The rapid advances in technological innovations affords the media countless resources for reaching and influencing the masses. Perhaps one of the easiest and most convenient venues for capturing a large audience in a short period of time is television commercials.
According to the 2014 Nielsen Advance National TV Household Universe Estimate (UE), there are 115.6 million homes in the United States which own a television, and an estimated 294 million people ages 2 and older who live in those homes. Nielsen also reports that the average American watches 5 hours of television per day. He also notes that children aged 2-11 watch over 24 hours of TV per week, whereas adults 35-49 watch more than 33 hours. As air time for programming is paid through commercial advertisements, it would stand to reason that the average American is exposed to a significant number of television commercials per week.
The Message and Influence of Television Commercials
Every commercial seems to have a purpose and an agenda behind it. Some commercials are designed to entice the viewer to invest in a product that he may buy and only use a few times before it is thrown in a corner or shoved in a closet. Other commercials influence viewers in a negative way by encouraging them to seek for riches and happiness by following the ways of the world. Still, there are others that positively influence the life of viewers, such as the TV commercials produced by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as “Home Fronts,” as the commercials generally focus on the importance of the family – the foundation of any society, or a selfless act or service.
Introduction to Mormonism and a Changed Life
In a Meridian Magazine article dated Monday, 28 July 2014, Chris Morse shares how watching television commercials created by The Church of Jesus Christ helped introduced him to the gospel and changed his life for the better. He recalls watching the commercials growing up as a kid, and how they always left him with a warm, happy feeling inside. The more he watched, the more he wondered why his own family couldn’t be more like an LDS television commercial. In the article he states,
Now I know why I felt so warm inside while watching those inspired TV messages. It was the Holy Ghost preparing me for the moment when the missionaries would present their message to me about the restored gospel. I have now been taught the plan of salvation. I want my children to grow up knowing the truth and their children. My decision to join the church was a gift to my wife and children and to the generations of families that will follow after us.
He recounts that his testimony began to grow when his family was asked by the missionaries to read the account of Lehi’s vision of the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi 8 in the Book of Mormon. In the account is a large and spacious building in which there are people who mock Lehi and point their fingers at those who came and partook of the fruit representing the love of God.
Morse recalls that before his baptism, he was “like the people in the picture pointing their fingers and laughing in scorn because of my lack of knowledge and misunderstandings about the gospel.” After his second son was born, he began investigating different churches before making the decision to invite the missionaries to teach his family the gospel. He further commented,
After reading this story about Lehi in the Book of Mormon, I knew that the book was true and another testament of Jesus Christ. I now know that Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God. I know that President Monson is a living prophet and that he receives revelation about how to lead the church and its members in our day. I believe that the priesthood has been restored again to the earth. I am grateful to hold the priesthood. When my father-in-law blessed me with priesthood authority, I felt it was just as valid and strong as if it were done by the Savior himself.
Growing up, Chris Morse perhaps never realized the powerful, positive influence that watching commercial spots produced by The Church of Jesus Christ would have on his life. However, the messages in those videos helped start him on his journey for truth. He has had wonderful experiences in the Temple as he has participated in vicarious baptisms, and he has experienced the power of prayer and the priesthood as he has ministered to those in need in his ward. He now looks forward to going to the Temple to be sealed to his wife Carmen and their two sons for time and eternity.
Keith L. Brown
Keith L. Brown is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been born and raised Baptist. He was studying to be a Baptist minister at the time of his conversion to the LDS faith. He was baptized on 10 March 1998 in Reykjavik, Iceland while serving on active duty in the United States Navy in Keflavic, Iceland. He currently serves as the First Assistant to the High Priest Group for the Annapolis, Maryland Ward. He is a 30-year honorably retired United States Navy Veteran.