By: Kari Christensen
At the Mormon media symposium early Thursday afternoon, a panel met to discuss the ongoing “I am a Mormon” campaign.
Brandon Burton, the general manager of Bonneville Communications, started off the panel by talking about the campaign’s origins and how it’s doing today.
“The Church has always been very proactive in how it’s used media and technology. The Church was one of the pioneers of advertising,” Burton said. “They’ve always been on the homefront.”
Several years ago, questions surfaced about whether or not there were people in the United States who had the same foundational beliefs and standards that members of the Church do. That’s what started the “I Am a Mormon” campaign. Its purpose is to show people worldwide that Mormons are normal people who follow their beliefs.
Burton and other members of the panel talked about how a large percentage of the United States population looks, acts and believes similarly to Mormons. They think about spirtual and religious things and teach their children righteous principles too. There are just skewed perceptions of the Church.
“Awareness of the Church several years ago was very low,” Burton said. ” (For) those that did have some awareness, that perspective tended to be negative. They thought we were racist, sexist, secretive, etc. Our focus on family was (one of) the only positive perspectives. Ultimately we landed on the idea that we were best served by using Church membership and by showing people how we really were.”
The panel discussed how they decided to use individuality and uniqueness in members to promote the Church’s image. They developed the “I Am a Mormon” campaign, where individual members could create profiles and talk about their lives. They could chat with anyone on the site and answer questions. The general idea of the campaign was to let people feel comfortable in an environment where they could search and ask questions, without feeling like the Church was forcing anything on them.
In the past few years, the campaign has been a huge success. The panel talked about how there are over 110,000 public member profiles, with another 100,000 members who have started profiles and not submitted them yet. The campaign’s website, mormon.org, is available in 20 different languages. There have been over one million views in the past year, and numbers continue to grow each day. The campaign continues its growth and success.