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Posted 13 Sep 2001   For week ended September 14, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 12Sep01

By Kent Larsen

Utah Christian Videos to Help Proselyte LDS During Games

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- A coalition of Christian churches in Utah has produced "Bridges: Helping Mormons Discover God's Grace" as a training tool to prepare the hundreds of evangelical Christians who are expected to participate in fellowshipping and witnessing activities in Salt Lake City during the Winter Olympics this coming February.

Salt Lake Seminary, headed by Ken MulHolland, produced the two-tape series that comprises five training segments. The training program includes printed materials and workshops and has been presented so far in at least nine Protestant churches in the Salt Lake City area. Approximately 500 people have participated in the training and the expectation is that 150 congregations throughout Utah will become familiar with the information offered in the Bridges program.

This new tape set marks a significant change in video presentations about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Christian groups. Most members of The Church of Jesus Christ are all too familiar with films from the 1980s titled "The Godmakers" and "The Godmakers II" with their claims that Mormons are a cult and references to sacred temple ceremonies as pagan rites. Even the 1998 video, "The Mormon Puzzle", produced by the Southern Baptist Convention in advance of its annual meetings held that year in Salt Lake City, specifically classified LDS as non-Christian.

In describing the purpose of the Bridges training series, Mr. Mulholland explains, "LDS people are our neighbors and friends. We are part of that community and we wanted to speak about the good news of Christ in a way where it does sound like the good news."

The tapes are expected to reach Protestant church congregations throughout the United States and perhaps beyond. The UtahGames Network is a Christian group working to recruit evangelical Christians to come to Salt Lake City during the Olympic Games, described on the group's website as "a once-in-a-lifetime event" that "is a tremendous opportunity for Utah's Christian Community to leave a spiritual legacy with visitor and residents alike." An administrator for UtahGames Network says, "We're also training people to take these videos back and train their own groups and churches" in anticipation of the Olympics and as encouragement to recruit others to come to the Games and participate in the preaching efforts.

Andy Wiebe, an independent filmmaker, and his film crew were given permission by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to shoot some scenes for the video on Temple Square in Salt Lake City as well as on the grounds of the new Conference Center. Some church members are interviewed during the tape. The Church, as one might expect, does not endorse the video in any way and, according to the Salt Lake Tribune, refused to provide any comment on the production.

The Reverend Terry Long of Calvary Chapel in Salt Lake City says of the video effort, "It's always easier to find aspects of the Mormon faith to ridicule. It is much more difficult to present a way of reaching LDS people in love, respect and with genuine concern. It is our hope to shine the light of Christ in this community and show them that there is a Savior who loves them."


Hellfire Pitches Won't Work for LDS
Salt Lake Tribune 8Sep01 N4
By Bob Mims: Salt Lake Tribune

See also:

Web Site Raises Eyebrows at SLOC
Salt Lake Tribune 9Nov00 S2
By Bob Mims: Salt Lake Tribune


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