This is the third time that I have seen the documentary, and I still feel that it is eminently fair, accurate, sympathetic, and even moving. As a non-LDS graduate student who studies Mormons, I was pleased to see many different sides of Mormon experience portrayed--including the faithful struggles of active Mormons and the faithful transgressions of those who have left, but are still interacting with their Mormon identity. Of course, not all viewers will be pleased with the film's complexity. Additionally, all who study Mormon history and culture will have complaints about what was left out (such as why all but ignore the Community of Christ, a liberal 250,000 member denomination with roots in Joseph Smith's movement?). Still, in my opinion, Whitney's work stands as the best film to date on this eminently American, now international faith community.
Iowa City, IA
Well, I suppose you can take the man out of mormonism, but you cannot take the mormonism out of the man. I found the program fondly interesting; even nostalgic. I was born and bred as a mormon but took Paul's advice and decided to put away childish things long ago. Believe me, the release from the confines, once the glass became clearer, was benignly liberating and exhilarating. I love my mormon experience and all of my mormon brothers and sisters. I, in my way, will always be a mormon. I also love not having to believe and conform as so many do (to some extent). I view the world through my mormon skewed eyes, yet have developed the recognition of that. Thank you PBS for tossing some light on me and my 'peculiar' family.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
The term Mormon Fundamentalists was often used throughout the first half of the program. Let is be known to all that Mormon Fundamentalists are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and should not be reguarded as such, just as Protestants should not be reguarded as catholics. Mormon Fundamentalists and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are two completely different churches.
It should be noted that most Christian religions do not consider Mormonism as part of the Christian Faith.
A purely American invention, Mormonism is flawed in its theological assertions, i.e., the Trinity, Christology, eschatology, the afterlife, baptism, scriptures. I understand that such a documentary could not be a nexus of historical and theological nuances, and overall, I found it to be balanced, I would have found it to be even more so, if these theological concepts were discussed both by Mormons and nonMormon scholars.
The effort and the courage to produce such a piece is commendable even if it exposes the producers to the diatribe from all sides.
Los Angeles, CA
I understand better now the tenants of the Mormon faith but still find their faith difficult to reconcile in our modern culture. Like so many other religions, the film demonstrated how family is the backbone of the religion. What the film didn't make clear is that non-Mormon family members are excluded from Mormon rituals and events. They don't belong. My brother converted to Mormonism and after two failed marriages, finally was allowed to be married "for all eternity" in the Mormon Temple in Bellevue Washington. My wife and I received what we thought was an invitation to the wedding. Not so. It was only an announcement of the wedding. Because we aren't Mormon, we were not allowed to attend my own brother's wedding. The insinuation was that because we were not Mormon we weren't pure enough to attend. It was the first time in my life I had ever been excluded from attending a wedding essentially because of my faith or lack of Mormon faith. That was and still is troubling to me.
I am a convert to the church for a little over two years now and I have never been happier and healthier in my life. Before I had the church in my life I smoked, drank, did drugs and of course drank coffee. the church has totally changed my life for the better and I have never once been judged. There is now so much peace in my life and with my family, and I could have never changed without the strenght of my Heavenly Father and I am so greatfull for this. After watching this program I came away satisfied at the positive words and feelings of our church. I love being a part of this faith, family, and culture. I seen my own family in so many other peoples families that were on the show. There were some negative thoughts and expressions on this program but I did not find myself getting angry or upset with anything that was said only sorrow that there are my fellow brethern and sisters that have so many negative thoughts about the church and our views. The Priesthood is ment to be with the men and that is how it was in biblical times. The mother's job has always been the nurtuier for the children, I love having the great opportunity to be able to be at home with my children and my family and to take care of my home and also being able to cook wonderful meals for my family. My husband and I view each other as EQUAL and that the man is not above the woman, and that is what the church does teach all of us. I LOVED the segment on the Temples and all the many great blessings that we can get from going to the Temple. And my only question is that if our church is so bad thaen why does it continue to rapidly grow?
This was blatantly one of the most glossed-over presentations of the LDS church I have ever seen. Mormons are most certainly NOT Christians--not by any stretch of the imagination. Mormons are, by definition, polytheists. They claim the existence of a multiplicity of Gods, and that a man can "progress" to "godhood". This is diametrically-opposed to Christianity, which is patently monotheistic. And for a Christian to state that he can become a "god" someday is blasphemy. Anyone who can read Genesis chapter 1 can find out who the author is of the doctrine that man can become a "god"---that would be the Prince of Darkness. There is no rectifying this--there is no bridge to that theological chasm that will forever separate Orhtodox Christianity and Mormonism. And from a theological standpoint, that is only the tip of the iceberg. I understand that you did not have all the time to explore the theological aspects of the subject--but this is paramount to any discussion of the Mormon faith.Even worse, you did not even begin to discuss the archaeological aspects of the discussion. We can read the Bible and know that the peoples that existed (the Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, Corinthians, the 12 various tribes of Israel, etc), and the events that took place (the crucifixion of Christ, etc) can be independently verified by scientific archaeological evidence and the testimonial record of unbiased witnesses (such as Josephus) to corroborate the veracity of the basic elements of the Bible. Never mind "faith"--we're talking just the factual basics here. In contrast, even the basic archaeological aspects and elements of the Mormon faith have been utterly dismissed by historians, archaeologists and scientists as fallacial and entirely fabricated, and not even remotely within the purventure of known, recorded human history. Caucasoid peoples living on the North American continent 2400 years before Columbus? Yeah. A great battle involving 130,000 men that were all killed off to a man in 3 days and not one ax, battle implement, wagon, chariot or body has ever been found? Yeah. An entire tribe of Israel that sailed 3/4 of the way around the globe? Believe that. If you'd had any real objectivity in this story, or moral courage, for that matter, you'd have covered these aspects of the story---as they are as central to the story as any---instead of the "fluff" that comprised 90% of the whole show. I rather doubt you folks will even have the courage to post this entire entry without editing it, if at all. That would be too controversial, I suppose.
In light of the several novelettes above I'll try to keep my post short.
This documentary drew me in from the beginning and was compelling until the credits rolled. It seemed well-balanced and researched, at least from the perspective of a 43-year old recovering Catholic of middle income living in American suburbia.
Sad that the only real conclusion I personally kept arriving at is that Mormonism is yet another attempt by man to find deeper meaning to life on this little blue planet beyond procreation. More specifically it's another stab at quelling our fear of death.
Sure, Joseph Smith borrowed text from ancients and made up stories to build credibility, but then that's nothing new in the history of theologies. Brainwashing, knowledge-suppression and misogyny have been the stuff of organized religions over the centuries too, which no surprise came to light here as well.
Amazing how fervently they organize and work. Like a colony of ants these LDS zealots are.
Thanks PBS for airing such a thought-provoker.
A number of years ago 2 young men knocked on my door and I invited them in. I had no idea that this would be my first contact with LDS missionaries and my first copy of The Book of Morman. They would visit me fairly regularly, I would listen, ask questions, we would pray and I would typically give them some great homemade Italian food to heat up later at there place of residence. I am not sure where they are today but I would like to say I never forgot them even though I remained a Catholic. Several weeks ago in a new home and 20 years later there was a knock at my door....this time 2 young ladies were there and I invited them in. Since that time my husband and I have been to the Johnson Farm in Hiriam, Ohio, we have been to the visitor center and historic site in Kirtland, we have shared 2 meals with these missionaries, we are reading The Book of Morman, asking questions and listening and praying. All I can is the search is on. One of my husband's co-workers told us about Frontline today. We thought the program was very informative, fair and objective. It gave us more information for us to discuss with our missionaries at our next scheduled meeting time.
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
I think it is unfortunate that you spoiled what could have been a rewarding and beautiful documentary of the Mormon Church to have so many ex-Mormon homosexuals and excommunicated apostates featured. You make the excuse of not having enough time (who controlled the time--you did) to tell the Mormon Story. You sure spent an inordinate amount of time to feature those members who do not represent the Church or even its critics even if you felt the need to treat polygamy. Too bad.
However, other parts I thought were well done and beautiful.
Thank you for a wonderful program that provided history, opinion and current information. My family practices various religions including Catholic, Protestant, United and through marriage, Mormon. My parents always taught me that I could follow whatever religion (or none for that matter) that I wanted, but I had to be educated to make my choice.
When I was taught about the various religions in our family, it was taught with "warts and all". This is how I felt about the program that you presented. I am sure that most would agree that there are no religions out there that do not have their dark moments.
I have read responses from others that either hated or loved the program. They felt that it was accurate or inaccurate. I feel that some missed the point. This program made me think. It made me ask questions and made me wonder.
I believe that what people should take from this program is the ability to ask questions because that is where true learning comes from.
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
I am a practicing Mormon. I enjoyed the film very much. I was impressed with the thoroughness, and the balance of the presentation. I commmend you.
As an active LDS member, who converted at age 16 I would just like to say quickly that I agree with the Black Woman Mormon Christina Collinwood that this film was well done, all things considered. I can understand how some Mormons still feel vulnerable to forms of persecution and unfair treatment by the media and others which may skew the way they view this film. And perhaps some of their accusations hold merit, but as I watched with an open mind I didn't feel that Mormons were ever purposely portrayed negatively.
I much appreciate the programs on PBS and always view such programs with an open mind. I find it important that in watching such programs to be careful to develop opinions until I have carefully researched the topic at hand. Even then, it is important to keep an open mind and be willing to learn more about the subject.
Thank you PBS for the program about The Mormons, and thank you for such a wonderful discussion board for people to talk about it. I think this is great.
I was appalled by the portrayal of Mormons in this documentary as a people who consider themselves above the law, wildly zealous and unquestioningly obedient. I must say I have never felt so misrespresented. The program brought more controversy into the subject than it quelled, and I was extremely disappointed that the comments of the church leaders were so limited. I felt the documentary to be offensive and one-sided. I do not recommend it to anyone wishing to know more about Mormonism. Get to know a Mormon if you want to know about Mormonism.
It seems obvious that this cult, mascarading as a religion, is made up of the decendants of unindicted criminal murderers. It is also clear that this murderous, unrepentant faith should have come to a complete end in the courts of the United States of America.
I find the excuse that the current practice of close knit family and ommunity should somehow wash away the sins of such barbaric behavior in the Mountin Meadows Masacre, arrogantly rediculous. The excuse that the Biblical Abraham is an example of being Godlike. Certainly, no enlightened Human could never look up to the likes of a Biblical figure who,by the writing, was nothingbut a crazed, senile, spousal abuser and fornicator. Not to mention attempted murderer who, in today's world, would have been shot dead holding his knife by law authorities and his tramatised son would be in therapy for years from the event.
Until this quasi-religion admits its responsibility for suchcriminl behavior, sells off the aasets of the LDS Empire and makes reparations to the murdered decendants, declares the Church Fathers responsible and tries them in absentia for murder, I for one, will never have any respect for this Cult mascarading as religion! Touting their belief as wholesome and the example of family life, is hipocritical and should not be allowed to exist.
Twin Falls, Idaho