I watched the PBS documentary (as did over 250 million others) The Mormons and I was both impressed and disconcerted.
I was impressed with the accurate portrayal of the past, including the good and the bad; I was impressed with Dallin Oaks’s admission of the complicity of the Mormons in the MMM. But the latter-day stuff was, to my mind, sugar-coated fluff. I mean, who out there bought Boyd K. Packer’s “Well, gee, duh-hilt, if I said it then I must’ve said it, uh huh.” What pseudo- sincere, disingenuous bullshit. Yes, the Church does a lot of good for SOME families, and does charitable work around the world. Yes, the piece on the girl dying of a heart condition was brutally poignant, and her family was seemingly ideal. Yes, those bright-eyed missionaries were portrayed as very sweet and stalwart.
But what about the other side of today’s Mormon Church? The subject of depression and perfection was barely touched upon. No mention was made of abuse within the Church authority, lack of reporting sexual and physical abuse; the good ol’ boys network. No mention was made of the extreme levels of secrecy surrounding historical documents, financial records and salaries of top authorities. No one saw the mother with too many kids, crying in the bathroom because she’s got no where else to go. It didn’t show the father coming home from church meetings after everyone’s in bed and he hasn’t seen his children in a week. There was no portrayal of the recrimination ex-Mormons face when they leave, the process of shunning that occurs. No disaffected Mormons were interviewed because they would be too scared to be seen on TV; but how would it have been to have had people still “in” talking about how miserable their lives were along side those who had found happiness within the framework of Zion?
It felt toward the end that the sugar-coating was in a way, kowtowing to the Church to make up for telling the truth about their past. It left me with an icky feeling that I just can’t place my finger on. But it’s the feeling I get when I’m faced with someone–or something– inauthentic.
repost from Ravings of a Mad Woman