With thousands of new apps released daily, how can parents sift through the digital deluge and find meaningful content for kids? Look no further: LDS Animated, a Church music-themed app that launched last fall, brings Primary songs to life.
Husband and wife team Blake and Natasha Johnson, of the Superstition Springs Ward, Kimball East Stake, combined efforts to produce the mobile device app that features a growing library of Primary songs. Songs are available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish and unite scrolling lyrics with captivating animation. Animated characters reflect the cultural, racial and ethnic diversity of a growing Church, and the Johnsons have made it a point to show situations that reflect the music in content and theme.
But LDS Animated is more than just pure entertainment—it offers engagement on a moral level.
“We’ve made attempts to depict scenarios where you can see a child taking a moment to make a choice,” Blake says. “We’ve also made attempts to help children look at the world around them, to find ways to help.”
Blake cites a poignant moment in the animation for “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus” in which a father and daughter feed a homeless man as an example of this real-life application. “We offer content that engages children in a subtle religious tone and it offers parents peace of mind,” he says. “They know their children are being taught powerful life lessons.”
Currently, the app features “I Love to See the Temple,” “I Am a Child of God,” “Love is Spoken Here,” “I’m Trying to Be Like Jesus,” “I Will Follow God’s Plan” and “Stand For the Right” and “The Church of Jesus Christ.” New content is planned for the future.
A BYU grad in animation who has worked in Hollywood, Blake enjoys this new entrepreneurial role with his wife, Natasha, who handles legal and business aspects while her husband animates.
“Working as a team has strengthened our marriage, our friendship,” Blake says. “We’ve dumped our souls into our cause.” He cites his wife’s partnership as critical: “The project was and is so taxing, it wouldn’t work unless we were both all in.”
The Johnsons are parents to 5-year-old twins and understand well the challenge of bringing a positive media influence into the home. Family discussions about media occur on a daily basis in their home.
Blake says. “We discuss the value of media but also the influence it can have on our minds, feelings and actions.” He hopes to create content that enables “spiritual sensitivity” in children.
Ultimately, the Johnsons are excited to expand their song library and create more high-quality spiritual entertainment for children.
“Our underlying effort is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, his empowering message and influence for good in our lives,” Blake says.