The Six Best Old School Mormon Commercials


By: Danny Rasmussen //

Perhaps you are familiar with the LDS Church’s latest “I’m a Mormon” advertising campaign where Mormons of all different shapes and sizes attempt to convince the world that we too are normal people with a surprising variety of hobbies and interests. It’s a great campaign in my opinion, but it’s not my favorite Mormon ad series.

From the 1970’s into the 21st century, the Mormon Church put a lot of energy into the production and distribution of several public service announcements that promoted generic family values.

And they are fantastic.

At times, they’re cheesy. At others, they’re straight-up bizarre. I’m the first to admit that.

But these messages–while admittedly kitschy and quaint–still resonate at some level, like an old episode of Full House or your favorite childhood stuffed animal. They’re weird and seemingly out-of-date, and yet after all these years they’re somehow still sweet and strangely relevant, like vestiges of an ancient people who once inhabited our neighborhoods, relics of a time we may have once known but forgot existed.

And they’re wonderful.

Of course, these wouldn’t be Mormon PSAs without song-and-dance numbers, sugary sentimentality, and gigantic smiles. It’s made by Mormons. We’re cheesy, we love musicals and we’re happy because we believe that “happiness is the object and design of our existence.”

I’ve collected a sample of six of my favorites that are either so bizarre they are hilarious or so sweet they’re heartwarming or a strange combination of both that warms the soul in all the noblest ways. Let me know what you think.

“There’s No Such Thing as a Good Lie”

 

If lying means being haunted by these tap-dancing angels of darkness, I will never lie again.

Best Moment: 0:12.

Our Reaction Exactly

Our reaction exactly.

“Never Tell a Lie”

Guys I’m worried. I can’t stop singing this song.

Best Moment: 0:51. No idea where that hat came from but it’s fabulous!

Top Hat Finale

“Who Broke My Window?!”

I’m no opera aficionado but this has got to be up there with La Boehme, right? Bravissimo!

Best Moment: 0:52. Respect.

He told the truth

IMPORTANT UPDATE! Turns out the young boy in this video is none other than Carlton Banks himself! Just a few short years after this was filmed, he became famous for this:

Carlton Dance

“Share a Little Bit of Yourself”

I defy you to find me more happiness in a 60-second video.

Best Moment: Too Many.

Happy Children Everywhere

“Sharing: It’s the Icing on the Cake”

Sharing is difficult for anyone, but sharing baked goods is particularly difficult for Mormons (you can read more about our affinity for desserts here).

Best Moment: 0:07

Not enough cupcakes!

“Well, we could talk”

And this is really what Mormonism is all about. Families not just spending time together, but developing those relationships both here on Earth and on through eternity.

Best Moment: 0:31. Mom face.

Mom face

The Church’s advertising strategy has come a long way but personally, I liked where it was back then. It shows us as the truly peculiar people we are who, while a little odd, understand a little something about how to live happily in this increasingly problematic world. And I’m OK with that!

I’m Danny. I like cheesy videos about why you shouldn’t lie or steal. And I’m a Mormon.

5 Comments

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  1. 1
    Ashley O

    “If lying means being haunted by these tap-dancing angels of darkness, I will never lie again.”

    Danny, that was by far my favorite moment. Coming from a dancer those guys do a mean flap ball change. It is smart to keep them away.

  2. 2
    Whitney S.

    Some of those were new even to me. Love the tap-dancing angels of darkness.

    But to be fair, I don’t know any Mormon moms that send up only 3 cupcakes when there are four girls playing dress-up. That’s just not the Relief Society way.

  3. 4
    Kristen S

    Fun Fact:
    Our old pal/professor Kevin Kelly wrote lots of these. He even made a documentary about the first Mormon commercials directed at kids called “The History of Homfront Jr.”

  4. 5
    David Fletcher

    There was one that they used to show at the Mesa Visitors’ Center. It showed kids at a dance. I think it was in a gymnasium. The protagonist was a kid trying to get his courage up. I’d love to see it again.

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