“Thousands Watch Church Satellite Broadcast,” Ensign, May 1995, 109
For the fifth year, the Church has produced and broadcast a presentation aimed at introducing the gospel to nonmembers and less-active members in a powerful, friendly way. Thousands watched the presentation in live open houses or taped-delay presentations organized by local Church units.
“It appears to have been a very successful satellite broadcast, with many members and nonmembers attending and participating,” said Sherman M. Crump, managing director of the Missionary Department. “Many local leaders have called with positive feedback, and they see ways to use the video portion, which they recorded, in further member-missionary and activation activities.”
“It’s the best turnout we’ve ever had, and the best presentation as well,” observed Steve Earl, stake mission president in the Tempe Arizona West Stake. “We had about 250 people attend, and about 50 or 60 of those were not members of the Church.”
President Earl attributed the high turnout to the commitment of stake leaders to the broadcast. “In the past we’ve distributed flyers, advertised in the paper, hung a banner on the meetinghouse,” he said. “This year we wanted to be even more effective, so the members of the stake presidency, the high councilors, the bishops, the stake mission presidency, and the ward mission leaders all personally committed to invite and bring at least one individual.”
That example infused the stake, and the result was outstanding, President Earl reported. “We had fifteen or twenty of those in attendance fill out referral cards,” he said. “But we’ve been able to follow up on every single nonmember in attendance because, even if they didn’t fill out a card, they were there with a member. So far six people, a family of four and two individuals, who attended the fireside have committed to baptism.”
In addition, copies of the presentation have been given to full-time missionaries in the area to use in their teaching, to member families to use when they invite nonmember or less-active friends and family members to their homes, and to local wards to present in Relief Society and quorum meetings.
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience during the broadcast,” President Earl concluded. “It was an emotionally and spiritually moving production, and we want all the members in our stake to see it.”
Other leaders are reporting similar results. Attendance at the West Jordan Utah East Stake open house was also the highest it has ever been. Stake missionary leaders approached each ward and asked ward leaders to identify in ward council meeting specific individuals they wanted to attend. “They made a list of the people in their ward who might be interested, both nonmembers and less-active people,” explained Kent Mabey, stake mission president. “Then specific people were assigned to contact those individuals, inform them about the activity, and offer to pick them up.”
After the presentation, the stake had five different areas organized where those in attendance could go for further activities. Members stayed in the chapel where they watched another Church video presentation, “but nonmembers and less-active members went to other areas where we could have one-on-one contact with them, answering their questions and supplying further information about the gospel,” President Mabey continued. “That way we didn’t lose those people in the crowd; we were able to follow up better with them and make sure they had contact with stake or full-time missionaries.”
The satellite broadcast was telecast from Salt Lake City to some three thousand locations in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic. For the first time, the broadcast was also telecast in Spanish and French.
The twenty-five-minute video presentation featured Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and included video clips from scenes portraying the ministry of the Savior in the Holy Land and on the American continent. In addition, local areas were encouraged to organize open house presentations that included short presentations about the Savior, the Book of Mormon, the family, and the plan of salvation.
Participants enjoy Relief Society display at open house in Vicksburg, Mississippi.