In examining the use of paid television by various evangelical organizations (the "Electronic Church") as contrasted with its use by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), several important differences were discovered. First, the programs of the electronic church are usually designed much like a normal Sunday service with a "preacher" and "congregation" (the T.V. viewers). The LDS approach has been to communicate religious principles through the use of a story. Their productions are attractive to a large audience because they often feature a well-known television or motion picture celebrity, and are aired during prime-time viewing hours.
The electronic church pays for its air time and production costs with money solicited from viewers. A part of every broadcast is devoted to increasing the mailing lists of the particular organization. The Mormons, on the other hand, do not ask for donations from the television audience. Their television time is paid for with the contributions of their church members.
The study recommends: 1) That the LDS Church continue to make use of public service time wherever and whenever possible. 2) That the LDS Church not attempt to develop a program that could air weekly and act as a form of competition for the audiences of the electronic church. 3) That LDS communications officials carefully monitor the results of paid television specials in an attempt to identify which program elements make the broadcasts successful, and then use those elements in maximizing the success of future paid broadcasts.
College and Department
Fine Arts and Communications; Communications
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bills, Wayne R., "A Descriptive Analysis of the Current Status of Paid Religious Broadcasting on National Television" (1984). Theses and Dissertations. 4533.
Television in religion, Mormon church, Public relations