A motorcycle enthusiast, a New York fashion designer and an aspiring reporter: all amazing people, and all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The “I’m a Mormon” videos are a campaign that works to create a better understanding of the LDS Church and what its members believe. The campaign even recently received positive media attention from political satirist Stephen Colbert, on his popular show “The Colbert Report.”
The “I’m a Mormon” videos first hit Mormon.org in early 2010, according to the Church newsroom, and gave all visitors of the site a chance to learn more about individual members of the Church. The videos focus on a variety of Church members; their lives and experiences.
In a Church news release, Elder Richard G. Hinckley, executive director of the Missionary Department, said the focus of the media has changed.
“Our Church is known for our efforts to share our message,” Elder Hinckley said. “During the past several decades we’ve used media focusing primarily on what we believe. This effort focuses more on who we are because of what we believe.”
Ron Wilson, senior manager of Internet and advertising for the LDS Church, said the idea for the campaign was spurred by wanting to inform.
“In 2009, we did a survey,” Wilson said. “We discovered that more than half of the population of adults in the U.S. didn’t know who Mormons were. We thought, what we really need to do is introduce people of the Church.”
There are varied profiles of different members of the Church, from a cancer survivor to an Iraq War veteran, to a long board champion in Hawaii. Each of the videos tell a story about the member and their life.
Tom Ngo, one such profile for the “I’m a Mormon” campaign, said he is happy he got to share his story.
“It was kind of fun to get to know the crew that came over,” Ngo said. “They treated it as a very conversational, relaxed thing. Just the chance to bare testimony was rewarding.”
Wilson said the “I’m a Mormon” campaign differs from the Mormon Messages, another popular video collection about members.
“The Mormon Messages are created for members of the Church,” Wilson said. “The I am a Mormon videos are for those who are not members of the Church, in order to understand us better.”
The videos have received media attention from CNN, Fox news and even billboards and taxi cabs in New York.
It’s a matter of informing, said Elder Hinckley, on the Church newsroom website.
“Generally, misconceptions arise as a result of inaccurate information,” Elder Hinckley said. “When people are better informed, misconceptions about us tend to diminish.”
Scott Swofford, former director of media for the LDS Church, said members do a great job of spreading their own beliefs.
“Well, you can go on and on all day long trying to define yourself in the minds of the public, or you can, in fact, connect them to members of the Church,” Swofford said. “People in their own words are articulating their beliefs better than perhaps we could.”