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. blessedgeek

    I'm a watermelon.

    June 17, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  2. Raptor

    Religion = a way of living

    Athieism = a way of thinking

    A True athiest has been so since birth. I know I know i am gonna hear how someone has been such and such and is now an athiest or vice vesra but really an athiest is an athiest. It starts with the need to question the world around us with how, whys, and what if's. You could never get away with teliing an athiest that something is the way is is "just because". and yes at some point in thier lives they may join one religion or another BUT they will allways be questioning and looking for answers in reality instead of relying on hearsay eventually returning to the stance on non belief. . Athiest require solid evidence in anything the are told. To believe something without evidence goes against thier very nature
    A religious person can accept the truths that others tell them without questioning or exploring the incosistancies They have no probem being a follower and allowing someone else to dictate there morals and life decisions for them. They draw comfort from knowing that there is a higher power that dictates life events and guides them through the confusion.

    IMO : religion removes the need to think. whereas Athieism requires exactly the opposite.

    June 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Donodron

      I think the word you're looking for is skeptic. Atheists choose to believe there is no higher power and that is the extent of the definition. Skeptics, on the other hand, choose to question everything and rarely settle on everything. Not every athiest is a skeptic and not every skeptic is an atheist.

      June 17, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • barrilette

      Even scientists know that science does a great job explaining "what" and "how", but a terrible job at explaining "why". That's where religion steps in for most religious people. Just because you're religious doesn't mean you're not scientific about the physical world.

      June 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm |
    • Think on THIS



      June 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
    • Ryan

      That's kind of a mess man. You cannot be an Atheist at birth. Atheism is by definition a disbelief, not an ignorance; it is a rejection. There are amazing scientists and thinkers who are believers in various religions and things dealing with the supernatural. I'm an Atheist, but I don't like the smugness of some who claim a sort of superiority over believers, or their poorly articulated generalizations of whole swaths of people.

      I will disagree or argue against peoples intolerance, poorly reasoned assertions, proselytizing, bad behavior etc...but not their belief in and of itself; it is rude.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Religion = a way of living

      Sure but it also comes with a bit too much baggage...all the supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Secular humanism is a perfectly adequate religion substi.tute for most all the aspects of how a person should live their life. Donodron was correct in pointing out your incorrect use of atheism versus skepticism.

      Even scientists know that science does a great job explaining "what" and "how", but a terrible job at explaining "why".

      Sometimes "why" just isn't applicable. Religions in general are particulaly notorious for trying to apply "meaning" to something that just "is". If fact almost all the ridiculous cliams made by theists are precisely because of the attempt to try and explain the "intent" behind something that just occurs naturally or by happenstance.

      June 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Ryan, of course we are born atheists. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in any god. We need to know that we don't understand something in order to find or invent a reason or create a god for it. We certainly need to be indoctrinated into religion. Perhaps the only god a newborn knows is it's mother.

      June 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • God Loves Tallulah13



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

      No, Atheism is by definition a DISBELIEF...a rejection. You are using Atheism instead of an ignorance, which we generally are of all things, unless we are confronted by it. Atheism is a "well, that's not for me". Without its opposite there is no such thing as Atheism ; it cannot exist without an idea or belief to oppose or reject.

      You wouldn't be here posting if not talking about Atheism, which is a result of a rejection of Theism. You become an Atheist by disagreeing with Theism or the supernatural; without those things there is no such thing as Atheism, or a need for it.

      June 18, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  3. JGR

    The Muslims can learn from the Mormons: Instead of threatening to kill the creators or bomb one of the plays, the Mormons responded with a peaceful, creative message.

    June 17, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
  4. garc

    Yes, a while back wasn't there a belief that the whiter your skin, the closer the planet you were on to God after you bit the big one? Hmm? How about the fact that (although not many statistically still practice it) polygamy (of course only benefiting the men, not the women) was considered okay? And would someone please explain to me the magic underwear?

    June 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Lin

      You have been given some pretty bad information.
      On your first point, the answer is No. That is ridiculous.
      On your second point, only breakaway factions still practice polygamy. Members of the official Church would be excommunicated if they tried to practice it today. It was allowed over a hundred years ago, and stopped when the Supreme Court upheld a law forbidding it. As far as it only benefiting the men, there is some debate. There were many polygamous wives who were able to do things most women of the time couldn't, like get educations and become professionals, probably because they had other women close by to help each other out.
      On your third point, NO ONE except people who want to mock us call the garment 'magic.' Many religions wear special clothing or objects to remind them of how they have chosen to worship God. The garment reminds me of how I decided to worship God and live my life.

      June 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  5. Actually that's a lie

    @Adam... But who do you think gets paid in the mormon church? No one gets paid. The "President" of the church doesn't recieve some CEO's salary.He doesn't get paid... None of the clergy in the church get paid. NO ONE. They aren't trying to raise more "revenues" the church has more than enough money. If the church wanted to "raise revenue" we wouldn't send thousands of missionaries to impoverished nations where there would be no hope of ever extracting even the cost of the plane ticket let alone the living expenses for two years of being there from people who make less than 300$ a year... If you take 10% of 300$ to infinity.. You get 3000$!? That doesn't cover costs for that. The ads are to preach the gospel and improve the lives of those who are Mormon. Because half of the people out there are imbeciles like you that paint us a fire breathing chicken blood drinking fools.

    June 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Lil Bunny

      You are correct with the exception of your last sentence.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • gh

      You are incorrect about "nobody getting paid". General Authorities, mission presidents and many others do get paid. Get informed. The idea that nobody in the mormon church gets paid is 100% false.

      June 17, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Erik

      As my father in law has been both a mission president and is currently a member of the quorum of the seventies I know he does not get paid. His house is paid for, but his pension from where he retired covers the day to day.

      June 17, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  6. pod

    but do they have any gays in their little montage?

    June 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Lil Bunny

      not any openly gays at least that I know of. They are very clear on what they will accept in their church.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  7. trololo

    Lol religion and people who think they know what they're talking about. It's all just mythology. Anyone who takes any religious text literally is just derp.

    June 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  8. Jojo

    It's quite disheartening to see such hatred and intolerance posted here – it's 2011 people. I would think our society would have evolved beyond such behavior by now. Diversity is what makes our nation so great! If someone reading these comments has a sincere interest in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I invite you to visit http://www.mormon.org.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Artist

      Scientists have developed techniques that attempt to use genetic markers to indicate the ethnic background and history of individual people. The data developed by these mainstream scientists tell us that the Native Americans have very distinctive DNA markers, and that some of them are most similar, among old world populations, to the DNA of people anciently associated with the Altay Mountains area of central Asia. This conclusion from a genetic perspective confirms a large amount of archaeological, anthropological, and linguistic evidence that ancient American peoples are descendant of ancestors that migrated from Asia some 40,000 years ago.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • roycers

      I don't buy that a single set of ancestors 40000 years ago are the only ancestor group of every Native American. The world is too small, and people get the itch to move. Simply knowing humans and our nature, there were others who successfully made it to N and S America during that span.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Artist

      Just a hunch but I am betting since the Mormon's could not counter with real evidence that their only choice was to attempt to dilute or discredit the above conclusions. Otherwise the mormon church coutnered with its onw very biased experts?

      June 17, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Artist

      roycers – and those people would be? And where is the evidence of these people or tribes? Also where is the evidence of the wars around 400 AD mentioned in the Mormon book?
      Oh wait let me guess....here comes that faith part again....there is no one left and they were destroyed.....thus we are left with the word of the founder/writer..... we can call this religious convenience.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Artist

      Out of lack of integrity, one must have faith.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Artist

      While I appreciate the "itch to move" comment, however we are talking about the foundation of a belief. Joe Superstar Mormon made some serious claims regarding history, which should be easily verified. Also the world now apepars small, however back then it was quite vast and people didn't hop in a canoe or small boat to "see whats at the end of the horizon". Heck many people never survived coming here from England. So how about we stick to the serious discussion, rather than attempting to deflect and play it off. What is interesting is not ONE shred of evidence has been presented to back up Joe Superstar Mormons historical account. Heck not even .000000001 %. And your religion is less than 200 years old. Keep buying the line from the biased sources of your church and don't look outside the mormon box.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Lil Bunny

      Been there and done that. Like the people, but choked on the kool aid. Sorry.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • roycers

      My assertion was based on my experience with humans. Can't keep em boxed up. Here's proof.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Artist

      roycers – video doe snot work for my system, do you have a link?

      June 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Artist

      roycers just wanted to clarify. I know I joke a lot or say sarcastic remarks but history has always been interesting. While some things do seem far fetched in religion, I still like to look at certain historical aspects of it. So I am interested in reviewing what you bring to the table

      June 17, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • roycers

      I left a sincere response but it's awaiting moderation apparently...

      June 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Artist


      I left a sincere response

      If awaiting moderation it will never appear. They have a program that keys on combinations within words. Like const i tution etc...you have to go in and space the potentially offensive combos in the words.

      June 17, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
    • roycers


      Dunno when my long post will be moderated and show up but here's a summary from all sides of the situation as it is today regarding the book's claims and Joseph Smith's claims. There is a lot to get into on the subject. The point I'd like any reader to come away with is this: The Book of Mormon is something you can get in your hands and read and examine. Do that! Read the whole thing. Ask God if it's from him or if it's from the Devil. God loves each of us enough to reveal at least that much to us. He will, you will know in your heart that it's true.

      The book is a history of two successive civilizations that became so prideful that they consumed themselves. That is the great warning message of the book. They turned away from what they knew to be right, decent, good, Christlike, and destroyed themselves in war. It spans about 2000 years. With a history that long, Mormon, the compiler, wrote the things he thought were most important, and left out what wasn't. Discussion of how to live well was paramount, discussion of exactly where, when, and what the coastline looks like at that place were not typically included in his compilation. I'd rather have more of what we do have in there than more of discussion of the geography.

      June 17, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • Artist

      I used to be a christian so praying before I read is not an option. Think of it as I reversed. I removed man's opinions and writings and sought god, to date he/she/it has not responded. I am more interested in this:
      I first try to find evidence and give benefit of the doubt. I do not simply say it does not exist. I try to find the link or evidence. The pyramids etc have always facinated me so it is not a stretch to think that there might have been something before us mroe advanced. I want to take the mormon book and compare it to what has been discovered.

      June 17, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • ConservativeChristian

      Why visit the Mormon church? They think Catholics, the pre-eminent Christian religion, are in the Church of Satan. Do they think worse for others??

      June 17, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  9. James Black


    June 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  10. Reality

    It is called the Great Angelic Con:

    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 4:25 pm |
    • roycers

      My own thoughts: In one way or another all people look around throughout their lives to see if there is anything eternal that they can be a part of, so they can escape mortality at least partially intact. We like being alive enough to stay alive, if we didn't, we'd all kill ourselves. We all wonder how we can stay alive somehow on the other side of death.

      God has a whole plan to make us like Him, a little at a time, to live the kind of life our Heavenly Father lives.

      Yes you can become part of something eternal, and we will all live on. The degree to which we attain a life like God's is entirely up to us choosing to be like him, to the degree to which he has revealed his godly ways to us.

      Some religions have some truth about what true godly life is like, others have more, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has yet more. Why? Because God has revealed himself again through prophets and angelic visitations, visions, dreams, divine inspiration, as he has done in every age when true hearted people have saught Him. Only this time, it's final, the truth will never decline again.

      The Book of Mormon is a key part of the restoration of God's truths revealed to man to show us how it is to be a godly person. We can escape mortality, and what's more, we can live as God does, because he reveals his ways of life to those who patiently, faithfully, sincerely, and humbly seek him out to find out his higher ways.


      June 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Artist

      "The Book of Mormon is a key part of the restoration of God's truths revealed to man"
      Yet there is no evidence of the origins of mormonism from the plates to the DNA of jews in native american indians. Only the word of the founder. Interesting where your faith is placed

      June 17, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  11. David


    June 17, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  12. Justin

    As the great Nietzsche once said:

    "There is not enough love and kindness in the world to give any of it away to imaginary beings."

    Have fun with your fairy tales.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • Nietzsche is dead


      June 17, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Nietzsche is dead


      June 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Nietzsche is dead


      June 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  13. Jim M.

    Joseph Smith practiced polyandry.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  14. Fred

    What do you have to do to get something posted around here?

    June 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Meep


      June 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic, etc.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
      co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
      sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      June 17, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  15. Eric

    Where did CNN get that number "...a rise in its membership over the past decade, growing to 78,000 members, a 75 percent increase since 2000?" Seems low....

    June 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Jim M.

      "Seems low..."

      Is that some kind of joke?

      June 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  16. Guest

    "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.”

    Sounds more like a pharmaceutical commercial for herpes...those commercials used to get me thinking though..."Man, maybe it wouldnt be so bad getting herpes. I would get to kayak, mountain bike, and have picnics in picturesque settings everyday."

    June 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  17. Really?

    Let them have their sky cake.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  18. Daniel

    Screw this crap religion should be banned. If you gotta sell that garbage door to door like a vacuum cleaner (as the moromns do habitually, obstinately, do when they trespass onto people's property) They can all take their ridiculous racist religion, stuff it, and then go to hell.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Megafrog

      You must be one of those tolerant liberals. . .

      June 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Seems like someone needs their binky or teddy bear. 🙂

      June 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
  19. Nathan

    How is atheism dead? They never believed anything to begin with.... The advancement of science and education has lead to a rather large growth of atheism actually.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Atheism is DEAD.


      June 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Atheism is DEAD.


      June 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Atheism is DEAD.


      June 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Posting You-tube videos of some talking head making illogical, uninformed arguments is fun!

      June 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • Atheism is DEAD.


      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maoGItxwTTA&w=640&h=390] 😀

      June 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • Artist

      This scares the he!! out of the religious leaders. They are losing their grip on the ignorant masses.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  20. TJeff1776

    I must honestly say that over my lifetime i derided the Mormons, made fun of'em..........many wives, a cult, Book of Mormon, riding bicycles, etc etc., and you name it. To me, they were a bunch of clouns preaching a doctrine that was so foreign
    to my Protestant way of life. I guess you can say I made the mistake of trying to find out more about them. I mean I spent several weeks gathering some real dirt on that crowd.........BUT there was none......and I ended up becoming a Mormon.
    Sounds corney, I iknow, BUT methinks you should spend some time investigating before joining the denouncers bandwagon.

    June 17, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • We Love Mormons

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSzTUenAXYw&w=640&h=390] 🙂

      June 17, 2011 at 4:07 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.