THE MORMON ROCK OF REVELATION
Mormon Church Objects to Angel T-Shirt
For a coffee shop, T-shirts of a Mormon angel with java flowing into his trumpet are selling well. But they don't have the blessing of religious leaders.
The shirts have upset the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Not only is Moroni a revered figure - Mormons believe he appeared to church founder Joseph Smith - but LDS members are discouraged from drinking coffee.
The shirts show the angel Moroni, a male figure in a robe blowing a trumpet. The trumpet is turned up at an angle as coffee is poured in.
"They've been the best-selling T-shirts we've ever done," said Just Add Coffee co-owner Ed Beazer.
The church informed Beazer that the angel's image is a registered trademark.
"If they provide proof, we're going to comply," Beazer said. "We don't want to break any laws or anything."
Just Add Coffee put the image on greeting cards about a year ago and started selling the shirts before Christmas. Moroni also appeared in ads that caught the church's attention.
Church spokesman Scott Trotter said the image is a trademark.
"It was a spoof," Beazer said. "It was meant to be fun."
Are Mormons Christian? New Web Site and 7-minute Video Say ΄Yes΄
David M. Bresnahan
March 21, 2008
Salt Lake City, Utah Are Mormons Christians? A new web site and video presentation launched by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (known as the Mormons) answer that question as they invite people of all faiths who want to learn about, or strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ to judge for themselves.
Of special interest is a 7-minute online video presentation entitled "The Bread of Life." The moving and inspirational video may be the best 7 minutes ever spent online.
There can be no question in the mind of anyone who visits the site and views the beautiful video presentations, reads the inspirational sermons, listens to the music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, or sees the beautiful artwork Mormons are Christians. The web site provides many resources to help people develop and strengthen their faith in Jesus Christ.
The new site located at www.JesusChrist.LDS.org took more than a year to design and create, according to project manager Brian Hansbrow in a release sent by the Church. He said the site is designed to give people a deeper understanding of who Jesus Christ is. It features articles, video clips, artwork, an interactive music page and other sections all focused on the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. (Note: Sadly the death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world was left out - 1 Corinthians 1:23)
Elder Russell M. Nelson, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said the web site helps to further the work begun by Jesus 2,000 years ago when He sent His Twelve Apostles throughout the world to preach of Him.
"In those days they could talk to a few people, here and there," he said in the release. "In our time, we've had radio, television and now we have the Internet. And the Internet is a very excellent way of promoting the word of God." (and LDS propaganda)
The increased discussion in the media for more than a year surrounding the presidential campaigns about whether Mormons are Christians or not, was a major motivating factor that brought about the web site, according to Hansbrow in the release.
Many people are not aware that the word "Mormon" is just a nickname and that the official name of the church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons believe in and use the Holy Bible and believe it is the word of God, but they also use another book called The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. (DNA disproves the claims of the Book of Mormon)
The Book of Mormon is also believed to be the word of God by Latter-day Saints, and comes from the writings of ancient prophets who lived on the American continent. The writings were on gold plates and were translated into the present book by Joseph Smith and published in English in 1830. Members of the Church consider Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God.
The web site is divided into four main sections. "Faith in Christ" provides help to those who wish to learn of Christ and develop their faith in Him. It includes easy-to-read information, beautiful pictures, and links to the scriptures and multimedia resources.
"His Life and Teachings" helps web site visitors to learn more about the life of the Savior and the teachings he gave. It includes sections that describe who Jesus Christ is, the meaning of the Atonement, and what Latter-day Saints believe about Jesus. (LDS authorities teach that Jesus Christ was married and had children)
The third section of the web site is "Testimonies of Him." It contains the teachings and testimonies of modern day prophets and apostles who witness to all the world of the reality of Jesus Christ and the Savior of the World and Son of God. This section of the site also contains information on how all people can become a witness of Christ. (Modern day Mormon prophets have no prophecies to be measured against)
The final section of the site is the multimedia portion which contains video presentations that can be viewed online. Each is well produced and of very high quality.
One visit to the new web site should clear up any remaining questions about what Mormons believe they believe in Christ. (Muslims and Mormons believe in Jesus Christ also but not as Christians do)
David Bresnahan is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He has worked in all areas of journalism and public relations since 1972. He has authored several books, hosted talk radio programs, owned a radio station, on-line newspapers, and other businesses. He is an independent journalist and public relations consultant.
New LDS ad campaign touts the 'Truth Restored' (Was Jesus Christ Lost? John 14:6)
By Carrie A. Moore
Deseret Morning News
Friday, April 4, 2008
A new advertising campaign for the LDS Church that has been test-marketed in selected areas looks to focus public attention on "Truth Restored" as an answer to life's greatest questions.
With the 178th Annual General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints set to begin Saturday, church leaders will focus on specific doctrinal issues for church members. But the new ad campaign is designed to reach those who know little or nothing about the faith.
Developed by the church in conjunction with Brigham Young University's advertising department (Mormon Holy Spirit), the ads inside publications such as Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report and Sports Illustrated, and targeted at specific geographic markets are a departure from the faith's long-running "Homefront" series.
The new print ad campaign features people who identify themselves and their quest to find God, describing a life challenge that sent them looking for meaning in the divine. "I felt so destroyed by my addiction to alcohol and drugs," writes Jovanny Vasquez, of Bronx, N.Y., in a two-page ad that appeared in U.S. News in the Las Vegas area in August.
Appearing alongside the image of a man dancing with a woman and two children, he continues, "I prayed with all my heart to find a solution to my life. I was at the point of losing my wife and family. The God I was looking for was a merciful God. I wanted to know how to be forgiven."
At the bottom of the page, the church's logo appears in large lettering, with the phrase TRUTH RESTORED underneath in smaller type, followed by mormon.org beneath them both.
The campaign, which has adopted a slightly different format for TV, radio, billboard and Internet advertising, has been running for about eight months in four different areas of the country that correspond to designated LDS mission areas: Las Vegas; Las Vegas West; Independence, Mo., including Kansas City and Wichita; and New York Utica, which includes Albany, Syracuse and Utica.
Kevin Kelly, a former New York advertising executive and associate professor of advertising at BYU, told an overflowing auditorium at the school last week about developing the campaign with the church, with oversight from LDS general authorities on the Missionary Executive Council.
In surveys or pretesting done before the campaign began in those markets, results showed 63 percent of respondents didn't know the main claims of the LDS Church. So in an all-out media blitz, the team sought to "have people keep bumping into our message," Kelly said.
"The idea was that (our) media would do the heavy lifting, and that church members would then just answer people's questions, and if they couldn't answer then they would pull out their wallets."
The campaign includes pass-along cards for church members to carry, with answers to questions about topics including life after death, God's involvement in the world and how to keep one's family and marriage safe and secure based on LDS gospel principles.
After three months of intensive media in those markets, surveys were done again and showed that many more people than before "felt it's possible to answer life's deeper questions," Kelly said. "This was thrilling as an advertiser. People were actually looking for answers and also described the main claim of the church, that Christ's church and its teachings have been restored."
After several months, one mission president reported 76 convert baptisms that he believed were in some way attributable to or had been influenced by the campaign, Kelly said. The ads provided "identified messages that are relevant" to everyday people and increased traffic to mormon.org, he said.
Scott Swofford, director of media for the LDS Missionary Department, said the campaign was designed to target areas of the United States "that best mirror the country as a whole." It includes TV and radio spots featuring "man on the street" interviews, but simply walking up to people and asking them to sign a release and talk on camera or for radio "is almost impossible," he said.
The team called casting agencies that supply extras for film and television, told them they needed a diverse population, and had them send the extras to a street corner at a specified time, he said. "Then we asked them questions about life satisfaction that they had never heard before. They were actually questioned on camera, and it wasn't rehearsed, but these are people used to signing releases and appearing in front of cameras.
"I was shocked at how cooperative they were and how honest in their opinions," he said. "We had a wide variety of people to compare and contrast. Many of them expressed opinions that contrasted their own religious belief."
Their comments, including statements like "I would like to think God knows me," and "I don't think God cares about me," were condensed into radio and TV ads, followed by a voice-over that says, "After centuries of confusion, truth about life's great questions is now restored. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Visit mormon.org"
Swofford said the focus of the campaign is "what are things that resonate commonly among us, and does the restored gospel shed light on your question about life?" (The Mormon Gospel is not the Christian Gospel - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
He said eight months "is a pretty short time to decide whether the campaign is working," but the team will continue to analyze data on how it affected people who actually joined the church. "What we do know is that traffic to mormon.org increased from 200 to 300 percent from pretest levels. Of the referrals coming in, many of them are from that site, but we don't have specific numbers yet that say things have improved or changed.
"Whether the net result will be an increase in baptisms we're still trying to figure out where that is."
Early feedback from missionaries, church leaders and members in the test areas is "really enthused. ... Many reported retention (of converts) was better, and we've probably shipped over 500,000 pass-along cards."
False Interpretation of the Book of Revelation
What's that figure atop LDS temples? It's the angel Moroni
My July column dealt with the role of the temple in the LDS faith, and included an invitation to tour the new temple in Twin Falls prior to its dedication in mid-August. Some readers have shared impressions of their attendance at the temple open house. In doing so, more than one has asked about the gold angel on the spire of the temple.
First of all, the figure does not represent the angel Gabriel - even though it is blowing a horn. And, yes, it is an angel - even though it does not have wings. It represents Moroni, who is the son of Mormon, the compiler and abridger of the Book of Mormon.
Moroni was the last of the Book of Mormon prophets and the last keeper of the records of the Nephites, a people who lived in the Americas. His presence atop the temple is symbolic and reflects his role in preserving the records of his people and then, 16 centuries later, delivering them to Joseph Smith.
The Book of Mormon is Joseph Smith's translation of the Nephite records. The records reflect both the secular and religious history of the Nephites, who were descendants of the house of Israel. The record begins in about 600 B.C. with the departure of a family from Jerusalem just before the city was destroyed. It chronicles their journey to the western hemisphere, their life there, and their destruction in roughly 420 A.D. The final record contained in the Book of Mormon, fittingly, is the book written by Moroni as he laments the destruction of his people and awaits his own death.
The first representation of Moroni was on the Salt Lake City temple. That figure is a little more than 12 feet high and is made of copper covered with gold leaf.
Until the Los Angeles temple was built in the mid-1950s, the statue was unique to the Salt Lake City temple. Now the majority of LDS temples, including the Boise, Idaho Falls, and Rexburg temples, display the figure of Moroni - blowing a horn.
The symbolism of the horn or trump comes from Revelation 14:6-7: "And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, kindred, and tongue, and people ..." Thus Moroni is represented as an angel blowing a horn to herald the preaching of the restored gospel.
A 13-foot-high statue of Moroni also stands atop a hill in eastern New York, not far from the town of Palmyra where the Book of Mormon was first published.
Near that town is a large hill called Cumorah, where the Book of Mormon story is reenacted in a pageant each July. Moroni directed Smith to that hill to find and retrieve the ancient Nephite records, which Joseph translated and then published as the Book of Mormon.
On the temple, Moroni is placed on the highest spire, facing east. That orientation is also symbolic, representing the anticipated second coming of Christ as described in Matthew.
"For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." (Matt. 24:27.)
Thus Moroni, and the temple itself, faces the direction from which the resurrected Christ is expected to come.
Glenna M. Christensen is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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