SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a series of new videos that have been produced specifically to provide an introduction to the church, its members, doctrines and various programs and organizations.
According to an announcement on the church's LDS Newsroom website, "this type of introductory information has often been requested by members of the media and public as they have become more familiar with the church in recent years."
“These videos help facilitate an introduction to the church for those who may not be familiar with our beliefs and practices," said LDS spokeswoman Ruth Todd. "Church members may choose to share the videos through social media channels, while those serving in a public affairs capacity can use the videos in their outreach to leaders in their respective communities.”
The videos, which can be viewed or downloaded from the LDS Newsroom website, range in length from four to 10 minutes. There is an overview video, called "The Church at a Glance," and 11 additional videos that explain certain elements of the church in more detail, including:
"What Mormons Believe," which outlines basic LDS doctrines and beliefs, including the plan of salvation; the scriptures revered by Mormons, including the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible; LDS beliefs in living prophets and apostles; the Mormon service ethic; and the fruits of living the gospel.
"The History of Mormonism," which reviews the history of the church and is told largely by church members who live outside the United States. (One member says, "The church that was established in 1830 in America has become part of my history here in Ghana.")
"How the Church Is Organized," which outlines the general and local organizational structure of the church, including church officers, priesthood quorums and the various church instructional and service auxiliaries. (According to one member, "The sole purpose of all of this is to bring families and individuals closer to Jesus Christ.")
"Mormon Missionaries," which explains the LDS missionary program and gives a number of missionaries — including missionary couples — a chance to explain why they chose to serve and what they are trying to accomplish.
"Humanitarian Efforts," which includes a number of comments from people outside the church who have seen firsthand the impact of LDS humanitarian outreach, which is described by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the church's Quorum of the Twelve as "seeing our brothers and sisters in need and doing something about it."
"Caring for the Poor and Needy," which explains and illustrates the LDS Church welfare program.
"Home and Family," which looks at the family as "the most important part of the plan that our Heavenly Father has for us," and explains what this doctrine means to families, including single-parent families and single individuals.
"Mormon Temples," which draws from non-LDS scholars as well as church members to explain the difference between LDS temples and regular meetinghouses, and the doctrinal underpinnings of LDS temple worship.
"Temple Square," which talks about the history and purposes of the buildings on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, and why Temple Square draws tourists from all around the world each year.
"Family History," which explains the reasons and meaning of LDS family history efforts and how "we do this because we love families, and we know that the peoples of the world love families, too."
"Focus on Education," which explains LDS beliefs that "the glory of God is intelligence," and why so much emphasis is placed on learning and instruction in church schools, seminaries and institutes, and the impact of the Perpetual Education Fund.
All of the videos are narrated primarily by regular church members from around the world, each sharing his or her unscripted feelings and testimonies. At the end of each video, brief language is projected on the screen summarizing the doctrines, beliefs and historical facts discussed.
Church officials say the videos will eventually be translated and customized for international use.
The videos are also available on the LDS Newsroom's YouTube channel and in the church's Gospel Library app. "Individuals can view the videos, download the files or share by linking to them from their own social media sites," according to the announcement.