Monday, April 30, 2007

The Mormons

In Ward conference yesterday several references were made similar to this one. "You've probably heard a lot of things in the press lately about the church. And you're gonna hear a lot more. some of it will be true and a lot of it will not be." Besides the occasional reference to the church as a result of Mitt Romney's presidential bid I really hadn't heard much. It was later on in Priesthood meeting that I found out the source of the Stake's anguish. As it turns out PBS is airing a 4 hour special focusing on the LDS Church. The program is called simply The Mormons. From what I have seen on and from the trailer it looks like a very well done history and documentary on the LDS church.
As I've stated in other posts most of the histories that I've seen or read about the church fall into two main categories. First, the church produced, sanitized versions of history that completely remove all the warts and blemishes of the characters. The end result is a very two-dimensional representation of one side of the history. This is what I think the Stake is hoping the program to turn out to be.
Second, the anti-Mormon propaganda and histories that go out of their way to show nothing but the blemishes of the characters. These too simply create a bunch of two dimensional characters. They just paint them as demons with no redeeming qualities. This is what I think the Stake is afraid the program will turn out like.
Sure there are a few resources that show the truth as being somewhere in between, in the grey area where most real, multi-dimensional stories exist. Here's a review I wrote of one such book. I'm looking forward to watching this program tonight. I'd really like to see the history of the church treated with a scholarly approach yet also show how the church has evolved out of some of its earlier problems and into the source of faith and inspiration for millions around the globe. I'm not afraid of the warts on the church's history. I believe that we have removed most of them and are moving on. And the few that we still have will not go away if we just sweep the under the rug and refuse to admit the problem.
I'll follow up tomorrow and Wednesday and voice my opinions on the program.

In Atlanta the show is airing at 9:00pm to 11:00pm Monday and Tuesday night. If you miss it will have it on streaming video after the show airs.


  1. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the series. I didn't get to see it tonight, but judging from the information on the website it looks to be fair and objective.

  2. I saw most of tonight's instalment. I thought it was thorough and even handed. Additionally the local NPR station had an interview with the director of the series and Ken Verdoia who is a local documentarist and is featured prominently in the program.
    Radio West - The Mormons is a podcast of the interview.

    I'm looking forward to part 2 and your comments.

  3. Thanks for the link to the interview. I'll download it and listen later on today.

  4. I was disappointed in the program. You may think I'm a sheep, but I was offended at one of the authors saying "an orgy of religious rhetoric." That seems just a

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  6. I hate to break it to you, but the fact that you read my blog disqualifies you as a sheep. :)

    I appreciate your comment. So please don't shy away from posting more just because you may think I'd disagree.

    True, the author could have chosen a more PG word in the description. To the authors defense, the phrase was used to describe the general evangelical atmosphere in upstate New York in the early 1800s. I don't think it was a specific dig at the Mormon church.