Brother Selected For The “I’m A Mormon” Campaign

 

A couple months ago, the Mormon church decided to profile my brother for their Im A Mormon campaign. A camera crew came to his house for an interview; now his profile and testimony are listed on the www.mormon.org website. My brother was thrilled about the opportunity — he saw the honor as a mark of respect for his status as a member. I find myself feeling very uneasy about the matter.

At this point, I need to clarify. My brother is black. He was born in 1978, the same year that the Mormon church lifted its ban on blacks holding the priesthood. He joined our family when he was two years old. He grew up in a white family, in a predominantly white community, and was indoctrinated into a religion that has an uneasy racial history.

I love my brother. And he is, in every sense of the word, my brother. To give my parents their due, I never heard any indication, any hint that my brother was anything other than a full-fledged member of our family. We grew up together; I was a little girl tagging after her older brother with hero-worship shining in her eyes. Most of my family is very introverted and shy. In contrast, my brother was the life of the party, the person that lit up the room. A Will Smith look-a-like, he was charismatic, with the gift of putting people at ease.

In church, every time I learned about black people being descendants of Cain or being fence-sitters during the War in Heaven, my mind would always turn to my brother. These teachings left me confused and uncertain about the compassion of the religion I had been raised in. But even my perspective, infused by the love I had for my brother, was only a second-hand perspective. I can never truly understand the road my brother has had to travel in order to fit the teachings of the Church into his view of the world at large and his place within that world.

My brother never hinted that the teachings or attitudes at church hurt him; I suspect that he was trying to shield his little sister. But over the years I have watched him change from someone who was charismatic and out-going into someone who is obsessed with image and status. He is very much invested in the Mormon Church; he served a mission, married in the temple, and pressured his wife, a very talented biologist, into staying at home to raise their children. He has an over-whelming desire to be seen as the ultimate Mormon.

I hope that this opportunity helps bring my brother the affirmation that he wants. But every-time that I go to the mormon.org website or watch the commercials, I dont see the church that I grew up in. I dont see any hint of the over-whelming pressure to conform or the ugly white-centric doctrine that I was taught, that is still being taught today. All I see is a church trying to cover up their issues with a slick ad campaign.

Note: This was originally posted on “A POST-MORMON LIFE”

Does Advertising Campaign Enhance or Dilute Mormon Brand?

Guest post by Rex Whisman.
Republished with permission.
[Note from Chino Blanco: Cross-posted here because I’ve just finished listening to Kyle Monson’s “Publicity, Advertising, & the New Mormon.org” at BCC, and reading Kaimi Wenger’s “The Angel and the Internet” at Times & Seasons, and I think Rex’s questions might provide useful jumping off points for engaging those two Bloggernacle posts here at MSP.]

A couple of days ago I read about a new advertising campaign for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The headline in the Philadelphia Inquirer read, Mormon ads trying for a new brand. When I see the word brand equated to the word ads I always get a little nervous. Why? Because way too many people, including semi-professional marketers, associate the words brand and branding with the words marketing or advertising.

When that happens the brand goal is usually not met. Is it the organization, the organization’s marketers or the writer of the story that does not realize that a brand is your name, what your name stands for and the associations that people make with your name when they see or hear your name? A brand is not a logo, tagline or advertising campaign. A brand is not even your strategy, should you choose to take the time to develop one.

Unlike many others, religious organizations have an advantage because they have a built in mission and set of core values that is usually understood by their stakeholders. When creating awareness or developing a strategy to place the organization in a 21st century context, the best way to do so is to establish a brand platform that captures the essence of the organization by engaging your stakeholders in the development and execution of the strategy. Then deciding what is the best way to communicate that essence to your target audience. Creating traditional advertising campaigns that try to make the organization look hip with little regard to their mission and core values are not sustainable.

I think for those who are not Mormons, the organization is probably misunderstood and does need to educate people. If an advertising campaign reflects your mission and core values and is a way to inform and help ensure sustainability then I say go for it. If the advertising campaign is an attempt to try and make Mormons look cool without a brand strategy, then I say don’t waste your money. Trying to be cool is what everyone else does so why try to look and sound like everyone else? Brand Champions are recruited and retained when they connect to what you stand for, not what you look like in a 30 second spot on a surf board.

Hi, I’m Marishia

In this post, we’re chatting with the author of a mormon.org profile that caught our attention.

Chino,

I’m sad for people like you because you deny the fullness of the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. You choose to put down others like myself who have finally found peace and acceptance with their homosexuality. Rather than be happy for the few of us who are free from depression and suicidal thoughts, you and your friends choose to tear us apart, falsely accuse us and condemn us without ever even talking to us or knowing us. You will never understand the amazing witness I received from the Holy Spirit, if you never accept the Savior and his true gospel fully. I never underwent any Church treatment. I am not involved with any PR for Mufi Hannemann. You and your friends are wrong on everything you have tried to accuse me of.

I hope and pray that you will receive the special witness like I did because then you’ll know for yourself what others like me are talking about.

God bless you Chino.

Aloha,
Marishia.