Television broadcasts raise visibility of Church

An agreement by the Portuguese government to televise programs of all major religions in the country has raised the visibility of the Church and is opening doors for missionaries.

"I know of two cases where less-active members saw the programs, then contacted the missionaries and are coming back into the Church," said Pres. Calvin C. Clegg of the Portugal Lisbon North Mission.A protocol agreement signed by the Portuguese government in 1997 provided air time to all major religions. The agreement paved the way for 16 different programs to be broadcast about the Church.

The religious programming was an experiment at first. But because of the quality, the government and television stations will continue with the broadcasts. The government and television stations pay all expenses in the production and broadcasting of the programming.

Clementina Nogueira, national director for Church public affairs and full-time professor at a private university, worked with the media specialist of the television studio, as well public affairs offices in Germany and Salt Lake City.

"The first one was the hardest," she said, explaining that she had no experience in broadcasting. "There were nights when we didn't finish until 2 a.m."

The first program proved successful. "I didn't think we could do it, and we couldn't have without the Lord's help," she said.

Since then, nine of the 16 programs have been produced.

Pres. Joseph A. West of the Portugal Porto Mission, said missionaries are getting positive results from people who have seen the programs.

Elder Jose A. Teixeira da Silva, an Area Authority Seventy said, "These programs are helping members be more courageous in telling their friends about the Church," adding that more people are inviting missionaries into their homes after learning about the Church on television.

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