“Mor(e)monads,” New Era, May 2018
Maybe you’ve noticed it while you’re riding down the freeway. Certain billboards flash by forgettably. Others entice you to read, but you can’t get through the words fast enough before they too are gone. The best ones grab your attention, share their message quickly, and linger in your mind.
Now, picture yourself riding down the highway of life. As a young Latter-day Saint, you have a great opportunity to see some memorable messages along the way. They’re called Mormonads, and they do exactly what those great billboards do—capture your interest instantly and offer a gospel insight that remains in your memory.
Professional communicators know that when you combine a powerful visual with memorable text, people pay attention. The power of a Mormonad is that when you see it, a gospel principle becomes—immediately—crystal clear.
In today’s world of memes, picture quotes, snaps, and tweets, Mormonads can inspire you as you combine words and images to understand and explain the gospel. You may want to share them—or even create your own to share—via social media.
On the following pages, you’ll find some that the New Era staff remember from their own journeys, along with some fun insights about how and why they work.
Before there were memes, picture quotes, or even social media, there were Mormonads. Posters have actually been part of the New Era since the magazine began.
In the beginning: An intern suggests including gospel-oriented “advertisements” in the magazine. A folded poster is stapled in the September 1971 issue.
The term Mormonad is created: The first poster labeled as a Mormonad is published in September 1973. With it, the magazine asks readers to use a single sheet of paper to “share your great gospel ideas with other New Era readers throughout the world.”
Over the years: Mormonads are produced as full-size posters, magazine-page messages, tear-out cards, mobile device wallpaper, and even videos. You can see a partial collection at mormonads.lds.org.
Increasing popularity: Mormonads appear in the magazine with increasing frequency. Many are based on suggestions from readers.
International sermons: Mormonads are also translated and printed in up to 48 languages.
Selected Mormonads get a makeover: This is a redo in color of a horizontal poster that was originally done in black and white.
Concepts generated from members: Mormonads celebrate the missionary age change. The concept for this Mormonad was sent in by a Church member.
Creating Mormonads: Today, some Mormonads use a single photograph, some are digitally collaged using multiple images, and others are rendered with CGI (computer-generated imagery).
Mormonads come to life: Animated GIFs enable this Mormonad to depict the elements of a young man’s life as an open book.
Mormonads continue to appear in the New Era each month (see page 49 in this issue).
Great ideas and images, working together, stand the test of time. Memorable Mormonads, powerful when they were first published, still make us stop and think today. They quickly convey enduring gospel principles and values.