Frontline Walks a Fineline

Last week, Frontline aired a 2 night, 4 hours documentary titled “The Mormons”, a first time collaboration between themselves and “The American Experience”. I TiVo’d it, watched it and saved it to DVD. Having spent several years involved with an LDS member and investigating the background of the church beliefs and practices, I though this was a very balanced presentation that showed both “sides” of the story. And yet it left me frustrated for just that reason. Yes, they did grant equal time to the utter implausibility of the claims and historical inaccuracies, detailed the evolution and rewriting of the books over a period of many years including the altered claims and statements made along the way by the founder, Joseph Smith, and the lack of any possible genetic validity of Israeli based people being in South or North America and being the foundation for the population of the Americas. Yet even with all of this laid out, nobody walked up to any of the faithful, smacked them on the forehead with an open palm and said “Hello! WTF?”

Don’t get me wrong. I found the time I spent amongst “the brethren” to be very enlightening, and much of my own views on family values and society were greatly shaped by the people I spent time with. I went from being overly liberal and self-absorbed to having a greater consciousness and appreciation for the ideas and concepts of “Choose the Right”. And that’s not a reference to a wing. In many many ways, I owe a great deal of thanks to the friends and families I got to know at the time, and I sincerely treasure the experiences and all I gained through them. And by way of disclaimer, did I mention I’m a direct descendent of Mormon Pioneers? It’s true… my lineage goes back to Springville Utah, where great, great, great grandparents lived after their ancestors trekked from Sweden to the US and then across the Pioneer Trail. I’m of “Pioneer Stock”.

That being said, after spending so much time looking not only at the LDS church, but at religion on the whole, I walked away with such a serious degree of distain for the concept behind their refusing to consider them might be wrong when presented with substantial evidence that blows gapping holes in their belief systems. After all, it was expected of me that’d I’d read the book of Mormon, pray and consider their church to be true. Yet they were certainly not open to considering the same in return, even when I pointed out all the numerous reasons it was clearly based on myth, and nothing factual or divine.

I’ll save that and some other observations for another day… and if you want to see a less balanced take on Mormonism, check out this South Park episode. If nothing else, it’s worth it for the musical soundtrack. It’s not available online for viewing as far as I can tell, but is available through iTunes.

I want to point out that this documentary, and numerous others, are all available online at frontline for your viewing pleasure. There are many stunning and memorable shows on such topics as the Holocaust, WalMart, Obesity, and many many other amazing topics. There’s so many to choose from you’ll have a hard time picking where to start.


Written by gsm

05/10/2007 at 1:08 am

Posted in  Miscellaneous 

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