The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated $1.8 million to the American Red Cross today from the net proceeds of “Meet the Mormons,” a Church-produced documentary that had a theatrical release in theaters across the country.
Bishop Gary E. Stevenson, presiding bishop of the LDS Church, presented the $1.8 million donation to Cliff Holtz, president of Humanitarian Services at the American Red Cross, at the Red Cross’ Heroes Recognition luncheon at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City today.
“Meet the Mormons” was initially filmed to be shown exclusively in visitors’ centers. The film was originally planned as a replacement for the movie “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration” that was playing in the Legacy Theater on Temple Square. It shares a message that the Church values people of all faiths and that they don’t have to abandon their culture to become members. It was so successful with test audiences, however, that Church leaders decided to start with a theatrical release for the first time in Church history.
Church leaders also quickly committed to donate the net proceeds to the American Red Cross.
The film attracted capacity audiences and ranked No. 10 nationwide in box office sales when it was released on Oct.10, 2014. U.S. box office receipts totaled just over $6 million, making it one of the top 40 documentaries of all time. After theater and distribution costs, net proceeds came in just under $1.8 million. The Church’s donation to the Red Cross was an even $1.8 million.
Besides honoring the LDS Church as the Outstanding Community Partner of the Year, the event also highlighted the work of other individuals and organizations to make the community a better place, including the Murray Chamber of Commerce (Community Champion), Robert Kelley (Preparedness), Max Moffat (Family), Kenny Gardner (Community Service), Hailee Strandgard (Youth), Casey Davies (First Responder), Mike Cumming (Military), Bill Brass (Workplace Hero), Cassidy, a Very Special Dog (Educator), Leo Montoya Jr. (Good Samaritan) and Stan Rosenzweig (Lifetime Achievement).