#Hallieujah, ad initiative.  (Courtesy Photo, lds.org)

Church Starts “Follow Him” Initiative in Time for Easter Season

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched the new “Follow Him” initiative at the beginning of March in efforts to spread hope to millions across the globe in time for the Easter season.

Similar to past campaigns put out by the Church, the new initiative includes numerous inspirational videos depicting the life of Jesus Christ and how one can find peace and hope through His life, specifically through His resurrection, according to an article published on lds.org earlier this month.

“I think it’s super powerful for both members and non-members,” said Ross Baron, a faculty member in the religion department and current stake president of a BYU-Idaho young single adult stake. “I really do.”

One of the videos displays the world’s first ever virtual Hallelujah chorus, the largest virtual chorus ever organized. With over 2,000 people singing along to Handel’s Messiah via webcams, the video features participants singing with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, according to an article published by Mormon Newsroom earlier this month.

Often mistaken as a Christmas song, Handel’s Messiah is an Easter song and is the inspiration for the campaign hashtag, #Hallelujah, according to Mormon Newsroom.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched its first Easter campaign in 2014 with the “Because of Him” video, reaching a global audience and being viewed by millions. Since then, four campaigns have been put out by the church, the “Follow Him” initiative being the fifth, according to an article published earlier in March by Mormon Newsroom.

The most recent campaign to come out this past December. “A Savior is Born” received more than 50 million views worldwide, according to the article.

“Even as a member, I watch these videos, and it touches me,” Baron said.

In a statement by Church leaders posted on March 13 on lds.org, members were encouraged to watch the videos and then to share them over social media using the hashtag, #Hallelujah.

It is the hope of Church leaders that these videos will reach a global audience, spread the message of Jesus Christ to the world and be just as successful as the four campaigns to proceed it, according to the Mormon Newsroom’s article.

“Fifteen years ago, you and I were limited in our missionary efforts, essentially by our physical geography,” Baron said. “Now we’re literally not in anyway shape or form limited. We have the globe as our missionary efforts. I think the Church sees that, and they’ve jumped on that in such a powerful, positive and appropriate way.

Baron said that BYU-I students are not exempt from missionary work merely because they live in a highly LDS-populated area.

“I think most missionary work for BYU-Idaho students is done through helping their roommates who are often less-active,” said Logan Skousen, a freshman studying biology. “If you’re bringing that kind of media into an apartment setting, when you bring good media, it brings the spirit.”

Leaders of the Church invite members to watch the videos and then to share them with non-member friends, according lds.org.

“We all have a responsibility to be a missionary,” Skousen said. “This is the way to do it. This is how you share the gospel as a member missionary. This is how you’re fulfilling your calling and your responsibility to serve the Lord in that manner.”

Baron said, while social media platforms and usage grew drastically over the past decade and continue to grow, sharing the gospel over social media has become a resource to member missionaries everywhere, and is viable option for BYU-I students looking to share the gospel with their non-member friends.“We have 15,000 active Latter-day Saints in a concentrated space,” Baron said. “Why don’t we just blow the doors off of missionary work? That media opens up that opportunity, maybe more than anything else could.”

The three videos available to view through the “Follow Him” initiative are available in 29 languages. Ads from the campaign will be featured on the homepage of YouTube on Easter day in Argentina and Mexico, according to lds.org.

“What we’re trying to do is appeal to the honest in heart wherever they be at any given moment,” Baron said. “I feel that people that listen to the Hallelujah chorus and then watch the videos…. there’s a spirit about all of these videos I think, that touches one’s heart.”

The Easter initiative is the Church’s witness to the world that the Savior lives and that all may find greater joy in life as they take initiative in their own lives and heed the Savior’s call, to “Come Follow Me” (Luke 18:22), according to lds.org.

“There’s a great spirit that accompanies these things,” Baron said.

Copyright 2015 BYU-I Scroll