Truths of the Book of Mormon continue to be accepted as it is promoted worldwide through a variety of ways.
For example, Otta Monsen of Oslo, Norway, once felt the Lord was "too distant" to be involved in her life. But that was before she read the Book of Mormon.The Book of Mormon she received from missionaries of the Norway Oslo Mission was one of more than 12,000 copies they placed in Norway during 1989. Thousands of additional copies have been placed by missionaries and members in other countries in the ongoing effort to take the Book of Mormon to the world.
Otta Monsen was well-versed in the Bible, but she yearned for a closer relationship with the Lord, one she had not found in other religions.
Her study of the Book of Mormon was rewarded with a spiritual conviction. "I understood that which I had not understood previously," she said. "I received a special relationship with my Heavenly Father."
After she was baptized on June 3, 1989, she said, "you don't know how long I have waited to be among the saints."
In the same city, Desmond Teddy was approached by young member-missionaries in January 1989. Even as he received the Book of Mormon, he felt impressed of its truth. He asked the missionaries if reading it would change his life. It could, they said.
A few weeks later, he was converted to the Church and baptized. At his baptismal service in February 1989, he shared a strong testimony of the Church and Book of Mormon. His life had indeed changed, he said.
These two converts in Norway are among thousands who have joined the Church after gaining a conviction of truths of the Book of Mormon.
Mass media have also played an important part in introducing the Book of Mormon to non-members throughout the world. Promotions in the United States and in other countries have ranged from half-hour prime time programs on television to ads in national magazines.
Church leaders say that cable television has now become an important part of reaching out through the media. The Book of Mormon is the subject of a new promotion, which offers the book to viewers on local television stations as well as such cable networks and super stations as WTBS, TNT, CNN, Headline News Network, and others. Straight-forward messages teach about the Book of Mormon, and offer a free copy for non-members. Presented in non-prime time periods, the messages are geared to supplement, not replace, missionary finding efforts.
Two Book of Mormon advertisements are presently used on television in the United States. One portrays a librarian. She says that of all the great books written by great authors, she prefers to read about the Savior. She explains that the Church has, besides the Bible, another testament of Jesus Christ, which is the Book of Mormon. She testifies of its truthfulness and invites people to call for their free copy.
The second spot begins by recounting the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Savior. It portrays the hand of the Savior as a baby, and shows the hand maturing. The crucifixion is portrayed as a mature hand penetrated by a nail. The resurrected hand illustrates that the Savior's ministry continues. And accounts of the Savior's ministry do not end with the Bible, but also continue in the Book of Mormon. The book is offered free by calling a toll-free number.
Members are requested not to call for a free book.
Television advertisements are part of a carefully developed effort to balance referrals to the benefit of all the missions, said Missionary Department spokesmen.
The results of the announcements have been impressive, said Missionary Department officials.
According to mission presidents, the referrals do require some sifting, but introduce missionaries to solid investigators.
"Anything that helps us contact someone who had an initial interest in the gospel is very beneficial," said Pres. Pres. Mark L. Angus of the Connecticut Hartford Mission. "Quite a number have been fruitful."
Many of the people who contact the Church after seeing the commercials have had a good experience with members, and think highly of them.
The commercials also influence people who don't respond directly. Joe Fairchild of Layton, Utah, saw the commercials and they made him curious. But it was the influence of his friend Bart Garner that made the difference. Bart and their mutual friends often talked about Church subjects, leaving Joe in the dark. But Bart would later explain things to Joe.
One day, Bart gave Joe a copy of the Book of Mormon. Not necessarily for religious reasons, but for a point of reference so he would know what they were discussing. But Joe was more than intellectually interested in the Church. He read the parts of the book where Bart had marked, and felt the Spirit telling him it was true. He asked Bart to send the missionaries.
Elders Richard Melo from Westchester, N.Y., and Larry Peterson from Portland, Ore., taught him.
He was baptized in January. "I wish I could have gotten into the Church earlier," he said.