I just watched “Mormon in America” on YouTube last week and started to write some quick thoughts about it (because I developed more than a few very strong opinions about it) in a Facebook post, but it became ridiculously long. So, lucky you: it’s now a blog post! If you haven’t seen it and want to know what I’m talking about, you can watch it HERE.
First off, my problems with this video:
1) That one girl with the big lips (who even IS that?) says we’re secretive. Huh? We literally knock on doors begging you to listen to what we’re about! The reasons so few people know what we actually believe are that they a) don’t really care to know or b) hear misrepresentations/lies/half-truths about us.
2) Their telling of the Joseph Smith Story was so incomplete. They didn’t even MENTION that Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the grove of trees. Nor did they mention that he got an answer from God telling him that he shouldn’t join any of the churches at the time, which was really what he prayed about, and is the whole point of the story. If you want to read the actual story in Joseph Smith’s own words, you can read about it HERE.
3) The idea that we can’t drink caffeine is a common misconception. It’s actually no coffee, tea, drugs, tobacco or alcohol. The lady that said she’s only had one coke, once in her life, is not representative of everyone. I live off diet Dr. Pepper (for better or worse) and I’m worthy to go to the temple.
4) Why interview Abby Huntsman (I just realized who the big-lipped lady was) of all people? Why do they always seem to interview more people who’ve left the church than people who are still in it. Which is a better way to get know what being a Mormon is really like? I think it’s good to interview both. But it seemed like the bulk of the interviews were from her.
5) Despite what Abby says, not everything about the church is black and white. You aren’t either all in or all out. We welcome all people to our Sunday meetings, whether or not they live our gospel. How did Abby grow up in The Church and not know that? We’re always being told to bring people into the fold and invite people to come to activities. And not on the condition that you aren’t a smoker or a swearer. If you want to come to church with me, please do. We’d love to have you.
6) This woman’s an idiot! She hopes people can one day go into the temple?! Every new temple has an open house, available to anyone and everyone so that they can go inside, look around and learn what they are all about. And the reason that anyone and everyone can’t go to the temple once it has been dedicated is that it’s a place where we can be safe from outside influences, pray, worship, and perform sacred ordinances. We don’t want any curious bystander or angry anti-Mormon walking in and heckling people. And in reality, anyone CAN go, they just have to live by certain standards. Any establishment has rules. You need to pay money and get a photo ID/membership card just to get into Costco, for goodness sake. Is THAT a “secret” place?
7) Geez, does anyone actually know anything about the temple garment?? Despite what they said, or what some people might do, I, personally don’t wear them when I exercise. At Brigham Young University, which is the church-run university, you aren’t even allowed to wear garments with your BYU issue gym clothes, the shorts are too short for that. We are supposed to wear them as often as possible, and how often that is, is a matter of individual discretion. On another note:we do not believe that temple garments have magical powers. Their purpose is to remind you of your covenants and help protect you against temptation. And *gasp* HOLY CRAP! OF COURSE no one’s going to show you their garments, Brian Williams! How DARE you have the audacity to ask people to show you their underwear! Would you ask that of anyone else? Oh, you wear a man-thong, that’s different than what I wear, so can I see it? That is just shameful. And then they show people wearing the temple garment anyway. How inappropriate. That was highly offensive.
8) And women aren’t equal to men?! I can’t believe I’m hearing such nonsense. Different roles doesn’t mean not equal. Men do priesthood stuff that women don’t do. So what? Women can give birth and men can’t. It’s not better or worse, it’s just different.
9) The “feminist” lady in the church has a problem with decision-making authority in the church. That has nothing to do with being a feminist. You either believe the prophet is called of God or you don’t. If he is, then what he gets from God is the word of God. If he’s not, leave The Church because he must be a whack-job. Why stay in a religion and fight against the way it is? If you don’t agree with it, either you are wrong and you decide to accept it the way it is, or the religion is wrong and you leave it.
10) The ladies they refer to as being excommunicated in 1993 were excommunicated because they wrote bullsh** lies about the church, were given a chance to repent of their wrongs, but refused. Not because they were feminists, like the blonde interviewer lady (can’t remember her name) was saying.
11) The guy from the musical, “The Book of Mormon” is described as a Mormon when he’s actually a self-proclaimed Ex-Mormon. There’s a difference in perspective between someone living the faith, and someone who no longer is. And speaking of that musical, if I were to produce a musical about a group of people, let’s say homosexuals, and make fun of them and spoute half-truths and lies about that group, it would be an outrage. But with “The Book of Mormon” we’re all just supposed to sit back and what? Laugh at ourselves? I can laugh at myself and Mormon culture, but that musical (I’m thinking of the song, “I Believe”) does not describe me or any other Mormon that I know and certainly not the doctrine of The CHurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
What I DID like about the video:
1) They point out that EVERY religion has stories and beliefs that seem outlandish to outsiders, that doesn’t make it a “cult”.
2) The black guy (can’t remember his name either) mentioned that he’s never faced discrimination. And their family is so cute! I love that they show them teaching the gospel in their home., and the kids are so insightful and positive about the gospel. That’s what it’s all about.
3) I love that that guy’s wife brought up the fact that WE BELIEVE IN THE ATONEMENT OF JESUS CHRIST! AKA: GRACE! Why is it that people think we don’t???
4) The stuff about the Welfare Program was phenomenal. It reminded me about how poor my family was growing up. I remember my dad working in the Bishop’s Storehouse to help “work for” the free food we got every month. It’s an amazing program and I think they really captured the essence of that.
10) I like that they explained that we have an unpaid clergy.
For me, the bottom line is that I don’t really care if you believe in the church or don’t believe in the church. But I DO want you to know the truth about what is Church doctrine, what is Mormon lore/culture/tradition, and what is just plain NOT TRUE.
If you want to get the actual facts about what we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe, go to Mormon.org/faq where you can find simple, concise, official answers to frequently asked questions about the church. There are also thoughts from members about those same questions. You can even visit my Mormon.org profile where I talk about my experience with the church HERE.
If you have any questions or comments or want to agree or disagree, feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!