I'm a Mormon.
And quite simply, I don’t think that anyone could have put it better.
Unlike with previous openings of the Book of Mormon musical in other locations, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is responding with an all-out marketing campaign. As part of this “I’m a mormon” campaign, over the next four weeks mormon.org.uk adverts featuring British members of the Church will cover the Charing Cross mainline station, ten tube stations (including Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus), and the sides of 250 double-decker buses.
Last Saturday, Dave Cook and I went around these stations and took some pictures so that you could get a feel for how impressive this marketing campaign really is. As you can see, I’ve included a few of these pictures in this post; others can be found on the Just An Average Mormon’s flickr collection. It was fun to watch the reactions of the different people passing through these stations to the bright eye-catching “I’m a mormon” adverts (and it was funny to watch their reactions to the two guys who were clearly, enthusiastically, proud to be Mormons). For example, finding himself bombarded by adverts as he came to the top of an escalator at Piccadilly, I saw a guy holding a child do an awesome double take at one of the posters to see what all of this was about. And Dave saw a little girl playing hopscotch with the colored squares on the floor at Charing Cross.
And as I watched these reactions I marveled at the wisdom shown by the Church and its leaders in how they handled their response to the musical—responding with class in the face of crass. Sure, from a society who largely appears to hold less and less sacred one might expect to hear, “It’s just a joke, you can’t take it seriously", but it takes a true Christian to be able to respond in such a positive manner to such a vulgar satire of that which is holy.
I love the happy, positive perspective on life’s circumstances that the gospel of Jesus Christ brings people. It’s not a “well, as a Christian I guess I have to be kind, patient, and forgiving” kind of attitude. Rather, it’s an optimism that simply comes when someone’s heart is so full of charity that the love they have for other people prevents them from being easily offended and the happiness they feel allows them to find opportunity in their challenges.
Ever since President Monson announced last fall that the age requirement for missionary service was being lowered, there has been an increased spirit of missionary service among the members of the Church. Building on this, the “I’m a mormon” campaign has brought the spirit of missionary work here in the UK to a level I’ve never before witnessed among a group of people generally. What I feel personally could best be described as a sense of urgency. And no, it’s not a the-Second-Coming-is-going-to-be-tomorrow kind of urgency, but a we-really-need-to-use-this-opportunity-to-help-others-find-the-happiness-we-enjoy kind of urgency.
Although I can’t confirm this (so take it with a grain of salt), the hearsay is that—in regards to the Book of Mormon musical—one of the General Authorities have stated something to the effect of, “This could prove to be one of the greatest miscalculations Satan has ever made.”
And I agree.
As a result of this increased spirit of missionary service, members here in the UK are really rising to the opportunity. For example, as a means of starting conversations about our beliefs some have started reading the Book of Mormon in areas of high visibility (such as on the train during their commute to and from work). Here in Guildford, the YSA went out on the high street the other day to ask people if they wanted a chance “to read the book”. The Church has also prepared the coolest pass-along cards I have ever seen for members to share with others (when you scan the QR code on the back of the cards I have, it pulls up mormon.org.uk/Chat where one can—as you guessed—chat with a member about the Church and the gospel of Jesus Christ). And recently during church when the ward missionaries were handing out copies of the Book of Mormon to members, they had to limit the number they could give each member because there is such a high demand for them right now.
A member of the Guildford Ward recently back from holiday in France even reported that the members on the other side of the Channel have become caught up in the excitement going on in the UK, and have started their own “Je suis mormon” pass-along card campaign—although the Book of Mormon musical hasn’t even opened there.
The Mormons are here.
I feel so privileged to be counted among such an optimistic, delightful people! What a witness it is to the truthfulness of this work to see the positive influence it has on the lives of those who are a part of it. If you are not a member of the Church and would like to learn more, or if you are looking for a way to come back, chat with someone who can help.
Oh, and to find out more about the Book of Mormon, click here.
And you can find the Church’s official response to the Book of Mormon musical here.
And if you want to know what the Church is really doing in Africa, check this out.