If Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve could have his desire, everyone in the world would have opportunity to view the Church's new DVD, "Joy to the World."
That won't happen, he said. However, if every active family in the Church would invite one or two families into their home during this Christmas season to view the video, "more people would be introduced to the Church from this one effort than from all the proselyting efforts of the previous year," said Elder Ballard, who serves as chairman of the Missionary Executive Committee.
"That's what could happen if members will catch the vision and do it," he said.
Each subscriber to the Ensign will receive a DVD copy of "Joy to the World" in their December issue. The 24-minute presentation includes a portrayal of the Savior's birth, life and ministry. The video is captivating in its message and creates a setting of peace and good feelings in which members can answer questions or share their testimonies.
While the photography is stunning and the narration is engaging, the highlight may be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, whose music inspires moments of reflection and contemplation.
The greatest challenge facing the missionaries, said Elder Ballard, is finding a sufficient number of people to teach. "Missionaries are qualified. They are eager to teach. They are teaching by the Spirit. The objective of putting this DVD in the hands of members is to make it easier for them to share the gospel and assist in finding people for the missionaries to teach.
"If members take the DVD and consider it a gift without sharing it, we haven't accomplished its purpose," he said.
Elder Ballard said the Lord is clear in His command: "It becometh every man who hath been warned to warn his neighbor" (Doctrine and Covenants 88:81).
The Lord has also explained, continued Elder Ballard, how to share the gospel while maintaining a friendly, working relationship with neighbors. "Let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness" (Doctrine and Covenants 38:41).
The DVD, he said, provides a setting of "mildness and meekness."
This is the second DVD prepared by the Missionary Department this year. Prior to Easter last April, it distributed "Finding Faith in Christ," a similar video that depicted the Savior's life, ministry and Resurrection.
As did the first DVD, this second video uses digital technology to tell the story of the Restoration. Scenes from the biblical account of the Savior's birth show Mary and Joseph amid the shuffle of a crowd, and Joseph being rejected at the inn.
Scenes from the Book of Mormon show Samuel the Lamanite prophet preaching from the wall, as well as the fulfillment of prophecy about the night without darkness. The message is straightforward as it recounts the role of prophets throughout history.
Two television spots have been prepared to promote the DVD through the media. One begins with a scene of Mary on her trek to Bethlehem, the second shows shepherds gazing at the star.
With music of the Tabernacle Choir in the background, each creates a setting of peace and happiness that will stand in stark contrast to the standard programming fare of the media.
Viewers are invited to order the video or request a copy from a member. "We learned from the first DVD that many people approached their member neighbors for the DVD," said Mike Hemingway of the Missionary Department. "Members should be aware they could be approached."
E-mail: [email protected]