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PRESS RELEASE

Atheist Billboard Campaign in Salt Lake City Parodies “I’m a Mormon” Ads

The national civil-rights group American Atheists has launched a new billboard campaign in Salt Lake City with a play on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ “I’m a Mormon” campaign, to promote its upcoming national convention. The billboard features a native Utah family and reads, “We’re the Monnett family, and We’re Atheists,” with the words “Mormons” and “ex-Mormons” written and crossed out. The board encourages people to “Come explore your doubt with us,” and includes the organization’s website, atheists.org, and the dates of the convention on Easter weekend, April 17-20, 2014.

The billboard is located on the east side of I-15, 2500 feet south of 33rd Road South, facing north. Links to images are provided below.

“Many atheists still call themselves Mormons or ex-Mormons,” said American Atheists President David Silverman. “Our message is this: If you don’t believe anymore, don’t continue to base your identity in Mormonism. You’re so much more than an ‘ex-Mormon’; you’re an atheist! And you are very far from alone. Be proud to be an atheist—we are, and we want to celebrate being an atheist with you.

“American Atheists is reaching out to people who are on a journey away from indoctrination, even if they’re not ready to be open about that,” Silverman continued. “Countless Utahns are already free from religion but remain ‘in the closet’ about their beliefs. They are surrounded by religion and as a result, feel like they are alone. The National Convention will fix that by creating a fun and entertaining atmosphere where atheists from all over the country will meet, learn, and laugh. We invite everyone—especially those who have doubts about their religion—to join us.”

In designing the ad, American Atheists sought a genuine Utah atheist family to appear on the billboard. Overwhelmed with responses, the group chose the Monnetts of South Jordan. West Monnett, a sports coach and stay-at-home dad, and his wife, Lennie, a director in finance, are both atheists who used to identify as ex-Mormons. Their children, Bentley and Tallen, as well as their niece, McKayla (of whom West and Lennie are guardians), are also featured on the billboard.

The 2014 National Convention will feature speakers including NFL star Chris Kluwe, Survivor®: Philippines winner Denise Stapley, and Grammy-nominated Spin Doctors bass player Mark White, all atheists themselves, but none of whom have ever before spoken for an atheist audience. Other speakers include Reverend Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, Maryam Namazie of the Council of Ex-Muslims, popular bloggers PZ Myers and Greta Christina, and American Atheists President David Silverman. The convention will also feature a costume party, live music, stand-up comedy, an art show and silent auction (with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Ogden OUTreach, a local charity for LGBT youth in need), national and local exhibitors, and childcare options for attending families. The convention takes place on Easter weekend, April 17-20, 2014, and all are invited, regardless of religious affiliation.

[January 2, 2014]

 Salt Lake City, UT 

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