Bryan Rowland, www.mormonnewsroom.org/uk
LONDON — Two months after the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched its “I’m a Mormon” media campaign in Great Britain, LDS officials say they are seeing significant increases in British interest in the church.
The intense media element of the campaign, with ads at tube stations, the Charing Cross mainline station and on double-decker buses, ran for four weeks from early April into May. Online advertising will continue in the United Kingdom and Ireland through the end of 2013.
“We are pleased with the response to the U.K. media initiative,” said Greg Droubay, director of media for the LDS Church Missionary Department. “Visitors to the mormon.org.uk site have increased 250 percent. Similar increases are found in visitors requesting a copy of the Book of Mormon or a missionary visit.”
As a consequence of the campaign, Droubay said, church officials on both sides of the Atlantic are pleased to see a “change in the perception about the church among thousands of God’s children through the U.K.”
Malcolm Adcock, assistant director of LDS Church Public Affairs for the Europe Area, has seen those changes firsthand.
“From a media perspective, we’ve seen a remarkable change in attitude from many outlets,” Adcock said. “TV people are asking for access to film the everyday lives of Mormon missionaries and we’ve seen an increased respect from the print media.”
The “I’m a Mormon” campaign in Great Britain is similar to the successful campaign the LDS Church staged in a number of U.S. cities during the past couple of years.
Triggered by the interest in Mormons and Mormon missionaries stimulated by the opening of the satirical and irreverent musical “The Book of Mormon” in London, the U.K. campaign features rank-and-file Latter-day Saints talking about their lives and their faith as a way of clearing up misconceptions about the church by introducing people to real Mormons.
Alex Boye, a British-born member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, is one of the everyday church members featured in the UK campaign.
As it has done in other locations where "The Book of Mormon" musical is playing, the church is taking out ads in theater playbills for the London engagement urging those who see the play to "read the book" because "the book is always better."
Through the campaign, Adcock says, misinformation about the LDS Church is being corrected and myths and stereotypes are being challenged. The campaign urges viewers to "ask a Mormon" instead of believing things they may have heard from poorly informed sources. Like the U.S. iterations of the campaign, it is built on the premise that the best way to know and understand The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to get to know its people.
“The ‘I’m a Mormon’ campaign gives people an opportunity to engage at whatever level they’d like to engage,” Adcock said. “The public and the media are being introduced to real Mormons, to regular members of the church, via the physical ads and online at mormon.org.uk.”
It also gives church members a chance to take advantage of the interest resulting from the combination of the musical and the campaign to reach out to friends and family members whom they might otherwise be reluctant to approach.
“Church members are reacting to this opportunity very positively, with many giving pass-along cards to friends and contacts,” Adcock said. “It’s giving local members an increased confidence in sharing the gospel.”
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