Mormon Church: It’s Hip to be Square (and Politically Neutral)


“For decades, the popular image of Mormon style has been shaped by clean-cut young missionaries on bicycles in dark suits, white shirts and skinny black ties — and more recently by the sculptured coif of the presidential candidate Mitt Romney or the sporty style of the motocross-bike-riding Jon Huntsman, another Republican presidential candidate,” the New York Times recently noted.

But now, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is trying to humanize the members of the Mormon Church and show people that all different types of people are members as well as to help others see how the Church differentiates from other forms of Christianity. As part of the LDS push to humanize its brand, Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, agreed to appear in the family-centric video at top.[more]

If Flowers’s video fails to make LDS “hip” to young music lovers, as the Times notes, the bigger issue is that two of the Republican presidential candidates — Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman — are Mormons and there are many that have said this will be an issue that could keep them from gaining the candidacy, though Romney continues to be a frontrunner (if he can sway political conservatives to his side).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is fed up with being misunderstood and marginalized. It is putting down some major chunks of change on the second year of a public-relations campaign of first-person testimonials with the tagline “I’m a Mormon” that kicked off in the U.S. last month in Seattle and 11 other areas throughout the country, according to KIRO-TV. In fact, it’s been running around the world.

“The church tested the campaign in nine cities in 2010 after surveys it conducted found that half of Americans surveyed had never met a Mormon, and, when they did, misconceptions about the church faded,” according to the Reporter Herald.

The campaign is completely unrelated to the presidential campaigns, the Church tells KIRO, and will include television and online ads as well as on billboards and the sides of buses.

“The Church is politically neutral on elections, whether they are at the local or the national level,” said Sam Baxter, a church leader in the Seattle area to the station. As far as why the specific locations were targeted by the Church, Baxter told KIRO, “I think it was a broad brush of large and small cities from all different geographic locations of the country. And I’m actually interested as well to see the results of the media campaign in those cities.”

According to the Deseret News, those locations include Austin and San Antonio, Texas; Atlanta; Phoenix; Omaha and Lincoln, Neb.: Denver, Colo.; and Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, and South Bend, Ind. Last year, the campaign was in Colorado Springs; Rochester, N.Y.; Minneapolis; St. Louis; Pittsburgh; Oklahoma City; Baton Rouge, La.; Tucson; and Jacksonville, Fla., KIRO reports.

Perhaps the ‘hippest’ fallout from the pro-Mormon campaign — apart from being spoofed by comedian Stephen Colbert — is Jon Huntsman’s daughters’ spoof of Herman Cain’s smoking ad.