Alarge attendance at a satellite missionary open house Oct. 25 was "very satisfying," according to Missionary Department leaders.
The event featured the premiere of a new Church video, On the Way Home, telecast over the Church's satellite system to stake and ward meetinghouses in the United States, Canada and other areas.The video was the opening presentation at local open houses. Most open houses were so well-attended that local mission leaders typically reported bringing in more and more chairs into the overflow areas to accommodate the large congregations.
Many local leaders said the event was the most successful open house to be held in their areas.
On the Way Home is a touching video about how a family's acceptance of the gospel helped them to overcome problems within the family. Visitors at the open houses also had the opportunity to attend short presentations on the Savior, the Book of Mormon, families and the Plan of Salvation.
This is the sixth Direct Gospel Message video produced by the Missionary Department to help introduce others to gospel principles. The previous Direct Gospel Message video, The Prodigal Son, was shown in open houses in 1990. It was the most successful of all Direct Gospel Message videos produced until the present video, according to Missionary Department leaders. Other videos in the series include Heavenly Father's Plan, Together Forever, Labor of Love and What is Real?
On the Way Home "was very well received," said Larry R. Baldwin, first counselor in the Washington Tacoma Mission presidency. "I think it has made a good impact. We made a special effort throughout the mission to get members out to feel the special spirit of these occasions.
"The open house I attended was very well-attended, with 728 people there." Of those, he said, about 600 were active members.
Elder Brandon K. Elliott of the Texas Corpus Christi Mission said more than 300 attended the open house he attended. He added, "It was probably the best attendance we have ever had at an open house." The video was interpreted simultaneously into Spanish by missionaries.
"The video encompassed many gospel principles," said Elder Elliott. "Everyone was touched." He said missionaries issued many printed invitations and had the event announced on the radio.
Connie Blair, an early-morning seminary teacher in the Carmel Ward, Indianapolis Indiana North Stake, said she and a non-member family accompanying her enjoyed the open house.
"The open house was lovely," she said. "I guess I'd like to see more of these." She said it was easier to acquaint her extended family and friends with the Church through the open houses than by just inviting them to Church activities.
To invite her friend to the open house, she explained that "I hope you don't think I am too pushy, but I think you need more information about the Church on a non-threatening level." The open houses, she said, are "super neat things to go to."
At the open house, the children were attentive to the video, although the younger ones thought it was sad. The presentation was tasteful, and it lasted about the right length of time, said Sister Blair.
"We talked about it on the way home in the car," she said. "It was good to have an opportunity to bring friends when it didn't sound like preaching."
Elder L. Aldin Porter of the Presidency of the Seventy and executive director of the Missionary Department said before the open house that it is designed to assist members in introducing their friends to the Church.
"We hope that members and missionaries will use this latest video to help many more people realize that through Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Father has provided the plan for families and individuals to find peace and happiness," he said.