An Apostle’s Easter Thoughts on Christ

April 12, 2009 | 23 comments
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This past weekend, the Church posted an Easter Video on its Youtube page, which it prominently plugged on the LDS.org front page. The video is based on a portion of Jeffrey R. Holland’s moving General Conference talk from last week, None Were With Him.

The video has been a massive hit, racking up over 200,000 views on Youtube in less than two days (easily one of the most viewed videos the Church has uploaded to date, second only to “Why Mormons Build Temples” which was released last month in response to the recent Big Love controversy). The Easter Video got so many hits that it spent much of this weekend as one of the “featured” clips on Youtube and Google Video:

Google Video - Featured Video

I’m interested in what others think of this new viral approach by the Church, but I find it to be incredibly effective. I think these short, well-produced and non-cheesy videos can really pack a punch, and my sense is that members find them very easy to pass along to non-member friends and family (via email, Facebook, etc.) without much fear that they will offend or turn people off. I personally felt comfortable sending the Easter Video to several pretty religious colleagues from whom I received Easter well-wishes (and these aren’t people I’d feel at ease giving, say, a pass-along card to). This clip, however, doesn’t give one the impression that he or she is being proselytized to, it’s just an earnest and powerful testimony of the Atonement and the divinity of Jesus Christ. I think it’s another example of the Church really “getting” the new media, and it’s one I hope we’ll see more of.

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23 Responses to An Apostle’s Easter Thoughts on Christ

  1. m&m on April 13, 2009 at 1:32 am

    Nice post, Marc. I agree wholeheartedly.

  2. Steve on April 13, 2009 at 7:44 am

    I just wish they would leave the music out.

  3. Craig M. on April 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Very easy to post on Facebook and I have gotten positive feedback from friends (on the Easter video).

  4. Guy W. Murray on April 13, 2009 at 9:34 am

    The Church is extremely Internet Savvy, i.e. a Newsroom which tweets on Twitter. The video was very well done. Going viral may very well be a method of taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth–to every nation, kindred, tongue and people. Elder Holland’s discourse, was one of the most powerful and moving on the physical and spiritual aspects of the Atonement.

  5. Mark Brown on April 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Is any of that footage borrowed from other films the church has made? I ask because it would be interesting to know if it was filmed exclusively for this purpose. If so, I think it would have had to be filmed even before the speech was given, which indicates a tight coordination between general conference talks and new media efforts. Even more impressive.

  6. Marc Bohn on April 13, 2009 at 9:47 am

    I hadn’t recognized the footage, but had assumed it was cobbled together after the fact. It would be fascinating to know whether it was filmed exclusively for this purpose. I have to admit though, I’d almost be a little disappointed if it was. I like to think that Conference talks are a little less formally planned and coordinated than that.

  7. TOR on April 13, 2009 at 10:35 am

    The majority of footage (not sure of some of the closeups) is from the “Finding Faith in Christ, which in turn was in large part originally from the Jerusalem segments of “The Testaments of One Fold and One Shepherd,” photographed between 1998 and 2000, mostly on soundstages at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in Provo (the calming of the storm was shot in the wave pool of Seven Peaks waterpark in Provo).

    Interesting to note that Elder Neil Anderson, then part of the Seventy, was in charge of overseeing the production of both of those films.

    I think the youtube videos are fantastic. They seem to me the perfect internet equivalent of a pass-along cards I never seem able to hand out.

  8. Marc Bohn on April 13, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Maybe the comparison is a little orange to apples, but I think they’re superior to pass along cards. They’re easier to pass out and much more likely to be used/viewed by the recipient. The only down-side I guess would be that they don’t alert the missionaries to a potential investigator when viewed, but that’s part of the reason why they’re easier to pass around.

  9. Craig H. on April 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

    It’s a little ironic that the church is using YouTube when BYU still won’t allow access to it on campus…

  10. Adam on April 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    I’m glad the Church’s AV folks are lighting the area behind the podium in last week’s general conference.

    Compare these two videos on YouTube done by the Church:
    Very little lighting behind Elder Nelson:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLXYxmaHWQs#t=2m49s

    Elder Holland’s video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpFhS0dAduc#t=0m14s

    The first video would probably creep you out if you’d never watched General Conference before – “Why is in a dark room?”

  11. Marc Bohn on April 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Craig – Wow. For some reason I thought they’d dropped that. Is the official explanation still something about bandwidth?

    Adam – It definitely makes a difference.

  12. Marc Bohn on April 13, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    The video has now crossed the 250,000-views threshold.

  13. Marc Bohn on April 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Nice. Thanks Guy.

  14. Raymond Takashi Swenson on April 13, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    The Church has come a long way since the “Stick of Joseph” film strip that I used on my mission to introduce the Book of Mormon. Our presentation of the gospel is more fitting to the quality of the message.

    The big Easter downer for us was our ward’s sacrament meeting talks. Most of the time was taken by a very long and detailed presentation about how to keep the sabbath day holy, which did not mention the Savior’s resurrection, and by a talk that was on the announced topic of the Atonement, but which talked more about the talk than it talked about the Atonement. Neither talk discussed the events we commemorate at Easter.

    The Sunday School lesson topic was about the importance of Joseph Smith’s revelations, which some of us tried to connect to the Atonement. The Priesthood lesson was on being valiant in our testimonies, but had too little time due to the press of quorum business.

    It is not obvious to me why the Sunday School curriculum committees could not designate in each Gospel Doctrine manual a couple of special lessons on Christmas and the Resurrection. Certainly both are discussed in the Old and New Testaments, Book of Mormon and Doctrine & Covenants. Having lessons on other topics on those days could (sadly) reinforce the mistaken impression of other Christians that we don’t share their devotion to Christ.

    There is simply no reason for having sacrament meeting talks on topics other than the Savior’s experience in Gethsemane, on Golgotha, and the Resurrection, on Easter day. If I had brought a friend from another church to visit that day, I would have been sad over the missed opportunity to affirm our witness of Jesus Christ. We had some nice musical numbers between the talks that were appropriate to the day.

  15. alice munro on April 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    The thing is that you score a hit if someone opens the link. That doesn’t mean that they watched it through and it doesn’t mean that they had a positive response to it. It doesn’t even mean that each hit was made by a different person.

    What we can know is that a number that’s equal to approximately 1 in 24 US Mormons saw at least a few seconds of it.

  16. It's Not Me on April 13, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    We had fast and testimony meeting on Easter Sunday. If members didn’t like “the topic,” they could get up and change it.

  17. Cameron on April 14, 2009 at 1:53 am

    to CraigH (comment #9) – BYU blocking YouTube is mainly a bandwidth issue, although there is the side benefit of blocking all the bad stuff on there.

  18. Marc Bohn on April 14, 2009 at 8:58 am

    The video has now crossed the 300,000-views threshold.

  19. Marc Bohn on April 15, 2009 at 10:09 am

    The video has now crossed the 350,000-views threshold.

  20. alice munro on April 15, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    The Susan Boyle/Britain’s Got Talent video has had over 9 million (and that’s just the longer of the half dozen or so versions up on You Tube).

  21. Marc Bohn on April 17, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    The video has now crossed the 400,000-views threshold, making it far and away the most viewed video uploaded by the Church to date.

  22. Marc Bohn on April 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    The video has now crossed the 450,000-views threshold and is well on its way to 500,000.