Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

'Because of Him': LDS video on Christ surpasses 2.6 million YouTube views

By Tad Walch, Deseret News

Published: Fri, April 18 7:35 p.m. MDT

 The Because of Him Easter initiative includes memes like this, each proclaiming the LDS Church's belief that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God who overcame sorrow and death for men and women everywhere.

The Because of Him Easter initiative includes memes like this, each proclaiming the LDS Church's belief that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God who overcame sorrow and death for men and women everywhere.

(LDS Church)

SALT LAKE CITY — Posted online at the beginning of the week — Palm Sunday — the YouTube Easter video at the center of a large LDS Church media campaign surpassed 2.6 million views in five days.

The number of people who watch the "Because of Him" video may spike on Easter Sunday due to a major media buy.

The front page of YouTube gets 109 million visitors per day, and on Easter those visitors will see two 30-second versions of "Because of Him" promoted on the wildly popular website's masthead by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Those condensed versions — one in English and one in Spanish — invite viewers to click and watch the full video and visit a website, Mormon.org/BecauseofHim.

The YouTube promotion will cap a weeklong surge of banner ads, daily memes and videos posted on hundreds of websites. All of the messages proclaim that Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God who overcame sorrow and death for all people.

"He was a carpenter, a teacher, an outcast, a leader," says text in the "Because of Him" video. "Yet he did what no carpenter, teacher, outcast, leader had ever done. Like all who preceded him, he lived, and he died. But unlike all who preceded him, he rose from the dead. ... He lives."

Elder David F. Evans, executive director of the church's Missionary Department, told the Church News he anticipated the campaign would reach more than 100 million people on YouTube alone via the advertising impressions.

“When you think about how long it would take for missionaries to contact this many people, it becomes clear how important technology is in the work of our Heavenly Father," Elder Evans said. "The Easter holiday is the ideal time for us to help people remember all that is possible because of Jesus Christ."

A Utah social media consultant called the LDS campaign "a terrific success."

"It leveraged a powerful component of social media, the community itself, to uniquely create and share content personal to them, and tie it back to the brand — in this case, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," said Jesse Stay, author of "Google+ For Dummies." "I saw it trend on both Facebook and Twitter, and the views on Youtube show it is not just reaching church members. I have a feeling the church achieved what they wanted out of this, and more."

The initiative includes Facebook and Twitter promotions — the hashtag is #BecauseofHim — and invites people to "discover all that’s possible because of him."

The 2-minute, 45-second video has no dialogue but includes text that fades in and out over scenes from Christ's life and video of people from around the world.

"Because of him," the text says, "guilt becomes peace, regret becomes relief, despair becomes hope."

On YouTube, the video's comment section is full of positive responses. Many people asked about the scenes from Christ's life. Those came from the LDS Church's recent Bible video series "The Life of Christ." A group of the Easter-related selections from those videos is gathered together in the media library on the church's website, LDS.org.

One commenter said he watched the "Because of Him" video multiple times.

"Three minutes?" Marc Carey wrote Friday afternoon. "I think I spent at least 15 so far watching it over and over. I'm Roman Catholic and I love this video."

Those who click through to the "Because of Him" website are encouraged there to share the Easter story on social media. They can chat "with a Mormon” online, request an in-person visit with missionaries, request a copy of the Holy Bible or learn more about the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.

More than 1.9 million people had watched the full video in English as of Friday afternoon. Another 730,000 had viewed it in Spanish. It is available in 18 other languages.

A second video-driven Easter campaign designed in Salt Lake City also seeks to inspire viewers to use Christ's Resurrection to change for the better.

The "Starting Today" campaign is the work of Radiant, a new values-based organization at Boncom, which like the Deseret News is owned by Deseret Media Companies.

"Starting today," the campaign says, "you can change your life, because of how one day started, 2,000 years ago."

"He left the tomb behind," it continues, "so we can leave our past behind and be reshaped, rebuilt and restart, again and again and again."

Email: twalch@deseretnews.com

1. wer
South Jordan, UT,
April 18, 2014

Absolutely love the video and the feeling I get!

2. KellyWSmith
Sparks, NV,
April 18, 2014

I love this video. The LDS Church keeps getting better and better at sending out a message to the world about its message and its mission.

3. OnlytheCross
Bakersfield, CA,
April 19, 2014

I am happy for the site's success. I'll go watch it now. Does it make the distinctions between the LDS Jesus and the Biblical Jesus? I was LDS for 35 years and always thought we had the same Christ, plus some added ordinances. Upon studying the Bible carefully, I was shocked to learn of the significant differences in the Mormon Jesus.

So the question looming in my mind is- Will this new campaign honestly distinguish the LDS characteristics of Christ (Lucifer's spirit brother, one of His Father's many celestial spirit chlidren birthed by a Heavenly Mother, possibly polygamous on earth according to some early LDS prophets, His blood cannot cover all sin (BYoung), He is only Savior of this earth, etc.) versus the purely Biblical one?

Let's see if I can get an honest post through. Biblically, the Cross was the final payment for redemption and reconciliation. There is no "universal" salvation. Every soul will live somewhere for eternity: Those who "have the Son have eternal life in His Kingdom"; those who refuse His gift of eternal salvation, "will not have (spiritual) life."

God bless this campaign if the Biblical Easter message is promoted!

4. OnlytheCross
Bakersfield, CA,
April 19, 2014

Well, I just saw the sight and I am happy to report that it does make the distinction between the LDS Jesus and the Biblical one! But only those who read their Bible will see it:

The Bible never says in any verse that "Jesus came to show us how to live better." He did give the Golden Rule and admonished the Jews to love their enemies; He explained many truths to them that had been altered by tradition. But the messsge of the Bible is that Christ came to pay our debt on the Cross. For all who believe in Him, He sends the Holy Spirit to indwell them with the power to live, grow and mature spiritually. Man can try as hard as he wants to emmulate Jesus; he will never succeed unless he is born again/born spiritually.

John 1:12 is the Biblical Christ:
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

5. hockeymom
Highland, UT,
April 19, 2014

Loved it!