Friday, March 13, 2009

Big Love and the LDS Temple

HBO will depict a traditional Mormon temple ceremony in an upcoming episode of Big Love. HBO stated "obviously, it was not our intention to do anything disrespectful to the church, but to those who may be offended, we offer our sincere apology." Well, it did.

HBO does everything it does for money and political posturing. They could care less about accuracy. They still try to make people think Mormons practice polygamy, after abolishing it in the 19th Century. If anything it is closer to the Fundamentalist LDS lifestyle than LDS. That group is so small that HBO would rather make fun of a large group (that just happens to have a policy against gay marriage).

Most religions have sacred elements, practices and beliefs not suited for "outsiders." The media makes fun of religions and religious people all the time, namely the Christian religious. Some noteworthy Mormon media misrepresentations:

-- Commentator Lawrence O’Donnell hurled abuse at the Church in a television moment during the Romney campaign
-- South Park produced a gross portrayal of Church history in one episode and mocked the practice of Family Home Evening in another.
-- An independent film grossly distorted version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago
-- Some gay activists have barraged the media with accusations about "hateful" attitudes of LDSs in supporting Proposition 8 in California and across the USA.
-- Cold Case presented an inaccurate depiction of LDS people.

Some Latter-Day Saints will cancel HBO subscriptions, go through a massive email, phone and letter writing campaigns. That's fine if they want to do that; bless them for their efforts.

The Church made an excellent statement on this topic on its web site: The Publicity Dilemma. Critics abound. If people want to spend their time arguing, that's their option. I won't. I am one that espouses the belief that all publicity is good publicity. Perhaps the issue can be discussed more openly between members and non-members. As Seth Godin wrote today: if you want to not be hated, open up. Let people in. Engage. Interact.

Lucky for the HBO producers, directors and actors that Mormons do not have an extreme arm like another large global religion, because there might be some vendetta realizations with violent outcomes.


El Genio said...

"Some gay activists have barraged the media with accusations about "hateful" attitudes of LDSs in supporting Proposition 8 in California and across the USA."

Here's the problem: We attempted to invalidate over 18,000 marriages, and remove the possibility for thousands more. Ripping up someone's marriage certificate is hateful, no matter what you say while your doing it.

Ryan Van Wagoner said...

Seems like you're missing the point, El Genio. Nobody's trying to rip up marriage licenses; they're simply trying to help people see that marriage is more than just a piece of paper. The marriage definition debate goes much deeper and is about defining a fundamental unit of society that has remained unchanged for thousands of years. No one in their right mind would call that hateful.