Mormon Ads and Getty Images
Years ago there was a game show on television called Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards hosted the follies of what would happen when people didn’t give the right answer to some off the wall question being asked. As it was, nothing tragic would happen if the contestant couldn’t answer the question fast enough in the time allotted, but they would have to perform some stupid stunt. It was a very benign and harmless way to spend an evening watching the antics of those on television several decades ago.
As everyone knows in the real world, there are consequences for the things we choose or not choose to do. When we choose to do something bad, the consequences typically aren’t going to turn out well for you.
Case in point is what the Mormon Church has done with their Mormon ads that have flooded the internet, radio and television as of late. If you don’t use real Mormons for your ads, there’s probably a good chance someone will find out.
I received an e-mail from a brother in Christ the other day asking me if I’d seen one of the pages on the website of Mormon.org. He said that while reading it, the picture on one of the pages looked out of place so he did some digging.
Come to find out he was right! The page in question was an ad that man can choose to do what is right and they have their free agency. The background picture of this page is an African American father with a young boy who is supposedly his son. The father is pointing at something in the picture as if he was teaching his son some great truth.
Now the Mormon Church has gone out of its way to show the American people they’re no different than everyone else. The ads were meant to convey there’s nothing secretive or strange about the Mormon people and you’ll be happy to know they’re just like you and me and your next door neighbor. Many of these ads include people who aren’t white and claiming they’re Mormon.
So as my new Christian friend Chuck was reading the latest Pew Survey on Mormonism showing “the Church is losing ground among U.S. blacks dropping from 2% in previous years to just 1% last year”, he began wondering about some of the claims the Church was making.
He continued to read other literature links the Church provided and that’s when he landed on which is the picture of the African American dad with his son.
He said he suspected these people weren’t really Mormons so he checked out Getty Images who sells pictures for websites and banner ads. Sure enough, the picture on Mormon.org is available for sale through the Getty Images online.
Now let me say that it’s not a bad thing to buy stock photos for your website. We’ve done this for graphics for our blog as it’s a great resource to use, especially when you’re not computer savvy like me!
However, this seems more than a little sketchy. These ads are supposedly stories of real life Mormons who have decided to tell the world that they’re normal like you and me. Why couldn’t they get some Mormons to pose for pictures?
Here’s what Chuck had to say in his e-mail to me when he made this discovery:
“There’s no wrongdoing in using a stock photo, but the juxtaposition of the church losing ground with the black population and then so prominently finding an image (purchased) of a black man and child is a bit amusing. Tends to demonstrate the overall reality bending that takes place among church leaders and their marketing. I wonder if that poor man had any idea when he signed that model release that he’d end up helping to market the Mormon Church!”
So the consequences for this are obvious. If you’re going to buy airtime on television and pages on the internet to convey to people “Hey look at us we’re Mormon”, it’d be advisable that those participating would be Mormon. Otherwise, you’re going to look stupid, just like the Church does right now. And I concur with Chuck. I feel bad for the model who signed a release form that people could use his image. I imagine it never occurred to him the Mormon Church would do this.
Life After Ministries