There is a national conversation taking place about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its members, and starting the first week of October, Mormons in Kirkland and the central Puget Sound area will be taking part in that conversation.
That’s when the Church will launch a national media campaign in a dozen major cities called “I’m a Mormon.” The campaign includes television spots, billboards, ads on buses and Internet promotions. The ads give a glimpse into the lives of Latter-day Saints from all over the world and refer people to the Mormon.org website, where they can read the profiles of tens of thousands of Mormons, chat live with representatives who will answer questions about the faith and watch dozens of videos about members of the Church.
“Our missionaries are known for knocking on doors to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” said David F. Evans, Executive Director of the Church’s Missionary Department. “Mormon.org gives people the opportunity to knock on our door through the Internet and ask members questions about our faith.”
This latest campaign is a continuation of an undertaking that was launched in nine cities last year in an effort to help people understand the faith through both the ordinary and extraordinary aspects of member’s lives. The campaign is the direct result of research conducted by the Church over the past few years related to how Americans perceive the Church and its members.
“Many people are not familiar with our faith and that can sometimes lead to misconceptions,” Evans said. “The best way to understand Mormons is to meet them and get to know them personally. These ads are an invitation to do that.”
In Kirkland, there are currently over 2,100 Mormons in five congregations, who meet at three local chapels in the South Rose Hill, Kingsgate, and Finn Hill neighborhoods. The common thread that ties the members together is their desire to follow Jesus Christ.
Originally launched in 2001, Mormon.org has provided an inviting destination for people seeking online information about the Church. Nearly half a million people visit the site each month. While the Church continues to share its message through over 52,000 full-time missionaries, many individuals prefer to first seek information about the Church on the Internet before they speak with a missionary in person. Mormon.org plays a critical role in providing that content.
Mormon.org provides the opportunity for visitors to get to know individual members of the Church. Visitors can search for people based on age, gender, ethnicity and location. The goal is to start a conversation that will lead to greater understanding.
For example, when asked how he lives his faith, Ben wrote in his profile at http://mormon.org/me/5R3X/Ben/, “I try my best to live my faith by recognizing that everyone around me is my brother or my sister, and by treating people with love and kindness. I think the way that we can best make Jesus Christ happy is by loving one another and serving one another, so I try to treat others as I think He would do if He were here.”
Members also share personal stories and answer dozens of other, more specific questions, such as “Are Mormons Christian?” “What part does prayer play in your life?” “Why don’t Mormons drink coffee, tea, or alcohol?” and “What do Mormons believe about the Bible?”
Space is provided on the profiles for individuals to link to their personal Facebook and Twitter pages and their blogs. That feature will make it possible for individuals seeking to better understand the Church to connect directly with individual Mormons.
There are nearly 100 profiles of other Mormons in Kirkland on Mormon.org already, with more on the way.
The “I’m a Mormon” campaign in Kirkland and the rest of the Puget Sound area will continue through February 2012.