BBC’s This World: The Mormon Candidate

Finally, a Mormon documentary for the rest of us.

Hailed by the creator of the I am an Ex Mormon video series as “my favorite video about Mormonism I have ever seen.”

Part 1: Mitt Romney

Part 2: Mormons

Part 3: Exmormons

Part 4: Prophets

Part 5: Park

Part 6: Pundits

After I get done watching, it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast John Sweeney’s approach with that of Helen Whitney in her earlier PBS documentary The Mormons.

Come to think of it, I’m also going to revisit that France 24 report from a few weeks back:

Exmos popping up everywhere these days, even in Provo, with French cameras rolling! 🙂

Oh, and others are discussing Sweeney’s documentary here and I particularly liked the comment over there that begins:

“The thing that makes this documentary amazing isnt the amount it relied on ex-members, but the amount it relied on the LDS Church to be embarrassed about its past, to lie about its past and then finally to admit the claims that were being made.”

Chino Blanco

--- We are men of action, lies do not become us. ---

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25 Responses

  1. Brigham Young and the entire Mormon hierarchy, would have been hanged in 1857, had the Mountain Meadows Massacre been prosecuted to its fullest potential, some one hundred and forty, California bound Arkansas men and women, were slaughtered under a flag of truce, after Mormons decked out as Indians attacked their wagons.

    Forty two white men were hanged at Gainesville Texas in 1862, for failing to support the Confederacy, the same year thirty eight Santee Sioux were hanged in Minnesota, after five American settlers were killed by Indians, whose case rested on their assertion that the settlers fired first, eighty five Irish traitors, were justly hanged in New Mexico in 1846,

    They had deserted General Taylors command, and joined Santa Annas forces in Mexico, then crossing back into Texas, slew eleven of their former comrades from ambush, on the northern banks of the Rio Grande!

    Fifty four Mormons took part in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, of whom thirty two were from England .. Brigham Y was up to his neck in it all, as well he received livestock and property looted from the wagons, John D Lee Mormon Bishop and adopted son of BY, was the single Mormon executed by firing squad in 1877, twenty yrs after the event!

    Provo Utah is the site of at least one FEMA camp picture inbred descendants of the massacre perpetrators, having their way with the thousands of internees, using the same rationale that fueled the MMM, that the victims are Gentiles!

  2. curmudgeon says:

    I thought this was a sensationalized documentary that does more to turn the discussion off than to turn it on. The only redeeming factor was the way they made Jeffery Holland look like a grumpy old man. They caught both Holland and the church PR guy in a couple of misrepresentations. However I thought it was Yellow Journalism that set out to prove its premise instead of gather facts and find a conclusion based upon the facts. I think it had all of the focus of a child with ADHD. It gets a D- minus in my books.

  3. Chino Blanco says:

    I’m not through all six parts yet, but it’s kinda fun to put a face to a lot of familiar names.

    Edit: And that means genuine criticisms made by some ex-Mormons are not getting a hearing. This.

    Edit: And thats a wrap (and the cultiest defense of Mormonism by a General Authority ever). I chuckled when Sweeney suggested that Mormonism is like Scientology, only smarter, and Holland objected by mentioning that he attended a good school. Uh, yeah, like the man said, nobodys accusing you of being a dodo, Jeffrey, quite the opposite.

  4. chanson says:

    Wow, I can’t wait to watch these and see for myself!!

    Chino — if you have a minute, could you update the MSP TV widget to whichever of the above is your favorite? Thanks!

  5. Chino Blanco says:

    The full-length program is now available in one clip and I’ve updated the TV widget accordingly.

  6. Angela says:

    I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I think it’s good that so many valid points that are largely ignored are being brought to light. On the other, I thought the ex-mos seemed kind of paranoid and that certain practices that are cultish could have been focused on without actually using the word “cult” so much. It really is such a loaded term that it turns believers off instantly to those who don’t see things as they do.

  7. kuri says:

    I agree with Angela. I thought the ex-Mos came across as paranoid and a little weird, frankly. They’re being followed by ex-CIA agents? Really?

    And the term “cult” sheds no light on anything. “They’re a cult!” “Are not!” “Are too!” Yeah, we really learned a lot from that.

    OTOH, it was amusing to see the church spokesman and Holland come across as very defensive and a little mendacious, and in Holland’s case, grumpy as well.

    The one little ray of hope in the whole thing was Holland expressing some willingness to meet with ex-Mos about informal shunning in the church. If that actually happens, and if the church can get members to stop disowning their children for unbelief, then the program will have done some real good.

  8. Chino Blanco says:

    Funny update: the official twitter account is now following both my and Main Street Plaza’s tweets as of last night. Be afraid 😉

  9. Hellmut says:

    Best spokesman for the Church: Pastor Jeffres. If a person that vile is against Mormonism, there must be something good to it.

    Second best spokesman: the Romney biographer.

    Most sympathetic appearance: the polygamist families. Mind you, they are the ones who want to put distance between the polygamist camp and the FLDS. So they are the best polygamist society has to offer.

    Worst moment: the scene from the MTC. Does anybody in the COB have any idea how non-Mormons will experience a young woman who cannot come up with a single thing that is wrong with her community? Or for that matter a seemingly healthy young man who claims that he does not want sex?

    Never mind the description of sex as being vile . . .

  10. Hellmut says:

    Worst part of the film: the tasteless sound effects. Talk about manipulative.

    Why don’t you just stick to reporting? People can decide for themselves if they need to be afraid.

    In that sense, the presentation was quite unfair. It would have been stronger if they had just let people speak for themselves and juxtapose their positions without fireworks.

  11. barmy stoat says:

    I really enjoyed the video mostly because I’ve never been to Utah so seeing things – the temples, chapels, regular streets, swarms of missionaries, the beautiful mountain scenery was (strangely, maybe) fascinating.

    The singer, Alex (?) from Tottenham, London had an amazing voice! Loved it.

    I also thought it was kinda neat that the bald dude and his three wives seemed like the most normal people in the whole documentary! No offensive to the other people in the video… but I just got a nice vibe from them.

    When John Sweeney asked the missionaries about SEX… listening to the one young dude talk about moral purity blah blah blah was painful. That, and the missionaries’ ‘dear in the headlights’ looks when Sweeney ask them ‘what is one criticism you would make of your church’ screamed “mind control.”

    As a never-been-Mormon, I thought the church came off looking dodgy. Very dodgy… like, used car sales, dodgy.

    Maybe the above is a strange review…? but it’s what stuck out for me.

  12. Chino Blanco says:

    I must admit that “dodgy” is a much more apt description of Holland’s and Purdy’s performances than “culty”.

    I also agree about Alex Boye’s voice, but I wish the producers would’ve included a clip of Alex speaking and singing to the crowd at Glenn Beck’s crazy Israel shindig last year.

  13. chanson says:

    @9 lol, but that’s what you get for offering such helpful constructive criticism. We’ll probably end up inadvertently saving the church a bundle on what they would have spent on focus groups. 😉

  14. Hellmut says:

    Good point, Chanson. Although, the purpose of Mormon PR seems to be self-validation and not communication.

  15. Tall Man, Short Hair says:

    Many ex-Mormons have watched the BBC film and learned about Apostle Holland’s offer to meet and discuss their differences. They’re signing an online blog requesting that he set the time and place for the meeting:

  16. chanson says:

    @17 — Thanks Tall Man — I’ve added it to my SiOB links this week.

  17. Mrrgan says:

    What’s sad, I think, is that Holland could have easily (and without being one big dishonest about his religion) given a much stronger defense to a number of the questions raised against the LDS church, but he didn’t. For instance, the actual temple oath isn’t really about taking one’s own life, but could easily be interpreted to mean, “I would rather be martyred than reveal these things.” That’s not even spinning it; it’s a legitimate interpretation of the language of the old oath. Or, in the case of the proxy baptism of holocaust victims, he didn’t explain that the reason holocaust victims keep getting baptized is because individual members are going against the direction of church authorities to do so, and that the process depends, to a certain degree, on the honesty of the person submitting names for the ordinances.

    On a different note, his defense against the cult accusation was pathetic. He seems to think that only stupid and uneducated people would ever be believers in a cult (ironic, considering how much effort the LDS church puts into evangelism in third world areas where educational opportunities are lacking). The most basic understanding of psychology is enough to disprove such a stereotype. Especially when a person is indoctrinated into a set of beliefs from very early on in life, a person’s intelligence and education play a small role in determining their religious affiliations. People of all levels of intelligence and education are found in even the most ridiculous and abusive religious groups.

  18. kuri says:

    For instance, the actual temple oath isnt really about taking ones own life, but could easily be interpreted to mean, I would rather be martyred than reveal these things.

    That’s actually what I used to think it meant back in the day (the words do sound that way), but I’m pretty sure I was wrong. The gestures and oaths were explicitly called “penalties” right in the ceremony. There’s not much ambiguity to that.

  19. phil in Spain says:

    Al Jazeera English 25 minute documentary, probably less conroversial than the BBC’s version last week. Includes Will Bagley, no Osama but a Hinckley from the inner circle.
    “White Horse” prophecy and whether Romney will “save the constitution?

  20. Chino Blanco says:

    Thanks for the link. I like the crew they chose to interview.

  21. SH says:

    If the point was to make ex-members look like paranoid fruitcakes…congratulations, it was successful. I laughed at these people talking about being followed and ex-CIA. I almost thought it was a spoof because it was so ridiculous

  22. Joann says:

    The Mormon Candidate was very interesting and informativel. I started watching it on TV and in the middle of the movie (it was deleted by the station). I tried to watch in on-line and had a hard time finding it. The lies, cover-ups have become the norm for people with money and or power. It’s sad that people overseas are more informed than we are. This man could be our next Leader yet he don’t want to talk about his belief,taxes or his accounts overseas? He flip flops so much its hard to keep up. America wake up! He has ran before and lost what has changed? Our election should not be brought!!!!

  1. April 1, 2012

    […] Romney is caught being his rich self, and his Mormonism isn’t helping with some voters. The BBC documentary on Mitt’s Mormonism has led to discussion of Jeffrey Holland and the strengthening the members committee, plus the […]

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