Advertising for the musical began in September of 2012 with billboards and posters proclaiming that "The Mormons are Coming!" (See our Sept. 20, 2012 blogpost.) Since then the Church has seen a 10-fold increase in Internet hits to mormon.org. When the play opened on March 21, patrons found three full-page ads in the playbook that featured members saying "You've seen the show, now read the book" or "The book is always better." On April 8th, the Church began its month-long "I'm a Mormon" campaign, with large banners and video boards in the Charing Cross train station and numerous platform displays at eight tube stations, including Oxford Circus and Piccadilly Circus near the theatre district. Posters cover the sides of 250 double-decker buses circulating through downtown London. Some buses that already have ads promoting The Book of Mormon Musical are now being followed by buses with ads that say "I'm a Mormon" or "Ask a Mormon." It's pretty amazing!
Last Friday, on our P-Day, Pat and I took the train into London to tour the National Archives and the Family History Centre there. We had a great time visiting Paul and Annie Smart who have just arrived to serve a mission there for the next 18 months. They are in the England London South Mission with us. They are from Draper and Paul and I served together in the Corner Canyon Stake before it was divided. So fun to see them! They took us on a personal tour of the Archives and even got us special access to the area where they do their work.
|Yet another rainy day...|
|The beautiful British National Archives complex|
|Pat and I with Paul and Annie Smart|
|Picturesque street on our way back to the Kew Gardens Tube station...|
|This Tube train starts out above ground until it gets closer into the center of London.|
|One of the buses at Piccadilly Circus|
Right now, in central London, you can't miss the member profiles and messages to "Ask A Mormon" about the Church. Many people in England, and elsewhere, are skeptical about organized religion, but this campaign is an invitation for people to hear directly from British members about their faith and insights, to explore basic LDS beliefs on their own, or to contact missionaries if they have questions. All inquiries are directed to mormon.org.uk for further information. It will be interesting to see how traffic on this Internet site and our Chat lines increases.
One young woman we met in the Maidstone Stake had a funny experience a week or so ago. She was in London late one evening riding a bus with a bunch of her Church friends. A group of young men having a good time - with the help of a little alcohol - were on the same bus. She heard one of them say to another, "Keep it Mormon." She was surprised, to say the least, but soon realized that what the guy was really telling his friend was to act a little more respectable! She took it as a compliment and struck up a conversation. While most of the group put their earphones back on, one of the guys in the group started asking questions.
More people are becoming curious and wanting to know what the Church teaches, who the Mormons are, and what they believe. "The Mormons are Coming?" No! They've already been here for 175 years, nearly 200,000 strong in the British Isles, and growing. ~Don~