Sunday, May 3, 2009

"By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them"

Elder L. Tom Perry, while speaking at Women’s Conference this past weekend, asked the women gathered there to “dedicate themselves to strengthening the image of the Church.” He stated, "Your personal experiences can be of comfort and a blessing to many."

Elder Perry informed them that the Church had even employed professional firms to help define and project the true image of the Church to the world. He also offered some interesting statistics, "51 percent of people have no awareness of Mormon practices and beliefs," that "47 percent of people do not have a favorable view of Mormons," and "that 31 percent of people believe that Mormons are not Christian."

"These statistics clearly show the imperfect way we have communicated who we are and what we believe," said Elder Perry.

Further, he said, one-word impressions of the Church include: polygamy, family, cult, different, and dedicated. Three wrong impressions out of five "is not a good batting average for us."

He explained that significant misperceptions exist about the church and its members. Although 84 percent of Americans have seen Latter-day Saint ads, been given LDS literature, and/or had missionaries approach them, less than 30 percent can identify the church's main claim — "that we follow Jesus Christ, and are the re-established original Christian church…"

So, he asked the women, "How do we close the gap between how we see ourselves and how the world sees us?"

It is certainly true that the best way to give a positive statement to anyone about the Church is by the way we live our lives personally. What they see us, as members, do and how we conduct ourselves can be a testimony in itself. However, an individual’s view of the Church is also made up of the experiences they may have had by way of outside influences. These influences include the media.

Elder Perry offered suggestions on several things we, as members, can to do help people become more aware of our true beliefs. We can listen, know the doctrine, live our standards, be exemplary citizens, be good neighbors, open our mouths, extend invitations, use technology and be bold but not overbearing.

I believe that the media coverage has really distorted the view of many people when it comes to who we are as Latter Day Saints. In an attempt to add some positive influences the Church has had on the world to the biased media coverage that is out there, I published a Hub on Hubpages called Are Mormons Really Monsters?

Please follow that link and leave comments and add your testimony there if you have a chance. Perhaps working together we can show the world that Mormons really are Christians.

By our fruits you shall know us.


Delirious said...

This is interesting in light of the fact that last Sunday there was a special fireside in Oakland, wherein the speaker focused on our image as a church. I was unable to attend, so I am happy to hear some of what he may have spoken about. I do agree that we are largely misunderstood. The thing I tell my non-member friends often is that they should go to the source when learning about our religion. Other churches, or people, or websites may be biased, or may present accurate information. I plead with them to come to me, or the missionaries, or the official church website with their questions.

annie said...

Good post. It was fun to see you for a bit tonight.