A short Easter video from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints quickly spread over the weekend to become the top “viral” video on the Internet, according to the Viral Video Chart.
The four-and-a- half-minute video was extracted from an address delivered by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, at the faith’s general conference on April 4–5, in which he spoke of the final moments in the life of Jesus Christ and talked directly to those who feel alone or abandoned.
The video was placed Friday evening on LDS.org, the Church’s Web site designed primarily for its own members, and simultaneously linked to the “Mormon Messages” channel on YouTube.
Traffic began to build immediately. Mormons spontaneously posted the YouTube video on Facebook, discussed it on Twitter and sent it by e-mail to thousands of others, including their friends. By Saturday, the number of views passed 100,000 and kept climbing. By Sunday, it was noted as the number 1 video in the Internet “nonprofit” category in Brazil, India and other countries.
On Monday morning, views had reached close to a quarter million and reached the top of the Viral Video Chart, which identifies the most popular “viral” videos — those that spread rapidly due to public dissemination.
Church spokesperson Kim Farah said that the reaction to the video seemed to reflect a “perfect alignment” of factors — a powerful Christ-centered message in language that is familiar and understood by everyone, the topicality of Easter, the use of the short video format that is most popular on the Internet, and the enthusiasm of Latter-day Saints to share their faith.
Other videos on Mormon Messages have been watched hundreds of thousands of times since the channel was recently launched to complement two other official Church channels: LDS Public Affairs and Mormon New Era Messages. The Mormon Messages YouTube channel features uplifting videos that explain and share doctrines of the Church.
Church leaders in recent months have encouraged Church members to engage in conversations about the Church on the Internet rather than let mass media stories define their faith.
At the general conference early this month, many Mormons used Twitter, the popular microblogging Web site, to share their favorite quotes or thoughts from the conference. The topic of general conference was the top discussion on Twitter for much of the weekend.