Mor(e)monads
    Footnotes

    “Mor(e)monads,” New Era, May 2018

    Mor(e)monads

    These powerful posters offer hope along life’s highway. And they can inspire you to create your own messages of joy, courage, and commitment.

    Mormonads

    Maybe you’ve noticed it while you’re riding down the freeway. Certain billboards flash by forgettably. Others entice you to read, but you can’t get through the words fast enough before they too are gone. The best ones grab your attention, share their message quickly, and linger in your mind.

    Now, picture yourself riding down the highway of life. As a young Latter-day Saint, you have a great opportunity to see some memorable messages along the way. They’re called Mormonads, and they do exactly what those great billboards do—capture your interest instantly and offer a gospel insight that remains in your memory.

    A Powerful Pairing

    Professional communicators know that when you combine a powerful visual with memorable text, people pay attention. The power of a Mormonad is that when you see it, a gospel principle becomes—immediately—crystal clear.

    In today’s world of memes, picture quotes, snaps, and tweets, Mormonads can inspire you as you combine words and images to understand and explain the gospel. You may want to share them—or even create your own to share—via social media.

    On the following pages, you’ll find some that the New Era staff remember from their own journeys, along with some fun insights about how and why they work.

    A Time Line of Timeless Teachings

    Before there were memes, picture quotes, or even social media, there were Mormonads. Posters have actually been part of the New Era since the magazine began.

    time line
    • In the beginning: An intern suggests including gospel-oriented “advertisements” in the magazine. A folded poster is stapled in the September 1971 issue.

    • The term Mormonad is created: The first poster labeled as a Mormonad is published in September 1973. With it, the magazine asks readers to use a single sheet of paper to “share your great gospel ideas with other New Era readers throughout the world.”

    • Over the years: Mormonads are produced as full-size posters, magazine-page messages, tear-out cards, mobile device wallpaper, and even videos. You can see a partial collection at mormonads.lds.org.

    • Increasing popularity: Mormonads appear in the magazine with increasing frequency. Many are based on suggestions from readers.

    • International sermons: Mormonads are also translated and printed in up to 48 languages.

    • Selected Mormonads get a makeover: This is a redo in color of a horizontal poster that was originally done in black and white.

    • Concepts generated from members: Mormonads celebrate the missionary age change. The concept for this Mormonad was sent in by a Church member.

    • Creating Mormonads: Today, some Mormonads use a single photograph, some are digitally collaged using multiple images, and others are rendered with CGI (computer-generated imagery).

    • Mormonads come to life: Animated GIFs enable this Mormonad to depict the elements of a young man’s life as an open book.

    • Mormonads continue to appear in the New Era each month (see page 49 in this issue).

    The Classics

    Great ideas and images, working together, stand the test of time. Memorable Mormonads, powerful when they were first published, still make us stop and think today. They quickly convey enduring gospel principles and values.

    Mormonads

    Mormonads—Behind the Scenes

    Mormonads

    1. Embark

    A number of Mormonads, like this one, were inspired by annual Mutual themes. (See D&C 4:2.) See a poster tied to this year’s Mutual theme in the January issue.

    2. Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful

    The original idea was to have a single lily among a vase of roses. But a lily seemed too elegant to convey the intended message. A daisy was better—a symbol of the beauty in the ordinary.

    3. Gossip—Don’t Pass It On

    Models for this photo came dressed in their Sunday best, only to be asked to roll up their sleeves and be careful passing, hand to hand, gauze that had been drenched in used motor oil mixed with oatmeal.

    Mormonads

    4. Stay on Your Toes

    The photographer spent hours drilling holes and driving nails into boards. Then, leaning on parallel bars unseen in the photo, the dancer went on pointe. Boards were slid next to her feet, and the photo was taken.

    5. You Can Conquer Giant Problems

    Blending two photos of different scales brought a ready answer to the question: “How does the Old Testament story of David and Goliath apply to you today?”

    6. Family Photo

    This Mormonad demonstrates how words and images combine to convey the powerful message that we are all children of the same Heavenly Father.

    Mormonads

    7. Faith Works

    Color adds power to a visual. In this case, a staff member’s father-in-law let the magazine paint his old gray fishing boat with a new, vibrant color. The family still calls it the “banana boat.”

    8. This Is the Place

    Many Mormonads guide us to the temple. They remind us that in the house of the Lord we are able to accurately envision eternity.

    9. Rise above the Blues

    At first, the text said, “Rise above It All,” and the balloons were many different colors. Then someone said, “What if all of the balloons were blue except one?” … And the rest is history.

    Mormonads

    10. You’re Covered

    Each person in the photo was raised up in a harness and photographed, then the photos were digitally blended to create this image with a message about family members helping each other to weather the storms of life.

    11. Frogs and Princes

    The leaves were plastic, but the frog was real—and it was hard to get him to sit still, until photographers lowered the temperature. (Cold-blooded creatures move more slowly when it’s cold.) The crown is also real, held in place with petroleum jelly.

    12. You Are Never Alone

    “That phrase just came into my mind,” says the man who thought of this poster. The simple, direct message became one of the most widely distributed Mormonads ever. More Mormonads have been about the Savior Jesus Christ than any other subject.