and get a life.
Poor J Crouton – seems like you are one angry little man. You tell people to get a life and spend time ripping on a religion that obviously you don't understand at all. Wow – amazing that you are so smart and are warning everyone against some faith. Poor little J.J. Your comments are all we need to read to let us understand you are clueless in life, dude!
Yawn, the 1,000s of year old ontological argument is a joke. It presupposes what it is trying to prove. The same logic could be used to prove that my dog created the (multi)universe.
Angry? I'm bored. Same old ya ya ya about my religion is better than yours and look, here's a video clip of a fool. I have friends who were raised Mormon; they're no worse off than ordinary Christians. Believe what you want. I can sure see how Jesus is making your life happy!
Johnny, I wonder if God would let me in his house?! So, a Mormon man tells me what God thinks and then determines if I can enter his temple so I can see my mom's wedding??????!!! WHAT A CROCK!!! But keep coming up with those great examples of why a Morman, who can tell us what God wants, can keep a son from seeing his mom's wedding!
We, the church, would be delighted to have all who want to attend their loved ones wedding ceremony. God has rules and we are not pretending to put words on his mouth. If not being able to enter the temple because you have not made the appropriate covenants with him, such as baptism, then you sshould question Jesus for not letting anybody enter the temple in his days. The temple is a blessing and a place to make promises of obedience to God, not man. It is not secretive; it is not dark; and it is not to be treated lightly. Pride is just getting in the way of you understanding why you couldn't enter the temple. You can always find a couple of LDS missionaries and ask them the whys. After all someday you will find that that"mormon guy" did not pretend to speak for God, a prophet said it and God told him to do so. Just like it was done throughout the whole bible.
I am a mormon.
As a Methodist, I know a little something about protocol.
Anyone can enter the church. Doesn't matter who you are. God does not have rules as to who can and cannot enter a place of worship. I don't recall Jesus ever having rules either, besides throwing out the money lenders.
I mean...waiting till baptism? That's idiotic. What do you do, go out and splash about in some river like charismatic baptists?
I'm a Methodist.
Please. I was told I couldn't go by the Mormon church. I can't think of ANY other religion or church that would not let me enter. Keep going through the script that was given to you and keep spouting those "logical" answers.
Please don't ever try to think you understand another person relationship with God. Please, you are making a fool of yourself! Done!
Your mom decided to have her wedding in the temple where there are requirements to enter. She knew that and you knew that. Your anger is misdirected. Methodist guy is a little off as well. The temple is not a place of worship, it is a place where ordinances are performed. Just like in the old testament, only approved people were allowed in to administer ordinances. LDS chapels are places of worship and all are welcome there, as is the case with other places of worship.
You gave one of the most condescending answers to that question that was humanly possible. He was barred from a wedding of a family member; regardless of how sacred you regard the temples, its an insult to the families you purport to help and hold in such high esteem. Its events and incidents like that have raised questions in the minds of non-LDS as to the sincerity of the members. There is always the question int eh abck of our minds as to whether or not LDS are being honest in their intentions.
Pass any LDS church/ward and you will see a sign that says "Visitors welcome." They would be thrilled to have you there and would greet you and even talk to you. Egads, I can't believe all the lies people are throwing out regarding mormons. I am ex-mormon.