"I'm a Mormon" Ads
In 2010 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Mormon Church, took several steps to combat misperceptions of the Church and of Mormons in general. There were about 6 million Mormons in the U.S. at the time, and about 14 million worldwide. The Church is the fourth largest in the U.S. and one of few churches increasing in membership. Misperceptions persist, and studies show some things that are startling to Mormons. Studies show that about half of U.S. citizens know nothing about the Church. Some people equate the Church with reclusive polygamist sects, wherein people wear 1930's-style clothes. Some people believe the Church brainwashes its members or exerts undue controll over their lives. Many don't realize that Jesus Christ is the center of Mormon worship. One step the Church took was to remodel its website, mormon.org. With hundreds of profiles of real Latter-day Saints, the site enables visitors to chat with real members, rather than getting information from a large institution. Another step was to launch a number of ads in nine American cities. These spots have been casually called "I'm a Mormon" Ads. Scott Swofford, director of media for the LDS Church's missionary department worked with the project. "The selected subjects are an eclectic mix of ethnicities, backgrounds, occupations, ages and talents. A mix of veteran commercial filmmakers and student filmmakers, headed by creative director Parry Merkley, joined the project."  The spots are you-tube quality, and are meant to show the diverse nature of Latter-day Saints. Each person featured is unusual in some way, perhaps because of ethnicity, profession, hobbies, talents, or charity work. What is obvious is that these people are happy and free. They completely debunk any notion that Latter-day Saints are unhappy or coerced in any way. To watch the "I'm a Mormon" videos, click here.