Anyone watch the PBS documentary “The Mormons”?

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We don’t have cable TV, so I was just wondering if anyone caught the first instalment of the documentary last night.

19 thoughts on “Anyone watch the PBS documentary “The Mormons”?

  1. My family watched most of it, but I missed it because I was studying for a final exam, which I just took. From the little I did watch, and from the comments of others, I get the impression that the filmmaker wanted to put a good deal of emphasis on topics that are viewed as controversial.

  2. What was most interesting was the commentary from Bros Holland, Oaks and Hinckley on those controversial topics of Polygamy and Mountain Meadows.

  3. Wow. I should get out more.

    I just checked out the Bloggernacle aggregators and there are plenty of discussions on the documentary already.

  4. I was saddened to hear that Tal Bachman left the Church. He served in the same mission that I did at the same time. I can’t help think his comments might have come based on the oft-times corrupt actions of our President during that time. I feel for him. Many who served there were wounded spiritually, but we must remember, we are members of the LDS Church because of testimony and conviction, and not because of misdeeds committed by someone. I also hope the Lord has forgiven the man who inflicted so much strife and intimidated so many elders. I am grateful I am able to define such a difference.

  5. Benjamin,
    I saw that part, too. While Bachman was describing the destitute conditions in which he lived as a missionary, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “how does this compare to conditions the local villagers live in?”

  6. I saw all four hours of the program. I’m sure others will remember different things put these are the highlights of what I remember:

    First two hours:

    1. Joseph Smith used a rock to hunt for gold which was against the law.
    2. Joseph Smith used a rock in his hat to translate the BOM.
    3. Joseph Smith had 30 wives and 10 of the women were married to other men. Joseph Smith forced them to have sex with him so their families could be saved in the celestial kingdom. Lots of misery.
    4. Joseph Smith upset lots of non-mormons by destroying the newspaper press. Freedom of Speech stuff.
    5. Joseph Smith upset the people from Missouri for saying the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County.
    6. Joseph Smith became wealthy.
    7. Joseph Smith was good at organizing people.
    8. Brigham Young ordered one of the largest mass murders in America. (Mountain Meadows)
    9. John Taylor stopped the practice of multiple wives to appease the US government so the US government would not take the Church’s property. Years later he John Taylor said it was a revelation although it the manifesto was written by several people.
    10. Utah used to be part of Mexico.
    11. A Methodist Preacher said he did not know what he would do if the church was true.

    The second two hours (very boring by the way):

    1. Boyd K Packard laughed about the talk he gave where he said “the greatest threat to the church is gays, lesbians, feminist and intellectuals.”
    2. Dallin Oaks remarked that members could not criticize church leaders even if the remarks were correct.
    3. John Taylor said that blacks are on the earth to be Satan’s agents.
    4. The LDS church ignored letters from Africa for over 20 years from people begging to join the church until after the revelation regarding blacks and only then would SLC responded to their requests to baptism them.

    There’s more but I’m out of time. I will have to list the other things later.

    The show seemed to be designed for LDS members to watch and to be a little edgy. I was surprised they did not have Steve Benson on the show.

    Hope this adds to your conversations.

  7. The Church very decidedly did not ignore the letters from Africa. The Church’s leaders were deeply concerned about the situation they were in. The letters were one of the many factors that weighed on President Kimball’s mind as events led up to the revelation received in 1978.

  8. The PBS Show portrayed the church as ignoring the request to be baptized because the people were black.

    Do you mean the situation the blacks in Africa were in or the situation the church was in?

  9. But the Church did not ignore the requests. The Church was simply unable to fulfill the requests at that time. The Church’s leaders were concerned about that situation, sought guidance, and eventually received a very significant revelation in answer.

  10. I recognized what PBS probably believed was a need to keep the program unbiased and equal; however, what they ended up doing from my standpoint was cutting the heart and spirit out of the church that I know.

  11. Judging by the comments of exes, antis, and current members, there seems to be the opinion that it made everyone equally unhappy — hence it probably did its job. =)

  12. Here’s a link to a superb one-hour program produced by KUED in Salt Lake City about the documentary. KUED is affiliated with the University of Utah, and collaborated with KBYU on the project. You can watch the whole thing online. It’s excellent.

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