“Media Messages Reviewed in Chaplains’ Seminar,” Ensign, Nov. 1987, 107
Active-duty and reserve Latter-day Saint chaplains from the U. S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and National Guard met in a seminar in Salt Lake City immediately following October general conference.
The 160 chaplains and wives attending the seminar were addressed by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Council of the Twelve. Other speakers included Elder Marion D. Hanks and Elder James M. Paramore of the Presidency of the First Quorum of the Seventy, and Elder Paul H. Dunn of the First Quorum of the Seventy.
Elder Ballard discussed how the Church is now using the media to reach prospective members and interest them in learning more about the gospel.
Among the projects he discussed were the twenty-nine “Homefront” television spots the Church has produced since 1972 that are currently being broadcast in English, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian.
“In 1983, we began releasing ‘Homefront Jr.’ messages directed at youth,” Elder Ballard said. “In 1986, we won an Emmy Award for this spot.”
He noted that in countries like the United States and Canada, a large percentage of the people live in apartment houses and condominiums, often isolated from the missionaries by doormen who refuse their requests to call on tenants. “We must learn how to get people to call us and invite the missionaries to come into their homes,” he said.
“Your responsibility is to bless the lives of those in the military,” Elder Ballard told the chaplains, “and to help them focus on an eternal perspective.”
Elder Paramore told the chaplains that their work is vital in influencing the lives of both LDS and non-LDS servicemen and women and affirmed that the Church fully supports their efforts.
Elder Hanks emphasized the significance of three special relationships of every chaplain:
With his superior officers and peers in the chaplaincy. Elder Hanks illustrated this point by emphasizing the story of Moroni and Pahoran in the Book of Mormon, where a gracious Pahoran responded to a frustrated Moroni with dignity and integrity. (See Alma 60–61.)
With the men and women whom he serves. They are to be treated individually, nurtured, strengthened, and blessed.
With himself and his family. He should show his concern and consistent support for his family.
Elder Dunn listed criteria for interpreting the scriptures. These included the need to remember that the primary purpose of scriptures is religious. “They are not intended to be an exact science,” he said. “You cannot reconstruct the age of the earth from Genesis or the Book of Moses, but you can teach the principles of the gospel.”