Church begins series on TV across Canada

In a ground-breaking move, the Church has launched a television series that will make LDS programs available prime time in 85 percent of English-speaking homes across Canada.

The series, "For All Seasons," will be shown the last Wednesday of all except two summer months of 1994 on VISION/TV network. The network is part of basic cable service that reaches a far greater proportion of Canadian homes than cable reaches in the United States. (VISION/TV network is not to be confused with Vision Interfaith Satellite Network [VISNT, now known as Faith and Values Channel.)Because the programs are in prime time, they will be listed regularly in TV Guide and the weekly TV sections and daily logs of newspapers throughout Canada. Typically, religious programs on the VISION network are aired daytime and don't appear in such logs.

"I am delighted to be able to present, in prime time, programs that have such high-caliber production values," said Richard Landau, VISION's executive producer for religious programming. "In addition to their technical excellence, the programs convey uplifting, encouraging and heart-warming messages that I'm sure will appeal to a broad audience seeking messages of hope.

"The highly informative program content will go a long way toward demystifying the general understanding of the Latter-day Saints Church and its practices. I believe it will win many friends and admirers in Canada for the Church and its membership."

After five years of operation, the interfaith VISION/TV network is now seen in more than 5.5 million Canadian households, 85 percent of the English-speaking total. Its signal is broadcast live to all of Canada's six time zones, and the latest ratings showed that almost 4 million Canadians over the age of 12 tune in to VISION each week.

Last year, the network's flagship program, "It's About Time," received the prestigious Canada Award for programming that reflects Canada's pluralistic and diverse society.

The first program in the LDS series, which aired Jan. 26, was the Church's new video, "Profile of Faith." Through interviews and footage shot in countries around the world, it shows the appeal of the Church to peoples of different races and cultures and explains various aspects of Mormon doctrine and lifestyles.

"The perspective given by `Profile of Faith' was exciting to us because Toronto may be the most ethnically diverse city in the world, and other cities such as Montreal and Vancouver share that diversity," said Donna T. Smart, co-director of public affairs for Eastern Canada, where the series was conceived and put together. "This video, with members and non-members speaking of their understanding of the gospel and their reactions to it, should appeal to a wide range of Canadians."

The second program, to be aired Feb. 23, is "The True and Living God," featuring Elder Neal A. Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve and his extended family in a discussion of the nature of and one's relationship with God. The program also includes an interview with Canadian-born Grant Baird, producer of the Church's "Home Front" public service announcements, and features several of those popular TV spots.

Other programs include "Behold the Lamb of God," a portrayal of the mission, trial, crucifixion and resurrection of the Savior, to be shown March 30 just before Easter, and "How Rare a Possession," a one-hour program on the Book of Mormon, scheduled for April 27.

All will be introduced by an opening animation featuring the Angel Moroni. Host for the programs is a young LDS actress, Heather Hamilton-Senter, a member of the Oshawa Ontario Stake.

Joan Patrick, Toronto Region director of public affairs, produced the series in Toronto, directing preparation of an opening 3-D animation, selecting, rehearsing and filming the series host, and assembling the various elements, including "Home Front" spots in all the programs. A convert to the Church of just over two years, Sister Patrick had a 25-year career as an executive with Canada's major TV network, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"From the time I first became interested in the Church I knew we simply had to have a presence on Canadian television," she said. "The Church is so little-known and so often misunderstood up here. These programs will do a great deal to achieve the first goal of public affairs - awareness that we are a Christ-centered church whose members find joy in service and in such a wholesome lifestyle."


`For All Seasons' Program schedule

(All times are Eastern Standard Time; adjust for your area)

True and Living God - Feb. 23, 7:30 p.m; Feb. 24, 12:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

Behold the Lamb of God - March 30, 7:30 p.m.; March 31, 12-30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

How Rare a Possession - April 27, 7 p.m, 12 midnight; April 28, 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

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