Bonneville Communications is an advertising agency owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s web site explains,
“For over 30 years, Bonneville Communications has designed, produced and distributed public service messages for national nonprofit organizations.
“Long after people forget what they hear, they remember how they feel. So Bonneville creates those unforgettable feelings for those who request our support. Bonneville’s work has been internationally recognized for its ability to inspire and motivate.”
On the web site of Bonneville’s parent company, Bonneville International, we learn,
“Bonneville’s ability to touch the hearts and minds of audiences makes it an essential resource for organizations with vital messages.
“…the creative professionals at Bonneville Communications…unique strength is the ability to touch the hearts and minds of audiences, evoking first feeling, then thought and, finally, action. They call this uniquely powerful brand of creative HeartSell® — strategic emotional advertising that stimulates response.”
Marketing is an amazing thing. This uniquely powerful, strategic emotional manipulation of peoples’ feelings has been trademarked by the LDS Church. HeartSell® has proven to be a useful tool in advertising; it seems it’s also effective in LDS proselytizing.
The friend who pointed me to this information about HeartSell® (my thanks to Paul) said tongue-in-cheek,
“Next time a Mormon tells you the Church is true because they had a feeling, point them to the makers of those feelings: Bonneville Communications.
“‘That special feeling that you have about Joseph Smith being a true prophet? Well that’s been trademarked by Bonneville Communications; it’s called HeartSell®.'”
Though we can find humor in this, there is a serious side to the issue, something Ravi Zacharias has called “seduction of the eye.” At the Ligonier Ministries 2007 National Conference, “Contending for the Truth,” Mr. Zacharias pointed out that we are living in a time when people think with their feelings rather than with their minds. He quoted poet William Blake,
This life’s dim windows of the soul
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And goads you to believe a lie
When you see with and not through the eye.
Mr. Zacharias explained,
“We are intended to see through the eye with a conscience. We run into serious trouble when we see with the eye, devoid of conscience.”
Bonneville’s HeartSell® is a seduction of the eye. It strategically appeals to our emotions to stimulate a pre-determined response. It is a marketing ploy designed for us to watch with our eyes — devoid of conscience — and then be willingly catapulted to action.
As Mr. Zacharias said, truth is primarily a quality of proposition. Therefore, whether HeartSell® is delivered via video or LDS missionaries, the safer course for us all would be to see it through the eye of thoughtful, biblically informed discernment.