Friday, March 13, 2009

HBO "Big Love" controversy...

I have received TONS of emails in regards to HBO's upcoming episode that is going to depict Temple ceremonies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I wanted to share the article written by the leaders of our Church in regards to this situation. I believe that our Church leaders are handling this in the most Christ like and appropriate way possible.

This is so upsetting to members of the LDS Church because our Temples are so sacred to us. Temples are places we go to to feel closer to our Father in Heaven and to make sacred covenants with him. We believe that Temples are some of the holiest places on earth. It is very upsetting to think that a TV station is going to air on national television ceremonies that we consider to be so special and personal. I think what is equally upsetting is that HBO does not have their facts straight. HBO's show 'Big Love', is NOT a show about the LDS(Mormon) Faith and the ceremonies that they are wanting to show will not be accurate. I encourage everyone, LDS or not to please send a response to HBO asking them to NOT air this show. It is incredibly disrespectful to our Faith. I am so sad that HBO is planning to air this episode, I feel that it is so inappropriate and unprofessional on their part. I hope that through our responses we can help them to change their minds.

Please click HERE to contact HBO and share your opinion with them on why this episode should not be aired!

With Love,
Brittany

Response From The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints...
SALT LAKE CITY 9 March 2009

Like other large faith groups, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sometimes finds itself on the receiving end of attention from Hollywood or Broadway, television series or books, and the news media. Sometimes depictions of the Church and its people are quite accurate. Sometimes the images are false or play to stereotypes. Occasionally, they are in appallingly bad taste.

As Catholics, Jews and Muslims have known for centuries, such attention is inevitable once an institution or faith group reaches a size or prominence sufficient to attract notice. Yet Latter-day Saints – sometimes known as Mormons - still wonder whether and how they should respond when news or entertainment media insensitively trivialize or misrepresent sacred beliefs or practices.

Church members are about to face that question again. Before the first season of the HBO series Big Love aired more than two years ago, the show’s creators and HBO executives assured the Church that the series wouldn’t be about Mormons. However, Internet references to Big Love indicate that more and more Mormon themes are now being woven into the show and that the characters are often unsympathetic figures who come across as narrow and self-righteous. And according to TV Guide, it now seems the show’s writers are to depict what they understand to be sacred temple ceremonies.

Certainly Church members are offended when their most sacred practices are misrepresented or presented without context or understanding. Last week some Church members began e-mail chains calling for cancellations of subscriptions to AOL, which, like HBO, is owned by Time Warner. Certainly such a boycott by hundreds of thousands of computer-savvy Latter-day Saints could have an economic impact on the company. Individual Latter-day Saints have the right to take such actions if they choose.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an institution does not call for boycotts. Such a step would simply generate the kind of controversy that the media loves and in the end would increase audiences for the series. As Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Robert D. Hales of the Council of the Twelve Apostles have both said recently, when expressing themselves in the public arena, Latter-day Saints should conduct themselves with dignity and thoughtfulness.
Not only is this the model that Jesus Christ taught and demonstrated in his own life, but it also reflects the reality of the strength and maturity of Church members today. As someone recently said, “This isn’t 1830, and there aren’t just six of us anymore.” In other words, with a global membership of thirteen and a half million there is no need to feel defensive when the Church is moving forward so rapidly. The Church’s strength is in its faithful members in 170-plus countries, and there is no evidence that extreme misrepresentations in the media that appeal only to a narrow audience have any long-term negative effect on the Church.

Examples:
During the Mitt Romney election campaign for the presidency of the United States, commentator Lawrence O’Donnell hurled abuse at the Church in a television moment that became known among many Church members as “the O’Donnell rant.” Today, his statements are remembered only as a testament to intolerance and ignorance. They had no effect on the Church that can be measured.
When the comedy writers for South Park produced a gross portrayal of Church history, individual Church members no doubt felt uncomfortable. But once again it inflicted no perceptible or lasting damage to a church that is growing by at least a quarter of a million new members every year.

When an independent film company produced a grossly distorted version of the Mountain Meadows Massacre two years ago, the Church ignored it. Perhaps partly as a result of that refusal to engender the controversy that the producers hoped for, the movie flopped at the box office and lost millions.

In recent months, some gay activists have barraged the media with accusations about “hateful” attitudes of Latter-day Saints in supporting Proposition 8 in California, which maintained the traditional definition of marriage. They even organized a protest march around the Salt Lake Temple. Again, the Church has refused to be goaded into a Mormons versus gays battle and has simply stated its position in tones that are reasonable and respectful. Meanwhile, missionary work and Church members in California remain as robust and vibrant as ever, and support for the Church has come from many unexpected quarters — including some former critics and other churches.

Now comes another series of Big Love, and despite earlier assurances from HBO it once again blurs the distinctions between The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the show’s fictional non-Mormon characters and their practices. Such things say much more about the insensitivities of writers, producers and TV executives than they say about Latter-day Saints.
If the Church allowed critics and opponents to choose the ground on which its battles are fought, it would risk being distracted from the focus and mission it has pursued successfully for nearly 180 years. Instead, the Church itself will determine its own course as it continues to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

2 comments:

Laura said...

Hi Brittany

This issue is so sad, and I hardly know what to say now that HBO chose to air the sickening episode "Outer Darkness" last night. Yes, I watched it. I cried. I was so shocked that they went as fr as they did to display what they did, in the manner and context they did.
I guess my most upsetting thought was for all the youth. I felt for them and how their curiosity might have gotten the best of them like mine did. They are taught to dream of the temple, and even sing about it in primary as little children. The endowment would be spoiled in the minds of some of these youth, like they know the ending of the movie before they go see it. I DON'T in any way mean to trivialize our sacred practices.
I am a new member myself. I was baptized only 7 years ago, and endowed 2 years ago. I was sealed to my husband 1 year ago. It was the most beautiful, spiritual, and sacred experience I have ever been through. I hold it dear to my heart. I can't imagine seeing any of my precious endowment on tv before I went to the temple.
Shame on HBO....
I have a testimony of the Restoration Of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ upon this earth, by our Prophet Joseph Smith. I KNOW this church is absolutely true, and that the vision Joseph had in the grove really happened for us all.
Luckily, the goodness and glory of that, far outweighs the short term memory this incident will have.

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