July 17, 2024


Arts Fanatics

A Forgotten LDS Art – Film Strips

LDS people love media because it allows them to be able to share the message of the gospel and tell stories. Before the VCR, DVDs and other other types of media were available, members and missionaries of the Mormon church used a simple type of technology to tell stories; this media is called filmstrips. Filmstrips are 35mm rolls of film that are projected through a simple projector. The projector sends light through the film and the images is projected on the wall or white screen. When the slide needs to be changed you turn a dial on the projector. Audio is provided by an audio cassette tape or a vinyl record. When the slide needs to be changed you hear a small beep.

Filmstrips were used by the Mormon church from the 1960s until the 1990s. However, filmstrips began to lose popularity when LDS meeting houses began purchasing VCRs and televisions in the late 1980s. Many regular films were converted to filmstrips because it was significantly cheaper than a moving picture system. Some of the most notable films that were converted to filmstrips were movies such as, the Mormon classics “Johnny Lingo” and “Windows of Heaven”. Gordon Jump, the actor who starred in the television sitcom “WKRP”, was featured in a filmstrip called “It All Started with Thad”.

Filmstrips are a forgotten LDS Art. The technology is so old that modern youth find it fascinating. In the 1970s or 1980s this technology would have been common place in a Mormon Sunday school class. In the Mormon stage play film “Saturday’s Warrior”, the Missionaries use a filmstrip projector to share a missionary discussion. Elder Kestler projects the filmstrip onto the portly stomach of Elder Green.

Filmstrips were used to tell the Mormon message; they told Book of Mormon Stories, Church History Stories, and also taught lessons to youth, teachers and leaders. This technology was popular among members of the Mormon faith, and many public schools used this technology as well.

This form of art and media has been lost due to the availability and convenience of modern video equipment, however, you can still purchase or find filmstrips that have been converted to modern recording devices, such as DVDs, at the Mormon Church Distribution centers in very limited availability.