Mormon YouTube Progress Report #3 (Prop 8)

Elder Ballard told the December 2007 graduates of BYU-Hawaii to use new media to spread the gospel, and the exhortation was repeated to all church members in a cover story in the July 2008 Ensign. Among other things, members were encouraged to “create videos that illustrate aspects of your membership in the Church and post them on video sharing sites like YouTube.” I’ve taken it upon myself to compile a preliminary progress report for Elder Ballard. Humbly submitted: more good, bad, and ugly of Mormons on Youtube. (This is the third in a series. Previous: [1] [2])

Genre: Prop 8
Don’t think I can’t see you rolling your eyes at this genre’s appearance in the otherwise non-controversial MYTPR! Prop 8 sparked a youtube frenzy, with both sides webcaming furiously to convert the world. It simply couldn’t be ignored. (Even MYTPR has journalistic standards to maintain.) The church itself came out with some very high-quality materials designed to come across as rational and non-hateful. Some of the amateurs, no so much.

  • Musical atrocities here and here. (the latter is nod to all you Lee Greenwood fans. You’re welcome.)
  • On the No side, can anyone pay attention to their discussion, with those getups on? Granted, they are wickedly awesome costumes.
  • I’m telling you right now that this is for real. You’re not going to believe me, but it’s true.
  • Youtube is spammed with endless complaints about, and documentation of, stolen signs, and tons and tons and tons of talking-to-the-webcam editorials.
  • This next piece, Prop 8 Made Simple, stood out to me during the otherwise dizzying cacophony of the election season as having outstanding production values, smart messaging, and overall being exactly what it needed to be to influence swing voters. But oh how colossally and tragically the ad mis-predicted the gay community’s reaction to prop 8 supporters. The ad closes with yes voters smiling cheerfully with their gay neighbors at a backyard BBQ, the voiceover saying, “Tom and Jan are still good friends with Dan and Michael, in fact, they’re having a BBQ together right now!” Marjorie Christoffersen or this elderly woman might beg to differ on the outcome.
  • Few members outside of California seem to fully grasp the scale of what went on here and the depth of our involvement. Here is a video drive-by of a street rally that spans many blocks. These rallies ran Saturdays for many weeks, and bumped up to 6 days/week at the end (including ward FHE activity). Imagine this scene but you recognize every face as your ward members. Strong stuff. More rally videos here, here , here and here.

Bookmark Mormon YouTube Progress Report #3 (Prop 8)


  1. I don’t know that you can attribute all of these to being “mormon”

  2. Cynthia L. says:

    Yes, that is very true Matt W. I suppose I could have added notes to the ones that aren’t Mormon, but I thought most of our (Mormon) readership could identify them as well as I could.

    I am happy to say that most of the more embarrassing stuff I believe is not ours. In particular, the “this is for real” link is obviously not ours. There is also a lady who starts spouting off in very embarrassing fashion in one of the rally videos, who doesn’t appear to be one of ours either. That being said, we should own up to the fact that, at least for the purposes of the campaign, that was the company we kept.

  3. Cynthia L. says:

    PS: Oh and neither Wanda Sykes nor Ellen Degeneres is LDS. (you can see what I mean about people not really needing help making these identifications)

  4. StillConfused says:

    I did like Prop 8 made simple. It showed both sides and then why they felt a certain way. It also avoided demonizing either side.

    I actually liked seeing the rallies. I am completely burned out on all things political but involvement like this (for either side) is the stuff that makes our country great.

    Were I a Califormia resident and if I bothered to vote in that election (like I said, I am a bit jaded at this point), I would have voted Yes. My reasoning is because I don’t like the activist judges in California, so that would be the message that I would be sending. Since domestic partnerships are already codified, I would not be concerned about issues surrounding that.

  5. Instead of sending missionaries written copies of your testimony to include in the BoM’s that they give out, you could record your own testimony on DVD or VCD (video CD, cheaper, and also plays in most new DVD players nowadays).

    A web cam, or a built in cam on your laptop computer works fine, and if your computer/laptop has a CD or DVD burner, voila’.

    I’m going to experiment with that with the books I give out.

  6. Here is another strong contestant in the musical atrocities category, with much Branson-y goodness.

    I don’t know whether LDS people made it or not, but I got about a hundred links to it in my email last fall from ward members. I think it is safe to say that LDS folks feel very comfortable with the message it portrays.

  7. Regarding your third bullet point: as far as I’m concerned, ANY cause is only strengthened and made more legitimate when it hires voice-over actors from the professional wrestling industry.

  8. Latter-day Guy says:

    That one about “the Call”… yeah, that was horrifying.

  9. I wonder if “Prop. 8 Made Simple” will have the residual effect of encouraging more Mormons to have their gay neighbors over for a barbecue. Because I suspect not a lot of that goes on currently.

  10. Cynthia L. says:

    #4, #9–Yes I like how it tried to stay rational and was operating on the assumption that everyone loves their gay neighbors, has no problem entertaining them in their home as a couple, and wants to do right by them on some level. Unfortunately many people aren’t there yet.

    #5–Bookslinger, I have a special shout-out to you in the next MYTPR, watch for it!

    #6–Oh my goodness Mark. I’m speechless.

    #7, #9–LOL. I concur 100%.


  11. Great links, sister blah. Let me add one required link of awesomeness and self-promotion: .

    Unfortunately, I didn’t think ahead, and so I didn’t present my talk in costume. Or with music. Or staring straight into the webcam. But that’s okay, there’s always Sunstone 09 . . .

    p.s. I know it was you who stole my sign. :)

  12. Cynthia L. says:

    Thanks for the link, Kaimi. MYTPRs of course highlight the oddities and not so much things of actual value, so that’s why your piece didn’t make the cut.

    Speaking of which, here is something that could have made the cut–watch for the amazing irony at 0:55, and oh my goodness GET A ROOM! at 1:05. I have to admit that all gratuitous adorable-baby images are pretty cute though.

  13. If I were a General Authority of the Church, my first message to the membership would be, “Mormons! Abandon the New Media, posthaste! Save that bilge for your journals (which, hopefully, no one will ever read).”

  14. “neither Wanda Sykes nor Ellen Degeneres is LDS.”

    and I was so sure about Ellen. *sigh*

  15. Here’s another one, with voiceover by that lady who did all your junior high filmstrip voiceovers. Allow me to suggest to the producers of this that they find gay couples who are more freaky-looking. All the footage that was supposed to gross me out was way too cute to do the job. Back to the drawing board, guys.

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