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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

My Thoughts

Cjane beat me to the punch. She said almost everything I was thinking in her post on Segullah.

Here are a few other things for your consideration:

  • While I realize this is a documentary and not a film made by the church, I thought it was lacking in the doctrine and focused too much on other things like the Mountain Meadows Massacre and "Mormon Fundamentalists". I don't think these topics should have been left out, I just think that for the majority of members of the church these things have very little to do with our testimonies.
  • I would have liked to see more focus on The Book of Mormon.
  • Feminism: I think this section was very one-sided. I don't feel abused or like a second-class citizen because I don't have the priesthood. Frankly, I think most men in the church realize that they wouldn't be able to successfully lead and organize themselves without us.
  • Missionary work--anyone else think that Tal Bachman was exaggerating a little bit about his mission experience in Argentina? People serve (or don't serve) their missions for many reasons. There probably are a lot of young men that go out because that is what is expected of them. I served a mission to Mexico and I can honestly say I had some of the greatest experiences of my life. It is rigorous and exhilirating and I don't anticipate having an opportunity to focus 100% on spirituality like that in my life again. I had to laugh at the clips they showed of missionaries doing some street contacting.
On being a Mormon:

I can't remember where I was but I heard someone say that the reason they choose a church is to go where their friends attend. I'm lucky that I have found many friends through my association with the LDS church, but that is certainly not the reason I attend. I believe in God. I believe He appeared to Joseph Smith. I believe Jesus is the Christ and that he was resurrected and lives. I believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon to be the word of God. I have had experiences in my life that would make it near impossible for me to deny these things. So, I don't. I'm not perfect. Not even close. But, I try.

Shall we discuss? What did all of you think about the documentary?


  1. I still need to see this. I just couldn't stay up until midnight to watch it, so i will try to watch it online. I am anxious to talk about it too, so i will post once i see it.

  2. It showed from 8-10 here. I didn't watch it yet though. I did record them though.

  3. I have them recorded but still need to watch. .. I'll be back with my thoughts. . .

  4. Wow, we're still have it on our DVR too. Am I a bad Mormon that I have American Idol and The Amazing Race prioritized over the church documentary?

    We did flip it on for just a minute, here's the quote we caught, "Joseph Smith created the Priesthood." That's not a good sign so I'm not very optimistic...

  5. There are a lot of little things like that, Mary. They said that Joseph Smith was our Alpha and Omega, too. Carl and I cringed at that part. They have transcripts of the full interviews by all the the people involved on the pbs website. Those have been really interesting to read when they haven't been chopped up into sound bytes.

  6. I was able to see it, and you can see my opinion at my blog. But I also totally agree with what you posted, Christy. Especially the feminism and missionary stuff. Any LDS ladies out there feel down-trodden and oppressed? Not this one! Also, I didn't like the comment from the dad who talked about his wife dying while their son was on a mission. (The same thing happened to my brother, by the way.) He said something to the effect that his wife's greatest hope for a son was that he would serve a mission. I really hope my sons go on missions, but my greatest hope for them is that they gain their own testimonies and stay active and strong in the church all their lives. As we saw from Mr. Tal, just going on a mission isn't enough!

    Okay, sorry for the novel. Perhaps I should have posted this on my blog!

  7. I read your blog Maren and it was so well written! It has been interesting seeing what people have been saying about the program.

  8. Overall, I found it to be a fairly respectful and well-balanced program. The people interviewed were very articulate, regardless of viewpoint, and I really appreciated that. I learned some things from it, and I really enjoyed some of the new perspectives and historical context the academics and experts provided.

    I agree that there could have been more focus on doctrine -- most of it was history and lifestyle, and if I didn't already know I wouldn't have learned much about what Mormons believe from watching the documentary. Of course, that wasn't really the point -- the point was to document the history and how Mormons live in American today.

    I totally disagreed with the man who said that (I'm paraphrasing here -- I don't remember his words) Mormons all have conflicted feelings about polygamy -- that we don't like it, but we're conflicted because it was a commandment given to Joseph Smith. I have never met a person in the Church who feels that way. Everyone hates polygamy and doesn't want to be associated with it in any way. No conflicting emotions there.

    Why were the featured families so LARGE? One of the few ways in which the filmmaker played to the stereotype, I think. In my experience, the average Mormon family has about three kids. I've never lived in Utah, but where I've lived (and my current ward) there are lots of families with two or three kids, some with four, and very few with more. Some even have just one child, or none. Imagine that! Featuring families with 8 and 11 kids on the show just fed the somewhat incorrect stereotype, in my opinion. On the other hand, they were very nice families.

    I figured that feminism in the Church wouldn't be very well portrayed, and I was right. The show made it seem like all feminists are excommunicated immediately. I know some are, but only in extreme cases (and why didn't the show explain that excommunicated people can be rebaptized and come back into the church? they made it seems like the kiss of death -- an unchangeable decision.). The reality of women in the church is so different from what was portrayed. Why wasn't I interviewed? Then the viewing public would have seen a woman who is divorced, remarried to a non-member, 34 and childless, a working professional, a liberal, feminist democrat who didn't take my husband's name, and is also the Young Womens president (with a current Temple recommend!). I am everthing that the documentary seemed to say the Church doesn't want, but I'm in charge of every lesson and activity for the teenagers in the ward. If the Church was so afraid of feminists, would I have a calling where I have so much influence on impressionable young women?

    Sorry for the rant, and for hogging your comments.

  9. Thanks for your comment, Anne. I wish I would have had someone like you in the YW presidency when I was growing up. Although, I can't complain too much. I think my mom was YW president for most of my time there.

  10. I think my thoughts on Mormons have been more influenced by the blogs I've read (Mormon moms) than by anything that was said on that documentary (I only saw the second one).

    Yes, I got more information about various aspects of the church like missionaries, baptizing on behalf of the dead, etc. At the same time, my opinion didn't really change any.

    I think Mormons, like Catholics and Adventists and I'm sure others, are a very tight-nit community with conservative values. We all have aspects of our beliefs that seem outlandish to outsiders. We all try to understand ourselves and find our appropriate place in society.

    While I may not know or understand everything about Mormonism, I think that Mormons are people just like everyone else. The particular set of debates may be different - what an intellectual Mormon may find fault with the Mormon church for may be different than what an intellectual Adventist or Catholic may find with their own churches, but still, the process is the same.

    When you read people's blogs, you get to know people...and a little bit about their religion here and there. So with that said, I took the documentary as something interesting but at the same time, as a grain of salt.

  11. I think it was informational but presented in an unflattering way. It seems they skimmed over the good points and then went on and on about the not so good stuff. i think there was definite room for improvement.