“Channeling TV Viewers to the Book of Mormon,” Ensign, Oct. 1991, 73–74
Viewers who opened their “SuperTV” television guide in the German Democratic Republic in June and July of 1990 discovered that they could choose much more than variety shows or news.
They could choose to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon from the German Democratic Republic Dresden (now Germany Dresden) Mission and ask for contact with LDS missionaries.
Readers responded in numbers that surprised those who had planned the missionary campaign. More than eighty baptisms have resulted, and long after the offer had stopped running in the magazine, missionaries continued to teach people who had seen the ad.
The campaign was similar to a media effort in the Federal Republic of Germany. The concept was to run an ad once a week for five weeks in one of the most frequently read magazines in the country. In the German Democratic Republic, that was the television guide.
The first ad ran on 2 June 1990. There was a good response in the first few days, but instead of decreasing afterward, as expected, it continued to increase, until the mission was receiving as many as one thousand requests per day for the Book of Mormon. Some four thousand responses had been expected in the beginning, but before the campaign was over, thirteen thousand books were mailed to people who had answered the ad. Requests came from cities and villages all over the country.
A missionary in the mission office was in charge of the mailing. So many requests came in that more books had to be ordered from Frankfurt, and a local member was asked to help with the project.
Requests were answered with a package containing a Book of Mormon; a letter from mission president Wolfgang Paul explaining the book’s importance; a list of the addresses and telephone numbers of local wards and branches in the country; and a list of twenty-three questions on matters of faith that are answered by the Book of Mormon.
President Paul said that nearly one-fifth of those who responded to the ad asked that missionaries deliver the book in person. Many of those listened to the missionary discussions.
Local members were excited by the success of the program. “Words cannot describe how we feel because our own people really want to know something about the Church. Maybe they will read and feel something more about the gospel,” said Doris Georgia Menzel, who worked in the mission office, helping with the mailing.—Ken Rogerson, Provo, Utah