PROVO -- In its history, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been criticized for its attention, or perceived lack of attention, to the Easter season and the days of Holy Week.
On April 13 the church launched "Because of Him," an Easter initiative focused on Jesus Christ.
While the LDS Church does not outwardly celebrate days such as Palm Sunday or Maundy Thursday, or celebrate the 14 Stations of the Cross, this new initiative does discuss the principles taught in the LDS Church about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The week-long, Christ-focused social media initiative includes memes and a prominently placed YouTube video placed online on Palm Sunday and available through Easter Sunday.
"Because of Him," proclaims the LDS Church's belief that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God who overcame sorrow and death for men and women everywhere.
"Easter is the celebration of Jesus Christ rising from the dead on the third day -- a truth not only at the core of our faith, but also at the heart of answers to the deepest questions of the soul," says Greg Droubay, director of Mormon.org. "We've launched this Christ-focused initiative because we want to be a resource for those seeking second chances or wondering about death after losing a loved one."
A press release from the LDS Church indicates daily memes are being posted on several of the Church's official social media sites, with messages that describe the many good things Jesus Christ has done to benefit mankind. The memes, which are accompanied by depictions of Christ's New Testament ministry, say such things as, "The grave has no victory," "Death has no sting," and "The world is filled with second chances." Each message closes with the hashtag #BecauseofHim.
The YouTube video and memes will be released in English, Spanish and Portuguese, with corresponding hashtags.
The LDS belief in Christ's suffering for sin in the Garden of Gethsemene, his death and his resurrection is the focal point of the religion.
Church founder and prophet Joseph Smith said, "The fundamental principles of our religion are ... concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."
On Easter Sunday, the LDS Church will promote two 30-second versions of the video (one in English, another in Spanish) on the front page of YouTube, where an estimated 109 million people visit daily. A prompt at the end of the video will direct viewers to learn more at the Mormon.org "Because of Him" page, which will feature the full video, the Easter story from the New Testament and teachings of Jesus Christ that focus on all He makes possible for God's children.
Video and banner advertisements also began Sunday and continue through Easter on hundreds of websites.