Mormons in the Media
I don't know how to react to the HBO-"Big Love"-Temple Ceremony-drama. Granted, I haven't lost much sleep over it, but I find myself thinking about it today. Some of my peers and friends have already reacted very strongly--circling email chains, encouraging boycotts and sending strongly worded complaints to HBO en masse. They are not alone. For the Church's official reaction to Big Love's conflation of LDS theology and practice with some of the more unorthodox polygamous groups in the greater Intermountain West area, go here; and for how the Church encourages members to react, check this very interesting article. As for the actual depiction of the temple ceremony in Big Love, I haven't seen it. I don't know how extensive, detailed, or even potentially offensive it is. I think I can safely say that the whole thing doesn't quite pass the "smell" test, but I don't know exactly how to react. Yet. I'm sure I will develop a more full opinion in the coming days. However, in an effort to find the silver lining in every dark cloud (and fill up my yellow balloon even more), I have to look at this situation as another way to get my sometimes-obscure, oft-misunderstood faith out there in the public eye. I'm a firm believer in the marketplace of ideas, and as such, I view full, frank discussion of ideals--even religious ones--as a good thing. Putting pressure on ideas, questioning them, shedding light on them, can expose silly ideas--*cough, cough* the Snuggie...? *cough*--for what they are and reinforce and give support to the good ones. I love my faith. And I firmly believe that, after surviving decades of polarizing internal politics and scrutiny by heretics, skeptics, scholars, and even the US Government, that faith will survive the scrutiny of a mediocre fictional work on a pay-cable production. Obviously, misrepresentations, slander, and disrespectful portrayals of religious acts we as Latter-Day Saints hold eternally dear is done in bad taste. But if this Big Love episode does one thing, it gets the discussion ball rolling. And that can hardly be bad. One good fruit of this whole hullabaloo? Below you can watch a short clip produced by the LDS Church in order to better explain why our temples are so dear to us, and ultimately why Big Love's portrayal of what goes on in them could understandably offend.